Nope. No, I have no interest in learning from rapists.
The voices of rapists are ALREADY privileged in the discussion of rape and rape culture. They are listened to above their victims every single time. I’m not clear on why we should continue to NOT listen to victims and instead prioritize the stories of rapists over that, under the umbrella of some bullshit about “learning.” This STILL boils down to one thing: “My wants are more important than anything else.”
I get that the point here is supposed to be “Learn from what goes on here!” WHY? Why are we learning from THIS and not what HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WOMEN HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR YEARS? These men are telling the same stories, just with the slant of “I did this, so absolve me, Reddit!”
I did not find any of these stories informative. I found them infuriating and upsetting to the point of literal nausea, not least because of the context in which they were offered (i.e. apologism) and because people are accepting these as a form of “learning.” I have learned absolutely nothing from this, nor do I see any take away other than what is already known in the feminist community.
Our culture encourages rape apologism and victim-blaming enough as it is. To prioritize the rapist’s “side” is nothing more than upholding that standard.
I don’t understand how in the world is this supposed to help combat rape culture. Because we understand the motivations of rapists, we can then curtail those motivations? On an individual level that essentially amounts to policing yourself and making yourself responsible for whether or not you are attacked, which is the absolute essence of rape culture. And as a society? Well, kyriarchy dictates that women are treated in such a way that rape culture exists. The entire dialogue needs to change from “don’t get raped” to “don’t rape,” and I have serious, serious doubts that the way to do that is to sit rapists down and go, “So why did you rape?”
They raped because our world tells them they are entitled to sex with women they want to have sex with. No counselor sitting them down and telling them that’s not true is going to get through to them, even when they’re young, if something about our society does not change. And I do not see the roots of that here. I see perpetuation of already-problematic cultural norms.
And frankly, do you know what I don’t care about? I don’t care about anyone’s “motivation” to rape someone else. We already KNOW those motivations. We as women hear them ALL THE TIME - “She was dressed like a slut! She flirted! She was drunk! She’d already hooked up with someone else! She was in my bed and didn’t say no!” We already fucking know!
I don’t care about the fact that they feel terrible or the fact that they thought better of it when they looked at their victim’s face and saw she was scared. I don’t care about how they felt in the moment, I don’t care about how they want to justify it, I don’t. Care. Because ultimately, the motivation doesn’t matter and it’s not teaching us anything that we don’t already know: men see women as objects, men who rape often know what they’re doing, and men who rape often aren’t strangers.
And what’s the take-away from this supposed to be? Don’t get drunk, don’t ever say a flirtatious or sexual thing if you don’t intend to have sex with the person you’re speaking to, and don’t trust anyone ever? That sounds exactly like rape culture to me.
For the record, I don’t think that nothing can be done to change rape culture. I think that a lot can be done, but listening to a bunch of rapists whine about how there’s a REASON they raped, guys, it’s not JUST about the victim is not one of them.
What’s most infuriating to me is that victims speak about these things all the time — but they’re ignored, and the second some circle-jerk of rape apologism gets posted on Reddit, it gets major media attention.
Of course it does. Male voices are the only ones that really matter, right?
It looks like everyone on Tumblr’s support staff failed basic Civics and Economics, so let me tell you how freedom of speech works. Your freedoms end where mine begin. You may have the right to blog all you want about Neo-Nazism and Culturalism, but the moment you enter someone else’s space and threaten them, you have violated their freedom. Tumblr explicitly places the rights of white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and violent racists over the rights of black and brown people who’ve committed no other crime than talking about their daily lives.
To add the cherry to the bullshit sundae, Tumblr has been known to go as far as blaming the victims for their abuse. I once sent an email to Tumblr support about a user who had basically made his entire blog a dedication to adding racist commentary to everything I said. Tumblr’s response: “It sounds like you’re both to blame here.” There are dozens if not hundreds of users who can give similar accounts of Tumblr staff’s mismanagement of abuse complaints by blaming the victim for the problem. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I had the nerve to talk about racism, so a white person has every right to call me a nigger. Right. Okay. Cool story. It’s gotten to the point where most recent death threats aren’t even reported because users are not confident that Tumblr staff will help them.
This isn’t the treatment everyone gets though. When Laci Green, an inexplicably popular Youtuber, first came to Tumblr, she faced immediate criticism due to some Islamaphobic and cissexist comments she’d made in the past. A few overactive trolls hurled death threats in her direction. She, however, received the full cooperation of Tumblr staff and even the local police authorities. When a story about a Jewish man assuming a black woman was a prostitute began burning up everyone’s dashboards, people requested the story be removed from Tumblr so as to not cause judgement against the Jewish community. Not only did Tumblr remove the original post, they began deleting the post from people’s blogs once it was re-posted. Anyone have a guess as to why those complaints were responded to aggressively? Could it have been because those victims were white? Survey says…
They were white. The message is clear here: if you’re black or brown on Tumblr and want to receive messages, you have to endure abuse.
This probably dates me seriously, but I remember when Tumblr/David Karp changed its policies on when they would delete a blog to include harassment and personal attacks so that they could delete a handful of blogs that were being mean to Julia Allison. This resulted in a permanent change to Tumblr’s community guidelines to include:
Malicious Bigotry. Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.
Impersonation, Stalking, or Harassment. Treat the community the way you’d like to be treated. Don’t attempt to circumvent the Block feature. If you want to parody or ridicule a public figure (and who doesn’t?), don’t try to trick readers into thinking you are actually that public figure.
These guidelines were put in place specifically in order to justify taking action against bloggers picking on a white woman, so why am I not surprised these policies aren’t enforced when it comes to POC? In fact, it seems as if Tumblr’s unofficial, but obviously in-use policy for dealing with people being called racial epithets (often repeatedly) or receiving threats of violence and death from other users is in fact NOT to take action against harassers and instead to blame the non-white recipient of harassment. Of course.These policies weren’t meant to protect POC.
I have nothing to add to this, other than to reemphasize that Tumblr support routinely blames the victim and ignores harassment to POC. Read Dion’s whole article.
Hey Theodore Roosevelt, remember that time someone tried to assassinate you, but you just laughed and proceeded to give a 90-minute long speech with the bullet lodged in your lung, where it remained for the rest of your life? Or when you tore up your leg after being thrown into piranha-infested waters while exploring uncharted Brazil? Or all those times you broke your ribs from falling off horses while doing bad-ass jumps? Or when you destroyed the sight in your left eye in a White House boxing match? Or that time you killed a cougar in a knife fight (seriously.)? And how the only way death could finally get to you was in your sleep, in the early morning on this day in 1919. Here's to TR as the infinite inspiration for pure, condensed badassery. ;)
Whenever someone says Obamacare, I get this reassuring mental image of Obama coming over to my house with homemade soup and a bunch of Disney movies when I’m sick. Tell me how that’s unconstitutional, man.