Monday, July 21, 2014

Today in NO, STOP

[TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, RAPE CULTURE, MISOGYNY]

I got a message on my Tumblr account recently from some guy in response to a critical analysis of rape culture narratives in one of my favorite shows of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was making the point that the redemption storyline for Spike after he attempts to rape Buffy is terrible. Although Buffy's friends, or at least Xander, show some disgust and anger toward him, he's quickly forgiven and let back into the fold and treated as a character for which we could sympathize, because he went and got his soul back because he just loved her so much.

I could spend all day talking about all the problems with this, but back to that Tumblr guy.

What I said, specifically, was that it was harmful to portray a rapist as though rapists could change and be redeemed. Then some dude comes into my message box saying that he's a fan of my blog (sure) BUT by saying that rapists can't be redeemed I'm just like bigots and "neo-cons" because I can't back up this claim with evidence. He called it a "wild claim" that was exaggerated and not backed by sources.

He then went on to talk about how much he hates rape. Totally convincing, man.

You know, I get a lot of shit from MRAs and anti-feminists, using slurs to attack me and saying terrible things. I've argued with assholes who genuinely believe that women are inferior to men. I've dealt with more bigots than I could possibly remember well enough to count.

But it's people like this, who demand evidence for every fucking thing I say while claiming to be on my side, that piss me off the most. Don't pretend to be a fan of mine, you slimy little shit. If you were a fan of my blog, you would know better than to come into my inbox with your admonishments about exaggeration and "evidence."

Firstly, I'm talking about redemption. Redemption is an abstract, emotional concept. There is evidence to suggest that the rehabilitation rate of rapists is very low. But I was specifically talking about redemption. You can't present evidence about redemption. What are you even talking about.

No, what I'm talking about is purely emotional. If you have a problem with that, fuck off. People are constantly making excuses for rapists, trying to soften the crime with the language they use, acting as though rape can somehow be a mistake, looking into the manipulative puppy dog eyes of a rapist with their false apologies and cozened tears and doing everything they can to race to the point of forgiveness. To say, "he just slipped up, he's not really a bad guy, he feels terrible about what he did, he's not really like that, he's so nice."

What they're trying to do is say that "he's not really a rapist."

I would bet anyone anything that Tumblr inbox guy either has raped someone or knows someone who has. It's that cognitive dissonance that happens when you know someone is a rapist and want to believe they're a good person, because you know them, because you like them, because you associate with them. Or because you are them. So what's the easiest way to deal? Convince yourself that they're not "really" a rapist. Maybe they raped someone once but they're better now. It was a mistake. They've learned their lesson. They're redeemed. The crime is absolved. Like it never happened.

No. NO. Rape a person once, and you are a rapist. Try to rape a person once, and you are a rapist. Until the end of time. Full stop. I am 100% NOT exaggerating. I mean it.

So what, Tumblr guy? You hate rape, think it should be a crime as serious as treason, yet you feel the need to jump into my inbox to tell me I shouldn't say that rapists can live their lives pretending their not rapists anymore? That they can do some good deed, and their crime just evaporates, all better?

No. Your victim has to feel the pain and terror of the trauma, lingering in the back of their minds and the depths of their soul until they die. So do you. You don't get redemption. You don't get forgiveness. You don't get to forget. You don't deserve it. You've done something so astronomically terrible that I can't even put it into words, and you are not allowed redemption. You hurt someone so terribly, and if you really feel badly about it, then you do not let yourself forget. You carry that with you until you die. You feel it prick at you every time you interact with someone you might want to have sex with. You don't let that go, because if you do, what's to stop you from doing it again?

What's really fucked up, though, is that Tumblr guy apparently expects me to be approaching this in some kind of scientific, unbiased sense, as though I'm running a psychological journal rather than a feminist Tumblr blog that came into being specifically because I was deeply, intensely horrified about the prevalence, depth, and callousness of rape culture.

Am I biased about rape, and about rapists? Fuck yes I am. I hate rapists. Every single one. I don't care about individual circumstances. I don't care if they were a saint before and after committing the crime. They're a rapist. Forever. They tore someone apart psychologically, and the victim may never really heal. And they did it maliciously. They had to view that person as less than human to do it. Which means they are and always will be capable of viewing someone as less than human. Such a thing does not just magically appear in a person and then vanish. It's not like you can lose the ability to dehumanize someone to the point that you can maliciously hurt them for however long it takes to rape them.

I am not here to coldly analyze rapists. I am not a scientist. I am not a judge, or a legislator, or any kind of politician. I am here to oppose and counter the chorus of voices that want to give all the sympathy to rapists, and perpetuate the false narratives and lies that allow rape culture to continue. As long as we view rapists as people who could have just made a mistake and can then be "redeemed" somehow and no longer be rapists, rape will keep happening on a massive scale.

I view rape in the way I view criminal cannibalism. You can act like a good person and still eat people. But it's malicious and deliberate and it's sick and repulsive at the deepest possible level. It disturbs me to my very core and I think they should be locked up forever, because you just don't come back from eating someone. The sooner everyone else feels the same way about rapists, the more people we will save from being raped.

Does this make me a bigot? Because I hate all rapists? Yeah, sure, that's exactly the same thing as hating all women or black people or LBGTQAIP+ people. Totally.

Here's the plain facts. I will never forgive a rapist. I will never see them as anything but a rapist. Think that's not fair? Then stay away from me. Once you rape someone, you lose the luxury of the benefit of the doubt. You lose the luxury of forgiveness and understanding. I don't give a fuck about bias or what evidence there might be that you can be a better person.

But trust me, science is not on your side here.

You, Tumblr guy, you are not a fan. You are a rape apologist. You are a piece of shit. You are a mansplainer. You are a misogynist. You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. Stay away from my blogs.

Not sorry.

2 comments:

Choux said...

I'm living your point about cannabalism. How do you come back? The Wendigo (sp?) creature myth comes to mind. That if you participated in cannibalism, you become a monster of it. Your hunger never stops, you can never be human again because you've consumed them.
Rapists try to consume their prey.
But I guess, if you believe they shouldn't be redeemed, they can't ever become a normal member of society again.
I'm ok with that. They should rot in jail. Be shot, stabbed, burned alive. But since they rarely serve time, I wish there were more ways to rehabilitate them, any ways at all, which I guess is what this sad and pathetic guy was trying to say. He wants hope. But there is none.

Lindsey Weedston said...

That is such a perfect metaphor.