Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rape Myths

The rape myth, as I see it, is this pervasive idea that rape is something that happens out of lust, by a stranger. Rape is never about lust; it's about control.

This video was made by a friend of mine. Please take the time to watch it.

So many people believe in this. They believe, deep down, that women invite rape. That something they do invites it, or causes it, or means that they didn't fight as much as they could, so they obviously didn't mind. It's not limited to men either - after I was attacked, I spoke to a female police officer, who told me that my story "didn't ring true". I can't explain that; I told her the truth. Perhaps it didn't ring true because it wasn't the kind of thing that she believed could happen.

Rape happens because you're in an abusive relationship. It happens because you're on a date with someone who was already predisposed to believe that "no" meant "yes", and "get lost" meant "take me, I'm yours". It happens because some people believe that rape only ever occurs one way, and since what they're doing doesn't look like that, it isn't.

Sometimes, women don't scream. They don't want to believe it's happening, they want it to be a mistake, they want him to stop, so it's just a rejection, it's not an attack, and no one has to know that this is happening. And then it's too late.

Sometimes, women don't struggle. They're too drunk or confused to give consent, or to struggle. They're too young (and you can be too young, however old you are) to realise that they can struggle, that they have a right to say no, that they can refuse access to their bodies without being hated, without being frigid, without being a bitch.

Rape has low conviction rates because so many people fail to understand this. They're lucky enough to live in a world untouched by this experience, and they simply don't understand. They focus on the wrong things; how someone acted towards the rapist before it happened. Someone's sexuality before it happened. They think we should have seen it coming, should have known, and should have reacted beforehand. We don't. We don't see it coming. We're naive, or optimistic, and we don't see it coming.

It's not more likely to occur because of what you're wearing, or how much sex you've had previously, or even whether you've consented to sex with that partner previously. You could be anyone.

To quote from the info page for that video;

The belief that if it was 'real rape' then the victim will gain justice. Rape cases aren't even allowed a chance at trial unless it is proven beforehand that they are very likely to get a guilty verdict. That more or less means having video evidence as the amount of evidence required to reach court is extremely high. A signed confession in an acquaintance rape case is not 'enough evidence' to take it to trial.

Our world is so fucked up.

By the way, if you do find yourself in a threatening situation while on the street, your voice can be your greatest weapon.

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