She was asking for it

The way society – and the legal system – deals with rape is a serious problem

So, apparently the world needed another columnist; suddenly developed a deficiency of opinionated pundits and wisearses hacking their views onto newsprint and/or computer monitors. Well. Here’s the premiere installment of ‘Acid & Base’. There’s that bullet dodged.

It was not difficult to find an inaugural topic. The ‘Take Back the Night‘ march made its way past my windows a couple weeks ago, and that brought reminders of several brow-furrowing, bile-raising news articles I’ve encountered.

An 8-year-old girl is gang-raped by five men and certain individuals subsequently blame a number of rapes on girls wearing short shorts and tiny bathing suits. A Manitoba judge says a rape victim sent signals that “sex was in the air” through her suggestive attire and flirtatious conduct on the night of the attack, and sets her attacker free. An online study called “Wake Up to Rape” found that more than half of the women surveyed believed rape victims should take some responsibility for what happened.

Apparently, people all over the world have come down with a raging case of pants-on-head, temporal-lobe damaged dumb.

Any society that blames rape for any reason whatsoever on the female is just admitting that its men are weak and mentally deficient.

Listen. If an 8 year old girl walks by and you feel not only sexual desire but the need to assault and violate the child, it is not because of anyone’s state of dress or undress. It’s because you’re pathologically fucked up. If a 25 year old woman walks by and you act upon the same urges without her consent, well, congratulations. You’re not a paedophile. You’re just a garden-variety, pain-inflicting asshole. Fuck you.

Any society that blames rape for any reason whatsoever on the female is just admitting that their men are weak and mentally deficient. If a woman is dressed immodestly then, yes, I’m going to look. Any action beyond that is firmly in my control.

Theories, delusions, and blame

Those who study and ponder such things talk about the ‘Just World Hypothesis’. Some people believe the world has to be fair, and thus cannot accept a person being unfairly harmed. This leads to a sense that, somehow, the victim must have surely done ‘something’ to deserve their fate. Another theory speaks of the need to protect an individual’s sense of invulnerability. In other words, some people believe that rape only happens to those who deserve or provoke the assault, because it makes them feel safer. If you simply avoid the behaviours of past victims, then you’ll be safe. It cannot be random, it cannot be unprovoked, because that would leave you vulnerable, as well. Count these among the many delusions in which we humans dress ourselves for the sake of soothing our own anxieties. See the column about religion, appearing sometime soon.

Blame is often fixed to our culture’s hypersexual nature, as well as women’s provocative dress being accepted as the everyday norm. I suspect that it is the taboo that stirs impulses. You make women wear a burkha, and burkhas will be hot. Put everybody in a bikini (not me, obviously), and you’ll see guys checking out that girl in the ankle length skirt. In a nudist camp, surrounded by beautiful woman, guys will become bored until a clothed woman walks by and bends over to arrange her nylons. And then go nuts at the sight of panties peeking out from under the skirt, even though being amid bare flesh. We’re guys. It’s the way it works; it’s how we’re wired.

Hardcore Islamic states bind their females with incredibly stringent restrictions, the ridiculous burkha being the most visible of them. The idea that she ought only have a thin opening by which to navigate so that the poor, testosterone-encumbered men might not be stirred to impure thoughts is yet another example of dogma instilling an entire segment of humanity with responsibility for the weaknesses and evils of others. But, does it decrease the assaults, or merely make them easier to obscure? It certainly makes the women easier to obscure.

Consider, as well, that sexual assault often has less to do with desire and more to do with some pustule’s anger, hatred or resentment towards women, and the ideas that 1. a scantily clad woman is somehow more open to the idea of some sweaty male forcing himself onto/into her, and 2. she deserves it, become even more heinous and ludicrous.

Assigning responsibility

All my life I’ve had attractive women as close friends. I won’t pretend that attraction is never a factor – I’m male, my neurons fire that way. Flirting and frank conversations are usually a part of those friendships. But, I resent the implication that, because I am hardwired a certain way, the women in my life must somehow act in a demure fashion, or dress to conceal all the bits that might even stir my longing. Blaming one gender for the depraved weakness of the other reeks of justification for the unjustifiable. Maybe she was dressed in a miniskirt, tank-top and hooker boots. So what? Her only crime is against fashion. It no more makes her available to any male’s unwelcome lusts than me telling off some dipshit at Tim Horton’s for skipping in line justifies me getting shot. Sure, some people would say I was asking for it (mostly people I’ve told off), but those people are idiots.

Any society that blames rape for any reason whatsoever on the female is just admitting that their men are weak and mentally deficient.

Certainly there are sensible precautions which must be acknowledged in this world of ours – no wandering down dark alleys in the wee hours; no leaving a purse on the seat of an unlocked car. We lock our doors and stay clear of the belligerent drunk. But these are indeed precautions, immunization against the human virii that abound. Once we assign responsibility to the victims, once those victims begin accepting responsibility for the heinous acts themselves, once we concede territory to those who wish to enforce limits upon us in the name of their own weaknesses, then we have moved into a form of fascism that, while not governmental, is equally loathsome. And our world becomes that much more wretched.

This rant is not about rape in and of itself. There’s no need to go on further about the square-jawed evil of the act, nor the perturbations it sends down the line of the victim’s life. But, seeing a cop-out card being offered to the violators by mentioning the victim’s attire makes me cringe.

Just my two cents, plus tax.

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