Thursday, March 21
I originally started writing this blog post before I heard about Streubenville. I decided to redo it completely to focus on this case rather than on the general problem of victim blaming.
After reading through the full text, I would like to add a warning here: I was pretty annoyed, so I used a few swearwords I usually don’t use. You have been warned…
One definite tag about this case is rape culture. Now, being European, I wonder how can something as asinine as rape ever be considered cultural, but I get it, nevertheless. The wording might be misleading, what is behind it, however, is not any less ugly for being dubbed ‘culture.’
In case you are not American, like me, you might not have heard much about the case (I mostly read about it in several blogs), so I will do a brief summary of it: A young girl of 16 who got completely drunk (not something special these days, binge drinking seems to be a sport for teenagers these days) was not only raped by two of her classmates (the boys were 16 and 17 themselves), but carried around from party to party, repeatedly raped, undressed, humiliated. Videos and pictures were made of the incident, people sent each other text messages about it. And the media ended up online on all social media sites. So far, so ugly. Because of the abundance of material online and hacker groups that made the case public, using the media, the rape case that might have disappeared in some folder in some archive became widely known. It’s one of the few cases of rape worldwide in which there was no doubt whatsoever about what the perpetrators did. It’s all on tape (well, in bits and bytes these days), for all to see. There’s no real problem in proving what happened, who did it ‒ or even who did the pictures/videos of it. One should think that the public would want to skin the two teenage rapists alive, for all the terrible things they and their friends did to a completely helpless and defenceless girl, right? Dead wrong.
Ever since the verdict (which is being considered harsh by a majority, definitely not by me) there have been a lot of people, men and women alike, attacking the victim and moaning about how those boys’ bright future was taken away from them.
A little wakeup call for you all: those ‘poor boys’ took advantage of a young girl, a minor, not in a state to defend herself or even plead for help. They not only raped her and humiliated her in front of classmates and other people she most likely has to face on a daily basis. No, they even took videos and pictures (or let others take them) and put them online, for everyone in the whole f*cking world to see. All they regret is making the pictures (‘cuz otherwise there wouldn’t have been proof). They destroyed a life and called it fun. They deserve having their ‘bright future’ destroyed. As a matter of fact, they would deserve a much longer sentence, preferably in a normal prison (where, I’m sure, some of the guys would take great delight in showing them how ‘fun’ it is on the other side of the dick). Seriously, America: you can sentence teenagers to death, even though there’s clear proof they don’t have mental capacity to see they did something wrong, but you can’t sentence a person to more than three years in a juvenile facility for rape?
And this is where we come to the old art of victim blaming. If you (and here we come to the way this post originally started) get run over in the street by a drunk driver, whose fault is it? The fault of the drunk driver. If you have your purse stolen by some guy in the street, whose fault is that? The fault of the thief. But if you happen to be a woman and some absolute asshole decides to rape you, whose fault is that? Yours!
Is it just me or is there something wrong with the logic above? The only person who can definitely prevent a crime is the perpetrator. It’s even easy for them: just don’t do it. Don’t drive when drunk. Don’t steal ladies’ purses in the street. And don’t rape a woman! Everything else is 90 % luck and 10 % damn luck. Yes, you can take a walk in the evening for fifty years and never get run over by a drunk driver ‒ because you’re lucky. Yes, you can go shopping for most of your life without ever having your purse stolen ‒ because you’re lucky. And you can spend your life without getting raped once ‒ because you’re lucky. Becoming a victim of crime most of the time is a simple case of ‘wrong place, wrong time.’ There are some which ‘had it coming’ ‒ such as hard-hearted businessmen who ran their competition to the ground on purpose and get killed by a relative or close friend of a competitor. But those are few and far in between. Most people who fall victim to a crime did nothing whatsoever to provoke or even deserve it. And with most crimes, society accepts that as a truth. The poor man who was shot in his house. The poor woman whose purse was stolen. The poor guy who was run over by a drunk driver.
So what makes rape special? Why do a lot of people automatically assume a woman who has been raped has done something to ‘deserve’ it? The most misogynist answer is: because far above 90 % of all rape victims are female. It’s a crime that is rarely (but sometimes) victimizing men. Everyone can get something stolen in the street. Everyone can get run over by a drunk driver. Everyone can get shot by a mad murderer on the loose. But in most cases it’s women who are raped. You could say rape is a hate crime against women, because it pretty much is.
But can women prevent rape? No. Psychologists and profilers who have interviewed sentenced rapists also asked them what a woman could have done to prevent the rape. The answers were always whatever the woman had not done: they should have worn less revealing clothes, they should have worn more revealing clothes, they should have screamed, they shouldn’t have screamed, they should have struggled, they shouldn’t have struggled. In other words: had she acted differently, I might not have done it. There have been rapes under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, while women leaving the house were all wearing a full-body one-man tent, for heaven’s sake! Now tell me how those women dressed up too skimpy. You can’t even be 100 % sure everyone wearing one of those tents is a woman, for crying out loud. As long as the guy is not built like Arnold during his best bodybuilding days, there’s no way of picking a guy in such a tent from a group of equally-tented women.
To get back to the Streubenville case: The girl who got raped was dead drunk. Obviously, if you ask me, she had no real friends, because those would have prevented things from happening. While being drunk is no excuse if you commit a crime (see drunk driving), being as drunk as she was makes you help- and defenceless. Everything she might have said (or rather babbled) in her state can’t be taken for face value. Even if she said something like ‘yes’ in this situation, that was no base for taking advantage of her. A person who is that far gone can’t make decisions. (Which is why such a person shouldn’t drive.) They can’t agree to anything. They can’t sign a business deal (every lawyer would level such a signature later on), so how should they be able to decide whether or not to have sex?
How can a person who is completely out of it still be the one to blame? Because, to put it misogynistic again, a lot of people have a simple equation in their minds: woman = slut. Every woman who is not locked away in a high tower surrounded by armies of dragons is a slut. And the girl from the tower is one the moment she gets freed, too. This is where lad culture and rape culture come in, because they created this picture of a woman. Or cemented it at least.
You could, probably, say that this whole rape and lad culture is a backlash from Feminism. Women started demanding rights and men reacted by degrading them to regain their superior position. Since this was no longer legally possible, they found other ways. Sexism, sexual assault, rape (the age-old classic, used in wars since the beginning of time). Things that we woman are vulnerable to. And to protect their cowardly asses, they changed perception. Rape is just a joke. Every woman should be happy to be a slut, because all the lads love a slut.
Guys, what should we women do to level the field again? Buy strap-ons and liquid ecstasy to turn the tables on you and rape ourselves a few guys? Grab every passing guy’s package to check him out? Start calling you dick-heads to make up for all the times you call us cunts? Do you want to reap what you sow? Do you want to experience first-hand what it is like to get degraded and used by a group of women (with pictures and videos posted of the ‘event’ afterwards)?
Rape is not a joke. Rape is a terrible crime that destroys the victims life. Rape is not a subject for jokes of any kind, either. Do you joke about murder? About terrorism? About drunk driving? Do you look at another guy and say ‘boy, that one deserves to get run over by a car tonight … hand me the beer, I’ll do him later?’
A woman who likes sex is not an object and not a slut. A woman has the same right to enjoy consent sex than a man has. The church might not be over the virgin-whore dichotomy, but the church still isn’t over virgin birth, celibacy for priests, and child molestation, either. A woman is a person, a human being, with all the needs that includes.
And don’t break it down to ‘that could have been your wife/daughter/sister/mother.’ Yes, it could have happened to someone you have known personally. Every man on this planet knows women. Relatives. Friends. Acquaintances. That is not the point, however. A human being has the right not to be subjected to violence. A woman is a human being. This means, as a logical conclusion: A woman has the right not to be subjected to violence. Rape is violence. Logical conclusion: A woman has the right not to be raped. It doesn’t matter whether she is an orphan all alone in the world or the middle one of twenty children, married and with a huge family of her own.
Which brings me to the final topic: false rape. Yes, there are some cases in which women falsely accuse men of rape. Very few cases overall. There are cases in which the rape can’t be proven or, at any rate, the guilt of the accused can’t be proven. In those cases, the accused is declared ‘not guilty,’ which doesn’t necessarily mean ‘innocent.’ Yet, because of those few cases, every woman who reports being raped is treated as if she is a liar and up to no good.
But: there are cases every day (many more than false rape cases) in which people report false burglaries to cheat their insurance company out of some money. Does that mean you automatically scream ‘cheater!’ whenever someone claims there has been a break-in?
Again we have the bias: it was a woman + she has reported a rape = she’s a lying slut.
Stop doing this! If you give a man accused of rape the benefit of doubt (which, as much as it pains me to write this, he deserves until he’s sentenced), at least give the woman reporting the rape the same benefit of doubting she is a lying slut. If you find out later she’s been lying and wanted to, say, blackmail the man, you can call her a liar. But never, ever, under any circumstance, can you call a woman a slut.
Ok, after this long rant, a few words to say goodbye: Fight rape culture! If you’re a mother/aunt/other woman a boy or young man might listen to, make it clear for them that this ‘culture’ isn’t worth embracing. If you’re a man yourself, set an example and step in when you encounter those everyday acts of sexism and sexual assault. Step in when you encounter rape, either by stopping it yourself or, if you’re not strong enough, by calling the police. Our only chance to kill this monster is to turn others away from it. It’ll die without support. Cease victim blaming. Nobody deserves to be raped (or run over by a drunk driver, or getting their purse stolen, or being shot). If everyone who is not into this whole sh*t starts acting against it, we will win.