The Grumpy Giraffe

Critiques on social and education issues

Don’t Shut Up About Rape Culture

The “rape crew” case in Steubenville, Ohio has been spreading like wildfire on the Internet. In some aspects, it is eerily similar to the Glen Ridge gang rape:

  • more than one men gang-raped a girl (although in Glen Ridge, it was 13 men raping a 17 year old mentally retarded girl) 
  • the girl was incapable of giving consent (this girl was drunk. Glen Ridge’s girl was mentally retarded with the mental age of a 5 year old)
  • the rape happened in a White, football-crazy, suburban town that is quite affluent
  • the rapists are the town’s pets: they’re spoiled, and are very tolerated no matter what they do
  • both communities side with the rapists, and ignore or neglect the rape victim (in Glen Ridge, they also said that the girl, Leslie, had it coming)

A rape is already disturbing enough. I cannot decide whether I am more upset at how the community reacted to this, or how the media reacted to this. In a picture that succinctly summarizes the media’s portrayal of the Steubenville rape:

steubenville

Not one word was said about the victim. 

These are giant networks that broadcast to millions of American homes, and for 3 of the 4 networks listed, they broadcast to countries outside the US, like Canada. This is a scary thought: someone commits a crime, a sexual offence, and they are pitied! This isn’t just any small crime: this is a rape.

These networks sympathize with the rapists, claiming that these “promising” young men have unfortunately sullied their record, and in the infamous CNN video, the news reporter states that being labelled as a sex offender “will haunt them for life”. Of course, this is true. But what about the girl? What about her family? Not one word was mentioned in the CNN video. It seems like the video has been taken down a day after it has been met with flames from the Internet, so this is a mirror video of the CNN coverage.

Isn’t journalism supposed to be fair, and report only the news? Of course, sympathy shown for the victim would not have received such harsh criticisms (to the extent where CNN had to retract the video), but siding with the rapists shows a really ugly, underlying truth about the society.

What was equally horrifying, if not more horrifying, were the tweets that went out against Jane Doe, the rape victim. Death threats were sent, and victim and slut shaming blossomed on Twitter, Facebook, and any other type of social media network. Below is an image of some of the tweets collected from another blogger: Laura Nelson (click to enlarge; NSFW):

twitter

The rapists are not victims!

Here is how you know victim shaming exists:

  • “She had it coming, she was so drunk.”
  • “She’s a whore.” (ties into slut-shaming, which dehumanizes women to the point where they are expected to automatically consent to sex)
  • “She shouldn’t have gotten so drunk in the first place.”
  • “She shouldn’t have dressed like a slut.”

Captain-Yapity posted this:

tumblr

“It is not a stretch to say she probably said ‘yes’.” She’s intoxicated. Consent means that you need to be conscious and fully aware of your surroundings, and say, “Yes, I would like to engage in this activity.” Intoxication clouds your judgement, and is definitely not consent according to the law. How do you know if they are conscious enough to give consent? For one, they should not demonstrate any of the following:

  • unable to walk in a straight line
  • bumping into things while walking
  • slurred speech
  • unresponsive (i.e. actually unconscious and physically unable to react)

In the video, Jane Doe is constantly referred to as “the dead girl”. In the picture near bottom right of the tweets collage, it is obvious she is not in a conscious state of mind to consent to anything. She is, in layman’s terms, “knocked out”.

Moreover, yes, the boys were most likely drunk, but not drunk enough to not know what they were doing. They were certainly sober enough to carry her house to house, take pictures, and record the rape on video. They were certainly sober enough to know that the girl did not consent.

No, in fact, I do rather believe that we do need to demonize the boys because they are demons. They were certainly sober enough to handle a camera and carry her around. They were sober enough to get others to pay them so they can urinate on her. This is certainly rational thought. This isn’t an instance of “Oops I’m drunk, I don’t know my left hand from my right hand”. This is a full-blown rape with actual planning and processing.

I get that people are tired of the talk about rape culture, but it needs to be discussed openly. Steubenville tried to sweep it under the rug, hoping it will fade out with time. The boys are completely supported by the community because they see football as an ideal.

Rape culture is so rampant and obvious, we need to deconstruct it. Some may say, “But that only happens in so-and-so, not here”. The scary thing about Steubenville and Glen Ridge is that this can happen literally in any other town.

We need to look at the values we instil in our children. What happened in this town that brought up the children like this? What did the teachers, parents, and the community do that led to such a heinous crime? How do they treat females in that community? How do females live in that community? What does it take to “get in”?

So no, we do need to talk about rape culture. We shouldn’t let posters like this deter us:

men

That isn’t standing up for men. We can’t stop talking about rape culture. It’s everywhere. Yes, not all men are rapists, but we do need to create a safe forum to talk about rape culture and the view of humanity as a whole. What has made some of us to think of humans merely as sex dolls? Why is that?

The solution is not to blame the victim. People should not be taught that “Oh you got drunk, you’re just asking for rape”. Nobody asks for rape. Rape is non-consensual sexual penetration of the body, including inserting objects into orifices

We should know that if someone is intoxicated, we ask, “Are you okay? You need to go home” instead of taking advantage of others. And that leads to another major misconception about rape.

RAPE IS NOT ABOUT SEX.

I have to bold, italicize, and underline and indent it because too many people say, “If you didn’t wear such a short skirt/showy top/skanky shoes/dress slutty, you wouldn’t have been raped. You’re just asking for it.” Again, this slut-shaming needs to stop. Not only does it clearly insult women, it also insults men. Are men so barbaric that they are completely driven by their instincts? Are men so base that their loins become uncontrollable when they see a bit of leg or cleavage?

We are humans with higher order thinking. We are biologically programmed to have the ability to control or delay or divert our urges elsewhere. The assumption that rape is sex-driven is wrong because rape is a power act.

Being forced to have sex is humiliating because we have dignity, especially over our own bodies (or so we wish). Not being able to control how you use your body shows that you completely lack control. It’s humiliating and embarrassing, similar to how some adults feel very ashamed for urinating in public without knowing. Control over our own body is the final and most basic form of control, and if we can’t even do that, that’s shameful.

Which is why non-consensual sex is the most humiliating thing.

Not only is it that you are unable to control your own body, somebody else is controlling how it will be used on their terms. You are neglected.

And many people say not to talk with male strangers who are burly or bulky. Many rapes happen with someone you are familiar with, like a family member or a family friend. Rapists take advantage of the trust you invest in them to turn against you and to humiliate you. Rapes committed by familiars are most common because  there’s already that trust, whereas with a stranger, you need time to take down the walls of the prey. If the prey is not comfortable, they will be quicker to defend themselves. If the rapist is someone known to the victim, the victim usually neutralizes the situation, like “He’s just nice to me because he’s my uncle”, or “He just wants me to know what it’s like so I’m prepared for [sex]”.

Although I mention “he” as the rapist, keep in mind that women can, and do, rape too. The reason why we don’t hear about this is, again, because of rape culture. Men are seen as superior beings. They’re supposed to be in the pilot seat. When a woman, someone seen as an inferior, has control over a man’s body, and manipulates it to how she wishes, that’s twofold the humiliation. Many men are not willing to speak up because they think it portrays them as incapable men, incapable of controlling even their own bodies. They have lost all dignity.

Many people believe rape culture is only about women and feminism. In a way, yes, it does obviously concern women. Women are more likely to be targets just based on the general power gender norms associated with women. However, rape culture affects men too. They are afraid to speak up because they feel that they would need to go through twice the shaming again: first with the rape, second with admitting that he could not have control.

So no, don’t shut up about rape culture. Talk about it. Sweeping it under a rug is no use. This is a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud or else it manifests into something much uglier, like Steubenville.

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8 comments on “Don’t Shut Up About Rape Culture

  1. Jack
    May 23, 2014

    There is no rape-condoning or celebrating culture in the West, save in the minds of western women, and their fantasy-art/writing/etc.

  2. Maggie Webster
    December 11, 2013

    This is a story thats close to my heart. I’ve been experiencing the same blame from rape. IT has bothered me so much that it has inspired me to start my own blog @
    stoptherapeblame.blogspot.com
    and advocate via a 501(c)3 nonprofit to see the social climate change when the public reacts to a rape victim. This just enables rape. It justifies rape. It has to stop. Thank you for your powerful words. They gave me strength and reminded me of the focus I need to combat these prejudices.

  3. Hammrich
    April 6, 2013

    Your style is very unique compared to other folks I’ve read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.

  4. Pingback: Don’t push the big red button: vagina and sex ed | The Grumpy Giraffe

  5. Pingback: If it is wrong don’t accept it as inevitable « neverimitate

  6. iHijinx
    March 21, 2013

    I applaud Jane Doe for having the strength to get through her ordeal and then stand up to her attackers. Their sentences did not fit their crime. Jane Doe will suffer mental torture for much much longer than two years.

    I recently met an inspiring lady – http://suzzanbcom.ipage.com/about.php
    Images of her torment, clearly palpable to anyone but especially the victims.

    A great, considered and brave post. Thank you.

  7. nutrisassy
    March 21, 2013

    Beautiful post, thank you for writing this as I am sure it was difficult to do so since it is an especially touchy subject. I literally feel like this is a publicity stunt from the different news companies because their attitudes and responses are blasphemous; last time I checked, this is 2013, not 1913. Those who commit crimes of rape will pay the price and if they don’t want to pay that price, then maybe…I know this is a crazy idea…but maybe they should not have bothered to commit the crime at all! After all, isn’t there some free porn on the internet that they could have gone and jacked off to instead, or some groupies they could have slept with being the kings of suburbia? Anyway, I could go on, but thank you for the image of the tweets/posts from other people being all for the accused…people have sick minds and it’s sad to see that it is so evident in today’s day and age.

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2013 by in education, politics, school, society and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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