Carte Blanche to Rape

// 21 November 2005

Well, hopefully this (covered by Jess earlier) will be the final kick up the arse some people need to make them realise that they are feminists and that feminism is necessary. Seriously – is there any young woman alive in the UK who hasn’t, at least once, flirted, been drunk, worn “sexy or revealing clothing” or “walked alone” in a deserted area? If this won’t make young women sit up and take notice, I don’t know what will.

Yes, this affects you. This affects all of us. And this whole thing has so succinctly crystalised what feminism is about, why we need it, and why it is relevant to modern young women.

As Volsunga writes, the news of these attitudes are sadly not surprising to feminists, although it’s horrific to see your worst suspicions confirmed so glaringly. Even the debate on the BBC news site is entitled with the unbelievable question: “Should women be blamed for being raped?

Can you believe it? We are living in a culture where such a question can legitimately be put forward for debate.

Cruella-Blog writes: “I think if I meet someone with that kind of attitude it is partly their own fault when I hit them really hard in the face…”

Josh, commenting at feministing on this story, jokes: “are men wearing tight jeans and being perhaps a bit too forward responsible for being forcibly sodomized with a broomstick?”

Essentially the people holding the views expressed in the survey are giving carte blanche to rapists, since it seems that by just being female and having a social life you are “asking for it”. One wonders what the people who said women were “totally responsible” for being raped think women’s lifestyles should be like? Never going out alone? Covering up every inch of bare skin? Never flirting or talking with men? Something like this, perhaps?

The views in the survey are all based on the mind bogglingly offensive idea that all men are monstrous creatures who aren’t responsible for their own actions and it’s only natural for them to physically attack and abuse women. Well, I’m sorry, but I refuse to brand all men that way. Unlike these people, I actually quite like men. The fact is, rapists choose to rape.

Yet women are always the focus of campaigns to prevent rape. We’ve all received those well-meaning but pointless emails haven’t we? In fact one woman got so pissed off by these irritating emails that she created her own stunning email circular, partly called “How To Prevent Rape: PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERY MAN YOU KNOW“.

Well anyway, what’s a newly enraged feminist to do? For starters, there’s Truth About Rape, and the Amnesty campaign itself. For Londoners, there’s a Reclaim the Night march on 25th November against violence against women.

And for goodness sake, let’s all challenge these views whenever we hear anyone expressing them.

For inspiration, check out the best post I read on this today, by Emma, who brilliantly points out the absurdities of the argument over at the fabulous Gendergeek blog.

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