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the-cat“You want to say Hi to the cute girl on the subway. How will she react? Fortunately, I can tell you with some certainty, because she’s already sending messages to you. Looking out the window, reading a book, working on a computer, arms folded across chest, body away from you = do not disturb. So, y’know, don’t disturb her. Really. Even to say that you like her hair, shoes, or book. A compliment is not always a reason for women to smile and say thank you. You are a threat, remember? You are Schrödinger’s Rapist. Don’t assume that whatever you have to say will win her over with charm or flattery. Believe what she’s signaling, and back off.

If you speak, and she responds in a monosyllabic way without looking at you, she’s saying, “I don’t want to be rude, but please leave me alone.” You don’t know why. It could be “Please leave me alone because I am trying to memorize Beowulf.” It could be “Please leave me alone because you are a scary, scary man with breath like a water buffalo.” It could be “Please leave me alone because I am planning my assassination of a major geopolitical figure and I will have to kill you if you are able to recognize me and blow my cover.”

On the other hand, if she is turned towards you, making eye contact, and she responds in a friendly and talkative manner when you speak to her, you are getting a green light. You can continue the conversation until you start getting signals to back off.

The fourth point: If you fail to respect what women say, you label yourself a problem.

There’s a man with whom I went out on a single date—afternoon coffee, for one hour by the clock—on July 25th. In the two days after the date, he sent me about fifteen e-mails, scolding me for non-responsiveness. I e-mailed him back, saying, “Look, this is a disproportionate response to a single date. You are making me uncomfortable. Do not contact me again.” It is now October 7th. Does he still e-mail?

Yeah. He does. About every two weeks.

This man scores higher on the threat level scale than Man with the Cockroach Tattoos. (Who, after all, is guilty of nothing more than terrifying bad taste.) You see, Mr. E-mail has made it clear that he ignores what I say when he wants something from me. Now, I don’t know if he is an actual rapist, and I sincerely hope he’s not. But he is certainly Schrödinger’s Rapist, and this particular Schrödinger’s Rapist has a probability ratio greater than one in sixty. Because a man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well.

So if you speak to a woman who is otherwise occupied, you’re sending a subtle message. It is that your desire to interact trumps her right to be left alone. If you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone. And each of those messages indicates that you believe your desires are a legitimate reason to override her rights.

For women, who are watching you very closely to determine how much of a threat you are, this is an important piece of data.”

 

an excerpt from Phaedra Starling’s “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced

“Can every one of my male followers read this? And please, before you get defensive (“I would never rape anyone!”) keep in mind, women being afraid of Shrodinger’s Rapists (oh my god i still can’t get over the encompassing brilliance of this phrase) is a conditioned, learned response from being immersed in rape culture and the evolution of sexism and sexual violence in our society from the day we’re born. And unfortunately, it’s very difficult to unlearn without the efforts of all genders to dismantle it.

Which is where you come in.”

You see it every day, the micro aggressions against people, the sexism, the put-downs.  Make your corner of the world a safe space for everyone, it is the least you can do as a decent human being.

 

Sometimes you just can’t pass up an opportunity to signal boost an important message.  Trigger warnings for Rape, Sexual Abuse, Rape Culture

Original Essay: The Not Rape Epidemic

*Trigger Warning*

Latoya’s Note: So, as promised, here’s the original version of the essay that appears in Yes Means Yes. If you see this popping up in your reader, I do not recommend you read it at work.

Rape is only four letters, one small syllable, and yet it is one of the hardest words to coax from your lips when you need it most.

Entering our teenage years in the sex saturated ’90s, my friends and I knew tons about rape. We knew to always be aware while walking, to hold your keys out as a possible weapon against an attack. We knew that we shouldn’t walk alone at night, and if we absolutely had to, we were to avoid shortcuts, dark paths, or alleyways. We even learned ways to combat date rape, even though none of us were old enough to have friends that drove, or to be invited to parties with alcohol. We memorized the mantras, chanting them like a yogic sutra, crafting our words into a protective charm with which to ward off potential rapists: do not walk alone at night. Put a napkin over your drink at parties. Don’t get into cars with strange men. If someone tries to abduct you, scream loudly and try to attack them because a rapist tries to pick women who are easy targets.

Yes, we learned a lot about rape.

What we were not prepared for was everything else. Rape was something we could identify, an act with a strict definition and two distinct scenarios. Not rape was something else entirely.

Not rape was all those other little things that we experienced everyday and struggled to learn how to deal with those situations. In those days, my ears were filled with secrets that were not my own, the confessions of not rapes experienced by the girls I knew then and the women I know now.

When I was twelve, my best friend at the time had met a guy and lied to him about her age. She told him she was sixteen and she did have the body to back it up. Some “poor hapless” guy sleeping with her accidentally would make complete sense – except for the fact that guy was twenty-five. He eventually slept with her, taking her virginity, even after he figured out how old we were. After all, it’s kind of a dead giveaway if you’re picking your girlfriend up at a middle school.

Another friend of mine friend shocked me one day after a guy (man really) walked past us and she broke down into a sobbing heap where we stood. She confided in me that when she was eleven she had a child, but her mother had forced her to put the child up for adoption. The baby’s father was the guy who had nonchalantly passed her by on the street. We were thirteen at the time, a few weeks shy of entering high school.

Later, I found out that she was at school when she met her future abuser/baby daddy. He was aware she was about eleven – what other age group is enrolled in Middle School? At the time, this guy was about nineteen. He strung her along in this grand relationship fantasy, helping her to cut school as they drove around and had sex in the back of his car. When she got pregnant with his child, he dropped her. However, living in the same area means she would run into him about once a month, normally leading to an outburst of tears or screaming fits on her end and cool indifference (with the occasional “you were just a slut anyway”) from him.

In high school, I had two Asian friends I was fairly close with. We would often end up hanging out after school at the mall with all the other teenagers our age. Occasionally, we would take the bus to the really nice mall in the upper class neighborhood, so we could be broke in style. It was there – in the affluent neighborhood – that my Asian friends dealt with the worst of their harassment. I can remember that each friend, on different occasions, was approached by older white men in their thirties and forties and quizzed about their ethnic backgrounds, ages, and dating status. These men always seemed to slip cards into their hands, asking them to call them later. My friends smiled demurely, always waiting until the man had gone before throwing their number away.

The years kept passing and the stories kept coming.

My ex-boyfriend had a friend who had been dating the same girl for about seven years. I found out the girl was eighteen at the time of their breakup. Eighteen minus seven equals what? The girl was eleven when they began dating while the man involved was nineteen. When the relationship ended, he was twenty-seven. I expressed disgust, and my ex had told me that while everyone else in their friend circle had felt the same way, the girl’s parents were fine with it, even allowing the guy to spend the night at their home. “Besides,” my ex offered nonchalantly, “she had the body of a grown woman at age eleven.”

Not rape came in other many other forms as well. No one escaped – all my friends had some kind of experience with it during their teen years.

Not rape was being pressured into losing your virginity in a swimming pool pump room to keep your older boyfriend happy.

Not rape was waking up in the middle of the night to find a trusted family friend in bed with you – and having nightmares about something that you can’t remember during the daylight hours.

Not rape was having your mother’s boyfriends ask you for sexual favors.

Not rape was feeling the same group of boys grope you between classes, day after day after day.

Not rape was being twelve years old, having a “boyfriend” who was twenty-four and trading sex for free rides, pocket money, Reeboks, and a place to stay when your mother was tripping.

My friends and I confided in each other, swapping stories, sharing out pain, while keeping it all hidden from the adults in our lives. After all, who could we tell? This wasn’t rape – it didn’t fit the definitions. This was Not rape. We should have known better. We were the ones who would take the blame. We would be punished, and no one wanted that. So, these actions went on, aided by a cloak of silence.

For me, Not rape came in the form of a guy from around the neighborhood. I remember that they called him Puffy because he looked like the rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs. He was friends with a guy I was friends with, T. I was home alone on hot summer day when I heard a knock on the patio door. I peeked through the blinds and recognized Puffy, so I opened the door a few inches. He asked if I had seen T around, and I told him no. The conversation continued, the contents so trivial that they are lost to memory.

So, I have no idea why he chose to pause and look me full in the face before saying:

“I can do whatever I want to you.”

My youthful braggadocio got the best of me, so I spat out, “Oh, what the fuck ever,” moving to pull the door closed.

Quick as a cobra, his hand darted past the screen, catching my wrist as I reached for the latch. A bit of tugging quickly turned sinister as I realized he wasn’t playing around.

He pinned me in the doorway, forcing me down to the floor barely inside my apartment. Holding my arm behind my back with one hand as I struggled against him, he calmly, deliberately allowed his free hand to explore my body. He squeezed my still budding breasts, then slipped his hands down my pants, taking his time while feeling up my behind. When he was finished, he let me up, saying again, “I can do whatever I want.” After he finished his cold display of power, he walked away.

After he left, I closed the balcony door, locked it, and put the security bar in the window, even though it was broad daylight.

I felt disgusting and dirty and used. I remember wanting to take a shower, but instead taking a seat on the couch trying to process what had happened and what I could do next.

Fighting him was out, as he had already proved he was stronger than I was. I considered telling some of my guy friends, but I quickly realized I had nothing to tell them. After all, I wasn’t raped, and it would really come to my word against his. As I was the neighborhood newcomer, I was at a disadvantage on that front. Telling my mom was out as well – I’d only get into trouble for opening the door for boys while she was at work.

I gritted my teeth in frustration. There was nothing I could do to him that wouldn’t come back on me worse. So I got up, took my shower, and stayed silent.

A few weeks later, I ran into T and some other guys from the neighborhood while I was walking to the store with one of my friends. T informed us that they were going to hang out in one of the empty apartments in the neighborhood. This was a popular activity in my old neighborhood – some guys would normally find a way to gain entry into one of the vacant apartments or townhouses and then use the place as a clubhouse for a few days.

My friend was game, but I felt myself hesitate. The memory of my Not rape was still fresh in my mind and T was still friends with Puffy. There was also the possibility that Puffy would be there in the apartment, and that was a confrontation I did not want. I refused, and my friend was angry at me for passing up the chance to hang out with the cutest boys in the neighborhood. Since I had never told this particular friend what happened, I shrugged off her anger and made an excuse to head home.

A few days after that meeting, I was on the school bus headed to morning classes. The local news report was on and the announcement that came across the airwaves stunned the normally rowdy bus into silence. The voice on the radio informed us of a brutal rape that occurred in our neighborhood. Due to the savage nature of the crime, all six of the teenage defendants would be tried as adults. The names were read and a collective gasp rose from the bus – T’s name was on that list! Jay, a guy who knew about the friendly flirtation I had going with T, leaned over and joked “Uh-huh – T’s gonna get you!”

I remained silent as my mind was racing. The strongest, most persistent thought rose to the top of my mind – oh my God, that could have been me.

At the time, I didn’t know how right I was.

A few years later, I was a high school junior on top of the world. For the most part, memories of my Not rape had been buried in the back of my mind somewhere. My third year in high school was consumed by two major responsibilities: student government and mock trial.

When I was sixteen, I knew I was destined to be a lawyer and I took advantage of every opportunity that would push me toward that goal. I signed up for mock trial and as part of our responsibilities our trial team was supposed to watch a criminal proceeding in action.

On the day we arrived at the local courthouse, there were three trials on the docket: a traffic case, a murder case, and a rape case. Nixing the traffic case, we trouped into the first courtroom which held the murder trial, only to find that the trial was on hold, pending pre-trial motions. We turned back and went into the courtroom where the rape trial was being held.

Never did it cross my mind that I would walk through the doors to see to picture of my Not rapist, captured in a Polaroid and displayed on a whiteboard with the other five rapists being tried. The prosecution was speaking, so we were quickly caught up on the specifics of the case.

While the rape had occurred in 1997 and most of the defendants – including T – had been convicted in 1998, this was the trial to determine the fate of the last of the six, a man who claimed he had left the scene before any crime had occurred.

Through word of mouth, I had learned that T had been sentenced and he would not be eligible for parole until he was forty-six years old. (I have since learned that T should be released by the end of this year. His victim should be about 21 years of age.) I had also learned that the crime was a gang rape, but knew no other details.

The prosecutor pulled out a picture of the girl the six boys had brutalized. In the first photo she was bright-eyed and neat looking, her dark hair pulled into a high ponytail which complimented her fair skin. She was dressed in athletic casual wear, as if she was on her way to a track meet.

The prosecutor then pulled out a second picture, taken post assault. Her face was a mass of purple and red bruises. One of her eyes was blood red – the attorney informed us that she had received extensive damage to the blood vessels in her eyes. The other eye was swollen shut. Her lips were also bloodied and bruised. He placed the two photographs side by side. From photo to photo, the girl had been rendered unrecognizable.

Quietly laying out the facts, the prosecutor deftly painted a tale of horror. The girl had met T and another boy (my Not rapist? I still didn’t know his government name) on a bus. The boys had convinced her to come with them and they led her to a vacant apartment. Unknown to the girl, there were four other men also hanging out that day. She was forced to give oral sex to some of the men, and then she was beaten, raped, and sodomized. She was found in the apartment unconscious, surrounded by used condoms, semen, and fecal matter.

My blood ran cold as I tried to process what I was hearing.

T was capable of this? The prosecutor was still speaking, and he made mention that there appeared to be one main ringleader with the other five guys going along for the ride. My teammates sat in rapt attention while I tried to figure out how soon we could leave. On one hand, I realized that my Not rapist and T were behind bars already, instead of roaming the streets to do this to someone else.

And yet, a part of me wondered if I should have spoken up. If I had told someone, anyone, could I have prevented this from happening? I regarded the girl’s picture once again. It is pretty rare to see the expression “beaten to a bloody pulp” illustrated in real life. I should have said something, I thought to myself, I should have tried.

My internal monologue was interrupted by the defense attorney taking the floor. He pointed out his client from the photos lining the wall, and calmly explained how his client was present in the apartment, but left before the attack began. He built his case, explaining that his client was generally a good kid, but outnumbered, and that his client opted to leave the area instead of participate in any wrongdoing. He then turned to the jury and said:

    You will also hear that —– wasn’t such a good girl after all. You will hear that she skipped school. You will hear that she smoked marijuana. You will hear that she willingly skipped school to go smoke marijuana with two boys she had just met.

My mouth fell open out of shock. There wasn’t even a question of consent in this case – the damage to the girl’s face attested to that. And yet, here was this defense attorney trying to assassinate the victim’s character. For what? Why was what she was doing that day even relevant in the context of what she experienced?

The defense attorney finished his opening statement and the judge started dispensing instructions to the jury. I forced myself to swallow the bile in my throat. As the judge dismissed the court for a break, I scooted out of the room and took a deep breath of air. My team went for lunch, and I persuaded them not to go back to watch the next part of the trial.

That day in court was the day I fully understood the concept of being raped twice – first during the act and then later during the court proceedings. That was also the day I realized that telling someone about my Not rape would have netted a similar, if not more dismissive response. I had no evidence of the act, no used condom wrapper, no rape kit, no forced penetration.

If the defense attorney was attempting to sow the seeds of doubt in the face of indisputable evidence, what would have happened if I had chosen to speak up?

This is how the Not Rape epidemic spreads – through fear and silence, which become complicit in perpetuating the behaviors described here. Women of all backgrounds are affected by these kinds of acts, regardless of race, ethnicity, or social class. So many of us carry the scars of the past with us into our daily lives. Most of us have pushed these stories to the back of our minds, trying to have some semblance of a normal life that includes romantic and sexual relationships. However, waiting just behind the tongue is story after story of the horrors other women experience and hide deep within the self behind a protective wall of silence.

As I continue to discuss these issues, I continue to be surprised when revealing my story reveals an outpouring of emotion or confession from other women. When I first began discussing my Not Rape and all of the baggage that comes with it, I expected to be blamed or not to be believed.

I never expected that each woman I told would respond with her own story in kind.

I am twenty-four years old now, ten years removed from my Not rape. I still think of the girl who was assaulted and hope that she was still able to have something of a normal life. As I matured, I came to understand more about the situation. As the years passed, my shame turned to anger, and I began learning the tools I could have used to fight back.

At age fourteen, I lacked the words to speak my experience into reality. Without those words, I was rendered silent and impotent, burdened with the knowledge of what did not happen, but unable to free myself by talking about what did happen.

I cannot change the experiences of the past.

But, I can teach these words, so that they may one day be used by a young girl to save herself.

Not rape comes in many forms – it is often known by other names. What happened to me is called a sexual assault. It is not the same as rape, but it is damaging and painful. My friends experienced statutory rape, molest, and coercion.

What happened in the courtroom is a byproduct of rape culture – when what happens to women in marginalized, when beyond a shadow of a doubt still isn’t enough, when your past, manner of dress, grade point average or intoxication level are used to excuse the despicable acts of sexual violence inflicted upon you by another.

Internalized shame is what I experienced, that heavy feeling that it was my fault for allowing the sexual assault to happen. There was a fear that if I spoke up, people would look at me differently, or worse, wouldn’t believe me at all.

Without these words, those experiences feed off each other, perpetuating a culture of silence and allowing these attacks to continue.

With the proper tools, we equip our girls to speak of their truth and to end the silence that is complicit in rape culture.

Teenaged girls need to know that dating an older man will not make them cooler, and that older man cannot rescue them from their parents. Teenaged boys should be able to help as well, trying to keep their friends away from predators. (My male friends did this for me a few times if they were around, coming to my aid of some guy started acting up. For some reason, the simple presence of another man is enough to make these kind of men leave.) Adult men should be cautioned about the effects of the actions and how most of these girls are not of the age of consent. And parents should be made aware that their children are being targeted by predatory men and that they should stay vigilant.

Adults, particularly older women, should take an active interest in the young girls they know.
My boyfriend has two younger sisters. One of them recently entered her teenage years. Her body started to develop and she has attracted more male attention. I notice small changes in her – how she looks at the floor a lot more than she used to, or how she seems uncomfortable going anywhere without a group of girlfriends. She still looks like an average teenager but she is often hesitant and uncomfortable, unless she is around her peers. However, I knew her before she developed so quickly. And I notice the change that a year (as well as taking the metro to and from school) starts. I’m fairly certain she’s trying to navigate the minefield of male attention she receives.

After all, I’ve walked that same field as well.

Finally, we need to cast a critical eye on how rape culture is perpetuated on an institutional level. From how hospitals distribute rape kits to keeping tags on questionable verdicts, we must take the lead in telling the criminal justice system that rape apologists and enablers will not be tolerated.

But above all, we must give girls the tools they need to defend themselves against sexual predators.

The small things we can do – paying attention, giving the words they need, instilling the confidence in which to handle these situations and providing a non judgmental ear when a student or teen approaches us with a problem – may be the best, an perhaps only, weapons they have to continue the fight against this epidemic.

hazmatFind your helmets and the hazmat suits dear readers, we’re going into the high back-country of mendacity, where the stupid is rugged and the ignorance is thick.  Yes, we’re going to go visit our dear friend Matthew again because it is so rare to find such a deluded ball of procacity and self-delusion all in the same person.

But before we go on our merry gasconade we should warn the uninitiated – Matthew is a rebarbative hunk of misogynistic shit, his hatred of women runs astonishingly deep and his words can be quite shocking for the uninitiated.  Consider yourself warned.   Let loose the RPOJ from its sacred scabbard and into the ferocious maw of  puerile thought-fap we go.

“Even a Slut Doesn’t Deserve to be Raped”

Oh wow.  Even the title is filled to the brim with malevolent idiocy.  Pro-tip Matthew – women are people not objects for your wang-prophecies.

Modern “feminists” have this controversial idea known as “rape culture” that’s been bothering me for a while.

There is nothing controversial about rape culture fart-knocker.  What merits attention is the lengths half-wits like yourself will go to deny the reality of what is happening to women in our culture, as I’m pretty sure this is the direction you’re going to take.

I did a little research to try to figure out what exactly they mean by it, and I was disturbed by what a bleak and one-sided picture they paint.

Oh really?  I’m curious as to the depths of your research, as to date it has been a indisputably shoddy train wreck of fail.  But, the optimist in me says maybe ‘this’ time you won’t bollocks things up, so let’s investigate what you’ve uncovered.

What some of them seem to mean when they say “rape culture” is:

  • that women and girls who dress in tight/revealing/slutty clothing are supposedly criticized (“slut shamed”) for being slutty

*Looks at title of post – looks at this sentence* – You have not a fucking clue what you’re talking about.

    • that if these women or girls ever do get raped then they will supposedly also be blamed (“victim blamed”) for it

Wow – still no clue.   Par for the course for Matthew whose hyper-skeptical glasses have been set to 11 for all these mysterious claims made by feminists.

    • that the rapist will supposedly not be blamed at all and will just be allowed to go free

Facts suck don’t they Matthew, especially ones that don’t agree with your fevered view of the world. Understand one thing douche-nugget, most rapists will never spend a day in jail.  (Source.)

rainnrapeunderreported

    • that supposedly the key to ending this “culture” of rape is to continue to dress like sluts in order to convince people that this is just a normal way for women and girls to behave

Err..no. The key to ending rape culture is for men (and the societal norms that enable them) to stop raping women.  This is not rocket science, Skippy. 

But here are the problems I have with this, and it falls on both sides of the issue.

face_palm   A fair and balanced analysis I’m sure….*facepalm*

First, I hate women and girls who dress in tight/revealing clothing, and I don’t mind that they are criticized (“shamed”), because they are creating a public nuisance.  Showing off your body causes sexual frustration.

Important notes from your boner are irrelevant to how women look and dress.  They are not responsible for your man feelings, not now, not ever.  Try and act like a fracking grown up for once in your life. 

This is biological sexual attraction, and if you don’t understand that then you are either a sex addict who has been exposed to sex so much that you’ve become desensitized to it or some asexual person who had almost no sex drive to begin with.

Ah, so why aren’t you out killing some meat for your clan in the jungle?  What is it with dudes trying to use biology to justify their shitty behaviour?  We live in this thing called society and is marginally civilized if you can’t handle that shit, then leave. 

To what I think is a normal male, it’s like an itch that needs to be scratched.

venn.pptx     Funny how your idea of “normal” coincides with what you believe to be true.  Almost like it is a self-reinforcing cycle of ignorance and stupidity.  You need to meet these guys – Dunning-Kruger – you’d get along smashingly.  

Sexual frustration in turn can tempt a person to engage in unhealthy and desperate behavior such as impulsive forms of consensual sex, porn addiction, or solicitation of prostitution.  Most of this is legal in some sense or another (depending on your geography), but it’s all arguably a form of humiliation, and tight/revealing clothing indirectly promotes it.  In other words, women and girls who dress like sluts indirectly harm other women.

Wow how about you take a step out of the cradle and claim your agency instead of blaming women for all of your problems.  

Second, there’s the issue of blame.  I actually believe that, objectively, tight/revealing clothing will increase a woman’s chances of being raped. It’s simply a combination of biological sexual attraction and self-control that some men lack.  “Feminists” who advise women and girls to dress as slutty as they want and not care what people think are really doing them a disservice and endangering them.  I am not “blaming” victims, but I am trying to give them some advice.

Wow, thanks but no thanks.  Women hear shit like this everyday – and it is shit – because it places the onus on them for being raped as opposed to those who are responsible – the fucking rapists.  Of course, blaming the victim is nothing new under the sun. 

Finally, there’s the heart of the issue, the practical aspect of “blame”, which is how to deal with rapists.  I actually don’t think even a slutty woman deserves to be raped.  Rape is way too harsh a punishment for any behavior, no matter how foolish or irresponsible.

Redemption?  No cookie for you!  Saying rape is bad at the end an article that blames women for being raped wins you nothing but scorn and contempt. 

No one deserves to be traumatized like that, which is why the rapist must still be punished.  If the rapist were not punished, then he or future rapists might be encouraged to try to repeat the same horrible act (which I just said should not be allowed to happen to anyone regardless of how reckless her behavior was).

  How magnanimous of you. 

So, I say:  (a) punish the perpetrator, (b) advise the victim to be more careful in the future, and (c) continue to criticize women and girls who dress or act sluttishly because this last point is really a separate problem. 

One out of three is still a fail. 

I’m not on the side of “rape culture”, but I’m not on the side of “feminism” either.  I instead choose what I think is a realistic and sensible medium to encourage a more peaceful society.

Oh yah, you and rape culture are bros, dude; let me assure you of that.   What you “think” is usually weapons grade bullshite with a heaping side of misogyny that attempts to make women responsible for shitty male behaviour.   Let me know when that tune changes; then we can start talking about realistic and sensible.

This post from The Bewilderness explains the low prevalence of false rape accusations.

“Anon asked: Tonight I was speaking with a female coworker about rape culture and how terrifying it is to live with fear of knowing that if I was raped, it’s a high possibility that no one would believe me or take me seriously. She then said that she doesn’t have a problem with that because “most girls lie about being raped”. What would you say in response to that? I’ve heard many people say that but I have no idea how to respond.”

And the response – (TW Rape)

Your female co-worker doesn’t know anything. I hate that she said that.

There is zero benefit to “crying rape”. There was a study out last year, I believe, that cited of all rape accusations, .5% of them were false accusations.

The reason? Because once again, there is zero benefit in doing so. When you claim someone has raped you, what that means is you are about to get dragged through the mud. Every decision you’ve ever made, “relevant” or otherwise will be questioned. You will be called horrific names, so on and so forth.

And that’s why so many women and girls who are raped choose not to come forward. In doing so, they are re-traumatized, and they will likely have nothing to show for it; meaning, no one will believe them, and their loved ones will often turn on them.

Rape is a kind of horror, but the aftermath of it within a rape culture, is another beast all together. xx

That is the way the myth is created.

If you report a rape they don’t believe you because denial is the first response to bad news.

Then they bargain. Maybe it wasn’t really rape because you weren’t beaten half to death by a stranger. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding.

Misdirected anger comes next for you saying such a terrible thing about such a “nice guy” or famous guy or friendly guy. And what were you wearing, you probably were asking for it.

By now the rape victim has usually been silenced. They sure as hell won’t be talking to you about it ever again.

So it must have been a lie they told for sympathy, or meanness, or attention, or any one of the many reasons for lying that we ascribe to victims of abuse for having the unmitigated gall to speak of the abuse they suffer.

So they repeat the myth that most girls lie and that perpetuates the myth that most girls lie.

It never seems to occur to them that most boys lie, most men lie, most rapists lie.

“Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?

Everyone “knows” this. Even children.

Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.” She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying…

No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?

It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.

Soraya Chemaly, How We Teach Our Kids That Women Are Liars

*ed. Removed second copy of quotation – Yep, more coffee required.*

Wow, this is still a thing.  Drunk women do not deserve to get raped.  Ever.

From i-once-had-a-guy-tell-me:

I am NOT saying that all cases could have been avoided but certain ones yes. My thing is that girls that go to parties and get drunk don’t blame themselves a tiny bit. That’s what I was specifying. If you go to a party without people you trust then you really are to blame.  

And if I walk outside alone with a wallet in my pocket, and I get mugged, I’m to blame. And if I work nights at a convenience store and it gets robbed, I’m to blame. And if I drive a car on the highway and someone else is on their cell phone and they hit my car, I’m to blame. And if I trust that the chicken sandwich I bought at a fast food chain is safe to eat and I get food poisoning, I’m to blame. And if I go outside of my home and am attacked by an angry, escaped dog off its leash, I am to blame. Sound about right?

The penalty for getting drunk should be a hangover.

Not rape.

The first law of misogyny is that women are responsible for what men do to them.

JusBecausePoster_1

 

A helpful primer for the dudes out there.   Thank you, Fugitivus

 

“Here’s a situation every woman is familiar with: some guy she knows, perhaps a casual acquaintance, perhaps just some dude at the bus stop, is obviously infatuated with her. He’s making conversation, he’s giving her the eye. She doesn’t like him. She doesn’t want to talk to him. She doesn’t want him near her. He is freaking her out. She could disobey the rules, and tell him to GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER, and continue screaming GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME every time he tries to step closer, or speak to her again. And then he will be all, “I was just talking to you! WTF!” and everybody else will be all, “Yeah, seriously, why’d you freak out at a guy just talking to you?” and refuse to offer the support she needs to be safe from dude. Or, the guy might become hostile, violent even. Ladies, you’ve seen that look, the “bitch can’t ignore me” look. It’s a source of constant confusion, as soon as you start budding breasts, that the man who just a moment ago told you how pretty you are is now calling you a stupid ugly whore, all because you didn’t get in his car. OR

You could follow the rules. You could flirt back a little, look meek, not talk, not move away. You might have to put up with a lot more talking, you might have to put up with him trying to ask you out to lunch every day, you might even have to go out to lunch with him. You might have to deal with him copping a feel. But he won’t turn violent on you, and neither will the spectators who have watched him browbeat you into a frightened and flirtatious corner.

So we learn the rules will protect us. We learn that, when we step out of line, somebody around us might very well turn crazy. Might hurt us. And we won’t be defended by onlookers, who think we’ve provoked the crazy somehow. So, having your ass grabbed at the bus stop, having to go out to dinner with a guy you fucking can’t stand, maybe even having to fuck him once or twice, it’s a small sacrifice to avoid being ostracized, insulted, verbally abused, and possibly physically assaulted.

It’s a rude fucking awakening when a woman gets raped, and follows the rules she has been taught her whole life — doesn’t refuse to talk, doesn’t refuse to flirt, doesn’t walk away ignoring him, doesn’t hit, doesn’t scream, doesn’t fight, doesn’t raise her voice, doesn’t deny she liked kissing — and finds out after that she is now to blame for the rape. She followed the rules. The rules that were supposed to keep the rape from happening. The rules that would keep her from being fair game for verbal and physical abuse. Breaking the rules is supposed to result in punishment, not following them. For every time she lowered her voice, let go of a boundary, didn’t move away, let her needs be conveniently misinterpreted, and was given positive reinforcement and a place in society, she is now being told that all that was wrong, this one time, and she should have known that, duh.

For anybody who has ever watched the gendered social interactions of women — watched a woman get browbeaten into accepting attention she doesn’t want, watched a woman get interrupted while speaking, watched a woman deny she is upset at being insulted in public, watched a woman get grabbed because of what she was wearing, watched a woman stop arguing — and said and done nothing, you never have the right to ever ask, “Why didn’t she fight back?”

She didn’t fight back because you told her not to. Ever. Ever. You told her that was okay, and necessary, and right.

You didn’t give her a caveat. You didn’t say, “Unless…” You said, “Good for you, shutting up and backing down 99% of the time. Too bad that 1% of the time makes you a fucking whore who deserved it.”

Nobody obtains the superpower to behave dramatically differently during a frightening confrontation. Women will behave the same way they have been taught to behave in all social, professional, and sexual interactions. And they will be pretty goddamned surprised to come out the other end and find out that means they can legally be raped at any time, by just about anybody.”

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