Rape Analogies

We’ve all heard the rape analogies. Let’s set aside the truly disgusting rape apologist analogies (like the whole “you can’t leave a piece of meat/cake/substitute-any-delicious-food-here sitting out and expect no one to eat it” thing…or the “if a man walked around with a suit made of $100 bills, he’d expect to be robbed, wouldn’t he?” one). I think we can all agree on what’s wrong with those. I’d like, instead, to have a discussion on analogies used by anti-rape activists. The Rape of Mr. Smith is a pretty well-known one, for example. Marcella Chester at Abyss2Hope just posted a rape analogy today, exposing some of our society’s problematic and hypocritical assumptions about rape using the example of a robbery.

These analogies can be very useful for exposing how we treat rape
differently from all other crimes, and can be very eye-opening for
people still steeped in our culture’s rape apologist propaganda. They
can be extremely powerful tools in the fight against rape culture.  
That being said, there’s something that still seems…off…about comparing
rape to other crimes. Comparing rape to robbery does, to a certain
extent, dehumanize rape victims and minimize the crime. Plus, the model
of something being “stolen,” thereby conflating rape with the robbery
of physical goods, tends to propagate the sex-as-commodity model that
feminists work so hard to challenge. (And this sex-as-commodity model
is certainly a huge part of rape culture.) So I’m torn. What do you
think? Are rape analogies primarily useful tools against rape apologist
hypocrisy? Or do they do more harm than good?

P.S. No offense if you’re reading this, Marcella. I’m a huge fan and your blog is an absolute lifesaver!

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Join the Conversation