I didn’t see the rape video of the 17yr old mentally ill girl. But I have witnessed a rape. Yup, I actually watched it with my family. We huddled around a laptop in a dimly lit bedroom on a winter night. It was shocking but, well, not entirely life changing or enraging. Why not? Well, it was a movie. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first Swedish version of the one was recently in cinemas. This movie features the most shocking, sadistic and violent rape scene I’d ever seen. Yes, I’ve seen other rape scenes on tv or at the movies. So much so that I can even rate them. So have you. But it’s not real, right? Right. But we live in very desensitized times. We’ve witnessed very shocking things without much flinching. Much of the dumbing down was courtesy of entertainment, the god of our time.
There was a, somewhat collective, sense of shock at the fact the video went viral. “Who the hell wants to see someone get rape?” The tweets raged amongst the “where can I see this vid?” With the rape of the girl, the culprits could be blamed. Monsters could be hunted. A sadistic patriarchal system could be indicted. A clear, albeit formless, villain could be identified, separated from us normal, good citizens. Absolving us of any guilt. With the footage of an innocent child, being brutally violated, being distributed, who is to blame? Who do we nail to the cross? Who was peddling this video? Heartless monsters? A sick patriarchy? Was it only men? No. None of the above. It is the same “shocked and enraged” society that did. We did.
CAN A WOMAN EVER “GET” HERSELF RAPED?
I once sat with some friends and this guy we know told us about this incident with him and this girl. He was out clubbing. He “met” this girl on the dance floor and, well, they hooked. They left together for his place somewhere around 2:30am. They got to his place and, well, got frisky. They were both naked and he was on top of her, sliding off her underwear. He proceeded to put on a condom when the girl suddenly said, “but I didn’t come here for sex!” Dumbfounded, he asked, “Then why DID you come here?”
“Well, I thought we could just chill and hangout” When he told us that part there was a collective rapture of laughter, one exclaiming, “hangout? Naked? At 3am? With a stranger you met at a
club?” He told us he just put on his clothes and told her get the stepping. We spoke about how that could have ended otherwise.
If you’ve ever lived in a township you will know that there are certain sections of your hood that you just don’t go to at certain times. Yes, it is a free country and you can move wherever you want to. Also, if anyone harms you then they should be jailed. Right? Right. But come on. That will be in a perfect world. I believe that sometimes there are situations that a woman can put herself in that can endanger them. No one has the right to rape another regardless of the situation, yes. But no one has the right rob, kill or assault anyone either. But it happens.
FEEDING THE BEAST
The debate around rape largely revolves around the complexities of the psyche of men who rape and what the repercussions thereof should be. But I think there’s another hand that is feeding the rape beast. This is women’s sense of entitlement to victimhood. With a sickeningly patriarchal system is how womanhood has been entrenched in perpetual victimhood. This is by and large totally justified. Even more so for the black woman, a female Atlas holding up the weighty ills of society. But I believe there are societal consequences to this.
Not long after the rape of the teenage girl there was a report of a very similar incident. The rape of a 17 year old mentally challenged boy by two women. It was not recorded on a cellphone, I would like to believe that that is of no consequence. This incident, however, barely registered on the national outrage Richter scale. Why not? Because, legally, anyone can be classified as a rape victim. But, socially, it is largely the rape of women that is acknowledged, somewhat. What this does is that it helps the whole rape creature grow more tentacles, as it where.
The reason I wrote this post was to look at rape beyond what makes it to the all caps headlines. After which people ask questions like “who raises men like this?” and “what it is happening to our society”. Sadly, I’ve come to understand that these are rhetorical question.
When a woman is raped the resulting question is usually; are the perpetrators going to jail. Or more frankly, what are the police doing about it? I feel the question should also be; what are WE doing about it? When young boys rape, they do so having the knowledge it is very likely that nothing will come of the incident. The rape conviction rates back them up. Numbers of women who report rape are also low.
What can we do? In my opinion, it starts at home. Yes, blah blah that whole thing you’ve heard about ad infinitum. We need boys who understand how power is more than just physical strength. Most importantly, we need raise strong girls who will not tolerate being mistreated. A lot of rape cases could be prevented if men knew what NO means and women MEANT their no’s. Also, no one is winning the blame game. If we keep boiling it down to men vs women then we are failing the victims and those who grow up to be rapists.
Let me leave you with this. The image above is a painting by Titian called Tarquin & Lucretia. The story goes that Lucretia was a noblewoman who lived in the Rome in the time of Caesar Augustus. She was raped by the King’s son, Tarquin and, not being able to deal with the trauma, she committed suicide. This incident was the straw that broke the camels back in a Rome that was ruled a tyrannous monarchy. The rape of Lucretia sparked the revolution that overthrew Roman Monarchy and established the Roman Republic. My question is, who do we have to wait for to get raped before WE, as society, stand against this brutal assault of the human spirit.