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.