Just another college girl fightin' the patriarchy

Can women prevent rape as individuals? Is there some truth to the idea that women are raped because they dress or behave in a certain way? Short answer: no. The idea that a woman can prevent rape based on her behavior rests on the idea that men rape out of horniness when they don’t. It also rests on the idea that men rape out of miscommunication, when they don’t. And lastly it rests on the idea that men do not choose to rape, when they do. Men do not rape because they want sex, they rape because they want to dominate. No amount of sexual satisfaction can prevent rape, therefore no amount of sexual tension or arousal can cause rape.

It doesn’t matter if the woman was wearing the shortest skirt known to mankind, if she was dancing in the most provocative way a person can dance, if she smiled seductively at every single man in the room, and then led one (or more) of them to a private room, she still has the complete right to refuse sex. Even if at some point she says, “I really want to have sex with you! I am giving consent for sex, let’s have sex!” And then five minutes later changes her mind, she still has the right to not be penetrated or touched. To say otherwise denies that she has full ownership of her body. It places her body on par with a commodity, somewhat like a rental car. In that she is able, with some sort of action, to temporarily transfer ownership to someone else. If her body truly was her own, if the government respected a woman’s right to control her own body, there would be no question about when she ceased to control what happens to her, because there would never be such a time.

If you are to blame the victim for say, inviting a man up to her room in the first place, it ignores the conscious choice of the man to rape her. Even when you get to the point where there is kissing or touching, to assume that sex rape “just happened” is to ignore the fact that at some point the man had a choice. To proceed with sex or to not proceed with sex. It isn’t as though a person can “accidentally” slip into someone else unannounced. I feel a lot of discussions of this ignore the fact that the actual act of initiating sex takes effort, a bit of thought, and some time. It isn’t like a switch is flipped. He has to consciously guide himself there, and if she doesn’t want the sex, *trigger warning* he is going to have to consciously force himself into her. There is no accident, there is no split second action. It is a conscious choice that he made to disregard her choice in the matter and rape her. No matter how she acted up until this point, there is a decisive moment when he has to make the choice to rape her. At some point, he has made a decision to not listen or care.

But none of this matters to the law. There exists a point to them where the woman ceases to have control of her own body. Depending on the individual case, this point can be as early as when she decides to go to a party. It is easier to place the blame on the woman than to admit that at some point, the man decided to be a violent disgusting monster and commit a horrible act. This would force men everywhere to acknowledge that other men are frequently capable of being so vile and disgusting. It is much easier to assume that he couldn’t help it since she wore such a short skirt. It turns it into a sort of “flattery” that she should be grateful he was that attracted to her, rather than the act of a sick, twisted monster.

This isn’t even counting the fact that the vast majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knew. That means it was probably premeditated. She probably would have seen him before and assumed him to be safe. It is likely she knew him well, in which case he must have known what he was doing. He already knew what he needed to know. Yet in spite of all this, I am still as a woman told that it is my responsibility to prevent men from raping me. Simultaneously I am constantly told by the media that the only way to be accepted by society is to be “hot.” I am told that to be hot I have to party, drink, wear tiny skirts and dresses, high heels, and learn to strip and pole dance. I am told that the ultimate goal is to attract a good man. But when a woman does this and all she succeeds in doing is attracting a monster, she is blamed and told she is a whore. In doing this, society trains women to be raped.

Yet, despite all this, I am still warned to follow precautions. These precautions, despite not being applicable to 99.99% of rapes, I am told will protect me. If I imprison myself, I won’t be raped and if I am I won’t be blamed.

I have received the following things that tell me how I can prevent being raped, as though I somehow possess the key to controlling the male thirst for power. I shouldn’t wear my hair in a ponytail, talk on my phone while walking, listen to my ipod outside, carry things, leave my keys in my pocket, open my windows, get into my car without checking under and in it, walk past vans, take the time to put my groceries in the car without a male guarding me, walk through a parking lot (crowded or not) without male supervision, walk through parking garages without a male supervisor, go to parties, drink alcohol, wear clothes that are remotely revealing or remotely tight, turn my back on my drink even for a second to look across the room, turn my back on the room to have a sip of my drink, be alone with men, dance, be outside alone, go into the woods, mention sex around boys, make eye contact with men, act timid around men, ask for directions, go into public restrooms, walk away from main streets, basically I shouldn’t exist if I don’t want to be raped. And this isn’t even a complete list. If men were told this was all risky behavior that would put them at risk for having their bodily cavities pried open and tortured by women, hell would freeze over and the world would cease to exist until every last woman was locked in prison to reduce the risk. Any person with a 7 year old’s reading comprehension can see that this list restricts women’s freedoms to such an extent that she could be sent to prison and have more freedoms. So why is this considered common sense? It doesn’t even protect against the vast majority of rapes, the ones committed by people the victim knew, the kind she is most often blamed for.

The fact that victim blaming is the norm just shows how little regard the law and society has for the idea that women control their own bodies. The idea that women’s bodies aren’t public property is upsetting to many men. If society respected the right of a woman to choose what happens to her body, abortion rights wouldn’t be a question. Victim blaming could not exist because there would be no question about when a woman ceases to control her own body, since the point would never come. There are even laws allowing dead people and people in comas control of what happens to their bodies, so why isn’t the same privilege awarded to living women? When someone is rear-ended in a car accident, no one wonders why the car in front didn’t see the other car coming and move. So why are women expected to see rape coming and avoid it?

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Comments on: "Rape Series Part 4: About Victim Blaming" (10)

  1. Good post Elk Ballet! Are there any jurisdictions with what you think are “model” rape laws?

    BTW, Love your new theme.

    • No. Not really. I think Scandinavian countries tend to be better. But there doesn’t seem to be anywhere in the world that takes rape completely seriously.

  2. Scandinavius said:

    It is easier to place the blame on the woman than to admit that at some point, the man decided to be a violent disgusting monster and commit a horrible act. This would force men everywhere to acknowledge that other men are frequently capable of being so vile and disgusting.

    This is no contradiction. While most people I know think a rape victim never is to blame legally, they morally blame women who associate with bad boys. Dominating bad boys are likely to be disgusting monsters behind all the macho coolness. Be a proud woman and don’t settle for a bad boy, even though he is so much more “exciting” than the meek geek.

  3. FAB Libber said:

    Great post, and particularly the last par.

    The list of ‘avoidance’ is a long one, and most of them ‘have a man with you to protect you’. Half the time the protector turns out to BE the rapist!

  4. FAB Libber said:

    Hi Elkballet (you can delete this comment after you have read it).

    The new template does not indicate number of comments on posts, please consider putting ‘recent comments’ in your sidebar. It will also generate more comments and hits as a side effect. 😛

    thx
    xxx

    • Thanks, very kind of you to help. 🙂 I’m so bad at WordPress (which is weird since I’m a professional web designer). It does say the number of comments, but it’s at the top and very small. Maybe I will pick a new template.

      • FAB Libber said:

        Although it is pretty, pretty colours – I find the template itself awkward to navigate. My vote would be to dump it. There are many WP templates where you can customise the headers/backgrounds, in that you could get a colourful abstract image similar to this and slap it into a more standard template (like twentyten).

  5. NinjaGeek said:

    How is it you can make your statements on how men act and how rapist do what they do when you are neither a male nor a rapist? You are speculating to suit your cause.

    Firstly I DO NOT condone rape and I am for certain NOT a rapist! But I have to question your speculations. But AGAIN please understand that I am not condoning rape… I am just posting a male perspective and questioning your speculations.

    “Can women prevent rape as individuals?” Are Women raped because they dress or behave in a certain way? Yes in some situations. (I will explain later)

    Why do you say men don’t rape out of horniness and miscommunication?
    I can totally understand a male “wanting” to have sex with a female because he is sexually interested in her, or lets say a female rubbed up against a male all night long in a bar to get free drinks and then at the end of the night left the guy sexually aroused and angry at being mislead, then drunken and sexually aroused he decided to take what HE feels HE deserves? (AGAIN, not saying it’s right, I just want to you see the possible mindset here.)

    I totally AGREE that men who rape choose to rape.
    But I don’t agree with “Men do not rape because they want sex, they rape because they want to dominate.”
    Sexual interest in a particular female is the only reason I can see a male raping someone he either knows or has in someway had time to take interest in.
    Also for those slimeballs that jump random women in alleys and stuff, I still have to side with the idea that getting their rocks off is the motivation, not domination. You seem to have this mind set that men sex in men is all about power but it’s TOTALLY NOT. Sex is about sex.

    “No amount of sexual satisfaction can prevent rape, therefore no amount of sexual tension or arousal can cause rape.” Where do you get this from? I guarantee that sexual tension is totally a motivation for some rapes that occur. Once again the bar scene comes to mind.

    “It doesn’t matter if the woman was wearing the shortest skirt known to mankind, if she was dancing in the most provocative way a person can dance, if she smiled seductively at every single man in the room, and then led one (or more) of them to a private room, she still has the complete right to refuse sex.” This is a typical close minded female response… YES you totally have to right to refuse sex, and in every case you should have that right met but I “understand” the theory behind why a female using her sexuality to gain free drinks, objects or money can be misconstrued by a less intelligent male. I don’t agree that it should be OK for a female to entertain herself by using her sexuality and give a male a false sense of interest when she has NO interest. This is a feminist double standard that women should be permitted to do anything they want sexually without any repercussions or responsibility while men should have to be completely submissive to their desires and have to be fully responsible for their sexuality.

    An analogy is I may… If a person saw a tank full of deadly fish and chose to jump into that tank willingly and was flailing their body around knowing that these fish could bite, they should not then be able to get angry at the fish for then biting them thinking that that is what they were in the tank for in the first place. (Remember that this is an analogy so don’t tell me that men aren’t fish, I know this.)

    If a female initiates sex and then in some part of the act decides to stop the action, I agree that action should stop at that point but I understand that in a case like that, a female should be somewhat responsible for her choices and have enough responsibility to not get to that point in the first place. Playing sexual games for attention or as a sense of “girl power” is wrong and should not be permitted either. To do so she then she is placing her body on par with a commodity, somewhat like a rental car because she is choosing to use her body as an object to get something, and I am not ignoring the conscious choice of the man to rape her. All I am saying is that a female should also take responsibility for her actions as much as a male should his.

    It’s true “a lot of discussions of this ignore the fact that the actual act of initiating sex takes effort, a bit of thought, and some time” and this is EXACTLY why women need to be just as responsible if not more when it comes to starting and then deciding to stop half way. “It isn’t like a switch is flipped.” She has to make decisions throughout the initiating phase and if she doesn’t want the sex, *trigger warning* she is going to have to consciously make the effort not to use her sexuality in a way can cause confusion and misunderstanding. There is no accident, there is no split second action. It is a conscious choice that she made to use her sexuality to gain either; drinks, objects, money or attention and then took that to the point where she initiated sexual activity. No matter how she much she feels she should not be responsible for her actions up to this point, there is a decisive moment when she had to make the choice to use her sexuality as a tool. At some point, she has made a decision and needs to remember that actions have consequences. (AGAIN, the male should still have enough responsibility for his actions to STOP, but a female NEEDS to take some responsibility for her actions up to that point as well. RESPECT GOES BOTH WAYS!)

    Using words like “violent disgusting monster and commit a horrible act” make sense in the case where a male jumps a female in an alley completely unexpectedly but it IS TOTALLY not the case when a female acts in a “Horrible, disgusting manner” and uses her sexuality to some sort of tool and chooses to use it to manipulate a male for some selfish need and doesn’t want to admit some responsibility for her actions. Again a male is still responsible for his actions as well but I don’t consider the words you use valid in all these cases. Confused, Manipulated, Angry, Horny… these are words you can use in these situations because it is more likely the case.

    Women everywhere should agree that using ones sexuality as a tool is “vile and disgusting”. It is much easier to assume that she was “just having fun” or “couldn’t help it” since she “was soooo drunk, hehehe”. Using sexuality as a way of getting things including attention as a way of “having fun” IS NOT FUN TO A MALE! it’s misleading, it’s underhanded, it’s a sick & twisted form of manipulation. Taunting in a sort of evil way, because they can. Like eating in front of a starving child.

    “Simultaneously I am constantly told by the media that the only way to be accepted by society is to be “hot.” I am told that to be hot I have to party, drink, wear tiny skirts and dresses, high heels, and learn to strip and pole dance.”
    You may not realize this but MEN are told by the media to be brainless alcoholic testosterone driven meat-heads lead by their penis and yet WE STILL have to be responsible for our actions. SO that is NO excuse! As an individual have chosen to stand outside the norm and I am not a drinker, I don’t “party” or follow brainless sports, I have a brain and I am not lead by my penis… BUT I also have an AMAZING wife who is naturally beautiful and I love and treat with utmost respect along with our 4 kids.

    “I am told that the ultimate goal is to attract a good man.” A good man is not going to be found at a bar or anywhere you find the typical stereotype.

    “There are even laws allowing dead people and people in comas control of what happens to their bodies, so why isn’t the same privilege awarded to living women?” Dead people and people in coma’s don’t use their body’s for manipulation of others to gain attention, goods, or money.

    “When someone is rear-ended in a car accident, no one wonders why the car in front didn’t see the other car coming and move. So why are women expected to see rape coming and avoid it?” There are MANY times when the car in front is the cause of the accident even though the car behind got blamed for the accident.

    ALSO it is NOT okay for a female to use the word rape as a means of trying to regain her lack of self-respect once she discovers that her promiscuous one-nighter might leave a smudge on her “reputation”.

  6. Why do you let this asshole post on your site?

    ‘use their sexuality’? What a pile of crap. Men are the ones who can’t keep it in their pants. In actual fact, by saying that men can be manipulated by women’s sexuality you are saying men are brainless meatheads with no human consciousness, choice or responsibility. Men cannot be manipulated by women’s sexuality, the problem is that all men care about is their dicks. If they didn’t care about that, then they wouldn’t be trying to buy women’s bodies with drinks and a little sweet talk and then get mad cos it didn’t pay off. If guys weren’t so obsessed with using women as their little fucktoys at all possible cost, then the very idea that women could use their sexuality AT ALL would become completely meaningless.

    How would you respond, if you were told the only worth you had was your sexuality and there’s no other way to get what you want in life?

    You’d fucking use it, that’s what you’d do. You’d try and play the system for all it was worth, cos you know you got a shitty deal. And you know men are pieces of shit for seeing you as nothing more than your body, and its holes, so why not try and screw them over as much as you can?

    It’s not noble, and we don’t all do it. But it’s one way of trying to make the best out of the shittiest deal ever. I can’t fault women too hard for that, even though I disagree with it.

  7. ‘ALSO it is NOT okay for a female to use the word rape as a means of trying to regain her lack of self-respect once she discovers that her promiscuous one-nighter might leave a smudge on her “reputation”.’

    Also? NOBODY FUCKING DOES THIS.

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