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Trigger Warning-type Post

No, seriously, trigger warning

A 15 year old girl in California was gang raped by a bunch of schoolboys on Saturday night.

Shakesville has a post about it. One comment in particular stood out for me, since it says everything about the culture that made this kind of assault possible:

"This is the kind of thing that makes me want to run up to people in the street and shake them and yell at them and let them know that all the 'little things' are exactly what added up to this.

Every time you make a rape joke.

Every time you demean women, even when you're 'kidding', even to 'make a point'.

Every time you do anything, ANYTHING that glorifies violence, especially violence against women.

Every time you intimate that women are less than human, less intelligent, that their freedoms should be restricted in the smallest of ways.

Every time you victim blame. Every time you make women the ones responsible for preventing rape and sexual violence against them.

Every time, you are putting a drop in the ocean, this huge flood of horror and misery that just sweeps over women. Humans.

You are making this possible. You are helping people believe this is OK. You are contributing.

You are not my ally. You are not my friend. You are giving weapons to the enemy, or cheering them on at least.

You are chipping away at my safety. My freedom." 

Understand that most people will want to blame the victim, and this is wrong, and you must resist this line of thinking. Once again, someone at Shakesville put it better than I ever could: 

 "They have to blame her. Because it has to have been something about her, something she did. Otherwise, it could've been anyone, anyone else, any other girl at that dance. Otherwise, it's not just her, just this one girl who did/said/drank the wrong thing. Otherwise, it's the boys, that many of them, and it's their families, their school environment, society, etc.

It's easier, to pin it on her. Then she's the aberration, she's the problem, that one girl who did that one thing that one time. And they can shame her, and they can move on.

But when you realize that it's not her, that they could've raped anyone, any other girl at that dance... When you're sitting in class with those guys and you know what they did and everyone's talking about it and his locker's right beside yours and what if...

Either your math class, your homecoming dance, your high school, your town, your WORLD are full of hateful, violent, horrifying people in the guise of, literally, the boy next door.

Or the world's fine, and that one girl shouldn't have gotten drunk and been so stupid.

It's easier that way.

As long as you're never that girl.

Except, eventually? We're all that girl. Or our sisters and friends and daughters are."

Do you see what people do when things like this happen? Do you see how they invoke magical thinking and superstition, blaming the victim because if she did something wrong, then it can't happen to them?
You can never do everything right. It isn't women's responsibility to ensure they aren't raped, it's men's (and boy's!) responsibility to NOT RAPE.

Someone once argued to me that if a woman walked down the street naked, then wouldn't she deserved to get "attacked"? (they couldn't even use the word rape) Wouldn't she be "asking for it"? This argument is brought out too often, as if there is some magical line that makes rape okay.

Others have said "well, she should have been more aware of her surroundings". Again, A quote from the commenters at Shakesville:

"You know what else pisses me off in this infuriating story? That the school is holding meetings with parents about "safety." This girl wasn't brutalized because she wasn't practicing good "safety" techniques. She was brutalized because at least 20 young men thought rape was a sport. The school should be having meetings with parents about that: how not to raise misogynists, rapists and rape apologists. Or would the parents not hear that and blame the girl because, "MY son would never do that"?" 

 Let me make my position clear: A woman should be able to go wherever and wear whatever she likes. She should not have to curtail and restrict her life because society prefers to blame women for having the temerity to object to being raped, rather than telling men in no uncertain terms that they, and only they, are responsible for what they do with their penises. Men never ever EVER have the right to rape a woman (or a girl). To bring it down to what seems like a ridiculous level, Is a little girl of six "asking for it" if she's running around naked on the beach?

Except that six-year-old little girls get raped.  How in God's name can the victim be responsible for man who raped her?  As Bob is fond of saying when I bring the subject up, people don't blame a robbery victim for having a "house so tempting, I couldn't help myself".  They put the blame on the thief for their lack of self-control, and rightly so.  They don't tell the victim of the theft that they shouldn't have made their house look so nice, or left their curtains open in the middle of the night*.

Nudity is not permission to rape. Walking down a dark alley is not permission to rape. Being alone at night is not permission to rape. Being naked in bed together is not permission to rape. You may never lay a hand on another person without their express and enthusiastic consent.

Is that really so hard to understand? Really?

It comes down to this society's abosolute refusal to admit that it is the rapists who are responsible for rape, and that overwhelmingly, it is men who rape. And every time people blame the victim instead, calling her foolish or saying "she was asking for it", they excuse rape. They become rape apologists.

Get it? Every time you say "well, maybe she deserved it", or "what was she thinking?", YOU ARE SAYING HER RAPE WAS EXCUSABLE. If you insinuate that women always lie about rape**, you're excusing rape.

Rape is never excusable. And a 15 year old can never do anything to deserve a gang rape witnessed by at least 15 people people (who told other people to come and see and/or participate in the rape) that leaves her in critical condition. Anyone who even questions that (and believe me, it has already started) has excused rape culture.

Knock it the fuck off.

*Some people will try, but they will be considered assholes by everyone else.

**the data for false rape reporting is lower by one percentage point than false reports of theft, at something like 2% of reported rapes. Since current data seems to suggest that only 20% of all rapes are actually reported, it's very rare that a rape accusation is false (these are, of course, often highly publicized cases, because a society that allows rape culture to flourish must discredit those speaking out against it). The figures are inflated by rape apologists by including rape charges that are dropped for lack of prosecutable evidence - i.e., the rape happened, but it can't be proved in court. The police aren't very keen to take on unprosecutable cases, so many women are persuaded to drop charges. The more you know, the more you want to throw up.

Comments

( 45 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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fitchwitch
Oct. 28th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
Absolutely!
If a prostitute who contracts with a man for paid sex then gets asked for an additional "favor", and says no, and he has sex with her anyway, SHE HAS BEEN RAPED!

If a woman is so drunk she doesn't know what she is doing, and the man has sex with her, SHE HAS BEEN RAPED! (I can't believe that William Kennedy Smith was found not guilty--the judge REALLY missed the boat on charging the jury on that one!)

If a young girl is underage and a man has sex with her-- whether she says yes or not, SHE HAS BEEN RAPED!

It doesn't matter who you are, or what the circumstance are--No means NO! And if you are incapable of consent because of age or being impaired by drugs, then consent is not given--sex under those circumstances means that the woman is being raped.

My daughter witnessed a rape in Florida in the summer of 2007. The guy who raped had dated this girl--she was the sister of her friend's fiance. They were in a pool together, and he pulled the girl to him and started having sex with her, even though she kept saying no. Michelle was about 2 feet away, and afraid that she would be next. She got the girl out of the pool on the pretext of looking for her glasses. She SAW the whole thing, they went to the hospital and had the rape kit done. Michelle said that she would travel back from NJ to testify. The police chose NOT to prosecute. Apparently, he got a free pass because he had friends on the force. What made it worse was that Michelle's friend refused to believe that her future sister-in-law had been raped. I learned later that only 5% of reported rapes are prosecuted in Florida.
tattooofhername
Oct. 28th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
The details of that story are terrifying. What I find worse though is that the poor girl could now be denied health cover. Talk about being punished for something that wasn't your fault.
aelfgyfu
Oct. 28th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
On a side note, if she is denied coverage I hope someone steps up and sets up a fund to help pay for her health care. I for one would be more than willing to help at least a little and I know a lot of the people reading this would too. It is so infuriating to see society at its worst and trying to hide its collective head in the sand.
asim
Oct. 28th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)
As someone who's personally had really horrible experiences with all this, and recently:

OH HELL YES.

As a straight male, I can tell anyone who doubts -- rape is all too much about Power. Don't believe for a second that men "have to" do crap. We, too, are Human, and can keep it in our pants.
But we're literally told, over and again, NOT TO. It's in our media; hell, how much of so-called "Romance" lit is about the overpowering "maleness" of the guy seducing the woman? "No means no" means nothing when the Romantic Ideal, all too often, is "she'll give in eventually, and love you for being a creepy bastard!"
And there's so much more. I'm so frustrated by this on so many levels -- just seeing my fellow belly dancers slut-shamed, to the point where they literally have to be good, or else...well.

This is of a piece with Polanski; we just keep making excuses for my gender to be asses, and I despair of finding a way out of this hell-hole.
tattooofhername
Oct. 28th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
That is what horrifies me so much about Twilight. Stalking, sex while you're unconscious, being prevented from seeing friends and family? Not romantic, and yet somehow it's all anyone I work with talks about.
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 28th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gwacie - Oct. 28th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 29th, 2009 09:51 am (UTC) - Expand
chocolatepot
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine wrote a response to a horrible, victim-blaming editorial in her university's paper - here's to hoping they actually print it.

Edited at 2009-10-28 01:11 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on principle that only a rapist is responsible for rape. But in this particular case, the school also has a lot to answer for. Why was a 19-year-old former student permitted on school property in the first place? Why were any students allowed to go outside unsupervised during the event? And why in the name of God didn't the chaperones check on a gathering of "at least 20 people" in a dim alley behind the school?
stringmonkey
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
Whups, that was me. Too irate to notice I wasn't logged in.
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 28th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 28th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
weaverrhi
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
I don't get how anyone over the age of 5
can't figure out what the word "NO" means. No is No. Drunk is an automatic no. Unconscious is an automatic no; under the age of consent is a no. Anyone who goes against any of those is GUILTY of RAPE.

No one "asks for it"; that's a cheap way of skirting blame. As for all of those who watched, they're all guilty of facilitating rape whether they actually physically participated. What gets me, is that NONE of the people there had the morals or conscience to hear that little voice say "this is WRONG!" all it would have taken was a discreet 9-1-1; they wouldn't have even had to say anything.

I think our culture has too much violence and folks are getting numb to it; but that doesn't excuse it.

If you witness a crime against someone and you don't report it, you are just as guilty in my book.
soucyn
Oct. 28th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't get how anyone over the age of 5
You know, I can't remember any time in my early education where consent was covered. We're talking about moral education here - which is typically left to parents and churches. Well, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for most Christian Churches to talk about anything regarding sex, and if your parents are the sort who are uncomfortable with the entire thing - one could just be stuck with no real guidance there. Heck, I wouldn't look to scripture to get an idea as to what is and is not OK with regards to this subject. Most kids are more familiar with the average "American Pie" movie than they are with the deeper parts of scripture, but our culture and media are rather permissive of rape.

I'm still trying to figure out when I decided what is and is not OK. When I'm mad or pissed off at a woman, I don't think about raping her, or other violence against her. I may want to yell at her and may use some graphic language in that, but I don't think I turn that into actual threatening statements (sort of the difference between "F You" and "I'm going to F you.") Perhaps, instead of having "safety meetings" with students and parents, the school should have some "acceptable conduct" meetings with students and "instilling morals" meetings with parents.

I won't *blame* the parents for this - by the time you're in high school you can start to make your own decisions. I will say though, it's up to mothers and fathers to raise their sons (and daughters) to know what to do not only when it's black and white, but also gray. Game that situation out - "you go to a party, find a hot girl, she says she wants to sleep with you later that night, 3 hours later, she's passed out on a bed upstairs... what do you do?" When your son knows the ultimate consequences of his decision, maybe we can cut down on some of these incidents.
Re: I don't get how anyone over the age of 5 - soucyn - Oct. 28th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
reasie
Oct. 28th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
GAAAH!!!

In related news - did you see what Al Franken's first bill in congress was?
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-october-14-2009/rape-nuts
attack_laurel
Oct. 28th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
Oh yes - and the defense contractors are beseiging it. Heaven knows, punishing rapists in your company is bad for business. We wouldn't want that. /sarcasm
(no subject) - eggies_red_dres - Oct. 28th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
soldiergrrrl
Oct. 28th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
May I repost this?
attack_laurel
Oct. 28th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Yes. :)
(no subject) - soldiergrrrl - Oct. 28th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mooselover13 - Oct. 28th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Oct. 29th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC) - Expand
3fgburner
Oct. 28th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
Saw this on soldiergrrl's LJ
Duplicating my comment, from there:

I'm thinking 20 rounds of buckshot, distributed between 20 crotches, would about match the level of pissed-off, here in my shoes. Maybe that's "glorifying violence". Tough shit. It'd guarantee that none of those assholes, at least, would re-offend.
attack_laurel
Oct. 28th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Saw this on soldiergrrl's LJ
Violence is not the answer when trying to eradicate violence.

Please don't continue this line of commentary.
Re: Saw this on soldiergrrl&#39;s LJ - 3fgburner - Oct. 28th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw this on soldiergrrl&#39;s LJ - attack_laurel - Oct. 29th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw this on soldiergrrl's LJ - sskipstress - Oct. 28th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Saw this on soldiergrrl's LJ - attack_laurel - Oct. 29th, 2009 09:56 am (UTC) - Expand
ayeshadream
Oct. 28th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
IN addition to the steaming pile of horror that is this entire situation, the victem blaim storming completely nausiates me.

Some of them have even taken it a step further by throwing racism and political bullshit on the fire as well, One of my "favorites" on the AOL coverage:

"Ian Victorian 04:07 PMOct 27 2009
Don't these males who allegedly raped the girl realize how much of Obama's work they are harming by showing us THEIR example?"

http://news.aol.com/article/girl-gang-raped-at-richmond-california/737436

That's right asshole, there were 20 witnesses, but it's still "alleged" and it's somehow all about Obama. WTFH? I grieve for humanity's lack of humanity.
finocchio
Oct. 28th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
I posted that first shakesville comment on my FB when I linked the story. I've been sad and shaky and angry ever since reading it. Stirs up a lot of long-settled sediment.
sstormwatch
Oct. 28th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
I cried when I read that yesterday.
lorebubeck
Oct. 28th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
I think I'm going to be sick. Has humanity completly died out of the species?? Since when does anything that is not rape leave a person in critical condition??? Rape as entertainment? I can't belive those two words could be in the same sentence.

I liked the shakesville comment about pushing for not just sex education in our schools, but rape education. I am going to do just that with our local schools and bring my other friends with me to increase our volume. Potential rapists (male or female) need to know that No or a lack of it due to incapcitation is NO. No YES means NO! And potential victims (male or female) need to know the same thing along with the fact that it is not their fault. It's already been shown that not educating our children about sex hasn't kept them from getting pregnant. Let's not make that same mistake twice.
yzzy
Oct. 28th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
I am mangled with rage as well. This made me sniffle a little though. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2009/10/26/moby.gimme.shelter.cnn
theceridwen
Oct. 29th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
It makes me furious that this group of boys/men felt it was okay to abuse her this way. It makes me both sad and enraged that people walked by, and noone helped her or called 911.

I am a high school teacher. I chaperoned a dance last weekend. We had teachers and admin and police and there was a constant stream of adults everywhere all over the grounds. Even when kids went out to be picked up, they were "supervised" until they got into a car. I am bewildered as to how a group could have done this, for the length of time they did, and noone noticed? I'll tell you one thing, as a teacher, when I see a group of students clumped together, I check it out. Might be a bunch of friends looking at a text on someone's phone, might be something going on.

This story sickened me. You should feel safe where you live, and at a school dance. And the thing that is screaming around in my head...NO MEANS NO. I am not sure those boys know what they did is wrong...there is so much glamourizing (is that a word?) of violence in the media that they might not see it as the horrendous crime it is...they might be sorry that they got caught, but....

I am pretty sure crimes such as this are not covered in Sex Ed classes...its too touchy. The school system expects this type of thing to be covered and dealt with at home. And like so many things, many times home is not where morals and ethics are learned. Not in every situation, but many times the parents expect the schools to do that job.Huh.


redsquirrel
Oct. 29th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
I have a friend who has been subbing in the the CA school system. Funds are extremely short (as anyone who has been reading the news from that state can guess) and there have been a lot of cutbacks. There may simply have not been enough teachers available to keep an eye on the entire area. The ones that were there were too busy watching other potential "trouble spots" .

If you say that more of them should have volunteered to chaperone ...well, perhaps, but you yourself must know that volunteer work by teachers can all too easily become a slippery slope leading to administration's "I'm sure a dedicated teacher like you would be willing do all this extra work for no extra pay (so we can avoid hiring the extra teacher we actually need...)" that happens so frequently in cash strapped school systems.* They may already be burned out from too many years of such "requests".

(Mind you, the school administration is still culpable for not arranging for more chaperones. Parents or other volunteers from the community should have been recruited if the school staff was insufficient to supervise the number of students there.)

*My English teacher would get out a red pencil for that huge long run-on sentence but I'm too tired to re-write it. :-(
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