How many times can we reiterate that being raped is never a survivor’s fault before people finally get it?!

12 03 2009

I’m a bit late on posting on this, but it’s been circulating around the feminist blogosphere. A recent survey done in the UK shows that one in seven people find it acceptable in some circumstances for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend if she is wearing “sexy or revealing clothes in public.” 14% of people surveyed also found it acceptable for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend for “nagging or constantly moaning at him”.

Furthermore, when asked about whether certain behaviors should hold women responsible for being raped, 25% of people surveyed believe that a woman is partially to blame for being raped if she is drunk, 20% believe that a woman is partially to blame if she is wearing “sexy or revealing clothing”, 39% believe that a woman is partially to blame if she doesn’t clearly say NO to the man, 33% believe that a woman is partially to blame if she flirts heavily with the man before.

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While these kinds of results don’t necessarily shock or surprise me (we do live in a victim-blaming, misogynist rape culture after all), it always saddens and angers me to hear of the incredible prevalence of victim-blaming ideology. We can reiterate over and over that being raped is never a survivor’s fault, but sometimes it still doesn’t get through to people. Misogyny abounds and it upsets me that some people dedicate so much of their time and energy to perpetuating rape myths that further discredit rape survivors  (like the bullshit False Rape Society blog).

This just goes to show how rape culture is so pervasive and how we still have to fight the good fight. Over on Shakesville, Melissa writes:

Sometimes it really feels like there aren’t enough teaspoons in the world for this shit.

But there are. We’ve just got to get people to pick ’em up.

She’s absolutely right. It is easy to get discouraged and just overwhelmed with depressing news like this. But we can change minds, and eventually we will. It’s an ongoing battle but we’ve been persevering thus far and we will continue to persevere. I want more people on this campus to ask what we at Tufts are doing (or failing to do) as a community, as an educational institution for “responsible/active citizenship” about sexual violence on campus?  Because the truth is, we aren’t doing much to prevent sexual violence, to educate about sexual violence, to support survivors and provide them with resources they need, to counter rape culture, and more needs to be done.



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3 responses

12 03 2009
Stephanie

It’s ridiculously important that we not get discouraged, and I appreciate that you’ve made that very clear. Things DO change, and they WILL.

Consider that up until the 1980s in the US, spousal rape was legal; that’s certainly changed (at least de jure). And one hundred years ago, women couldn’t even VOTE in the US.

It’s always important to remind people that change has happened (proving that “nothing will ever change anyway” is a load of bull), and that we can continue to change things, including both law and public attitudes. It’s just going to require work, dedication, and perseverance.

17 04 2009
Jason

“How acceptable or not do you think it is for a man to hit or slap his wife or girlfriend in response to her nagging or constantly moaning at him?”
85% of men said it was never acceptable; 80% of women. So an extra 5% of men think it’s never acceptable to hit his partner.

And, interestingly, MORE people thought it was unacceptable for a man to strike his partner for having an affair, than thought it was unacceptable for him to hit her for ANY OTHER REASON, including flirting with others, nagging, and dressing revealingly.
…Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d expect anyone to be more upset that their partner had an affair, than dressed revealingly. Not that hitting a woman is ever okay, but seriously? People thought that an affair was the least “punishable” offense?
I’d leave my partner for that. I wouldn’t for anything else polled, but the chances of my staying if s/he slept with someone else would be VERY low. And yet, the most upsetting occurrence is the one which people think should result in the least violence? When the violence occurs, most often, due to heightened emotions?

…Seriously? Does that seem off to anyone else?

Not only that, but further down, it shows percentage answers- and how many people gave those answers. And the amount of people are a lower number than the percentages!

Interesting note, though- of all the people who said they would not get involved in a domestic violence situation with someone they know, not ONE of them said they don’t think it’s wrong. Yet earlier, certain percentages said it was okay or “sometimes okay” for a man to strike his partner for various reasons.

Another interesting thing- with the “should a woman be held responsible for rape when ….” questions. When it comes to a woman being held entirely responsible, the gender percentages are pretty even- but in total, women are harsher on women than men.
…Uh. What?

All in all, I have to say the report seems- well, it seems inconsistant, and like there were few people taking part.

All in all, I’m unsurprised a certain amount of people think rape victims should sometimes hold responsibility. I’m trans, and I was raped as a woman when I was much younger, in my family home. A few years later, I finally told my mother.
She told me it was my own fault, for not crying out for help, or fighting him.
So at least these people even treat rape victims they’re SUPPOSED to love like it’s their own fault. Equal false blame.

14 07 2009
Colleges and universities are legally responsible for preventing sexual assault « The Gender Blender Blog

[…] sexual assault policies that actually work and are implemented before (see here, here, here, here, here, and here for a taste), so here’s some relevant news.  The National Association of […]

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