“They marked her.”

I am appalled by the news from Boston yesterday afternoon, but I will leave the analysis on that until we get some info on the bombers. For now, I will share some further news in the Audrie Pott case.

Awakening in a friend’s bedroom after drinking too much at a sleepover, 15-year-old Audrie Pott looked down and realized she had been sexually assaulted and her attackers had written and drawn on intimate parts of her body, her family’s attorney said Monday.

Over the next week, she pieced together one horrifying detail after another. She went online and tried to confront the three boys she had known since junior high who she believed had done it.

[…]

The police report also says witnesses told investigators the three suspects took the drunken Audrie to sleep in an upstairs room then assaulted her.

The report says the attackers pulled off her shorts and partially removed her bra, exposing her breasts, the newspaper reported. Markings were found on her chest, legs, back and near her genitalia.

“They wrote ‘Blank Was Here,’ on her leg,” said family attorney Robert Allard, not using the actual name because the suspect is a juvenile. “They marked her.”

There are two thing that stick out here.

One is that the assailants were known, trusted quantities to Audrie. She didn’t just meet these random boys at a party and fail to stop them from taking advantage. She knew them since middle school. They abused and humiliated a girl they’d known for years, and who thought they were okay.

It’s not enough to tell girls to keep themselves safe by sticking with guys they trust. Sometimes, the rapist uses the victim’s trust against her.

The other is that they had no problem with making themselves identifiable as her attackers. They put their names on her body AND circulated a photo of her unconscious, graffiti-laden body to their friends. Which means they believed they would not be punished for what they did to her, even if everyone knew they were the perpetrators.

If they thought they weren’t doing anything wrong, we should be asking why.

If they thought nobody else would think they’d done anything wrong, we should be asking why.

If they thought Audrie wouldn’t object to being stripped, penetrated and marked while unconscious, we should be asking why.

I suspect it has something to do with all those people who jump straight to pointing fingers at the girl who got drunk, rather than at the boys who betrayed her trust.

 

Ask the Daily Beast, and you shall receive the rape apologism!

Oh yes. Oh fucking yes. Here we go, in the comment section.

Laird Winkelvoss 7 hours ago

Girls, in the 1850’s when you passed out drunk at a party with a bunch of boys present, they would have to do copper engravings of you being assaulted.  Tedious and time-consuming.  Now, you can be instantly humiliated world-wide.  Think about it.

Yes, everything was so much better for women back in the days when we couldn’t vote, own property, access contraceptives, and public knowledge of one act of non-marital sex could ruin our lives.

Everyone knows that this shit keeps happening because WOMEN HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT IT.

Continue reading

Let’s get this party started!

Think Progress is on the case. The article is fine, the comments are mostly good, but of course we can’t have any discussion of a gang-rape of an incapacitated teenager without the predictable hand-wringing:

It's a solid block of stupid.

It’s a solid block of stupid.

She’s getting rightly dogpiled over there. How about this: instead of shaking fingers at the girl’s parents for having failed to keep her under lock and key, why not scrutinize the assholes who RAISED THE RAPISTS?

This is Psychology and Neurobiology 101 right here: Kids don’t think about the consequences of their actions before they act. Why not? Because they’re young, their brains aren’t fully developed and they’re short on life experiences. The people who are learning from these experiences will be adults in a few years. The people who will be teenagers by then are just little kids now. No matter how much shit goes through our culture, kids’ brains don’t get any older.

In which "be strong" = "never let your guard down, ever"

In which “be strong” = “never let your guard down, ever”

Yeah, of course, blame us feminists for telling girls it’s not their fault if other people hurt them.

We must never, ever try to MAKE REALITY A BETTER PLACE by advancing the cause of women’s rights to their own bodies, and it’s SO MUCH BETTER to tell girls to lock themselves in their bedrooms by sunset every night than to try to shift the discussion over to the actions of sexual abusers.

Furthermore, of course it’s SO MUCH MORE REALISTIC to ask girls to never, ever let their guard down, never have fun, never relax around other teenagers, than to get those same teenagers to look at rape as a crime against the victim rather than a fun thing to laugh about on Twitter. It’s SO MUCH MORE FEASIBLE to punish teenagers for failing to behave like buttoned-up adults than to demand that rapists pay the consequences for their actions.

Everyone knows it’s totally realistic to expect teenage girls to treat every moment like a potential attack against themselves, but it’s not the least bit realistic or evidence-based to observe that rapists will find a way to rape, no matter how hard women and girls try to protect themselves.

Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Liz Calkins. Keep telling yourself that you’re so much tougher and stronger than those silly feminists, so nothing could possibly happen to you.

Warm-up for teeth-sharpening!

In an otherwise very good piece on Audrie Pott, Eve Vawter unfortunately goes there in the comment section.

This is not bad weather we're talking about.

This is not bad weather we’re talking about.

Points 1 and 3 are good. 3 is especially cogent. Her inclusion of 2, however, unfortunately undercuts the others.

Her head is 99% in the right place, but I can’t pretend this 1% isn’t happening.

It’s not that I think Ms. Vawter is holding Audrie Pott responsible for her rape, or that she lacks sympathy for her or other girls who are victimized while intoxicated. Her article makes it clear that she knows the problem is with the people who commit rape and that victims need compassion and sympathy. So, with that in mind…

WE NEED TO FUCKING STOP TALKING ABOUT RAPE IN THE PASSIVE VOICE.

We need to stop telling young people that victimization is an inevitable consequence of heavy drinking. It’s not alcohol that makes rape happen. The presence of sexual predators is what makes rape happen. How about, instead we tell growing adolescents: if you can’t be around a drunk and unconscious person without violating her bodily orifices, then DON’T GO TO A PARTY where alcohol may be served. If you feel inclined to commit sexual violence, then don’t put yourself in the position where you might be tempted.

Every minute we spend talking about what girls can do to protect themselves from predators is another minute we don’t spend teaching impressionable minds about the importance of sexual boundaries and bodily autonomy. Every minute we spend telling girls don’t do this, don’t do that so you don’t get raped, we’re sending the message that if girls let their guard down, then boys just can’t help themselves, and that if a girl didn’t want to get raped, she shouldn’t have had so much to drink. We are sending the message to potential rapists that if the victim was drunk at the time, they will get away with attacking her.  This is where victim-blaming comes from.

I would like to propose a moratorium on so-called “safety tips” to shield young women from sexual violence. If we successfully convince all girls not to drink around boys, then people who want to commit rape will find other ways to incapacitate and isolate their victims. We’ve been discussing these “safety tips” for decades, and holy shit, rape still happens and victims can’t get justice.

Fuck that noise. Rape isn’t something that just happens to girls who get wasted. Rape is a decision that one human being (or several) makes against another. It’s well past time we focused on that decision and stopped talking about violent crime as something the victim allowed to happen to her.