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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

This author has written 3457 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about tigtog »

8 responses to ““One-time bad decisions” that rapists keep on repeating”

  1. Ariane

    I love this post. Just as I was thinking “but what to do if I identify such a person?” you answered it, and really well.

    It’s not rocket science, but it could be culture changing if these simple steps become part of our day to day. I’ll be doing my bit to encourage others to read it and do it.

  2. tigtog

    Thanks, Ariane! One of the most common objections to any sort of social sanctions against suspected sexual predators is “but what if we’re wrong about this person?” and I thought hard about how to act with the best interests of everybody first and foremost.

    The culture where men are encouraged to trashtalk women and “joke” about forcing themselves on women who are unable to fight back, these remarks that other men don’t object to, or where it is the objectors who end up shunned for not giving a pass to other men “just letting off steam”, this is IMO the fundamental, the sine qua non of rape-culture. (The mechanism seems to work very similarly in lynch-culture where most folks who trashtalk people of colour and “joke” about “teaching them a lesson” just look the other way while some of the men they know deliberately go “nigger-hunting” in order to maim and kill.)

    Standing up and calling out that talk as unacceptable is one of the most important things somebody can do to stop its unquestioned perpetuation. And it doesn’t have to be done with a manifesto – just a quiet assertion will do – “that shit’s wrong”, “that shit’s not funny”.

    The second act, chaperoning the intoxicated, I see as much more important for people generally than simply a rape prevention issue, although obviously it would be important enough if rape prevention was the only benefit. Intoxicated people also fall down stairs and break legs and skulls. Intoxicated people suffer adverse physiological reactions and die because other people have left them alone and unmonitored. Intoxicated people trip on the gutter and fall into the path of an oncoming car.

    None of us should think that our own social enjoyment is more important than the safety of an intoxicated person. Even when “they’ve brought it on themselves by drinking too much”. If you would be ashamed if you had to explain to a bereaved relative how you let their intoxicated loved one die while you were close by, how can you possibly not be equally ashamed to try to explain to an intoxicated friend how you let them be isolated and vulnerable to a rapist while you were close by?

  3. Slave2TehTink

    “If you make a public accusation, the probable predator will have grounds for a defamation action.

    In an ideal world, you could just cut him from your social circle entirely. But other people might demand an explanation, and if you tell them that you think he’s a rapist then here comes that defamation action again.”

    This meshes really nicely with a recent post over on Fugitivus: http://fugitivus.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/im-back-part-i/ In it, Harriet talks about getting out of her abusive marriage, and speaks at great length about the social cost of trying to get safe.

  4. tigtog

    Selfishly I’m very glad to see Harriet blogging again. I’m sad that it’s all seeming so challenging for her, both in terms of her sense of safety and how she feels it is affecting her writing-under-her-own-name aspirations.

  5. Christer

    Nice post. Although keep in mind that some people just enjoy politically incorrect humor.

    I know plenty of people who laugh at and retell rape-related jokes — just as they do racist jokes, genocide jokes or dead-baby jokes for that matter.

  6. tigtog

    They “just enjoy” it, do they? Not even a hint of insensitivity to others who could be gratuitously offended and/or retraumatised underlying their enjoyment? So it’s just not a symptom of any empathy/prejudice problems at all that could ring a bit of a warning bell for interpersonal relations?

    There’s also a huge difference both in intent and possible reaction between jokes based on harmful stereotypes about the living (rape, racism), black humour about disasters/atrocities that haven’t affected us (and genocide jokes can often really be based in racism, let’s not kid ourselves) and black humour based on absurd fantasy scenarios such as your average dead-baby joke that have never happened to anybody anywhere.

  7. Mindy

    Yep, and some people are just arseholes too.

  8. lauredhel

    Christer: We should “keep in mind” that there are plenty of bigoted douchebags in the world? Thanks so much for mansplaining that. Such a thing never occured to me before. I’ll get right on it.

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