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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Is rape a feminist issue?

Disclaimer: this post is not proposing a ‘solution’ to how to stop rape, it is looking at rape from a humanitarian perspective and refuting the claim that it is a ‘feminist’ issue.

I have never been raped, and I can’t imagine how horrific and traumatic that must be. I know men and women that have been raped and sexually assaulted. What we view as assault may differ from person to person. If you have been affected by something you must ask for help, even though it is often hard to. It's also important to remember that we can experience horrific things and move on from them. This doesn't mean ignore what happened, but it does mean that it is possible to let go. Ultimately it is the emotional significance of what happened to you afterwards that determines the best way to handle it.

I see rape as no different from murder, abuse, grievous bodily harm, throwing acid on somebody’s face – these are all horrific, inhumane incidents that will scar those affected for life. The kind of people that partake in these crimes are mostly of the same mould – see post sociopaths vs psychopaths.’ 

To say that we should ‘teach boys not to rape’ is highly ignorant, because most boys and men are not rapists. Most men do not wish to rape or inflict any kind of violence towards women, and those that do typically experienced abuse themselves when they were young, or have little to no empathy for others. Most boys already know that rape is bad and that it is bad to mistreat women because they either naturally feel empathy for others or are taught this at home. The vast majority of people are against rape and don’t condone it and will sympathise with any rape victim, because the vast majority of people do not lack empathy for other humans on some level.

I don’t believe that rape is a feminist issue because I don’t believe feminism is going to solve rape. (Nor do I believe that we live in a 'rape culture.')
Rape is a humanitarian issue and a criminal issue. It concerns all humans. Both men and women can get raped, and men who get raped are less likely to report it due to shame and embarrassment or not being taken seriously. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men in England and Wales experience rape or sexual assault every year. We naturally assume that a man will always want sex, so if we hear a man is sexually assaulted by a woman it sounds ‘humorous.’ Moreover, if a man is raped by another man he believes it decreases his manhood so will be less likely to speak up about it. Thousands of men are raped every year in prison yet are too afraid to speak up about it. Rape statistics are much higher for women, of course, because women are physically weaker than men. However, rape affects both men and women, and feminism is not going to solve that.

I believe that the solution to the issue of rape is not to teach people not to do it, because the type of people that rape won’t care otherwise. The Patrick Bateman’s and Amy Dunne’s of the world have little regard for others and will not listen if you yell at them until you’re blue in the face that it is bad to murder, rape, lie, cheat, steal, or commit any other atrocities. No, the solution to rape lies in us protecting ourselves from rapists. I would never blame anyone for getting raped, and certainly not because they were wearing certain clothes. But protecting yourselves by staying in safer areas, not walking back late by yourselves, or learning a few self-defence skills can all contribute.

Needless to say, rape does not always occur down a dark alley, and many rape crimes happen in households or by people we know. So it is important that criminals are given harsher sentences and are really punished for what they have done. You can’t ‘reform’ a psychopath. A person who does not have empathy or respect for other humans cannot be reformed, or if they appear to they are just pretending like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. 

I don’t think we can prevent rape no more than we can prevent murder, arson or theft. I think that as long as humans walk this earth, some of us will commit evil. That is a reality, and we will never reach a Jehovah’s Witness utopia where all suffering will cease to exist. But what we can do is look after ourselves, and punish people who do commit these heinous crimes and show criminals that we will not tolerate injustice to humans. We can stop blaming victims and look at the evidence to support their claim. (On the subject of victim blaming, I have hardly heard of someone being raped and people saying it was their own fault. Most people will sympathise with the victim or feel sorry for them, or feel uncomfortable at hearing this. When, on Crimewatch, is a girl ever raped and the news presenter says that it was the girl’s ‘own fault’?)
The sad truth again is that rape is a very difficult crime to convict because it is usually one person’s word against another’s, and unless there is significant evidence or the rapist confesses it is so hard to convict them.

We have to look at things from a realistic, pragmatic position. Women are more likely to get raped than men simply because women are physically weaker than men so we are more vulnerable. Putting ourselves in safer situations and making ourselves more aware of the dangers of the night are going to help us a lot more than just sitting back and hoping feminism takes care of it all. Also, false rape accusations are awful and put actual rape victims to shame. If something causes you long-term emotional damage, then it has affected you and should be taken seriously. If it hasn’t, there is nothing wrong with looking into it still because sometimes we can suppress our emotions. The act of rape is a cruel, horrible crime, but it can’t be looked at from a utopian perspective, or by stupidly saying that everything is an example of rape from giving birth to farting. 

1 comment:

  1. The only reason feminists complain about "victim blaming" is because it occurs most when someone is accusing "date rape" - which often turns out to just be regretful yet consensual sex (or sometimes, even just an empty allegation).


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