Thursday, January 10, 2013

Talking About Rape Culture

Over at Women's Web, I write about putting an end to rape culture.
So, let’s talk rape. Not the details of this rape or the other rape or the other rape, but the culture that allows this to happen. The society that allows rapes so brutal as to kill victims, rapes so horrifying even our cynical self-absorbed selves shudder when we hear the details.

Let’s talk rape culture. Because that’s what allows rapists to feel they can get away with rape. 
I’m glad we’re talking about this, and sad that it took so much for this to happen. I’m so inspired that people are coming out of their homes and saying, “No. We want an end to this.”
I am hoping that now that we’ve all agreed that
  1. The rape of a young woman (who’s kind of like the rest of us – she’s in college and was going home from a movie) – her brutal, horrific rape, so brutal that it later killed her
is not acceptable, we might move on to agreeing none of these are acceptable:
  1. The rape of a woman who lives in a smaller town or even in a village: someone who’s more removed from our comfortable lives
  2. The rape of a woman who maybe isn’t middle-class but poor, who is maybe “lower caste” or tribal or someone who doesn’t look like us
  3. The rape of a woman who doesn’t, perhaps, fit our ideas of how an Indian woman is supposed to behave – she might drink, for example, or be sexually experienced, or even take drugs, or even be gay. Do you think, by then, we will stop caring about the victim’s “character” or implying that by living her life she was inviting rape?
  4. The rape of a woman by her husband (oh wait, that’s not rape!) or boyfriend
  5. The rape of a sex worker – even though we don’t usually think of them when we think of Indian women
  6. The rape of a trans woman or a man or an older woman or anyone who doesn’t fit our ideas of how a rape victim should look
How do we get there? How do we, as a society, get as outraged by every kind of rape as we are by the rape of someone who might, but for the grace of god or the luck of the draw, have been me (or my daughter/partner/sister)?
Click here to read the rest.

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