Offloading Tangential Meta-Rape Discussion Gripes

The feminist blogospheric discussion on rape culture endures, and it’s quite good, if getting rather meta by now. The meta-est meta is at Alas, A Blog, which has unfortunately exploded its bandwidth limit for the month so no individual links or quotes from that for you! But I quite liked Lindsay Beyerstein’s comment:

Our society’s attitude towards women and sexual risk maps onto its attitude towards stewardship of other people’s property. Basically, the public scolds act as if all women had some fiduciary duty to manage society’s scarce pussy resources prudently. That’s male privilege.

I suspect there are many hilarious dirty jokes one could pull out of that “fiduciary duty” analogy, but perhaps I’m the only one who finds the phrase “fiduciary duty” inherently funny?

In any case. The meta-discussion inevitably centers around whether, when, and how it is appropriate to discuss steps individual women might take to reduce their chances of being raped. I don’t want to participate in that derailment for a variety of reasons, middlingish of which is that I have too many errands to run tomorrow to spend the afternoon yelling at people on the internet. But there’s one thing I’ve noticed happening again and again in this particular derailment, which is that all the analogies and examples the paved-with-good-intentions crowd bring up are geared towards violent rape by (relative) strangers: walking alone at night, going home with men you just met, drunk driving, etc.

For the love of Crikey we are all smarter than this. If we’re going to busy ourselves talking about analyzing victims’ behavior, can’t we at least center our meta-discussions on the notional analysis of the overwhelming majority of rapes, i.e., those perpetrated by an aquaintance of the victim? Embezzlement by a trusted employee would be a better analogy.

It’s all well and good to yammer about trusting strange men, but in practice, asking women to “not be foolish” about rape means asking us to correctly evaluate the trustworthiness of every single man we know. Which is a trick I’d love to learn, but it’s, um, tricky. And paranoia about walking alone at night is not going to help.

Also, we should all learn to spell “privilege” correctly. Please.

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