Lately it’s been hard to look at feeds on my social media, as I’m sure it has been for most women. The Stanford Rape case is a hot button issue and word of it has spread everywhere, every time I log into any account on the internet. As much as I hate seeing that privileged P.O.S. (and his parents’) faces on my screen, it’s a story that I’m glad is getting as much coverage—and subsequent outrage—as it has.
But as much as it’s generating conversation, the truth of the matter is, it is just that: a hot button issue. In three to six months we’ll see a think-piece or two over how Turner’s life has been post-jail time, how much he’s “matured,” how well he’s doing at being back in society, coping with the fact that he’ll never swim competitively again, but “giving back to society” by spreading the word about the dangers of drinking, as if alcohol is a magic potion that overtakes all of your body and sense and forces you to commit unspeakable crimes that can ruin your life—if you’re a man, of course. If you’re a women well, then, whatever happens to you is your own damn fault and having to live with the fact that someone violated you in vilest and most and horrendous of ways and took away one of your greatest possessions: your goddamn sense of autonomy, is a blip on the radar compared to a man not getting to put on a pair of goggles and backstroke in a large pool in his expensive university.
And that’s still a worse punishment than what 97% of rapists have seen. And the trial itself is the closest thing to “justice” that most women will ever see.
What it comes down to is that there is no room for justice for women. We live in a world where our presumptive GOP nominee—someone who might very well be President—has encouraged a continued language and culture of misogyny that’s only going to escalate when it gets closer to election time, especially when his presumptive running mate is going to be a woman. And while Hillary may not be my nominee of choice or even one that I’d really want to vote for, the amount of women-bashing that’s going to commence once the race heats up is already making me sick to my stomach.
And sometimes it’s not just from men.
On my way home from work a few weeks ago I heard a piece on NPR’s All Things Considered, about GOP women who refuse to stand behind Trump. But the end of the piece shifted to women who will. One, in particular, being Carol Taber, who is the founder and president of Family Security Matters, a movement focused on giving “Americans like us the tools to become involved citizens and powerful defenders of our homes, our families, and our communities.” While it’s clear why Taber would support Trump, she was asked how she feels in regards to the statements he’s made about women. She had this to say:
“Men will be men. We may overhear what they have to say about women, and it may be offensive to some women who have sort of a victim mentality, but the way I look at it is, I don’t feel victimized by men; it just doesn’t offend me.”
To summarize that mindset: the only terrorists allowed in America are the ones that are already here.
Because everyone should be equipped with the tools to “keep their homes, families and countries safe” but women shouldn’t be afforded that safety from men—just stop thinking of yourself as a victim and you’ll be fine, nothing can ever bother you!
Women are supposed to be the weaker sex, yet have a thicker skin both metaphorically and figuratively. We need to let ignorant comments brush off our shoulders. We need to let actual body parts enter wherever they feel like it whenever they feel like it no matter what state of mind we’re in. Just be tough, stop thinking you’re a victim. Stop acting like you’re a victim.
Just stop being a victim.
But, if there is a victim then there must be a perpetrator. And if it’s women who tend to be predisposed to having a “victim mindset,” then the role of the perpetrators is pretty clear.
But it’s fine. Because “men will be men” and “boys will be boys.”
(To be clear, that should actually be corrected to “white men will be white men and white boys will be white boys.”)
Every day there’s another story in the news about yet another young girl who was kicked out of prom for the length of her skirt because “boys will be boys.”
Every time a young woman gets raped we ask what she was wearing and what she drank and how she acted because “men will be men.”
So, if we’re so ready to establish that men and boys are, by nature, predators who simply can’t be taught that women and children are not simply in existence to fulfill their sexual pleasures whenever they want—then why do we allow it? We don’t want predatory animals to wander into our backyards and we don’t want terrorists to enter our country, but we don’t mind men who, according to some, just have it in their genetic coding to assault and rape and kill whenever they damn well please, getting away without consequence time and time again?
I have friends who have spoken about learning to build up tolerances to roofies because it’s happened so damn often that they can recognize the signs early on. Friends who have gone out to a club just wanting to dance but, instead, ending up walking home crying, trying to piece their night and their outfits back together because everything became a blur but one thing was certain and all of the blurry parts of the night are the exact same reasons that there’s nothing they can do about the certain event.
I’m scared for them. I’m scared for me. I’m scared for every girl and woman who walks into the world just trying to live but having to constantly be hyper-aware of her surroundings. Because if anything happens, chances are, there won’t be much that can be done about it. Because we’re just victims. And the men in charge want to keep it that way.
Because it’s all about ownership. Our country was built on a pride in what men own, and sadly little has changed since those days.
In an SNL Weekend Update segment from 2012 Nasim Pedrad, portraying Arianna Huffington, made a hilarious joke about the VP Debate, saying that, “If men could get pregnant, abortion clinics would be like a Starbucks. There would be two in every block and four in every airport, and the morning after pill would come in different flavors like sea salt and cool ranch.” Why is this so hilarious? Because it’s true. It’s not about pro-life or pro-choice, it never is. It’s about pro-women or against. It’s about not wanting a woman to have autonomy over her own body. It’s about “punishment.” It’s not about religion. It’s not about anything other than control. It’s the same force that wants to keep trans people out of their preferred bathrooms to “protect our women and children,” but to keep convicted rapists and sex offenders in the same schools and on the same streets as them. It’s about protecting CIS, white men at all costs.
But I guess I only think all of this because of my “victim mindset,” right? And I guess waking up in a hospital being informed that you’ve been raped and having to face your attacker in court to find out that punishment for his actions is going to be too hard for him to deal with is just a part of the “victim mindset,” too, right? And every woman who’s been raped or assaulted who will go to the “proper” authorities to just never have her kit tested and to live with the pain of all of it for the rest of her life while her attacker gets to roam free is just giving in to her “victim mindset” and that any woman who’s trusted a man enough to form a relationship with him just to ignore any form of consent and every woman who has been told she can’t have certain jobs and can’t get a certain amount of pay and can’t wear a certain item of clothing or can’t make her own decisions about her body or where she can pee or walk or talk or think are all just acting like victims, too.
Then fine, I guess maybe we are all victims. And, as victims, we should get the proper protection, treatment and compensation, just like anyone else (who’s white, male and of a higher socioeconomic status) would.
I think it’s about fucking time we started making good on that “and justice for all” line.