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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
25th-Jul-2009 03:00 pm

Chainmaille bracelet by amigone.

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It was her scent that raised my hackles. Part of the curse of being godspawn - heightened senses. Too loud in the club to bother listening for footsteps. But just like no one smells like Ben (amber and saffron and light), no one smells like Ananke. My back to the door, hunched over my drink like it was a life preserver, Ananke's scent punctured my buzz and hooked straight into my hindbrain. Rusted metal and blood and musk, and leather. She shifted behind me, chains jingling around her hips. "Magic-Merveille," she said, and her quiet voice cut right through the thrashcore band and into me.

Thought I'd run far enough. Nothing could be far enough. Not from my father, and not from her.

"Maggie," I said simply. "My name is Maggie."

"Your name is irrelevant. You are meant to be ten years dead."

"I fixed that." I kept my eyes steadily on the bar, willing Jack not to come back from his break and see this. Counting whiskey bottles.

"You ran."

"I chose-" gripped my glass tight - "to walk away. I chose to not blow up half the city."

"Silly child. You don't get to choose." She paused. "Look at me."

There are things I cannot do, and one of them is ignore her. I turn on my barstool and look at her. Ananke. Goddess of necessity, of destiny. Of compulsion. She's dressed for the occasion, in what looks almost like retro dominatrix kit, but with more chains - chains dangling from her waist, crossing over her legs and ass, chains wrapped around her arms, going slimmer as they went to terminate in something almost delicate. Her hair was braided into a complicated sort of net, bits of chain snaking around the knots of silky black. Wide dark eyes that swallowed me whole, hit the mute button on the rest of the world.


You cannot do this to me.

"You will go back," she said, crossing her arms.


She raised an eyebrow, and the corresponding corner of her mouth quirked up. Oh, great. I amused her. "You were created with a purpose. You must fulfill your destiny."

"I was created to be a single-use high-yield psychic explosive with a twenty-year fuse. H-bomb of the gods, right?"


"Well, no thank you. I'm not killing a bunch of people for no fucking reason."

"Your father has a reason."

"Well, he's never shared it with me. Just left me with a mother gone half-crazy from loving a god and a note to be opened on my fifteenth birthday. Telling me to destroy the city. Telling me -" I'd hopped down off my stool and stalked up to her, having to look up thanks to her fucking high-heeled bondage boots - "that it would come naturally."

"It did, didn't it?"

I remembered. I remembered every excruciating day of struggling with my power, trying to figure out how to defuse myself.

Trying to figure out how to make a godspawned weapon into a normal girl.

And, finally, half-succeeding.

"Not anymore." I aimed my words like daggers, but she brushed them off. She's an elder. A primal. She's older than my father. We scattered godspawn really are insignificant to her.

So why is she here? Why is she bothering -

She seized my hand, and I was too startled to pull away in time - there was a flash of pain, and I reached up to deck the fabulous primal goddess bitch who was fucking with my wrist, and she swatted me aside like I was a fucking fly. Shoved me back. Contemptuously.

"Do your duty," she told me. "Do what you were built for. It must be done. You have one month."

She vanished into the crowd, and the thrashcore sound returned, stink of machine oil and chemicals and designer drug sweat and cheap synthleather. Wincing, I raised my wrist to the colored lights.

Embedded in the skin of my wrist, encircling it, was a thin, but very distinct, chain.

SPONSOR ME! I am stuck at $1,097.24!

Blogathon is now 1/4 over!

This is part of Maggie's yet-untitled story, the cyberpunk mythology novel-to-be.

Hey, how about combining forces - a question answered with a post about rape culture!

What would you consider the best way to call out someone who makes a rape joke? Do not assume you know this person well.

I read a fantastic post yesterday on just this topic. Here it is.

I quote:

Welcome to a post about rape jokes.

Let me tell you a thing you might not know: the inability to hear rape “jokes” without flashbacks, Hulk rage, and “air quotes” is one of the enduring parting gifts of a rapist.

Here is how this goes:

It is a lovely summer day. You have some beers, and you and some friends are sitting on a front porch in the breeze and the sun, shooting the shit. You start talking about politics, and then the Army. You mention that you have considered joining the Army in the past, but won’t, because you can’t pledge loyalty to an organization that discriminates against gays (a round of agreement ensues, so hugely moral are we), and as a woman, you can’t reasonably aspire to join an organization that is far more likely to brutally rape you (and brutally cover it up) than the general population.

One of your friends says, “But isn’t that actually a benefit of the Army? Hur hur hur.” Oh, how you wish your friend were an ardent feminist, so you could interpret his comment as a dry observation of the brutal truth, framed humorously to prevent suicide all around. But no, you know he is making a funnay, the punchline being you and every woman you know.

Several options flash through your head.

1. Say Nothing. Hope the conversation does not continue extolling the virtues of rape, making saying nothing harder. Hate yourself for saying nothing. Notice girl sitting on the porch of the house next to you who has heard what was said. Notice her similar reactions. Hate yourself more for saying nothing, because she has probably been raped, too, because you don’t know any woman who hasn’t. Hate your friend, because he doesn’t know that every woman he knows has been raped. Have minor flashbacks of what was done to you. No feeling the sun, the breeze now, just his hand on your shoulder to get leverage. Simmer with stopped-up rage that this thing he did, his hand on your shoulder, has just been joked about as fun and exciting. Simmer with stopped-up rage that you said nothing then, too, even though that’s not really true. You just said nothing that was listened to, deemed important. Like your silence and obvious rage is being ignored now. Stop enjoying the day. Stop enjoying the company of your friend. Make a mental note to withdraw from others before they can casually, “jokingly” remind you of your rape. Feel bad. It’s not like they know you were raped. Feel angry. It’s not like you’re ever going to tell them, now. Feel alone and angry. Assume bitterly that you will feel this way forever.

2. Be Edgy! Jump in with some even MORE offensive humor! Run with the rape joke! Make it even more rape-y! Now your friend will never guess you have been raped. Bonus prize: if he ever finds out, he will respect you for not making a “big deal” out of your rape, for not making it the centerpiece of your life and his on a hot and lazy summer day. Settle in with the smug knowledge that you are not like those other broken, damaged, traumatized victims. Withdraw from “those” kinds of victims, who might try and drag you down into their hysteria with them. Throw them to the goddamn wolves. Throw your flashbacks to the goddamn wolves. Toast to rape!

3. Initiate a Very Serious Conversation, out of nowhere, like. Tell your friend that joke was not funny. Tell him rape is never funny. Keep talking after his face has pinched up in resentment and disgust, because you are RUINING his day and his BEER and his FUNNY. You know you are actually ruining his sense of himself as a good and decent person, but you cannot communicate that to him, because he is smug and disengaged, and you are shaking and stuttering and trying to explain the experience of women to a man who has grown up among women, known women, loved women, and somehow doesn’t know this already, which means he doesn’t want to know, doesn’t care. Feel vulnerable. Feel angry that you feel vulnerable. Consider stopping mid-sentence, getting up, and walking away. Promise yourself that after this you will never speak to this friend again. Immediately break the promise, because you know if you don’t, he will tell everybody that you stopped being friends because you are Andrea Dworkin all of a sudden.

4. Initiate A Very Serious Conversation Version II: Follow version one, except also disclose to your friend (who thinks rape is funny and exciting) that you have been raped. Be surprised, all over again, that this does not immediately change his perspective, the way it changed yours. Realize that to him, rape is conceptual, even when it has really happened, even when it is real. Wonder if he has raped, without knowing it, because it was just a concept. Realize you now wonder this about every man. Are you Andrea Dworkin? Do you have any right to ruin this lovely summer day by dumping your rape on everybody? Did he? After this, will he now tell everybody that you FREAKED OUT just because you were apparently “RAPED” and you can’t GET OVER IT when it was just a JOKE, SERiously? Will everybody know you have been raped? Will everybody think you are a humorless rape-bot from now on? Feel like shit afterwards. Be reminded that you cannot trust anybody, now. Because you were raped. Because you are Andrea Dworkin. Because you didn’t prosecute. The reasons don’t matter anymore; the result is the same. You are Angry About Being Raped, which just compounds the stain of Being Raped. Add in Unable To Take a Joke, and you are officially Female.

5. Find Some Other Way. Can’t count on this one; sometimes an alternative pops into your head, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you manage to say “Rape is funny!” and laugh away in such a sarcastic, biting voice that it communicates everything you wanted to say, and you all move on. Or you do what I did, which was threaten to break my beer bottle on the railing and stab my friend in the fucking neck with it if he didn’t shut his fucking maw. Ha ha! I said. A joke! Not really, man. Ha! Am I kidding? Am I? Fun-nay. The simmering rage remains, the distrust, the wondering if you should speak to this person ever again, the flashbacks. But the day moves forward rather than grinding to a screeching halt.

You guys, the entire post is brilliant. If you read none of my other links today - and you should read all of them, because they're all great! - you should read that.


Then come back and let's discuss.
25th-Jul-2009 07:04 pm (UTC) - It's a me! Monitor Tina.
I usually find that a quick "That's not really funny" does the trick without spoiling the evening.
25th-Jul-2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
I have perfected this Ms. Manners'esque look of utter disgust that usually shuts such comments down, though the one time it didn't my friend slapped the guy in the back of the head.
25th-Jul-2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
responding "i like rape jokes about as much as you like being punched in the 'nads" generally shifts their attitude. :>

srsly, though, reading about the prevalence of rape makes me want to fund self-defense classes for every girl in the US. it's easier to change the nature of 'female as a target' than it is to change what's inside some twisted fuck's head.
25th-Jul-2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Hm. See, I agree that women ought to know how to defend themselves - but focusing on that to the exclusion of changing what's in a potential perpetrator's head isn't a solution. Because it's not incumbent upon the survivor to throw the perfect right cross. It's incumbent upon the rapist to not rape.
25th-Jul-2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
very true.

my point is there are damn few *actions* that one can take to cause the rapist to not rape.

the self-defense classes are actions that we *can* take, that might make a difference in the future. likewise the awareness-raising that you and so many others are doing. keep up the good work! *hugs*

26th-Jul-2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
In one of the comments on that thread, Harriet Jacobs wrote: But because we live in a culture that tells women — the victims — what to do to stop rape instead of telling men — the perpetrators.

I thought that was an interesting observation. I do remember a lot of "don't get drunk, don't leave with a strange man, don't leave your drink unattended, don't let a man bring you a drink, don't go anywhere alone," etc. advice from when I was in school and college. I don't remember comparable advice for "how to not rape". Maybe it's just because everyone assumes it's obvious. :/ Oh! Though there was all the "no-means-no" advertising in the 80s, which was definitely focused on telling potential perpetrators what not to do. So maybe education efforts are not as one-sided as I was thinking.
1st-Aug-2009 09:22 am (UTC)
One of the programs we do at BARCC is how to recognize and respect other people's boundaries. Which is not going to stop someone who is setting out to rape someone, true, but it's helpful in recognizing that no really does mean no.
26th-Jul-2009 08:21 pm (UTC) - cyberpunk mythology
Please, please write more of this. I would love to read it!

Jake told me he picked my copy of WTD this weekend. Reading all the stories you've posted is making me even more excited about it! :)

Also, rape is never funny and the guy who made the joke in that hypothetical story needs to learn that. A little more sensitivity to the pain carried by the majority of women (and more than a few guys) around him is more important than one ruined moment over a beer. It doesn't matter whether the listener herself was ever raped or not, it's still threatening on some level and should be called out.
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