VODKA O’CLOCK 1433 Rape culture, misogyny & con safety with Christine Rose
TRIGGER WARNING This interview openly discusses rape culture.
AMBER LOVE 27-SEP-2014 Known formerly under the pen name O.M. Grey, author and advocate CHRISTINE ROSE joins Vodka O’Clock to continue the conversation about rape culture that has been getting addressed in pop culture. It was important to have Christine on the show because she is able to talk about her life as a survivor of multiple sexual assaults and how that affected her career as a professional writer and public figure plus she has a polyamorous marriage which is a lifestyle confusing to people in the media. One of her rapists is also a public figure, a well-known steampunk entertainer who is still often given guest of honor status at conventions despite Christine’s outreach to the convention organizers that he is not a safe person to have at shows. There are other specific reasons why I wanted someone like Christine who is experienced in discussing rape culture openly.
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This year we’ve seen women attacked online for criticizing comic book covers, reporting on video games, and simply for existing like all the celebrities who had their intimate photos stolen and posted online. Women in our subculture who have opinions are subject to online harassment, threats of death and rape, threats against their children, and having their accounts hacked. On the opposite end, there are hackers who help like we saw in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case. This year we’ve also seen problems come to light in professional sports. Recently Sam Pepper was exposed for having a YouTube channel that exploited women and young girls under his lame excuse of his harassment and physical abuse written off as “social experiments.” And then there are cases where sex workers are victims of sexual violence and murder, like Tjhisha Ball and Angelia Magnum where their stories are being ignored because they were sex workers and so many people think that’s an acceptable risk of those jobs.
“Only 28 percent of women whose incidents meet the legal definition of rape consider themselves rape victims because they have been so socialized – and everyone around them including police continuously minimize sexual assault and sexual harassment.” ~CR
We addressed how many women don’t even know they are victims because they have been conditioned to accept this behavior. There are these barriers in definitions between “forcible” rape, marital rape, date rape, statutory rape – yet so many people (and politicians and police) are under the impression that it’s only rape when it’s a stranger with a weapon in a dark alley. Christine’s rape by the steampunk celebrity seems to fall into the date rape category. She was asked by an organizer if she would ever accept an apology from this musician. She blogged about it not only because of her own experience but because she has been told other complaints about him.
“Silence is not consent.” ~CR
One of Christine’s powerful messages is that communities are vital in supporting victims and making cultural change. The biggest and most controversial may have been #YesAllWomen where the point not that all men are harassers and rapists but that all women have been harassed. Recently, the #ItsOnUs campaign is about bystanders finding courage to speak up when they see inappropriate behavior taking place. Then there’s #HeForShe which was launched by Emma Watson’s UN speech explaining that feminism is not man-hating and that men should be feminists too.
Christine’s PTSD debilitated her for years. She couldn’t continue with her podcasts or finish her projects. She could not feel safe at conventions, other than hearing back from a few including Steampunk World’s Fair, because other cons would not ban the perpetrator. She went from being O.M. Grey, an Amazon best seller and award winning steampunk author to Christine Rose, educator and advocate. After 11 books, she says her career as a professional fiction writer is over. She posted and discusses that O.M. Grey is dead. As far as Christine is concerned, that person no longer exists. She is definitely a different person, while carrying the same DNA, then she was before her first assault at age 20 by a college professor. Now, Christine has a voice of her own. In the past, she would not have fought as hard and told someone to fuck off. It’s been a two-year process for her to shed O.M. Grey and steampunk from her life. One of her genres was steampunk erotica. Now she cannot write about healthy sexual relationships.
“The most vocal people speaking out against me when I spoke out about my assault, the most vocal, cruel people were women, not men.” ~CR