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sexual assault

Oh Nicki/Barbie/Chun-Li/Onika or whatever it is that you prefer to be called.

While I respect a woman who infiltrated and somehow dominated the male rap game, I  have some MAJOR issues to discuss. Yes, we all danced to Starships back in the day, but it's time to get real.

Our roast beef with the rap queen includes having a convicted murderer and sex offender as her new beau, collaborating with a gang member who used a naked 13-year-old girl in his music video, and the Asian stereotyping. 

While Minaj has been praised and lauded for her ability to remain powerful and confident in an industry which, in general, uses completely misogynic and homophobic lyrics to perpetuate toxic masculinity, there are other cards at play here.

Specifically her consistent collaborations and relationships with violent men.

The internet has descended into chaos on Monday over the Instagram posts which Minaj uploaded of her new boyfriend, Kenneth Petty.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The controversy over her new Instagram-official relationship was predominantly due to his criminal record; TMZ are claiming that Petty is a registered sex offender with at least two convictions under his belt.

Prosecutors claimed that he attempted to force a girl into engaging in intercourse with him using a sharp object in 1995, when he was 15 and the victim was 16.

This led to a first-degree attempted rape conviction and his name stuck on the sex offender list for life, seeing as he is 'moderately' likely to be a repeat-offender. Yeah… that's pretty damn scary.

Minaj's new man served almost four years in a NYC state prison for the attempted rape, and served another seven years for a first-degree manslaughter conviction after he shot a man several times.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Oh they wanna talk? Let’s give’m smthn to talk about.  *Shania voice*

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On her account, Nicki was forced to disable the comments section after her fans understandably went into absolute meltdown.

Instead of addressing the whole problematic debacle, she captioned the post; "Oh they wanna talk? Let's give them something to talk about." Um, okay, why don't we talk about safety? Like, not dating a criminal?

Sexual violence and domestic assault is still rife in society, with Times Up and the #MeToo movement only showing the tip of Hollywood's iceberg.

The music industry has it's own qualms to tackle regarding violence against women; R Kelly remains the most notorious example of alleged predators who are still being given a platform.

When Chris Brown viciously attacked Rihanna in 2009, his career continued to thrive, despite the outrage and shock which ensued when graphic images of Rihanna went live all over the world.

The reaction to XXXTenacion's death, instead of focusing on the fact that he admitted to stabbing nine people, and was on trial the week of his murder for assaulting his PREGNANT ex-girlfriend, the response was to mourn him as a hero.

The ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala's harrowing testimony was obtained by Pitchfork, and detailed a pattern of intense psychological, emotional, sexual and physical abuse and assault by XXXTenacion.

Nicki could have criticised such a problematic man in her own industry, or even have kept quiet, but she expressed her sorrow at his passing instead;

“XXXTentacion may not have been the biggest artist, but his murder hurt us like we knew him, or like we were the biggest fan.” 

Of course, none of this is Nicki Minaj's fault. That goes without saying, yet her continued support for infamously harmful men such as Tekashi69, Kenneth Petty and XXXTenacion needs focus.

The Young Money artist was in a relationship previously with hip-hop mogul Nas, who had an extremely toxic relationship with R&B legend Kelis. The Milkshake singer recently claimed that Nas abused her during their marriage, and that Rihanna played a part in their divorce.

While these claims haven't been proven, it does appear to be a pattern that Minaj enters relationships with controversial male figures, who seem to embody toxic masculinity.

Her latest collaboration with Tekashi69 is another bone of contention, her defence of a man who is since imprisoned on racketeering charges, possession of firearms and armed robbery. 

Tekashi69 legitimately pleaded guilty to being involved in a 2015 sex act with a 13-year-old girl, which he filmed and posted online, so there's no denying his criminal scumbag status.

Yet Nicki Minaj collaborates with him on their hit single FeFe and on another track for his new album, Dummy Boy. The lack of concern is rather alarming, TBH. 

"Danny, I love you and am praying for you, your Mother, daughter & her Mom during this time," Minaj said in an Instagram caption dedicated to the rap artist following his arrest.

Many of her fans are presumably young and highly impressionable, who see the rapper as an influence whose actions are worth paying attention to, hence the concern over willingness to align herself with harmful men.

Issues with race and homophobia have also followed Minaj throughout her career, most recently in regards to her latest album Queen.

The rap goddess was accused of homophobia following the release of song lyrics on her new musical offering, with lines consistently using slurs such as 'sissies' and 'f*ggots'.

LGBTQ+ advocates criticised Minaj's choice of words on Twitter;

“I am a gay man who grew up being taunted by words like ‘fag,’ ‘homo,’ ‘sissy,’ and ‘fairy,’” wrote Mark Zustovich.

“These are more than just words that offend and deeply hurt people who identify or who are struggling to identify as LGBTQ — they are designed to make boys and men feel ‘less than’ or feminine, as if having feminine characteristics is something shameful. On the contrary, we as men should be embracing that more.”

Let's not forget the Chun Li Challenge, which clearly perpetuated Asian stereotypes in pop culture.

The #ChunLiChallenge went viral, and featured rapper Asian Doll (who isn't Asian…) sporting chopsticks in her hair — an act which is considered extremely disrespectful in Japan.

The rapper has referenced geisha and samurai in previous tracks, and Nicki (real name Onika) has also cosplayed as a “Harajuku Barbie” persona.

The use of harmful rhetoric in rap is well-documented, including within the albums of Drake, Chingy and Childish Gambino.

Asian writer David Yi commented that;

"The way people are interpreting the #ChunLiChallenge with signifiers like double buns and chopsticks as hair accessories is yet another instance of people co-opting another culture with impunity."

*Sighs* It doesn't take much to do some research into other cultures for the purpose of understanding and respecting them, especially when you have millions of fans from that part of the world, Nicki.

All in all, I question Nicki Minaj's disturbing willingness to align herself, collaborate and have romantic relationships with violent men, as well as her ignorance of other cultures and sexualities.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She's 35, she's a grown woman and can date whoever she wants, but she must remember the power which she has over her fans.

Her influence is unquestionable- he’s appeared on nearly 100 singles that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, each of her albums have amassed five million sales and she has become a household name, despite working in a world that degrades women constantly. 

Not to mention society's obsession with only supporting one female rapper at a time, either Nicki or Cardi B, despite hundreds of male rappers saturating the music industry.

Yet the question has to be asked, is Nicki Minaj contributing to the normalisation of male predators and cultural appropriation?

At the moment, she's the farthest thing from an inspiration to me. 

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Cuba Gooding Jr has turned himself in to New York police after the Oscar-winning actor was accused of groping a woman in a Manhattan bar last weekend.

According to AFP, a police spokesman confirmed that the 51-year-old actor surrendered on Thursday, but refused to comment on the details of the complaint. 

Gooding vehemently denies the charges of grabbing a woman's breast on a night out on Sunday, according to US media reports.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Hollywood star, who won an Academy Award in 1997 for playing a football player in Jerry Maguire. He was asked about the incident by TMZ on Tuesday at an LA airport, and he claimed "nothing" happened.

"I trust the system. There's a tape that shows what really happened," he said. Apparent footage has appeared online of Gooding Jr and his alleged accuser.

His lawyer told reporters he had "not acted inappropriately in any shape or form" and that a video existed that would see him "totally exonerated".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"He did absolutely nothing wrong," said Mark J Heller. "I frankly am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted."

A second woman has apparently come forward with claims that the actor also groped her in an NYC club back in 2008.

The actor exploded onto the scene in 1991 after appearing in Boyz n the Hood. He recently portrayed OJ Simpson in The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.

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Diageo, the legendary company behind Guinness, has officially cancelled its sponsorship of London Irish Rugby Club over their choice to sign former Ulster and Ireland out-half Paddy Jackson.

We all remember the rugby star after the infamous and harrowing Belfast rape trial of last year, where he was acquitted. Three other men who had been charged in relation to the incident were also acquitted.

Stuart Olding and Jackson both had their contacts cancelled in the wake of the trial, after their Whatsapp messages showed vile, misogynistic language about women involved in allegedly consensual sex acts with them.

Seeing as London Irish markets themselves as a family club, we're not surprised fans were angry when a man who discusses 'spit roasts' and says phrases like, "Any sluts get f*cked?" was signed on to play for them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In a statement to The Irish Times, Diageo said: “We have met with the club to express our concerns. Their recent decision is not consistent with our values and so we have ended our sponsorship.”

Diageo had recently said that it had "serious concerns" regarding Jackson's signing, but failed to reference the sponsorship deal, which has been in place for 27 years.

Another London Irish sponsor, Cash Converters, terminated its relationship with the club. On Twitter, the company said; “As a company, we are committed to the highest possible standards when it comes to our investments in any sponsorships and collaborations.

"As a result of a detailed and thorough review of our support for London Irish, we have decided to discontinue our association with the club.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Last night, London Irish said its management is “understandably disappointed that Diageo has chosen not to renew its sponsorship agreement with the club, and particularly the manner in which the company has chosen to do so”.

“The club has always respected the right for everyone to have an opinion, and their right to express that opinion,” the statement said.

“London Irish has been open and honest with all of its sponsors, including offering to meet Diageo’s senior management in Dublin in May, 2019. This offer was not taken up.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The management also said the club would move on “without the support of Diageo, who have chosen to stand down after a nearly 30-year association with the club”.

“It is regretful that this relationship has ended in the manner that it has,” the statement said. Declan Kidney, head coach at London Irish and former Ireland coach, signed Paddy Jackson and defended the decision last year;

“We are fully aware that there was a court case that Paddy was involved in but that has  been  dealt  with. What  has gone on in the past had gone on in the past and we are just trying to move on to the future."

Feature image: Instagram/@glenmoremanor

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This post contains spoilers regarding episode four of Game of Thrones, season eight.

The latest episode of the beloved HBO show has angered fans and celebrities alike, due to the racial insensitivity and disrespectful use of sexual violence as a storyline.

Sansa Stark experienced a hugely controversial plot point in season five; the horrific rape at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. In episode four, the Hound has a conversation with the new Lady of Winterfell and uses some gross language.

"I heard you were broken in. Broken in rough," he says, while sitting in HER HOUSE. Sansa replies by saying, "Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a little bird all my life", she says.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sansa explains to the Hound, who harassed her as Joffrey's former minion, that she is no longer afraid of him as she’s seen "much worse" since.

The Hound tells Sansa that none of the bad things, i.e. Ramsay Bolton and Littlefinger, would have happened to her if she had left King's Landing with him.

The problematic language grates on many fans, as the word 'rape' is never uttered and the Hound essentially blames Sansa here for her own assault. She was a child when she met the Hound, why would she leave anywhere with him?

Jessica Chastain, who co-stars with Turner in the upcoming Dark Phoenix film, has joined the chorus of critics. Chastain is a staunch supporter of the Times Up movement for equal pay and representation in Hollywood, and #MeToo is close to her heart.

The actor tweeted her displeasure at the show’s choice to use assault as a narrative device;

“Rape is not a tool to make a character stronger,” she wrote. “A woman doesn’t need to be victimized in order to become a butterfly. The little bird was always a Phoenix. Her prevailing strength is solely because of her. And her alone.” YAS QUEEN.

game of thrones the t GIF

Thank the Lord, Sansa escaped Ramsay alongside Reek/Theon Greyjoy and later gave him the gruesome death he deserved. I'm sure we all remember the hounds scene? Revenge is served COLD by the Starks.

After the backlash surrounding the rape scene in season five in 2016, writer-producer Bryan Cogman explained that the decision for Sansa to be raped on her wedding night by Ramsay Bolton was the only realistic narrative option. Rude?

He continued, "Yes, it would have been hugely satisfying for Sansa to have a shiv up her sleeve and gut Ramsay, but that’s not Sansa. We can’t all be Arya, most people in that situation, they have to play a longer game."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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That entire interview seems like a massive cop-out to us. The show clearly still has zero grasp of how to discuss sexual assault, as the Hound so callously proved.

Sonia Saraiya​​​​​​, an experienced Vanity Fair critic has elaborated on why the scene didn’t work for her. She explains that Sansa’s reaction to the Hound’s comment rang false for the character.

“She just sits there and takes it,” she writes. “It feels like a repudiation of both of their character arcs- and, as I have said again and again this season, a missed opportunity for growth and connection.”

Game Of Thrones Got Spoilers GIF

Sansa has yet to have her hero moment and regain revenge, but we're guessing it may be her who gets to put the final nail in Cersei's coffin? Just a theory. 

The show also received criticism for its treatment of people-of-colour, specifically regarding Missandei's death. Ava DuVernay, the iconic black female filmmaker, called the show out on Twitter for it's brutal killing of their sole woman-of-colour.

The lack of diversity is pretty noticeable, and the series rarely involves female directors.

Just five percent of the 73 total episodes were directed by women, and it comes across in the show's writing habits.

Namely on sexuality and assault as plot tools; it's rare that the female characters escape rape. DB Weiss and David Benioff, Y'all need to step up thy game in future, or you'll lose female viewers.

Don't shut out female writers, we have a lot to offer and deserve a seat at the table.

Feature image: Instagram/@sophietfan.belfast

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Gardaí are currently investigating an incident at the 3Arena during a Shawn Mendes concert involving a teenage girl.

Allegedly, the young woman was 'sexually assaulted' in the bathroom at the Canadian pop singer's sold-out gig in Dublin.

The teenager took to social media to write about her experience, and confirmed that she had explained the situation to the Gardaí.

She wrote: "On Saturday 13th of April I attended a Shawn Mendes concert in a well known Dublin venue near the docks."

"During a visit to the toilets I was sexually assaulted by an unknown person. The venue is aware of this and so are the guards." she continued.

"This is a warning to anybody attending any event from now on not to go to the toilet on your own," she said, shedding light on the lack of safety even at public events.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"If this message and my experience can save one person from going through what I went through then my experience will not be totally negative."

A garda spokesman said: "Gardaí are investigating an alleged sexual assault of a female, that occurred at a venue on North Wall Quay, Dublin 1 on the April 13, 2019. Investigations are ongoing."

A spokesperson for the 3Arena has been contacted about the troubling allegation.

Feature image: Flickr/entertainment Dot IE

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Infamous R&B star R Kelly has left the Chicago jail where he was being held after posting his $100,000 bail, according to a Cook County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.

The singer has been plagued by allegations of sexual assault, rape, child abuse, child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual abuse for decades.

Yesterday, the 52-year-old pleaded not guilty to 10 charges against four women, three of whom were minors at the time of alleged assault. He did not speak to media as he was escorted from jail by his lawyer.

The Ignition singer turned himself in to police on Friday and spent the weekend in a jail cell after denying all allegations against him over the last 30 years.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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He has faced claims of sexual abuse for a long time, even appearing on trial in 2008 for child pornography charges but was acquitted. 

Cook County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari confirmed on Monday night that R Kelly had raised the $100,000 bail, which was 10 percent of the $1 million bond set by a judge.

It is suspected that he struggled to raise the $100,000 necessary, and that a female "friend" had to assist him.

His court appearance and plea has arrived only weeks after Surviving R Kelly aired on Lifetime; an explosive documentary series about the allegations of continuous assault from dozens of women, including his former wife.

He is currently being tried for sexual assaults which apparently happened from 1998 onwards. He met one of the four women on her 16th birthday at a restaurant, and another 16-year-old when she asked for his autograph.

Robert Sylvester Kelly was ordered by the court to hand in his passport, and to have zero contact with anyone under the age of 18. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 22.

The well known high-profile women's rights attorney Gloria Allred claimed in a news conference yesterday that she is now representing over six women who allege that the singer abused them.

Feature image: Instagram/@swit9jablog

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A video-tape allegedly showing notorious R&B singer R. Kelly engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl has been discovered.

Attorney Michael Avenatti has released a statement declaring that the footage shows Kelly "engaging in multiple sexual assaults of an underage girl." According to Avenatti, the tape is "clear" and is 45 minutes long.

He said in his statement; "Our work has been painstaking, detailed, expensive, and time consuming. Mr Kelly is a predator and a criminal who has preyed on young, vulnerable girls for far too long. ‘The time has come for him to finally be held accountable for his actions."

American news publication CNN say they have viewed the tape, and claim the girl appears makes references to her "14-year-old p***y".

The man in the video reportedly asks her to urinate, and then afterwards he urinates on her.

Avenatti also claims that the new tape is NOT "in connection with the prior criminal matter in which Mr Kelly was charged nor does it depict the same instances of sexual assault".

The prosecutor’s office would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was underway, a spokesman said.

Steve Greenberg , R. Kelly’s lawyer, wrote a statement saying: "This morning I woke up to reports that a video had surfaced showing R Kelly allegedly with an underage girl. The reports were prompted from a tweet by Michael Avenatti, who himself was the subject of unfavourable news articles just yesterday."

The statement continued; "Timing is everything. ‘The calls and emails I received were the first I’ve heard of these allegations. I understand that CNN says that they have seen this video."

"If the video were what it is claimed to be, by sharing it with CNN Mr. Avenatti would be committing a felony, as would the reporter who viewed it. I doubt if either would put themselves in that position. That combined with the other facts that I know lead me to question the reports."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Greenberg said; "I have not been contacted by anyone connected with law enforcement, nor has R Kelly. Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever. He would like to be able to continue to write and sing and produce and perform."

He also mentioned the infamous Surviving R Kelly documentary on Lifetime, which shocked the world with dozens of sexual abuse allegations spanning 30 years.

"Unfortunately, as a result of a documentary that regurgitated long ago rejected claims, he has been adjudged guilty in the public eye. In this age of hashtags we are too quick to rush to judgement simply because something is associated with a hashtag."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It continued; "A hashtag does not make claims credible. All of the claims by these women were brought forth years ago, rejected by the police, and/or rejected by the courts, but now for their own gain they have rehashed them."

"Each of the women in that documentary are out for money, whether they have suddenly filed a lawsuit, they have all of a sudden released their own song, or they have written a book," he wrote, saying the woman who have accused Kelly are simply in it to capitalise.

"In this country people are entitled to presumption of innocence. Absent conclusive evidence, proof beyond reasonable doubt, I would ask that people follow the principles that make this country great. We will have no further comment," said the lawyer.

"Thanks to all his fans and their support. He will continue to work on his album," it concluded.

The singer only just announced a 2019 tour of New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka, after the documentary was released. He has been accused of having sex with girls as young as 14, and holding women hostage in a sex cult.

Kelly has continuously denied the allegations against him. Time will tell what this new evidence will bring to the shocking story.

Feature image: variety.com

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The constant sharing of intimate images of women without consent shines a light on how women are seen in our society: things to be looked at, owned and consumed. Objects.

In the #MeToo era, naive groups of people often declare that the treatment of women as purely sexual objects for men to consume is long gone. Other groups say this treatment has never even existed, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Some even say women deserve their personal images shared without consent; if they took the picture in the first place, they were asking for it.

Following numerous incredibly painful rape cases in this country, healthcare scandals which throw female lives away and the Repeal movement, women have had to face emotional trauma in the Emerald Isle. Rape culture is alive and well in our society, yet most have been desensitised to it.

Every few days, a reminder rears its ugly head to show us what we can’t forget, to nudge us into submission and point out the fact that women today still have to protect ourselves at all times and we can’t forget it.

Today’s reminder comes from a Reddit page by the charming name of ‘Irish Sluts’. TheJournal.ie reported that a page was sharing intimate images of young women without their consent online, with sexually explicit commentary by the website’s users. No doubt derogatory language was chosen about the women’s body and appearance.

“The content includes portraits of families, social media posts, and images of women walking in public or in the gym, but there are also nude photographs taken in more intimate settings. Details of where the women live and where they attend college or school are also posted on the site,” it was reported, with the Garda Síochana confirming. Members of the group also made sure to request ‘nudes’ from counties all over the country, mentioning specific women by name.

One woman said that she was alerted about her image being used in the group when a male friend saw it in a WhatsApp chat and alerted her, she told TheJournal.ie. “I got a call from a friend of mine who said that my photo was being sent around lots of WhatsApp groups,” she said.

Speaking anonymously, the woman said she felt violated and “nearly got sick” when she discovered the Reddit page. The Gardaí can’t carry out much action unless you’re underage, and the advice is to actually contact the group itself to solve the matter. So essentially there is zero authority who can regain control over the private images of you and return them to the owner, making the internet an even more dangerous place.

This isn’t the first incident, of course, and it won’t be the last. ‘Revenge porn’ is alive and well; the habit of using sexually explicit images of an ex partner in order to use against them with malicious intent, such as posting them online or sending them to an employer.

A friend of another victim of this site told TheJournal.ie: “I’m not under any illusions that these types of things go on in parts of the internet, but this is very Ireland orientated and I can’t get my head around the fact that it happens so blatantly on a mainstream site like reddit that has businesses advertising on it, etc. People are posting personal details on some pictures, names, addresses, etc. It’s not sitting right with me that these girls can be put in this type of physical/mental danger without them knowing especially given some of the other things in the news cycle in the last few days.”

Brendan Howlin, Labour leader, has said that Ireland is extremely far behind when it comes to dealing with the issue of revenge porn. The Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill aims for a six-month prison sentence upon conviction, but is still before the Oireachtas. While time is ticking, the internet is abusing images of women all over Ireland.

Literally the only law protecting against the distribution of images such as these without permission is contained in the Non Fatal Offences Against The Person Act. There is a subsection of this act which deals with harassment but no specific laws in place to guard against revenge porn or unconsensual sharing of personal or explicit images.

What does this say about how the men of Ireland see us?

Most of us will be able to distinctly recall the infamous Belfast rape trial involving four Ulster Rugby players; Stuart Olding, Paddy Jackson, Rory Harrison and Blane McIlroy. Whether you were team I Believe Her or not, the language used in the WhatsApp group featuring the four men about the alleged victim and Irish women in general was beyond disturbing.

Image: JOE.ie

Toxic masculinity, entitlement and objectification reeks from texts such as these, but why does society continue to believe that wealthy, white, heterosexual young men with privilege are incapable of rape and sexual assault? They discuss women as sex objects for their fetishization, and why wouldn’t they go any further than that? Humiliation is the first step to dehumanise a person. Once someone is dehumanised enough, it becomes easier and easier to mistreat them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The #UCD200 became a huge scandal that spawned an investigation after claims of a Facebook group involving 200 UCD students who were sharing nonconsensual sexually explicit images of women without their knowledge were made public. The investigation found no evidence, but one of the most noteworthy aspects of the incident was how easily believable it was. This happens to women every single day, I have lost count of friends who have had private and intimate images of themselves shared without their consent; myself included.

The language used by Irish men is mirrored in the sexual assault trials and courtrooms; the recent Cork case involving a young woman who accused a man of raping her in an alley had her underwear used as evidence against her. A female barrister held up a lacy thong, and claimed that only a woman who WANTED to have sex would wear something like that.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Women are often the ones tearing down fellow women with language; toxic femininity is alive and well. We have been taught to compete with each other to win the attention, the approval of men. 

The language used to describe women, to portray them as either seductive prostitutes or prudes, ‘sluts’ or nuns, feeds the narrative that what you wear, how much you drink, and your sexual past plays a part in your victimhood. You can’t be a victim if you were asking for it, according to the courts of this nation.

Acquittal doesn’t mean innocence, as anyone who has experienced the Irish sexual violence criminal justice system understands more than they should have to. Why wouldn’t Irish men speak of women in such terms, when they won’t ever have to experience any consequences? Why wouldn’t they join in the lad banter, the ‘locker room talk’ if it leads to a boost in their pride, their status, their brotherhood?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Words have power, they have meaning. Language leads to action, action leads to harm, and most of the time the harm is suffered by Irish women. Why? The patriarchy, toxic masculinity, rape culture; all of it allows Irish men to feel a level of invincibility which encourages them. In Dublin, many of the ‘elite’ schools are segregated by gender; men and women at a young age with privilege only interact on nights out, at school discos most of the time. With alcohol and not many clothes covering them, women are deemed as useless without their looks, but a woman who is sexually provocative is a ‘slut’, a ‘whore’, ‘asking for it’. We are presumed guilty until proven innocent, handed double standards we can never beat, and fear for our safety the second it turns dark, much to the obliviousness of men.

Of course, rape and sexual assault occur where men are the victims, and find it incredibly difficult to speak about or get help due to the culture of masculinity where being a victim is shamed. Only by spreading awareness, and actual facts as well as sexual consent training and sexual education can we reduce the horrifying statistics.

I was given a single self-defence class at school. Just one. The main thing it taught me was that in the instance of rape, you are to yell the word, ‘fire’, because only then will someone come to offer aid.

A viral post on Facebook by a user named Drew McKenna shared a passage from Jackson Katz’ book named The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. A prominent social researcher, he decided to test his audience on the ways which they protect themselves on a daily basis from sexual assault. The results were alarming, but not surprising.

The reaction from the male side is especially interesting;

“He first describes the reaction on the male side. “At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, “Nothing. I don’t think about it.'”

Of course, the women could talk all day about how they defend themselves from the threat of rape or sexual assault. “As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine.” The replies were then arranged into a list, contrasting with the male answers. From holding your car keys between your fingers, never leaving drinks unattended, using a male voice on an answering machine, not wearing headphones in public, not using car parks or parking in dimly lit areas, not meeting a man in private on dates- it paints a horrible picture of the normality of female self-protection, and the total lack of awareness from the male point of view. More men than I can say have refused to walk me home, brought me a drink without watching what men around him were doing to it, spoken in a disgusting manner about women; all without realising that they were causing harm.

All men believe they are good.

“I moved on her like a b****, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. “I did try and f*** her.”

“You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”

Many Irish men like to believe that Donald Trump is an anomaly, something to be laughed at, not feared. Irish women know better. The vast majority of us can report that we’ve been sexually harassed, one-in-four of us will report being sexually assaulted compared to one-in-71 men. A report by Union of Students Ireland (USI) in 2013 found that 1 in 7 people will experience some form of unwanted sexual contact during their time in college. The reports of femicide this year are equally terrifying, with the majority of cases occurring where the perpetrator was a husband, boyfriend or partner of the woman killed. 

The line between harassment and assault is easily crossed. Words are just the beginning.

Feature image; Everyday Feminism

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Liam Neeson's racism controversy isn't showing any signs of dissipating, as the red carpet events before the New York premiere of his latest film have been cancelled.

Just one day after the interview was shared involving the actor describing his revenge plot against a "black b*astard" for the rape of his friend, the Cold Pursuit promotion has ended.

He went on Good Morning America yesterday to try and explain the remarks, which he made during an interview with The Independent, saying; “I’m not a racist.” 

His comments have been met with huge outrage since Monday, and has drawn condemnation from civil rights activists for their racist tones.

The Taken actor has said that the episode roughly occurred 40 years ago, after hearing that a close friend had been raped by a black assailant. 

“After that there were some nights when I went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence,” Mr. Neeson said. “And I did it for, I’d say, maybe four or five times.”

The interviewer on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts, who is African-American, told Mr. Neeson, “You have to understand the pain of a black person hearing what you said.”

Mr. Neeson replied: “You’re absolutely right, and at the time, even though it was 40 years ago, I didn’t think about that. All those things surprised me, but it was this primal hatred, I guess, that really, really shocked me when I eventually came down to earth and saw what I was doing — going out and looking for a fight.”

Yesterday's red carpet events, which would have allowed Mr. Neeson and his co-stars to talk to reporters, cameras and more questions, were cancelled hours before they were scheduled to begin, according to a spokesman for Lionsgate, who wouldn't make a statement about the actor's remarks.

In his interview with Good Morning America,  Neeson said he would have responded with a similar “primal urge” if his friend’s attacker had been white, and also linked his urge for violence to his time growing up in The Troubles of Northern Ireland.

“If she would have said an Irish or a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian, I know I would have had the same effect,” Mr. Neeson said on Tuesday, referring to his friend. “I was trying to show honour to my- stand up for my dear friend in this terrible, medieval fashion.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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He power-walked and spoke to a Catholic priest to try and overcome his anger about his friend's horrible victimisation; the friend passed away five years ago.

Mr. Neeson said the episode 40 years ago had taught him that violence and revenge only lead to more violence and revenge. He said the uproar this week had taught him something, too.

“We all pretend we’re politically correct, but in this country, it’s the same in my own country, too, but sometimes you just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry,” he said. “It’s there.”

Feature image; stuff.co.nz

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R&B singer R. Kelly has just announced a worldwide tour, despite the extensive abuse allegations against him going back three decades.

The world's most notorious musician's alleged predilection for engaging in sex acts with underage girls is the subject of a new documentary, Surviving R Kelly.

The series has rocked the entire world, watching the sheer scale of claims made against him over such an extended amount of time.

Kelly has consistently denied all the accusations of sexual misconduct, rape, emotional, physical and sexual abuse and holding women captive in a sex cult. He has also threatened to sue Lifetime for airing the docu-series.

The singer has an album, Trust, coming out soon and has dropped new music for his 'Day One Fans' on January 1.

Streams of his music has shockingly increased since more allegations were released to the general public, with numerous celebrities slamming his actions and treatment of black women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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R Kelly's alleged abusive treatment hasn't been a secret for the music industry; he even went on trial for child pornography back in 2001 but was acquitted of all charges despite a large amount of evidence against him.

It was also rumoured that he physically abused R&B singer Aaliyah, and it's been reported that he married her when she was just 15-years-old by forging legal documents.

Time will tell whether the tour will sell tickets, but reactions have been incredulous;

 Disbelieving social media users are wondering how this will pan out, after all the drama that has recently erupted.

Blood is boiling, according to one woman:

Other women were downright outraged:

More details have yet to be announced, but we're sure they'll hit the headlines when they do.

Feature image: algoafm.co.za

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Liam Neeson has had to defend himself against the racist remarks he made in an interview in The Independent, which was released yesterday.

The Cold Pursuit actor spoke of roaming the streets with a cosh, hoping to murder a "black bastard" after a woman close to him was raped years ago.

Speaking on Good Morning America, he said; "I’m not racist, this was 40 years ago. I was brought up in the north of Ireland. The Troubles. The Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. There was a war going on in the north of Ireland."

"I had acquaintances who were involved in the trouble. The bigotry. One Catholic would be killed, the next day a protestant would be killed. I grew up surrounded by that, but I was never surrounded by it," he said. 

The original article featured the Taken actor recalling being told about a friend's rape after he returned from a trip overseas.

“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” Neeson said. “But my immediate reaction was… did she know who it was? No. What colour were they? She said it was a black person."

“I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody. I’m ashamed to say that, and I did it for maybe a week – hoping some (Neeson gestures air quotes with his fingers) ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could kill him.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Neeson claimed it took him at least a week to process the incident, and anger was his first instinct.

“It was horrible, horrible, when I think back, that I did that,” he said. “It’s awful. But I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the f*ck are you doing’, you know?"

The actor brought up the personal anecdote after being asked to give more insight into his Cold Pursuit character Nels Coxman, who seeks revenge after his son is killed by a drug gang.

The internet went into a meltdown after the interview was published, with the majority of social media users accusing him of racism.

One Twitter user wrote: “Liam Neeson being ready to take any black life over what one person allegedly did just shows how meaningless and inconsequential black lives are to some."

They continued; “Even him telling the story demonstrates a level of privilege and understanding that there may not be repercussions.”

Actor Terry Crews, who is the host of America's Got Talent and star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, wrote on social media:

"Reminds me of a time I got provoked by a rich white guy I didn’t know. Hoping I would do something." He has been an advocate for domestic violence and sexual violence victims.

RTÉ presenter Ryan Tubridy chose to defend Liam Neeson today, saying that the actor didn't mean any harm;

"I don’t think for one minute that Liam Neeson ever wanted to kill anybody, or would ever harm anyone, or really actually meant it at all. ‘However, “you just can’t say that kind of thing” is what I suspect is going to be the response to that."

He continued;

"Having met him several times, it’s the sort of thing that he might have said over a coffee to somebody privately, but he kind of let it out into the public and that poses a serious problem for him, I suspect, in Hollywood particularly, with all the sensitivities you’d expect and that are rightly there. It’s a conundrum for him."

Former England footballer has also defended the star, calling out other heroes in society who were less than angelic when it came to race (Hi, Winston Churchill) and praising his admission of guilt.

Piers Morgan has branded him a member of the KKK, so he must be in pretty scalding water right now.

What are your thoughts on the debate; Is he shining an important light on the racist instincts present in society, specifically straight, white men? Or is he cancelled? The jury's still out.

Feature image: ABC7.com 

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Lady Gaga SLAMMED Dr Luke's lawyer during her deposition in September 2017, where she tearfully defended singer Kesha's allegation that Dr Luke sexually assaulted her.

The deposition was recently unsealed and released by The Blastwith the lawsuit centring around Kesha's claims against the music producer and her attempt to escape her recording contract with Kemosabe Entertainment.

The A Star Is Born singer's lawyer warned Dr. Luke's lawyer that Gaga was experiencing PTSD as a result of her own traumatic memories of sexual assault.

"I just want everyone to understand that, as she has publicly stated in other contexts, as a sex abuse survivor…there are trigger events, and this deposition has proved to be a trigger event for Ms. Germanotta."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Her lawyer stated; "She has experienced in the past few hours some PTSD reactions which is causing some trauma and emotional reactivity. So she is crying now, the record will reflect."

Dr Luke and Kesha's ongoing legal battle has been much-publicised, especially following the emergence of the Me Too era.

In the deposition, Gaga was requested to speak about how her and the Rainbow singer met, and what herself and Kesha spoke about after Gaga witnessed her in her underwear in Luke's studio.

Gaga explained;

"What we discussed was, what I recall was her immense sadness and depression and fear. She was visibly very different than when I had seen her before, and–but I can't say specifically what we spoke about. I just recall it was emotional and I wanted to be there for her."

Image; E! News

Dr Luke's lawyer questioned Lady Gaga on her "personal knowledge or information as to any interaction" between the producer and Kesha, and if the incident has damaged his reputation.

Gaga elaborated fiercely on why she believed Kesha, who claims Dr. Luke abused her consistently.

In her own words, Gaga said:

"That was an image that–of something that happened to me, and I felt and knew in my heart that she was telling the truth, and I believe her….Yes, I do have knowledge. She told me he assaulted her…Well, you know–when men assault women, they don't invite people over to watch."

"And when this happens in this industry, it is kept extremely secret, and it is compounded by contracts and manipulative power scenarios that actually include this very situation that we are all in right now," she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When Gaga was quizzed about the possibility of being falsely accused of rape, Gaga hit back at the lawyer;

"You–how about all of the women that are accused of being liars and how she was slut shamed in front of the world, how about that?…I have factual knowledge of the spiral that I watched that girl go down."

"I have factual knowledge of trauma. I am informed and intelligent about this issue. That girl has experienced serious trauma and she is in the middle of the right now. And you are all a party to it."

Gaga became frustrated at the lawyer after he asked her if she was present when the alleged assault happened. She responded;

"Why on earth would this girl tell the entire world this happened? Why on earth? Do you know what it’s like for survivors? Do you know what it's like to tell people? Don't you roll your eyes at me. You should be ashamed of yourself."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dr. Luke has since hit back at Gaga after she sat through the heartfelt deposition defending Kesha.

An attorney for Dr Luke said in a lengthy statement to The Blast: "Being passionate about a topic that concerns us all is admirable. However, Lady Gaga has no knowledge of what happened on the night at issue because she was not there."

It continued: "Kesha got kicked out of a party after drinking too much and vomiting. As an act of kindness, Dr Luke offered to allow her to sleep in his hotel suite, a few blocks away. Kesha slept on the bed in the hotel suite, while Dr Luke separately slept on the couch," the statement continued.

"Dr Luke testified under oath that he did not have any contact with Kesha. Kesha herself admitted under oath that she has absolutely no memory of Dr Luke even being in the hotel room."

"Kesha has no memory of Dr Luke engaging in inappropriate contact with her because it did not happen," it finished.

Lady Gaga has been outspoken of her repulsion of Dr. Luke and abusers in the industry, but has yet name her own abuser. 

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