Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Don't Be That Guy

So there are some awesome anti-date-rape posters running in Edmonton now.  Why are they awesome?  They are awesome because, instead of saying "Ladies, don't get drunk or you will get date raped! (because if a lady gets drunk, she is responsible for her rape)" or something victim-blaming like that, these ones are aimed at actually stopping rape.  By realizing that the person responsible for rape is the rapist, not the victim.

This makes me equal parts delighted and terrified.  Delighted, because finally finally finally people are realizing that no matter what a woman does, there's really not much (if anything) she can do to magically protect herself from ever being raped if a rapist wants to rape her.  "Don't drink too much, you'll get raped for being too wasted to stop someone from taking advantage of you!  And even if you're only drinking soda or something, keep your eyes glued to your drink all night to make sure nobody slips anything into it!  Don't walk home alone!  You'll get raped for walking alone at night!  Don't go home with a guy, you'll get raped and it won't be his fault because gee, he walked you all the way home, are you sure you weren't asking for it?  That skirt's pretty short, after all, and you did smile at him earlier!  You should cover up, you're sending the wrong signals when you're dressed like that, of course a guy is gonna take advantage of that. Maybe instead of going to a bar with strangers, you should just stay with people you trust! Oh, your boyfriend raped you? Well you had sex with him before, how was he supposed to know you didn't want it? Look if this is such a big deal, just never leave your house again and you'll be safe.  Wait how many rapes occur in the victim's home?" (4 in 10)

Terrified, because oh my god I should not be so happy to see date rape posters.  Seriously, what is fucking wrong with this situation.  That we need posters like this at all is horrifying.  According to the site that I got this from, "a recent U.K. study involving 18- to 25-year-old males that revealed that 48% of men didn’t consider it rape if a woman is too drunk to know what was going on."  I want to scream at the world until my throat bleeds.  

I like that they shook up the heteronormative rape-only-happens-to-girls stereotype by including a gay pair.  It would be nice if they could have had a lesbian pair, or a woman raping a man, just for inclusivity.  But to be fair, the statistics for that are so low that it seems almost pointless to waste time stopping female rapists when male rapists are so much more common.  Not to make light of female-on-male rape, it happens and it's bad, but it happens so much more rarely than male-on-female (or male-on-male, for that matter) that I can easily understand why these posters chose to go after the ones that are, statistically speaking, affect the vast, vast majority of victims and perpetrators, with the assumption that they could only make so many posters and wanted to have the biggest impact possible.  I think the posters are good.  After I stop feeling all icky and terrified that these posters are so necessary, I kind of want to go to whoever created them and give them a great big hug, because they are pretty awesome.  Well, the people, because this can't have been the work of just one person, of course.  But you know what I mean.  The Edmonton police department is pretty cool and I appreciate their work.  Even if the fact that the work is necessary makes me feel like punching the universe.

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