The airplane crash is Austin is obviously dominating my thoughts right now, but I haven’t fully processed. Need to get some exercise and clear my head. In the meantime, I spent part of this afternoon as a guest on the BBC’s “World Have Your Say“. The topic is the very one you really want to get into a heated discussion about, if you’re a masochist: Is rape ever the victim’s fault? (Just kidding! I had a fine time and was not at all tortured.)
The panelists were me, two other feminists working in victims’ services and law, and the token anti-feminist, a particularly grating Heather MacDonald. (Or maybe she just seemed that way next to the calm British commentators.) I highly recommend downloading it here and listening. The callers who called in were all very interesting, as were the other guests. Except, of course, MacDonald, who accused the vast majority of rape victims (since most rapes are committed by someone you know) of lying to cover up for their slutty, drunken behavior. The other guests and hosts called her out for conflating the campus “hook-up culture” with all acquaintance rape ever, but I felt like I had to spend time pointing out that she was full of shit about even that narrow topic.
Not to be a broken record about this, but the notion that most rapes are a matter of women making drunken choices and regretting it later doesn’t match the realities. It’s not like “the feminists” running the “campus rape industry” (I can’t wait for my checks that keep not rolling in), as MacDonald kept calling us, are just making shit up. There’s actual research into who rapes and why they do it, and it looks nothing like the picture of innocent frat boys who had consensual sex with deceitful women, as anti-feminists like to claim. A very small minority of men commit most rapes. Offenders rape because they like to rape. Contrary to the stereotype of the victims as flighty sluts who are making shit up, rape victims are often selected by rapists because the rapist feels they are sending off submissive signals, and that this means they won’t put up a fight. And yes, you can intend to consent to sex with a man and withdraw that consent, and if he keeps going, that’s rape. Anti-feminists imply women withdraw consent to be capricious. In reality, consent is withdrawn more often than not because things went from fun to weird or violent really fast. I fail to see why it’s hard to imagine a man could suddenly decide that it was going to happen without a condom, or insist that he introduce violence or other acts the woman doesn’t want, and she suddenly withdraws her consent. I mean, duh.