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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Once upon a Time (Rant Alert - on rape)

Once upon a time, a man wearing an expensive watch, drove his fancy car into town and bought himself a fine meal. In the restaurant, his expensive watch and tailored clothing caught the attention of another man, who followed him back to his home. The other man was jealous, and angry, and hated the man for having money and wealth and showing it off, and resolved to teach the rich man a lesson. So he broke into the rich man's home while he slept, stole his watch and clothes, beat him, and drove off in his car.

When the rich man went to the police, they asked him why he'd worn the clothes and the watch, and why he'd driven his car, and eaten his meal in front of his attacker.

In court, the attacker wept. 

"I couldn't help it," he said. "He was dressed like he wanted me to do it. He's rich. Everyone knows they want it, no matter what they say."

And the judge and the jury looked at the rich man, who now walked with a cane because of his beating, and hardly slept at all because the sound of the wind scuttling over his window made him fearful,  and shook their heads in disapproval. 
The media made much of the fact that he'd worn a fancy suit, and a fancy watch, and that the man who attacked him was now in trouble because the rich man had provoked him.

When the not guilty verdict came in, the attacker turned triumphantly in court and smiled at the rich man, and he limped alone out of the court room, knowing that the next time he heard scuttling over his window, his attacker would be in his home again.

He was right.


                                                  ******************************
That little story doesn't make much sense, does it? In our world, if you beat and steal from someone and say you did because they were rich, because you couldn't help it, the judge and jury will probably slam you into prison so fast you'll bounce. At the very least, you'll end up with court mandated psych sessions along with your sentence.

How about this one:



Once upon a time, a woman got dressed up and went into town and went dancing. She felt pretty, and her dress was nice, and she had a lovely time. In the club, her laughter and dancing and pretty blue dress  caught the attention of a man, who followed her back to her home. The man was jealous, and angry, and hated the woman for having the confidence to go out by herself, to look pretty and show it off, and resolved to teach the woman a lesson. So he broke into the woman's home while she slept, ripped up the pretty blue dress, beat her, raped her, and left.

When the woman went to the police, they asked her why she'd worn those clothes and how much make-up she'd had on, and why she'd danced and laughed front of her attacker.

In court, the attacker wept. 

"I couldn't help it," he said. "She was dressed like she wanted me to do it. She's a woman. Everyone knows they want it, no matter what they say."

And the judge and the jury looked at the woman, who now walked with a cane because of her beating, and hardly slept at all because the sound of the wind scuttling over her window made her fearful,  and shook their heads in disapproval. 
The media made much of the fact that she'd worn a pretty dress and make-up, and danced alone, and that the man who attacked her was now in trouble because the woman had provoked him.

When the not guilty verdict came in, the attacker turned triumphantly in court and smiled at the woman, and she limped alone out of the court room, knowing that the next time she heard scuttling over her window, her attacker would be in her home again.

She was right.


                                                        **************************
Think I'm exaggerating? Have a look at the media coverage of the Steubenville rape. A lot of the mainstream media made much of the fact that two "promising young men had their lives destroyed," a phrase which hopefully made a number of people throw up. 

Have a look at the media coverage on almost any rape case. Unless the victim is left fighting for his or her life, the victim is inevitably put on trial. (yes, male rape victims happen. This isn't about sex, something the media and defence lawyers choose to ignore.)

I've never heard of burglary victims having to defend against character assassination on the witness stand. 

I've never seen coverage of a vehicle hi-jacking explaining just why the owner chose to drive that oh-so-sexy mint-green BMW.

"I couldn't help myself" and "They asked for it" is not an excuse in any other crime.

Teaching women that they are responsible for attacks on them is a double-insult; it implies that women are stupid and irresponsible, the ultimate evil that renders "good men" insane - and it reduces men to the level of rabid jackals. 

Bull shit.

Rape is about power. The only thing it has in common with sex and sexual attraction are the body parts involved. I(t's been used as a weapon both domestically and in war for centuries, and if anyone thinks a male soldier is saved from rape because of his gender, I've got a lovely little palace in London I could sell you.)

We need to educate both men and women. Men to understand that when someone says "She asked for it," they've just been insulted on every level. They've been told that because they are male they are unable to control themselves, they are unable to say no, and they are easily manipulated. They've just been reduced to walking, talking life-support systems for an erect penis with no conscience.

Women need to understand that they are not responsible for someone else's actions. They need to be told that the automatic response to penetration is lubrication, and that this is something they have no control over, because it's a bodily function, kinda like breathing. They need to know they have a right to exist and live side by side with the males of the species without being blamed for have ovaries and a pair of breasts. They need to know that most men are not rape-happy cavemen, waiting for the chance to pounce. 

Both men and women need to learn that neither gender is dirty, or shameful, or looking to hurt you, but when someone is raped it hurts all of us. It reduces us to throwing stones at a victim, or picking sides when there is no side to be picked.

A crime was committed. Making the victim pay is senseless.