Disclaimer: this article refers to the rape of women by men. I acknowledge that men can be raped and that people can be raped by members of the same sex, but choose to deal with this kind of rape for a variety of reasons, including its recent prevalence in the media.
Content warning: references to rape, rape apologism/denial, victim blaming, and objectification.
Myth 1: A woman who is raped asked for it if she dressed “provocatively”.
In other words, if a woman gave the impression that she might be interested in sex at all*, she forfeited the right to choose with whom, when, where, what kind of sex, or to change her mind; if a woman is interested in sex at all, she is no longer a discerning human being, but a sex object for the indiscriminate use of any man.
Myth 2: A woman who is raped asked for it if she was “flirtatious”.
In other words, if a woman gave the impression that she might be interested in sex at all, she forfeited the right to choose with whom, when, where, what kind of sex, or to change her mind; if a woman is interested in sex at all, she is no longer a discerning human being, but a sex object for the indiscriminate use of any man. Continue reading
I’ve bemoaned the decentering of women’s issues in favour of the old ‘but what about the men?’ debate on this very site quite recently, so this article may seem a little strange. Bear with me; I’m definitely aiming to centre women’s experiences. More specifically, I’m proffering my own experience, as a woman, and wondering whether my rationalisation of it resonates for others. I make no claim that my experience is universal, though, anecdotally speaking, it seems to be common.
In my daily life, I don’t meet many people who will admit to being anti-feminist. 23 years in, I have (more or less) successfully pruned my social tree down to a verdant set of variously progressive political branches. However, the odd cuckoo is still to be found nesting. First, there is the common or garden ‘I’m not a feminist but…’, then there is the fairweather ‘I’m a feminist man stop oppressing me by saying I can’t direct feminist discourse because if I’m not allowed to maintain my traditional “active” role I’m not going to play any more’, and finally, the infestatious ‘Nice Guy’.
The creative writing on here is particularly moving and, in a way, designed to trigger, but can I put in a request that there is a consistent warning system? Personally, I feel less distressed at distress if I’ve been told in advance that I may be distressed – validates it.
Request for trigger warnings before referencing acts of violence, and special request for special warnings before referencing rape and suicide.
A few weeks ago, I joined some revolutionary socialists at a conference on objectification, which pitched itself against ‘the new moralism’ of some, mainly radical, feminists. I was forcibly struck by that tone of opposition – it threw a problem, which I already knew existed for feminism, into sharp relief: we allow our politics to be measured by how antithetical they are to the right wing. We really need to start measuring our policies according to how they (would) affect the lives of those they concern. It’s a false dichotomy, one of the many that plagues women’s lives, that to be ant-puritanical, anti-moralistic, anti-judgemental, you have to divorce sex from any more significance than that of pulling a pint.