Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two Rape Apology Tropes that Just Need to Stop Now.

April at Ethecofem posted a great article this week on victim-blaming in society for everything from rape, to poverty, to obesity.

I made a couple of comments that I wanted to expand into a blog post, regarding common tropes used in rape apologism.

Trope #1  - Rape =/= Being hit on.

Being raped or assaulted is not the same as being hit on. I cannot stress this enough. But it seems that every time brings up the topic of victim blaming, especially in regards to someone's manner of dress, some jackass always brings up the "Why do women get all dressed up if they don't want to get hit on?"

I'll say it again.. being raped or assaulted is NOT the same as being hit on.  It's not a compliment.  Don't try to equate them.  Ever.

If I get all gussied up and head out on the town looking like a million bucks, then no, I shouldn't be surprised if someone offers to buy me a drink, or asks me to dance, or asks for my number.


However, if I go out all tarted up and someone asks to buy me a drink, and then puts drugs in it, or gets belligerent and abusive if I decline a dance, or corners me in the parking lot after I leave, well that is NOT okay. No matter HOW hot/slutty/provocative (because the semantics are objective, you know) I am dressed.


This was the point that was being made by the Toronto Slut Walk last week.  It wasn't about whether or not it's cool to dress 'slutty' or whether it should be socially acceptable to do so - especially when the definition of what is considered 'slutty' is subjective, as is the perception of what the term actually means.  Personally, I think a lot of women could stand to show a little more class in how they dress.  But I do not ever think that manner of dress should be justification for being assaulted.  And that's why there was such an uproar over the OPP officers comments.

Trope #2 - Rape =/= Having your car Stolen.

Another common argument is the 'if you leave your car unlocked you shouldn't complain when it gets stolen'.  I'm just going to repost my response to the guy who made this comment on April's post:
So if a person leaves his car parked on the street with the keys in the ignition and the windows rolled down and the car gets stolen, would it be victim-blaming to say, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't have made it so easy to steal your car"?
Here is my response.  I don't really feel a need to add anything.
When you leave your car running on the street unlocked with the keys in the ignition, and someone steals it, no one argues whether the car was actually stolen or not. No one denies the validity of the claim of theft, regardless of how easy it was. No one ever says "Well, do you think they really stole the car? The car owner must have wanted them to have the car. I mean, they gave away their last car, so they must have wanted the the so-called car thief to have this one. Now they're just saying it was stolen so they don't look like fools who give their cars away."

And ultimately, yes, it's still victim-blaming, because even being dumb enough to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition doesn't let someone off the hook for saying "Hey, this isn't mine, but I'm taking it anyway."

Oh, there's that whole pesky issue of women's bodies not being the equivalent to personal property or an inanimate object such as a friggin' CAR. But I'm sure you knew that already.
So folks, can we please stop with these two incredibly lame arguments already?


  1. Excellent analogy, women like to flirt when they go out. Us blokes need to realise this so when a woman flirts with us we know it doesn't always mean they want to have sex.

  2. I am so glad that you wrote this post. So glad.

    I have a post next week about the almost same thing. But my post is about those idiots like an hour from my house that raped this 11 year old girl.

  3. @ Tony, thank you. And as another blogger, Ozymandias pointed out on an earlier post of mine, both men AND women need to recognize enthusiast consent.

    @ Oilfield.. yes, I look forward to reading your take on it, being so close to home.

  4. My gut response to reading that guy's comment was to wonder how many women he has raped. I tend to not trust people who so blithely create excuses for horrible crime. I wonder if he would consider it to be victim blaming to say that he's such an asshole, that he deserves to get the shit kicked out of him.

  5. You know what the worst part about the car one is? It doesn't make any sense!

    Leaving your car unlocked makes it easier to steal your car. But it takes about the same level of skill to rape a woman in a miniskirt or a burka.

    For an analogous argument, you'd have to claim that someone with a locked brand new Lexus deserved to have their car stolen more than someone with a locked ten-year-old lemon.

  6. Great post, Yandie.

    And I hate to say this, but I overheard a guy the other days say he got "totally raped" in a deal, that he had, been "had". Not cool.


  7. I know the difference all too well.

  8. @Pearl.. Gah.. I just realized I used the same analogy in my car post. Bad Andie.

  9. This is fantastic Mrs. Pickles!
    My only real problem with the rape argument is that it always gets mentioned as sex. Forced sex, non-consensual sex, sexual assault or sexual misconduct. We've come up with these convoluted terms to label rape as something it isn't. Sex. It is domination plain and simple. Executing your will or desire by force. The day this glaring oversight is remedied will be monumental one indeed.

  10. Awesome, awesome post. Thank-you!

  11. I'm in love with your response to the second one. This concept of "asking for it" is just plain flawed. Not to mention there's also the fact that they've devalued a violated person to an inanimate object.

    Great post!


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