Friday, October 09, 2009

quick hit: rape culture 101

So much has been said lately in the media about sexual abuse.
Unsurprisingly, the media has more often than not been pretty awful in their reporting. (See, for a quick example, MSNBC's story on Tyler Perry's revelations of childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in which they describe his abuse as being "seduced" by a friend's mother at age 10. Yes. "Seduced." MSNBC: You cannot seduce a 10-year-old.)

There's a lot I could write about, from Mackenzie Phillips' memoir that reveals the drug- and alcohol-fueled sexual abuse by her father to Tyler Perry's recent revelations of childhood abuse to the debacle with Roman Polanski finally being (re-)arrested for the rape he committed 30-some-odd years ago.

But I won't, for now.
I don't have the emotional and mental space to hold all of that today. It's been a tough week.

Instead, I implore you to read Liss' post over at Shakesville. Read it. This is not one that you should pass over. This is one that every person who interacts with any other human being needs to read.

Rape Culture 101.

A long-ish teaser:

Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another ("I'll make you my bitch"). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men's prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women's daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you're alone, if you're with a stranger, if you're in a group, if you're in a group of strangers, if it's dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you're carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you're wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who's around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who's at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn't follow all the rules it's your fault.

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