It’s 1am, and I’m exhausted. I can’t sleep, though, until I get a few things off my chest.
I had thought it was pretty straightforward. The sentiment expressed in marxisforbros‘ response is pretty cut and dry: Women’s clothing should be irrelevant when it comes to rape (or sexual assault, or harassment, etc.).
Needless to say, I did not anticipate the resulting shitstorm. Currently, we’re at 55 comments (and counting).**
I, er, WHAT?? How did it come to this? Why are we debating rape? How is rape even debatable? I thought it was just common sense: rape is bad. Horrible. And that’s a gross understatement. Rape is never, ever, EVER the victim’s fault. To blame the victim is to further victimize them. To assume that rape ever occurs as a result of some action (or inaction on the victim’s part) is a result of sheer ignorance, or unwillingness to acknowledge the truth about rape. I had thought that these people, who I choose to call friends (be it on Facebook, or in the real world) were rather enlightened people. I had assumed that we were of similar minds, at least when it comes to issues like this. So how the hell did we end up with a thread that is 55 comments long, and caused at least two people to seriously question our relationships, and our society as a whole?
I bet you were expecting me to give you an answer, huh? Well, sorry, kids. I ain’t got one. Not this time.
Seriously. I’m confounded. I knew that people thought this way. Hell, I’m a religious follower of STFU, Conservatives, STFU, Sexists , and Cognitive Dissonance…I see posts with this type of insanity all the time. But it’s a little bit different, seeing the blurred avatars on a 13″ screen when you have distance–both geographical and emotional–from the people involved. When you realize that these are people who you know…the very same people you’d be likely to turn to if–god forbid–something were to happen to you…it’s jarring, to say the very least.
I feel sick. I feel sick because people still feel the need to justify rape, even when they don’t know that’s what they’re doing. I’m angry, but not just at some of the people who posted. No, what angers and disturbs me even more is the silence. You see, I currently have 456 friends on Facebook. How many engaged in this conversation? 10? (I don’t feel like counting. I hope you understand.) And of those, how many bothered to support my end of the debate? Yeah. It isn’t that no one agrees with me. I’ve had friends tell me they do, whether it be in a message as a result of this thread, or in some other, independent conversation. Yet their absence here seems profound. My entire point, in the original post, throughout this debate, has been that there is a HUGE freaking problem with the fact that we hold the victim responsible when it comes to rape. As a society, we antagonize those who have already been attacked and abused. The fact that no one wants to speak up in defense; that no one is willing to step forward and challenge this antiquated, sexist ideology kind of punctuates that.
According to a number of studies, 60% of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported. Do you think that the stigma; the fact that so many people look to blame the victim, or immediately assume that any accusations of rape or sexual assault are false might have anything to do with that?
I’m sorry if this post isn’t terribly cohesive. I’m not lying when I say I’m exhausted. This has me completely drained. Before I go to bed and hope for pleasant dreams that have nothing to do with sexual assault or rape apologists, though, I’ve got one last thing to add to the conversation. The best tips I’ve seen to date with regard to how to avoid rape/sexual assault:
**My apologies for the choppy screenshots. Whenever I tried to take it all as one piece, I wound up with a bunch of lines either missing, or compressed. You can click on each chunk to make it larger. (And if you know of a good, free screenshot tool, let me know. I’m currently using Screen Capture for Chrome.)
***Although I’ve linked directly to the conversation, my Facebook privacy settings might not let you see it. I’m sorry about that, too, but I don’t feel like changing my settings at the moment.