Monday, 4 November 2013

On dragging your feet (TW rape)

Disclaimer: I am NEVER EVER talking about all men. I am fully aware that many men are wonderful human beings who would never hurt anyone. Not all men rape! However I will not be doling out cookies because you're not a rapist, you're not fucking supposed to be. 

Women rape and commit domestic violence. They also rob and beat people up in the street. About 1% of rape is committed by women. However the legal system in the UK doesn't recognise non penetration as rape and it is therefore in legal terms Sexual Assault. I would like to make it clear that I don't agree with this law, I would like to see rape legally recognised as rape as soon as there is no consent. 

That leaves us with the other 99% of rape, which is committed by men. Around 93% of victims are women and we know that around 84% of rape is committed by someone who knows the victim. Young people from the ages of 10-14 are the age demographic most likely to be raped. Though the statistics on trans women is sparse they are significantly higher than cis women. Around 22% of cis women are raped in their life time this rises to an astounding 68% of trans women. In the US Native American women are the most likely to report rape at around 34% and African American women at around 19% versus around 18% of White Women. This is reporting mind so not very indicative of actual rates. There is growing anecdotal evidence that the rape of men by men carries further humiliation because the perpetrator wants to "feminise" the male victim. However statistics are largely useless when we talk of rape as in actuality so few rapes are ever reported. It is said that 1 in 3 women experience Sexual Assault throughout their life time however this could be much higher. I would again like to make it very clear that I find ALL rape absolutely abhorrent and that no one should ever have to experience that or any kind of sexual violence. 

The reason we need to talk about male violence is partly because it's predominantly women fighting it. I want us all to be fighting it. It sucks for men to often be suspected as rapists merely because women are protecting themselves. It's a nasty thing to have to experience, but do you know what is inexplicably worse? Being raped. It is not women who hate you, this is a clear instance of the failings of patriarchy. It is also part of the rape culture that we now often discuss. By creating rape culture we have created a society where men are seen as violent rapists and women are seen as sobbing victims. We are all hurt by this but women are hurt more, not least if you're a trans woman, a WOC or a disabled woman. 

We continue to feed into this when we give "helpful" advice to women on how not to get raped. As most rapes are committed by someone who knows the victim this advice is only "helpful" in around 16% of cases. However any advice on staying safe we already know. We know to stay in groups, we know to carry rape alarms, we know to be careful about drinking and we know that we will be blamed if we've worn a short skirt. You aren't telling us how we can stay safe from rape, you're telling rapists how they will get away with it from a legal standing point. You're giving helpful pointers on how to find the most vulnerable victims and how they can use this to their advantage if they are ever charged. Not to mention that a woman should be allowed to be naked and blind drunk all by herself and not be raped. The onus should not be on women to not get raped, it should be on the perpetrators not to rape. Rape is NOT sex. Sex is something between two or more consenting individuals who are having a great time together. Rape is an attempt to exert power and humiliate a victim. 

I fear men because I have been hurt by men. I fear them because society tells me I must always protect myself from them and when I fail to do so, it tells me it is my fault. I do not like this, I do not wish to view any man with suspicion because I do think and hope that the majority of you are wonderful human beings. You cannot call this fear irrational because it has arisen from lived experience. I wasn't born someone who feared men. 

So to the men who cry that they are hard done by this, don't fight me. Instead join me in fighting rape culture.

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