Monday, December 20, 2010

Who hears you, when you speak about rape?

Here’s why.
  • Say you’re watching the news, and the story of Assange’s arrest comes on, and you say to your spouse, or the cat, I don’t care who, pffft, what a CIA conspiracy, there’s no way he’d ever rape anyone and your thirteen year old daughter hears you. What does she learn?
  • Say you’re at the pub, and you say to your colleague, those women just felt pissy when they found out he’d slept with both of them. That’s not called rape, it’s called regret and the woman serving you your beer was raped two weeks ago but has been too afraid to report it because her friend reported a rape once and wasn’t believed by the police. How does she feel?
  • Say you’re at the same pub, and one of your colleagues says yeah, and one of them was asleep apparently. Who hasn’t done that after a drunk night out hahahaha and you laugh, because it seems funny after the beer, and you like that guy. That guy, the one that you like, has actually raped an unconscious woman and now thinks you’re all a-okay with that, because it’s just what blokes do, and you laughed. What does he learn?
  • Say you’re at a family barbecue and someone mentions that one of Assange’s accusers was a feminist who wrote about taking revenge on men, and you say yeah, rape is terrible but so is being wrongly accused. So many women just cry rape to get the attention, it’s disgusting and your mother-in-law leaves the room because she was raped many years ago by a trusted family friend and nobody believed her, but you don’t know that story, because you never asked. How does your mother-in-law feel, how does she feel about you being the parent of her grandchildren?
  • Say you’re on Facebook and someone posts a joke about the blonde, tight-clothes wearing Swedish women Assange is alleged to have assaulted and you hit Like on it because it’s funny, you know?, and then one of your male friends unfriends you the same day and you never notice the coincidence, because you don’t know that he was sexually abused as a child, and now he will never tell you because you think rape is funny and you can’t possibly conceive of his pain, you can’t even touch it, you don’t even know it exists because to you it’s a punchline or it happens to women, only women or maybe in prison, and only when it’s deserved. How does that feel?
  • Say you’re on Twitter, and you are enraged, and you retweet some posts that muck-rake about Assange’s accusers and their sexual histories or their clothing or their feminist leanings. You’re probably being unfair to those women but you don’t care, you don’t have to care, this is Assange, this is WikiLeaks, this is important. You don’t know that many of your Twitter followers have been raped and have been through various traumatic experiences from dealing with police and legal process and maybe even the media and how do they feel that this is being dragged up again in their Twitter feed? How do they feel, that you don’t even care about them (and you don’t care, because the only way you could possibly fail to know that a shockingly high percentage of women have been sexually assaulted, even women you know, would be if you didn’t care).
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