Redefining Rape and Reinforcing Rape Culture

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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.

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24 responses »

  1. ” 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.”
    This was embarrassing to read. Tinfoil hats sound fun.

    “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?””
    …We do all of this.

    You sound like the type of woman that’d tell everyone she almost got raped because a man smiled at her

    • I know for a fact that girls are taught to “not get raped” and boys are insignificantly explained not to bully others and respect their personal space. Boys are not taught at any age about rape and the absolute betrayal both body and soul of the person raped. It is disgusting that you would insinuate that she would tell someone she almost got raped because a man smiled at her! That sort of attitude is exactly what Karen is explaining is WRONG with this society. Young men go around displaying their raping a victim to friends as if it was a victory and glorious. It isn’t until a person of good concience sees it and reports it that many of these victims actually come to any form of punishment. Karen actually looks at this correct and finds it as abhorently inhumane as most of concience.
      At what age is it morally acceptable to blame a female or her family for her rape? Is it the newborn taken as her mother is choosing diapers then raped? Is it the 3yr old taken while hiding in a clothing rack then raped? Is it a 5yr old taken while walking to school then raped? It is the 9yr old taken while on her way to the corner store then raped? Is it the 11
      yr old who snuck out to visit her friends then raped? Is it the 15yr old taken from the mall then raped? Is it the 18yr old taken from her prom then raped? Is it the 21yr old taken from the bar then raped? Is it the 40yr old leaving a late night shift taken then raped? Is it the 65yr old raped in her own bed? The answer is NONE!!!!!! It is NOT acceptable to blame a female or her family for her rape under ANY circumstances! The ONLY person that is to blame is the RAPIST!~

    • Wow, you sound like a fucking asshole, Embarrassed. I was raped at 4 by my 35 year old stepfather. I guess it was my fault, right douchebag?

      • Shaina, kudos for telling of this prick.

        No child, let alone a woman, should *ever* be raped and should certainly *never* be made to feel responsible. I am so sorry that you were put through that, if I had it my way rapists, especially those who rape children, would be castrated.

    • Embarrassed, you should be. You have written a post that epitomizes the sort of sloth the author is referring to. One of the difficult parts of being a man in any part of a sophisticated society ia that there still exists Neanderthals like you. Just saying, dude… get a damned education of some kind.
      Check out these awesome people: http://rinj.org

      • I love that group, Rape is No Joke.

        Thank you, Daris. You, sir, are a real man. Thank you, a million times, thank you. 🙂

  2. Thank you for so clearly articulating that which I have thought forever. When we teach our young men to respect our young women this will end.

  3. Pingback: Misogyny in America: It’s Everywhere and It | Elephant Ocean

  4. Pingback: Misogyny in America: It Really is Everywhere | Elephant Ocean

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