The hard fight

I spent too much time this morning trying to convince a (female) “friend” on Facebook that her statement that

No woman asks to be raped, but behaving like a slutty cock tease in skimpy clothes and dating a psyco isnt exactly the smartest idea.

is actually not ok. And it’s not right.  And actually, what really isn’t the smartest idea is being a big, shameless rape apologist who thinks those stupid, slutty teases should’ve known better.

With the aid of Blue Milk’s exception piece, “Don’t Get Raped”, I tried to explain that rapes don’t only happen to women who wear miniskirts and date “bad” guys.  This escalated into pointlessness of the “but women rape men too!”, “maybe the rapists were abused as children!” and  “how easy is it for a women to go to court these days and accuse any man of rape because she is a psyco and wants revenge?” (direct quote) variety. After I mentioned the fact that the rates of false reports of rape are around about the same as false reports of other crimes, she veered wildly off-topic into asking people to discuss the “psyco” women they knew, and did anyone know a “psyco woman”? Oh, and I did I mention that apparently if you’re with a man who hits you that you have options and you either leave of stick around for another bash? I had no idea it was so simple.

And after that, I was exhausted. Tired from how hard I was trying to convince someone that if anyone is victimized by a rapist- a criminal!- that the blame lies squarely with the person who committed the crime, period. Tired of fighting for myself and my right not to be blamed should anything happen to me, and tired of essentially trying to tell her that if some scumbag should ever victimize her that she didn’t ask for it and it wouldn’t be her fault. I shouldn’t have to fight someone so hard to convince them of something that is beneficial to them (unlike their current belief, which would be detrimental to them should they ever be a victim). I shouldn’t have to tell someone that domestic abuse- which may one day affect them- isn’t as black and white as “leave or stick around for more”, and that abusers often try to create a situation where you have nowhere to go or are scared the abuser will hurt your family, and so you stay.

I am so, so tired of fighting this fight. I shouldn’t even be fighting this fight at all- none of us should be. This shouldn’t even be happening; it should be a given that the victim isn’t to blame for the crime committed by the criminal.

And even more draining is knowing that I can’t get through to this woman, and she’ll continue on in life believing what she does and perpetuating her harmful beliefs to other people.  Maybe one of her Facebook friends saw that status about how slutty cock teases should’ve known better (and thus should’ve know tjheir behaviour would have led to rape) and will feel like shit and blame themself for what happened to them. This is the nature of rape apologia: it hurts people.

I hope that one day all this fighting makes things better, and we don’t have to fight this fight anymore.

4 Comments

  1. stef says:

    I’ve long come to the conclusion that for a lot of people rape is what happens when you don’t follow ‘the rules’ which makes them feel a bit safer because they live ‘by the rules’ so will never get raped. To admit there are no rules, means that you are powerless to stop rape when it occurs which is a really scary proposition. And perhaps why most of us really don’t want to go there.

    • steph says:

      Yes, I definitely think that people who believe rape happens because the rules were broken (drinking, slutty clothes, etc) must be trying to differentiate themselves from people who have been raped or could potentially be raped. A “me vs them”, “good girls vs bad girls” type of thing. I guess it is easier than admitting you might be powerless to do anything to prevent it happening to you, but at the same time it means that if it ever did you would have an awful time with the cognitive dissonance knowing that only bad girls are raped but you didn’t do anything that they do so how did it happen to you?

      • stef says:

        Actually that was what happened to one woman who I found had been raped and the police (non new zealand based) pretty much blamed it all on her for being alone in a room with a guy. That made the crime much worse, as she realized that not only was she powerless to stop rape but that nobody cared and she was now one of ‘them’ even though she throught she had been following the rules, realizing she wasn’t and then being even more devastated by the event. It was horrible thing to bear witness to, and all I could do was offer her was a warm place to stay.

        • steph says:

          Yes, I can imagine that happens unfortunately often: given how prevalent victim-blaming is, it isn’t surprising that someone who engaged in that thinking could be in the position of being a victim at some stage, and that would make it all the more horrible. I think that was why I got so invested in this incident on FB, because I hate the idea of even more hurt being caused by rape myths and beliefs.