Yes, Virginia, There IS a Rape Culture (trigger warnings for every rape-related horrible behavior known to humanity)

This is a belated cross-post from my other blog. 

Before we jump into the meat of this post, I want each of you to ask yourself the following questions, and answer them honestly.

  • In your opinion, if a teenager is unconscious, and several people have sex with the teenager, after the unconsciousness happens, is it rape? (If ‘no,’ then never mind the rest of this, please feel free to ignore or not answer any other questions, and also to just unplug your internet and never ever leave your house again.)
  • If yes, please answer the following:
  • Is it morally okay for people to see this happening, and do nothing?
  • Is it morally okay for people to see this happening, and ridicule the victim, while it’s still happening?
  • Is it morally okay for people to bully, threaten, name-call, and humiliate the victim publicly?
  • Is it morally okay for people to imply or say that this person wasn’t ‘really raped?’
  • Is it morally okay for people to say that’s just the price a person pays for going to a party, or that the victim deserved it?
  • Is it morally okay for people to flock to support the rapists, or for any news coverage to focus on the impact of the rape on the rapists, rather than the harm done to the victim?
  • Is it morally okay for the judge in the case to reprimand the rapists, not for raping someone, but for doing something that led to them getting caught?
  • Is it morally okay for a large number of people to be more concerned about the damage done to the lives of the rapists than to the life of the victim?
  • Is it okay for someone to say that the trial, and negative attention, will likely encourage the rapists to rape again, so we should all just stop being so angry at the rapists?
  • Is it okay for the rapists, once convicted, to be incarcerated for no more than two years?

All of those things happened. They happened to the victim in the Steubenville case. A 16 year old girl was passed out, and at least two men had sex with her, while she was unconscious. Bystanders, rather than intervening, took pictures, and posted things on instagram and twitter, intended to be jokes, about ‘the dead girl getting raped’ at the party.

If you haven’t seen it, this is a rather chilling thing you should probably watch, from beginning to end. It is one of the things that was posted that night.

The assertion that only rapists are involved in the problem doesn’t take things like this into account. There are several boys in that room, none of whom were involved in the rape. The one making the video is laughing at the horrific things Michael Nodianos is saying, as are at least two other boys. Two boys in the room talked about the jokes being wrong, and tossed around the idea of doing something to help her, and were ridiculed for it.

Many people posted comments online, blaming the victim. Others threatened her life. Still others called her a whore, and said she “deserved it.”

The local football coach, and media both local AND national, when covering the story, led in with the damage done to the lives of the rapists. Not the damage done to the victim, but the crushed dreams and potential of the people who raped her.

During a hearing, the judge in the case reprimanded the boys, not for what had been done to the girl, but for posting about it online.

The rapists were sentenced to one and two years in a juvenile detention facility. This trial happened last March. The first rapist was recently released.

Further, Steubenville is NOT an isolated incident. It happens more often than any of us would like to believe.

In Torrington, Connecticut, last year, two 18 year old men raped a thirteen year old girl. Again, there were online threats, insults, humiliation, and bullying, not of the rapists, but of the victim.

Here’s a quote from that link:

Athletic Director Mike McKenna said, “If you think there’s some wild band of athletes that are wandering around then I think you’re mistaken.”

That^ is relevant, because a month later, this came to light. So, it wasn’t the first time, even in recent years, that the same football team had these issues. In 2011, three other players accused of raping a different 13 year old girl, who was given alcohol-laced Kool-aid, was unconscious when she was raped by all three. The fact that the Kool-aid was spiked, and that she wasn’t knowingly drinking an alcoholic beverage, comes not from the victim, but from the rapists’ accounts of what happened.

Another quote:

Originally, [defendants] were charged with sexual assault in the second degree and risk of injury to a minor. [defendant] was also originally charged with three counts of permitting a minor to possess alcohol (emphasis mine).

In Maryville, we see the same patterns, in a 19 year old with local political connections, who had sex with a 14 year old, then dumped her, unconscious, on her front lawn, being convicted only of misdemeanor child endangerment. The family had to move away to escape the constant threats and harassment. While they were trying to sell their former home, it was burned down.

In 2011, it happened to two eleven year olds, who were also subjected to horrific victim-blaming. In the first case, at least 17 men and boys, ages 14 to 27, attacked the girl on Thanksgiving Day, took her to an abandoned home, and forced her, using threats of violence, to have sex with them. The case only came to the attention of police because a student at the local elementary school, upon recognizing the victim and some of her attackers in a cell phone video recorded by the rapists, and passed around to others, reported the crime.

The defense attorney, during the trial, said the following, in reference to the eleven-year-old victim:

Like the spider and the fly. Wasn’t she saying, ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?’

In the New York Times, the case was reported with much ‘what-about-the-poor-boys’ fanfare. Quotes from that story:

…how could their young men have been drawn into such an act?

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.

From the comments sections of various news accounts:

  • She was just caught in the act and didnt want her family to know she really like black guys. You people need to do your research you look at the fact she was 11 but you didnt look at the pros and cons. Ive seen things like this on maury.
  • The only reason the courts are calling it rape is because of the way the Law is worded because of the girls age. It is a Sad Sad story all the way around.
  • Did you guys know that in russia underage sex is legal? No guess not. In this case thats what it is. Rape is force I don’t understand were rape played to action.
  • Where was this POS mother when all this was taking place? I know where my child is, with who, and what they are doing all the time. She was probably on her back too.
  • If dumb ass like you and her patents would raise kids the right way this shit wouldn’t happen when you buy your kids slutty clothes and makeup your dressing them like slut puppies!! Asking for her to get fucked her mom or sisters or somebody taught her hoeish ways!! Guess thats how your kids are!! 11 year old girls need to b playing with barbie dolls instead she was their barbie doll u fucken idiot!
  • Sounds like a fast little girl to me…
  • Okay i dont agree w/the acts of dez boys&men but Let not act like dey went a got a “Good lil innocent 11yr old child”

In 1989, it happened in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. A 17-year-old mentally disabled girl, with the mental capacity of an 8-year-old, was lured into a basement, and penetrated with various objects, including a baseball bat, and forced to perform various other sex acts on 7 or 8 boys, almost all of whom were high school seniors. Non of the 4 who were convicted served more than 4 years. The trial was rife with victim-blaming.

There are tons of other instances of things like this happening.

Now, ignore the actual rapists for a moment. Look at the behavior surrounding the cases, by people who weren’t actually a part of the crimes, on either side. Really look.

Those people? Men, women, adults, teenagers, legal officials, school officials, witnesses, bystanders, journalists, and just random people commenting on social media?

THAT is rape culture.

Consent culture is absolutely NOT about hating men. I love men.

It is NOT about thinking all sex is rape. I don’t know a single person who’s fighting to change the status quo who has ever professed to believe that. I love sex, and I love sex with men.

It is NOT about thinking all men are rapists. Of course all men are not rapists. The most reliable statistics seem to indicate between five and ten percent. One or two out of twenty. That means that eighteen or nineteen out of twenty men are not rapists. I’ve yet to see anyone who’s fighting for change saying that all men are rapists, either, though I’ve seen a lot of those on the other side of the argument mistakenly claiming that’s what we’re saying, and often.

It is not about claiming that only men rape. In Broward County, Florida, two teenaged girls orchestrated and participated in the gang rape of a female classmate. There is one notable difference. Look at the comments section in this article. Compare it with any of the social media responses in which the rapists were only men. If you can’t see the difference in how so many people come out of the woodwork to worry about “those poor boys (rapists) lives being ruined,” or “what a whore that girl (victim) is,” in all of the cases with male perpetrators, and the lack of similar response on behalf of the female rapists, I don’t even know that you should be discussing the topic.

It is about recognizing that the behavior and expectations and beliefs of the people who are not actually raping other people are still contributing to it being more likely to happen, more often than it might, in the absence of those factors. It is about trying to address those things, and change the way we talk about consent, and sex in general, so that the lines aren’t so damned blurry, and the rapists aren’t so often defended, and the victims aren’t so often bullied by uninvolved parties, and and and.

It’s about recognizing that women and girls are NOT the only people harmed by rape culture. It’s about understanding how men and boys are harmed, too, and about working to reduce that harm as much as possible, for everyone.

I originally wrote this several months ago. Since then, one of the rapists in the Steubenville case was released. The activist who, under the name of the online hacker collective Anonymous, put the pressure on the local authorities to bring the rapists to justice, faced the possibility of more time than both of the rapists combined. If you can see that, and still believe that rape culture is an imaginary enemy created by feminists as some sort of straw man that allows them to keep hatin’ on the poor menfolk, you should probably not write, or interact with other humans, or breed. Or breathe.


One thought on “Yes, Virginia, There IS a Rape Culture (trigger warnings for every rape-related horrible behavior known to humanity)

  1. […] this post, I think it was pretty clearly established that rape culture exists. Really. It’s a […]


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