Guest post: Blaming the woman already has the structure in place

Originally a comment by iknklast on Not blaming her directly.

Another thing about the DUI – it is very possible, and in fact happens every day all over the driving world, that people who drive drunk may get safely home without hurting anyone (this doesn’t make it OK, mind you). A person who rapes drunk cannot, by definition, get safely home without hurting someone, because in rape there is always another person involved. Yet society is harder on someone who is driving drunk who has not hit a tree, a car, or a person, but who has just weaved in and out and can’t walk a straight line, than on a young man who uses his drunkenness as an excuse for sexual activity with a woman against her will.

Part of this is the force of things like M.A.D.D. which has focused on the children that might be hurt if you drive drunk, and the innocent young things that get killed by drunk drivers while they are playing in the yard or riding their bike. Campus rape, on the other hand, happens to grown women, women who are in college by choice, and by definition have given up the right to be considered innocent young things simply because they are on a college campus, and therefore behaving in a manner not suitably womanly.

Promising young woman raped in the prime of her life, perhaps depression or pregnancy prevent her from completing her degree and reaching her full potential because someone else chose to violate her rights. Versus. Promising young athlete jailed and suspended, unable to finish his program and compete in the Olympics because (a) he chose to commit a heinous crime; or (2) promising young woman took a drunken revel too seriously, and ruined his life by going into hysterics and refusing to acknowledge her own role in the crime action that was committed against her person. Which story does society prefer? The second, of course.

If we acknowledge the ongoing reality of the first, and the ubiquitous nature of rape culture, we will be morally obligated to change our own behavior to help prevent such horrible things from happening. That’s real work. Blaming the woman already has the structure in place. We don’t have to change anything, just shrug our shoulders and accept that, in some way, she was asking for it, and maybe she even liked it.

Society can make those changes. It just doesn’t want to.

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