Feminist Aspie

“Rape is bad” and other things I assumed would be REALLY OBVIOUS.

on September 2, 2013

(Content warning: Discussion of rape and victim-blaming)

  • Rape is bad. Everyone with me so far? Are we all in agreement on this? Yes? Good. We’ve got this far, at least.
  • Rape is caused by rapists. In other words, if the rapist didn’t rape, the victim wouldn’t have been raped. If rapists just stopped raping people, people would no longer be raped. Still making sense?
  • Therefore, rape is not caused by any of the following: Being outside late at night, being outside alone, being outside in certain areas (many of which are totally unavoidable), being outside at all, having a lot of sex, not having a lot of sex, clothing choices, alcohol consumption, being conventionally attractive, etc, etc, etc. Firstly, if rapists ceased to exist, all the above “causes” couldn’t actually cause people to be raped.  In short, rape is never the victim’s fault. Secondly, many people somehow avoid all those “causes” yet still suffer rape because, well, they encountered a rapist. Consequently, the answer is not “just avoid dark streets at night”, especially as a lot of people can’t.
  • In fact, around 90% of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. So the solution isn’t “get a man to protect you” either, as many of the perpetrators are the very men who are meant to “protect” their victims; that rhetoric is not only false, it’s actually dangerous. Also, men can be raped tooand “you should have been accompanied by a man to protect you” is even more massively illogical when the person you’re talking to, the victim, is a man himself.
  • This should be so obvious it frankly needs its own bullet point: Rape is not caused by the victim being unable to fight off the rapist. If the rapist didn’t attack to begin with, the victim wouldn’t have to try and defend themselves. The rape is caused by the rapist. No one should be expected to fight off rapists all the time, let alone be blamed if the fight-back is unsuccessful. In fact, a lack of “fighting back” doesn’t necessarily mean consent; for example, not resisting due to fear is not true consent.
  • Joking about rape is really, really harmful; many of these jokes attempt to excuse rape, many make light of the physical and psychological damage to rape survivors, and all perpetuate a culture in which rape is “a fact of life”, normalised, even expected. Also, you never know who’s in your audience – in 2012 alone in the UK, 473,000 adults were victims of sexual offences, and that “harmless” joke could trigger flashbacks and other negative effects in any of them.
  • It is entirely possible to have a sense of humour that does not involve joking about rape (or anything else that can massively trigger people). Most people manage this with no problems at all. Standing up to people who joke about rape (etc) is absolutely not the same as “making men walk on eggshells” because a.) it’s really easy to not joke about rape, you just *don’t joke about rape* and b.) again, most men do not joke about rape or even think that would be okay. The same can be applied to the idea of being against sexist jokes generally “making men walk on eggshells”, being against racist jokes “making white people walk on eggshells”, etc, etc. That’s not how it works at all.
  • In fact, you know what is “making people walk on eggshells”? Making them scared to go out at night, or go out at all, or drink, or wear what they want, because if they happen to encounter a rapist they will be blamed for the rapist’s actions. In other words, victim blaming. And it has to stop.
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17 responses to ““Rape is bad” and other things I assumed would be REALLY OBVIOUS.

  1. autisticook says:

    Oh I love that juxtaposition of “being afraid to make jokes” and “being afraid of getting raped”! Really makes the point that seriously, what’s the worse of the two here? I’m still working on my scripts to deal with people who complain about not being able to make jokes.

    • I’ve heard that a great way to respond to (for example) sexist jokes is to say “I don’t get it”, ask for explanation/clarification, and watch the other person squirm as they desperately try not to say (for example) “it’s funny because women are stupid”. However, I’ve yet to actually try this. 😛

      • ischemgeek says:

        I’ve done it. It’s very amusing. The biggest difficulty for me is in not giggling sadistically as I watch them squirm over it, but I tend to smile when I’m confused anyway, so it makes it easier to pull it off.

        “I don’t get it. What’s funny?”

        “Oh, well, you know.”

        “Know what?”

        “Er. Well, never mind.”

        “Never mind what? I’d like to get the joke.”

        Etc. Eventually they’ll often apologize or leave the conversation.

        The other way I call it out is to state the punchline in a non joking way, with obvious, over-exaggerated sarcasm. “I get it, it’s funny because [bigoted punchline]! Haha, that’s hilarious! Wait, it’s not. At all.”

        Or just raise an eyebrow and go, “Wow. Just wow.”

      • I’ve just remembered this “43 ways to say “That’s Sexist””post exists: http://menagainstassholesandmisogyny.tumblr.com/post/40530781133/raphael-bob-waksberg-is-a-maam

        I particularly like 6 in terms of “things I would actually use”, but 17 is BRILLIANT.

      • autisticook says:

        Ooooh, thank you for the script! That sounds like fun!

        And this:

        I get it, it’s funny because [bigoted punchline]! Haha, that’s hilarious! Wait, it’s not. At all.

        Is just awesome.

  2. ischemgeek says:

    Yes. This. All of it.

    Other things that don’t cause rape: “Misunderstandings” from “blurred lines” or “mixed signals.” Available research suggests that sexual predators know damn well what they’re doing is non-consensual (in fact, if you keep the r-word out of your question, a lot of rapists will admit to it in surveys), and purposefully construct the situation such that they can then use the “blurred lines”/”mixed signals” narrative.

    Which is why I find that Robin Thicke song so fucking creepy since it’s basically Date Rape The Song, but anyway.

    • YES. THIS. ALL OF THIS. 😦

      • ischemgeek says:

        See, at least when Stone Temple Pilots did rapey lyrics they did it intentionally in a song specifically about rape.

        … What makes Thicke’s song so creepy to me is that he’s so unaware of its creepiness. STP went for creepy, disturbing, dark and vile. That was the point. Thicke? Went for frat boy party. *shudder*

      • ischemgeek says:

        not yet. Have seen the gender-swapped version by Mod Carousel. There’s only so much of that song structure I can take in a day, though, so I’ll probably watch it tomorrow

        I really do not get why that song is so popular, as I find it rather droning and dreary. It’s not cheery enough to be Justin Timberlake or Katie Perry-esque bubblegum pop, but not desperate or dark enough to be a dance-to-forget type pop like some of Usher’s or Ke$ha’s stuff, and it’s not catchy enough to be a Lady Gaga-esque earworm. It’s just there. And meh.

        At least with Katie Perry, I can get why others like her stuff even if I don’t. Pop is supposed to be either about having fun, (as with bubblegum pop – pretty much anything by Taylor Swift, One Direction, or Carly Rae Jepsen fall under this) or about dancing so you forget how shitty your life is (as with desperation pop, which is less about having fun and more about feeling and forgetting, often with morbid overtones – Gaga’s Just Dance or Ke$ha’s Die Young or Usher’s DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again fall in this category). This is neither. It’s about as fun as getting a filling when you’re needle-phobic but nowhere near as hypnotic as the dance-to-forget stuff. Why is it popular? Don’t get it.

      • notesoncrazy says:

        I’m digging the parody overall, but I think they missed a good opportunity by saying: “If you want to get nasty, just don’t harass me, you can’t just grab me,” because while that is VERY TRUE and an EXCELLENT POINT (please don’t get me wrong!), I personally would have included somewhere something along the lines of “just f***ing ask me.” Because while it’s pretty horrible to think you have the right to treat women – or anyone – as sexual objects, it’s also a little one-sided and not very reflective of women in general to assume all women who fight discrimination and take pride in their bodies and their sexuality prefer vibrators to dicks and unanimously oppose being sexually submissive.

        I really do like the video’s message. It’s really well done and funny too, and the original Robin Thicke one creeps me out to no end, but ignoring “unconventional” sexual preferences because they can mimic rape with the very big exceptions of being safe and consensual can actually lead to more rape, as in NOT safe, and NOT consensual. I know I’m off track and this isn’t super relevant to the post, but I’m going to make my point anyway real fast: when the idea is spread that it’s wrong to want to feel dominated or have rape fantasies, or that the only way to express wanting to be sexually dominant yourself is through rape, that leads to submissive women feeling that the price to pay for exploring their sexuality is betraying their gender, and it leads to dominant men confusing dominance with rape – which leads to guilt and shame at one extreme, and turning to acts of sexual harassment and rape at the other.

        tl;dr – You can spend your days out in the trenches fighting chauvinism and your nights being a sub and calling your bf/gf/husband/wife/whatever Sir/Madam/Master…and there doesn’t need to be even a hint of hypocrisy as long as everyone involved is happy and safe.

      • autisticook says:

        Really good point Natilly, because it’s exactly those examples that will always make bigoted persons exclaim “See! BLURRED LINES! How am I supposed to know!” CONSENT. Simple. And no, you are not going to tell me that the women in Thicke’s video “consented”. Because, silly bigoted person: POWER DYNAMICS. You don’t say no to the person paying your salary. That’s why harassment at work is a thing. For men and women alike.

      • I’ve just seen it. It’s BRILLIANT.

  3. Why doesn’t everyone know all this by now? 😡

  4. hehehe says:

    My granma: it’s wrong to hit a woman when she’s lying on the floor. Rape is difficult to prove sorry to sound cynical about it .

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