Slut Shaming to Defend a Rape Victim? You’re Doing it Wrong

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When it comes to dissecting rape culture even those of us fighting against it have our work cut out for us in eliminating victim-blaming and slut-shaming from our personal ideologies.

 

Several times now I have heard and read, in comments, blog posts, and personal discussions, the assumption that Rehtaeh must have been drunk and therefor raped, because no young woman in her right mind could possible want to have sex with more than one young man in the same night. Never!

In his latest on the case, Patrick McGuire at Vice magazine tries to defend dearly departed Rehtaeh from big meanie victim-blamer Christie Blatchford:

It doesn’t take a psychological mastermind to conclude that a 15-year-old girl would need to be intoxicated to have sex with three other guys at a house party—but you don’t even need to make that type of assumption to know that this statement is victim-blaming lunacy. Christie does it herself.

You’re right, Patrick.

You didn’t need to make that kind of assumption.

And yet, here we are.

You tell young women that if they do have multiple sex partners, or (gasp!) even group sex, they are obviously making a bad decision and must have been too drunk to make the right decision. This isn’t just slut-shaming bullshit. It is the type of attitude that leads women to be ashamed of both consensual sex and rape. It is this attitude that stops women from reporting in the first place.

Based on both Rehtaeh’s account of the night and the confession provided by one of the accused, the young woman was too drunk to provide proper consent. So what is the point of invoking some purity standards by which all young women evidently must live?

Are you trying to say, Mr. McGuire, that you can tell whether a woman has been raped or not based on her sexual history and preferences? Because that’s what it seems like you are saying: Rehtaeh must have been raped, because fifteen year olds don’t know how to be sluts unless they are drunk… and sober sluts obviously don’t deserve justice. Amiright?

How would you feel about this young victim if, two weeks before her rape, she had consented to having sex with three boys in one night? Would she be less deserving of support and justice if you couldn’t just assume she was raped and actually had to believe her and the evidence in support of her claim?

When the justice system depends on young women obeying the rules of sex-negative patriarchy, only having sex under society’s standards, how can anyone who has been abused or taken advantage of ever truly seek justice?

End slut shaming in the media and in your own minds. Laci Green spells it out for you.

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