A helping hand to dumb victim blamers

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, rape apologism, victim blaming, stupid people

When it comes to the topic of rape, some people (the ones who would really very much like to NOT talk about rape at all) like to say that “everyone knows that rape is wrong.” These are the people who are obviously not familiar with “reality” and are “running around with their heads buried firmly in their collective shit-filled buttholes.”

What these people don’t seem to realize, understand, and/or are actively trying to ignore is that plenty of people think that many kinds of rape are just fine, evidenced by the constant slut shaming and victim blaming. One such example (one of a JET POWERED FUCK TON of examples) comes from a woman in the UK whose roommate wandered into her room in the middle of the night, whilst she was sleeping, and raped her. When she tried to take the case to court, they let her know that they wouldn’t be taking it because:

The jury would have to be told as part of your evidence that the defendant had both entered your room and that you had shared a bed with him … we would then struggle to convict the defendant of rape unless there was extremely strong evidence that you then withdrew your consent. Some examples of evidence that a jury might find convincing would be injuries, cries for help, evidence of some form of struggle between you.

Which leads me into the main part of my tirade, which is to point out how completely and utterly asinine this type of thinking is. The response the woman in the UK received says to her that the court and their future jury do not believe that she was actually raped because she didn’t get the shit beat out of her in the process. In another rape case, the deeply reprehensible waste-of-semen that was the defense barrister had enough of a gaping hole where his soul should have been to ask the victim: “Do you expect me to believe that an educated young woman of nineteen wouldn’t scream for help, wouldn’t bang on the wall? You would have stopped it, if that’s really what you wanted.” 

Somehow, in a way that my brain is absolutely unable to comprehend, a good number of people go about thinking these kinds of things about rape victims. I would therefore attempt to use an analogy to take the victim blamers by the hand and help guide them to the point of understanding just how fucking stupid this is.

Let’s pretend you were minding your own business inside your home, watching your brand new expensive HD 3D LCD TV thing. At this point, a friend of yours busts through the front door with a weapon and says that he is going to take your new television and if you try to stop him, he will cut/shoot/bludgeon you to a bloody smear. Afraid for your life, you do not immediately run up to your friend and punch him in the face. You let the TV get stolen from you, and once the shock of this betrayal and the paralyzing fear wear off, you call the police.

What would you expect the response to be from the police after you tell them that something was forcibly taken from you under threat of death? What you would not expect would be the cop asking you why you had such a nice TV in the first place and why you didn’t have a burglar alarm to protect you. You would also not expect your friend’s defense lawyer to try and tell you that since you failed to go up and punch your friend with the deadly weapon in the face and were not as a result shot/stabbed/beaten half to death with a cricket bat, then the exchange of television from one person to another was obviously no crime. You obviously consented to gifting your new TV to your friend and are now trying to ruin his life because now you feel dumb for giving your nice TV away. Surely you are just a dirty sharer, always giving away your things to other people. A lot of your friends say you even give to charity! If you’d really wanted to keep your TV, you would have fought back instead of letting someone take your TV. How dare you try to falsely convict someone just because you have giver’s remorse.

Let’s say you got drunk with a friend and passed out on the couch, and he or she stole the TV. Would people ask you why oh why did you get so drunk? Why did you have a person over to get drunk with in the first place? Is it really theft if it was your friend who took it? I mean it’s not like someone broke down the door. There isn’t even any evidence of forced entry, which would be helpful for conviction. I mean there’s no doubt that the television is yours, but your friend says you gave it away, so are we just supposed to believe that he stole it?

Let’s say your friend is much bigger than you. Let’s say it’s two friends and one held you down so you totally couldn’t move while the other took your TV, and even though you struggled you couldn’t really move at all because you happen to have been born physically smaller that your other friends, and so you don’t have a lot of marks on your body that make it look like you struggled. Should said friends get to walk around free after stealing your stuff? Would your jaw not drop like a potato if someone were to tell you that you were asking to be robbed, or that it wasn’t really theft and you’re just overreacting?

And so, good readers, I hope you have enjoyed following me through this metaphor. May you reflect on the fact that while the vast majority of crimes don’t make you jump through ridiculous hoops to prove that you didn’t want to be subject to whatever criminal behavior was beset on you, and don’t try to blame you for the fact that the crime happened, somehow when it comes to a crime that overwhelmingly affects women rather than men… yeah.

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.

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