Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some answers on Rape Culture and why you can't stop yourself being raped.

Some of my girlfriends read this post and they made questions along these lines:
Saying that a girl isn't thinking about her safety by going somewhere with a group of men isn't being sexist, it's just about safety. 

I'm paraphrasing of course, but I think that was the gist of their comments (apologies if I'm misrepresenting you, my loves!).

I couldn't answer you at the time, except to say THAT is exactly the problem and THAT is rape culture right there.

Having pondered on it, I can now (hopefully) answer you better. And maybe these things could help too.

Maybe it isn't safe to go somewhere with a group of guys.  Maybe it is.  The point is, as long as we question what a woman was doing in a given situation where she was raped, verbally  or sexually abused or had her safety threatened we are blaming her.  We are saying that she COULD have done something different.  And when does that stop?  And who gets to decide? And when is it unsafe? (especially considering you are more likely to be raped or sexually assualted by someone you know)

Is it unsafe when you have drunk too much? How much is too much? 1 drink, 4 drink, 10 drinks?

When your skirt is too short? How short? How tight?

When you were too flirty? What's flirty? Who decides?

When you were with too many strangers? How many is too many? When does a person become someone you can know and trust?

When you were dancing suggestively? What makes it suggestive? How should you dance?

When you were having intimate interactions with someone? At what point does it mean that you were 'up for it'?  When does it become 'too late to back out'?

As long as we make these calls on women - What were they doing there? How come they were that drunk? Why were they wearing that, at that time, at that location -  we are placing the onus on women to keep themselves safe, to keep themselves from being raped.  At what point do we stop limiting ourselves and our actions to be safe?  We can't stop ourselves from being raped, anymore then we can stop being smited by a vengeful sprite :D. 

We can't stop it happening to us, because we can't do anything to cause it.  That is not meant to frighten you, it is meant to free you.  Women can't stop rape occuring to them, because it's not our actions (or inactions) that cause rape.

Rapists cause rape.
Rapists are the only ones who can stop it.

(I understand that there is actions women can take to educate men (who are the people most likely to rape other people, especially women) about consent, but that is not the argument I am refuting, or the point I am trying to make.  Hope that makes sense...)

1 comment:

  1. Just so, ProfPS.

    I think we have to start chanting this all the time, over and over and over, until finally it gets heard:

    Rapists cause rape.
    Rapists are the only ones who can stop it.