Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rape Reasoning

(trigger warning)

I have been pondering rape fear lately. I have pondered the way rape victims seem to be blamed for being promiscuous, in the wrong place, asking for it, or downright stupid. Shouldn't the blame, again, be squarely on the shoulders of...oh I don't know, the perpetrators? I have realized that my beef with victim-blaming in sexual abuse situations like my own, very closely coincides with how many rape victims feel and are treated. I want to speak out against victim-blaming. Victims: it is NOT your fault. Predators: it IS your fault. I do not care how many people have told you that it is understandable that you would be tempted to rape someone. You are to blame, solely.

I love reading Shakesville. It is my favorite feminist/equal rights/progressive blog to read. Melissa McEwan wrote today about rape and it resonated with me so strongly that I had to link to it from here. Enjoy.


VICKI IN AZ said...

Liked this post very much.
Still following the comments from your post on Seg. Unbelievably painful. I just want to wrap everyone up and tell them just how sorry I am.
My Therapist got a phone call one day from Elder Holland after he had written him a letter expressing frustration with the way local leaders deal with victims.
Elder Holland told him that every single week they pray together as a Quorum that the Church will survive it's leadership. AMEN!
Take care,
♥ Vicki

McDonalds said...

Personal experience prompts me to note that though I agree rape (and other forms of abuse) is never the victims fault and always the predators, I also can say that sometimes blaming oneself for such terrible experience(s) helps explain the icky (sometimes confused as guilt) feelings one experiences. It helps divert the pain and is thus a coping mechanism. Though as with all coping mechanisms, it does not erase the event. I get pretty angry when victims are blamed for sexual abuse no matter how much cleavage or leg they show or ho "flirtatious" they appear to be. I was once in a religion class at BYU where some idiot stated that it is a woman's duty to dress "modestly" (whatever the hell that means) because she does not know what goes through a man's mind when he sees an immodest woman. He defended that this is not a man's fault and that they are naturally hardwired this way. My whole body flushed with a rush of anger from memories I had long since tried to burry. I raised my hand and practically screamed that all individuals are not only responsible for the way they respond to their thoughts, but are most definitely responsible for their thoughts. Once I said what I had to, the instructor kind-of agreed with both of us and continued with the lesson. I was mad at the teacher for not handling the situation better. I have to admit that the Italian in me is guilty of fantasizing about shooting off the idiot who made the extremely demeaning comment. I am rambling...I just have to say while I completely agree, perpetrators are fully to blame, I understand why victims blame themselves and/or let others convince them of their guilt.

k said...

Oh I am soooo glad that I wasn't in your class that day. I practically screamed just hearing that story right now. Wow.

I definitely understand why victims blame themself. I have blamed myself for what my father did for years and years. I agree with you 100% on the feelings of self blame being a normal part of the process that any victim goes through. I only get upset when other people looking in at the situation pass judgment on a victim by saying victim-blamey things. I should be clearer in saying that I don't blame victims for blaming themselves, only the people around them that reinforce that label.

When someone is victimized they WILL blame themself on some level. The least everyone around them can do is keep a clear head and never blame a victim. You know?

Sara, I love your insights so much. I love that you are brave enough to speak up and take on this topic and share your thoughts. In fact, we should get together again sometime soon. I miss talking all Italiany and ramblingy.

k said...

Thanks Vicki. I know what you mean about wanting to wrap everyone up. That's so interesting about Elder Holland. I hope the Church survives it too :)

aaron&marianne said...

my mom recently sat through a video put out by the church- it was a new one about how leaders should deal with abuse when it comes to their attention- she said that it dispelled a couple of old fashioned ideas and helped to direct the leaders to the quickest and most helpful routes of healing for the victims- i am sure the video was prompted by all the catholic priest abuse stuff- too bad that so much bad has to happen for things to be shoved towards change- but at least something is happening in a good direction...our society is evolving slowly- i remember my aunt telling me a story about her father always making some comment when he rape was the topic- like, 'well, she probably was dressed like a floosy' , and how my aunt finally got up the nerve to tell him- 'no, dad, even if a woman's clothing is scant- that never ever gives anyone the right to do anything to her!!!' -

when pondering rape and abuse i wonder about the motives- is it that the perpetrator needs to feel powerful over someone else- or are they really just perverted and want to force sex on someone- or are they true pedophiles-in cases with children- where they truly desire a child's body- i guess there is a myriad of reasons why people rape- i worry about it too- i know how you feel-

VICKI IN AZ said...

I have always loved this chapter in Jacob for its tenderness to women and children. I came across it again today in my reading and this verse leaped out at me in connection with our ongoing discussion here and over at your post on Seg.

35 Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.

I have known some of these dead hearts.
I am so glad you wrote that article so that people could have a chance to share their story.

Chuck said...

I agree. When people have their house broken into, the police don't check to see if a window was left unbarred before charging the perpetrator, and judges don't lighten the sentence on the basis that the homeowner was "asking for it" by not locking up the house like Fort Knox.

I do intend to teach my daughters that they're unfortunately safer by taking as much responsibility as they can for their own security, but they need to know there's no foolproof method and to understand that it's a necessary evil. It's like when I was a motorcyclist: to improve my own odds, I had to constantly be on the lookout for every idiot thing every oblivious car driver might do, no matter how illegal. That was no guarantee I wouldn't get hit, but it was the best I could do since I couldn't change everyone else's behaviour.