Am I a Rapist?

So I was listening to BBC radio station one morning and the was a show on discussing the recently surge in kidnappings and killing of women in Jamaica. There was a girl that contacted them through WhatsApp, who was sharing her story and opinions on the issue.

She went on to talk about being terrified to leave her house and how in the back of her mind everyman she goes on a date with might be a potential rapist.

Now I’m screaming at the radio, as she mentions the aggressive nature of Jamaican catcalling, and how they tend to escalate into worse without even she giving them any attention or her addressing them and no one steps up and says anything in condemnation or protest, which I’ve noticed as well and that someone is me at times.

She went on to state percentages and ratios of 7 out 10 friends she have, had been raped.

But she admitted to not having this conversation with any of her male friends, only casually as a news story would present itself.

Now having not being a victim of rape, giving or receiving I set out to get my own insight and figure out the term “rape culture”

The definition of culture based on a google search of which I found two definitions that i would consider close this title;

cul·ture

“…the cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients, maintained (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth.” 

And

 “…the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.”

This brought me none closer to an comfortable understanding, so I did what I’ve done over the years…I polled my friends, on WhatsApp this time.

I asked Females:

“So…I have a question that might be hard to answer…and it has no personal bearing other than you are a female friend of mine….

Have you ever been raped?

Or anything that could be classified as such?? 

Do you think we have a rape culture?”

And males:
For research and a potential uncomfortable question….Have you every raped or felt you raped another before or after you felt you were in a “rapey” situation? 

 Do you think we have a rape culture? 

I received various answers that lead to some interesting discussions. Some of these answers were unexpected as well as expected, as most of the women did answer yes, they think we do have a rape culture in Caribbean.

These instances would happen whether  through a lack of understanding of the consequences of being “sexually persistent or aggressive”, by having some sort of entitlement expected at the end of a date, some were molested as a young child and then there was the situation of being the victim of malicious intent, men preying upon the weak; the premeditated, can’t rationalize, no gray area rape!!

Most of the guys answered in the negative, stating that we don’t have a rape culture…per say but they went on to term it as an “expectation” “persistence” “being a galis” “sexually aggression” “male power culture”…

Here are some of the situations and scenarios that came out of my whatsapp research group;

“Are there more “premeditated rapes” or more “situational rapes”, situational would be where you and a girl are making out and theres an expectation of sex… or consent was given before you’ll start having sex, then during it was rescinded, but he dismissed it as sex talk… or a guy had sex with a girl and for whatever reason after she felt that she was raped or felt that she had to give consent because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn’t .

“What happens to the guy in the situation? Does he continue his life long “raping” spree until he “rapes the wrong girl”, ends up in prison or does he finds redemption by accepting accountability for his actions?

“Do we really talk to girls about how not to get sexually assaulted more than we talk to boys about how to read situations, giving good reasoning about what consent is and that body language is not consent…and to be in control and not ruin two lives…maybe three?

How do we view rape…really??

Can a teenager tell the intricate complex dance… well It can’t be a dance because that would mean some one lead and the other gets dragged around.

Is it more like two advancing armies, where both have things valuable to protect but the value is placed on two totally different things. Do we even have proper conversations about sex and sexual relations as adults much less as teenagers.

When trying to find a mate other than being a “overall nice guy” there’s another criteria I have to fulfill, I have to past the I’m not a “rapist” test??

It seems to me, if I’m being honest that a lot of people have been in some sort of sexual assault/abuse at a young age and either try to figure things out, try to right the ship or protect themselves from being in that situation ever again as they get older, yet people can’t have an honest conversation about it until it’s gets to the extreme.

Now I purposely used the word rape not desensitize but to open the dialogue, with everything in life its never black and white, they are gradients…shades and tones Blood pumps from your heart to different areas of your body through veins and networks and all this is run by the brain, which one you give the most value to, which one you can live without.

I’ve been in situations when I was younger where I felt “rapey”, not to the point of holding down anyone but being with 14year old at 16 and I felt uncomfortable after that I vowed never to be near that awkward uncomfortableness, since then I’m very aware resistance playful or otherwise I’m stopping. I had a girlfriend accused me of not loving or wanting her enough because I wasn’t always trying to sex with her.

I set out to figure out just a term, that I’m still not close to figure out, but I’m left with an understanding yearning to know more about what goes into fixing things, is it as simple as just speaking out…to who it matters most?

Can we start the conversation,

Hi my name is Andre, have you ever been raped 

Hi, my name is Suzy bland, are you a rapist?

Advertisements

I wish I had a sun

I wish I had a sun…To teach the values of being right in a left brain world

To hold a torch to the dark when everyone is running towards the light.

Fight whenever the big bad fools try to blow down his individuality

Stand for yourself and others.

Beware of irks, temptation, anger and forgetfulness of conveniences.

Be someone people revolves around, but not worship because of misunderstood brilliance

Be known that you can burn everything down, but be the warmth that breathes life into all beings…

Shine bright my sunlight…even the moon shares your light in the darkness of uncertainty of life.

I need a date…nye

I need a date…
One that’s dances…without an agenda
One that drinks…without the adage…

“You want to get me drunk and take advantage of me” 

I’m not logging around a puking human being destined to ruin my night and be filled with regret and not taking responsibility for their own actions.

One that enjoys the moment…not constantly try’s to document every step of it creating an alternative moment that affects a connection we would share (and possibly people around us) 

I’m looking to date someone that dress for the occasion but comfortable enough to not stay frozen in pretentious image. 

I need to date a flexible girl…if the vibes at one spot isn’t right have problem going to another less travelled unfamiliar spot…willing to start an adventure with me. 

I want a date that glides…when she walks…smoothly across a dance floor not always turning her ass to me for the gyration ritual…a one…a two…a one, two step…without instructions.

Ladies have you been dated or do you date? 
I’m willing to play my part if you’re willing to participate…I will date you…if you date me too. 

Raped…

This is a poem I found that I wrote some years ago, I’m not sure exactly when or why I wrote this…but I wanted to share it.

Thrown a back and shoved into your mind, the visions, memories, the acts of hurt, ramming up against the walls of your brain & thrusting you upon the
de-railed demented thoughts that overpowers, then consumes.

Invaded constantly with the ins and outs of a roller coaster ride,
Through abandon emotional bends & turns and forcing you to relinquish your body,
Your precious body they have ravaged,
Torn open your heart to rip out your soul,
Replaced…with visions of cruel intentions and long felt repercussions.

Memories that mimic heart crushing pleasure,
Manifests in your physical scars to show a hint of your emotional amputations,
Cutting off all feelings of happiness, joy & self-worth.

Worthy of redress you take cover fully in the blame,
the what ifs & the whys
“Why me?”,
“If I had only adorned myself in a black thick robe shielding all hint of sensual-feminity…”

“If I?, If I?, If I…”
But you are.
You are a woman of pure power & light which makes it impossible to eclipse your being,
But being subjected to a ruthless and callous invasion that slowly erodes your soul.

Mangled into pieces,
immortally leaves you shivering in a fetal position,
Begging for total protection.
…Deranged
Invaded, polluted & constantly jaded
Your mind is fucked.

Destroy & Rebuild,
Reclaim & Ensure,
That your chosen path of life is to be completed.

#thoughts

You selfish bastards!!

Photo credit – Marlon James @ Marlon James photograph.com

So I’m slim…ish….
I’ve always been slim…

Well at one point in time I was “marga”, but there was nothing I could do about that, my metabolism was running 48hr shifts everyday.

But I was ok with me, essentially.
I wanted to put on more weight because I felt my penis could use a bit more…girth (yes, widening…based on porn)
All and all I was fine with what I was.

My self image was being dampened more with my own mind than anything else…

Even when I’d hear stuff like…

“You could use a likkle bit a more muscles”
”You cyan manage mi” or “boy, yu nah nyam??”
As you might have guessed, these comments were from females and I’d take comfort in the fact that my oldest brother looked exactly like me up til 23, now he’s competing with pops for the belly of the year award.

People used to say that they didn’t know who was carrying the baby, him or his wife. (ok, ok, I said it)
So years have passed and now I stand with a bit more meat to me and a small gut which I’m proud of.

Now the comments are like…

”You’ve filled out”, “you look like you can manage this now” or “You looking like a man now” have replaced those of old.

All this I must point out from the supposedly kinder fairer sex…sure!
Anyways, words never really affected me alot but I knew the power of them and became respectful of that power.

As I mentioned before my self image hinged on my own thoughts.

You see growing up in a family of 10-13 people you learn to satisfy, take stock of what you have and make the best of it, even take it a step further and make some sacrifices for the greater good of your kin.
I had a strong sense of who I was from a young age, thou I could chameleon a bit, never to the stage where people would question my authenticity but I could hang out uptown, downtown, with christians or with whores, pretty much most groups.

I was respectful of their space and expressions and I tried to relate in a bid to understand human behavior…I guess that’s when I started studying people.
Years of that led me to introducing myself like:

“Hi, I’m Dre and I hate people, because I know them so well”
Now why am I saying all of this, alluding back to the title of the post.

I’ve notice…well I can’t help but notice whenever I go on my IG timeline, Facebook or on the t.v. over by someone’s house that they won’t turn off, through casual conversations I had overheard.

It’s saturated mostly with gym this, lose weight now, I want butt implants that.
Is it that we are never satisfied with ourselves, being duped in a certain body type is the only healthy size?

Wooden spoon deep in our yearning for attention we’d rather transform to fit into a mold?
Now I recognize that some people are living a health lifestyle by eating right and exercising, but is that the majority? And most people will answer ‘yes’, very defensively, and cite the job creation and self esteem issues from this industry.
As I was mentioned earlier about my own shortcomings and it’s even in the name “self esteem” we can be ok and confident in whatever shape we are in, but perception is a bitch.

We tend to use certain statements to justify our own selfishness, laziness or plain old vanity.

”Beauty is only skin deep.”

”Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

”You’re as young as you feel”

”The early bird catches the worm.”

Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch because whatever time I’m allowed to leave my job and get down to the store, they better restock them worms!
But all of these terms are spewed out very hypocritically, with the same breath they murmur

“…The only skin deep she knows are the deep fried bucket of chicken she just had as a mid-morning snack”
The exercise industry is a billon dollar industry yet the world is filled with fat people and everyone knows that in order to make a successful business you need repeat customers. So this industry feeds on the insecurities of the wider society. They weren’t a lot of fat people around back in the day, because you had to walk everywhere you went, plant or catch your own food, run dung Oman…literally or beat a dude’s ass for his woman! That’s all the exercise you needed right there.
Now things have modernized a bit right?

The transportation system means you walk from your house to your car or the bus stop, travel how many miles, sitting on your ass all the way then take 2 more steps to work where you sit on your ass all day for 5 days out of the week. Then weekend comes around, TGIF right?

You’ll have dinner…on your ass,

Have a drink or seven…on your ass,

Go to the movies…on your ass…

Win at the games night…on your ass.

The remainder of the weekend is where you clean the house, go to the store for hours on end, play football or whatever sport, wash the car etc…(add your weekend chores here) that’s a lot tiring work right? Because it’s a small break from being on your ass during the week?
So it is said that in order to live a health green lifestyle you need a 1hr in the gym daily…or was it 4? I don’t know, it increases every time I hear the pitch yelled at you by some muscled dude in tank top that looks like he shops at the baby gap, when fat shaming doesn’t work. Women are more susceptible to this selfish world view.

They are riddled with insecurities based on part biology and part societal norms and in turn trickles down to men when they add this in their bag of vagina hunting survival kit.
All this is based on my observations when I tend to boil down human behavioral motivations down to the rue of what we are as human beings which are normally simply just survival…

Procreation…survival of ones genes, Teaching culture…survival of a lifestyle and values, nurturing or parenting survival of your experiences and lessons.

The older puzzle piece – my autistic story

 This is my brother…Marlon Hutchinson, and he’s autistic.

Not a lot of people know that I have an autistic brother, you might think it’s because I’m ashamed of that fact…or of him?

That would be a stern No! 

I am ashamed…but not of him or his condition…I’m ashamed of the facilities and lack of resources to help him.
No I haven’t really spoken about this to anyone more than a few close friends and family…why? Well because it’s not really anybody’s business and it tends to evoke two emotions; 

A smug nonchalance or pity, and when someone is trying to live their life the best way they can the worse thing you can give to them is pity.

Sympathy and pity without thought and a dose of reality makes you donate toys and shoes to starving kids in Africa. It’s a nice gesture but that’s all it is…just a gesture…it doesn’t help the real problems.

Now Marlon is my younger brother by 2 years, after him came a girl and before me was a girl so I missed out on that close sibling comradeship brothers that close in age tend to have. Growing up he wasn’t a difficult child, he developed as a normal kid would, then came the withdrawal and the lack of speech. And as a kid myself this became routine. I guess I had my own battle dealing with, being asthmatic and constantly hospitalized so I missed a lot back then, plus I was four what would I remember??

What I do remember is accompanying my mother to the School of Hope, in August town, Kingston and the routines; Dropping him off and going back for him, being at the bus stop in Downtown, Kingston to head back to Portmore where we lived which was about 30mins drive, as he got to the bus stop he would get his “bag juice” and snack from the vendors outside…come to think of it…I think it was one or two people and they would look out for him…knowing the drill…he chose what he wanted and my mother or older brother would pay…who wasn’t far behind, then the waiting for the bus to leave to go home. 
After awhile this routine stopped…
Marlon wasn’t allowed to return to school…he was…for lack of a better term…”expelled”.

You see the School of Hope was a school for mentally and physically retarded children. Back then in 1980s, no one knew what autism was in Jamaica, so he was classified as mentally retarded and sent to that school where he was subsequently expelled because he became ‘violent to some of kids and adults”. It was no big deal to me as I said I was young not privy to all the info, it just meant he was always home now. 

The extent of this violence was hitting, biting and strategic scratching (‘scrabing’). I got my fair share of these as I shared a room and a bunk bed with him, and as with any siblings, messing with my stuff and me with his, the loud mumbling, singing certain parts of songs on the radio pretty loudly I might add led to most fights.

His outbursts would continue and intensify mostly from a bit of “family annoyance” and that we were not fully understanding his patterns. I got to understand that these outbursts stemmed from his frustrations of not being able to express himself to the degree that we readily understood.

People in the community would refer to him as my “mad brother”, of which I don’t really talk to anymore because clearly they’re idiots…but I was already selective in the people that I interacted with so that mattered not to me. And that’s how the general Jamaican public dismiss and label things they don’t really understand; homeless people are simply called “Mad Men”, people with any degree of a disability are call “Hhandycapp” and deaf people or any young person with a hearing aid are “Dummies”.  I’m not too upset with the labels because that’s part of our culture, the oversimplified labels for pretty much everything, but what it does do is it marginalizes people and their daily struggles, not seeing the ranges of disabilities or lack there of. 

The misdiagnosis all those years ago influenced how we approached his development, after the School of Hope there was nothing, no other academically incline option for him. It wasn’t until a couple years ago we recognize that he was autistic based on some research. We were worried mainly because though there might be more awareness of autism in recent times and they are schools and facilities being built to help as well as different programs being developed, these are mostly for young children up to 20 years old, My brother will be 35 years old in July.

Looking back I saw him as just another one of my many siblings, in a large family you are trying to find your own identity, purposes and quiet (God they’re a noisy bunch). Growing up I guess he was insulated by wonderful parents and cool enough siblings. He mostly taught himself to read; he writes with a stencil (which he doesn’t use anymore, but looking through his books you wouldn’t know); he documents and collect things and have them in chronological order which you don’t touch unless he shows it to you; he’s a very curious person and watches you like a hawk…then mimics you until he understands it; watches t.v. on mute (I think everyone should 😀, or not at all). He washes his own clothes and mine when I was living with him, no I didn’t ask nor did I stop him…until I realized my clothes were getting too clean and one of my blue shirts was on its way to being white with the amount of scrubbing, and I know I wasn’t that dirty.

I’m not sure why I wrote this or why I’m even sharing it, I still think this is mostly a family matter and I don’t trust people enough with the responsibility to fully understand unless you grew up with us, but I guess some people will see some sort of similarities in our experiences as we move to highlight and build awareness to all the lives that this mental condition affects.

And I’ve recognized that the highlight is mostly on the children with autism and not the adults that will have to deal the morality of life and its changes.

#AutismSpeaks