The Pentagon has released a report chronicling the 64% rise in sexual assaults since 2006 and their strategies for fixing the situation. If the proposed plan is properly implemented, we should expect it to work. Gendered violence is surprisingly suspectible to pressure from the outside. The VAWA lowered domestic violence rates dramatically and while most violent crime has gone down, rape rates have gone down even faster, suggesting feminist awareness campaigns about rape have worked. So this is a good thing that the Pentagon is doing, right?
Well, of course not, if you live in Wingnutland, where every bit of progress, especially for women, is the opportunity to have a four alarm meltdown. Liz Trotta responded to this news by framing rape, well, as a necessary part of life for female service members.
Her rant is a thing of evil beauty:
I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminist.
Emphasis mine. Sometimes the word “misogyny” really fails to capture the full viciousness of right wing support for male domination. This worldview has just as ugly a view of men as women, casting men as beasts whose purpose in life is raping, beasts who can no more not rape than piranhas can stop themselves from swarming you if you fall into piranha-infested waters. Despite claims that feminists are “man-haters”, I will point out that unlike a straight up man-hater like Liz Trotta, I think men are fully capable of not violently assaulting women the second they get a chance to. In fact, we know that most men take a pass, since there are technically lots and lots of opportunities to rape women, and as noted, rape rates are actually down.
And the feminists have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators. Let me just read something to you from McClatchy Newspapers about how much this position on extreme feminism is costing us. “The budget for the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office leapt from $5 million in fiscal 2005 to more than $23 million in fiscal 2010. Total Defense Department spending on sexual assault prevention and related efforts now exceeds $113 million annually.” That’s from McClatchy Newspapers.So, you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much.
Which of course, is the money quote. It makes sense; Trotta’s casting of men as violent beasts who can’t control themselves necessarily means some rape is just part of women’s lot in life, and that can’t be changed. But in the military, you’re with dudes all the time, so it’s a non-stop rape-fest. Trotta can cast around in her cold heart and find a teeny bit of feeling enough to decide that at a certain point, it’s too much. But it’s still your fault, rape victim! You should have known that men are just all raping machines, and limited your exposure. If it’s raining outside, you grab an umbrella and expect to get your shoes wet, but you’re an idiot if you go outside without an umbrella and complain because you got too much wet. Rape is just like bad weather, in this estimation—nothing you can do to stop it. That would require assuming men who rape are responsible for their actions, and we can’t have that, can we?
I often like to point out that the sexist framing around rape implies that rape is a useful tool to punish and control women. Rapists are often portrayed on the right as an unfortunate but necessary (though this is euphemistically framed as unchangeable) vigilante police force, attacking women for getting out of line. That’s why there’s all these questions about what she was wearing, who she was with, blah blah. The idea is she broke the rules, she got her punishment, end of story. Trotta’s just extending this to the military. She clearly doesn’t think women should be in the military, and sees rape as the punishment that they’ve got coming to them for breaking her rules.