Flash mobs, where women (and sometimes men) talk about experienced sexual abuse and harassment, remind us why so many women were afraid to speak.
The courage and open discussion about the problem that many do not want to notice cause not only massive empathy and support, but also a well-worn accusatory reaction like: why talk about it at all.
We find out what is really behind such popular negative statements about victims that seem logical only at first glance.
I don’t know, it never happened to me
MEANS: a reasonable person has many tools to protect against attack, but for some reason the victim did not use them.
IN FACT: if it were real to control the aggressors, the rapists would have long been disappeared.
This typical transfer of responsibility for what happened to the victim, often sounding at the victims from the women themselves, is also dictated by internal misogyny.
In many respects, this is the desire to convince yourself and others that the accuser is prudent and dignified, and nothing bad will happen to her, and the victim is not, so she probably deserved everything that happened to her.
The trick is that the intentions and possibilities of the rapists in such a formulation of the question are not taken into account or considered at all: there is only abstract “violence” and “victim”.
In fact, the root of the problem is the behavior of rapists – it is it that needs to be studied and analyzed in order to figure out how to deal with the prevention of violent acts and train people to prevent sexual aggression and exploitation.
You’re just victim
MEANS: the victim comes on the same rake, as there are personality traits that cause a person repeatedly subjected to violence.
IN FACT: In this logic, the victim is considered as an active participant, creating a situation – as a result of alleged rapist is left with no choice but to respond to the “provocation” as appropriate, so most of the blame lies on the affected.
Modern psychologists do not use the concept of “victimization” itself: it implies that the victim is to some extent responsible for the violence.
In fact, there is no such explanatory feature, and the only thing that unites the vast majority of survivors of sexual violence is that they are children and teenagers of any gender or woman of any age.
Existing high-risk groups are people who are in close contact with aggressors, for example, their friends or children.
It is important to remember that it does not matter how behaved victims of sexual violence. A person always has the opportunity to choose whether to act or stop, so all responsibility always lies on the one who chose violence.
And what did she want when she was dressed like that?
MEANS: rapists focus on generally accepted markers of sexual openness and attractiveness and lose their will and mind when they see a short skirt.
IN FACT: the choice of clothes does not reduce the level of harassment, this is shown by research and the life experience of most of us.
If only the appearance of a female body in a short skirt or a beautiful neckline would make any man an irresponsible overexcited satire, then the most dangerous place in the world would be the beach.
Moreover, if men are really so incapable of controlling themselves (although for some reason they are given a driver’s license and a nuclear suitcase), the police and the court should automatically take the side of the complainant about sexual violence.
But in reality, accusing the victim of insufficient modesty is one way to strengthen the traditional right of men to sexual use of women.
This is a typical double trap: either you look attractive and they will pester you or you will not look good and no one will love you (although they will pester you anyway).
You need to be careful
MEANS: there are universal rules under which a person is reliably protected from sexual violence or at least noticeably reduces risks.
IN FACT: this is an attempt to persuade yourself that compliance with a certain universal “safety technique” guarantees safety.
There are no trouble-free rules, they are formulated after each specific case and are suitable only in this specific situation that has already ended and are completely unsuitable for others.
The panic button on the smartphone will not help if a husband or boyfriend rapes you, being with strangers is safer than acquaintances according to rape statistics, refusing alcohol does not save someone who has drunk, and avoiding dark corners will not protect you from sticking in a crowded, lighted bus.
Requirements to exercise caution suggest that the victim must constantly be on the alert and limit himself, knowing exactly what situation she is about to fall into and therefore is able to proactively defend herself.
Such a picture of the world assumes the existence of some inevitable, uncontrolled evil, where a fire in an apartment from accidental closure and rape — are things of the same order: they cannot be eradicated, so you need to adapt to circumstances and just try to avoid trouble in every possible way.
As the saying goes, fuck such a life.
There is no such problem in my environment
MEANS: there are segments of society where sexual violence does not occur.
IN FACT: violence is everywhere, but just as everywhere it is hushed up.
Misfortune can happen to the poor and rich, educated and not so, children and adults, in any cities, at any time of the day and in the most unexpected situations, and its reason is the systemic oppression of women all over the world, from which no loving and benevolent layer can’t save.
Even if there were oases with a complete absence of crimes against the person, a woman would have not to leave his borders – that is, not to study the world from personal experience, not to travel beyond his quarter and never meet new people.
But more often people don’t know about the troubles of those around them simply because they are afraid of the reaction: “Yes, it cannot be, this never happens in our circle, which means that you are not of us, go away from here.”
Refusal to accept is almost the worst thing that can happen to any person. Exile is the worst of punishments.
Not all men are like that
MEANS: the victim was not lucky with one separate rapist, no need to denigrate men.
IN FACT: it does not matter to the victim who her offender is – a man or a woman. Just most often, according to statistics, it is a man.
The problem, of course, is not in some animal essence of the entire masculine gender, but in the patriarchal system, which implies the power of men over women.
The vast majority of women did not suffer from sexual violence from other women and, talking about the experience of the violence they experienced, they most often talk about the male aggressor.
Of course, if you are also a man, it’s not very pleasant to be in such a company, but this is not a reason to blame a woman who suffered from very specific violence. In the end, the reputation of men is not spoiled by her story, but by rapists.
Instead of reassessing the actions of men (and, let’s face it, many men), we often see attempts to silence women who have experienced sexual violence and who have the courage to declare the truth about their own lives.
But it is necessary to convey to men that certain behavior is unacceptable, to hold the perpetrators accountable and to form a habit in society to condemn rapists, not a victim.
Why didn’t you go to the police?
MEANS: something is unclean, I suppose she is deceiving.
IN FACT: the policemen are exactly the same people as everyone else, but also with professional deformation from daily meetings with criminals. They also believe that women themselves are to blame and suspect them of cheating, slander and deliberately misconduct.
In police with survivors of sexual violence they behave rudely and mockingly and make them suffer additionally.
The worst part is that the policeman himself can rape – simply because he is in power, and there is no one to protect the injured, even if she works in the police.
But we only know about cases when a criminal case was still instituted.
Well, yes, they molested, but did not rape
MEANS: only violent sexual intercourse is injured, and everything else is a problem that has nothing to do with sexual violence.
IN FACT: rape is torture, and harassment or interrupted rape is a prelude to torture, during which the victim experiences a whole range of feelings from horror to disgust.
Mental pain remains with her for a long time, even if she was lucky and the phallocentric “main” did not happen.
Men are usually flattered by sexual advances (provided, of course, that they are from a person of a suitable sexual orientation, young and attractive, or status and respected), since they hint at the opportunity to have fun and satisfaction – and the decision remains with the man himself.
Harassment to a woman or teenager is promised that someone can use them as they want and their will and desires will remain behind the scenes.
Therefore, harassment and even arrogant “undressing with the eyes” hurt so much: it is a reminder of where “our place” is and how it can continue at any moment.
These are all hysterical inventions
MEANS: a woman gets some benefits by talking about fictional harassment or rape, and any statement must first be checked for truthfulness.
IN FACT: the number of false allegations of rape detected is negligible even against the background of half the real cases not being reported to the police, and the initiative often comes from the parents of young girls.
A victim of sexual violence needs tremendous courage to talk about what she’s been experiencing because publicizing such a story alone can ruin her life.
They start pestering a woman more, they can dismiss them from work, those close to shame for what happened cease to communicate with her, people around her are worse off for a husband or boyfriend, a man will become a pariah, a teenager will lose the support of peers.
Victims in terms of existence in society are much more profitable to remain silent and try to forget about everything.
And really fictional and published stories are extremely rare and do not indicate specific people as offenders, so they generally do not change the overall picture.
You’re too ugly
MEANS: you do not arouse sexual interest in the commentator, which means that no rapist could have choosed you, and you are a liar.
IN FACT: equalize sex and sexual violence. According to this logic, beauty makes it possible to be desired, sexually attractive and raped.
Accordingly, a woman whom the observer considers insufficiently attractive is suspected that she is thus trying to declare her sexual attractiveness to at least someone and, therefore, to have some value of her own.
But violence differs from voluntary sexual interaction in that the victim is seen as an object for the application of power and domination.
Anyone can be in her place, nothing depends on her appearance: for example, Google returns half a million pages for “rape an old woman”.
Nothing surprising with such licentiousness
MEANS: sexual activity of a woman means her consent to sexual use.
IN FACT: a man can boast asterisks on the fuselage as much as necessary, and if one of the women invited to visit mixes klofelin and takes the piano out of the house, people will clearly sympathize for the man and will open a criminal case without any problems.
Is supposed people to have sympathy for woman only if she is “pure”: she is a virgin or married, with a minimum number of sexual partners in her entire life (preferably no more than one), and anyone who wishes can describe her behavior as highly moral from a patriarchal point of view.
In all other cases, arise the questions like “what did she want with this behavior?”
The idea that a woman wanted to live and enjoy life at her own discretion is not accepted: she is reckoned for such desires.
Need to teach girls self-defense
MEANS: any woman with proper preparation is able to fight off a morally prepared aggressor.
IN FACT: we know enough stories about women who really managed to defend themselves, but we know even more about the women who were killed for this, as well as about women who went to prison after the rapist died.
In general, physical training is excellent, but women on average are weaker than men, not everyone likes sports, some clothes and shoes are completely uncomfortable for a fight, group rape is not uncommon, and self-defense reflexes, so that they work even in a situation when you are lost, you need train your whole life.
It turns out that to protect against potential violence, a woman is invited to completely change her lifestyle and devote free time to it, which anyone has the right to spend at his pleasure – for books, concerts or dinners with friends.
It is wiser and more efficient to strive for some people to stop raping others, and society to stop turning a blind eye to it or take it for granted.