Just Keep Moving, There’s No Rape Culture to See Here, Folks

I remember the cop, visibly annoyed with being burdened with the task of taking my statement, leading me into the tiny room and I remember the panic bubbling up when he shut the door behind him. I think he typed 5.5 words a minute. I told him the whole story. It seemed like we were in there for hours. Maybe because he took that long to type or maybe because the designers of that tiny room, with the door closed, made no allowance for personal space. It didn’t help that he was so obviously agitated with being assigned the duty of taking dictation from me. At 20 years old, the last thing I wanted to be doing was sitting in that shrinking room giving some strange man a detailed, minute by minute, account of the night that started out at a bar with friends and ended with two of those “friends” raping me.

The only time he spoke to me was to tell me to “hold on”, “go ahead” or to repeat something, except for when I got to the part about the blood running down my legs as I ran from the apartment. Without looking up, he asked, “were you a virgin or something”. I said “no” and he kind of shrugged, which made me feel like I had to defend myself and I started explaining how I’d only been with one person but he just said to get back to the story. I wasn’t prepared for the interview after he finished taking my statement, not that being informed of it would have prepared me for the line of questioning.

Were you drunk?

I was.

What were you wearing?

If the rest of you are wondering, I was wearing a mini pencil skirt and a black v-neck tee. The police took it at the hospital as “evidence”.

You didn’t have on underwear when you were seen at the hospital. Why?

I guess that “M” and “C” pulled them off of me in the process of raping me. When they decided they were done and let me go, searching for my underwear completely slipped my mind.

Have you ever slept with either of them before that night?

No. Evidently, though, if you sleep with a man once, he maintains the right to plant his flag when and if he feels like it and it isn’t really rape.

Have you ever flirted with them? Were you flirting with either of them that night? Were you dancing provocatively at any point?

The reality of this “investigation” really began to set in at this point.

If you were drunk, why would you go home with two men?

I told him that they were my friends. They saw that I wasn’t in any condition to drive and told me just to come back to their place for a while, get something to eat and they would bring me back to my car after I sobered up for a few hours. I missed the fine print. I took the invitation at face value. Fuck me, right? You still want me to disregard the notion of rape culture?

The thought of calling the police didn’t even cross my mind when I ran out of that apartment, bleeding and crying, without my panties or my purse. Even when “M” chased after me in the parking lot, asking me if I was okay and apologizing, I just told him to leave me alone. I just wanted to go home and sleep and never think about it again. I was even wracking my brain about who I could get to cover my shift in the morning because I couldn’t deal with work and I didn’t know if “M” or “C” was scheduled and I didn’t want to see them. At this point, you see, the logic of the rape culture was well ingrained into my head, unbeknownst to me. I realized that what had happened in that apartment was rape but I didn’t know who, if anyone, would believe me. Would they blame me? Hell, even I wasn’t sure if it was my fault.  Why did I do those shots? Why didn’t I just drive home?  What did I do to make them think it was okay?   I said no. I said it over and over. I pleaded for them to stop. I was crying. They were holding me down. I’d never known anyone that had been raped (or so I thought) and so had no first hand knowledge of what it was like to report a rape. My biggest fear was that no one would believe me. The only reason I did report it was because they wouldn’t even talk to me. much less do STD testing on me, at the ER unless I filed a police report. I conceded and then my fears were proven to be right. “M” and “C” were given the benefit of the doubt from minute one. They had all the rights throughout the process. I was the one on trial. I was the one that was guilty until proven otherwise. The onus was on me to prove that I didn’t want to have sex or deserve to be raped. The focus of the “investigation” was my history, my character, my personality, my personal style, my social behavior and alcohol intake.

The minute the story of  Steubenville went viral, I was–actually, there isn’t a word strong enough to describe my disgust. It is the standard treatment of rape victims by the media and society, insofar as the scrutiny and indignation being targeted to the victims. The biggest difference with this case and other rape allegations that get the attention of the media was the indisputable evidence against the accused, though. There were pictures of them carrying her seemingly lifeless body through parties. The rapists and their “audience” tweeted the photos and even details of the assault. There were videos from the party that showed this sixteen year old girl, naked and passed out as her peers assaulted her and, literally, pissed on her.  Others parts showed witnesses sitting around, talking and laughing about the assault. The town didn’t rally their support for the sixteen year old victim. They didn’t plea for the public to grant respect and privacy to the person who was violated, debased and humiliated in front of her peers, who did nothing but, best case scenario, turn a blind eye, and, worst case, cheered it on and laughed. No one asked what upbringing or influence could result in these boys being capable of such a public, notorious show of misogynistic, callous, disregard for the 16-year-old victim. No one asks what influence would provide these two boys with such an emboldened sense of entitlement that would be required to publicly rape a girl, videotape it, make jokes, and share it all via social media? Or, how could all of the other teenagers at this party stand by and watch this happen and not speak up? Why didn’t anyone help her? Why didn’t anyone intervene or, at least, sneak away and call the police?

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Stop teaching boys that friendship with a female is a last place ribbon, a consolation prize. Your daughters will internalize this message about their value too.

The media and the public consistently deny that there is any such thing as rape culture within our society. The assertion is dismissed on the grounds of our “civilized” society and the modern normalcy of women’s rights. The dissenters point out that we have laws and if they think really hard or have google access handy, they might cite cases in which those laws were even enforced. Many will condescend with the “you ingrate” tone and tell you to go live in the Middle East, “then talk to me”. The dam broke when the guilty verdict was handed down this past week. Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond reacted to their sentencing, breaking down into tears. The media responded with unmitigated pity and sympathy for the now convicted rapists. They might as well have fallen to their knees, sobbing and wailing, as they mourned and bemoaned the implications the conviction and sentence may hold for the future of the rapists.

An NBC correspondent opined, “In many ways, tonight stands as a cautionary tale to a generation that has come of age in the era of social networking.”

What the what? Evidently, Lester Holt thinks that the biggest mistake these boys made that night was logging into twitter.

CNN’s Poppy Harlow, I shit you not, said: “incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believe their life fell apart.”

Am I supposed to squirt a fucking tear, here? If anyone wants to watch where their lives fell apart, a good starting point would be the video and pictures of them raping a girl and then work backwards from there.

Candy Crowley contributed her sympathy, saying, “A 16-year-old just sobbing in court; regardless of what big football players they are, they still sound like 16-year-olds. . . . When you listen to it and you realize they could stay until they’re 21, what’s the lasting effect, though, on two young men being found guilty, in juvenile court, of rape, essentially?”

Rape, essentially? I want to punch a baby seal. Why don’t you ask yourself about the lasting effects this girl might suffer after, not just being raped, but being raped in front of all of her peers, having it broadcast across the world-wide fucking web and being relegated to drunken whore status by the media and court of public opinion.

The dialogue, in the aftermath of the sentence, was woeful, angry and ripe with indignation. What kind of world do we live in when studious, promising athletes can’t just go out and rape a girl without consequences? It seems every major network is talking about how much this will hurt Richmond and Mays. I’ve heard over and again that they were good kids, they made good grades, praise for their athletic prowess, and the potential ramifications these sentences hold for their futures. Conversations on the victim, who was also 16, might I add, revolves around the fact that she was intoxicated and descriptions of her provocative attire. I haven’t heard about her grades or her character. Any mention of  her is basically a thinly veiled  summation of a drunk slut.  The boys were football players and good students. They are relevant. They had a future.  It’s not that the victim doesn’t matter at all; it’s just that Mays and Richmond matter a lot more. The victim, on the other hand, has been dehumanized and objectified, by her attackers that night and, since then, by the media.  She’s a nowhere bound party girl who woke up with a hangover and buyers remorse. One major flaw in this treatment of rape victims by the media and the public is that it perpetuates the notion that a situation in which, for instance, two boys carry a semi-conscious, inebriated, girl around, strip her naked, sexually violate her, and piss on her, all in front of a crowd and a camera, is motivated by sexual attraction and desire, rather than to completely demoralize and debase another human being for no other reason than they could. They performed for the crowd, they documented the assault, they blasted jokes, pics and details across social media. They acted with hubris. Now, the tears that are shed are shed, not for the child that was violated and assaulted, but for those who considered her and her body to be their entitlement. The moral of the story that these kids and others, including your children, will take from this, is that girls are responsible for sexual aggression employed against them. Despite the videos, the pics, the jokes, the bragging, the distribution of the photos and video of the rape between their peers, the victim is cast in the role of the villain and her attackers are the victims; led into temptation by her feminine wiles.  It was out of their control, they were powerless to resist raping her when they saw her passed out in tight clothes. Yeah, I don’t know why anyone would be concerned with any so-called rape culture.

We indoctrinate our children into the rape culture, just as we were indoctrinated. Our daughters are told that they are responsible for controlling male behavior.  In a rape culture, we don’t actually empower girls; we teach them that their sexuality makes them powerful and then we call them sluts and whores if they dare entertain the thought of wielding it. She will learn to, not only, accept being objectified but to be flattered by it, to seek it out, in search of empowerment. We teach her that female sexual agency is almost non-existent, except to satisfy the sexual agency of men. Girls will learn that they can give consent just by what they choose to wear. They will, one day, join the chorus of society, shaming female sexuality and sexual agency as immoral, abnormal and an invitation to rape.  Rape culture romanticizes rape by treating it like an act of uncontrolled passion and sexual desire. In a rape culture,  women are advised on measures they can take to prevent being raped. It covers things like hairstyles, fashion choices, and even goes so far as to suggest urinating or vomiting on herself, or telling an attacker that she has an STD. I’ve never gotten an email on “robbery prevention, with advice like, don’t wear expensive clothing or nice jewelry, don’t drive an expensive car, don’t purchase pricey electronics or have too big of a house. The message is simply, “don’t fucking steal” but, in a rape culture, a message of “don’t fucking rape” just never got off the ground.  Rape culture teaches us to inquire about and critique what a rape victim was wearing.  We learn to scrutinize a rape victim’s sexual history. We will judge her if she consumed alcohol or did drugs.  We rationalize and justify rape on behalf of the offenders. We absolve them of responsibility and project it on to the victims by analyzing her history, behavior and choices. In a culture of rape, we don’t blame the rapist for raping, we blame the victim for the series of  decisions and actions that ended with being raped. We perpetuate this culture when we say things like, “yeah, it is sad that she was raped but she shouldn’t have put herself in that situation”. Anytime you accept that there are choices women can make in which rape should be expected or accepted, you are part of rape culture.
What goes almost unnoticed is, if we accept all of that as fact, then we are also implying a belief that rape is a normal function of the male psyche. The urge to rape is part of a boy’s inherent nature, and they must make a consistent, conscious effort to stifle their propensity to commit sexual assault.

Nothing sells pizza like a rape joke

Nothing sells pizza like a rape joke

Say it with me:

Women have unmitigated, irrevocable governance over her body. If she is drunk and topless, she isn’t asking to be raped. There isn’t a situation or scenario that exists in which rape should be considered and dismissed as an acceptable or expected consequence. I have the right to walk down a fucking alley. I have the right to go to a party and drink. No one has the right to rape me.
Men are not slaves to their sexual urges, void of conscience, humanity or empathy. They do not have to fight against a natural inclination to rape, abuse or dominate women.

Some new rape prevention slogans:

Don’t rape

Real men get consent

Consent is sexy

That’s a good start.

 

This was a previous blog but I’m linking for relevance:

http://viewsfromthecouch.com/2012/08/20/how-not-to-be-raped/

109 thoughts on “Just Keep Moving, There’s No Rape Culture to See Here, Folks

  1. Great post…thank you for your strength sharing this. I’m so glad you reported it, even though your experience with the police was so horrible. I didn’t have the courage to report my rape. You’re very brave.

  2. Thank you for this. I made the mistake of telling the girls I thought were my best friends. They blamed me, actually accused me of wanting it to happen to try and steal the guy, and still to this day, 7 years later, won’t speak to me.
    Women perpetuate the culture as much as men. I chalk it up to fear. If someone can say, “that happened to her because she did x and I don’t do x” then they feel safer. It’s a very false safety.

  3. I too have been raped, and I too failed to report it. I was raped by my then fiance…I was naked and asleep in bed. He was horny. He decided that he wanted sex. I woke up to him on top of and inside of me. I never gave him my consent. When he discovered I was crying, his response was “What’s your problem?” and kept on going. If asked, he would not realise nor agree that he had committed an act of rape. To him, it was his right and he was entitled to my body. He did not treat me with any respect, nor love. I was a piece of meat for him to use at his pleasure.
    My husband knows my history, and he is always conscious of my right to my own body…and we are both determined to make sure our children are made aware of their rights (and responsibilities) regarding a persons body as well.

    Unfortunately, the current culture regarding rape is rampant even in the judicial system. I posted this next part previously:
    Years ago, a friend of my sister was walking home from school after helping to set-up for an extra-curricular activity. It was mid afternoon on a weekend. She was attacked, beaten unconscious, brutally raped, and the pathetic excuse for a human then tried to slit her throat. She survived.
    The rapist fled to another state, and it was actually his father who called the police, after he saw the composite sketch and recognised him. During the trial it came out that the victim (she was 16), who was very shy and introverted, had just begun taking martial arts lessons to try and build her confidence. She tried to fight him off using these techniques, which is why he bashed her so badly and then tried to kill her. It also came out that he’d made a comment to his estranged partner that “if you won’t give me any, I’ll find some little teenager that will!” He was horny, and had decided that it was his right to have sex with whoever he chose, no matter what they thought.
    There was a massive outcry during the trial due to a comment made by the judge – he said that seeing as how she was unconscious at the time of the rape, she would not remember that aspect, and so it would not be as traumatic as if she had been conscious. He suffered from such severe (and rightly deserved) condemnation that he had to both withdraw and apologise for his comment, and withdraw from the trial itself.
    The rapist was sentenced to 7 years. The friend of my sister got a life sentence.

  4. Thank you so much for this. When I was raped shortly after college (by someone I thought was a friend) I had the same thought — what did I do to make him think this was okay? Despite the fact that I told him, repeatedly, that it wasn’t okay. I never reported it — I had seen that kind of questioning happen to another girl I knew who had been raped and living through that in addition to rape just seemed like more than I could handle. But even after realizing that the rape wasn’t my fault — why on earth would I have been stupid enough to let a guy spend the night in my bed when I didn’t want to have sex? — I still feel ashamed, 5 years later, for not reporting. Angry that the system is set up to blame the victim, but ashamed that I didn’t fight it anyway, that I just acquiesced to the power of rape culture and am therefore perpetuating it.

    • I don’t think that I did anything to defend against rape culture by reporting. I was powerless; just tied to a post in front of an armed firing squad. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have reported it.
      You don’t have to feel ashamed. The system is not set up to encourage victims to come forward, much less protect them or support them when they do. You can do a lot more now. You fight against the rape culture when you tell your story and when you stand up for the victims, against the reigning voices that blame them.

  5. I applaud this post on so many levels; it is fucking ridiculous. But I think the problem isn’t the rape culture itself (which is certainly mindfuckingly awful) but the paternalist patriarchal culture. Not a week goes by where I don’t mistakenly stumble upon some wrongheaded and moronic blog or website or actual human who thinks that the ultimate goal for males is to sow their wild oats in as many fields as possible with as little regard for the field as they can muster. The problem is that the fields are people and the wild oats are herpetic, syphilitic spunk filled with rapist (or the next closest without being an actual rapist) DNA.

    As a dude; I am tired of living in a society that claims I am second tier as a man because I respect and love my wife too much to cheat on her and heed her advice and listen to her opinions (even when I don

      • Great post! And for the record: “Second tier” dudes rock! You are much more interesting, diverse, and open to intelligent dialogue with a gasp woman than the cavemen types, who behave condescendingly to me, even though their I.Qs. are at least 40 points below my own, and cut me off in conversation, so they can boast about their possessions and position in life. With those guys, I have the patience to listen for about, oh, 30 seconds before I desperately look for an escape.

        • Thank you. I recently came across a blog that was purportedly for Alpha Males and was basically an instruction manual for hooking up with girls in other countries where according to the author the girls weren’t masculine feminists like they are in the US or UK. It was one of those awful things that you can’t look away from. I had always considered myself something of an alpha before; I am relatively intelligent and strong and despite some very nerdy behavior, I tend to lead rather than follow. After reading 3 or 4 posts of the most depressing views on women I’ve ever seen, I realized I’d rather be a beta or gamma or omega male than be at all associated with a so-called alpha.

          • versi: Proper alpha males only mate with alpha females. Males that need to find submissive and cowed females (or partners in general) to feel dominant and in charge are not proper alphas. Much like men that rape generally have a need to dominate rather then to have sex, it’s a weakness in them that they are trying to “purge” by forcing themselves on someone else, so that they can, for a brief moment, feel like “big boys” and dispel for a moment that they are any thing other then what they really are: weak and deprived.

          • Agreed! I just don’t know what the point of being with someone who isn’t basically your equal. I used to think I was pretty stubborn and bullheaded until I met my wife. Then I learned that I was actually super laid back (and so was everyone else I’d ever met) because she taught me what true stubbornness was like. Still one of the things I love most about her; even when it is infuriating.

          • partnership at it’s best!
            besides, what would be the point of having someone that agrees with you all the time? where’s the fun in that *eyeroll*

          • Versi and Meg – My grammar school teacher taught us that when in doubt about “it’s” and “its,” try substituting “it is” for the apostrophed “it’s” in the sentence. If the sentence does not make sense when you do that, you want the one with no apostrophe. Example: The bird fed it’s young. –> The bird fed it is young. = nope. Take out the apostrophe.

          • Swedish is soooo much easier!
            Gramatically: you is, he is, she is, they is and so on. We don’t have a lot of genus differences in our language. Makes for an easy time in grammar school when you’re a kid. And then 4th grade hits you and you’ll start learning english :)

          • It is just sad to think of how many impressionable teens or young adults will come across those kinds of sites and accept that kind of information to be true and take the advice. I’m glad to know that there are men out there that takes a legitimate interest and has such a great understanding of issues like these. I hate it when people refer to them as “women’s issues” because I’m pretty sure that my sons are just as vulnerable to being harmed by these attitudes and ideals rampant in society. Thank you so much for your comments.

          • When I was younger my mother worried furiously that either myself or my brothers would get in some sort of trouble. She pretty much beat it into our heads how we were supposed to behave, especially after a kid my brother played football with was falsely accused of raping his girlfriend (her parents had found out that she’d had sex with a black dude and said he raped her. She later recanted when she realized he was now in trouble and no longer her boyfriend). While I could have done without the fear of dating that my mom iinstilled; I do feel like she taught me to always be aware of what was appropriate conduct.

            Combine her lessons with my father’s lesson that I must always protect those who are vulnerable or weak; I have trouble sitting idly by while my “peers” act like sociopaths.

      • Depends on how you interpret the idea of “biblical morality.” The better Christians I know tend to think of “biblical morality” as being turn-the-other-cheek, blessed-are-the-peacemakers, love-one-another sort of stuff. Stuff about the arc of the universe bending toward justice, as Dr. King put it.

        The less-palatable Christians I know start organizations like Quiverfull.

  6. This whole story is unnerving … Raped even includes when you really don’t want to but you are pressured over and over, even harassed to say “OK” or made to feel so guilty for letting this dude spend money on dinner and movies that you “owe” him “something” in return.

    These little fucktards who raped this girl … I can’t believe they “might possibly have to stay in jail until they are 21.” Since they are going to juvy hall, which is such a hard gig, they probably wont have to register as sex offenders either.

    guys/men go to parties, get shitfaced, but we never hear about a group of girls taking off all his clothes and ramming a broom stick up his ass and taking photos of it.

    I have a son and I’m trying to raise a man. I say that to him all the time. “son, you have to learn [insert lesson] because I’m trying to raise you to be a good, responsible a man.”

    I am all about women’s empowerment. No wonder there is still such a gap in the workplace, if we are still dealing with the fundamental valuation of the female! It’s my body, my mind, my soul– And get the right to share it with who I want, or not share at all if I’m so inclined. The rape culture is just one more area of sexism we must overcome.

    It’s ok for women to be sexual beings, and to enjoy sex. But since we can admit that we enjoy it, we are now obligated to say “yes” to anything??? And if we are unconscious or wearing short skirts and low-cut tops, then it’s a standing “ok.”

    WTF? how about if you are passed out then it’s an automatic “no” since you weren’t conscious to give consent?

    That poor girl … not only was she violated and humiliated publicly, it was recorded in various forms of media and the images will last in perpetuity. From now on, in our current culture, people will see her and say: “hey, that’s the slut who passed out and got fucked by those football players.” Instead of people seeing the boys and saying: “hey, those bastards were the animals who callously humiliated and raped a classmate.”

    • Exactly. It is hard for me to wrap my head around how the dialogue has occurred surrounding this case. How can anyone, knowing the facts, seeing the pictures or the videos, still absolve the rapists and blame the victim? How can they even make any part of the discussion center around how much she was drinking or what she was wearing? As if it would matter if she was snorting vodka, dancing butt naked on a table before they raped her. I don’t give a fuck.

      People illegally downloading music are serving longer sentences than these two rapists.

      I wish they had been tried as adults. They should have been, given the gravity of their crime. They should have been charged with rape and possessing and distributing child pornography. Everyone that stood in that room and watched, as far as I’m concerned, should be charged as an accessory. Every parent of every one of those children, the ones that committed the rape and the ones that watched and did nothing should cower in shame at their failure to instill even the most basic degree of humanity or sense of right and wrong in their children. I would. I would be horrified and ashamed to find out that any of my children could stand back and watch that happen.

      On top of everything, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox didn’t edit her name out of a courtroom clip and her identity was revealed. They should be paying out the nose for that error.

  7. You are an inspiration for sharing your story. I just had the conversation yesterday about our rape culture with a co- worker. I told him as a man he should be offended by the notion that he is a slave to his baser urges and that rape is to be expected from him if the situation presents itself simply because he cant control himself. It saddens me that this is the world we live in. Whatever happened to caring for your fellow man? I am raising two sons and am doing my part with the next generation by teaching them simple human decency.

    • I have one daughter and three sons. The current mindset of society, the rape culture, is not something I want ingrained or even implied to any of them. Thanks for reading, your kind words, and for sharing.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story so eloquently! I hate what happened to you, but am thrilled that you have spoken up–the more women who do speak up, and loudly, better!

  9. When I wrote that a woman should be able to stand naked in public without fear of rape I will never change my stance. Women should be granted sufficient esteem to be regarded as ‘off limits’, no matter what the circumstances.

    We are aghast at cultures where women are deemed property, utterly restricted and at fault if they are raped. Yet we observe our cultural media devalue women by manipulating their ‘allure’ by presenting them as ‘lures’.

    I find no fault with being viewed as ‘alluring’, but by being depicted as a ‘lure’ I am reduced to an object whose purpose is to entice. Yet those very ideals that hold us aghast have insidiously seeped into our own culture. We must never stop fighting against it.

    When publicly viewed as a ‘lure’, the objectified woman is questioned as to her whereabouts, her drinking, her friends, her choices, her clothing; rather than as a woman where the question should be ‘who did this to you?’

    It is in the genetic make-up of women to be ‘alluring’ and therefore when raped, she should be viewed as the victim of a crime and God forbid, ever questioned because the general public has adopted the belief that women have become lures and therefore hold some responsibility for the assaults against them.

  10. Thank you so much for telling your personal, powerful story. Just when I think people cannot get any lower or disgusting, they do. This actually reminds me of a show that I had seen one time, one of those true crime/real life court trial shows, that was a rape case. All I remember was, when the girl was on the stand, the questions the defense attorney fired at her. What were you wearing, how were you acting, etc, and I remember thinking, are they really asking her this? Do they really still blame the victim, in this day and age? I thought we had gotten past that. And this was at least 6 + years ago that I saw this show. And that is the only part that stays with me. How ignorant this defense attorney was. Being from Ohio, I am sick and horrified to know that I live in a state that was brought to national attention for such a horrendous act. And the sad thing is, all it is going to teach people is that if you do something like this, make sure you don’t film it. Don’t document it. Don’t do anything to get your self caught. Last week, our news station actually aired a segment about an app that once you send a pic, you can hit something that will make it all disappear. So now those that didn’t know about it will have another useful tool at their disposal to hide their crimes. Society makes it so easy for those in the wrong to get away with it, and the victim is always the one that pays. and that goes for any scenario, not just the rape culture scenario. So so sad.

  11. Hey, so, I don’t know how this comment will be taken here. But I’m going to throw it out anyway, and you guys can excoriate me if you like.

    I am male. I started college early and joined a fraternity because I saw Animal House and thought it would be cool. I didn’t exactly have my pick of them since a lot had bylaws preventing someone of my age (14-15) from joining. Anyway, moving along, the one I joined had what I thought were a lot of good guys. One time, there was a party, a girl got really drunk and passed out. Someone put her in the president’s room. A few minutes later, one of the other guys motioned for me to come near the door, so I walked over. He then said, essentially, that we should go in the room and “do things” to her.

    I said no and went to get someone else and told them, then I basically spent the rest of the party hanging around outside that door until her friends came to get her. This happened about ten or twelve years ago so my memory is a little hazy, but that’s essentially what happened.

    Fast forward to last year. I was bringing a date home from a bar, where she had gotten really drunk and embarrassed herself in front of her friends. I accompanied her inside her house only to make sure she made it to her bed and wasn’t sleeping in a position that would end up with her aspirating. She had been all over me in the bar but I didn’t think she could stand up straight, let alone pull off my pants and try to force herself on me, which is exactly what she did.

    I repeatedly said “no” and “stop” and tried to push her away from me – obviously not well enough, because she succeeded in having some sort of sexual contact with me. I was not…erect, and it was weird and really quite humiliating at the time. I left. The next afternoon I got a flood of apologetic text messages from her, saying that she didn’t remember what happened but was really sorry to have done whatever she did to me, and wanted to know if I was okay.

    I don’t say these things for praise or pity, I say them to identify my personal history with sexual assault.

    No one deserves to be raped, or assaulted, or even touched without permission. I do NOT believe that the way a woman dresses or acts leads to or is an excuse or even a mitigating factor for any kind of assault.

    However, I see some comments, here and elsewhere, about how a woman should be able to go anywhere and do anything and not be assaulted, and how it should be incumbent upon men to stop rape. And while I fervently wish that both of these things were true, they are not, and I cannot foresee that they will be in my lifetime.

    Now, I’m not saying that fathers and mothers shouldn’t raise their sons to be honorable men. But I am saying that they should raise BOTH their sons AND daughters to be careful about the people they trust and the places they go.

    I am open to input here – if I am way off base, or am engaging in victim blaming by saying that people should be careful and weigh the risks of their actions, let me know. That is not my intent – my intent is to reduce the number of people who are sexually assaulted.

    • I’m sorry that that happened to you. I don’t want you to think that the message that I’m trying to convey is that it is on men, solely, to stop rape. I realize it may come off that way because I’m writing from the female perspective. i know that, while females have low reporting rape, the reporting rate for men like you is even lower. Men who have experienced an assault like you did are faced with the commentary like, “men can’t be raped”, or that you were “lucky”, and friends that say she can rape them, etc. I’m sorry if you felt that my blog post was minimizing the existence or impact of rape against males.

      Rapists rape.

    • Maybe use your naturally-given strength and push her off next time? Not saying use violence or hurt her, but come on. In all likelihood (no I am not saying women can’t be physically stronger than men, it’s just not exactly prevalent) you’re much upper body is much stronger than hers and you could/should have forced her off of you.

      • Wait just a minute! Aren’t you just blaming the victim here?! Just because he is a man, you assume he should be stronger, and therefore he was responsible for stopping her from assaulting him?

        Did you even read any of the article?

        Shame on you!

        • Agreed Shannon, I think DD missed the whole point of this piece. Male or female, the person doing the attacking is the only one responsible when a sexual assault occurs.

      • DD, in shaming the gentleman who was assaulted by a friend, you are once again blaming the victim. As we try to get the message out to men that sexual assault victims are not to blame, and that only the perp is responsible, the last thing we need is for males to have reason to accuse us of having a double standard – and being absolutely right.

    • AT I’m sorry you had to endure that. No-one has the right to force their will upon another. Regards to your point about people making informed, responsible decisions and choices, I agree. We should all do our best to keep ourselves out of risky situations and keep ourselves as safe as possible at all times. It is something I try to instill in my children on a daily basis. However attending a party with dozens of peers or going out to a public bar for a night of socialisation should not be considered risky behaviour. And in the event of a sexual assault, the victims choices and decisions should never be publicly questioned. I can guarantee he/she will do enough of that themselves. We must all take responsibility for our own choices and actions, but being raped is not a choice made by the victim but by the perpetrator and they are the only ones who should have their decisions and actions questioned. There is simply nothing a person can do that entitles another to force themselves upon them. Period.

  12. that was exceptional. thank you for your honesty and words. we have to change the tone by speaking the truth and taking the time to listen to the truth. thank you for your words.

  13. I applaud your courage in sharing your personal experience and bringing a voice to all of those who have suffered the injustice of being told that they did something to bring rape onto themselves. As reflected in some of the comments shared this is a huge dilemna that is constantly perpetuated by both males and females.

  14. This most incredible article I’ve seen yet on this subject. Thank you for sharing your story though I know it had to be difficult. We must educate society how the victim feels when we’ve been violated and it is most definitely wrong in any way shape or form to violate anyone in this manner.

  15. My experience was so similar to yours. Except I had friends in the other room who assumed I was in a room with 4 guys by choice. I just went with that and never told anyone the truth. I even had myself convinced for awhile and abused myself, feeling like a “slut”. It’s true I put myself in a really stupid situation but it took me years (and therapy) to realize that what your previous commenter said is true, “100% of rape is caused by rapists”. It’s too bad I had to be de-programmed before I could understand that. I will try very hard to teach my daughter of her value, and that other people’s choices never reflect on her character.

  16. Reblogged this on dolacotidiana and commented:
    This is a post from one of my favorite blogs. The type of rape culture we live in and what it means for society. Give it a read and pass it along, we need to get this message across.

  17. I just can’t believe this type of thinking exists still in our society. I just can’t fathom the idea that men and women are still raising children with the belief that boys can do whatever they want and girls are the ones that have the control to stop or let things happen. I just hope that posts like this keep surfacing so this issue comes to light and people start opening their eyes to the rape culture we are living in. Nicely done

  18. I have volunteered for 10 years with organizations that work to end sexual assault and domestic violence, as an advocate for victims, as a presenter for school, church and legal groups on rape and gender mythology, as a performer in social justice theatre… you name it, I’ve done it. And in all that time, I never reported my own rape. Not because I felt guilty or ashamed- I always knew my rape wasn’t my fault, that it did not reflect on my self worth or define me as an object. No, I didn’t report because it just didn’t seem worth it.

    I am not ashamed of my rape. I am ashamed of my inaction. Our culture will never change until we collectively stand up and deem sexual violence as socially unacceptable. I am thankful you did report, even if it did not result in the consequences it should have for the perpetrators. I wish I had done the same.

    Thank you.

    • What you do is far more important. If I knew then what I know now, honestly, I don’t think I would have reported it. I hate to say that but it is true. What you do does make a difference.

    • Kate, as I said to Jamie, please try to unburden yourself of shame for not reporting. Rape is the rapist’s fault, period. He is the one who should bear the shame.

      As Queen said, what you do now is far more important – and I would add, far more effective, considering the dismal record of arrests, trials, convictions, and prison time served for this heinous crime. The rate percentages of all these stats is dismally small.

  19. Pingback: Give Me Back My Body | ♀ Riot Grrrl ♀ בישראל

  20. It is easy to see that this topic has you exasperated, and it is also blatant why: because it happened to you and because society treats it like a bloody misdemeanor! I applaud your openness and your fight of human nitwittery. Let’s hope it will change anything at some stage. Because as far as I’m concerned you are preaching to the choir, but apparently for the media the normal, reasonable course of action doesn’t seem to sell enough adverts. Urgh!

  21. The Steubenville case reminded me of the film “The Accused”. I think it’s time a law was passed making it a crime not to interfere when a crime is committed in your presence, as long as you can do so without endangering your own life. We have such a law in Israel.

  22. Anytime a rape victim is publicly held responsible in ANY way for the rape because of what she was wearing or drinking, or why she was out late along with any other outrageous query, we along with the victim, should adamantly refuse to even discuss the answers as they bear NO relevance to the crime. If I choose to walk down my street stark naked, drunk OR sober, there isn’t a man on this globe that has the right to rape me let alone put a hand on me…..period.

  23. Wow. Thank you so much. Amen! It was very hard to read what happened to you. I was not strong enough to report anything and it is because of crap like what you experienced and now looking back, still affected by it 20 years later, I worry about having not tried to tell. Maybe another girl was hurt because I didn’t do anything. So no matter how it turned out, rest in the fact you did what you could. Thank you for putting into words what I can’t.

    • Jamie – Once again, let me gently remind you: Rape is not the fault of ANYONE but the rapist. Please try to let go of any guilt you feel about potentially not saving another girl, because of not reporting.

      • Thank you. That is a good point. I will try to keep that in mind. I agree when I read it, but forget it at times when I focus on the crap.

  24. So beautifully said. What kills me is how people are using this as an excuse to talk about how they’re too young to fully understand the consequences of their actions. That’s true, but their victim has to live with the consequences of their actions and she didn’t do anything. And the consequences she gets are worse than theirs.

  25. You are just so, so smart and such a wonderful writer and so perfectly able to articulate the correct interpretation of everything in life you choose to write about.

    “What goes almost unnoticed is, if we accept all of that as fact, then we are also implying a belief that rape is a normal function of the male psyche. The urge to rape is part of a boy’s inherent nature, and they must make a consistent, conscious effort to stifle their propensity to commit sexual assault.”

    Yes, yes yes! My husband, wondefully enlighted though he may be, actually said, out of fear for our 3-year-old daughter I think, “Well she should not have been at those parties, her parents should have kept her home, girls have to not put themselves in those positions.” No! I told him that is implying that men, boys, just can’t help themselves, that women have to fear men because they are just vicious wild animals barely tamping down the thundering current of their destructive sexual urges. That’s a horrible message for my daughter and my son to grow up with. And it is completely counter to the reality of the relationship I have with my husband, who is the most mild-mannered, trustworthy person I have ever met.

    I’m going on a bit, but I am just so impressed by you as a human being, a woman, a thinkner and a writer. I started reading you when you wrote about Evangelical “purity balls” (again, you put in print exactly what bothers me about that shit, and with such an eloquent, funny flair), and have kept it up and, just…wow. I am so so, sorry about what you went through as a very young woman. But man, do you have fire and ferocity. Amazing. :)

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so very sorry this happened to you. We all must work together to change the unquestioning acceptance of this, and it starts by talking about it, WITHOUT shaming the victims. That this happened at all is completely wrong. That national and international news outlets are trying to excuse the perpetrators makes me wonder what these women (Crowley and Harlow) are teaching their kids at home. This ends now – no more shaming the survivors – if we have to shame anyone, let’s put it where it belongs, on the perpetrators of these horribly life-altering acts.

  27. Tzipporah I want to slap some sense into you! Or slap the stupid out of you, I can’t decide which. Did you comprehend any of this blog at all??? People like you are the very people at whom this message is directed. Your ignorance astounds me and it frightens me that people like yourself exist in the world in which I am raising my 2 beautiful daughters and 4 wonderful sons. Shame on you.

    • Yes, it is always appropriate and so civil to talk about slapping those you don’t agree with. It’s not me that don’t know how to read, babe, it’s you because no where did I condone the boys’ behavior. I can only imagine what your kids’ teachers say about you in the conference room. So instead of hanging around here, why don’t you start saving for their therapy, as I’m sure they’re gonna need it.

      • You may not have condoned the actions of those animals but you did state that the VICTIM should accept some of the responsibility. Are you kidding me?? Please don’t try and talk to me about civility when you are laying at least some of the blame on a rape victim for having the “audacity” to attend a party and (shock horror!) drink alcohol with the expectation that she would not be sexually violated. Are we all as women to assume that men are such depraved neanderthals that they lack the self control and simple human decency to NOT RAPE a woman just because she presents herself inebriated at a social gathering?
        And kudos on the comments regarding my children, the comments made about me by their teachers and their apparent inevitable future therapy…?? I fail to see how that pertains to the current topic but it certainly reiterates my original adverse opinion of you and your thought process’.

        • As a male rape survivor, I am expected to take some responsibility for what happened to me, and i get that mostly from women….. Lets talk equality when you get around to wanting to be equal….

          • I am very sorry to hear that kirkyshooter and I would never suggest ANY rape victim be held responsible for their assault, regardless of gender. I am truly sorry you experienced that. But it only reinforces the issue of rape culture. The victim is so often held accountable, when no-one has the right to force themselves upon another in ANY circumstance. Victims are just that, VICTIMS, male or female, and should never be made to feel somehow responsible for a crime perpetrated against them by another.

          • As I understand it, male rape victims are treated just as poorly, if not more, by authorities when they try to report the crime, and most do not. I cannot fathom what those judgmental women were thinking you should have done differently to avoid the assault, but I hope you gave them a piece of your mind. Rape culture is not perpetuated solely by males.

        • It sounds like you are failing in many ways. In no way should that girl have been at that party drinking and dressed provocatively because she put herself at risk, and you can’t be too bright and not much of a mother if you don’t see that. You also can’t be too bright if you don’t see see how my comments about your spawn don’t relate to this, either, as you’re the one who brought them up. There is also a way to civilly disagree without patronizing them and saying that you are “frightened” that there are people like me in this world. I didn’t rape that girl, nor do I condone the actions of anyone involved with this, including those boys or anyone else who knew about it. I simply stated that she should accept some responsibility for her under age drinking and provocative dress. The fact that it will probably be a cold day in hell before she ventures out like that again speaks to this, though a doubt that a loud-mouthed liberal like you will see that either.

          • It will also be a cold day in hell before that shattered young woman will trust any man again, ever.

          • Well, Tzipporah has proved exactly what it is.
            It is something that condones the rape of girls.
            Provocatively? You mean shorts and a t shirt? OK, then. That goes to show that while Tzipporah did not “rape that girl” it would be OK with any girl raped. Because it would find any situation a situation of “asking for it” and then state ” she learned her lesson”.
            People don’t waste your time arguing with Tzipporah because it isn’t worth it. It is simply part of the problem….
            And while it didn’t rape that girl physically it continues to emotionally.

        • Honey, these men were drinking. Get it? Everyone there was drinking, and I’m sure the girl knew that and that’s why she was there. How does one get through to you? You need to teach your children to respect themselves enough to avoid these kinds of situations, and you need to cool down and learn how to disagree without talking about “slapping” others or telling them that you are “frightened that there are people like us in this world” because you sound arrogant and silly.

          • Tzipporah: and you calling another persons children “spawn” are a civilized and well thought out reply? There are no “but”‘s when it comes to rape. Never. If you have not thought your son that anything but a whole hearted “yes, lets do it now” actually means “put it in big boy”, then you really need to redo your parenting. No excuses. If she is not aware of what is happening he needs to put her in a cab home, or let her sleep it off, better luck next time. And if the boy need to get girls so drunk that they can’t stand up straight to get them into bed, you very much need to get him help.There are no points for forcing yourself onto someone. Ever.
            Any type of force/injury/damaged caused to you when you are drunk/inebriated/down for the count: the blame for that goes straight on the attacker NOT on the victim.

          • So? I’ve consumed alcohol before, too. Yet somehow, the males who were present at the time were able to exercise self-control instead of raping me! Fancy that.

            I’ve worn shorts and T-shirts before, too. Does that mean I’m “asking for it” when I walk my dog in shorts and a T-shirt? Am I “asking for it” when I enjoy a single glass of wine in mixed company? Am I “asking for it” when I go on dinner dates? NO, I’m not.

  28. I think people blame the victim because we all know that anyone can be raped, so we try to distance ourselves from that terror. “I would never get drunk at a party like that.” “I would never dress like that.” “I would never go there.” We tell ourselves that we are different from the victim to make ourselves feel safe. Blaming the victim has nothing to do with who she is and everything to do with how unsafe most of us feel every day. I am NOT excusing this behavior, just trying to explain why some people do it. We are like animals who bite out of fear. Unlike animals, we can change the way we react. If we first acknowledge that we are afraid, we will begin to make everyone safe.

    • Tz is part of the problem and, evidently, the entire point of this post went way over his/her head. He/she thinks that victims “ask” for rape. It’s sick and sad. Don’t waste your time, this one seems immune to logic.

      • I was about to respond AGAIN to tzipporah but I think I’ll take your advice and save my energy as there is obviously no getting through to him/her. It just saddens me that after reading this brilliantly expressed piece he/she still doesn’t get it.
        I don’t in any way condone teenage drinking but it happens and we can’t bury our heads in the sand believing that our children won’t make bad choices sometimes in life. What we can expect is for our children’s peers to have enough empathy, compassion and good old human decency to NOT RAPE, or stand idly by and allow another to be raped, simply because she/he chose to attend a party where drinking was taking place. Apparently in the eyes of some; males + alcohol = an overwhelming compulsion to rape. Ridiculous.

  29. Your personal story was very, very hard to read. After reading so many of your blogs, I feel like I know you personally, and it just makes me fume and seethe all over again about the whole rape culture, and about Steubenville and the fuckwitted rape apologist media. I have signed every petition that has crossed my monitor, on Facebook, or in my email, that calls on censuring these fucktard talking bobbleheads.

    I have followed Slutwalk Toronto for some years, been encouraged by the dialogue around rape culture that was beginning to happen, and then this crap comes up. But getting back to your personal story, I am appalled to learn that so-called officers of the peace were still treating rape victims like that, one generation later from my own, the great radical feminist movement of the 1970s. Not saying I was a direct participant in that struggle, as I was still underage, but I was certainly rooting for us, and this is NOT what we wanted for our younger Gen X sisters, no, no, no!

    I am beginning to wish we women were more violent…you know what happened in inner Los Angeles, CA after the Rodney King verdict 20+ years ago. Maybe we need to take to the streets and riot, break glass and rough up some cops, to get society’s attention, as they did?

  30. @Richard – I have to disagree. Most men do have to be taught right from wrong. It just should happen before they become men.

    • Very true Sleepactor. We do need to teach our men (starting from when they are little boys) right from wrong. On the playground we don’t tell little girls “Boys pull your hair/push you over/hit you because they like you” We tell little boys “Don’t Do That…it’s wrong to hurt another person. If you want her attention you talk to her. You aren’t allowed to lay your hands on another person without their OK no matter what”.
      So simple….and so completely ignored.

    • “most men have to taught how to act?” Well, if that’s the case, I say have the lot of them sodomized and raped, then, at least, they would have a fair idea of what it’s like before they go putting their d*** where it doesn’t belong.

    • Are you seriously trying to stereotype all men as not knowing right from wrong? Was this an article on “rape culture” or man bashing, maybe i missed the point…

    • Are you seriously trying to stereotype most men as not knowing right from wrong? Was this article about “rape culture” or men bashing? Give me a break. Are you one of those feminists that claim all men are rapists, some just have not been caught yet or got around to raping someone yet?

      • Kirky – Indeed, that is the other side of the coin. Any man who buys into the rape culture, that he is not responsible for his own actions, and that his victim bears the responsibility, is as good as saying he is not capable of functioning in adult society, and needs to be institutionalized in someplace where others can take responsibility for his lack of impulse control.

        I have never understood why no one else seems to recognize this wholesale degradation of male humans.

        • This is just another thing that infuriates me about rape culture, by laying the blame on the victim for “putting herself in that position” we are essentially saying that men are mindless beings driven solely by their sexual urges and incapable of self control, rational thought or simple human decency and respect. As a mother of four sons it horrifies me that so many people are so willing to accept that line of thinking and have such low expectations of the males in our society.
          In the Steubenville case, any decent young man, raised in a household of love and respect for our fellow human beings, would have realised the young girl was in way over her head and acted to help her, rather than take advantage and debase her in such a way. And then to broadcast it all over the internet?? What kind of upbringing leads someone to the belief that that type of behaviour is in any way ok? What kind of morals were those young men raised with, that allowed them to treat one of their peers with such utter disdain and disregard for her human rights? I can’t believe people are SYMPATHISING with those animals!!

      • I don’t think anyone is suggesting that. But teaching men NOT to rape (instead of teaching women not to BE raped) does work — Edmonton piloted a project of an ad series that had “don’t be that guy” as its tagline, with the idea of stigmatizing rape. http://www.theviolencestopshere.ca/dbtg.php

        The result was that incidents of sexualized violence went down 10%.

        This project takes the stance of addressing rapists before they rape (rapists who can take advantage of rape culture to pass things off as a joke or a game or into stories about how manly they are while the woman is interrogated about whether she was raped or if it was “just bad sex”); however, addressing issues of enthusiastic consent with younger men (AND women, let’s be fair) can’t hurt — certainly it would even out the conversation, which is currently all on girls (don’t wear that / act like that / get drunk / leave your drink / stay out late / walk alone / take a cab by yourself / etc etc etc).

        • (sorry, realized that I made an error — the project was piloted in Vancouver, and made its way to Edmonton [that’s where I first saw the posters])

  31. My name is Richard, I don’t know if you’ll receive this reply, if you do I just want to say brilliantly written. All the values my father taught me and I will teach my sons. Although most men don’t need to be taught, we just know right from wrong. I remember as a kid in the UK finding out that rapists got 7 years in jail. I was horrified. My minds eye picture of a rapist was cliche. But even then I couldn’t believe the sentence was so mild. Great article, so sorry you had to deal with that shit.

    Richard Jones PS. Sorry I don’t know your name. Turns out you’re not on wikipedia!

    Richard Jones | Renovations Specialist DIR 403. 681.1177

  32. It didn’t come out, but sorry this happened to you. Sorry it happened to that young girl, though I believe she needs to assume some responsibility for being so drunk and at a party where she knew there was going to be drinking and probably drugs and where she should have known that some people would be out of control. In no way am I excusing the goons that raped her, but it’s not exactly like she was walking home from school, either.

    • I, seriously, can’t believe you.
      I don’t even have the words to voice how much of part of the problem you are.
      Tzipporah, YOU are part of the rape culture….Thank you…for making it harder for me to raise a girl child in this world. Where I’ll tell her “Rape is wrong….but if you’re drunk you have to take responsibility for some of it”….
      You have just told any man/boy reading this “Well…it’s not entirely your fault…she was drunk too”.
      What a load of crap.

    • tzipporah.. NO!! The girl does NOT need to assume responsibility for being raped!! There is NO EXCUSE!! I don’t care if she was dancing naked on a waterbed, that does NOT give anyone the right to rape her. And why shouldn’t she drink and get drunk and have a hangover, like many teens and early 20’s do? If it was a guy, no big deal if he gets drunk. Why is it okay for a male to drink and act stupid and not for a female? Why should women have to watch what we say, do or wear? IT IS NOT ON ME TO STOP MEN FROM RAPING!! IT IS ON THEM!

    • Years ago, a friend of my sister was walking home from school after helping to set-up for an extra-curricular activity. It was mid afternoon on a weekend. She was attacked, beaten unconscious, brutally raped, and the pathetic excuse for a human then tried to slit her throat. She survived.
      The rapist fled to another state, and it was actually his father who called the police, after he saw the composite sketch and recognised him. During the trial it came out that the victim (she was 16), who was very shy and introverted, had just begun taking martial arts lessons to try and build her confidence. She tried to fight him off using these techniques, which is why he bashed her so badly and then tried to kill her. It also came out that he’d made a comment to his estranged partner that “if you won’t give me any, I’ll find some little teenager that will!” He was horny, and had decided that it was his right to have sex with whoever he chose, no matter what they thought.
      There was a massive outcry during the trial due to a comment made by the judge – he said that seeing as how she was unconscious at the time of the rape, she would not remember that aspect, and so it would not be as traumatic as if she had been conscious. He suffered from such severe (and rightly deserved) condemnation that he had to both withdraw and apologise for his comment, and withdraw from the trial itself.
      The rapist was sentenced to 7 years. The friend of my sister got a life sentence.

  33. She will learn to, not only, accept being objectified but to be flattered by it, to seek it out, in search of empowerment. We teach her that female sexual agency is almost non-existent, except to satisfy the sexual agency of men.
    Word

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