Originally published at Am I the Only One Dancing?. Please leave any comments there.
|Image via Wikipedia |
|It’s easy to find ‘rape art’ in the rape culture || || |
(trigger warning for rape and sexual assault discussion)
Rapists are not faceless strangers.
You almost certainly have at least one person in your personal circle who fits the definition of ‘rapist’. If you are a young man, that likelihood goes up close enough to certainty that I’m not sure you could slide a hair through the difference. In fact, you almost certainly know several people who have committed rape in your larger circle of acquaintances, regardless of who you are.
Here is a little fable that illustrates how many rapists are in the world – how normal, and every day, and every where they are. It is based on the common idea that women are responsible for preventing rape and punishing their rapists, and commits a reducio ad absurdium to underscore the point of exactly who is responsible for stopping them.
When someone tells me that rape would ‘go away’ if women would just arm themselves and shoot their rapists, I ‘entertain’ myself with imagining the world, national and local news reports on the day when suddenly every woman in the world obtains a weapon and succeeds in killing every person who ever sexually assaulted her. For the sake of this fantasy, lets imagine perfect justice – no one is killed that doesn’t deserve it, and no one escapes justice. If a rapist’s victim is already dead, your deity of choice steps in and finishes the job instead.
|Image via Wikipedia |
|More ‘rape art’ showing how acceptable it is |
Sixteen percent of men will admit to committing acts that are legally rape if the word ‘rape’ is not used. Roughly one in three or four women (and one in ten men) are raped in their lifetimes. So the actual percent of male rapists in the world is somewhere between 16% and 33% of men depending on how many are repeat offenders and which rape victimization rate is more accurate (this numbers are notoriously difficult to pin down).
Let’s split the difference and say a quarter of all men are rapists, and include the much more rare female rapist in this statistic. (This is, of course, an arbitrary number, for illustration purposes only, and because it’s a nice ‘normal’ fraction). This means that approximately 1/8 of the world population dies on this day, mostly men, but enough women to be easily noticed.
Men (and women) from all walks of life. Politicians. Soldiers. Students. Police officers. Construction Workers. Salespersons. Business managers. Clerks. Religious leaders. Homeless people. Drug dealers. Doctors. Nurses. Fathers. Sons. Brothers. Mothers. Daughters. Sisters. Not a profession in the world is not impacted. Not a single community. Very few families.
Big holes in lives. Roughly one of four of the men you know, and some women too, suddenly gone. Is this an unqualified good, that the rapists of gone, regardless of whether or not it’s just? What do you do with all the people who shot them? Children, teens, adults, seniors. For some of them, the rape is years or decades in the past. For others, it happened as or a minute before the shooting.
|Image via Wikipedia |
|Rape is so acceptable we decorate our buildings with it. |
They live under hundreds of different local law systems. Most of them will be arrested for pre-meditated murder. In some parts of the world, they will be subject to more immediate ‘justice’. So there are more deaths. Nearly a third of the women in the world are suddenly flooding jails.
I wonder how many children now have no adult to look after them? Someone needs to, but even after calling in the ‘relative brigade’, social services throughout the world will be stretched to the limit to provide emergency care.
Between the rapists who have been killed and the survivors who are now facing (at the least) an inquiry and (quite possibly) immediate lethal consquences or long prison sentences, a large percentage of the productive adults in the world are now out of commission. How do you think that would affect businesses?
So that’s the Rambo fantasy, pulled apart for the immediate consequences, and condensed down to a one day, all at a time event. Effective? No. Just? No. Does it improve the lives of those who have been raped? No.
It suffers from the idea that prevention begins at the act of rape, not in the culture, not in the raising of boys to be men or girls to be women, but at the point where a sexual predator identifies you as prey. It assumes that predators simply exist and cannot be controlled or contained, and that you, as a potential prey, are responsible to prevent your own victimization.
Wouldn’t it be just a wee bit better if, instead of holding women (and children, and men) who are being raped responsible for fighting off their attackers, we as a society hold rapists responsible for not raping? That we build a culture where rape is truly unacceptable, under all circumstances?
Don’t rape a woman who you have married, or who said no to your proposal.
Don’t rape a woman who has had too much to drink or to drug.
Don’t rape a child or elder or disabled person in your care.
Don’t rape a woman because her skirt is too short (or too long).
Don’t rape a woman because she is too meek (or too bold).
Don’t rape a man because he is too feminine (or too macho).
Don’t rape a woman because she danced with you.
Don’t rape a woman because she refused to dance with you.
If you see a friend, or a brother, or a parent, or a sister or a co-worker working to isolate someone, or get them drunk, or push their boundaries, stop them. Stop them and tell them in no uncertain terms that what they are doing is wrong, and if they follow through, it is rape. Tell them that if they won’t control their behavior, you will call the police.
If you are the victim of sexual assault, do what you have to do to survive, whether that is to surrender or to fight back, and seek help as soon as it is safe to do so – and do not blame yourself, or second guess yourself, or listen to those who will tell you it is your fault. It is not your fault. The only thing certain in a rape situation is that a rapist is involved. And no matter what, that is not your fault.