This post was difficult to write, harder to publish and I still want to rip it down. If you are triggered by discussions or descriptions of rape or rape apologism, please do not read on or click on any of the links in this post.
A long time ago, someone I knew who I thought was my friend but who was ultimately a predatory bastard decided that it would be perfectly acceptable to try and get me drunk and then do inappropriate things to my prone body. While he didn’t succeed in going all the way (I wasn’t so drunk or prone that I couldn’t smash him over the head with a Roget’s Thesaurus), he certainly succeeded in leaving me with a headful of memories that to this day, I can’t fully shake.
I was young and at the time, I thought the following:
- It was all my fault because we were cool and perhaps I had led him on
- It was all my fault because I had drunk the Malibu and coke willingly
- I couldn’t really say anything because in my eyes, it wasn’t technically rape
- I couldn’t really say anything because everyone knew I had a crush on him
- I couldn’t really say anything because nobody would believe me
So I didn’t say anything. But I guess dude didn’t take too well to being fought off with a giant book because he sure as hell said things. He told people a different version of what happened and that version, the one that didn’t come with bruised skin and pain where there shouldn’t be was the one that went down as the truth. I heard inklings of him going on to the same thing (and worse) to a number of other girls before thankfully; I didn’t have to see his face daily any more.
Until a few years later when he appeared on Facebook and proceeded to send me friendly messages and tales of yore like nothing at all had happened. He seemed genuinely shocked by my calling him out on his reprehensible behaviour and came back time and time again to tell me how he might have been an impish youth but he had “grown up” and was “a great guy”.
Allow me a second to puke.
It’s no secret that rape apologists are prevalent in our society. Those who would have you believe that victims simply need to “not get drunk” or “not wear provocative clothing” and this will magically solve the problem. Those who think that the blame lies ANYWHERE else than with the perpetrator. Those who think that because a small portion of reported rapes turn out to be false, that there aren’t hundreds of thousands of real victims many of whom remain silent. It’s one thing to know about this, it’s another to see it flung in your face repeatedly.
I didn’t want to write about Daniel Tosh and that whole controversy because every time I tried to articulate my feelings on the subject, all I could manage was “fuck him, fuck his followers and fuck the fools that think this is about heckling or free speech,” and so I avoided it. But then this thread popped up on Reddit and after I had my minor meltdown, I sort of lost the will to live a little.
So let me break it down for the folks on the thread and otherwise who are lauding this collection of predators for being “brave” enough to fess up to their crimes…on a Reddit post:
- There is nothing brave about the cowardly act of anonymously admitting (unprosecuted) serial rape and then running off into the ether.
- The cries of “I have changed” and “it was so long ago” are moot. You committed multiple crimes and didn’t even have the decency to apologise to the victims let alone accept the sanctions required by the law.
- Many of the rapists on the thread have admitted to being in relationships or marriages where their significant others know nothing of their history of rape and sexual assault…and this is alright by them.
- “I’m a nice guy/girl”. No you are not. You play the part of a nice guy or girl and then you rape/raped people.
- There is no such thing as “over shaming” serial rapists. If this is not an act over which you should feel nothing but shame and revulsion for your actions then someone tell me what is.
- The only thing that could possibly be applauded here is if the offenders turned themselves in, sought help and began trying to apologise to their victims. That is all. Period.
While I think that threads like this are useful in educating men and women alike in the reality of serious sex crimes and while I think that discussions about rape should be had where the victims are free of stigma, I just can’t stomach the number of positive reactions to what boils down to bragging about how many people you raped and how free and “changed” you are now despite your apparent lack of remorse and refusal to face the consequences of your crimes.
We should be providing more support to the victims; fostering a community of positivity for those who have gone through something as horrific as rape. Anything that praises a rapist for his acts or admitting his acts without context of prosecution or apology is doing it wrong. Victims feel bad enough without having to witness people patting attackers on the back for their “bravery”. Seriously, is common sense so rare these days?
I know that there is a chance that these posts are the work of trolls and if that is the case, how much more fucked up that this is what you’d choose as your medium of choice for attention.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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