Today in, “Um, what?” Six Women Claim a Seattle Man Posed as a Female Porn Recruiter in Order to Have Sex With Them. I don’t want to borrow trouble here, but I can just see it now. “What did these women expect? Porn is a dirty business filled with scumbags.” Or, “Of course these women got duped. Only stupid women go into porn.”
Both Shearer and Bishop have gone to the police, filing reports with police who they feel aren’t taking the alleged crime seriously — basically because police don’t consider it a crime.
So, let me get this straight. Smoking weed = crime. Not telling the government about buying more than $10k in bitcoin = crime. Buying the wrong kind of orchid = crime. But assuming someone else’s identity in order to rape women = no crime.
But there’s no rape culture here.
Rape Culture Hysteria: Fixing the Damage Done to Men and Women offers a comprehensive overview and debunking of the “rape culture” myth that has devastated campuses and is spilling into Main Street America. An ideological madness is grotesquely distorting North America’s view of sexuality. The book applies sanity to the claims that men are natural rapists and our culture encourages sexual violence.
Written by a libertarian feminist and rape survivor, Rape Culture Hysteria opens with a highly personal appeal to depoliticize rape and treat it instead as a crime. Victims need to heal. Politicizing their pain and rage is a callous political maneuver that harms victims, women and men.
I haven’t read the book, and perhaps I should. But I can’t help but see going out of your way to deny that our culture encourages sexual violence as incredibly tone-deaf. How could you? Brock Turner got three months in jail for doing this to a human being:
Then, I felt pine needles scratching the back of my neck and started pulling them out my hair. I thought maybe, the pine needles had fallen from a tree onto my head. My brain was talking my gut into not collapsing. Because my gut was saying, help me, help me.
I shuffled from room to room with a blanket wrapped around me, pine needles trailing behind me, I left a little pile in every room I sat in. I was asked to sign papers that said “Rape Victim” and I thought something has really happened.
What do you call a culture in which a man gets three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman in the dirt behind a dumpster, by all accounts on his way to raping her if he hadn’t been physically prevented from doing so? What do you call a culture in which the punishment for failing to report a purchase is orders of magnitude greater than sexually violating a woman who is physically incapable of protecting herself? How could you deny that if our culture doesn’t encourage sexual violence, it at least tacitly condones it as less of a big deal than breaking some administrative rule?
I’m not saying there aren’t people who are currently working to undermine due process. I would never deny that there are people who are working to paint all men as rapists or potential rapists.
But working on fixing those problems does not require that we downplay or deny the very real problem of the way the criminal justice system violates rape victims and refuses to allow them to seek justice. Literally last week a dear friend of mine received news that our prosecutor has decided to refuse to proceed with her case. She was violently anally raped, infected with an STI, her knees and elbows were torn up. This is the clearest, most obvious case of violent rape you can imagine. Yet, after being called a liar by the cops, after a brutal physical examination. After having to disclose personal information to strangers, and after having to badger the detective for a year to get any progress on her case, she’s left with no way to get this guy off the streets.
So, fuck you, rape culture deniers. I wish I had the luxury of believing that anger of the way our culture treats rape victims is “hysteria.” I wish I didn’t know what victims have to go through just try (and usually fail) to do the right thing. I wish I hadn’t heard story after story of cops calling women liars, refusing to help them, refusing to administer rape kits, and refusing to prosecute their cases. I wish I didn’t know that on average people assume 30% of victims are lying, when less than 10% are. I wish I didn’t know that at least 90% of rapes are never reported, because women know what will happen to them. Their friends will turn on them. The cops will call them liars. The prosecutors won’t prosecute. And they’re left raped, alone, with nothing to show for their attempts to protect other women.
I wish I didn’t know. But I do. So I resent being told my anger is “hysteria” (a gendered term, don’t forget.)
I’m not hysterical. I’m livid. And you should be too.