Trigger Warning: Discussion of Rape Culture
I recently made the mistake of venturing out of the safe haven of the feminist blog-o-sphere, with its trigger warnings, politically correct terminology and made a foray for the mainstream media. Recently, I read an article on the Amherst rape case at Time Magazine, and was disappointed in the equivocal nature of the article. Now, I used to like Time. It suited my liberal sensitivities and I thought that way I could avoid the MRA’s, racists, classists, and ignorantly privileged that tend to cluster around more conservative news sources. I expected genuine, smart, nuanced discourse that respected the victims, and would examine rape culture and the systemic response.
Was I ever wrong.
The comments were mainly, college students are children, college is too expensive so students should only be studying, sex is a bad thing, and what did you expects? Posters smugly toted how they had watched their drinks and nothing bad had happened to them. How rape was a miscommunication, that guys couldn’t help themselves if they misread the situation. How this fuzzy sexual consent was an unfortunate experience for the girl involved, but given the rate of false accusations, this culture was terrible.
An unfortunate experience.
It’s an unfortunate experience that you can do everything right. You can go in groups, you can watch your drinks, you can be sober, and accept an escort to walk you home, to keep you safe. And you still can get raped. All these steps do is give an illusion of protection, an illusion of control. It is a distancing mechanism from this unfortunate experience and the one in four women who deal with this unfortunate experience in their lifetime.
Seventy-five percent of the comments were negative, victim blaming, and assuming that rape was a miscommunication, and that the victims should have known better. I expected more from the people I assumed were my liberal allies. I expected that these informed liberals who pride themselves on nuance, sensitivity, and inclusiveness to treat rape and rape culture with all the seriousness it deserves. Not as an unfortunate experience that only happens to sluts who can’t communicate.
I know that I can change minds, one rant at a time, but it is so difficult sometimes. The lack of compassion shown by the people I trusted as allies makes me want to cry.
- How Rap Can Help End Rape Culture (theatlantic.com)
- ‘Hey, Why Are You Such a Slut?’: More Amherst Rape Survivors Speak Out (jezebel.com)
- College Rape Survivor Told Not to Report Her Rapist, Drops Out While Alleged Rapist Graduates With Honors (alternet.org)
- Surviving, at Amherst College (acvoice.com)
- Damning light shone on rape at Amherst (salon.com)
- Rape in the Amherst community (seafeezle.wordpress.com)