TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of Steubenville rape trial, rape apologists, mass media and social media response
First of all, I’d like to thank Anonymous for pushing the issue in the first place. It says something when it takes an outside force to make sure justice happens when there should have been no hesitation in the first place.
Second of all, I want to make sure all of you are doing OK. I have been following the news and it’s triggered the hell out of me, to be honest. I don’t want to be around people I don’t know (which is problematic since I go to a community college and there are people I don’t know there all the time), I don’t want to be touched without my permission, and I surely don’t want to hear the asinine statements by rape apologists in person.
It’s bad enough that I’m reading them on the internet. At least with the internet, it’s not a human being reminding me of my own “involvement” if you will, of my rapes.
I hope that you have taken the time to do what’s soothing and safe for you. I drink tea and snuggle down into electric blankets and listen to music. I talk to my closest most trusted friends and (no surprise here) write my thoughts out.
Here’s a gentle hug if you wish it…or just some solidarity. If you’re having a hard time, you’re not alone. I’m here right beside you, I understand, and I’ll give you the support you need. There are more people than you know who are also with you…everyone who supports and believes in what SlutWalk Minneapolis is fighting for, we’re all in this together.
Third off, let’s give CNN and Fox News a big round of applause for their less than sensitive approach towards the outcome of the trial. Yes, that’s sarcasm, there.
It’s been pointed out to me that CNN was angling for a Dramatic Conclusion to the verdict. Fine, I’ll be the bigger person and concede that could be a possibility.
But what I saw was reporters mourning the ‘ruined lives’ of two rapists. Really? The continuous ‘awww, look at these poor guys’ slant had me puking in my mouth.
No one will want you now? Well, fuck, no. Who’d want someone who lets someone else get drunk, then rapes that person, then takes pictures of it?
Ruined lives? Cry me a fucking river. How about the young girl whose body was violated in more ways than one? How about her own reputation, self esteem, and dignity?
People might say, ‘this is an object lesson for others. See? This is what happens when you rape. Your lives are ruined. Your future is in tatters.’
And while that’s how it *should* be, to our society and its view on rape, the rape culture is alive and well.
The reactions have been more akin to: ‘their lives are ruined and it’s that girl’s fault!’ and ‘She got drunk, she asked for it!’ and ‘Those boys were victimized—they’re innocent!’
That’s rape culture alive and well in America and if you don’t believe me, there’s been plenty of evidence in the last 24 hours of rape apologists taking the side of the rapists and blaming the young girl for what happened to her.
Let me make this crystal fucking clear.
The young girl drank alcohol and got drunk. The ONLY things she should be worried about are the following:
- a headache that rivals elephants running in her living room
- the inside of her mouth feeling like a 70’s shag rug after a New Year’s Eve Party
- Her eyes looking redder than the Hounds of the Baskervilles
- A thirst for more water than the Mississippi river can provide
She should NOT have been worried about:
- Getting raped and/or sexually assaulted
- Her body being violated while she was unconscious
- Pictures taken of her during and after the rape
- Slut shaming
- Survivor blaming
- Rape apologists siding with her rapists
But there we go, folks. This is the brand new Scarlet Letter, only instead of an ‘A’, it’s an ‘R’ and it’s open season on the survivors and sympathy for the rapists because that, my friends, is rape culture.
She’d been kept anonymous (up to the point where both CNN and Fox News aired her name) because like most rape survivors, pressing charges is a brutal affair.
As a rape survivor myself, I knew if I pressed charges, my whole sexual history would be judged upon. What I wore that night would be judged upon. If I drank anything or if I used drugs, that would be judged upon.
In many ways, it’s like being violated twice because it’s society looking at my actions and who I am and passing verdict. And that is exhausting. That hurts the mind and it hurts the soul and it becomes fertile ground for PTSD and nightmares and triggers.
I know these things. So I understand why she needed anonymity because our society is not kind is not sympathetic is not good to rape survivors who have the guts and the strength to take their rapists to court.
And seeing how the media has reacted to these rapists, seeing how she has been treated in social media, is it any surprise that most rape survivors choose not to press charges?
1 out of 15 rapists actually go to jail. That means, my friends, that 14 rapists are still out and about in society. Amongst you. Free to rape again because our rape culture colludes with their behavior.
Do you blame us rape survivors for PTSD, for being triggered, for not talking about what happened to us to *anyone*?
Frankly, this has triggered the hell out of me because I know how she feels and I know how people reacted to me and I know that if I were to tell what happened to me *even now*, I’d still have people say, ‘you did something to have this happen to you.’
There are ruined lives here, but the sympathy and the empathy need to rest on the shoulders of the survivor. The care and the concern and the outraged reactions need to be in her corner. We should be giving her support and allying with her and cheering, loudly, over the guilty verdict and jubilant that finally, we get our day in court, too.
It hasn’t played out like that. And it’s a struggle to keep our heads high, to remind ourselves that it wasn’t our fault, to tell ourselves that despite society and the rape culture, WE MATTER and WE ARE BELIEVED and WE DID NOTHING WRONG.
Here. Let me say that again.
YOU MATTER. YOU ARE BELIEVED. YOU DID NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY *NOTHING* WRONG.
We know this but it bears repeating time and time again. Society says, ‘don’t get raped. It needs to be ‘don’t rape.’
And put the blame where it belongs. On the rapist.