Friday, June 3, 2011

Blame Rapists for Rape, Not the Victims

[TW for victim blaming and rape apologia]

Stop me if you've heard this one: "If you go out, don't drink too much. Don't dress like a slut. Don't walk around by yourself. Don't don't don't."

This speech has probably been given at every single high school and college campus in existence. There are pamphlets everywhere dictating what a woman must do and must not do in order to prevent herself from getting raped. Normally, I am all for prevention, such as cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer so your house doesn't catch fire, taking vitamins to supplement your diet so that you get all the nutrients you need, etc. I do not agree with these speeches and pamphlets and what have you that tell women how not to get raped because it implies that if you get raped, you must not have done something right because we gave you this ENTIRE list of things to do and not to do in order to prevent this.

I do not agree with most programs concerning rape prevention because they place the blame and the burden of preventing the crime on the victim instead of the rapist. 

The fact of the matter is, women should be able to get shitfaced while naked and parading around a back alley at two o'clock in the morning and expect not to be raped. Women should be able to go to the police when they are raped and not expect to be questioned about their sobriety, their clothing, their actions, their location and the time of day they were at said location, their sexual history, etc. Women should be able to do whatever and go wherever they damn well please and expect not to be raped. Women should NOT have to curtail or adjust their behaviors in any way in order to prevent rape because that perpetuates the falsehood that the victims are responsible for the actions of their rapists. And if you think that victim blaming doesn't exist, then read this article about a town meeting where a mass group of people blamed an 11 year old girl for her gang rape by eighteen fully grown men and this article where a Republican lawmaker also blamed the girl, saying that she was "dressed like a prostitiute." We live in a society where it is perfectly acceptable to blame a child for her rape, and that is absolutely fucking sickening.   

Many people argue that we need rape prevention programs because "Oh, well, it would be fantastic if we could let you women loose on society and allow you to do whatever you want, but our society just doesn't work that way. Those darn rapists are out there looking for you so you have to do this, this and this to prevent them from gettin' ya!" This would be great if these things actually prevented rape from happening, but they do not. Rapists attack women no matter what their level of sobriety, no matter what they are wearing, no matter where they are and no matter what time of day it is. As a matter of fact, just recently, an elderly woman was raped in broad daylight in the Upper East Side of NYC. This also happened in Kansas, where a woman was attacked in the middle of the afternoon in front of a crowd of people at a bus stop.

Rape does not happen because a woman is drunk, because she's dressed in a sexy manner, because she was walking around alone at night. The two cases that I've mentioned alone prove that.

The only thing that all rapes have in common is a rapist.

Maybe instead of focusing on blaming the victim and telling women how not to get raped, we should focus on telling rapists not to rape. I have a strong feeling that this would be way more effective.


  1. What I think is insane is that in our legal system the rapist is innocent until proved guilty ... the victim of rape is guilty until proven innocent.

  2. Unfortunately, that's absolutely true. The justice system will deny it until it turns blue in the mouth but the fact of the matter is that almost every rape victim will be asked what she was wearing, where she was and at what time she was there, what her sexual history is, etc. by the defense, and the judge will do absolutely nothing to stop it. It's beyond sickening. And then people wonder why rape is so under-reported!