Tuesday, March 02, 2010

7 Simple Responses Which Help Support An Anti-Rape Culture

So often when it comes to sexual violence prevention people assume that they must take life altering actions to make any meaningful difference. But just as support for those who are violent can happen with just a sentence such as, "Boys will be boys," opposition to sexual violence can happen with just a sentence.

The key is for all of us to remember the cumulative effect of many individual sentences impacts prevailing attitudes. When this cumulative effect helps rapists we call this rape culture. But the culture is made up of all of us so we have the power to switch from a rape culture to an anti-rape culture.

Those who are sexually violent depend on believing they have the support of others and they depend on the silence of those who don't support them. So here are 7 tips for how to respond to victim blaming or other deliberate or accidental support for sexual violence.
  1. When someone says something which helps support an anti-rape culture, thank them and praise them to others.

  2. When someone says, "Boys will be boys," when they learn a boy has been accused of rape ask them, "Do you really believe all boys are rapists?"

  3. When someone says, "The only way to prevent sexual violence is to teach girls and women how to avoid danger," respond with, "And I suppose the only way to prevent gun crimes is to teach people how to dodge bullets."

  4. When you encounter someone who seems to be otherwise caring saying something which supports sexual violence, use the phrase, "Excuse me?" as if someone just said, "You should drink 5 glasses of vegetable oil every day if you don't want to die next week."

  5. When someone says, "I don't understand how a real rape victim could ___ (fill in the blank with any common stereotype) so I believe she's not a real rape victim," respond with a parallel statement such as "I don't understand how a real human could walk on the moon so I believe no humans have ever walked on the moon."

  6. When someone calls a woman who is vocal against sexual violence a "man hater," ask them, "Is that really the only reason you can think of for why a woman would find rape repulsive enough to speak up against it?"

  7. When someone says rape is just illegal sex respond with "Yeah, and hitting a pedestrian with your car is just giving someone an illegal car ride."
What responses would you add to this list?


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:16 AM   11 comments links to this post


At March 02, 2010 10:24 AM, Anonymous gidget commando said...

As the young'uns would say, "oh, Suh-NAAAAP!"

Fantabulous. I'm memorizing all of them.

At March 02, 2010 12:00 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

When someone says, "The only way to prevent sexual violence is to teach girls and women how to avoid danger," respond with, "And I suppose the only way to prevent gun crimes is to teach people how to dodge bullets."

That is ten kinds of awesome -- thanks for the list Marcella!

And since the popular phrase is "rape is just surprise sex" then one response could be "and murder is just surprise death".

At March 02, 2010 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, when someone says that a person who is anti-rape is a "man hater", THEY are the ones basically stating "all men are rapists". For example, if you said "I am against hit-and-run drivers" and I replied "you're a man hater", wouldn't you look at me funny and wonder why I'm assuming that all men are hit-and-run drivers? Of course you would. And yet, if you say that you're against violent acts of hatred and degradation, you're considered a man-hater.

At March 02, 2010 4:01 PM, Blogger SKM said...

Calling rape "sex" is like hitting someone over the head with a frying pan and calling it "cooking".

Great list--I'll be using these!

At March 03, 2010 3:33 AM, Blogger Ethereal Highway said...

If rape is just illegal sex, then theft is just illegal borrowing.

At March 03, 2010 10:23 AM, Anonymous Level Best said...

This is a very handy list. It is absolutely helpful to have standard responses in mind in order not to freeze in incredulity as people blat out rape-culture messages.

At March 04, 2010 3:26 PM, Blogger Cora Calliope said...

Great post! I would make a more intelligent comment, but I'm super tired right now.

At March 05, 2010 9:56 PM, OpenID vagabondsaint said...

Great list and great suggestions. . .i'll try to memorize them all!

At March 06, 2010 9:43 AM, Anonymous Heather Freeman said...

These are brilliant! Must memorize and trumpet to the world!

At March 11, 2010 7:25 AM, Blogger Christer said...

People actually use those arguments?

I must live a sheltered life :l

At March 11, 2010 6:55 PM, Blogger Prudence said...

Oh I wish I could remember these, but I know I won't!

Thanks :-)


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