Rape does occur at Burning Man

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regynalonglank
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Rape does occur at Burning Man

Post by regynalonglank » Thu Sep 16, 2004 2:15 pm

Someone was overheard on playa this year speaking to a large group saying that there has never been a rape at Burning Man. Sadly, this is not true. It did not happen to me, but to one of my camp mates a few years ago...and she has talked to others with similar experiences. None of these women chose to report the rape to authorities, which is their own business, but I think it is important for the community at large to be informed about the risk involved being a female citizen of BRC.

The rape could have occurred anywhere, assholes do not respect people's limits in any city, there is no statute of limitations on being a total jerk. My point is that going around saying there has never been a rape creates an inaccurate feeling of safety, which could cause women to behave in an unsafe manner, and end up getting hurt.

The last thing I would want to do is create bad press about BRC, I love it there. But let's be honest, please. It ain't all playa love out there, and some people do take it too dang far. So be careful out there girls, and watch your ass.
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That ugly problem

Post by M-Files » Thu Sep 16, 2004 2:36 pm

Unfortunately, when it comes to discussing this issue, many well-meaning BRC citizens would prefer to bury their heads in the dust and pretend that the problem does not exist.

But the problem DOES exist. Ask the Rangers or the Nevada State Patrol. There were many instances of sexual assault or harrassment this year, both in the center of the playa at night and also in chill domes, which unfortunately tend to fester with sexual predators.

Ignoring the problem for fear it may damage the image of the event in the mainstream media is akin to a large corporation not admitting to a dangerous fault in its product for fear of losing sales.

If as much attention was paid to the safety of women from undesirable BM attendees as to, say, MOOP in the porto-potties, perhaps the problem would not be as prevalent.

Good for you for finally mentioning this important concern.

M-Files

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Post by Isotopia » Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:08 pm

...and she has talked to others with similar experiences. None of these women chose to report the rape to authorities, which is their own business, but I think it is important for the community at large to be informed about the risk involved being a female citizen of BRC.

My point is that going around saying there has never been a rape creates an inaccurate feeling of safety, which could cause women to behave in an unsafe manner, and end up getting hurt.
And I'd suggest that silence around the issue contributes in almost equal measure to the false sense of security you point to. What do you suggest take place? That the BM project categorically state that rape happens when in fact no rape has been reported? I can understand your intenthere but the logic buttressing it is flawed pretty badly.

I'm not suggesting for a minute that the woman in question is in any way obligated to report such a violation but I'll argue to hell and back that keeping silent about an experience and railing about the lack reportage' about an incident (or incidents) is not the best way to get the message out.

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Post by regynalonglank » Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:36 pm

I totally agree with you, and btw your avatar rocks.

you probably think it's me, and I'm just saying it was someone else, but it really was my friend...and her reason for not reporting it was that she didn't want to besmirch the reputation of Burning Man. She actually didn't even tell me about it until after we got home from this, my first burn.

She didn't want her negative experience to impact my virgin burn. I wish she had told me, I might have been more cautious had I known, although things turned out fine for me...in fact more than fine, I had a blast!

My point in bringing it up here relates to two things: it was an assault that did happen, and the person who perpetrated it still attends the event. he has approached her, perhaps to apologize, we don't know, but it is super creepy. second thing, I would want to know. I would think that BMorg would want to know, as well as BM citizens. I don't pretend to know what if anything they should do about it, and I know it's inconvenient to the current attempt to make BM acceptable to outside authorities, but too damn bad. It is real, it does happen, and people should know about it.

She is not the one railing...I am. How would you suggest getting the message out in a more appropriate way?
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Post by dman » Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:58 pm

I am having some trouble rationalizing a situation that occurred the night of the burn; maybe some of you have some suggestions on better responses for the next time something like this happens.

I was playing watchdog after the burn for my nieces and their companions, all of whom were tripping pretty heavily. At one point we were watching the moving fire sculptures around 6:30 and Esplanade, on the far side away from the Esplanade; we were standing back from the main perimeter of people about 10 feet or so, just taking it in.

A man came wandering through in the gap and proceeded to make a pass/insult at the niece and her companion furthest away, something like, "Hey buddy, you better start making out with your girl before I do.", or some such. We ignored him (actually, my friends may have been too loaded to even know what was going on; but their reaction was the same).

He turned and went to the front line of people a grabbed a girl who was astride her bike & seemed to be by herself, and kissed her. She obviously didn't like this because she pushed him away and tried to slap him, but he just laughed and turned away.

Now he came back to us, working his way toward me on the end of the line, insulting each person in turn. "What's wrong with you buddy, don't you like her? He not making you happy honey, I can help with that. If you fuckers don't start to loosen up I'm going to have to call security."

At which point he got to me, and my response was, "I am the security for this group and you're not welcome here, so fuck off." He didn't like that, but seemed cogent enough to not push me further the wrong way. So instead he says, "I haven't done anything wrong, what are you so uptight about?"

To which I replied, "Let's ask the young lady you just assaulted.", and I started walking over to the woman on the bike. "Her? She needed to be kissed. Besides, she slapped me; I can take a hint." But, too late, we're up to the woman on the bike. "Ma'am, do you know this gentleman?" She shakes her head no. At this point the man sees where this is going and says, "OK, OK, I'm leaving." and proceeds to wander off into the blackness toward the remains of the burn.

We wander around the circle of people watching the fire sculptures and a few minutes later I notice a Pershing Sherriff's car parked back from the circle a bit, but I didn't go up to them and say anything. Nor did I say anything to the two rangers I saw walking the Esplanade a few minutes after that.

In retrospect I think I should have said something; Probably nothing could be done at that point, but I could have given the Sherriff's deputies a description, at least.

Or maybe not. This was after the burn, people in general were in a festive mood, the guy didn't seem so out of control he couldn't take a hint, the woman didn't seem too put out about it, and at the time I saw no obvious (i.e. immediately threatening) need for further action; and my main responsibility was my own group & he seemed aware enough to not go there again.

But, back OTOH, after reading of the situation at the Texas burn, where the sexual predator made several attempts before finding a victim, with no one doing anything up to that point, I am concerned that something more could have been done in this case.

So, I am confuzzled on what to do should something like this happen again.

Your thoughts?
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 16, 2004 4:30 pm

2003 Afterburn Report wrote: CRISIS
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) consists of ten highly trained and dedicated psychiatric professionals. Eight were on active duty this year, including the team coordinator. One member was not on the playa this year, and the remaining member provides backup and management support for the team. The CIT responds to psychiatric cases, performs crisis intervention for crime victims, and provides victim advocacy to local agencies, such as law enforcement and local hospitals. The CIT also performs Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) responses to any significant event, much like a municipality would respond to a school shooting or other tragic event.

This year, the CIT responded to twice the number of cases as in the previous year, over two dozen. It is important to note that most CIT calls take at least several hours to resolve, and just a few calls in a 24-hour on-call shift is considered a very busy case load. Full-team CISM activations and interventions related to sexual assaults are especially time-consuming -- they tend to last at least 4 hours. The major incidents fell into the following categories: five psychiatric clients, five domestic-violence related client situations, two sexual-assault related client situations, and about a dozen other calls for service or follow-up.
http://afterburn.burningman.com/03/play ... gency.html

So the org has to know on at least that level. I certainly knew as a member of the Emergency Services Department. (No, we don't gossip about that.)

I know the leader of the CIT teams (they have a new name this year, I've forgotten it) and have great respect for her. So apart from the question of whether or not to prosecute there is that playa resource. All of you remember that and if a situation arises next year point the victim in the appropriate direction. Go to a medical outpost or flag down a ranger--they can have CIT paged so it doesn't go out over the radio too much.

I'm really sorry that someone didn't take care of herself after a sexual assult because she was afraid of ruining someone else's experience. That sounds like the sort of silly thinking I do when I'm under extreame stress and don't want to freak out or make a fuss. I hope she gets proper help soon, if not already.

In a general sence we want these bozos identified and thrown off playa and prosecuted. It's very hard to think on one's feet and do exactly the right thing--I remember similer threads a year ago. Some of the suggestions that I remember is if you have a electronic camera--take pictures. Follow him--if you can deal with the fact that he'll feel threatened. Adn yes tell rangers and LEOs. And stick together as a community. If something feels wrong--ask.

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Post by Capt. Ahab » Thu Sep 16, 2004 4:32 pm

The person who grabed at and kissed the girl - the (man)? should have been reported imed. to a ranger or sheriff - I know that sometimes ass holes will act in a way that we are not sure how to respond - should i kill this fuck or walk away - should i report this a hole or knock there fucking teeth in - I have promised myself i wont raise my fist in anger on the playa - but come on people - next time please report the crimes and hold the fucks who will, i fear, tear our community apart. If i witness a crime (violence or assault or stealing ) then i will get involved on whatever level i have to.

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good to know

Post by regynalonglank » Thu Sep 16, 2004 5:03 pm

I am glad to hear that there are people and procedures in place to handle these types of things...my girl was taken care of in camp, held all night, and protected. she was not beaten, she later got therapy, and is doing very well, in a healthy relationship with a wonderful man and has come out of it as best as one can I think.

In the case of the minor assault described above with the kissing jerk, I think in retrospect it makes sense to report, but I can understand not knowing how to do that in the moment...I witnessed two men fist fighting about an hour after I hit the playa, 3am Monday (Tuesday?) morning because they collided on their bikes, and I had no idea how to respond. I could not tell if it was a joke, or if they knew each other, was it staged or real, was anyone really getting hurt. it seems so much like a movie, and I feel so used to just observing pretend violence that when confronted with the real thing I am imobilized. a man who may have been a ranger finally approached them, figured out that it was for real, and tried to separate them...they both rode off after that. This was at 5 and Esplanade. anyways, it showed me that violence does exist in BRC, and although the love vibe is pretty strong there, there is a dark underbelly.

You did the right thing calling him on his shit. Maybe that was all he needed. A ranger in his face would not hurt either, if you could find one. There is a fine line here, you can get someone in big trouble over practically nothing, or you could not report someone who turns out to be a real menace. Hard to make that call, but with a Black Rock Ranger you have a midground...not so in default world. Once I stopped to help a motorist in a ditch near my house late at night, and when I got out of my vehicle (like a total idiot, i later realized...stay in the damn car and ask if they need help from there, where you can be protected!) he came at me saying something to the effect of I have been waiting all night for you to come fuck me...yikes! at which point I high tailed it back to the van and took off...called the cops when I got home to report the accident, said he was very drunk and acting inappropriately, but stopped short of implying he was a sexual predator, because what if he wasn't? I couldn't be responsible for ruining his life if he just made a stupid drunk comment. but i may have left a rapist on the loose...it's a fine line. you have to do what feels right for you.
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Post by Badger » Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:51 pm

I am glad to hear that there are people and procedures in place to handle these types of things...my girl was taken care of in camp, held all night, and protected. she was not beaten, she later got therapy, and is doing very well, in a healthy relationship with a wonderful man and has come out of it as best as one can I think.
N O T H I N G in Black Rock City should should EVER take precedence over a person who has been sexually violated.

Nothing.

What saddens me is that a victim for whatever reason feels compelled to remain silent about her/his sexual victimization for fear of killing the buzz of the event. I don't understand the rational at all so I'll try to make no judgement. Its just so DAMN alien to me that people are somehow deterred from bringing the issue forward. i mean, is this what's referred to as 'victim's guilt?'

Help me grok this one folks.
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Post by cowboyangel » Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:54 pm

ABSOLUTLEY with you on this Badger!
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rape on the playa

Post by dana » Thu Sep 16, 2004 7:48 pm

First to answer Badger,
It's not guilt, but shame more accurately. Any time you're a victim of violence you also get a dose of shame along with it. Shame causes you to tuck into yourself and avoid the world - the "dark overcoat."

Also a lot of women don't pursue rapists because of all the legal hassle involved and the necessity of continuing to bare your pain in a very public way, not to mention opening yourself up to the defense lawyer's attacks that can often accentuate or prey upon the pain. A lot of people naturally just want to forget about it and wait for it all to go away. Although some might blame them for possibly helping to perpetuate sexual (or other) violence, that seems shortsighted and cruel to me.

Whipping out a camera, taking a picture and making a report sounds very smart, if you're thinking straight.

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Re: rape on the playa

Post by Otisserie » Fri Sep 17, 2004 12:23 am

dana wrote:Also a lot of women don't pursue rapists because of all the legal hassle involved and the necessity of continuing to bare your pain in a very public way, not to mention opening yourself up to the defense lawyer's attacks that can often accentuate or prey upon the pain.
This points to a big mistake that people make in a lot of criminal situations: they play the entire trial out in their heads, with Johnny Cockran as the defense attorney, and figure they've lost before they've even started. The plain fact is that most cases don't even go to trial, and most criminals, even rapists, are idiots: they confess or otherwise incriminate themselves, they have prior convictions, etc. Get the fucker arrested and let the DA decide whether to go to trial. You can always drop charges later if the situation gets too difficult to bear. At the very least the cops will then have fingerprints, mug shots, and DNA on file in case the guy strikes again.

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Post by angrykittie25 » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:32 am

Here is my .02 on this thread.

It saddens me that someone would hold some event over their own saftey and well being. The rape should have been reported at a minimum, and then decide whether or not to press charges later. Saying nothing about an assault so that someone would enjoy the rest of the event, may not be completely true. What I am saying is that although she may have said that was her reasoning, I tend to believe that her keeping quiet for your sake was more of a coping mechanism for her being ashamed or embarassed, even now she may still think that she kept quiet for you, but I tend to think otherwise. I am glad that she has moved on and is well.

As for the guy in the "Kiss" incident. I would have reported him immediately. It may have been nothing, or it may have been a thwarted attempt at more if it were not in a public setting. Someone who has this blatant disreguard for a person's body and personal space should have the attention of some official so that they know that if he were to do something similar or worse, he could not say it was the first time and that he wouldn't do it again.

Someone said that you could get someone in big trouble over practically nothing. I disagree. Someone may be questioned and maybe even inconvenienced, but the chances of someone getting in big trouble over nothing is slim. They can only find evidence if it exists. It is not your job to figure out where someone stands in reguards to where the line between nothing and something is. All you need to do is report a problem, and let the people who's job it is to enforce the law, do it.

Also, in reguards to how women feel after an assault or rape. I am sure that some women feel shame, but there are also many other feelings. I think that many times women don't report assault because they feel guilt. Many times women blame themselves for being raped because if they had not put themselves in the position to be raped, it never would have happened. Something along the lines of (just an example) "I was raped while at burning man, and since I chose to go there, and be in a dark area of the playa, it was my fault I was raped." There is also the feeling of being tanted. Like you are now not good anymore, like some residual mark left on you and people will be able to tell you're soiled.

Badger, to answer your question, there are so many reasons why women don't report rapes and assaults. Shame, guilt, feeling like once you have spoken out that you will be marked with a scarlet letter, becomming a statistic, feeling like the pity people will feel for you will be what truely victimizes you. Let me explain on the last one further. If you spoke out about a rape, many people would come to you and tell you how it wasn't your fault, and that there was nothing you could do to stop it. How some one else had more strength than you and you were just helpless. After hearing this enough times, you would start feeling like a helpless little girl. I could go on forever on this topic. If you want to talk further, contact me off this board.

Rape is a horrible thing, and should be reported, but after such a violation of someone's most valuable possession, you are no longer in your right mind and that makes it very hard to respond in a cognant manner. I think everyone should not expect burning man to be unlike any other city, crime will happen everywhere.

I hope this makes sense, I am very tired and the words are not forming easily. If not, I will try to clarify tomarrow.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 17, 2004 8:56 am

Badger I don't know if I can help you, but I will relate a personal experience. And tack on some thoughts.
When I was 12/13 I was almost raped by 4 older, black boys a couple of blocks from my school during the lunch hour. What saved me was that I wasn't alone, like they thought, but that I was with friends. Friends surprised them they left, I reported it. Found one of there pictures in a previous year book, but never followed up. Why? My mother left town that day or the next day to go to Buffalo for some sort of follow-up for the death of her father. (I don't think it was the funeral itself, more like helping her mother clean up the house.) I just didn't want to go through it with only my father and older sisters for help. Beyond that, in ways we were a passive family and it's taken me years to learn to speak up clearly at the risk of making an idiot of myself. It was also difficult for me in the Berkeley Public Schools of the 1970s to say anything that might implicate a black person for fear of being branded racist. To illustrate that point, when I was 9 and was taken to theschool's girls' bathroom by a bunch of black girls and had my pants pulled down I didn't report it, although I did when the same gang tried it two years later. And don't forget that in 1978 it was still legal to rape your wife. We've come a long way in less than 3 decades.
As I said on another thread, look at what happened to Kobe Bryant's accuser. Her sexual history is making the internet rounds and now that charges have been dropped will probably be broadcast-if not already. (I'm not following this closely, understand.) That's going to be the most prominent example in many women's minds right now. But there was the Kennedy Smith thing and myriad others. By the very nature of the thing we don't know of any cases where "I pressed charges and the creeps in jail for life and nobody knows anything about it." It's still very easy to sexualy shame women. I don't think I have a particularly outrageous sexual past, but it's varied enough that I'd rather not have too many details known in my nieghborhood or office.
I don't know that any of these are good reasons, but they are real reasons. After being raped a woman may feel very vulnerable and wish to be safe; this may not be the best place to become an effective vengeful goddess.
This is a mush, but I'm leaving it. I think it may be an illustrative mush of just what might go through a mind.
And Badger--thank you for being a pure enough mind that you can see to the truth of the matter and not get hung up on all that stuff. I think it's a sign of progress.

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from the horse's mouth

Post by regynalonglank » Fri Sep 17, 2004 10:14 am

my friend went on ePlaya last night and saw this thread. she asked me to post this for her, so she could respond herself. the following is a direct quote:

Well, since I'm the one being discussed here, I'll answer your questions.
Now before you all go raking me over the coals some more for not doing my civic duty, let me tell you something. If this had never happened to me, I would probably be saying the same things you are. But when it happens to you, all of your self worth and self esteem are destroyed. In order to stand up and fight back, you have to think you are worth defending. When you get raped, all you feel is that you are a worthless piece of shit. Your world crashes down. And the thing is, you don't even know this is happening. You just feel confused and shamed and dirty and like no-one will ever love you again because you aren't worth it. You go on to do things like gain 50 pounds so that noone will be attacted to you. Not conciously, mind you, but it doesn't take a doctorate in psychology to figure that on out. And then, after 3 or 4 months of feeling worthless, I finally wanted to kill my self so badly that I asked my best friends to take me to the hospital so I couldn't do it.
At first, I did not report the rape because I was extremely confused and shamed. I blamed myself. I was on mushrooms and hash at the time and I thought "If I hadn't been so fucked up, this would have never happened." "It's all my fault." "Why couldn't I fight harder?" Why couldn't I get him off me?" And besides that, it's not as if I haven't been around the block a few times. I'm no saint. I called myself every name in the book--stupid, irresponsible, slut ... you name it.
I didn't tell my therapist that it happened at Burningman. I didn't tell my doctor it happened at Burningman. Not because I didn't want to kill anyone's buzz, but because I didn't want to fullfill every straight person's idea of what" those druggies are doing out there". And maybe that's wrong, and maybe if I were a more evolved and enlightened person I would have done it differently. But believe me folks, you don't know how or what you would do until it actually happens to you. So don't pontificate on why I'm some kind of idiot for not reporting it. You don't know what it's like until you've had every bit of self worth stripped from you. You can't know.
So I read the transcripts from a talk that some high up Bmorg dude gave at the commonealth club. And he said that there has never been a rape at B'man. And I'm thinking, that's not true. And they have to know it because there was a thread on here a couple of years ago where women were talking about sexual assaults on the playa. I just think it's unbelievably insensitive for the higher ups to go around saying that there has been no rape at Burning man. I wanted to write a letter. I've been trying to do that. But it's still so difficult. Still difficult. And don't think I don't fell guilty about not reporting it. Did he go on to assault other women too? That though has haunted me to this day. Could I have prevented someone else from being hurt? I didn't even know the guys real name folks. Report a playa name to the officials, when I myself was tripping at the time? I didn't "feel secure enough to do it. I just didn't. I couldn't even "grok" what had happened to me. Judge me all you want. I have judged myself harsher.
So I hope this helps clear up why I did or didn't do what you all think I should have done.
It's been a long 2 years of recovery and I'm finally able to talk about it and share it. I didn't tell my friend, not because I didn't want to kill her buzz or ruin her time, but because I was trying in the best way I knew how, to recover Burning Man for myself. I wanted it back.
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 17, 2004 10:27 am

I don't know if it makes a darn bit of difference, but you can tell your friend from me that I hope that I didn't write anything that hurt her, that while I think it's better for the community that the rapists are prosecuted, I do realize that could me exponentially more suffering for her and it's not my business to demand that she do that to herself for our good, and that I'm sorry that she went through both this original rape and this post mortum by people who have only a fraction of the facts. I do think it's good for us to discuss this, mind, and I think that anyone with a close relationship to the LLC who makes a statement like that--EVEN without the 2 reported sexual assults last year--is talking through his hat, because all rape stats are suspect (IMHO). I wish her all the best and I'm sorry that she has to feel defensive about any of her choices. Even though I agree that drug use creates a vulnerability--anyone who takes advantage of that vulnerabilty is a creep. And any of us who think we could do it better probably just haven't been through that particular test.

I want to make the community stronger and sexual assult resistant. I wish I could believe that we could make it sexaul assult safe, but there will always be a vulnerability.

Maybe if it's best for you friend, we could have the thread locked or deleated. We could take this discussion somewhere else with more abstractions. I usually think that discussions do better when they are grounded but so much of what has been said has been with 2nd and 3rd hand stuff.

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Post by zeigen » Fri Sep 17, 2004 10:49 am

regynalonglank, your friend is very brave and I hope her recovery continues well. If there's anything that we can do for her, either on the e-playa or the real playa, let us know.

I teach self-defense classes for women. Many of the women who take this class are survivors. Your friend might find that a class like this is helpful for her -- if she's interested, have her talk to the folks at an Impact-style class. These are non-profit organizations, and most areas in the country have a chapter.

You can find lists of Impact programs at a few different places, such as
http://www.impactpersonalsafety.com/
or
http://www.impactbayarea.org/

Peace,
z.

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Post by YerNotDaBossOMe » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:02 am

Thanks for your thoughtful post. It was very brave. I weep for what you lost and cheer for how you have come through it.
There...I said it and I'm glad!

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dana
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rapes at BM

Post by dana » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:13 am

To regynalanglank's friend,
No one's blaming you at all. Know that there is a wave of love and support around you. Shame is a layer that holds it away. Peel it off bit by bit, and come back. Forgive that part of you that you might still want to blame. [My heart's with you.] Dealing with the shame is the deep painful work that seems to go into the level of spirit, actually recieving help to lift it off from your higher self or whatever you can concieve as a higher power. [I'm quite serious about that last bit.]
One of the most difficult part of my work as an emergency physician is doing rape exams. Legally necessary, but always seems like a further violation. This rips at all of our hearts, not just the victims.

To otisserie -
Don't underestimate the ponderous insane drudgery that's involved in a legal case. I'm currently suing my local police over an assault. $11,000.00 , endless hours talking to annoying lawyers, four years and still counting. It requires strength and endurance a lot of people don't have. I should also mention that some of my "friends" wanted to try to blame me for the incident. I also felt suicidal for awhile. I had to pull off all the feelings that were keeping me feeling helpless, distill it down to anger and then direct that. Maybe some day we won't have rapists and out of control cops. It all seems to come down to facing our rage and building a little more love. - a prayer for healing-
sometimes there's just too much pain, so much need......

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i am an insensitive ass

Post by regynalonglank » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:15 am

well, I think it did make her cry to read that people were basically blaming her. but you can see from her post that she is a strong girl, and she is a survivor, she kicks ass ok! and even tho i totally handled this whole thing badly, she still loves me. lucky me, cause i should have cleared it with her before going public in her honor, even anonomously. i am an insensitive ass, and i didn't think about how she might feel if she read it before i told her about it, which is just what hapened.

I imagined that this thread might invite other women with similar experiences to post their stories. Now that I see how people respond, I understand why they don't. I'm not saying that to make anyone feel bad, it's just human nature. you can't know how it feels unless it happens to you.

She just emailed me a reply...she can't get on the board with her own login right now, it says it's disabled or something. anyways, here is her note verbatim:

Dear theCryptofishist,
Thank you for your thoughful and heartfelt reply. You are wonderful.
Don't close this thread. It is a learning experience for everyone involved. Now you can see just the kind of "branding" we feel is in store for us whether we speak out or not. So much fear is involved, it's hard to make clear decisions.
And now that it's out, let's evolve it into action. Maybe something good, some ideas or solutions, can come out of it. At least it has helped me to finally get it out in the open, even anonimously.
And I wanted to add that I'm a 8 year burner, this happened on my 6th burn. My 7th was also difficult, bringing back memories and all. But I have a wonderful playa family, who are all very important to me year round, and they have helped me to recover some of the joy that that creep stole from me. The 8th was a wonderful trip home.
Now I just need to go to Bmorg with my issue so they are aware of it. Thank you and my dear friend here for helping me one one more crucial step in recovery.
All I ask--Just don't let this discussion be forgotten. Maybe in this small way I can help ladies of BRC in the future.
~little wing
\v/

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Post by pixiecup » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:31 am

wow, this thread is a powerful one. I've never been a victim, but I feel as if I was given a world of insight through just a few small posts. I'm so, so sorry your friend went through that pain, and I can completely understand why she wouldn't tell anyone about it. It's totally understandable for a lot of different reasons.

Now I'm going to tell my small story from this year, my first burn.

I had one guy approach me and be very clear about what he wanted. I told him I wasn't interested, and he kept pursuing and asking and bothering me and following me. Several times, I asked him to stop following me, and I made it really clear. He eventually left me alone, but I remember the feelings I had...I was anxious, I felt guilty somehow for being nearly-topless, I felt responsible, like I should've been louder or harsher or even more clear, and I was scared. I was embarrassed to talk about it later, because somehow it seemed to say something about ME, even though I had been simply walking across the playa at sunrise to go back to my camp. The fact that it happened somehow implicated me. I am a sexual person, and this guy mentioned that he could tell that I was...that really bothered me and made me feel that somehow I was asking for uncomfortable situations like this. I know it's ridiculous, and I realize it is counter-intuitive, but it's how the situation made me feel Your friend's posts reminded me of those feelings, and I can't imagine how much stronger and heavier they would be if he hadn't taken no for an answer.

I hope she heals. She is brave and generous for leaving this thread open to help others. I think it will.

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Post by stuart » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:44 am

the sexual predation that goes on at BM, and don't even think about blaming the yahoos, absolutely disgusts me.
call me baby

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regynalonglank
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Post by regynalonglank » Fri Sep 17, 2004 1:20 pm

it is supposed to be an environment when you can express yourself. unfortunately some people's expression of self runs over other peoples...

does it take a brave woman to be up front about who she is - a beautiful sexual person? i hope not. i hope that every woman is free to be as sexual, or not sexual, as she wants to. especially in BRC, which is our make it what you want it to be town, right?

my favorite thing about being there was being able to be, and see others being, out there with my body, my choice in sexual orientation, my sensual self - in public, in the daytime, in total acceptance...or so i hoped.

please help me be able to have that...please, if you are a man who enjoys seeing women be free, be themselves, then please curb your impluse to get in my face, demand my attention, stop my flow. please be respectful, and approach me like you would your mother, your grandmother, your sister, even when i'm stark naked and all alone.

please. this is important! I would do the same for you if you were me.
\v/

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 17, 2004 1:32 pm

regynalonglank wrote:
please help me be able to have that...please, if you are a man who enjoys seeing women be free, be themselves, then please curb your impluse to get in my face, demand my attention, stop my flow. please be respectful, and approach me like you would your mother, your grandmother, your sister, even when i'm stark naked and all alone.

please. this is important! I would do the same for you if you were me.
It hasn't been explicitly said, but for the record, I (as a woman) believe that any of the core group of male posters would not only grant you that but be instantly right in the face of anyone who tried to pull any funny business in their presence. Now I name names. Badger, Stuart, Ring of Fire, Silver, Unjonharley, Simply Joel, Samtzu, Sensai, Rob the Wop, dana, Last Real Burner, Dr. Pyro, Captain Goddammit and 20 others whose names I'm forgetting. They would all, without hesitation help you, each in his own style. But if they were around you can be sure that the hapless idiot would learn a whole lot more than he bargained for. And you can throw the Mr.Fishist in there too, even though he's not yet an e-playan. I think all of us take the assult on your friend badly not only because of the human horror, but because of the human horror in a community we value and wish better things for.

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Post by YerNotDaBossOMe » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:23 pm

I agree with theCryptofishist, and would even take it further. I think the majority of men who attend BM would welcome the chance to defend a woman's right to walk the playa any time in any mode of dress without being hassled. I'm just at a loss of how to effectively address the issue.

We guys have to deal with testosterone laden knuckle draggers too, and know what assholes they can be. He's the bully we faced in grade school, the guy at the bar picking a fight, and the guy who keyed that new car. Reading this thread makes me angry, but it also makes me feel a bit powerless because I cannot do much about it. I can't find the rapist in question without a lot of information I probably won't be able to get. And I can't prevent rape without inhibiting the woman's freedom. If I were to escort a naked woman everywhere she went, then she wouldn't really be free. My protective net would become a cage.

About the only idea I can come up with is a campaign of awareness. If everyone were alerted and encouraged to watch out for each other, it might help. But that would mean a public acknowledgement that the problem exists, which the organizers don't seem to want.
There...I said it and I'm glad!

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Post by unjonharley » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:34 pm

I said this last year and I say it again. If any of you ladys are in fear of your surrounding or persons. Just go completly nuts at the person. Make as much noise as your can. There has to be some one of my nature around. With 220lb behind a size 11 boot can make for a lot of mind changing.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Post by regynalonglank » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:35 pm

i agree too. to a man the fellows i came across at burning man were gentle, encouraging and respectful. i was lucky, or something, because i didn't have a single encounter that i could call lame. i think it is safe to say that most of the guys who attend that event are fairly evolved.

when the rapist returned to our camp the next year, perhaps to apologize, he was not greeted with much welcome. my friend became hysterical, our male camp mates wanted to pound him into a pulp - pretty much what you would expect. he was chased out of our camp, and perhaps he was even caught by one of our guys, he wouldn't say. all he said is that this person would not be back to bother us again.

i don't know what the answer is either. maybe someone from BMorg will read this, and know how to go forward in an effective manner. perhaps something as simple as a public announcement that agressive sexual behavior will not be accepted in Black Rock City, and that there are repercussions for such behaviour, would deter potential fools.

i go to a clothing optional hot springs where you can wear a necklace that is a symbol for "i am here alone, i want to be alone, please don't approach me" and that seems to work there. it allows people who want to hook up to do that, while leaving those on a spiritual quest room for what they need too. maybe we could find something like that for burning man...it would have to be voluntary, but i think people would cooperate in the spirit of freedom for everyone in attendance.
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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:44 pm

YerNotDaBossOMe wrote:About the only idea I can come up with is a campaign of awareness. If everyone were alerted and encouraged to watch out for each other, it might help. But that would mean a public acknowledgement that the problem exists, which the organizers don't seem to want.
This could be where I pull a Stuart and say "cites", but I won't. As noted, the offical website admits to 2 sexual assults last year. I wouldn't call that a non-acknowledgement. And it's not my place to speak for the Emergency Services Department, but I'd have to say that based on my knowledge of both the ESD head and the "CIT" head that they would love for this never to happen again. At a guess (and again, I'm not privey to any information) I'd say that they have reporting requirements for probable cases that occur and end up having medical attention. And my guess is that the Rangers have procedures as well. And I don't usually like the attitude of "Trust us we are authourity figures we will take care of it" it's fine with me that these procedures are not broadcast. Known procedures are more easily subverted. The question then becomes how do we, the community, the e-playans make the playa safer. How do we partner with the Rangers and ESD and help us even LEOs to reduce risk and have better outcomes? Does the "Yahoo Education Project" have a place? More self-defence classes with "Rapist Buster" patches sewn on afterwards? Some of it should be made public, and I really wish whoever it was who made that idiot statement about no rapes at BRC would be contacted and shut up, but has it occured to you that maybe the LLC is in the same position as we are--hurt, outraged, and not quite sure what to do?

Sorry if I came down a little hard. Not my intent.

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Post by sator » Fri Sep 17, 2004 3:08 pm

I said this last year and I say it again. If any of you ladys are in fear of your surrounding or persons. Just go completly nuts at the person. Make as much noise as your can. There has to be some one of my nature around. With 220lb behind a size 11 boot can make for a lot of mind changing.
And you don't need to have a big guy around. I spend a lot of time in India. Believe me, there's a lot of what they call "Eve baiting" that goes on, from cat-calls, to following girls around, to undesired hands-on advances.

You know what: it is accepted and expected that a girl will make noise and punch the assholes who touch her. And if he were to hit her back? He'd probably be killed by the surrounding group. Really!

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 17, 2004 3:13 pm

I agree sator. Just kick up a fuss and your bound to find back up. (And while I extolled the virtues of e-playan men a little while back, I in no way meant to imply that our women are pushovers.)

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