RAPE CULTURE OUT OF CONTROL: Toronto’s John Doe mercilessly victim-blamed by the metro area’s tweeters
TORONTO — I thought that the way that Stuebenville’s Jane Doe was treated around my birthday (March 18) was the lowest of the low in the North American rape culture.
Sadly, I was proven wrong.
The way that John Doe was treated, after his gang rape on Easter Sunday, was worse. Far worse.
Women’s Post, a Canadian feminist blog, screenshot all of the tweets, even some reddit and Disqus comments, and compiled the most disgusting remarks about the John Doe. You can look at the triggering remarks on there, last updated on April 24.
What is surprising is the heteronormative gender binary approach to rape as a topic. Men rape, women are raped. There is very little discussion in between for men who are raped by men, women who are raped by women, and men who are raped by women, like the victim in Toronto.
The response I’ve heard is that because the number of rapes that is reported in these scenarios is lower that it isn’t worth the time. I can think of one young man whose experience and entire existence was deemed worthless by the internet who might disagree. This notion may also be a beast that feeds itself: if no attention is given to these matters because they are reported less, when it does occur victims might be less likely to report it because they have no concept of a precedent.
If we want to do right by victims like Toronto’s John Doe we need to break away from this male vs. female conversation. In schools, posters, and awareness campaigns we need to stop addressing men as aggressors and potential aggressors and women as victims or potential victims. Instead we need to think about it simply as rapists and victims outside of their genders.
You’ve heard a thousand times before that rape isn’t about sex (sexual intercourse in this sense) but instead about power. Power isn’t limited to one sex or gender. The idea that “we need to teach men not to rape” ignores scores of victims who don’t fit into that construct and encourages the mentality that men and boys can’t also be victims like what we saw happen in the aftermath of the Toronto gang rape victim.
My heart goes out to this poor soul in the hopes that someday in the future a man can come forward as a victim without being victimised continually through social media and the press for simply being the wrong gender to feel sorry for.
Until then we need to teach people that rape is a genderless crime.
Emphasis mine, in bold.
I was one of the first feminists to break away from the old-fashioned male v. female conversation – I was accused of a “what about the menz” remark, this was in late 2007. So, I am at least 4.5 years ahead of most mainstream feminists here.
There was a pamphlet at South Carolina Aiken in 2003, and on one of the pages, it read this from a man: “It’s hard to be that I could be raped by a woman, but I was.”
It is hard to believe that in 2013, that this kind of victim-blaming to a male rape victim of a gang rape by four women can happen, too. Sadly, it did and even sadder: most of those doing the victim-blaming were women.
We also need to teach women and girls NOT to rape men. Period.