I wrote down this quote in my feminist methodologies class yesterday when we were watching NO! The Rape Documentary because it seemed to be a great argument against all the victim-blaming I hear when it comes to rape and other forms of sexual assault. When has rape ever been the prescribed punishment for making a bad (perhaps "stupid") choice? And who decides which actions and choices are "stupid?"
I wrote this post out and hesitated for a long time before finally deciding to publish it, fearing that people might think I was not taking this topic seriously or that I was trying to make fun of people. Neither of those is the case. Rape is a tough topic to discuss, especially when it comes to responsibility, but that doesn’t change the fact that rape happens and it needs to be talked about. The idea behind this post is to challenge the ideas of some of the comments on this blog. I will provide you with a sample of some of these comments (names excluded), followed by my own “translations” with the regard to the “stupidity of women.” I feel that providing real examples of victim-blaming might help make this post more effective.
I would like to note that my translations may not be exactly what the authors of those comments intended, but they certainly are one way to view their arguments, and I hope that they might read this post and re-think what they said.
This post is meant to be in-your-face. It is meant to be challenging. It is meant to make people re-think some of their arguments.
Here it goes:
Comment: If you act like a 10 cent whore, you will be treated like a 10 cent whore.
Translation: If you women are stupid enough to act/dress sensually, then you will be raped.
Comment: You can dress and act any way to please, but you still have to deal with the consequences…If you want to "drink, to flirt, to walk alone at night,"…you will, in return, be faced with adverse consequences. I make it very clear that this does not apply to EVERY rape case, but the riskier life YOU lead, the more risk YOU are susceptible to.
Translation: If you women are so stupid as to think that you can take the same “risks” as men (like drinking, flirting, and walking home alone), it is more likely that you will be raped.
Comment: Rape is not the victim's FAULT but by placing yourself out there in outfits that say "come and get me, i'm cheap" certainly increase the risk of getting raped.
Translation: If you women are stupid enough to not understand how your manner of dressing will cause a man to react, then you increase the likelihood of getting raped.
Comment: It is impossible to re-educate men. As a feminist, you'd think you would know that. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. It is not something you are going to be able to do unless you cage all men and force them to be so afraid of women that they wouldn't dare try anything... but I'm pretty sure that that is highly illegal, so there's no chance of that happening in the near future.
Translation: Men are stupid, so if you women do something stupid, like wear a skirt or flirt with the stupid men, you will tempt them to rape you. So stop it, because the poor stupid men can’t change. You women must change for them.
Note: A lot of these comments try to validate their claims by saying things like “this doesn’t apply to all rape cases” and “not all rapes can be prevented by the victim,” but they still imply that it is the woman’s fault if she does “stupid” things that appear “risky” (but why are these things considered risky in the first place?)
“Rape has never been a punishment for stupidity.” - Loretta Ross, NO! The Rape Documentary
How do those arguments sound now?