I am very frustrated with many of the comments on my blog posts at this site. And as I have been reading through my responses, I realize that because of this frustration I have not always been able to clearly make my point, so I just wanted to post an opinion post to clarify some facts and explain how I feel.
I have never been raped; however, I have grown up as a woman and experienced all that this entails: catcalls, sexual harassment, inappropriate gestures and innuendos from a very young age. I have had unpleasant encounters with men three times my age and felt violated more than once. And I am only eighteen.
It has been widely reported that nearly 1 in 4 women are raped during their lifetimes. And most rapes don’t occur in an empty alley, committed by a gun-wielding stranger. The vast majority of rapes are acquaintance rapes, and it is these occurrences where women are left with the most of the blame. Look at how she was dressed, she obviously wanted it. We slept together before. If she got that drunk, it was for a reason. But she was flirting with me at the bar; why else would she have talked to me?
Many of the posters have emphasized that most men don’t rape, and that is obviously and thankfully true. However, the existence of rape cannot be ignored; it is real, and the danger to women is everywhere. It is hard for a man to realize the powerful, semi-unconscious fear that pervades most women’s lives. Women can’t comfortably study at the library after dark. Women are warned to avoid parking cars at the far end of the lot. Women shouldn’t run in parks alone. Women are even warned against pulling over in a secluded area if a cop is flashing his lights, for fear he is an imposter. To follow all the restrictions, warnings, advice, and guidelines is to limit the living of one’s life.
While I am not advocating going to a bar alone, dressed provocatively, chatting with strangers, and downing a few shots, I am also not saying any woman who does should be blamed for the actions of the men who surround her. These men are autonomous human beings who have control over their biology. They are not sex-crazed animals, insatiable in their lust for women. They have the ability to ignore the woman or put her in a cab. If they choose to do otherwise, it is solely their decision and solely their responsibility.
Please read here to see where this discussion started.
Also, please visit Men Can Stop Rape.