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Why my day was ruined.

September 26, 2012

Never thought I’d be talking about something like this, but I found it on the internet, and that means it fits the criteria for this blog.

Let’s start off with a blanket statement:  Rape is not okay.  In no situation is it ever going to be okay.  In fact, I can, with full confidence  say that all rational, moral people that have ever existed or will exist can all agree that rape is a terrible, awful thing.

So why does it happen?

Actually, that’s the wrong question to ask.  We all know why it happens.  Some dude (I know women are capable of sexual assault too, but the vast majority are guys) gets it into his head that he wants to have sex with a woman, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer.  Sure, the ‘seriousness‘ may differ from case to case, it might not fit some people’s definition of ‘legitimate rape,’ or some (and I use the term very loosely herepeople might claim a victim was asking for it.

The real problem, as evidenced by the links above, is the culture of blame that exists pretty much all around the world.  The cultural decision, which it very much is, to justify atrocious acts.  You can rename  it or relabel it as much as you want, but it is very real.

Some communities/cultures/ethnic groups/nations, etc. are very overt in their blaming.  The reason many Muslim women wear full-body coverings is to not “tempt the loins of men,” as I’ve heard it described.  Many modern Muslim women will defend their custom, and rightly so, for giving them the power to decide who gets to see their bodies.  There’s something to that, I’ll admit, but in order to do so you have to accept the notion that there’s a good reason to hide your body in the first place.

Here in the western world, we give guys a little more credit and don’t automatically assume we’re all sex-starved lunatics that will go berserk at the sight of an exposed ankle.  (Except maybe the Amish)  But, as study after study has shown that the vast majority of rape victims feel that they either will be shamed or that their claims wouldn’t be believed because their rapist “couldn’t possibly be” the paragon of depravity that he, in reality, is.

This is a very serious, and unfortunately very common issue.  Calling a man a rapist is probably second only to calling him a child rapist in terms of the severity of accusations.  Even murderers get a little more slack, in my opinion.  And since actual rapists aren’t strangers in dark alleys, but people the victims know, if she calls names her assaulter, she could be ostracized from the very same community that should support her.

And that fucking sucks.  Even worse is when rapists can use incidents like this to ‘prove’ their innocence and falsify rape claims.

But what really drives me up the wall is when a individual is known to be ‘inclined to rape,’ and a community goes out of their way to protect him.  It’s called the missing stair.

This is when, if you’re too lazy to check the link, is when everyone agrees there is a problem, steps are taken to work around the issue, and life goes on.  Unfortunately, the actual issue is never fixed.  When that issue is the slacker at work, there’s a bit of leeway.  Is it worth getting rid of this slacker, or is finding a replacement and training him/her more trouble?  Might be hard to figure out.  But when it’s a rapist?  There shouldn’t even be a discussion.

Which is why this post hit so close to home.  As a proud member of a fandom dedicated to the magic of friendship, rainbows, and warm fuzzy feelings, I thought I was safe in assuming that a person who admitted to statutory rape would be summarily barred from community events and forever disowned, a dark stain on a pastel blanket that is swiftly bleached.

Imagine my surprise when comments like this poured in:

(Helpfully compiled by bronysock)

  • Harp-s-ong: “I could not be happier to follow you right now.”
  • Farewelldecency: “I would like to initiate a round of applause for Max Veers. We are very proud.” (With gifs of men clapping.)
  • Farewelldecency: “My dear, we all held our tongues during the time and watched as you flirted and teased others. I have documented proof of the matter. No one is innocent in this matter, and that includes you. Stop acting like you were innocent to begin with and own up to your own responsibilities. Now, would you kindly please be quiet? I think we’re all frankly tired of this.”
  • Doctordapples: “I don’t know all the details of what has happened, but I think you should know that (Victim) is legitimately a pretty horrible person.”
  • Doctordapples: “You think I’m this privileged jackass who is too ignorant to truly be an ally to real feminists because I’m not constantly apologizing for being born a white man.”
  • Icy-Sparks: “none of what the guy did is cool in the slightest but I really wish (s?)he’d stop responding to it with slurs against bronies in general […] It just makes me feel terrible for being part of this group”
  • Jenetikitty: “I am agaisnt slut shaming entierly.  but you’re seeing things here that aren’t here. Both of these kids did something wrong.  BOTH of them. Not just one.  No one is denying that. :C”
  • Theidledrifter: “I can see wrongs and rights on both sides. I can see where the story is exaggerated and genuine. There are some things I take very seriously even when I think I know someone is crying wolf.”
  • Dreamingwyvern/Wyvernsdreams: “Both sides (you and her) are at fault for things. But I think they only speak hatefully against you because she’s the ‘weepy innocent girl victim’ and you’re clearly the only one who could have stopped it because you’re the MAN. (Sexism at work?)
  • Dreamingwyvern: I’m all for feminism, but there’s a point when people twist it so much that it defeats its own purpose by being sexist to men”
  • Dreamingwyvern: It’s sexist to say that women cannot stand up for themselves in these cases, it implies that only men rape…
  • Dreamingwyvern: Feminism is about equal treatment of women and men, not just defending women’s rights.  So trampling on the words of men who are only trying to ally feminism makes the rest of feminism look awful… and so does trampling the words of people who try to make the point known that sexism goes both ways.”
  • Dreamingwyvern: You say it with intent to preach equal rights.  But really what you’re saying is that: “CERTAIN TYPES OF PEOPLE HAVE CERTAIN PRIVILEGES AND YOU NEED TO ADHERE TO THEM.  CHECK THEM BEFORE YOU SAY SHIT.” …Uhh.  Isn’t that just reinforcing ethnic/gender/whatever roles and defeating the purpose of equality?”
  • Askpraetorian: (A sockpuppet account for Doctordapples): “Max […] I don’t find myself inclined to believe you had intent of rape or non-consensual sex, nor to be the type of person who would force crying women to sexually satisfy you. Your personality does not match the predatory type,
  • (To the victim’s defenders, same link as above) “Your only evidence is the accusation of a girl obviously set against him […] because he had the audacity to be confused by mixed signals from an irresponsible girl. […] There is a problem when you allow yourself to be so biased that you cannot tell the difference between rape and a collision of drama-ridden, dumb choices on both sides, […] take her to task for irresponsibility, so that SHE can learn to better defend herself, and not act in a way that puts her in danger of vile and unscrupulous people.
  • Roughdrafted: (After the drama died down) “I don’t have to feel tired half the time.”
  • Roughdrafted: “He is obviously more than at fault, but she obviously has some issues or her own.”
  • Roughdrafted: “both parties had some severe things to work through”

These are all from men who self-identify as feminist allies.  From people who claim to be for equality, and who are all part of a movement that is being hailed as changing the usual notions of masculinity, rallying around A RAPIST comes off as very hypocritical, to say the absolute least.

A lot of people said this girl has issues, which, from the outside looking in, she does.  But he himself says: “In hindsight, I received her message, unfortunately the method she used to deliver the ‘I’m scared, please stop, let me go…'”  lets the world know HE HIMSELF AGREES she was raped.  And there is no ‘issue’ that justifies rape.

I’m not saying this guy got a free pass from everyone.  Sanity prevailed when the rapist was barred from a convention, but only after a petition was set up to do so.  But the mere fact he got the benefit of a doubt at all is troubling.  I can understand it, especially when there’s a perception around your community that you’re all deviant child rapists in the first place, to hope that the accusation is unfounded.

But hoping never changes reality.  I hope we can one day live in a world when a woman can walk buck naked from one end of the world to the other without being harassed,  let alone assaulted.  In order for that to become a reality, we need to change the culture of fear around rape and reporting rape.

I wish there was a simple solution for all of this.  That there was a magic bullet for this situation.  The reality of the world is that changes like this take time.  Lots and lots of time.  It took centuries for women to graduate above ‘property,’ and decades for the right to vote, and even today there is discrimination against women in the form of political battles against contraception, equal pay, and maternity leave.  And that’s in ‘Western’ counties.

I look at it this way.  If a woman cries rape and is believed, a monster is put away and she gets much-needed counselling.  If a women cries rape and is in error, intentionally or not, a innocent man gets put away.  I’m quite certain this almost never happens, as the bias against the victim will likely expose her untruths for what they are, but it is a possibility.

But if a women cries rape and is not believed, or is ignored, then a heinous, inhuman beast of a man can go about his merry way, likely doing this to another woman, and the cycle continues.

Here’s a poem about Roman Polanski I find relevant.

 

A youthful error? Yes, perhaps.
But he’s been punished for this lapse–
For decades exiled from LA
He knows, as he wakes up each day,
He’ll miss the movers and the shakers.
He’ll never get to see the Lakers.
For just one old and small mischance,
He has to live in Paris, France.
He’s suffered slurs and other stuff.
Has he not suffered quite enough?
How can these people get so riled?
He only raped a single child.

Why make him into some Darth Vader
For sodomizing one eighth grader?
This man is brilliant, that’s for sure–
Authentically, a film auteur.
He gets awards that are his due.
He knows important people, too–
Important people just like us.
And we know how to make a fuss.
Celebrities would just be fools
To play by little people’s rules.
So Roman’s banner we unfurl.
He only raped one little girl.

-by Calvin Trillin

 

I can accept that there are going to be some weirdos in the same social group as me.  I can accept that some people are going to find perverse pleasure in sexualizing emblems of innocence.  As long as they keep it in their basement enclaves, have at it.

What I will never accept, never Love and Tolerate, are acts like this, as some acts can not and never should be tolerated.  I am simultaneously happy that the rapist in question has been named, shamed, and banished from the community writ large, and saddened that a significant number of that same community would spit on the values they claim to hold so dear.

I’m in a shitty mood now.

Time for ponies.

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From → Serious Stuff

3 Comments
  1. Calvin Trillin says it well.
    P.S. to upset readers: Trillin’s poem is satire.

    • Anonymous permalink

      I would of hoped that would of been self-evident, but I suppose it pays to cover ones bases when discussing a topic like this.

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