Saturday, May 13, 2006

Rape: a bad thing that happens?

In the comments of my cross post of What's behind the insistence that women frequently lie about being raped on Alas, Azbballfan wrote:

"Bad things happen. Let's try to help those who are hurt and understand what happened so we can help make sure it doesn't happen again."
[My reply also posted in the comments on Alas. I'm posting it here because this attitude is extremely problematic.]

To view rape in this way is to say rape is somehow random (like having a tire blow out) and not a matter of choice by the rapist (like that hapless driver). Further, if rape is something that just happens to the rapist and the rape victim, there is no way to make sure it doesn't happen again and as you stated, it implies that all hetero men are potential rapists (a tire can blow out on anybody).

This view of rape means a rejection of the idea that someone is a true victim and instead paints rape victims as simply unlucky--the same way the perpetrator is unlucky.

I am not alone in believing that committing rape or sexual abuse requires one or more deliberate decisions on the part of the perpetrator. It might be as seemingly harmless as: "It's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission."

In her column where she lamented a good son's fate, Kathleen Parker glossed over the time when these decisions were made and like an illusionist distracted readers with the events before and after the moment where that man made the decisions that ultimately sent him to prison. If you think rape just happens then you might not have noticed the importance of this omission, but as a rape survivor KP's omission was a glaring one.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:10 AM   0 comments links to this post


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