Sexual violence Quotes


Women who love themselves are threatening; but men who love real women, more so.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men's eyes when deciding what provokes it.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.

A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn't grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights. It's true what they say about women: Women
are
insatiable. We
are
greedy. Our appetites do need to be controlled if things are to stay in place. If the world were ours too, if we believed we could get away with it, we
would
ask for more love, more sex, more money, more commitment to children, more food, more care. These sexual, emotional, and physical demands
would
begin to extend to social demands: payment for care of the elderly, parental leave, childcare, etc. The force of female desire would be so great that society would truly have to reckon with what women want, in bed and in the world.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

The beauty myth is always actually prescribing behaviour and not appearance.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Women could probably be trained quite easily to see men first as sexual things. If girls never experienced sexual violence; if a girl's only window on male sexuality were a stream of easily available, well-lit, cheap images of boys slightly older than herself, in their late teens, smiling encouragingly and revealing cuddly erect penises the color of roses or mocha, she might well look at, masturbate to, and, as an adult, "need" beauty pornography based on the bodies of men. And if those initiating penises were represented to the girl as pneumatically erectible, swerving neither left nor right, tasting of cinnamon or forest berries, innocent of random hairs, and ever ready; if they were presented alongside their measurements, length, and circumference to the quarter inch; if they seemed to be available to her with no troublesome personality attached; if her sweet pleasure seemed to be the only reason for them to exist--then a real young man would probably approach the young woman's bed with, to say the least, a failing heart.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

A man is unlikely to be brought within earshot of women as they judge men's appearance, height, muscle tone, sexual technique, penis size, personal grooming, or taste in clothes--all of which we do. The fact is that women are able to view men just as men view women, as objects for sexual and aesthetic evaluation; we too are effortlessly able to choose the male "ideal" from a lineup and if we could have male beauty as well as everything else, most of us would not say no. But so what? Given all that, women make the choice, by and large, to take men as human beings first.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

... in practice the standard for what constitutes rape is set not at the level of women's experience of violation but just above the level of coercion acceptable to men.

But no matter how much evil I see, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that there is much more light than darkness.

When women's sexuality is imagined to be passive or "dirty," it also means that men's sexuality is automatically positioned as aggressive and right-no matter what form it takes. And when one of the conditions of masculinity, a concept that is already so fragile in men's minds, is that men dissociate from women and prove their manliness through aggression, we're encouraging a culture of violence and sexuality that's detrimental to both men and women.

What are other women really thinking, feeling, experiencing, when they slip away from the gaze and culture of men?

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

What editors are obliged to appear to say that
men
want from women is actually what their
advertisers
want from women.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

The maturing of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold.
Or, if your ad revenue or your seven-figure salary or your privileged sexual status depend on it, it is an operable condition.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

The surgeons are playing on the myth's double standard for the function of the body. A man's thigh is for walking, but a woman's is for walking and looking "beautiful." If women can walk but believe our limbs look wrong, we feel that our bodies cannot do what they are meant to do; we feel as genuinely deformed and disabled as the unwilling Victorian hypochondriac felt ill.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

The surgeons' market is imaginary, since there is nothing wrong with women's faces or bodies that social change won't cure; so the surgeons depend for their income on warping female self-perception and multiplying female self-hatred.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted and you have been blamed, or fear that you may be blamed, I just want you to understand this: You are not to blame. There is nothing you did to make someone hurt you, nor is there anything you could have done differently to prevent or stop it.

When a stranger on the street makes a sexual comment, he is making a private assessment of me public. And though I’ve never been seriously worried that I would be attacked, it does make me feel unguarded, unprotected.
Regardless of his motive, the stranger on the street makes an assumption based on my physique: He presumes I might be receptive to his unpoetic, unsolicited comments. (Would he allow a friend to say Nice tits to his mother? His sister? His daughter?) And although I should know better, I, too, equate my body with my soul and the result, at least sometimes, is a deep shame of both.
Rape is a thousand times worse: The ultimate theft of self-control, it often leads to a breakdown in the victim’s sense of self-worth. Girls who are molested, for instance, often go on to engage in risky behavior—having intercourse at an early age, not using contraception, smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. This behavior, it seems to me, is at least in part because their self-perception as autonomous, worthy human beings in control of their environment has been taken from them.

Self-denial can lock women into a smug and critical condescension to other, less devout women.
According to Appel, cult members develop..."an attitude of moral superiority, a contempt for secular laws, rigidity of thought, and the diminution of regard for the individual." A premium is placed on conformity to the cult group; deviation is penalized. "Beauty" is derivative; conforming to the Iron Maiden [an intrinsically unattainable standard of beauty that is then used to punish women physically and psychologically for failure to achieve and conform to it] is "beautiful." The aim of beauty thinking, about weight or age, is rigid female thought. Cult members are urged to sever all ties with the past: "I destroyed all my fat photographs!"; "It's a new me!

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

She may resent
Playboy
because she resents feeling ugly in sex--or, if "beautiful," her body defined and diminished by pornography. It inhibits in her something she needs to live, and gives her the ultimate anaphrodisiac: the self-critical sexual gaze. Alice Walker's essay "Coming Apart" investigates the damage done: Comparing herself to her lover's pornography, her heroine "foolishly" decides that she is not beautiful.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Beauty" and sexuality are both commonly misunderstood as some transcendent inevitable fact; falsely interlocking the two makes it seem doubly true that a woman must be "beautiful" to be sexual. That of course is not true at all. The definitions of both "beautiful" and "sexual" constantly change to serve the social order, and the connection between the two is a recent invention.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Where woman do not fit the Iron Maiden [societal expectations/assumptions about women's bodies], we are now being called monstrous, and the Iron Maiden is exactly that which no woman fits, or fits forever. A woman is being asked to feel like a monster now though she is whole and fully physically functional. The surgeons are playing on the myth's double standard for the function of the body. A man's thigh is for walking, but a woman's is for walking and looking "beautiful." If women can walk but believe our limbs look wrong, we feel that our bodies cannot do what they are meant to do; we feel as genuinely deformed and disabled as the unwilling Victorian hypochondriac felt ill.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

This vacillation between assertion and denial in discussions about organised abuse can be understood as functional, in that it serves to contain the traumatic kernel at the heart of allegations of organised abuse. In his influential ‘just world’ theory, Lerner (1980) argued that emotional wellbeing is predicated on the assumption that the world is an orderly, predictable and just place in which people get what they deserve. Whilst such assumptions are objectively false, Lerner argued that individuals have considerable investment in maintaining them since they are conducive to feelings of self—efficacy and trust in others. When they encounter evidence contradicting the view that the world is just, individuals are motivated to defend this belief either by helping the victim (and thus restoring a sense of justice) or by persuading themselves that no injustice has occurred. Lerner (1980) focused on the ways in which the ‘just world’ fallacy motivates victim-blaming, but there are other defences available to bystanders who seek to dispel troubling knowledge. Organised abuse highlights the severity of sexual violence in the lives of some children and the desire of some adults to inflict considerable, and sometimes irreversible, harm upon the powerless. Such knowledge is so toxic to common presumptions about the orderly nature of society, and the generally benevolent motivations of others, that it seems as though a defensive scaffold of disbelief, minimisation and scorn has been erected to inhibit a full understanding of organised abuse.
Despite these efforts, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in organised abuse and particularly ritualistic abuse (eg Sachs and Galton 2008, Epstein et al. 2011, Miller 2012).

Sexual satisfaction eases the stranglehold of materialism, since status symbols no longer look sexual, but irrelevant. Product lust weakens where emotional and sexual lust intensifies. The price we pay for artificially buoying up this market is our heart's desire. The beauty myth keeps a gap of fantasy between men and women. That gap is made with mirrors; no law of nature supports it. It keeps us spending vast sums of money and looking distractedly around us, but its smoke and reflection interfere with our freedom to be sexually ourselves.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Just one person. It really honestly just takes one positive person. One positive person can help you. And that can go a long, long way. - Alexis

In a sexual double standard as to who receives consumer protection, it seems that if what you do is done to women in the name of beauty, you may do what you like. It is illegal to claim that something grows hair, or makes you taller, or restores virility, if it does not. It is difficult to imagine that the baldness remedy Minoxidil would be on the market if it had killed nine French and at least eleven American men. In contrast, the long-term effects of Retin-A are still unknown--Dr. Stuart Yusps of the National Cancer Institute refers to its prescription as "a human experiment"--and the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it yet dermatologists are prescribing it to women at a revenue of over $150 million a year.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Always know there are friends somewhere rooting for you. There are people you don’t know, always praying for you and lifting you before God. - Jenee, from "To the Survivors".

Spokespeople sell women the Iron Maiden and name her "Health": if public discourse were really concerned with women's health, it would turn angrily upon this aspect of the beauty myth.

The Beauty Myth

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth

Some readers may find it a curious or even unscientific endeavour to craft a criminological model of organised abuse based on the testimony of survivors. One of the standard objections to qualitative research is that participants may lie or fantasise in interview, it has been suggested that adults who report severe child sexual abuse are particularly prone to such confabulation. Whilst all forms of research, whether qualitative or quantitative, may be impacted upon by memory error or false reporting. there is no evidence that qualitative research is particularly vulnerable to this, nor is there any evidence that a fantasy— or lie—prone individual would be particularly likely to volunteer for research into child sexual abuse. Research has consistently found that child abuse histories, including severe and sadistic abuse, are accurate and can be corroborated (Ross 2009, Otnow et al. 1997, Chu et al. 1999). Survivors of child abuse may struggle with amnesia and other forms of memory disturbance but the notion that they are particularly prone to suggestion and confabulation has yet to find a scientific basis. It is interesting to note that questions about the veracity of eyewitness evidence appear to be asked far more frequently in relation to sexual abuse and rape than in relation to other crimes. The research on which this book is based has been conducted with an ethical commitment to taking the lives and voices of survivors of organised abuse seriously.

I think I just said it, but I think it’s worth repeating. They gave me hope that there is good in the world out there. There really is. It really does exist. Regardless of how bad things can be, and how down on your luck you can be, or how bad your trust is broken when it comes to warming up to people and all that stuff, I know that there’s people out there that genuinely wanna help. Putting yourself in that position is a huge step, and it’s a very risky and fragile step, but it’s also a step that needs to be taken because there is help. And you can get through something like this. You really can. - Jim, from "To the Survivors

I think it is important to recognize one’s power, one’s capacities, and one’s dreams. We were actually talking about this in the last men’s group we had. We were talking about these dreams they had as kids and how they just disappeared. They just seemed like they couldn’t even be followed anymore. So for me that’s a loss of power. That’s a loss of their power; their own belief that they control their world. But they need to understand that their actions matter." - Chris

This book is dedicated to all who have been affected by sexual violence.

I can quote you several examples where women were physically and violently hurt by men but at the same time, they were also supported by men. The numbers of course would always be out of proportion. The ones who care are always lesser than the ones who hurt. That is simply a quality vs. quantity argument. A hundred men who hurt you will fail against one man who cares for you.

An engaging examination of a painful subject, with a focus on healing and forgiveness. - Kirkus Review

Some of the most effective segments are interviews with various staff members, including Aila, who works for the center’s legal department. She explains the difficulties of rape prosecution, concluding that only the survivor can truly define justice. - Kirkus Review

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