Didn’t we already clear this up?

Equally Guilty: Counts for fire, counts for rape…
Image from the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, so I thought – maybe foolishly – that after the discussions of binders of women, the concept of “legitimate” rape, and the whole Republican White House defeat, that maybe we had moved beyond having to classify sexual assault by levels.  That, perhaps, we had decided that any sexual assault was bad, and it didn’t matter who did it or who they did it to.

And then KHOU ruined my morning by their oh-so-specific headline: “HPD: Woman date raped by man she met on Facebook.”

Because, you see, HPD (or KHOU…or both) are now saying that this woman’s rape was, well, it was just “date rape.”  Like, you know, it’s just “a family matter” when it’s incest or domestic violence.

We have all these great little euphemisms to help take away from what actually happens, and to make us feel better.

Because if it’s “just” “date rape,” well, we don’t have to be concerned.  She obviously is part of the problem, right?  She met him on Facebook and then met up with him.  So we can blame her just as much as we can blame him.  Isn’t that the point?  Otherwise, why not be clear?  Why not say, “Woman raped by sexual predator.”  Says the same thing, doesn’t it?  But it takes the blame off the victim…it takes the burden of the meeting off the woman…and it shifts that burden to the truth.  A predator/criminal/whatever you want to call him sexually assaulted another human being.

Language is such a tricky thing, and we can bend it and use it however we want to.  Maybe we should take a time out to examine what we say when we refer to a crime, a criminal, and a victim.  Maybe we shouldn’t come up with these little explain-it-away kinds of phrases that make us feel better but make the victim feel even more victimized.

So, just to clear it up for those who missed it:
Rape is rape.
There is no difference between rape, date rape, legitimate rape, incestuous rape, or any of those other little classifications that we like to put on it to try to shift the locus of blame.






Galveston, you disappoint me again…

From Slut Walk Houston, 2011

I have to say that I lived in Galveston, and while I was there, I pretty much loved it.  There were enough positives that part of me still wishes I was there.  But…someone needs to talk to their police department.

Recently, two joggers were attacked on Seawall Blvd.  In one case, the woman says that about a dozen cars went past during the attack, and no one stopped or did anything.  Now, to be fair, I don’t know that I would stop and get out of my car, but I might pull over, honk, and make it clear I was calling 911.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that the police chief made a lovely statement, as per the Galveston Daily News: “Galveston police Chief Henry Porretto said joggers should be aware of their surroundings. Wearing ear buds could give an attacker an advantage, he said.” 

Damn those joggers wearing ear buds!  They’re asking for it!  I mean, hell, first off, they’re women.  Second, they’re out alone.  Third, they’re wearing ear buds! Oh the humanity! Ear buds, the scourge of the 21st century.


Let me repeat something.
Don’t blame the victim.

One more time.
Don’t blame the victim.

Just because a woman has the nerve to do something that men would do does not mean that they have asked to be attacked or that they should be told that it is their fault if they are attacked.  If it had been two guys who had been mugged, would the police chief have issued the same statement?  I’m thinking not so much.

Oh, and just to add one fun detail: that victim who had the nerve to wear ear buds?  Yeah, she also had the nerve to carry a metal pipe that she used to defend herself.



Feminist Rant Number #139

I don’t really have time to be blogging right now, but there are just a few things that have popped up lately that have my ire going enough that it can’t wait…

First, in today’s news on CNN, we have confirmation that Cain may have actually done something wrong.  Is it because a woman came forward and reported it?  Nope, we’ve gone back to “good ole days” standards: it’s because the boyfriend of the victim reported it.

Yeah, I wish I was kidding, but there’s the headline – “Former boyfriend of Cain accuser backs her account.”  Wow, thanks, ex-boyfriend!  Now we can believe her!

And if that was the only thing in recent days to get me going, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now, but sadly, there’s more…

In today’s news in Sweden (going a bit afield, but hey…), a high school principal was kind enough to tell one of his female students “Guys do this kind of thing, you have to get used to it.” when she got up her nerve to tell him she’d been raped.  He discouraged her from going forward to the police because – “this is not a prioritized case as no serious crime has been committed.”


And it only gets better (worse?)…

In Turkey, just over a week ago, 26 men who had been convicted of having sex with a 13 year old girl were told it was okay because it was “consensual.”  We can ignore the fact that they were paying money to two adults for “repeated access to the girl” for just over six months.  Personally, though, my favorite part of the article is when it mentions that “any rape or sexual assault [that] happened with the consent of the girl or the woman, then the sentence would be reduced.”  Ummm, consent? Rape?  Aren’t these kind of contradictory terms?

But, hey, at least we have the right idea here in America.  Don’t we? Nah, I guess we don’t.  Because, according to an “excellent” (read: heavy sarcasm) article on CNN again, we should “make a rule on sexual harassment.”

The highlights that CNN is kind enough to pull out on the side, according to expert Barbara Risman, “society hasn’t reached consensus on what’s OK in the workplace.”  Cause, you know, we don’t have any rules in place that are based on a consensus of what shouldn’t be done.  In fact, in her brilliance, she suggests rules that make it “illegal for bosses to make sexual overtures to subordinates.”

Don’t we already have those rules? And that consensus?  I could swear there’s this who thing…what’s it called? Oh, yeah, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission…  They talk all about laws and regulations and prohibited practices…so are those “rules”?

Maybe we can’t fix problems in other countries (unless you talk to the Republicans), but we sure should be able to fix them here.