Monday, November 29, 2010

In which I address a comment left on my blog about the rape "problem"

I hate to dredge up this post again, because the entire post and response to it were not pleasant, but it needs to be done. The comment was left on this blog post: "What to do with the American University rape apologist," which I published on March 29, 2010. That was exactly eight months ago. In the entire time I've been writing this blog, I've written about rape many, many times. It's one of the top topics on this blog. So why the comment was left on this particular post, I don't know, but here's what the comment says:

we are a group of women's studies students doing an in-depth analysis of the feminist blogosphere and specifically blogs related to violence against women. after reading your blog and many others we have noticed that there is a lack of solutions suggested for these problems. for example your blog is addressing the issue of date rape and one student's assumptions; however, as you do list other reasons for why girls may go back to boys rooms you do not list any other solutions to this problem. a problem that is much larger than just this one college campus. just an idea for further blogs, suggestions on how to prevent violence against women (date rape) may be more helpful than just talking to one person.

That comment is from the ever-popular Anonymous.

So, dear group of women's studies students, here's a solution to the "problem":

TELL RAPISTS TO STOP COMMITTING RAPE.

I promise you, as soon as rapists stop raping, the problem will go away. Until then? There is no "solution." No matter what people do to try to "prevent" rape (walking in groups, wearing modest clothing, carrying weapons, etc.), rapists aren't going to stop or even dramatically decrease until society as a whole does a couple things:

1. Take rape seriously. It is the only crime that involves blaming the victim to the nth degree; rape accusations aren't taken at face value; prosecutors won't take rape cases; if convicted, rapists serve very little time in prison; etc. When rape goes unpunished, that's a pretty clear message that we, society, don't care if someone commits this crime.
2. Quit treating certain segments of the human population as if their bodies are commodities. No one's body is "there for the taking," so to speak, yet human bodies are presented in that manner all day every day.
2. Take rapists seriously. Yes, really. Because we, society, cannot seem to accept that the only person to "blame" for rape is the person who committed rape. That's it. That is the problem: the rapist. A person can do everything in their power to prevent rape, and they can still be raped. So it's time we take rapists seriously, as actual criminals, and not as "boys will be boys" or whatever other bullshit rape apology/excuse comes up when someone is accused of committing rape.

And by the way, women's studies students: I'm really sorry that you've not found an acceptable amount of suggested solutions in your studies of the feminist blogosphere. I also find it pretty hard to believe. Are you sure you're reading feminist blogs? Like, a lot of them? Because the feminist blogs I regularly read have suggested solutions to ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS, including how to end/reduce rape. And guess what?! As it so happens, I have a blog post on this very website(!) about how to stop rape. So, you all should probably look at more feminist blogs, or at least carefully read them.

Also? Feminists and feminist bloggers, while we may be concerned about All The Problems ailing this world, get tired. Tired of explaining things like "You know why rape happens? Because rapists commit rape. That's why." Tired of being told things like "if you're going to complain, then offer solutions." Fuck that. I will complain all I want, as often as I want, and offer exactly zero solutions if I want. Because this is My Blog, and the world is not My First Responsibility. Educating you is also not My Responsibility. My first responsibility is taking care of myself, and that is a full-time job plus some. After that, I might be taking care of someone else. Or doing activist work, for free. Or cooking dinner. Or whatever else. With what energy I have left, I might write a blog post criticizing some stupid column some stupid college kid wrote, and it just might not occur to me that I have to state the obvious for all of the people who aren't aware of it: only rapists can prevent rape.

Does that address your concerns, women's studies students?

3 comments:

Hutchy said...

Thank you SO MUCH for saying this. People have asked me similar questions IRL and I just get so angry that I blank out and can't figure out what to say... but you have managed to articulate exactly what should be said to people when they say things like this. I'm so tired of people putting the onus on the victim to somehow magically change the entire world. The problem lies with the rapists and instead of bending over backward to make it seem like the victims/survivors are the ones responsible for fixing everything, people really need to start focusing on the ones who are actually committing the rapes.

Kali said...

It is funny that someone trolling the blog thought you were stupid enough to give their comment traction simply because they claimed to be a "group of women's studies students".

As in, I'll just say we're a group of women's studies students so, when I try to blame the victim, you will consider me more legitimate than just some random troll trying to argue that victims don't try hard enough to avoid getting raped. You will actually consider my point of view if I pose as if I'm on your side.

Absolutely ridiculous.

Rosie said...

Yep, that was my first thought, too: troll. But I couldn't just ignore this one.

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