For many, the topic of rape tends to be a hot button issue. For me, it’s no different. After reading about The View’s discussion about James Taranto’s lovely Wall Street Journal column from Monday, entitled “Drunkenness and Double Standards,” I felt as if my head was on fire. It’s one thing for a man, in a man’s world, to have the view of Taranto’s, it’s another for women to pile on top of it. (I have more about this “Man’s World” stuff later.)
Most of Taranto’s opinion seems to be based upon the belief that drunken women are having consensual sex, regretting it, and claiming rape the next day. That’s just not how these things unfold. It isn’t a, “OMG, did I sleep with that guy last night? What was I thinking?! I am going to go tell the authorities he raped me so that I can feel better about it,” type of thing. Women know that the first thing that happens, when they accuse a man of rape, is that their own actions come into question.
What were you wearing?
Were you drunk?
Why were you in the position to be raped in the first place?
Don’t you know that YOU could have stopped it if you just would have done X, Y, or Z differently?
The fact is that it’s humiliating, and more of a burden, for a woman to have to step forward to report a rape. The idea that women think of it as some magical way to wipe the slate clean of the previous night’s drunken regret, is simply ludicrous and fully insulting. Many-a-woman has had sex, while drunk, and woke up regretting their actions, but not because they thought that the man raped them. These are moments that women learn from; they don’t go to the police and say that they were raped. There is a difference between having a couple drinks, having sex and thinking the next day, “I probably should not have done that,” and having so many drinks that you don’t know up from down. And, I know that we aren’t to pretend that there is no discernible difference between one who is buzzed or tipsy, and one who is wasted to the point where they are incapable of steadily placing one foot in front of the other.
What was left out of Taranto’s thought process is the fact that there are men out there who purposely seek out drunken females because they are viewed as “easy targets.” They often play a part in getting them to that drunken state, in the first place, (some even slip roofies into drinks) all with the intent to effortlessly talk them out of their pants, later. How many men will deny that it is significantly harder to get a sober woman, whom they hardly know, to sleep with them than it is to get a drunken one to do so? There are scenarios played out like this all the time on TV and in movies, so are we to pretend it’s not common knowledge? So, yes, if you have sex with a woman who is incapable of giving consent, you are committing sexual assault. To use Taranto’s drunk driving analogy, being drunk is not a defense against a charge of DUI Vehicular Manslaughter, and it’s not a defense against charges of rape.
About The View:
The subject of rape is very complex. It’s too complex to have on a platform like The View, where no one can complete a half of a thought/sentence before they are cut off. They are essentially discussing these topics in tweet form; 140 characters or less. It’s hard to be succinct in a tweet, even when you have time to think about what you are saying. It’s impossible when you are in the moment and are trying to get your thoughts out before you are interrupted. I don’t say this to EXCUSE anything that was said, but more to preface what I am going to say next…
There are many “types” of rape. There are statutory rapes, there are date rapes, there are brutal stranger/stranger rapes (which is what I imagine Whoopi was referring to when she made her “It wasn’t RAPE rape,” comment), and there are incestuous rapes. When the women of The View have conversations like this, what kind of rape are they talking about? That’s never established. One person may be talking about a date rape, while another may have stranger/stranger rape in mind.
Why does it matter the type of rape they are discussing? Because, the type of rapist tends to differ depending on the type of rape being committed. A man lurking in the shadows, waiting for his prey to cross his path, is more likely to be more of a of sociopath. In other words, the odds that you are going to change his mindset, regarding rape, are unlikely. They are often hardwired to be predators. On the other hand, many guys who think it’s ok to have sex with a falling down drunk female, tend to have gotten this mindset from a patriarchal society that teaches boys that women are sexual objects who aren’t worthy of basic dignity and respect. THIS is something that CAN change.
The problem, with the way that our society treats sex between the sexes, is that ownership of the consequences of sex tends to fall almost exclusively on the shoulders of women, even if the sex is not consensual. Even if they are successful in having their rapist convicted, there is still a strong belief that the victims played a part in their own assaults. This mindset isn’t something that just develops out of nowhere. We are conditioned from a very young age to hold women most responsible “when sex happens.”
Consider the difference between how young women are taught about sex and how young men are taught about sex. The general rule of thumb is, if you are a girl, keep your legs closed, if you are a guy, do whatever you can to get a girl to open her legs. It’s the age-old Slut vs Stud debate. To be a young man having sex is a good thing, (even if who they are having sex with happens to be their teacher.) To be a young woman having sex is a bad thing, even though young women have raging hormones just the same as young men do.
It’s inherently contradictory when young men aren’t raised to shoulder the same weight of responsibility, to NOT have sex, as young women are. When young women are taught about sex, we are just told to not to do it. DON’T HAVE SEX! Just say no. Young men, on the other hand, are expected to do any and everything they can to have sex. Well, just who are they going to have sex with? Unless they are gay, the odds are, it’s going to be a young woman.
So, given that the lens through which men and women view sex tends to be very different, and since men control the way our society as a whole views sex, we end up with women (often older women) who will EQUALLY blame the woman (or girl) AND the man for the woman being raped in the first place. Many even blame the woman before the man, because who can expect any man to just resist that free drunken pussy that’s lying there, looking all inviting? Or, that woman who is walking home alone in a mini-skirt? Or, that young underage “fast” girl who is asking for it? I mean, he can’t be expected to control his own penis, can he? Doesn’t it have a mind of its own?
And, that is why I believe that Whoopi keeps stepping in it with her “RAPE, rape” and “Don’t get PoopFaced,” if you don’t want to be raped, comments. Because she’s an old school cat who has grown up in a society that has conditioned her to believe that women, who don’t want to be rape, need not make themselves darn rapable.
I am not saying that there aren’t things that women should do to protect themselves from these predators, these boy-men who have been created by a society that doesn’t hold them 100% responsible for their own actions. Women have no choice but to protect themselves from these types of men for the precise reason that our society has been conditioned to blame the victim for her own assault. Besides, there can be no expectation that men will stop assaulting women, overnight. Is it right? No. Is it fair? No it isn’t, but, meanwhile, we are living in reality. And, reality sucks.
So, to that end, I somewhat agree with Whoopi’s inarticulate statement that women should avoid getting poop-faced around the opposite sex. Because, let’s face it, the opposite sex is largely (but not entirely) made up of a bunch of immature, irresponsible, maladjusted neanderthals who have yet to evolve into fully empathetic beings who encompass the ability to recognize that it is a VIOLATION!!! to stick their penises into a woman’s vagina without her consent.
The thought that there are people out there who are trying to suggest that a man, being drunk, should allow him to skirt rape charges is disturbing. It’s scary. There has never been a time where it has been easy for a woman to prove that she was raped, especially when she can hardly remember the assault due to being drugged or inebriated; so, any kind of movement to say that all sex that happens on campus, or any place where there are drunken people, should be regarded as men and women raping each other (as Taranto suggested) is beyond dangerous. Talk about a huge step in the wrong direction.
It’s unlikely that men and women/women and women, will ever agree when it comes to the topic of rape. We can only hope that over time, young men are taught to, at the very least, treat females as they would want their mothers, sisters, female cousins, grandmothers, and aunts treated. That being chivalrous in 2014 isn’t a bad thing, and that having sex with a lot of women is not a mark of a “real man,” or a “stud” and it’s not worth such titles to risk their futures by taking advantage of (sexually assaulting) fully inebriated women.
We all have to do our parts to do what we can to change the outlook of our society. Thanks for reading.