May 22, 2017

22 05 2017

A recent blog by Susan Bruce got me thinking about rape culture. It suddenly dawned on me why it upsets me when authors play the rape card as a plot point in books. Even when they show the trauma and misery the rape causes, they are still doing something negative.

They are normalizing rape.

By using rape as often as they do to develop a female character or explain her behaviors and motives (or as a motive to a male character such as the desire for revenge if it happens to someone he cares about) they are subtly saying that rape is a part of life, something woman need to guard against, a normal part of male behavior.

In other words, rape is just a common misfortune, like getting cancer or being in a plane crash.

But it’s not. It’s a voluntary behavior. Rape isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that someone does deliberately to another person.

The frequency with which our fiction—books, videos, whatever—enforces this idea that rape is something that men do is not just reflecting reality, it is perpetuating it. Men can’t control themselves and should not be expected to. Men can be driven by desire to commit sexual acts and women just need to understand this and accept it. Boys will be boys. Happens all the time. Sorry, ladies, but you just need to deal with it.

If we put as much effort into eliminating rape as we do curing cancer or making airplanes safe from crashing, perhaps it wouldn’t “happen all the time” anymore. If men didn’t reassure each other that, yeah, we can’t help it, and women ask for it by their behavior, and some bitches really have it coming to them, if they didn’t make sexual aggression an intrinsic part of male identity, would it be so commonplace?

Rape should not be a normal part of social interaction. But the more often it appears in our entertainment, the more normal it seems. It reassures the rapist that his actions are not out of the ordinary. Even to be expected. The consequences are irrelevant to him as long as he gets away with it.

Read Bruce’s blog, please. I’ve provided links. Please think about what Rep. Debra Altschiller said, and the significance what other representatives did in reaction. I am sure they all consider themselves normal men.

Because rape and rape culture is just a normal part of life. Isn’t it?

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