Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rape Culture - some scenarios

Rape culture - Scenario 1.




What is rape culture? What does it mean? How does it affect your day to day life?
People much smarter, more eloquent and sucicint then I, have defined rape culture - check out some definitions here and here.

So I want to discuss the rape culture that I see. This is not the things that are maybe the most obvious and these are not things that come from those Rapists that are identifiable threats - you know the drunk guy in the alley way with the knife.

These are things that I see in men (and women). Men and women that I really like and that for most cases, love, adore and respect. It's not that these people are assholes, it's that because we live in a rape culture, they don't realise (and neither did I for a long time) that this shit sounds acceptable because just about everybody is doing it! A few scenarios to help us on our way...the first after the jump...

Scenario One (the others to come in a later post)Discussing the alleged rape of two women by men from a suburban football club (News story here) with a couple that we know (We = Hubby and I. Hubby shall henceforth be known as Strumpet Wrangler :D )

Questions that were asked/ Comments that were made about the story of the alleged rape (not direct quotes, obviously):
  • Who goes back to a house with a group of men/football team?
  • I wonder if they were drunk.
  • Apparently they were out partying with the same guys the next night
  • Apparently some guys were holding back until the Captain of the team went into the room, and then they all thought it was okay.
  • I think that guys that were there but had little or no involvement will end up taking the fall for the guys who actually did it.
Out of those 5 comments 3 are about the behaviour of the women involved.

Let's look at those top 3 comments a little closer. The first two basically are saying if they were drunk and if they did go back with the group of guys willingly then they somehow are partly to blame for being raped. These are comments that I seem to hear every time I discuss sexual assault and rape.


We need to stop this shit people. When you hear it, call the person out.



No one is asking to be raped. Do not proportion blame on to the person who was raped. 
Because NO ONE asks to be raped - not with the level of their sobriety, not with there amount of clothes, not with the gender or number imbalance of the people they're with, not with the flirting they do, because NO ONE asks to be raped. Got it?

Also, in relation to those two comments, there is an implication that the girls being there, or being drunk, meant that they consented on some level. Well people, if you don't know already you should know by now - consent is fluid, consent is a negotiation, consent is not a present given and then held for evermore. That means that even in the unlikely event that you, semi naked, in your slutty* clothes, two sheets to the wind, decide that a gang bang with the suburban footie boys is a great idea, YOU are ALLOWED to change your mind. It is only right that you can say to yourself, yes sex seems like a good idea and then decide later on that you don't feel safe, you don't feel aroused, you don't feel like it, you feel tired, you feel like you would prefer to read a book or just that his breath smells bad. You have that right.

Oooo they went out partying with the same guys the next night. Does that mean rape didn't happen?
/sarcasm - Because never in the history of sexual relations between humans has rape occured and the survivor has still maintained contact with the rapist....Never ever /end sarcasm. Look, I understand that many people may think that if you had been raped the only reasonable response is to stay the fuck away from the rapist. I get that. But you have to remember, and think about how relations really work between men and women.

Bear with me a moment here... ** Ok, people with vaginas - put your hand up if this has never happened to you - in an interaction with a man, you tell him that a behaviour or action towards you, from him, is unwanted. This action/behaviour is of a sexual nature - whether it's in a bar, asking to buy you a drink, a pinch on the arse in a crowd at a fair. or a conversation that is flirtatious/sexual. So, you've made it clear to the guy that this behaviour is unwanted. The behaviour/action repeats. You repeat, with your body language or with your verbal language, or with a physical response (walk away, push the person off you etc) that the behavior is unwanted. Repeat ad nauseuom, with escalations on both side. That specific interaction/behaviour ends. You are upset, you are confused. The man apologises, he says it will never happen again. Maybe he says it didn't even happen that way, you've got it wrong, you lead him on, blah blah fucking blah. He's sorry, he's not that kinda guy. In that moment, you are convinced he is a nice guy, it was a bad mistake, he'll be better. But then later...you think on it, and you realise that the behavior was not wrong, was in fact really bad and deserves for him to be called out and held accountable.

And that realisation takes as long as it takes....it does. Ok so where are those women with their hands up? Are you there? Comment away please!


Whoa, this is talking longer then I thought to write out...I was hoping for a short pithy arrangement but that doesn't seem to be about to happen. Should be no suprise, I am known for my ***verbosity

On to point the 4. Is this what men are really like when it comes to sexual relations with women? That the leader of the group decdies something is okay, so then it must be fine for you to do? Really? C'mon...you men are better then this. You control your own sexual appetites, behaviours and morality. If you are claiming you are lead astray by the sexy women, or that you were coerced by the group you were in, you too are displaying those charactertics of being in a rape culture. Be men, be your own men, and be respectful men.

The last point -

If you're a man and you're reading this, or you know a man, make sure they know and understand the following comment - If you're in a situation that could be construed as rape and/or sexual abuse, then you shouldn't be in that situation at all! If you think what is happening is sorta wrong, then you a) need to try and put a stop to it and make sure the people involved are safe and b) not be in that situation - eg leave so that you are not a perpertrator of the abuse. I think this last comment also has a little bit of the old men get blamed for rape when they didn't do it, or were only in the vicinty. Once again, I refer you to the point above in bold!


So, after all I've written in the above, what really is the bloody point I'm trying to make. A few really:-

We live in a rape culture
It doesn't have to be this way
It won't stop being a rape culture until people are aware that it is a rape culture
In order for that to happen, people need to be held accountable for innappropriate behaviour - jokes, comments, interactions as well as the more identifiable abuses.

So what will you do to make people accountable? What's your little bit of difference...



Challenge me, argue with me, talk it out with me...Let's see how it goes....



Next post will still focus on rape culture and will be about the subtle abuses women face everyday - the arse touch, the comments, the boob brush...\



P.S Sorry if this is long winded and disjointed - I'm learning as I go along and trying to put into words my thoughts in a succint manner is harder then I thought!



*Slutty - I understand that this is a rape culture term, but was using it for sarcastic effect here.

**I understand that I'm talking about heteronormative relationships here - once again for illustration purposes.

*** Read: verbal and written, diarrhea!

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