It’s been another summer of non-stop action in Audreality; not much time to write. Ran my 11th consecutive Hood to Coast Relay, which ended with a bang (in a car accident). Picked up an additional job, landscaping. (I’ve discovered this is enjoyable, even cathartic – feels like I’m channeling Karate Kid.) Also, Audreality got booked for another season at Open Signal, our local public broadcasting network. And I helped out with the first annual Stackstock music fest. All of these are worthy of discussion, but what compels me to write today is the last weeks triple-dose of Rape Culture.
It started when my daughter, Violet, asked if I’d seen my mom’s latest post on Facebook. It’s a video with statements in big, bold letters, that begins by saying women with long hair are more likely to get raped. The next screen says women with baggy, easy-to-remove clothing are statistically, more susceptible to rape. Attackers also look for women who are distracted by their phones or shuffling through their purse. Ugh – it’s hard to watch this video, so disgusting. The next factoid says we’re most often attacked in grocery store parking lots. God forbid some woman with long hair and baggy clothes use her phone in a grocery store parking lot!
I was relieved to hear that my daughter knows this is garbage, but equally disappointed that my own mom, after all the discussions of Rape Culture this year (inspired by the idiotic teacher at Grant), still doesn’t see the glaring, victim-blaming problem with her post. There is NOTHING a person can wear that makes them more or less deserving of rape. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR RAPE. NOT CLOTHES. NOT INTOXICATION. NOT FOR LOOKING AT THEIR PHONE OR DIGGING IN THEIR PURSE. NOT EVEN FOR WALKING ALONE AT NIGHT! The video mom posted implies the onus is on the woman, to make sure she behaves and dresses in such a way that men are able to resist their innate urge to fuck. This is like applying a small bandaid for the infected, festering, flesh wound, that is well-known and has been identified by feminists as Toxic Masculinity. It would be FAR more effective to aim for the root cause of the problem BY TEACHING PEOPLE NOT TO RAPE. For those who never rape? GREAT! Let’s show them how to recognize, the world we live in continues to be one where Rape Culture thrives. Let’s teach people how to take conscious steps to address and counteract Rape Culture, so that in the long run, together, we can tamp it out for good.
This brings me to my second (and third) major face-palms of the week: I was telling my friend, Lindsay, that I was about to get a hormonal IUD, which would not only be effective birth control, but would help with the more difficult and painful aspects of my menstrual cycle. High-five! Then our (male) cohort, Vinny, chimed in, saying no one should ever put hormones in their body.
“Thanks Vinny, but we don’t need you to mansplain birth control.”
But he would not shut up about it! So we did like usual, by forcing ourselves to ignore him. Gave myself a headache from clenching my jaw so hard. Somehow the conversation went from bad to worse, because Vinny went off on another rant, this time about how women should expect to get raped, if they go anywhere alone with a man who they don’t know. By the end of the day, I was fine with never being in Vinny’s presence again. After all, there’s something to be said for social pruning, and I’ve cut people off for less.
So I invited a guy out who I’d never met – GASP! And sent Vinny home. The new guy, Vasily, brought me to shoot pool at one of my neighborhood bars. That’s where he had the audacity to insinuate that I was cheating because he’d never seen a woman make a bank shot (much like the guy in Virginia Beach last year).
Soon enough, I was telling Vasily about my headache earlier that day, with Vinny. Vasily interrupted, agreeing with Vinny. He continued fanning the flames of madness, saying women shouldn’t look too sexy or wear tight clothes, if they don’t want to get raped. It’s like he’s giving every rapist a hall pass – as long as the victim is attractive. Sometimes women are just irresistible! Too flabbergasted to muster up any sort of levelheaded retort, I ended the date right there.
Let’s get this straight: In this world of Toxic Masculinity, we can’t wear clothes that are too tight, nor too loose. We shouldn’t go out on dates alone. And we should never get distracted by our purse, nor our phones. Might as well keep mace in one hand and a sharp object in the other because lots of men are like rabid dogs with zero self-control and it’s not their fault, THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS. Boys will be boys, right?
This subject is making me see red. All I’ve left to say for Vinny, Vasily and the rest of the world’s rapist-sympathizers: GO FUCK YOURSELVES.
And Mom, that “how not to get raped” post on your page is terrible. Good thing Violet knows better.