Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why Rape Is Not About The Victim

There are two parties to a rape: the perpetrator and the victim. The perpetrator performs the act of rape on the victim; this means, that the rapist forces the victim to have an act of sexual congress without their tacit assent, or having withdrawn previous assent. It is, short of murder, one of the more horrifying crimes in the world, because at the end, the victim has something taken from her (or him) that they cannot so easily get back: their dignity and sense of whole self. The shame and humiliation that come with being raped, however, are mainly a function of society, not the rape victim. Society, throughout history, has deemed rape a form of "victim-less crime," through the tired and absurd idea that "she was asking for it." This perplexing idea, that simply by the way a woman dresses or acts, she completely unhinges a man's sensibilities to the point of forcing her to have sex, is as baseless as other discredited ideas, such as the flatness of the Earth or the Sun and planets revolving around our home, or the universe being made of crystal spheres.

Rape is not about the victim -- that may seem a harsh sentence, but bear a look upon what rape is: an assault. If a man beat a woman to death, this society would have no trouble convicting them of murder. If a man stole a woman's purse, this society would have no trouble prosecuting him for theft. If a man bilked a woman out of her life savings, society would find no trouble in charging him with malfeasance. In every case in law, where the perpetrator acts upon the victim, there is no trouble in holding the perpetrator to account, for it is their actions that bring about the crime.

Except for rape.

Rape is turned, in what can only be the most baffling of scenarios, into a commentary on the victim, more often than not a woman. Her habits are called in for scrutiny: how she dresses, how much she drinks, whether she flirts, what she says, where she hangs out. Her actions are called into question. The victim is turned into a co-conspirator, having manipulated a man into forcing himself on her and taking her sexual dignity.

Because of this, a startlingly large number of rapes are never reported. Of those reported, far too many do not come to trial. Of those that come to trial, the conviction rate is high, but not high enough. In essence, American society has made the prosecution of the crime of rape so difficult, it as if we are pretending that no such crime exists, that women must walk the street with the knowledge that any man, at any time, may take them for his own gratification and there is nothing to be done.

Rape is not about the victim -- it is about the perpetrator. It is about the shiftless, gutless, spineless, worthless worm of a man who is so inept at the game of sexuality that he feels it is his right to take sexual favor at any moment, from any woman. It is about the pathetic excuse for masculinity that sees no worth in women beyond the presence of a hole that he can pour his student seed into at his whim. It it not about a man, however, for a true man would not treat a woman as merely a vessel for his pent up sexual frustration; it is about a miscreant, a pseudo-man, who cannot stand upon his own merit or accept responsibility for his own weakness. It is about those who take, rather than give. They are the most deplorable side of the male gender, for they sully and stain the names of good men with their feeble attempts to prove their "manliness."

Nothing in what a woman says or does, or how she dresses, is any more a green light for some man to have his way with her despite her protestations, than an open door is an invitation to walk into someone's home and steal their furniture, or an empty running car is an invitation to be driven by someone who is not its owner. Rule of law is not invalidated where the sexuality of a woman is involved. The rapist is responsible for their lack of self-control. The rapist is responsible for their lack of morals. The rapist is responsible for the degradation of another human being. To say any less, is to admit a loophole in law and to reduce human society to the level of our animal brethren in the wild. We can no longer stand by and allow this time-worn and fallacious idea that a woman can invalidate her right to sexual self-governance by wearing a short skirt and high heels to continue to be spread pervasively. It is time to end the terror of rape, once and for all.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Newt.

    I think I love you!) Your post about rape did not incite the reflexive response that Emily L Hauser's did after the Lara Logan incident, but it come from a different context.

    Thank you for stating so clearly and without equivocation that the burden of responsibility for rape belongs on the perpetrator. As Emily has written, those of us who have never been raped are just lucky. We need more men who will stand against the abuse of women.