Content Warning: Discussions and descriptions of rape, assault, and rape culture
It's been months since we got a comment on the Daniel Tosh and Rape posts, but this week another one showed up. Invariably it was filled with rape apologism, and like a lot of the rape apologist comments related to this post, was full of information about how the commenter, or people they knew, were engaging in sexual assault (obviously not calling it such though). I guess such people didn't like the realization that some feminists on the internet thought they, or their friends, where sexual assaulters. Though why this commenter felt the need to describe the assault in detail for me I don't know.
Luckily it wasn't triggering, mainly I just despaired for humanity. And if this hadn't been the 4th instance of rape culture knocking on my door than maybe I'd have deleted the comment and gone on my merry way and DudeBro could think about the fascist feminists who obvi didn't let his post through because of how spot on it was. But instead I'll be addressing it, and the other instances of rape culture. Because this shit needs to be called out, and I'm tired of seeing myself and other anti-rape activists being called overly sensitive when in reality rape culture is all around us and everyone else is just inured from how prevalent it all is.
My boyfriend and I watch a lot of movies. In the last week we watched three movies, two of them had rape scenes, and the other was Nightmare on Elm St.
The first movie, if it existed in a void, would not be a big perpetuater of rape culture. As in the film makers filmed the rape in a way that avoids most of my issues with rape scenes. It wasn't graphic or sexualized and it was filmed very differently than the other sex scenes in the movie. The focus was on her face and how horrified (and drugged) she was. Also it was very "realistic". A lot of movies go for stranger in the bushes, violent, with weapons and sadism. In this movie the rapist knew his victim, he drugged her up, and used the least amount of violence possible. In his mind (and rape culture mind) he probably didn't do anything too wrong. He got her high for free, "what did she expect?" However, the filmmakers, and the characters in the know never engage in any apoligism. They name the rape for what it was and attach no blame to the victim.
The issues with the movie is that the rape served as a plot point/motivation for the male protagonist and he responds with the violent/revenge trope. There's a long history, in film, of the rape and death of female characters serving as plot and motivation for the male characters. And once a film does this, no matter how decently they treat the actual rape itself, they become perpetuaters of rape culture. Rape in film is something that, while it mainly happens to women, the focus of its effects are on men, specifically the men the women "belong" to.
The second movie was Last House on the Left, and I knew going in that rape was a plot point. I wouldn't have chosen the film myself, but the boyfriend's friends had organized a horror movie marathon and this was one of the movies picked. I didn't feel up to creating a scene by objecting. But I was prepared for a rape. I wasn't prepared for how much male gaze was directed at the female characters from the very beginning, or the sexualization of the groping of the rape victim and her friend. I wasn't prepared for how graphic or long the rape scene was, or the fact that, from my point of view, rape was absolutely unnecessary for the plot.
For those not in the know, the plot is parents getting revenge on a group of criminals that kidnap, rape, and attempt to murder their daughter. But with the way, this adaption at least, was set up there were plenty of grounds for the parents killing the criminals without the rape. These people shoot their daughter in the back, she's bleeding into her lung, they need to get her to the hospital and most of the killings are of the "protect themselves" rather than "hunting them down for revenge" sort. The rape was just not necessary. And the fact that they had it in there anyway, the way it was filmed, and the parents reaction, well it hit about every square in the film makers rape culture/patriarchy bingo.
Male gaze objectifying female bodies, sexualization of assault, rape as plot point, graphic/violent rape meant to horrify, rape as the worst thing that can happen. BINGO!
In fact, the parents' response really threw me out of the movie. You find your daughter bleeding out on your porch, she's got a gun shot to the back, she's suffocating on her own blood, but what causes dad's mini-freak out? The fact that his daughter was raped, not that she's bleeding out into her lung. I mean, priorities people. Breathing first, worry about the rape and therapy later. But it just goes to show how prevalent the patriarchal ideas of male ownership and daughter's chastity (she was a "good girl") are. "Sure, murder my daughter, but you're only an animal/monster once you rape her" clearly shows that female purity and male possession are more important than the life of women.
Then there's the "Controversial Humor" or Facebook's pro-rape/slut-shaming pages. Luckily we succeeded in getting one taken down. But the one about 12 Year Old Sluts still remains. Apparently the sexualization of tweens doesn't bother Facebook. We already knew they couldn't give two shits about slut-shaming.
And finally the lovely comment on our own blog. (Describes sexual assault/rape).
Your bang on [redacted] Teenage boys think a lot of stupid, sick things are really funny. I knew of a crew of guys that would stick their penis into the mouth of the first guy that passed out at the party and take polaroid pictures of it. They all were in on the gag, and what went around came around. I would never drink much at those parties... LOL I am so sick of feminists using everything as an excuse to show how men are biologically designed to rape and harm women, and other weaker men. If these women spent half as much time getting to know *real* men (as opposed to male apologists loyal to their cause) as they do in slandering the male half of the human race, they probably would never have become feminists in the first place. Normal men usually like women and often work very hard and spend a god awful amount of money on the women they adore and yearn to sleep with. Most women like this attention and some women are quite vile in how they take the attention and giftsNow Dubebro's obvi a massive MRA, or at least he's got all the rhetoric down. He's also horrible and explains how guys he used to know would rape one another and then somehow making it about how feminists, and many women in general, are all horrible. I mean never mind that feminists are some of the main people working against the idea that all men are pigs who "can't help themselves" and challenge the idea that men or boys doing "stupid, sick things" are funny or just "boys being boys". In fact, feminists are less likely to be man haters than other people. As for men adoring women so much they want to spend a lot of money so we "let" them between out legs, yeah that's not actually a good trait. In fact, it goes right back to rape culture and men being entitled to sex from the women they give things to.
No one is entitled to sex. If your partner doesn't consent its rape. Doesn't matter if you gave them free drugs, or paid for dinner, or bought them a nice gift, or even paid them for sex. If your partner isn't honestly agreeing to sex (which they can't do when asleep or drugged) than you're not having sex, you're raping them.
And these were just the things presented to me. I did not seek any of these stories out. If I was writing about those I'd have a half dozen other news stories from around the world about how rape and rape culture is alive and well.
Yet I, and other feminists and anti-rape activists, are the ones who are too sensitive. Because we recognize the horrors of the present, and don't want this state of things to continue, because we draw attention to the prevalence of rape, and fight against the forms of rape culture, we're the problem. We're misinformed, hysterical, man haters. I think sometimes it's this that gets me the most. The people and culture dedicated to ignoring, and if they can't do that, discrediting and attacking the people who work against rape and rape culture.