This is what rape culture does.

It takes you and tears you apart. It re-victimises you. It victimises everybody, makes them part of a horrific social evil. Everybody who laughs at rape jokes, everybody who makes a ‘Well, she, you know…’ excuse, everybody who didn’t know what they did was rape, everybody who has been raped.

Trigger warning for assault and victim-blaming.

This post will not be easy to write.

This post will be angry, and bitter, and resigned.

This post will say nothing that has not already been said, but I will say it again.

It does not matter if a man is famous. It does not matter if he is part of a movement you believe in. It does not matter if he produces work that you find great or compelling.

A person can do good things, and at the same time do bad things.

You can support WikiLeaks, without condoning rape culture.

There is a space between ‘I find the timing of the charges suspect…’ and ‘…so that means the women are lying.’

One can ask, ‘Why is the legal process so expedient in this instance?’ and acknowledge that there is a political edge to this, without suggesting that this nullifies the charges of rape. (And one is obliged also to call and act and hope for all rape cases to be pursued so assiduously as this.)

And rape apologism should never be a part of this discourse.

When you say, ‘So-and-so is a feminist’, your enthymemes are: (1) feminists cannot be raped; and (2) feminists lie about rape. More so when you say that to dismiss the accusations.

Anyone can be raped. They are never to blame. The only party responsible is always the perpetrator.
False rape reports are 1-2% of all reported rapes. In contrast, as few as 1 in 10 actual rapes are ever reported.

When you say, ‘Look at how she acted’, your enthymeme is: there is a single response to rape, and women who do not fit that pattern of shock somehow betray themselves.

When you say, ‘They know him; they were fangirls’, your enthymeme is: acquaintance rape does not happen.
Most rapes are acquaintance rapes.

When you say, ‘She was asleep’, your enthymeme is: advance consent is possible, rather than a horrific misogynistic myth.
People cannot give consent when inebriated or asleep. You cannot have sex with a drunk or sleeping partner; that’s rape.

When you say, ‘She consented’, your enthymeme is: consent cannot be withdrawn.
Consent is not a yes/no binary, it’s not an on/off switch, it’s not 1 and 0 two blinking lights. It’s a process founded on respect and free choices.
Coercing someone into sex, whether by force or by pestering them until they say a reluctant, unwilling yes (which doesn’t mean yes, you know) — that’s rape.

When you say this to dismiss the charges of rape against Julian Assange, when you bring down the plaintiffs’ lawyer’s website, when you publish their full names and personal details online, when you harass them and question their actions and subject them to victim-blaming…

…you reinforce a rape culture, one where rape apologist tropes like the above are blithely repeated, one where ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is something you only believe in for privileged white men and never the women who talk about rape, one where the discourse shifts key so fast that survivors — even those who support the principles of free information that WikiLeaks purports to advocate — are left feeling triggered and unsafe.

I am disheartened by the fact that this Mr Assange, who proclaims that he is all for the free speech and human rights of the free world, as well as his pet organisation, can disown the disruptive actions of Anon. while accepting and refusing to disown the rape apologism from supporters, the victim-blaming from supporters, and the lawyer who calls rape ‘sex by surprise’.

Face up, then, WikiLeaks fanboys. Something is rotten, and not in the state of Sweden.

The author is someone who knows what it’s like to not report, to have ‘atypical’ post-assault reactions, who was raped while asleep by an acquaintance, and who despises the atrocity of rape culture.

Comments are moderated. Apologism, victim-blaming, or outright misogyny will be laughed at, bitterly.

‘Can anyone explain to me why sex crime is an area where experience actually REDUCES your perceived authority on the issue?’ QFT.


One response to “This is what rape culture does.

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