If you haven’t heard, Reddit posted a thread asking rapists to tell their side of the story (really) and then [HUGE TRIGGER WARNING ON THIS LINK] Jezebel thought an intelligent thing to do would be to post pieces of it and go, “We should listen to them and learn from this!”
Nope. No, I have no interest in learning from rapists.
The voices of rapists are ALREADY privileged in the discussion of rape and rape culture. They are listened to above their victims every single time. I’m not clear on why we should continue to NOT listen to victims and instead prioritize the stories of rapists over that, under the umbrella of some bullshit about “learning.” This STILL boils down to one thing: “My wants are more important than anything else.”
I get that the point here is supposed to be “Learn from what goes on here!” WHY? Why are we learning from THIS and not what HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WOMEN HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR YEARS? These men are telling the same stories, just with the slant of “I did this, so absolve me, Reddit!”
I did not find any of these stories informative. I found them infuriating and upsetting to the point of literal nausea, not least because of the context in which they were offered (i.e. apologism) and because people are accepting these as a form of “learning.” I have learned absolutely nothing from this, nor do I see any take away other than what is already known in the feminist community.
Our culture encourages rape apologism and victim-blaming enough as it is. To prioritize the rapist’s “side” is nothing more than upholding that standard.
I don’t understand how in the world is this supposed to help combat rape culture. Because we understand the motivations of rapists, we can then curtail those motivations? On an individual level that essentially amounts to policing yourself and making yourself responsible for whether or not you are attacked, which is the absolute essence of rape culture. And as a society? Well, kyriarchy dictates that women are treated in such a way that rape culture exists. The entire dialogue needs to change from “don’t get raped” to “don’t rape,” and I have serious, serious doubts that the way to do that is to sit rapists down and go, “So why did you rape?”
They raped because our world tells them they are entitled to sex with women they want to have sex with. No counselor sitting them down and telling them that’s not true is going to get through to them, even when they’re young, if something about our society does not change. And I do not see the roots of that here. I see perpetuation of already-problematic cultural norms.
And frankly, do you know what I don’t care about? I don’t care about anyone’s “motivation” to rape someone else. We already KNOW those motivations. We as women hear them ALL THE TIME - “She was dressed like a slut! She flirted! She was drunk! She’d already hooked up with someone else! She was in my bed and didn’t say no!” We already fucking know!
I don’t care about the fact that they feel terrible or the fact that they thought better of it when they looked at their victim’s face and saw she was scared. I don’t care about how they felt in the moment, I don’t care about how they want to justify it, I don’t. Care. Because ultimately, the motivation doesn’t matter and it’s not teaching us anything that we don’t already know: men see women as objects, men who rape often know what they’re doing, and men who rape often aren’t strangers.
And what’s the take-away from this supposed to be? Don’t get drunk, don’t ever say a flirtatious or sexual thing if you don’t intend to have sex with the person you’re speaking to, and don’t trust anyone ever? That sounds exactly like rape culture to me.
For the record, I don’t think that nothing can be done to change rape culture. I think that a lot can be done, but listening to a bunch of rapists whine about how there’s a REASON they raped, guys, it’s not JUST about the victim is not one of them.
What’s most infuriating to me is that victims speak about these things all the time — but they’re ignored, and the second some circle-jerk of rape apologism gets posted on Reddit, it gets major media attention.
Of course it does. Male voices are the only ones that really matter, right?