from Andrea Strong
Andrea Strong is a Steering Committee Member of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women.
[Written after reading the letter, “I Still Don’t Call It Rape and the Weight of It Gets Heavier All the Time” from Abigail Lynn.]
Rape is NEVER the victim’s fault. Let me repeat that: Rape is NEVER EVER EVER EVER the fault of the victim. If you were raped, suspect you were raped, or if you were coerced by words or charm or threat, and may not call it rape, but still feel violated, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.
We live in a RAPE culture, a culture where people think that rape has to with sex. Rape has little to do with sex; it is about one person controlling another: whether through physical violence, emotional pressure, or leveraging of power or other social capital, to the point where the victim of the rape feels anything from humiliation all the way up to fear for their life as the dominant emotions. Any female, from the age of 6 months to 90 years old, of any nationality, from any walk of life, wearing any kind of clothing, doing any kind of work or activity (sometimes even sleeping in her own bed), is at risk. Any female in any physical environment, at any time of day or night, is at risk. It could happen in her own home, at a college frat party, at her kindergarten playground, at her church or temple, at her job, in her car, on the street, on the bus or subway, etc., etc., etc. The aggressor could be her boyfriend, her teacher, her priest, her husband, her friend, her date, a stranger, her employer, her boss, her client, her co-worker, even her father/brother/uncle/ or other family member, etc., etc.,etc.
This idea that women that get raped somehow asked for it: by their dress, by their behavior, by the work that they do – like prostitution, or pornography, (or babysitting!!), those ideas are wrong. Let me be clear, they are wrong because morally it’s wrong, not to mention ludicrous, to blame a victim of a crime for the crime that someone else committed against them. BUT moreover, those ideas are wrong, meaning that those ideas don’t reflect reality; they don’t accurately describe why rapists rape women.