More Than You Know – Rape Culture

Ladies, yes, this is yet another post about how equality MUST be equal, and justice MUST be equal.  And I’m saying this as a woman who was stalked by a 19 year old, when I was just 13.

I know far too many men who have been labeled with the title of “sexual predator” because they made a stupid mistake.  And the reason I’m stating it that way is because that was EXACTLY what it was.  Lumping stupidity in with intent to molest and rape is just as disgusting to me as a woman being accused of “asking for it” when she reports she’s been raped (whether because of being drunk, or dressed provocatively doesn’t matter).

And women need to take accountability for their actions if they choose to do something stupid that means someone else gets into trouble.

Teens who purchase fake IDs to get into places that are limited to only adults need to be just as culpable for their actions as our justice system claims that the adults are culpable.  If some 15 or 16 year old gets into a bar, and drinks, our current justice system closes down the bar, but rarely takes the teen to task for it.  If that same teen decides to have sex with someone there, they also get the “get out of jail free” card, while the person they had sex with (of ANY gender) gets labeled by the justice system as a sexual predator.

And it doesn’t even HAVE to be proven that the adult and the teen had sex – it just has to have what is considered a “credible witness.”

Don’t tell me that there aren’t women out there who will intentionally make men out to be sexual predators (for their own purposes).  I’ve known women who use their children to “prove” that men have raped the kids, and who make their money off of suing the supposed molester.  I’ve known women who were rejected by men, so they did everything they could to get him labeled a sexual predator – either by reputation or by the justice system.  I’ve known women who destroyed men’s lives simply because that man wasn’t what she wanted him to be.

Rape culture does NOT have only one side, people.

And before you start off with percentages, let me point out to you some reality.  Our justice system is based on the idea that a person is innocent until PROVEN guilty.  The problem being that that innocence or guilt must be backed up by honesty.  And there are JUST as many women who are willing to lie as there are men who are willing to lie.

Owning a penis does not automatically mean you are a rapist or predator.  Owning a vagina does not automatically mean you are innocent.

And until justice is equal – until it means we ALL get the same justice – it will never be anything BUT a rape culture.

Categories: Feminism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “More Than You Know – Rape Culture

  1. Pingback: Being Unfair to My Own Gender | The Demonized Other

  2. alexmoriah86

    I don’t know if you’ve ever gone through the experience of reporting a sexual assault to the police, but it is a horrible experience. It is a horrible experience to even tell people in your community or your friends, because we are often victim-blamed. It was a major factor in why I tried to commit suicide. I had no support, because people didn’t think that my experience was as important as protecting the perpetrator from “getting into trouble.” I believe that there are women out there who would falsely report a sexual assault for unjust reasons, but given how horrible the process is and how you risk losing all of your friends, I believe that most people are telling the truth. I wrote an article about consent and sexual assault, if you are interested. I just think that it relates very much to your post.

    So, I see where you are coming from with equality before the law and innocence until proven guilty. That is important. But, some of the things that you say in this post actually support rape culture. I’m not sure if you’re aware and I’m sure that you didn’t mean it. As a survivor of sexual assault, I found the sentence “And women need to take accountability for their actions if they choose to do something stupid that means someone else gets into trouble” really problematic. It sounds like you’re saying that victims of sexual assault are stupid and so it’s their fault, because they made a stupid choice which is what got them sexually assaulted. It sounds like you’re saying that the person who actually committed the sexual assault shouldn’t be held accountable because it’s not fair that they should “get into trouble.” Instead, you’re saying that the victim should be accountable for being a victim of sexual assault. It’s victim-blaming, which is actually a huge facet of rape culture.

    I’m guessing that you didn’t intend to sound that way and that maybe that’s not what you really mean. But, the language does express that sentiment and it reminded me very much about the way that I was treated by my community when I spoke out about my sexual assault. I was treated like it was my fault, I made a stupid decision, and that I had done something wrong that I needed to be accountable to the perpetrator for, and that the perpetrator shouldn’t have to get into trouble. It leaves the person who is actually responsible for the crime, the person who committed the sexual assault, without having to be accountable for their actions. As the victim, I only need to be accountable to myself for how I could’ve been safer. But, the sexual assault is always the fault of the person who committed it, and that idea is integral to the violence-prevention, feminist, and anti-rape culture movement. We’re against victim-blaming.

    Also, are you against statutory rape laws that criminalize an adult having sex with a child? Or do you think that there should be laws against child-adult sex, but that the child should also be held legally accountable? I couldn’t understand from that section of your post. It sounds like you’re saying that children should be criminalized for having sex with an adult? But, why?

    Not trying to bash you at all with this essay reply : /. I’m very opinionated and enjoy critical dialogue, and sexual assault is a really sensitive subject. I’m trying to make sure that I understand why you are coming from.

    I do think that in terms of equality, feminism should do a way better job of advocating for male victims of sexual abuse, assault, and domestic violence. Sexual trauma really knows no gender. There are so many boys who are sexually assaulted in their youth by adults who they trusted.

    • I’m extremely glad that you understood the main thrust of the post – that equality under justice is important.

      That being said, you’re right. I’m in the process of writing tomorrow’s post (that got published today as a “blank” post, sorry), which will actually address some of your points.

      But that also means I need to take accountability for that victim-blaming. While I have been assaulted, I never made the choice to go to the police. And I do understand how difficult it is. I sincerely apologize for that.

      However, I do have one caveat. NO VICTIM is ever responsible TO the perpetrator for their mistake. But, they are responsible to themselves for whatever mistake they may have made.

      As for the statutory rape laws, no, I am in NO WAY condoning any adult using their position as an authority to molest a child in ANY WAY. In the post itself, there was an additional adult involved – a jealous ex older sister. And, again, I’m sorry that I was unclear in my communication of that. To my mind, the child in this case was a tool, and was victimized not only by the man in question, but also by her older sister. NO person, no matter their age or experience, should EVER be used as an innocent tool to punish someone else.

      I do have a concern at times about certain ages and certain choices. I am unwilling to reveal the child’s relationship to me, but I have a young person in my life who is under the age of 15. She has not only reported that she was abused physically, but has also reported being sexually abused. Additionally, she has – and this was witnessed by a credible adult – threatened at least one of her male family members (over the age of 18) that she would report him to the police for molesting her if he didn’t do as she said. She has also slept with a second male family member (again, over the age of 18 physically, but mentally much younger – but who is not being treated as a vulnerable adult, as he should be. It doesn’t make him innocent of the sexual act, but it should have an impact on the punishment), and was caught in the middle of the sex act. She has now been removed from two separate households for being a danger to the other people in the home.

      I’m not saying that teenagers should be treated as adults. But, there is a factor there that MUST be considered. There ARE teens who will lie, manipulate, and yes, intentionally commit sexual acts – with other teens as well as with adults. And that is the portion of the situation that is rarely brought into play. Who protects people from the teens who make those choices intentionally? Yes, the adult should have the maturity and self-control to say NO, and to leave the teen’s vicinity, and NEVER allow themselves to be alone with that teen. But, there are some pretty damned vulnerable adults who get caught in that kind of a trap.

      I welcome critical dialogue! Sounds like you and I are very similar in some respects. And I can’t complain about essays, since I seem to write them myself. 😀

      • alexmoriah86

        Thanks for your reply. It sounds like there’s definitely a lot of other factors at play in the teen/adult scenario that you’ve brought up that would make it more complicated to prosecute as just a standard statutory rape case. I agree that the whole age thing is difficult to navigate, because we can’t always know the intelligence or maturity level of a teen or their intentions and how their sexual relationship with the adult developed. I was just curious where you were going with that idea in your post. And I also agree that victims of sexual assault need to be accountable to themselves and work to be safer for themselves. I think that so often our society takes that idea and uses it to blame us. I can’t talk to most people about how I’ve been accountable to myself, because they just get this attitude like “So you admit that it was your fault?” It’s so hard to talk about. Anyway, I’m so sorry that you were assaulted. I wish I could say that reporting it helps, but I don’t think it really does a lot of the time. I’ve just had to find other ways to cope with it, like writing about it. I hope that you have too. I look forward to your next post : )

      • Sometimes you have to take it out of the context of interpersonal relationships, and bring it into an analogous situation for some people to understand.

        In our culture, if a drunk driver kills someone they are criminally held responsible. But the bar and bartender are also held civilly responsible (i.e. can be sued) because they should have cut the person off, and got the drunk person a cab.

        The drunk is the primary actor, but others assisted.

        You made poor choices. So did I, by not reporting it – thereby making their next victims less able to protect themselves. Systems theory assigns us blame, because our vulnerability granted the perpetrator the opening he was looking for.

        In the drunk driving analogy, justice understands and shows the difference between civil and criminal liability. But for some reason (regardless of rape or form of other abuse) victims of “intimacy betrayal” (defined as an action by which someone assaults another person’s body and mind autonomy), seem to be considered by the justice system as collaborating with the perpetrator, regardless of coercion or unwillingness to do so.

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