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No Consent, No Problem

Katie Hill Revenge Porn, Perpetuating the Patriarchy

I’ve sent fantastic naked pictures to women I’ve dated.

I have also received some nude gems from women I’ve been intimate with.

A part of my sexuality is making it as unbound as the wind. I love women, I love loving women, and I love the way women share their bodies with the women they love. Straight and bisexual women are also on a journey towards sexual liberation however, they must contend with a particularly volatile speed bump on the road to sexual freedom and that is the cis gendered straight man. 

 

On Thursday October 31, 2019 Rep. Katie Hill resigned from Congress. Her resignation was the direct result of an abusive blackmailing campaign spearheaded by her husband. Helsep reached out to several national news organizations in an effort to sell a salacious story about his wife, and eventually ended up giving nude photos he took of her (without her permission) to a right-wing news site and a tabloid. Both of these organizations published the uncensored pictures, claiming they were relevant to political discourse.

 

In her final speech to Congress Ms. Hill said, “I’m leaving now because of a double standard… I’m leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse.” Make no mistake, Helsep wanted to break a powerful woman and he had no shortage of reprehensible men who were eager to help him. They knew that this kind of thing, while not necessarily devastating to a man would absolutely crush a woman and when Ms. Hill would not bend to their will, they made it their mission to break her. 

 

I’m not saying that women are incapable of acting poorly and maliciously when they feel they have been wronged. They are just as capable of hurting men however, when discussing the fairly new phenomena of non-consensual pornography we mostly have cis gendered straight men to thank for the way it’s spread like wildfire. 

 

Nancy Pelosi suggested that if you don’t want lewd pictures of yourself plastered all over the internet then you shouldn’t take lewd pictures. Listen, big Nancy can come get this work if she wants it. Her and the rest of the boomers love to slut shame and victim blame the women of my generation simply because we aren’t out here in nun habits and poodle skirts. Guess what Nance, we also got rid of segregation and are working on ending homophobia so stay mad. Sometimes it seems that older people insist on rubbing our noses in their patriarchal, heteronormative, puritanical “values.”  They drag out pieces of wisdom they got from their repressed grandmothers every time we are abused by the men they raised poorly and expect us to simply carry on and be as subdued as they are. Guess what? We don’t like the back of the bus and we are making new rules. 

 

There are a couple of issues with Pelosi’s train of thought. First, Hill like many victims, was not aware Helsep was taking pictures of her. Society LOVES to blame women for existing in a world were perverted men take advantage of the fact that we don’t walk around in biohazard suits all the time.  Additionally, and most importantly, this line of thought absolves men of their nefarious behavior by implying that there is some action a woman can take that will essentially COMPEL a man to violate her. This narrative is reinforced every time a woman is told she is responsible for not preventing the violence directed towards her. 

 

Long skirts won’t save us, staying home won’t save us, being “good” and working hard won’t save us, and certainly attaching ourselves to respectable men won’t save us because the patriarchy wasn’t set up FOR US. The point of that penis driven machine was to indoctrinate women to hate other women just a little bit less than men do. And look at how well the system is achieving its goals. 

 

I personally don’t believe men are genetically destined to be uncontrollable, vicious brutes who are driven blind by that Y chromosome to scorch the earth in the wake of every emotional slight. I genuinely believe they can do better as a unit. But the only way we are going to get there is by encouraging and fiercely supporting women who are victims of this type of abuse. When this type of embarrassing blackmail stops working on women, maybe then men will stop using it.  Ms. Hill had other issues with regards to her congressional term and so stepping down might very well have been the best move for her, but what about the next woman in a position of power whose only sin was trusting a man to not violate her confidences? We need to rally around that woman and dispose of her abuser. We need to assist that woman in navigating a world where the male ego is held in higher regard than the safety of a woman’s body.

 

We have to hold publications accountable for spreading nonconsensual pornography and call for their termination if they continue to exploit women in this manner. And we have to provide support for women who press on in spite of all these egregious obstacles. The men are not interested in changing things, it’s just a fact, they will not come to save us, chivalry is dead. It is time for the women who are wolves to rise up, to claim our pack, sharpen our teeth, and join the fray. We are the ones we have been waiting for.    

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