Labor Day Repost: Rape Tuesday

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape, Camille Paglia

This is a repost from Sept. 9, 2008 that I originally wrote in response to a forum troll who claimed that women who are raped are asking for it, that women get away with assaulting men and then expect men to pay for them, that all statistics regarding unreported rape are stupid because how could you even measure such a thing, and then said that feminists think all men are rapists. I’ve polished it up a little bit from the original, which had some incomplete thoughts and typos

1. Women who are raped are asking for it by putting themselves at risk: A lot of people say things like “if you walked into gangland wearing a money suit, and you got robbed, nobody would feel sorry for you. So if a woman is flirting with a man she doesn’t know, and she puts herself in a position to get raped, then I won’t feel sorry for her.” The problem I have with this analogy is, not only is it a false equivalency, it’s glossing over a pretty serious cultural assumption. The first half of the analogy makes general sense. If a man is irresponsible with his valuables, it’s no surprise when he looses them. It’s not that robbing idiots is somehow less wrong than robbing the street smart, but we all understand there’s a certain percentage of every population that, for whatever reason, feels justified in taking from others. So it’s just a good habit to not to make yourself a target.

Let’s completely side-step the fact that if an idiot gets robbed it’s treated like a crime, the same as if anybody else had been robbed. Even if he was literally asking for it, he gets to seek justice the same as anybody else, which is not a right afforded to some women who are sexually assaulted. Let’s instead focus on the assumption that a woman’s ability to be fucked is her valuable, that her physical body is a commodity that people (men) are allowed to have for a price, but not to take for free. If we switch the analogy around and have a woman with a purse overflowing with money downtown at night getting robbed, that’s unfortunate, but she really should have watched her purse. Then let’s think of a guy hanging out with some fun new dudes from the bar, trading sex stories and getting drunk when all of a sudden they’re forcing sex on him against his will and because there’s more of them than him, they run a train on his ass and leave him bleeding in an alley. What did he expect? Those were strangers and he was outnumbered. He shouldn’t be drunk, alone with strangers anyway, plus the conversation got sexy? That dick-tease was begging for it. No one sane would think that. If a random dude was gang-raped by a group of other random dudes, people would be appalled. When a man is brutalized, it’s a weird, gross, and unfortunate crime done by criminal-ass people like every other fucking crime. This isn’t to say that we don’t have a whole other set of shitty cutural mores that keep men from reporting their own sexual assaults, but when it happens to a man, it’s generally thought to be because he was too woman-like in some way. When it happens to a woman it’s, because she wasn’t wearing gloves under her burqa (burqa wearing and clitorectomies have also been defended using the property analogy).

On the other hand, I’m also something of a realist. A lot of feminist fuss has been made over people like Camille Paglia who deride feminism for painting women as the victims and only the victims of rape. I don’t agree with her when she implies that girls who get drunk at frat parties shouldn’t be surprised when they get raped. But we do happen to live in a world where pussy is considered a commodity, which leads to the next issue I hear a lot of men bring up:

2.Women think that they should get everything because they’re girls and suffer no ill consequences for their actions. First of all, male, female or other, if a person expects to have everything given to them and refuses to accept the consequences of their actions, that person is an asshole. However, I have also noticed the tendency for some women to expect to be taken care of, as well as the tendency for women’s violent or shitty behavior towards men to be downplayed or disregarded. The former is a direct result of treating female sexuality like a commodity, and the latter is a direct result of living in a culture where rape is the punishment for women who misbehave. On the one hand, girls are raised to think that our sexuality is something that someone can steal from us, and that if we fail to protect this virtue, we will be raped. Women learn early on to fear the inappropriately sexy dress, the misunderstood friendship, the parking lot at night, the empty sidewalk, the suggestive walk, the sausage-fest party and so on. The prevailing idea is that once rape comes for you, you can do nothing to stop it. But when a woman extrapolates these arguments to make the assumption that her sexuality is not only a good that can be taken from her, but also a commodity that can be bartered for in exchange for things and special treatment, or that her physical strength is so minuscule and ineffectual that any violence she does to a man is inconsequential, she is derided for turning lemons into lemonade. What we need to do is stop treating sex as a commodity wholesale across the board and not just when in inconveniences societal stereotypes.

3. Unreported Rape: “Unreported” in this case refers to authorities that would have the capacity to prosecute the rapist. Anybody who’s ever taken a statistics class, or ran a poll, or been in a poll, or perhaps even anybody who has the capacity for analytical thought would realize that the way to determine unreported rape would be by a simple survey. Possibly one with two questions: 1. have you been raped? Did you report it? (Although the majority of these types of surveys have substantially more questions). The flaw, of course, in this survey is that if a person hasn’t reported their rape to the authorities, they may not be likely report it to a survey taker. Some level of anonymity could be guaranteed with an anonymous survey, but you’re still likely to have some people who still keep it to themselves. But this actually skews the data away from the unbeliever, and in favor of those who argue that rape is seriously unreported, which is my personal problem with the data: that it is inaccurate because it doesn’t actually reveal the scope of the issue at hand.

4. As for feminists thinking all men are rapists: What can I say, some feminists think that all men are rapists, some baptists think that all black people are monkeys. If you make broad generalizations about people who make broad generalizations, what kind of point are you actually making here?