Tag Archives: Rape

The James Deen Rape Allegations

2 Dec

So this happened apparently.

Which hurts. No matter how much it hurts though, one has to side with anyone who is brave enough to come forward about being a victim.

Whether it’s Ke$ha (even people who choose weird stage names deserve to have their bodies respected) who is facing a potentially career-ending decision and is being incredibly brave anyway.

Or Cosby’s victims who have had their reputations dragged through the mud by people who conflate the character the man plays with the actor himself.

Or friends who have their own reasons to fear retribution, slander and other untold consequences.

But sometimes it’s difficult.

Because we think we know something about the accused. Because the allegations go against our preconceived notions of what that person is like. A friend, a star we’ve seen interviewed, someone we thought spoke our language. And how disappointing is it to be wrong, to be challenged in our belief in goodness?

And yet “James Deen held me down and f—ed me while I said no, stop, used my safeword. I can’t just nod and smile when people bring him up anymore.”

I used the safeword we agreed on and he ignored it. What more should ever need to be said?

I’ve broken up with people for more innocuous forms of treachery.

But it does break my heart. To see someone I trusted fall from grace.

I don’t believe that the pedestal was too tall. It shouldn’t be too much to ask for, a kinky, beautiful Jew who cares about pleasure and respects you at the same time.

I guess we’ll all just have to keep searching for him, and hope that some good and healing can come from this. Perhaps it’ll be the rest of the world learning how to take sexual abuse allegations seriously and swiftly.

My heart bleeds for the people who have been assaulted, whether that be by someone who violated a scenario based on trust, or violated a scenario based on trust, or violated a scenario based on trust.

But we need to remember,

I can regret holding Deen up as a paragon of what a sex partner should be, but I won’t regret my hope that he could have been.

Tea Time

22 Apr

I know this tea/consent metaphor thing came out a while ago but I still love it.

Plus, I don’t think everyone has seen this video version from Dr. Doe over at Sexplanations.

Based on the article.

Rape Comedy, Not Rapey Comedy

6 Jan

Jessie Kahnweiler’s short film Meet My Rapist for the win.

Rape jokes that add to the discussion rather than silencing and belittling.

Give me more good rape jokes.

One Story

23 Dec

One of the best things about running this blog is that sometimes I get fan mail. Sometimes I hear from people I haven’t spoken with in years telling me about how they love the blog, how I’m helping them see things in a way they never have before.

And sometimes I get messages from people who want my help. People who have had experiences, traumas, dark thoughts, or brutal nights and just need a place to put it all. A place they can be anonymous.

Below is a message from someone from my past who has a story to tell. I’m going to ask that if you sympathize with this story, if you’ve had a similar experience, or if you would ordinarily give it a Like or a Retweet for excellent writing, that you please leave that comment here on the blog so she can see your support. Also, feel free to spread this story far and wide, use all your platforms. This story is unfolding every day all over the place and you can be a part of freeing someone from their own personal hell.

Trigger Warning: Rape and Abuse.

I don’t suppose many will see this, or that many people will care. I mean, we all go through shit, right? But I hadn’t realized how much my shit had affected my life until tonight. Until it’s 6 months later and I’m weeping on the Subway to a stranger. Recently I heard a speech about how we all live in a closet of one kind or another, and that to classify one experience as “harder” than another simply encourages us to stay locked within them.

This is my closet, and I’m ready to step out of it.

I had always perceived my future as barren of love, or marriage, or children, or hope, or happiness. I was painfully desperate for love, for approval, for beauty, and that desperation made me vulnerable.

There are people in this world who will seek that vulnerability out. They feel the need to salve their own wounds with other people’s tears, the deepening of other people’s pain. It’s how they function with the damage they themselves have suffered. The only thing they can do to raise themselves up is push other people’s faces deeper into the muck.

He recognized my need, my desperation, he cracked it open and made a very comfortable home for himself. He had found his mark.

When we met, he held me close and we swayed from side to side, enveloped in the music and laughter around us. We swayed through midnight and the first snowfall, and he kissed me. For the first time in months I felt accepted, beautiful.– I can’t talk about this. About how nice it was to be in his arms, how wonderful it was when it was wonderful. When I think of those moments I love him.  

It started when he said that he couldn’t have sex with a condom.  He said that he couldn’t stay hard for me with his dick constrained by latex. And when he tried, and failed, the latex was no longer to blame. I was. After all, I was the reason he was wearing it in the first place.  

STD statistics are bullshit, don’t you know? They only apply to impoverished, black people, don’t you know? Not to people like us.  

No condoms.

Intelligent women accept deviation from sexual normalcy! Don’t you know?

Sex with other women.

I understand that you don’t want to have sex right now, and I respect that, but I have sexual needs and you should respect those too.

I was so raw I couldn’t walk without pain.

If you’re asleep, why do you care?

 If I was lucky, I could stay asleep.

Women lie about rape all the time! Don’t you know?

I never did.

I like it when you choke.

No, I don’t want to use lube.

No, I don’t want to stop.

No, you can’t make me stop now.

No, you’re so tight, how can I stop?

No, this feels too good.

No, I’m almost there

It’ll stop hurting soon. 

Why are you complaining now? I stopped cumming on your face.

You should lose weight. I only want you to be the best you can be.

Here’s soap to wash your face. No one likes pimples.

You can’t have an omelet with the yolks.  

Rape only exists in our culture, why are we even together if you’re going to act this way?

I hate people like you and your family.

This is what it must be like to have a slave.

Why would I go down on you if you won’t let me take a video?

Are you calling me a rapist?

When you hear stories about rape you have expectations. I never thought that I’d be jealous of those women who are the victims of masked men in dark alleys, women who are raped only once. I never thought I would bleed for a man as he said he loved me. I never thought I would be held accountable for the man forcing himself into my body, ripping me open. I never thought I would reward my rapist with my love and affection.

Hearsay. 

No bruises.

Just the handprints on my body from where he hit me.

There was nothing. Nothing I could or can do. There are just my memories of pain, and his of pleasure.  

Six months later, I’m here. Afraid to let a man touch me. Afraid to let myself love anyone. 

I drink wine until I feel no fear of this new boy who makes my stomach flutter, and then break down as the misery of the last person who woke those butterflies comes crashing down on me.

I can’t be in this closet anymore.  I can’t remain in this place.  I can’t kiss a man’s lips, I can’t feel a man’s breath on my skin, I can’t trust a man with my body–let alone my spirit. But I don’t want to be alone, I don’t want this shadow. So I’m coming out of this closet.  

AR Wear

15 Nov

Maybe you’ve seen this already.

Much like the NYC I’m A Girl subway ad’s I’m loathe to criticize it considering all the good intentions.

But putting that aside this very short article sums up my concerns best.

AR Wear is fundraising to manufacture anti-rape (as in AR) underwear. Here are a few questions we have about the apparel.

  1. AR Wear, if the whole point of your magic anti-rape underwear is that an evil rapist can’t take them off, is it going to take me a really long time to undo all the secret locks if I have pee?

  2. How about if I want to have sex?

  3. How does this protect people who have an intimate relationship with their assailant?

  4. What about all the forms of sexual violence that don’t require removal of underwear?

  5. Do the inventors of this know what sexual violence actually looks like outside of Law and Order?

  6. What is the “thing” mentioned in your motto “offering protection for when things go wrong?”

  7. Where are the rapists in this calculation?

  8. If a predator realizes you’re wearing magic anti-rape underwear, won’t s/he just go find someone who isn’t?

  9. Won’t those people be more likely to be unable to afford magic anti-rape underwear, or have bodies, invisible or mocked in popular imagination, that don’t fit into clothes designed for thin, able-bodied, cis women like your models?

  10. Are these thin, able-bodied, cis women the only kind of people who deserve not to be raped?

  11. When did we forget anti-violence work is a collective, not individualized, effort?

  12. Haven’t we been over this before?

AR Wear is obviously a really specific option for really specific situations. Specifically, it’s a band-aid. A band-aid that comes in one shade. This product is the poster child for a tiny band-aid over a Grey’s Anatomy-level open wound. As feministing suggests, this won’t help anyone not wearing the magic underwear, especially the people who are in intimate relationships, have already taken their pants off, are concerned about oral sexual assault, aren’t a common size, the list goes on.

However, I just can’t stop thinking that if I lived in such a state of fear that someone was going to try to remove my clothing without my consent on a date, then I would never go on a date. God forbid I was a runner; I’d never go on a run.

Basically, if I lived in such a state of fear of my pants being removed without my consent at any given moment I’d be a suicidal hermit. Trigger warning on that I guess then because I’m not even slightly joking.

I get that women need help in the war against sexual assault. I get that this product would probably save some women from some of the agony of some kinds of assaults. And that is a good thing. A line of defense is a good thing.

But once again it holds women accountable for their own assaults, gives them another reason to be blamed when an attacker chooses to attack them. “Why wasn’t she wearing the magic underwear? Well obviously because she wanted to have sex and if she wanted it then it wasn’t really rape.”

I understand the need in our world for this product. And it saddens me greatly.

Though it apparently is necessary, it isn’t the right answer.

The first sentences from AR Wear’s indiegogo page:

PREFACE

Rape is about as wrong as it gets. The only one responsible for a rape is the rapist and AR Wear will not solve the fundamental problem that rape exists in our world. Only by raising awareness and education, as well as bringing rapists to justice, can we all hope to eventually accomplish the goal of eliminating rape as a threat to both women and men. Meanwhile, as long as sexual predators continue to populate our world, AR Wear would like to provide products to women and girls that will offer better protection against some attempted rapes while the work of changing society’s rape culture moves forward.

So the jury is still out. But the jury is very upset.

I Can’t Even, I Just Cant

28 Aug

Dan Savage said the other day on his podcast that a lot of porn is made for people who will never have sex. And that is an interesting lens to look at porn and porn websites through.

Last night as I was perusing some adult online video content *ahem ahem* I was struck by this advertisement on the side of the window.

Screen shot 2013-08-10 at 1.27.08 AM

I consider myself a pro-sex and pro-porn feminist. I consume it, I defend it on the internet, I send it to friends. And yet this kind of ad is what I hate about porn. This advertisement supports rape culture more than the entire James Deen and Princess Donna cannon combined.

Let’s make a list of the things I hate about this ad.

Her bored expression, dutiful, but too passive to be resentful. Yes, If you can believe it the #1 thing I hate about this advertisement is that she isn’t having any fun. At all. Her eyes seem to say ‘god do I hate my job’. We can all agree that many young people learn how sex works from porn. If we’re running with the theory that porn is marketed to people who will never have sex then this kind of woman-hating ad is still awful, but it certainly isn’t as potentially dangerous. And through that dual lens what are we learning here? That sex is something men enjoy and women tolerate for them. Also that this expression isn’t a reason to stop. Such an expression of displeasure in your partner should always be cause to stop (unless previously specified of course). RAPEY.

The mother fucking copy. Excuse my language but “Ugly girls need sex (too).” Seriously? Seriously? I can’t. I can’t even. I’ll do it quickly, like ripping off a band-aid. Suggests that women who by some man are considered ugly should be grateful for whatever attention those men give them regardless of whether the women asked for it. And in instances of rape supports third party claims that it couldn’t have been rape because “how could he have raped you? You aren’t even pretty”. RAPEY RAPEY RAPEY. Suggests that some women are too ugly to deserve love. Suggests that by having sex with an ‘ugly girl’ he is doing her some kind of pity-favor.

Her infantilizing hairdo, Anybody recognize it? Her name was BABY Spice. That’s Baby with a capital BABY.

Her ridiculously impossible Barbie proportions. Because they totally exist in nature [Insert eye roll here].

The fact that it’s actually a .GIF so her head bobs up and down and she blinks. So not only is she there, compelled to suck against her will with the words “Ugly girls need sex (too)” written above her head but she moves so you can’t stop looking at her and hating her and yourself and the porn industry when you really just want to watch some James Deen and go to bed.

Rape Escape With Gary and his Cute Girlfriend

12 Aug

Today, a different kind of educational video (TW: Rape, Violence).

You should have seen me last night in bed practicing shrimping for five minutes. I felt like a fool. It really does take muscle memory though so try it a few times with a friend.

FYI I clicked around and watched a few other videos and noticed a few themes emerging.

1) When you practice you have to really role play. Your practice partner has to really get uncomfortably close and locked onto you for you to have enough to strain against. And you’re supposed to practice the real things you would say.

2) This was more upsetting than I thought it would be. Especially how the instructors say things like “You have to get really close because this is how it will happen. This is what he’ll really do.”

3) The guys who make these videos are adorably bumbly and make me wish we had better language for the things they’re talking about.

Real talk: Does it ever feel like a horrible but eventual guarantee that you’ll be in this position at some point in this life? Or is that just me?

I Think There’s Something Wonderful In The Water

25 Jan

I’m a little glad to see the level of awesomeness in the general worldwide fight against assholery is on the rise.

On August 28, at least five months pregnant by a man who she said continued to rape her, Nevin Yildirim said she decided she had had enough. Gider was climbing up the back wall of her house. ‘I knew he was going to rape me again,’ she said at her preliminary hearing August 30.

She said she grabbed her father-in-law’s rifle that was hanging on the wall and she shot him. He tried to draw his gun and she fired again.

‘I chased him,’ she said. ‘He fell on the ground. He started cussing. I shot his sexual organ this time. He became quiet. I knew he was dead. I then cut his head off.’

Witnesses described Yildirim walking into the village square, carrying the man’s head by his hair, blood dripping on the ground.

‘Don’t talk behind my back, don’t play with my honor,’ Yildirim said to the men sitting in the coffee house on the square. ‘Here is the head of the man who played with my honor.’

She then threw Gider’s head to the ground.

Turkey, Sept 6, 2012 [x]

And in India:

At 3pm on August 13 2004, Akku Yadav was lynched by a mob of around 200 women from Kasturba Nagar. It took them 15 minutes to hack to death the man they say raped them with impunity for more than a decade. Chilli powder was thrown in his face and stones hurled. As he flailed and fought, one of his alleged victims hacked off his penis with a vegetable knife. A further 70 stab wounds were left on his body. The incident was made all the more extraordinary by its setting. Yadav was murdered not in the dark alleys of the slum, but on the shiny white marble floor of Nagpur district court.

Laughed at and abused by the police when they reported being raped by Yadav, the women took the law into their own hands. On the day of Yadav’s hearing, 200 women came to the court armed with vegetable knives and chilli powder. As he walked in, Yadav spotted one of the women he had raped. He called her a prostitute and threatened to repeat the crime against her. The police laughed. She took off her sandal and began to hit him, shouting, “We can’t both live on this Earth together. It’s you or me.”

It was a rallying cry to an incensed mob. Soon, he was being attacked on all sides. Knives were drawn and the two terrified officers guarding him ran away. Within 15 minutes, Yadav was dead on the courthouse floor. But his death has not brought the women peace. Five were immediately arrested, then released following a demonstration across the city. Now every woman living in the slum has claimed responsibility for the murder. They say no one person can take the blame: they have told the police to arrest them all.   [x]

Why We Need Feminism

17 Jan

My friend sent me an article today that made me VERY angry.  What I would like to do right now is insult the intelligence of the writer but instead I’ll… keep the profanity to a minimum.  I’m not going to even link to the article because I don’t even want Emily Matters to get the page views.  It’s called Why We Don’t Need Feminism and it’s at Thought Catalogue.  Can you guess why I don’t like it much?

Emily states:

1) We don’t need feminism because it doesn’t quell violence or rape.

Male African chimpanzees raid, rape, and violently beat rival gangs in territorial wars.  This is hardwired into the male apes’ biology, just as it is in the human male genetic configuration.  As a general rule, advanced male mammals are demonic and violent creatures. This violence dosen’t stem from misogyny. It stems from men hating other men… Feminism’s focus on misogyny as a source of rape is important, but its vision is limited, for misogyny is simply a side effect of man’s biological disposition towards aggression and violence.  What needs to change now, it seems, is not how men view women, but rather how men view other men and deal with their own aggression.

2) We don’t need feminism because women don’t need to be patronized or coddled about their career choices.

People love to decry the “injustice” of the wage disparity between men and women. Yet, the wage gap is feminist propaganda. In 2009, Obama created the “White House Council on Women and Girls.” The purpose? To ensure lawmakers took into account the interests of women and girls when drafting legislation. Last year the council released a hallmark report, which concluded the reason for the gender pay gap was because women on average choose to work in less stressful work environments and choose jobs in lower paying industries like education and health care…

Perhaps, though, women are being coerced into choosing lower paying careers by indirect prejudice and the history of sexism? You can believe that. But that line of thinking doesn’t add up with the biological evidenceBiology and evolutionary psychology are proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that males and females are, generally speaking, different from one another for reasons that have nothing to do with the way they were raised. In the womb, men produce testosterone from their own gonad. Women, however, produce little to no testosterone in the womb.

3) We don’t need feminism because we need more, not less, virility.

Throwing a ball like a girl is lame. That’s why most people, male or female, prefer to watch the NBA over the WNBA. Aggression, intensity make sports more interesting and captivating. Male virility isn’t good for just sports, it’s good for culture and civilization. The scientist Richard Alexander notes: “Atomic fission, space travel, and probably most of the remarkable modern advances in science and technology occurred or were accelerated as consequence of intergroup competition or outright war.” Now, we don’t need to balk at traditionally feminine values in the United States like they do in China. But effeminate nations of love and equality don’t produce companies like Google or Apple. We need popular culture, of course, to celebrate the traits of femininity, but we also need it to celebrate the aggression of masculinity and its power of creative destruction, too.

4) We don’t need feminism because we are individuals.

We don’t need feminism because its becoming outdated and we need a new paradigm for the future. One that is not so much a collective movement, but a way of living which respects and integrates men, women, and every beautiful and complex variation in-between.

Anyone else need a nice big scream right about now?

Let’s go point by point.

1) We need feminism because it combats violence and rape.

Human beings are not chimpanzees.  We are… human beings.  rapists rape to assert dominance and to terrorize.  Or sometimes they rape/commit violence against their loved ones because life experiences told them that it was the proper response.  Men are human and can control themselves.  Violence is not the default for anyone born with testosterone.  If it were, we would be living on the Isle of Lesbos.  If it were then there wouldn’t be people in this world who had never been a part of that violence.  If you actually believe any of this crap about biology and chimpanzees and shit then you should immediately go read Sex at Dawn.  In fact the writer of this article really needs to read Sex at Dawn.

2) We need feminism because women make less money at the jobs that they’re forced into.

Women on average make a lot less money than men, about 77 cents on the dollar if she is white and much less if she isn’t.

A study recently showed that even scientists (who, in this society, we like to pretend are immune to our petty cultural biases) are sexist in hiring, being hesitant to hire women and paying them less.  Not to mention how girls are socialized to avoid science and engineering in favor of culturally ‘feminine’ pursuits like baking and beautifying.  

3) We need feminism because we can achieve more through kindness than through violence

I have no statistics to prove this.  Just that “Throwing a ball like a girl is lame.” is the dumbest sentence in the universe and makes me want to punch a wall.  Maybe virility (that word makes me cringe) makes for better sport but better athletes do not a better world make.  The world is not a wrestling match.  Even assuming this is a dog eat dog world, you can probably agree that there are societal causes for it being that way and that we are not naturally just assholes.  If we were then there would be 10 Hitlers to each soccer mom.

Also, I know people who have been courted to work at Apple and Google.  The people who make it at Apple or Google are people who can work in a team, who feel competitive enough do their best work while being decent enough to listen to criticism and suggestions.

 “When men feel inconsequential, it’s easier to blame women than it is to confront patriarchy-the true source of the diminishment and lack of meaning in so many men’s lives. When men feel unloved and disconnected, it’s easier to accuse women of not loving them well enough than it is to consider men’s own alienation from life. It’s easier to think of women as keeping men from the essence of their own lives than it is to see how men’s participation in patriarchy can suffocate and kill the life within themselves. It’s easier to theorize about powerful, devouring mothers than to confront the reality of patriarchy.

Beneath the massive denial of men’s power and responsibility and its projection onto women is an enormous pool of rage, resentment, and fear. Rather than look at patriarchy and their place within it, many men will beat, rape, torture, murder, and oppress women, children, and one another. They will wage mindless war and offer themselves up for the slaughter, chain themselves to jobs and work themselves to numbed exhaustion as if their lives had no value or meaning beyond controlling or being controlled or defending against control, and content themselves with half-lives of confused, lost deprivation. What men lack, women didn’t take from them, and it isn’t up to women to give it back.”
-Allan G. Johnson

 4) We need feminism because we are individuals.

It’s true that many feminists fail to see the intersection of hegemonies, the greater scheme of kyriarchy and can lose sight of the needs of women of color, intersex people and LGBTQ people across the board.  We are all at times guilty of getting too caught up in our own lives to see the damage we’re inflicting on others.  But feminism isn’t outdated.  Feminism is about seeing all people in their own complexity and accepting their bodies, their choices and their desires and wishes as valid because people are valid.  All people, all bodies, all minds are valid.  Feminism evolves.  As Bell Hooks says “Mutual partnership is the foundation of love. And feminist practice is the only movement for social justice in our society which creates the conditions where mutuality can be nurtured.”

Everything Men’s Rights Activists label as “female privilege” is really patriarchy backfiring against men.

The gender-specific rule that men shouldn’t hit women is caused by the misogynistic belief that women are fragile.

The belief that men can’t be raped is caused by the belief that men always want sex and the belief that men must always be strong, which are the same gender norms that enable men to sexually harass women.

The belief that all men are rapists is caused by the misogynistic belief that a woman who is quick to trust a man is asking for it.

The belief that statutory rape is worse with an older man and a younger woman than with an older woman and a younger man is caused by the misogynistic belief that society must protect female virginity.

Custody favoring the mother is caused by the misogynistic belief that taking care of the kids is a woman’s job.

The fact that only men can be drafted is caused by the misogynistic belief that women are too weak for combat. Also, most feminists are against the draft.

The belief that the man must pay for the date is caused by the misogynistic belief that women are helpless and need men to do everything for them, and it’s often used as a way to guilt-trip her into having sex.

Feminists don’t support any of those. All of those are caused by patriarchy. Men’s Rights Activists can stop blaming feminists for the problems that patriarchy causes. [x]

Is It Nature or Nurture?

3 Jan

 

When you live in a rape culture when does the rapist make the culture and when does the rape culture make the rapist?

*[TW: Rape]* Society has allowed rapists to define what resistance is: screaming, crying, scratching, pushing, kicking, biting, punching. I didn’t resist like that. My resistance was to wriggle a bit, turn my head away when he tried to kiss me, try to stop his hand going into my bra and knickers, push him ineffectually, talk about wanting to get my cab; all things which normal men recognise as not being enthusiastic participation when they are engaging with women but pretend it’s a grey area when they talk about rape. Rapists have managed to get society to believe, that what I did, was consent.

Because I didn’t resist in the way rapists – and society – say that women should resist, they define our non-participation as consent.

“How I became a rape victim”

My friend told me a story today of her girlfriend’s co-worker who takes home girls and then coerces them into sex.  He tries to take off her pants, she says no, he tries to take off her pants, she says no, he tries to take off her pants, she says no, he tries to take off her pants, and tired, she says yes.

Her girlfriend asked him ‘Wouldn’t you just rather sleep with someone who really wants to have sex with you?’ and he said that was ‘unrealistic,’ naturally, she doesn’t really talk to him anymore.

I live a charmed life in many ways and one of them, I know, is that there’s no one I know of who I’m forced to be nice to in spite of knowing they’re a rapist s**tbag.  I know that really sucks and that a lot of great people have to put up with that from bosses/co-workers/classmates/teachers/siblings.

Hearing about this guy I realized that he seriously thinks that what he’s doing is normal, that it’s the only way to interact sexually with women.  (It also made me really understand how only 5% of the population are rapists, but that most of them rape again and again)

In the same way that children of abusive parents often think abuse is the only way to communicate with their kids, or youth who grow up in ghettos are likely to participate in gang activity because it’s what their role models do.

How do you re-brainwash someone when everything they’ve experienced has led them to a single conclusion?  That the best forms of punishment are physical?  That the best way to make friendships is by evading the law together?  That the only way to have sex is to take it from the gatekeeper?

How do you teach someone who has never seen honey that if only they invest in it, flies will prefer it to vinegar any day of the week?

So while every rape that Coercive Ass commits is entirely his fault, I’ve got enough blame left in my heart for all the equally coercive assholes who came before him and told him “Yeah man, ‘No’ is just the beginning of the negotiation.  ‘No’ is just part of the process.”

Just like I’ve got enough blame left in my heart for the cops who offer to escort my white friends through their ‘rough’ neighborhoods without ever helping the kids who grow up there.  And all the dads who have ever come home drunk and angry for generations and generations.

There isn’t an answer here.  But how do you separate the gunman, the rapist, the abuser, the pusher from every friend/parent/brother/role model who made him think that not only was this the best way, but the only way, the right way?  How do you decide who can be helped?