I had a conversation with somebody close to my heart this morning about this subject, so I thought I would share what I think.
Take this story.
This is one of my favorite rape analogies, because the parallels between the man being mugged and a woman reporting her rape are unmistakeable.
- Giving the mugger your wallet while held at gunpoint = Being unable to fight off your rapist, especially while in fear for your life
- Donating money to charity on occasion or frequently = Controlling your own body; having sex if you want, being aromatically involved with somebody if you want, marrying somebody if you want. (You could further this analogy by saying the man who was mugged had an automatic donation system set up (i.e. $10/month to his high school’s theater program), and a woman who was raped who had married a man and engaged in sex with him regularly.)
- Dressing in a suit, looking rich = A woman wearing clothes considered revealing or provocative
- Visiting a neighborhood known for high crime rates or for being poor = going somewhere considered unsafe for women (i.e. a frat party (think SAE frat parties, or anywhere after dark)
- The ‘after donation regret’ = regret after consensually sleeping with somebody that supports of rape culture say leads to a high percent of false rape accusations
- Ruining the mugger’s life after reporting him and seeing him in jail and with a criminal record = Pressure survivors feel from society to not make life hard for their rapists (think football players prized by their school getting away with anything and everything)
In every point in the story, the blame is put squarely on the man who survived a violent mugging, not the thief who held him at gunpoint and took his valuables.
In rape cases across the world and across time, the blame for the crime of rape is put on the shoulders of the woman who survives the rape––not the perpetrator.
Surely you can see the absurdity of the case of the man who was mugged. The blame shifting, the lack of justice, the blatant ignoring of the law against mugging.
So why can’t we see the absurdity of these exact same blame shiftings, lacks of justice, and deliberate law breaking? The next time you hear something like “what was she wearing?” “Where did she go?” “Well, then, what else did she expect?” Please remember this and understand that that is sexist, aggressive language that not only allows but promotes rape culture.