Monday 18 March 2013

Some WTF questions for rape apologists post-Steubenville

The tidal wave of stupidity when it comes to discourse about rape has reached critical mass. Just when I thought it was impossible for any more vile, victim-blaming, ignorant tripe to be spewed forth, the Steubenville  rape trial guilty verdict was delivered. While this is an American case, the pathetic and sickening attitudes towards rape and rape victims, and the accompanying under-reporting of such crimes, are, tragically, universal.

Sanity prevailed briefly last year when all the Republicans who said moronic things about rape during the 2012 election campaign failed at the ballot box. After such bullfuckery as abortions resulting from "legitimate rape", women's bodies being able to "shut that thing down" so they wouldn't conceive during rape (Behold! The magic rape-repelling womb...), conceptions via rape being a "gift from God" (Shucks, bad luck if you're a pregnant atheist rape victim...), a "some girls rape easy" remark and some dickhead likening pregnancy out of wedlock to rape, it was heartening to see that such men (and, yes, it was a man in every idiotic instance) were not rewarded by voters.

But now we are back at square one.

Within moments of two "high school footballers" (that all-American euphemism for "fine, fit, promising young men") being found guilty of raping a 16-year-old in the Ohio town of Steubenville, there was an appalling torrent of invective towards the victim. With awful echoes of the Ched Evans case here in the UK, the "Jane Doe" victim's first name was revealed on Twitter along with threats of violence and vengeance. Fox News also managed to air her name.

And like the Ched Evans case, the rape apologists have crawled out from their sorry little holes to blame the victim. Jane Doe's heinous crimes, according to these intellectual bankrupts, include being drunk, not being a virgin, and wearing shorts and fitted top to a party. One particularly awful blog post - which I'm not going to link on my blog because it is too repulsive - added to the mire by saying that being drunk, wearing "immodest" clothes and attending a party all meant she was consenting to sex.

Further fools have displayed a total absence of logic by responding to the Steubenville case with a cry of: "But what about if men get raped?". If a woman is raped, this does not make the rape of a man any less of a crime. This is not how sane people respond to, say, the crime of burglary. "But what about all the men whose houses have been robbed?" Said nobody ever. Male and female rape victims should all feel equally able to come forward and report their attacks without fear or shame. Glad I've cleared that one up.

Meanwhile, two reporters at CNN jumped the shark with Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow having an on-air conversation that focused on the ruin of the "promising" lives of the rapists rather than the victim. (Here is a petition to sign to call for an on-air apology and here is a link to RAINN, where you can donate to help victims of sexual abuse)

Christ on a cracker, this is making my head explode. I ask the rape apologists these questions:

1. Do you actually understand consent? I realise that Jane Doe was 16, the age of consent for the state of Ohio, but do you seriously believe that a drunken, out-of-it teenager is able to consent to sex?

2. Do you think that women should expect to get raped if they are drunk? Should drunk men also expect to get raped? Or should men simply expect to wake up with something stupid drawn on their face with a Magic Marker if they pass out after too much alcohol? Is it too much to expect that if someone is drunk and incoherent, regardless of gender, that others will look after them, make sure they can get home safely and tuck them into bed to sleep it off without raping them?

3. Also, why do you think you can have it both ways and use drunkenness to both blame the victim and excuse the rapists? Try and answer me that one without sounding like a total douchenozzle.

4. At what point does a woman's outfit cross the line from "modest" to "asking for it"? Should we take rulers to parties to measure skirt length? Is one inch above the knee the equivalent of consent? Two inches? Three, four, five, six? What about necklines? How much cleavage is consent? Then there's the thorny issue of slutty, slutty shorts. Does wearing hot pants mean consent but not sensible, knee-length hiking shorts? How about a test of tightness for tops? Should promising young footballers consider a woman in a spandex top as consenting but not a woman in baggy T-shirt? What if she is wearing a baggy T-shirt with a short skirt? Honestly, this is a minefield...

5. If you truly believe that attending a party equals consent, would you mention this on the invitation next time you throw a party? Does the "party attendance equals consent" notion apply to all parties? Weddings? Bar mitzvahs? Is it only relevant to parties where alcohol is served? Does this mean that if Great Aunty Ethel has a few too many sherries at Christmas, she is asking for it?

6. Can you see already how ridiculous victim-blaming over alcohol consumption, choice of attire and party-attendance is?

7. If you can't see how ridiculous your victim-blaming is, ask yourself this: Why would anyone be interested in having sex with a woman who is barely conscious? What pleasure would one get from such an awful act? Why does the idea of forcing yourself on an inactive participant turn you on?

8. Are you so lacking in empathy that it would actually take the rape of a woman close to you to quit being a rape apologist? I am assuming you are opposed to murder regardless of whether anyone close to you has been murdered or not. Why should rape be any different?

9. Have you dared use the "but these boys were great students and now their lives are ruined!" defence? Surely if they were such role models, they'd know right from wrong by their age, no? In any case, this excuse has been blown out the window with news that one of the convicted rapists is going to appeal on the grounds that his brain isn't fully developed.

10. After all these questions, are you feeling like a creepy moron? I do hope so. Finally, why are you OK with a mentality that treats women no better than the Taliban does, with directives to cover up in case men are overcome with lust? Why are you OK with such an insulting view of men, a view that reduces them to animals unable to exercise any self-control in the presence of drunk women, women in certain outfits or women who have the temerity to attend parties?

If you are still a cretinous rape apologist after careful consideration of my questions, if you are still crying more tears for the ruination of the rapists' lives and not the victim, all I can do is request that you crawl back in your hole and stay away from the outside world. Rapists are to blame for rape. That is all.

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  1. Yep. Sad that you have to spel it out, but spot on.

  2. Georgia, totally agree. On a related point, you will no doubt have seen the appalling case of the Swiss tourist raped in India. The Indian police responded by saying the woman should not have been in the area, which (especially after the "bus rape" case) suggests the Indian police have a lot of work to do.

    Whilst it has no relevance to your points, I wish people would understand that alcohol is a legal recreational drug, and use it accordingly. However, that is unlikely to happen given the appalling state of drug education in the UK.


  3. Thank you everyone for your wise comments. Faith in human nature is temporarily restored. I was, however, called a "slag" on Twitter for writing this piece. There are some classy people out there...

  4. Hey Georgia, included your piece in this list:

    If you think being called a slag is bad, take a look at Soraya's most recent bit (last on the list).

  5. To Lori; the only way it could happen to them if they were raped themselves...having a daughter, etc. raped, though horrible, is mostly horrible for the victim, not the husband/father/uncle/friend of the victim. As a man and someone who has not been raped himself, that seems very obvious to me.
    I am very sorry for your own experience...and horrified at how frequent it is, how often it is intended, etc.