Monday, August 9, 2010

If You Get Raped, It's Your Own Fault!

Dallas Police Chief David Brown is worried about the 25% increase in reported rapes in Dallas over the past year. As a police officer, he decided to battle this crime by dispensing advice to its victims because who else is to blame for rape? Definitely not the criminal, right? So it has to be the victim. Here is what Chief Brown had to say:
We’re needing to create a message to the victims of these types of crimes...related to, you know, first date, second date, someone you don’t know that well, but you’re at a club, you have a little bit too much to drink, having friends or someone help watch you, and maybe have someone that doesn’t drink in the group
As you can see, according to Chief Brown, women are responsible for preventing their own rapes. How can you do that? Well, by staying at home, of course. (And preferrably barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.) If you go on dates, have a couple of drinks and, God forbid, don't have a chaperone the entire time you are out, prepare to get raped. It is your own fault if a rapist attacks you because you dare to inhabit the public space as if it were yours to enjoy. Far be it from people like Chief Brown to blame rapists for committing the crime of rape. At the same time, the Chief seems to be unaware of the fact that most rapes and sexual assaults are visited upon women in their own homes by people they know very well. Recognizing that would make it hard to criticize women for going out, so Chief Brown avoid mentioning it.

Rape is the only crime where victims are routinely shamed for being victimized. There is a lot more compassion and respect towards victims, say, theft, vandalism, robbery, or any other crime. With rape, however, the authorities always come up with ever more convoluted reasons to blame the victims: she was out at night, she drank, she was on a date, she dressed provocatively, she is a whore, so she must definitely deserve it.

All this is so outrageous, yet so familiar.

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape is a great book on the subject of the socially constructed vision of rape, where this mythology that women bring rape upon themselves by going out is perpetuated in order to keep women in the state of permanent fear and subjection. I think it would be a great idea to have every aspiring police officer read it while in training. That would help them avoid these offensive myths about women getting raped because they behave "inappropriately."

1 comment:

SereneBabe said...

I shared it on Twitter. I had a therapist tell me a nearly-rape was my fault (because I'd been drinking and went into the bedroom with him). It's fucked up.