— Desmond Tutu, ‘To protect our children, we must talk to them about rape’ (via guardiancomment)
[TW: rape jokes] So here’s the real reason that rape jokes are troubled territory -
Because rape victims say so.
They get to say that. They get to feel that way. On this, they get to set the cultural rules.
It’s not about right or wrong, or logic versus emotion, or arguments of over sensitivity or hypocrisy - you have the free speech to make whatever jokes you want or talk about rape in whatever way you feel is illuminating. But they get to be upset about it. And call you on it. And be hurt by it.
But consider this:
You get to not be a rape victim.
They, however, are not afforded that luxury. Ever again."
— Chuck Wendi (via lavenderlabia)
If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:
it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)
it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)
it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)
it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)
it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)
it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)
it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)
it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)
If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.
And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.
Women who are taught not to speak up too loudly or too forcefully or too adamantly or too demandingly are not going to shout “NO” at the top of their goddamn lungs just because some guy is getting uncomfortably close.
Women who are taught not to keep arguing are not going to keep saying “NO.”
Women who are taught that their needs and desires are not to be trusted, are fickle and wrong and are not to be interpreted by the woman herself, are not going to know how to argue with “but you liked kissing, I just thought…”
Women who are taught that physical confrontations make them look crazy will not start hitting, kicking, and screaming until it’s too late, if they do at all.
Women who are taught that a display of their emotional state will have them labeled hysterical and crazy (which is how their perception of events will be discounted) will not be willing to run from a room disheveled and screaming and crying.
Women who are taught that certain established boundaries are frowned upon as too rigid and unnecessary are going to find themselves in situations that move further faster before they realize that their first impression was right, and they are in a dangerous room with a dangerous person.
Women who are taught that refusing to flirt back results in an immediately hostile environment will continue to unwillingly and unhappily flirt with somebody who is invading their space and giving them creep alerts.
People wonder why women don’t “fight back,” but they don’t wonder about it when women back down in arguments, are interrupted, purposefully lower and modulate their voices to express less emotion, make obvious signals that they are uninterested in conversation or being in closer physical proximity and are ignored. They don’t wonder about all those daily social interactions in which women are quieter, ignored, or invisible, because those social interactions seem normal. They seem normal to women, and they seem normal to men, because we were all raised in the same cultural pond, drinking the same Kool-Aid.
And then, all of a sudden, when women are raped, all these natural and invisible social interactions become evidence that the woman wasn’t truly raped. Because she didn’t fight back, or yell loudly, or run, or kick, or punch. She let him into her room when it was obvious what he wanted. She flirted with him, she kissed him. She stopped saying no, after a while.
These rules for social interactions that women are taught to obey are more than grease for the patriarchy wheel. Women are taught both that these rules will protect them, and that disobeying these rules results in punishment."
I’ll be posting more portions from this piece; the entire thing was something I read early on in my feminist awakening that made a whole bunch of concepts come crashing into place for me.
What I do want to tell you is that you need to stop using the “wives, sisters, daughters” argument when you are talking to people defending the Steubenville rapists. Or any rapists. Or anyone who commits any kind of crime, violent or otherwise, against a woman.
In case you’re unfamiliar with this line of rhetoric, it’s the one that goes like this:
You should stop defending the rapists and start caring about the victim. Imagine if she was your sister, or your daughter, or your wife. Imagine how badly you would feel if this happened to a woman that you cared about.
Framing the issue this way for rape apologists can seem useful. I totally get that. It feels like you’re humanizing the victim and making the event more relatable, more sympathetic to the person you’re arguing with.
You know what, though? Saying these things is not helpful; in fact, it’s not even helping to humanize the victim. What you are actually doing is perpetuating rape culture by advancing the idea that a woman is only valuable in so much as she is loved or valued by a man.
The Steubenville rape victim was certainly someone’s daughter. She may have been someone’s sister. Someday she might even be someone’s wife. But these are not the reasons why raping her was wrong. This rape, and any rape, was wrong because women are people. Women are people, rape is wrong, and no one should ever be raped. End of story.
A gang rape happened in Ohio and no one heard about it. A gang rape happened in India and everyone heard about it (as we should). The American media has represented India as a misogynistic country where women need to be constantly wary of the men that surround them. And after that gang rape, large-scale protests blocked the streets and clogged the media. Now, I am in no way saying that rape and domestic violence are not problems in India. As an Indian-American woman who has been to India many times and is incredibly familiar with the culture, I am in no way denying that. Rape, in India, is a serious problem. Rape, especially in lower class areas in India, is an extremely prevalent problem that needs to stop being ignored and taken seriously. Violence against women in India is a serious issue.
But violence against women in America is also a serious problem. Violence against women in South Africa, and Sweden, and Chile, and Thailand, is a serious problem. Violence against women is a serious problem. Period. Full stop. While our media went out representing India as a typical place for these deplorable events to happen, another woman’s similar story went ignored and without subsequent societal action. This country outright refuses to admit that it is a rape culture.
Our media and our country are so obsessed with presenting foreign countries as worse than us or uncivilized or, most importantly, undemocratic, they will blast our radios and timelines and homepages with news of rapes in India, but refuse to acknowledge that the same thing happens here and is happening here."
— Anisha Ahuja, Why Does America Pretend it Doesn’t Hate Women? (Feminspire.com)
— Excerpted from What A Victim-Blaming World Looks Like To A Victim — an absolute must read in its entirety. Thanks to @brokeymcpoverty for bringing this to my attention. Trigger warning for references to sexual assault (both male and female)
— Emily McGuire, Princesses and Pornstars (via thenewwomensmovement)
When rapists engage in sex acts without bothering to gain their sex partner’s consent, they are not “accidentally” raping someone. Rapes don’t come from miscommunication. They are not isolated, unpreventable incidents. They are a product of institutionalized, reinforced, life-long privilege. They are the symptoms of a flaw in the rapist’s entire worldview. They are the product of the way the rapist has habitually devalued women, laid claim to the bodies of others, pursued what he wants no matter what—and never thought anything of it because he has never been called on it. That’s not an accident. That’s a system."
Legal Consent, Morning-After Regret, and “Accidental” Rape | Amanda Hess | The Sexist (Washington City Paper)
This is perfect
It’s often the girl herself, and her parents, who are vilified and receive death threats for daring to expose the crime in the first place. Raped boys, too, dare not complain: A few years ago, after rookies on the Mepham High School (Long Island) football team were sodomized with broom handles, golf balls and pine cones in a pre-season hazing ritual, the rookies’ parents got anonymous death threats for standing up for their brutalized sons"
In the distorted logic of the sexual marketplace, rape is a crime inasmuch as it defiles the sexual good that the female body is, making it unfit for further consumption of her legal (or prospective) consumer, i.e., her husband. A raped woman is a damaged good: she can’t be sold by her father or enjoyed by her husband.
Theories of sexual aggression and victimisation have been shedding light on the role of rape myths in the perpetuation of sexual assault. Literature, history, philosophy and medicine have been instrumental, epistemologically, in spreading afar and justifying male aggression against women, by cordoning off the female world behind the bars and barricades of definitions, codes, conduct, terminology, phraseology, medical and religious lexicon, thus not just creating, but rather, enthusiastically accepting the rapist as a punisher of loose women (since ‘only sexually wanton girls get raped; they ask for it’).
Numerous rape narratives in literature have demonstrated that the rapist, often a member of the aristocracy or business class, such as in Samuel Richardson’s classic Pamela, or Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, doesn’t suffer as much social vilification as he undergoes a moral struggle within himself as a revolt against his heinous act. Further, literature has been implicit in perpetuating the myth that women secretly covet rape; that they mean ‘yes’ when they say ‘no’; they just act coy or resist to prolong the sexual titillation; at the base of it, no woman can refuse a sexual advance — the refusal is always a disguised and tacit approval.
Someone who accuses you of “creating drama” in this case is basically saying that abusing & raping one’s partner might be bad, but making people feel weird about it at parties is worse."