When you live in a rape culture when does the rapist make the culture and when does the rape culture make the rapist?
*[TW: Rape]* Society has allowed rapists to define what resistance is: screaming, crying, scratching, pushing, kicking, biting, punching. I didn’t resist like that. My resistance was to wriggle a bit, turn my head away when he tried to kiss me, try to stop his hand going into my bra and knickers, push him ineffectually, talk about wanting to get my cab; all things which normal men recognise as not being enthusiastic participation when they are engaging with women but pretend it’s a grey area when they talk about rape. Rapists have managed to get society to believe, that what I did, was consent.
Because I didn’t resist in the way rapists – and society – say that women should resist, they define our non-participation as consent.
My friend told me a story today of her girlfriend’s co-worker who takes home girls and then coerces them into sex. He tries to take off her pants, she says no, he tries to take off her pants, she says no, he tries to take off her pants, she says no, he tries to take off her pants, and tired, she says yes.
Her girlfriend asked him ‘Wouldn’t you just rather sleep with someone who really wants to have sex with you?’ and he said that was ‘unrealistic,’ naturally, she doesn’t really talk to him anymore.
I live a charmed life in many ways and one of them, I know, is that there’s no one I know of who I’m forced to be nice to in spite of knowing they’re a rapist s**tbag. I know that really sucks and that a lot of great people have to put up with that from bosses/co-workers/classmates/teachers/siblings.
Hearing about this guy I realized that he seriously thinks that what he’s doing is normal, that it’s the only way to interact sexually with women. (It also made me really understand how only 5% of the population are rapists, but that most of them rape again and again)
In the same way that children of abusive parents often think abuse is the only way to communicate with their kids, or youth who grow up in ghettos are likely to participate in gang activity because it’s what their role models do.
How do you re-brainwash someone when everything they’ve experienced has led them to a single conclusion? That the best forms of punishment are physical? That the best way to make friendships is by evading the law together? That the only way to have sex is to take it from the gatekeeper?
How do you teach someone who has never seen honey that if only they invest in it, flies will prefer it to vinegar any day of the week?
So while every rape that Coercive Ass commits is entirely his fault, I’ve got enough blame left in my heart for all the equally coercive assholes who came before him and told him “Yeah man, ‘No’ is just the beginning of the negotiation. ‘No’ is just part of the process.”
Just like I’ve got enough blame left in my heart for the cops who offer to escort my white friends through their ‘rough’ neighborhoods without ever helping the kids who grow up there. And all the dads who have ever come home drunk and angry for generations and generations.
There isn’t an answer here. But how do you separate the gunman, the rapist, the abuser, the pusher from every friend/parent/brother/role model who made him think that not only was this the best way, but the only way, the right way? How do you decide who can be helped?