MoveOn and Slut Walk and Rape Culture

There are days when I want to just bash my head on the nearest brick wall. It started off with MoveOn’s moronically titled post about the Slut Walk protests: 10 Best Photos From This Summer’s Most Scantily Clad Movement.

This, people, is an illustration of what rape culture is all about. Even MoveOn fell into it, by choosing to play it up for laughs by calling it “The Most Scantily Clad Movement”. Really, MoveOn? All the issues that SlutWalk was calling attention to, and you decided to go for titillation in discussing it? Really? Just how many smug, entitled, oblivious white dudes are running this organization?

Drop down to the facebook discussion of MoveOn’s post (How could one four-letter word hold women down for so long?), and you’ll see the usual assortment of trolls (women rape men, too!!1!), ignorance (if a guy has an erection, he can’t possibly be raped), and derailment (an extended discussion of appropriate clothing, for fuck’s sake — way to miss SlutWalk’s entire point).

I will pause at this point to let you contemplate batting your own head on the nearest available surface.

Look, I hardly like feeding trolls, but it is absolutely possible to rape a man. Why are you all fixated on rape as PIV? One can be raped with an object, for starters, rendering the “plumbing” of the rapist completly moot. For another, it’s entirely possible to induce an erection against the will of the man involved — erections can respond to stimulation, not to whether or not the guy is turned on (just ask any horribly embarrassed teenager trying to hide his involuntary boner about unwanted erections). Really, some in this crowd need a bit more education.

That said, trying to derail general issues of rape by accusing women of “never” considering that women might rape men is a disingenuous tactic. For one, the vast majority of raped men have been raped by other men. For another, I — and most people I know — are against rape, whoever the victim may be and whoever has performed it. That said, this culture is clearly and obviously a rape culture that promotes and protects the rape of women by men. That absolutely results in the complete silencing of male rape victims (whether their attackers were male or female) because of the additional shame rape culture heaps on them for being “the woman” in these attacks. This is a direct consequence of rape culture and can only be addressed by addressing rape culture itself, not by trying to dismiss female rape victims.

Dismantling the support system that rape has will benefit us all, male or female (except, of course, the rapists).

I also cannot believe the derailment into “what to wear”. It’s been demonstrated time and time and time and time again that it doesn’t matter what a woman wears. She’ll be criticized for it one way or another. Given the fact that you practically have to be a four year old virgin victim to get the slightest shred of sympathy in a rape case, it should be clear that clothing is not the issue. Anything at all can and will be twisted around in support of the rapist — that’s what a rape culture IS — so quibbling over the clothing and the behavior and what all else completely misses the point of Slut Walk.

In fact, that was the WHOLE POINT of the Slut Walk protests. We have the right to wear what we wish, to do what we wish, to go where we wish. No one wants to be raped, no one “asks” to be raped, and no one deserves to be raped. Jesus.

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One Response to MoveOn and Slut Walk and Rape Culture

  1. You did a great job dismantling the biology failure of erections = consent, which sadly seems to be a giant, unsquashable belief system shared across gender, racial, political and ideological lines. Ugh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by men and women that I must have wanted it because I had an erection. As if teh menz have total and utterly complete control of how the blood pumps there.

    While I agree largely with your blog entry, I do have some disagreement with one section and I’ve excerpted it below.

    browneyedgirl65 said: “…trying to derail general issues of rape by accusing women of “never” considering that women might rape men is a disingenuous tactic.”

    True. There are plenty of women who do care about male rape survivors and work with us on sexual violence issue. I am a speaker with RAINN’s speakers bureau and involved with my state’s sexual violence/DV action alliance as a speaker/trainer. Those of us involved in the nuts and bolts work actually get that male survivors must have a seat at the table if real work is to be accomplished long term. We number in the MILLIONS and are not quite as rare as some wish to believe.

    Of course, there are also plenty of women, to include some feminists (the overwhelmingly vast majority of whom have zero experience working/volunteering with sexual violence survivors), who don’t care or consider us an ever present whipping boy to mock and minimize in their arguments with MRAs.

    Online advocacy arguments can be very useful in spreading information, but a lot of what you see online is information recycled from others with spin added by the individual blog/column author. More often than not, said author has no real world experience with sexual violence prevention and healing efforts.

    One well known radfem ended up apologizing and retracting some VERY hurtful and intentionally minimizing attacks on male rape survivors of female rapists, in addition to her hateful vitriol heaped upon other feminists who disagreed with her minimizations and mockery of male rape survivors.

    Of course, some people view ANY mention of male rape survivors as a derailment anywhere at anytime – even on threads dedicated to male rape discussion. A fairly well read womanist blogger once wrote a blog entry on my own healing and got blasted by a fellow feminist blogger for daring to mention ON HER OWN BLOG male rape survivors.

    Whenever I see charges of derailment attached to male rape survivors I am forever reminded of those blatant and very public misuses of the terminology.

    It is one thing to say derailment when loudmouths really are attempting to take over a thread, but it is quite another to use such terminology when ANY MALE RAPE SURVIVOR dares to speak to any feminist at any time.

    Lately, any mention at all of being a male rape survivor gets said survivor verbally or digitally treated to mockery, abusive language and outright hateful responses.

    I am at the point where I have a hard time trusting anyone using said terminology with regard to male rape survivors given how often it is blatantly misused for abuse.

    That said, in the case you mentioned above, the argument got out of control and there were several lines of derailment going on at once.

    browneyedgirl65 said: “For one, the vast majority of raped men have been raped by other men. ”

    Ummm, that stat is a common derailment and minimization tactic when discussing male rape survivors. Its sole purpose is to ensure that those of us who’ve been raped by women know that we are an aberration or a distraction from the “real rape” discussion. Constantly using this type of statistical argument when mentioning male rape survivors of female rapists promotes a hierarchy of survivorhood.

    I have yet to see a mainstream or feminist discussion of female predators that did not hit us over the head with the “you are tiny minority” argument at least once, if not many times during said discussion.

    browneyedgirl65 said: “For another, I — and most people I know — are against rape, whoever the victim may be and whoever has performed it. ”

    Agreed.

    browneyedgirl65 said: “That said, this culture is clearly and obviously a rape culture that promotes and protects the rape of women by men. ”

    It also protects female rapists and mocks male rape survivors.

    browneyedgirl65 said: “That absolutely results in the complete silencing of male rape victims (whether their attackers were male or female) because of the additional shame rape culture heaps on them for being “the woman” in these attacks.”

    The use of stats that minimize also results in the silencing of male rape survivors. Use of alternate language like “sexual assault”, “unwanted sex” and other terminology when describing rapes with male survivors does an incredible amount of silencing.

    The current trend that treats ANY mention of male rape survivors even by male rape survivors themselves trying to relate to a particular topic as derailment is also a weapon of rape culture used to silence and abuse. It is one thing if a particular topic is specific to women, but this meme is used to silence male rape survivors on nearly all discussions of rape – even in general terms.

    The argument that men are silenced via becoming “the woman” when raped is true – for some. The silencing of male rape survivors is far more complex than that. We are told we “should have fought it off”, “must have wanted it”, “erections = consent” and many other rape myths and minimizations similar to those deployed against female rape survivors. I’ve been treated to plenty myself, but seldom treated as “the woman” during such altercations with rape apologists and minimizers, who are men AND women, feminist and non-feminist.

    browneyedgirl65 said: “This is a direct consequence of rape culture and can only be addressed by addressing rape culture itself, not by trying to dismiss female rape victims.”

    In order to address rape culture, we must not dismiss female rape victims OR male rape victims. I have NEVER seen any male rape survivors dismiss female rape survivors. I have, however, seen men AND women do the same to both male and female rape survivors to include some feminists who do so unapologetically if the survivor has a penis.

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