Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wimpy Victims Of Gray Rape Responsible For All Rapes That Follow

In my post Gray rape victim blaming (with music and lyrics) about the article by Laura Sessions Stepp with the headline, A New Kind of Date Rape You Must Know About in this issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. I highlighted how this spins the fault for many rapes onto the victim and I see that the article did it's job.

Jocelyncs wrote:

This article infuriates me because this pathetic, wimpy behavior empowers
rapists worldwide. Everytime a woman says no and then refuses to defend herself
against a rapist, she is sending a message to that "man" (though I use the term loosely) that he is free to ignore not only HER refusal but the refusal of every woman he dates or sees in a coffee shop or passes on the street in the future.

Notice that what infuriates her isn't the actions of the rapist, what infuriates her is the lack of action from the rape victim. The easy reaction would be to blame this woman for this reaction, but she was led carefully down this path.

I believe the leading to this conclusion was premeditated by Laura Sessions Stepp and yet the leading is hidden under layers of sympathy for the victims of "gray rape." I also believe this woman was manipulated deliberately so that she would be infuriated in just this way.

I can't view her as a passive victim however since she says, "You were PASSIVE, you idiot." to the rape victim described in the Cosmo story. If passivity is inexcusable in rape victims, it must be inexcusable in all who want to scream at some rape victims and call them idiots.

I wouldn't be surprised if this woman swore before reading this article that she would never blame the victim, but Ms. Stepp has her doing just that. And not only for the victim's own rape, but for the rape of every woman the rapist dates thereafter.

I'm sure the rapists just love that.

That shows us that Ms. Stepp is very good at what she does. She taps into narratives which support victim blaming and which support most rapists. She isn't the first, and unfortunately, she won't be the last.

The truth that isn't included in the Cosmopolitan article is that this rapist is only free to ignore the woman's refusal because he knows the chances that he will be held legally accountable is slim to none -- even if his victim immediately reports to the police. And he knows that many will accuse his victim of making a false police report if she recognizes "gray rape" as real rape.

This is the real freedom given to this rapist and it didn't come from his victim.

Ms. Stepp got women who are obviously still hurting to trust her with their trauma and like the rapists before her, Ms. Stepp betrayed that trust. The responsibility for this belongs to Ms. Stepp, just as the responsibility for rape belongs to the rapist when he engenders trust he had no intention of upholding.

As a rape victim who could be described by people like this as a pathetic and wimpy person before being raped, and as someone who years later finally took a hard look at my choices with the assumption that all those people were right, I now know this spin for what it is.

Pure unadulterated bullshit. I swallowed this for decades and it was as nasty as what comes straight out of the back of a cow. I paid the price for taking the fall for my rapist.

No more. This lie is like a virus. One that must be quarantined.

Liking people and trusting people and not understanding that a rape is in progress isn't a crime. Raping people is. Why is that so hard for so many people to understand?

My rapist (boyfriend) didn't get the a-okay to rape me from my actions or lack of action, he got that a-okay from people who said that those who don't act like Rambo aren't really raped.

Rape victims are not pathetic or wimpy for not recognizing danger in time to avert rape and they are not pathetic or wimpy for not turning into Rambo.

Rapists are pathetic for requiring Rambo-like responses to avert rape.

So do you want to be like the rapists or do you want to put a stop to rape?

Choose. Now.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:19 PM   4 comments links to this post


At August 28, 2007 10:12 PM, Blogger Jocelyn Smith said...

I'm "jocelyncs" on LiveJournal. Hope you don't mind my commenting.

I believe the leading to this conclusion was premeditated by Laura Sessions Stepp and yet the leading is hidden under layers of sympathy for the victims of "gray rape." I also believe this woman was manipulated deliberately so that she would be infuriated in just this way.

I believe you may be right. You'll notice the rant I posted is now locked, as I was getting into some very personal discussions with friends who had themselves been raped. I also locked it because I told them about an experience I had which undoubtedly colored my admittedly-extreme reaction to the article.

At age 14, I was assaulted by a classmate at school, but fought him off. I was very young and very sheltered, and did not realize until years later what he had been trying to do. One friend suggested (probably correctly) that my reaction to passivity is due to a keen awareness of what would have happened to me if I had NOT fought back.

I certainly did not "blame" the victim of the rape in the Cosmo article or any other rape victim for what happened to them, although I understand that it came across that way. I was almost hysterically angry, and few things send my temper over the edge like passivity in crime victims. I'm not entirely sure why.

Another poster on my LJ thought the article's portrayal of "Alicia" and her experience was probably skewed, and after I had calmed down and considered (I have a bad case of "type before I think" Syndrome), that is probably true. In which case, Laura Stepp deserves to be kicked into journalism boot camp for four years.

But let me make one thing clear--as frustrating and galling as passivity is to me (perhaps unreasonably), never doubt that the actions of the rapist infuriate me beyond all expression. It's just that in this instance, the fact of "Kevin's" utter despicability was (to me, at least) a foregone conclusion.

At August 28, 2007 10:36 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Jocelyn, thanks for commenting. I appreciate your taking the time to think about my reaction to your post.

At March 04, 2010 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an experience in my teens that was gray. I didn't know how to react so i tried to pretend to like the guy but it just wasn't right. I knew things weren't right. But looking back automatic denial seemed right. If I say I like him, and pretend nothing happened this may protect me from terrible humiliation. I was wrong. I don't think the humilation would have been any different. If I had reported I might of had some blanket support but ultimate protection, I doubt.

I had one experience already with reporting sexual abuse, and police will pick you to pieces. I remembered that, and being picked to pieces over something I thought I'd be blamed for seemed impossible to deal with.

I was beaten when I got home. It was if they thought I was up to no good, and I was beaten by my brother. My mother let him.

I am a "wimpy" rape survivor. I have had the worst anger reactions to the jump down your throat reaction if you didn't defend yourself like Rambo, to you must of liked it anyway.

The man who abused me back then knew people would react angry. I think he choose to single out certain women. It was mind boggling how they protected him.

At March 04, 2010 11:41 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


My heart breaks for you. Sometimes denial is the best defense we have. You make a great point about how abusers often know they will have allies to their abuse.


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