Unless you are a rapist, you are unlikely to ever think or admit that when it comes to rape, your sympathies don’t lie with the victim?? And you’re unlikely to ever say so in public. I mean, you totally see what The Onion video (above) is getting at. But, what if I were to tell you that you had been sucked into rape culture’s blame-the-victim way of thinking and you didn’t even know it? I hope I’m wrong…

Of course you don’t blame the victim – you were shocked and disgusted when CNN sympathised with the promising young athletes rapists, and outraged when CNN, MSNBC, and Fox revealed the name of the victim, right???

I have devised a very quick way to find out what you unconsciously think. But first, I want to tell you what happened to a friend of mine:

It was Saturday night, and my girlfriend had been out clubbing. At 3am, she left the club (where she had drunk a bit more than she normally would have) and staggered along the street, alone, to find a taxi home. Since there was no taxis to be found, she started walking home – it wasn’t that far anyway. She decided to take a short cut through a dark alley (she’d never have gone that way, had she been sober) and was brutally and horrifically raped by two men.

What was your first thought upon reading that? What was your second thought?

1.Why one earth would she go up that dark alley alone at night?
2. She should be able to walk anywhere at any time and be safe.

Now here’s the test: Unless your answer is always the second option, you’ve bought into the blame-the victim culture that we have been immersed in for so long – so long, we don’t even recognise it for what it is.

It doesn’t matter how old a girl or woman is, or where she goes, or what she wears, or how much she has had to drink, or anything – she has the RIGHT to be safe, to not be raped, and not to be blamed. It doesn’t matter if she is a prostitute or a nun.

It doesn’t matter how old YOU are, or where YOU go, or what YOU wear, or how much YOU have had to drink, or anything – YOU have the RIGHT to be safe, and not be raped, and not to be blamed. It doesn’t matter if YOU are a prostitute or a nun.

If she had been walking there, sober and in broad daylight, and been hit by a car driven by drunk driver – would you still  be thinking she shouldn’t have gone up the dark alley? She would be just as much “to blame” for being raped as she would for being hit be a DUI driver – NONE!!!

Let’s all make a conscious decision to “Say no to rape culture and say no to blaming the victim”. After all, you don’t condone rape. But when you blame the victim, you say she got what she deserved. When you blame the victim, you take the blame away from the rapist. No-one deserves that. Let’s all make a conscious decision to fully understand that even if a woman walks down the street naked, she’s not “asking for it”.

Here is the definition or rape and sexual assault.

See how the discussion is unfolding elsewhere on wordpress:
Misogyny, Macho Culture, and Apologists 

I am not your wife, sister or daughter. I am a person.


Victim Shaming, Rapist Celebrating Society: The Lessons Children are Learning

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  1. My first thought was, “My god! That poor woman. How horrific!” I hope your friend got the support she needed from everyone in her life. I’m happy she survived, and I wish her the best.


  2. Thanks for reading and responding, Kirstin.


  3. When I read what happened to your friend, I felt fear for her, knowing that because it was dark and intoxicated, somebody might try to take advantage of her. I hope your friend got the help she needed and the men who raped her were put away for it.


  4. Thanks for responding and taking part in the discussion. It’s time we all worked together to end rape culture.


  5. We should be able to walk anywhere at anytime and be safe. We also should be aware of our surroundings and plan accordingly. Please don’t think that I’m part of the “blame the victim culture” because I am not. I just think that we need to educate people to understand there is always a positive response as well as a negative reaction to everything we do. If we keep that in mind and don’t put ourselves in places that might not be a good idea (would you walk in the wilderness unarmed, at night where coyotes prey?). It’s not just “you have the right to be safe”, you also have to be smart to be safe. Just my opinon and I’m sure people won’t agree with that.


  6. Rapists are not wild animals. They are men who CHOOSE to rape. Your analogy doesn’t hold. Being smart enough to not walk in the wilds at night when there are coyotes there is not the same as expecting to be raped because men are there and you are a woman and it is dark.

    A woman should expect to be able to walk anywhere and at any time and not be raped, otherwise you are saying she knows she’ll be raped in that situation, and you are saying she deserved it. In doing that, the responsibility for the rape is shifted from the rapist (where it belongs) and onto the victim. That is wrong, and that is rape culture.


  7. Using the wild coyotes was not a good analogy. The point I was trying to make was that there are consequences for every choice. Some people (rapists) make bad choices. This is a sin cursed world we live in and unfortunately it doesn’t matter whether we have the right to be safe or not. That is why it is important to be educated. If we are in the wrong place at the wrong time bad things will happen (man or woman). It’s important that we keep that in mind. My point was simply to be educated and be aware of our surroundings.


  8. Are you suggesting that a woman educate herself that if she is surrounded by men, she should expect to be raped? That’s rape culture.

    Any viewpoint that puts any responsibility for rape on the victim is a viewpoint that shifts it from the rapist – that’s rape culture.

    We need to keep the blame where it belongs. Rapists are 100% responsible for rape.


  9. Michelle says:

    As I was reading I was thinking that this girl is going to get raped and be blamed for her ” carelessness ” or whatever the laundry list is that she could have done to possibly prevent it.

    I’m no stranger to rape culture. I had a discussion with some people the other day who felt it necessary to bring up the fact that women should do this or that to protect themselves. In the end they just didn’t get it. I’ve experienced rape and rape culture first hand. I feel angry about the lack of support from society and absolutely sickened by the media.

    The more we keep having these conversations and speaking out about how wrong it is, the more it will catch on. It will likely not happen quickly though.


  10. Michelle,

    Thank you for reading, commenting, and contributing to the discussion. I agree, we must keep speaking out, and not shut up until this rape culture is dismantled and see for what it is. Bravo to you for speaking out. I have another friend who was traumatised by the police after her rape, and the terrible treatment she received from them has cause untold anguish, trauma, and has a greatly hindered her healing journey.

    Support is vital. I wish you all the best, and I promise you – I will not shut about this (and other issues) until the rest of society “gets it”.


  11. […] Rape, Rape Culture, and Your Unconscious…. (thedoubleparent.wordpress.com) […]


  12. Also, as long as we’re “educating” people on risk factors: most rapes are not actually committed by a stranger in a dark alley. Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. Often the victim’s friend, parent, spouse, or partner. So if it’s up to each individual to avoid situations that could get them raped, statistically it actually makes more sense to avoid forming any kind of connection with other humans than it does to avoid walking down dark alleys.

    And, by the way, I was brought up to be afraid of going out at night, walking through parks or alleys, etc. ( my mom “educated” me very thoroughly in that regard) – so for a long time, I didn’t. But all kinds of sketchy shit happened to me, anyway, in broad daylight (not rape per se, but people pushing my boundaries in other ways). See, rapists aren’t a nocturnal predator. They’re not owls. They’re people who disrespect others’ bodily autonomy. And because rapists are people, they go wherever people go. To avoid rapists, you’d have to avoid people. Actually, you still get cases where someone breaks into a stranger’s house and rapes them, so even being a total hermit is not a hundred percent guarantee of safety.

    So I’m gonna go ahead and keep believing that the solution here is to change the rapists’ behaviour, not everyone else’s.


  13. pianolearner says:

    I did a massive WTF when whatching the start of that video because I didn’t read that it was done by “The Onion”. It highlights a sad reality in most cultures of the world.


  14. I think not only should we be educated but I also believe if the punishment would fit the crime this may help in discouraging future rapists. Perhaps all rapists should be castrated or better, just killed (Capital Punishment). Seriously. I know they are someone’s son, brother, father, but the victim is also someones daughter, sister, mother.


  15. You’re right. It’s very sad. It’s downright shocking, and nothing’s going to change unless we make it change. The fact that there was a public outcry over the bias in reporting of the Steubenville rape case is step in the right direction. Change happens when people say, “Stop! I will no longer tolerate this.”


  16. I think we need to stop excusing men from unacceptable behaviours on the basis of them being men. This “boys will be boys” mentality is crazy nonsense. Its starts in infancy and childhood when adults and parents treat boys differently and excuse unacceptable behaviour on the basis of sex/gender. It not only allows boys (who grow up to become men) to behave differently, it teaches them that they can do what they want because they are male. This is further compounded by adults placing different expectations on them than they do for girl infants and children.

    This is not to say that boys and girls and men and women are not different. They are. This is to say that behaviour, especially good behaviour, is not based on sex/gender.


  17. Michael Paul Goldenberg says:

    Just curious: if I walk through Central Park at 2 AM with $20 bills hanging out of my wallet, showing out of the back of my trousers and I get mugged, while I didn’t “have it coming,” I certainly made some pretty poor choices, regardless of my sobriety. I have lived in NYC, Boston, worked in Detroit on and off for 20+ years. I believe that part of the reason I’ve avoided getting mugged has to do with being street-wise. Those who operate without it certainly would be viewed as . . . high-risk . . . by most insurers.

    The above has nothing to do with blame. I “should” have the right to walk through Central Park at 2 AM, sober or not, with money pinned to my shirt. But I’m not crazy enough, reckless enough, or foolish enough to do so. I live in the real world.

    Walking home drunk from a club without being raped, mugged, or otherwise accosted is a reasonable expectation for anyone. Doing so in places that clearly would be viewed as dangerous for ANYONE to be at any time and then talking about what SHOULD be in an ideal world is. . . fatuous.


  18. pianolearner says:

    The story didn’t even make the news here in the UK. I only heard about it from your comment to the Hollis plample blog. I’m not sure if you heard of the terrible cases in India recently also? I’m sure your right that we need good people to stand up.


  19. I’m British, but I now live in Canada, and much of the news we watch, our culture, and TV is USA based. I have seen, am keenly aware of the amazing differences between what gets reported as news in all three countries.

    I have heard about those shocking cases in India. I think that the media attention those case brought, as well as the reporting bias in the Steubenville case, are together making people stand up and say that enough is enough. The combined media attention and subsequent outcry is a powerful force for change, and I hope the momentum never stops.


  20. Abe says:

    I have not watched the video atop this article.


  21. Abe says:

    Rape by a woman on a man is impossible according to the FBI. Look into this. Rape statistics that use this definition of rape are totally flawed. Men and women get raped about equally in this country. Many more women are rapists of women or men than people realize. Making rape an ‘any male on any female at any time’ type of thing works to divide us, and makes us more easily dominated by the government and the corporations who control the government.

    Looking at rape and domestic violence as gendered issues does a huge disservice to the victims as well as the perpetrators who are often victims themselves who need and want help. Some of these perps, plenty, are women. If our laws and system do not identify them as perpetrators, they will be seen as victims and will never be given the proper help they need in order to overcome their addiction to abusive relationships. We can only fail them if we are prepared to fail everyone.


  22. Abe says:

    As for women who rape men and/or women? You know little about rape.


  23. Abe says:

    For one thing, we need to understand that rape is not a gendered event. Women rape men. Women rape women.


  24. Abe says:

    Responsibility for the rape, on the rapist 100%.


  25. […] Here is my by no means exhaustive guide to rape and sexual assualt and rape culture. […]


  26. Kate Bishop says:

    Women RARELY rape, very rarely and sexism and rape culture is completely gendered, mens dominance over women. Stop and think about what you are saying.


  27. Kate Bishop says:

    Rape culture affects women in their homes, work and social lives. An 86 year old woman was raped in her home when a burglar broke in, so how could she have been street wise enough to avoid that?


  28. Kate Bishop says:

    Men and women get raped equally yes… BY MEN! Men are the number 1 threat to women in the world, put the blame for the high rates of rape where it lies: Male violence.


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