Thursday, May 21, 2015

"What Rape Culture?"


After posting about Emma Sulkowicz on Tumblr (I'm on Tumblr a lot), I got a ton of people in my virtual face about how she texted him beforehand asking for sex, including saying "fuck me in the butt."

I especially enjoy the people spreading this blatant rape culture narrative while telling me that rape culture doesn't exist.

But really, it's incredibly fucked up that so many people don't understand the simple concept that consent can be revoked at any time. I don't care how many times she asked for sex. If she didn't want it at the moment the sexual contact occurred, it was rape. This is not a difficult concept.

And the even more insidious part is how people are claiming that, because she "seemed fine" and talked to him and asked for more sex from him after the assault. This is what's so fucking terrible about rape culture. People don't get how traumatizing rape is, and they certainly don't understand how trauma affects the human brain and behavior. Can't you take a second out of your desperation to pretend that rape doesn't happen to imagine the possibility that if something so awful happened to you, you might want to pretend that it didn't?

Or that, maybe, in a culture that says consent can't be revoked once given, you might think that you hadn't been raped? Or that no one would believe you if you said you were? Or a combination of all three?

This is why Emma is so important. Her situation is a perfect example of how rape culture operates. You have to be the perfect victim, because the second something comes out that gives people a reason not to believe you, they'll jump on it. Because people don't want to believe that something so terrible as rape culture exists. It's easier to believe that women lie about it.

This is the uphill battle we face. But if you actually do some research on how trauma works, and try to have a teeny bit of empathy, then you'll see that how Emma reacted makes a lot of sense. And if you're not a horrible person, you'll get it through your head that consent can be revoked.

Then maybe we can end rape culture.


ronwf said...

You don't have to be a perfect victim. You just have to be a victim. The which there really doesn't seem to be much evidence confirming in this case, and a whole lot that contradicts it. If you pick on any one section of this you can say "rape is traumatizing and she might have done this anyway". O.K. I can accept that. But ALL of it? No. Not likely at all. Take it as a whole and her story just doesn't hold water. Multiple officially constituted authorities have looked at this and decided "There's no there there" - including the campus one where only a preponderance of evidence is needed to convict.

ronwf said...

"Can't you take a second out of your desperation to pretend that rape doesn't happen "

And this is why you lose the public's consideration of your side in this debate. NO ONE SAID THAT RAPE DOESN'T HAPPEN. But in your desperation to promote the concept that there's something definable sa "rape culture" and that it's especially prevalent on U.S. college campuses, everyone who casts doubt on any single rape allegation has to be painted as someone claiming that rape doesn't happen.

Fortunately, people are smarter than that.

Mooseplaining Max said...

You clearly have no concept of what rape culture is. You act as if it's a theory feminists are trying to peddle when in fact, it is the conclusion feminist scholars and social scientists have drawn from examining how rape cases are handled.

The short-short-watered-down version (which your comments have demonstrated very nicely, thank you) is that our culture is inhernetly hostile to people who have been raped, and a greater tendency to bend over backwards to excuse the victim. You can see this with pretty much any rape case you have heard about.

I should point out that Emma is not Paul's first accuser, and those cases were only dismissed because he kept going through the appeal process until the other women were exhausted and decided to drop it. All that proves is he had more patience with the legal system in place than they did.

You absolutely have to be a perfect victim because rape is the most difficult crime to prove since it almost always happens behind closed doors with no witnesses beyond the perpetrator and the victim, and our criminal justice system is dependent on witness testimonials and forensic evidence which in these cases are often lacking. It's frankly a miracle we even have a three percent conviction rate. So the idea that these testimonies prove beyond a measure of a doubt that Emma made the whole thing up for (largely negative) attention is ridiculous. I'm not saying we can prove Paul's guilt, but the willingness of everyone to assume the case is closed is a great microcosm to rape culture.

I mean this in the most polite way possible, but you need to address your ignorance before commenting on the matter further. has some good information on general rape statistics and exactly how hard it is to prove. is a pretty good blog with numerous articles on rape culture and its effects, and of course there is always a good old fashioned google search.

Lindsey Weedston said...

I'm glad this can be so simple as a "debate." Must be nice.

No, people don't tend to say that rape doesn't happen (though there are people who literally don't believe it's a thing). The point is that in their brain's attempts to protect them, it wants to convince them that rape doesn't happen. Or, at least, it only happens to those who are deserving, or it happens as little as possible. That's why rape culture includes victim blaming and a long list of myths including the idea that stranger rape is more prevalent than acquaintance rape and leaves out the fact that many, many victims fail to recognize what happened to them as rape, no matter how clear it is to others.

You may not outwardly claim that rape doesn't happen, but that's what you want to believe. And it's either to protect yourself, or worse, you want to convince others to accept rape culture myths so that you can assault people with impunity.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Thanks, Max. I also want to point out that so-called "officially constituted authorities" are often blatantly hostile to those who come forward to report sexual assault, in part because the way they're taught to question accusers is the exact opposite of how you should treat victims of a recent horrific trauma. And in general, I don't trust the police at all on anything.

Lindsey Weedston said...

Lol no, it's not. I didn't create this blog for debate with anonymous shitbag commenters. And don't pretend like you ever intended this to be a "debate."