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Talking about rape

I have been struggling lately with how to talk about the issue of rape in a manner that both is representative of the gendered nature of rape and its use as a weapon against women but also does not silence or erase the experience of men who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

I strongly believe in the gendered nature of rape – particularly the ways in which women victims are treated compared to other crimes, the lack of prosecutions that occur for rape and rape apologia in general but I also strongly detest the idea that men can never be raped.  I believe this notion is part of a patriarchal social structure that views men as insatiable sexually and unable to control their sexual impulses meaning they always want to have sex no matter what. This both feeds in to rape culture – ideas around “well he couldn’t help it if she was dressed like that”, “She was coming on to him all night what did she expect” and also makes male victims either invisible or targets for ridicule as people question their masculinity.

How do I talk about rape in a way that is true to the social and political fact of rape and the threat of rape being a gendered experience without silencing or erasing other experience.  I would love to know what you think.

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Astroturfing News | ACT on Campus

Astroturfing News | ACT on Campus.

From the link:
“At some point during the debate a group of left-wingers, most of whom Cameron didn’t know, joined in the debate.

They proceeded to call him:

An Idiot
Fucked Up
A Marxist
A Fatuous, self-serving, carpetbagger
Uneducated
A Wanker
A skinhead
A Neo-nazi
A member of the KKK
An Aryan
A Genocide supporter
And a white supremist”

 

The gist of the article implies that people calling Mr. Browne these names was sufficient justification for Mr. Browne to tell a woman he disagreed with – who did not call him any of these names – to “get raped”

One of these things is not like the other. Telling anyone but particularly a woman who you are disagreeing with to “get raped” is not a slur it is the implicit threat of gender based violence. It is permeated in the idea that ‘uppity women’ who get above themselves need to be put back in their place. Mr. Browne clearly used this particular phrase against a woman with the specific intent of silencing her indicating he knows and understands the power and context of it. Nowhere has Mr. Browne apologised for using this phrase.

This is rape culture in action. Using the implicit threat of rape to silence a woman then pretending it is nothing. Do me a favour and if Cameron Browne ever stands for election don’t vote for him – because this is clear evidence of man who is a misogynist and is no ally to women.

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