Something Stinks In Austria

By now you have probably heard of a story you would have rather never have to hear in your whole life, not even in fictional form. If you have, it probably means you have kept an eye and an ear open to whatever the mainstream media considers worthy of inspecting instead of relying blindly on the blogosphere, particularly the feminist blogosphere, to fill you up on every day human miseries. As of this moment, Feministing, Feministe and Pandagon haven’t reported on it yet. But in case you haven’t, here’s some bloggy coverage of the case from feminist bloggers who have been paying some attention: Echidne of the Snakes and Louise Livesey, from The F Word.

There are simply no words to describe the emotional horror of this story, so I’m not even gonna try. There’s already enough people out there giving it a go only to be faced with the limitations of the human language with regards to emotions. Instead, I’m gonna do what I do best and what I (hope) is (sorta) the hallmark of this blog: I’m going to look at it from a different angle and point at the big, pink elephant in the room. Though in this case we could say we have a whole group of big, pink elephants.

There’s the “what about the menz” elephant which feminists are well known for bringing up. Funny how it’s always MEN doing the abuse and it’s always WOMEN (and children) enduring it.

There’s the tiny “he must have done something before” elephant, usually coming from the police headquarters. They all seem to agree that an abuse so horrific doesn’t spring from the ground. A few girls being molested here, a couple of women being raped there and before you know it, you are raping and abusing your own daughter and your own children/grandchildren for 24 years. Funny how this logical interpretation of climbing up the crime ladder into more and more horrific forms of torture is NEVER associated with either prostitution of pornography. As Louise says:

Whilst this is at one extreme of abusive and violent behaviour it’s just an example at one end of the continuum of violences women suffer daily.

(She makes the case that by excusing men’s violent behaviour “as far as I am concerned the public lose all moral ground on which to be outraged by this – you cannot defend other behaviours which express the same sentiments and then claim moral outrage at this”. It’s a fascinating idea I would like to expand on, but I will leave it for another post.)

And then there’s the WHITE WOMEN elephant. Funny how we only care about cases of abuse when it’s perpetrated upon white women in rich countries and we manage to ignore the sistematic abuse endured by millions of women the world over who have had the bad fortune to be born in poor countries and with the wrong skin colour. Congo and Darfur come to mind where, I insist, we are talking about thousands of women.
I’m gonna turn this elephant upside down and make it work in my favour. Kinda. The question I’m gonna ask is WHY AUSTRIA. It would be a pointless question, considering what I’ve already said, were it not because of the similarities of this case with another one that also occurred in Austria 2 years ago.
See, when you live in a “third world”, “undeveloped” country, you are always looking at the “first world”, “developed” countries for role model policies and guidance. So, how can something like this happen in Austria?
And what do I know of Austria, apart from the fact that it’s the setting of one of my all time favourite movies? Austria, a rich country in the middle of Europe filled with history and culture. A country always eager to remind us that one of the best musicians of all times, Amadeus Mozart, was born on its soil. A country which year after year hosts the strongly gender biased New Year Concert, the only concert the world, or the media, seem to care about. Such a model country! And yet… And yet they must be doing something very, very wrong.
Do I know what they are doing wrong? Hell no! I cannot know everything. And it’s not my place to know everything either. As I said, I don’t know much about Austria, aside from what we are supposed to know about Austria, meaning “holiday brochure” style information. But I do know that the it’s the media’s place to ASK QUESTIONS. Something they are NOT DOING. They have been trained to inform us, they are getting PAID to inform us, and they are not doing it right. This are the warning sings that something is wrong. This are the symptoms of a sick society. A very pretty snowy mountain tops painted society, but a sick society at the core. It is simply not good enough to throw our arms at the heavens and cry “well, human nature”. (Did you notice how, all of the sudden, it’s not a man’s world but a human’s world? How when men do something bad it’s always “humans” and when they do something good it’s always “men”? There’s another elephant right there).

As I said, something stinks in Austria. And they better start asking why. And the countries of the world that take Austria as a reliable role model also better start asking why. Something is very wrong with the world and not even the prettiest and richest of countires can escape it. And I think it’s about fricking time we stopped looking at this stories as “oddities” and started looking at them for what they really are: symptoms.


11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    rmott62 said,

    It very hard to say the right words about this case.
    All I kept thinking is this type of sadism is not as rare as the media would like us to believe.
    For many survivors of child sexual abuse, the abuse will continue for many years. The “victim” may not be locked away. But she lived in constant fear of male violence.
    But most of this abuse goes unseen and unheard.
    There are many prostituted women and girls who live in prison-like conditions, often living with extreme mental, physical and sexual torture. Many prostituted women and girls live in a world that is isolated from the “real world”.
    In many war-zones, rapes is used to terrorised whole communities. Women are raped over and over in these war-zones. Leaving horrific physical injuries and mental scars.
    Sexual violence is used every day to imprisoned women and girls. It is used to limit their lives all the time.
    This case is extreme.
    But sexual violence is epidermic.

  2. 2

    marytracy9 said,

    You are absolutely right, Rebecca. Sexual violence against women IS epidemic, and that’s probably the reason why no one asks WHY something like this happened.

  3. 3

    L.M. said,

    Rebecca – the moment I read about this story, I thought of trafficked and prostituted women and children, like this story *MAJOR TRIGGERS* about the legal brothels in the US.
    Mary Tracy – I really have nothing coherent to say about this, other than that it reminds me why I never prioritize “I don’t hate men” or “I love men!” at the top of my feminist checklist. Why should feminists be cornered or corralled into pledging their love or non-hate for men like this?

  4. 4

    Lara said,

    That’s the best commentary I have seen thus far on this story. I have thought about this before, and I might have mentioned this online elsewhere, but what is the difference between asshole dads in the Middle East murdering their daughters in the name of “honor killings” and these Austrian/Western dads raping and abusing their daughters? It’s all the same shit: they think they are entitled to own their daughters’ bodies and will do anything in their power to control them.
    I almost vomited when I first heard about this story, but then I reminded myself that I would be vomiting myself to death if I felt so sick over each damned story of sexual abuse and rape and incest that exists.

  5. 5

    Level Best said,

    And here in America we have the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) in several states who are, in effect, also raising their own girls to rape. This is not one man acting alone but a lot of men acting in concert, very deliberately, to supply themselves with a constant supply of young girls to “marry,” sometimes to close relatives. Having their own police and doctors ensures girls and women almost never escape, either, even if they try to do so while terrified they are going to hell for doing so. And then there is the “everyday” rape and incest of an incredibly large percentage of girls and women. It is hard not to be constantly heartsick, but it feels good if you consider every act of substantially helping girls and women as fighting back!

  6. 6

    Mary Tracy9 said,

    Exactly. The point I’m making is that all this is happening in “modern” “progressive” “rich” countries, where bad things like that are only “history”. Except that they ain’t. They are very real and women have to suffer not only with the consequences but with the silencing as well. No one wants to accept that violence against women is everywhere. And so the media preys on this story and treats it as “rare” while failing even to ask WHY it has happened in the first place.

  7. 7

    Anna Kimura said,

    What about the Korean women, the Phillipino women, the Chinese women, the Russian women, the Malay women, the Singaporean women and many others who were abused by the Japanese military for more than a decade? Hundreds of women claim they were vaginally and anally raped tens of thousands of times!

    Oh I forgot, Japanese culture is so ancient,so traditional and so spiritual and criticizing them could be deemed racist.

    So we will shut up then?

  8. 8

    Lara said,

    “Oh I forgot, Japanese culture is so ancient,so traditional and so spiritual and criticizing them could be deemed racist.

    So we will shut up then?”

    So true Anna Kimura! I have felt this way for a long time, about the silence surrounding misogyny and rape in Japanese culture. You know, Japanese culture also invented it’s own form of bondage as well as hentai and animated rape porn, but ya know…
    And I think Japan is often not criticized for its misogyny and paedophilia because it is a global superpower and is a capitalist ally of “the West.”
    Money does have a lot of power, doesn’t it?

  9. 9

    L.M. said,

    Lara – in the book “The Natashas”, though it focused on the sexual exploitation and trafficking of Eastern European women, the author (Victor Malarek) did note political overtones in US labeling of countries as trafficking depots or perps. For example, South Korea, Israel and Thailand (?) because they are American allies, even though they have a lot of prostitution and trafficking, were not on the list. On the other hand, Cuba ended up on the list (though IIRC, most of the sexual exploitation is done by US sex tourists) and North Korea in lieu of South Korea.

  10. 10

    Dysthymiac said,

    I cannot believe this creep had 100 boarders through
    his house while the imprisonment was occurring.
    I cannot believe any lawyer would give this creep a legal defence
    (it’s not like there is ANY DOUBT) … but most of all
    I cannot believe the reports that “the wife knew nothing” … the
    neighbours “knew nothing” … oh wait – this is AUSTRIA
    birthplace of HeilHerrHitler and Colonel Klink knew nothing as well.
    Fritzl should be humanely and immediately put to death –
    or put in the dungeon before it is bricked up.

  11. 11

    Mary Tracy9 said,

    I think Lara and L.M. have a point. The reason why Japan doesn’t get any criticism is most likely because they are a superpowerful capitalist ally, doing what every ally should do, ie: being superpowerful and capitalist. In comparisson, China, with its thousands of years of culture and wisdon, gets criticised left, right and centre for daring to be a (pseudo) comunist state.

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