I`m sick in bed, and pissed off, and thought it would be an appropriate time to repost these questions.
Rape Culture Questions
My friends Bill, Weronika and myself got together last winter and wrote up these questions for the consideration of our “community”. Folks in Guelph were dealing with a lot of issues of sexual assault/reinforcing rape culture like many anarchist scenes often do, and we wanted to get people thinking about these things. They were written from an anarchist/radical perspective, but can be applied broadly. They’re a bit like a continuation of the consent questions from the support zine, among others (Click here to read the consent questions).
Obviously there are no “right or wrong” answers to these, but this is stuff we all need to be challenging ourselves, and our friends about. We need to be having more active discussions, and hopefully this is a way to spur those discussions.
I’ll likely be putting these in zine format sometime soon, so if you’ve got any criticisms, concerns, suggestions or anything else, let me know!
How do you define consent?
Does consent need to be verbal?
Do you believe your friends are capable of crossing someone’s boundaries?
Do you believe you are capable of crossing someone else’s boundaries?
How do you define rape?
How do you define sexual assault?
Have you ever not believed a survivor or been reluctant to believe them? If yes, why?
How do you define ‘rape culture’?
What are behaviours that can perpetuate a culture of rape besides the act itself?
How do concepts like rape culture relate to other systems of power?
How does rape culture relate to anarchism?
How does it relate to living in a community?
Is it appropriate to establish hierarchies of oppressive behaviour (ie. Rape= very oppressive, calling a survivor a liar=not very oppressive)?
What are the advantages or disadvantages of these hierarchies?
Whose interests do they serve?
How do communities respond to those who defend oppressive behaviour?
How does defending oppressive behaviour fit into a hierarchy of oppressive behaviour?
What does the word “survivor” mean to you?
What are the advantages/limitations of this word?
What does the term “support” mean to you?
How does your personal relationship with a survivor affect how you support them?
Do you need a personal relationship with a survivor to support them?
Is it possible to support a survivor without communicating with them?
Have you ever felt reluctant to communicate with a survivor about their experiences? If yes, why?
How much information do you need about a survivor’s experience to support them and/or hold a perpetrator accountable? How do you go about getting this information?
How does the way you support a survivor affect the way other people support a survivor?
What would you risk to support a survivor?
What would make you hesitate to support a survivor?
Would you hesitate to support a survivor if it caused you discomfort and/or social awkwardness?
In what ways can your own needs serve or contradict those of a survivor?
What does the word “perpetrator” mean to you?
What are the advantages/limitations of this word?
What does “accountability” mean to you?
Who defines what it means to be accountable?
How does your personal relationship with someone affect how you hold them accountable?
How does your personal relationship with a survivor affect how you hold someone accountable?
Do you need a personal relationship with a survivor to hold a perpetrator accountable?
Do you need a personal relationship with a perpetrator to hold them accountable?
How does the way you hold a perpetrator accountable affect the way other people hold them accountable?
How are your own needs served by choosing to hold a perpetrator accountable or not choosing to hold them accountable?
How does power (both systemic power and other forms of power, ie. How long someone’s been in the community, popularity, roles as organizers, band members etc.) affect accountability?
Consider the power you hold in your community. What are the ways you use this power to leverage accountability?
What are the ways you use power to undermine accountability?
What role do anarchists usually play in power struggles (ie. Rich versus Poor, Police versus the community, settlers versus indigenous, etc.)?
In instances of power struggles between a survivor and perpetrator, do anarchists play the same role? If not, why not?
What would you risk to call someone out?
Take a moment to consider our spaces (both the more permanent spaces like our homes, and the more temporary spaces we create such as events, actions, social places). How do we use these spaces to confront rape culture?
Do we confront rape culture differently in different spaces?
How do we make space for survivors?
What pushes survivors out of spaces?
When perpetrators use our space, how does this affect how survivors use our space?
How does having perpetrators in our space affect support for survivors, whether survivors are in that space or not?
How is our organizing affected by rape culture?
How does our organizing acknowledge and confront rape culture?
Does our day to day organizing confront rape culture outside of crisis situations?
Why do we often wait until our organizing is disrupted before acknowledging situations as a community issue? Whose interests does this serve?
What is your own history of abuse/assault, and what privileges are you afforded/not afforded by larger systems of power? (Don’t answer this one out loud!)
In what ways is ‘survivor’ an oppressed identity?
What are the privileges of not being a survivor?
How does privilege or the lack thereof affect someone’s role in a rape culture? How does it affect how they give support?
In general, who do you see taking on support roles in your community? Does the answer confirm or contradict the answer to the previous question (how does privilege or lack thereof affect how someone gives support?).
Within a rape culture, what does solidarity mean?
Take a moment to consider how communities respond to oppressive behaviour (both radical communities and otherwise). In this respect, how do radical communities differ from the more dominant culture?
Who in the community defines this response?
How are communities affected when people respond to oppressive behaviour by referring to it as “a personal matter” between the people directly involved?
How are communities affected when people refer to oppressive behaviour and its consequences as “drama”?
How do your reactions to oppressive behaviour reinforce the justice system?
Do you need evidence?
Do you need to “hear both sides of the story”?
Do your answers to the previous two questions contradict or reinforce your ideas of consent?
How do your reactions to oppressive behaviour reinforce prison culture?
How do you hold perpetrators accountable if you reject prison culture?
How does a community’s response to a specific instance of oppressive behaviour affect how it can respond to other instances of oppressive behaviour?
Are there things a community needs to respond appropriately to oppressive behaviour? If yes, what are the community needs and the potential barriers to those things?
What does the term silencing mean to you?
What might keep a survivor from asking for things they need or want?
How, as a community, do we reinforce those things? How do we undermine them?
Do the answers to these questions make you reconsider how you answered the question ‘who defines the response to oppressive behaviour’?
What does the term ‘survivor autonomy’ mean to you?
Are there limitations to survivor autonomy? If so, what are they?
Are there ways to disagree with a survivor’s response without undermining their support or silencing them?
What are the things that inform whether you ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with a survivors response?
What is the purpose of voicing your agreement or disagreement? Whose interest does it serve?
Looks amazing! I love asking questions like this instead of ranting or lecturing.