Our culture is fucked up. Profoundly and irrevocably so. For reasons I cannot fathom (perhaps my mind isn’t closed enough or my heart not small enough) our culture has an unnerving and a disturbing habit of blaming and shaming victims of violent crimes, particularly of rape. As a woman and a mother this is unsettling to me on so many levels.
We live in culture that teaches our daughters to not get raped rather than our sons to not rape. We live in a culture that teaches women to fear being alone at night, to not wear certain styles of clothing for fear of attracting a rapist, to not drink at a party or flirt with a man because it might invite him to rape us. Never mind the facts. Never mind that nearly half of rape victims are children. Never mind that the majority of rapists are acquainted with the victim. Never mind that majority of rapes occur in or near the victims own home. Fuck all truth and logic because clearly the victim was begging for it….The mind reels.
We live in a culture that, instead of jumping to the defense of rape victims, shames them and degrades them and leaves them feeling abandoned and doubly violated. The victim is asked all sorts of irrelevant questions: Why were you there? Why were you alone? What were you wearing? Were you drinking? Do you give him any indication that you wanted to have sex? All that these questions succeed in doing is placing the blame on the victim by implying that if the victim hadn’t been there or worn that or gone out unchaperoned or had a few drinks, then nothing untoward would have happened to her. Isn’t it enough that the victim has been violated, most likely by someone who is brandishing some kind of weapon? Hasn’t the victim suffered enough at the hands of the ass-wipe, scumbag, piss-poor excuse for a human being who violated their body? Must we really pile onto their pain with thinly veiled accusations that somehow, on some level, the victim asked for it?
Essentially, we live in a culture that is sending a message to our daughters, and by extension our sons, that by sheer virtue of being born a woman we must accept that someday someone might rape us and that we, as women, must bear the sole responsibility of preventing rape and to do all we can to not provoke it. Because, as this brilliant picture says, we must presume that all men are mindless sex-machines hardwired to bang anything that moves regardless of its willingness to engage.
Instead of treating rape victims like sluts, instead of teaching women to hide themselves under yards of fabric or to never leave the house, instead of presuming that men are incapable of controlling themselves, why not educate people from a young age to respect their bodies and the bodies of others? Why not teach children, in more advanced and detailed language as they age, about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching? Why not teach, “DO NOT RAPE,” rather than, “DON’T GET RAPED?” Really, this is what we should be doing.
Instead there are people, many of them lawmakers, most of whom are males in the GOP, who want to redefine rape; supposedly in effort of preventing abortion, although I am inclined to think that it is more the result of a sick and twisted need to own and control the bodies of women. Regardless of their reasons for such callousness, the use of such hurtful terms as “legitimate rape” and the utterance of such heartless statements as telling victims that they should either “relax and enjoy it” or “make the best of a bad situation,” is demented beyond measure.
To insist that there are two types of rape, “legitimate and “illegitimate” (read, “might have deserved it” and “definitely deserved it”), is to feed into the myth that some women ask to be raped. By claiming that, in the event of a so-called legitimate rape, a woman’s body will prevent pregnancy (never mind that this is categorically untrue) suggests that pregnancy is proof that the victim, on some level, actually enjoyed herself. The words and deeds of these “men” will ultimately only serve to perpetuate the lies about rape, to undermine the pain of the victim, and to reinforce our rape culture.
No one, neither male nor female, should stand for this blatant, cruel, and hateful disregard for the bodies and lives of rape victims. The true mark of a civilized society is how it treats the marginalized and abused; therefore, until our society puts an end to our rape culture and stands against the lies that serve only to revictimize the victims, then we cannot reasonably consider ourselves to be civilized.