While one might think that would be pretty obvious, this article suggests otherwise. Whenever when there are discussions online about rape, particularly ‘date rape’, there is usually someone who implicitly or explicitly blames the victim.
What has always puzzled me is the emphasis on the rape victim, instead of the rapist. No rapist that I’ve ever heard of ever slipped on a banana peel and ‘accidentally’ raped someone: the decision to rape is a conscious, deliberate act by the rapist.
Here’s the thing: I’ve lived long enough to accumulate some gray hair, and I’ve successfully managed not to rape anyone. I don’t really remember putting much effort into not raping anyone either. I didn’t have to write Post-It notes that said, “DON’T FORGET NOT TO RAPE ANYONE.” There isn’t a lot of advanced coursework or assigned reading either.
I’ve been around drunk people, nekkid people, and drunk, nekkid people, and, somehow, I managed not to rape anyone. I’ve been around people physically smaller than me, and I managed not to rape them either. You also don’t have to be much of a radical feminist (or even one at all). You just have to not rape people.
As Shakes put it (italics and bold original):
Left to my own devices, I never would have been raped. The rapist was really the key component to the whole thing. I was sober; hardly scantily clad (another phrase appearing once in the article), I was wearing sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt; I was at home; my sexual history was, literally, nonexistent–I was a virgin; I struggled; I said no. There have been times since when I have been walking home, alone, after a few drinks, wearing something that might have shown a bit of leg or cleavage, and I wasn’t raped. The difference was not in what I was doing. The difference was the presence of a rapist.
Enough blaming the victim. Enough.
Until we stop asking women, “Why did you get raped”, and start asking men, “Why did you rape someone”, we still have a very long way to go.