Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blaming the Victim

I've been seeing quite a few debates recently about "victim blaming" as it pertains to incidents of rape.  It seems like there is a pretty hard line drawn in this debate, where there is one side saying that you can't assign any blame at all to a young woman who drank to the point of passing out in public and was raped, and the other side that makes pretty good points about the fact that "passed out" and "blacked out" are two different things, and that a super-drunk girl going along with it that wakes up in the morning, regrets what she's done, and cries "rape" was probably participating in this sex act with a guy who was just as drunk as she was, so why does HE bear all the responsibility when she regrets it?  

It has lead to a place where there is no middle ground, and the "don't blame the victim" group is missing out on one very important thing: 

rapists gonna rape.  There is nothing wrong with teaching our young women to beware of the fact that there are bad men out there who will take advantage of them if given the chance, and that they should be smart enough to not participate in helping their rapist.  Instead, they want to have classes teaching rapists how not to rape (as if rapists don't already know that raping is bad) and in the process, treat every man on Earth as if he's a rapist.  

When I was in college I was forced to take no less than a dozen classes teaching me how not to rape a woman, as if that is something that I needed to be trained to do just by nature of being a man.  As if “rapist” is the natural state of manhood, and that there needed to be training and re-education in order to make sure that we understood that physically assaulting someone by placing your body parts inside of their body parts without their permission is wrong. 

It was the most degrading, insulting experience that I ever had to endure; I was fucking FURIOUS, because I knew that if such a thing were ever foisted on women just because they are women, there would have been an uproar of epic proportions, and there would have been hell to pay.  Someone’s head would have rolled at that university. 

Yet to assume that all men are rapists that need to be retrained is perfectly fine. 

But what they are missing is that no one is "blaming" the victim when they ask her to simply show some common sense and self-awareness.  Even as a man, I would never, ever get drunk to the point of incapacitation in a public setting.   Ever.  It is just stupid to expect total strangers to take care of you when you pass out.  If I’d ever done so, I would have fully expected to wake up with a half shaved head and sharpie marker tattoos, so I never did it.  Ever.  

A woman who passes out drunk in a group of total strangers has far more to fear than a sharpie tattoo and a bad haircut, and yet we’re stumbling over ourselves in our efforts to NOT point that out, and make whatever bad thing happens to them as a result completely unassociated with her bad choices. 

This is not victim blaming.  Rapists don’t get a pass from me.  I would personally brutalize any man that I caught in the act of raping a woman, including non-consent encounters caused by incapacitation.  But I think we are being deliberately obtuse, and risking our young women’s health and well-being by continuing to teach them that everyone else, including complete strangers who may very well be rapists, should be more responsible for their well-being than they are, themselves. It’s absolutely fucking stupid beyond words, and its all in an attempt to make sure that we place no blame, whatsoever, on the young woman. 

So let’s make sure to not place blame on her, just like no one would blame me for my half-shaved head and sharpie tats, right? 

Oh, wait, they would blame me at least in part, for that.  Huh….   

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