Mar. 12th, 2013

alexandra_thorn: 2009, taken by Underwatercolor (Default)
The topic has been on the discussion for a while now, but seems to have come to a head in a couple of places in response to this article:

A common reaction (largely, but not exclusively among men) to Zerlina Maxwell's quote, "If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape," is to point out the obvious fact that no amount of education is going to completely eliminate rape from society. That's certainly true, but I think that emphasizing that line of argument completely misses the point that Ms. Maxwell and many others have been trying to drive home.

Here's the the issue as I see it:

There are huge problems with how conversations on sexual violence are normally conducted. Women are not treated as autonomous adults, are discouraged, e.g. from walking alone at night, or in the day time, or with a female-only group, all because of the terror bogeyman of an imagined rapist. Women are also discouraged from trusting male friends because they are all potential rapists. Meanwhile, if you dress in a feminine fashion, you get treated as property, and if you dress in a masculine fashion you get sneered at as a lesbian. Women are expected to modify their bodies, paint their faces, and dress in uncomfortable clothes all toward the end of titillating men, and then when they are the victim of sexual violence they're asked "well, what did you expect?" Women need to stop being bullied into being scared of their own shadows.

It really is time to turn the conversation around and treat rape like the violent crime that it is. Part of that is being more serious about enforcement. Part of that is also communicating to boys and men that certain behaviors are completely socially inappropriate, educating them about how to negotiate boundaries in a healthy fashion, and (importantly) *not to condone sexually predatory behavior by other men*. And I think that saying that it's women who need to change their behavior to protect themselves does exactly that.

Am I saying that there's no place for self-defense and situational awareness? Of course not. But the conversation really does need to change.


alexandra_thorn: 2009, taken by Underwatercolor (Default)

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