I have considered starting a blog for awhile, but I’ve been intimidated by the thought of creating a first post. Where do I start? The internet already has everything, what can I possibly add? Well, I have finally concluded that I don’t care if I have nothing new to add. I’m going to write stuff here because sometimes I really need to say something and there’s no one to say it to.
Here’s the thing: I’m still dealing with leftover anger from over a week ago. Just to be clear, I do get angry fairly often, but I can usually let it go and move on, because there are just so many other things I have to learn about that also deserve my anger. This particular situation really got to me, though.
So, last week I got home from a V-day event that was in celebration of how far we’ve come in the struggle against violence against women, but also to reinforce the idea that we still have so much work to do. While skimming facebook, I came upon a news story about a rape that had taken place in my neighbourhood the previous night. For whatever reason, the news outlet refused to call it a rape, and instead called what had happened “forced intercourse” (they also said that stuff like this never happens, which is completely untrue). The article had a comments section (how come I can’t resist reading these?) and I was not surprised to find that most people who commented focused on the woman being out late at night instead of the real problem (rape!)
Of course, this sort of victim-blaming is a regular occurrence, and the site quickly closed down the comments section when the arguments got out of hand. But I was pretty riled up already, and I ended up getting into a heated debate with someone who thought it was a matter a “personal responsibility” (the woman’s, to not get raped I guess). He basically discredited my argument as too feminist, and probably didn’t even listen to what I had to say after making his judgment about my politics.
Two days later, there was another violent incident in the same area, but this time it was committed by a bouncer, against a drunk young man at a bar. The outrage was overwhelming! There was never any suggestion that by drinking late at night, this young man may be “putting himself in danger” of becoming a victim of violence. In fact, the community rallied around him and wanted the bouncer fired.
To clarify, I feel bad for this man, what happened to him is totally shitty. But why the disproportionate support for him, and complete disregard for the woman who was raped?
Ok, so I know that this sort of stuff happens all the time, but this scenario was just such a perfect illustration of the double standards concerning who needs to be responsible for their own safety, and what sort of violence is expected, and basically passively accepted. Women are, more often than men, responsible for what happens to them, because violence against women is a mundane, everyday occurrence that we, as women, are supposed to protect ourselves from. Arguing against this understanding makes someone overly feminist (apparently wanting “more than equality” or “going too far”), and therefore irrational and not worth listening to.
What’s the deal? Why is it ok to blame women for being raped, but freak out when a drunk young man gets beat up? Why isn’t this more of a discussion?