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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Comments on the VSB Rape Mess


Very Smart Brothas (VSB) semi-recently had a lil' kerfluffle when one of their posters, AKA "The Champ" wrote a piece about rape, specifically how women can prevent themselves from being raped...

I was one of many who had a problem with that idea, and I'd like to repost here my comments to that effect.

In the fashion of ABG’s non-apology to Trans-people for their useage of the words “tranny” in a negative-context, VSB joins the ranks of unapologetic social commentary — whether that commentary is (mis)informed, well intentioned, or got their feelings hurt.

I can respect standing by what you say. I don’t respect apologizing when you’re really not. Further clarification only exacerbates the disagreement.

Someone else above made the excellent point that there is a difference between Risk Reduction & Rape Prevention. The former is common sense, and the latter is an onus only to rapists. Only rapists, whether they be men OR women, can stop rape. No amount of conservative clothing, sobriety, or general paranoia will completely protect you from being raped. It doesn’t stop female teachers from raping their younger male students. It doesn’t stop 14 year-olds here in Oakland from serial-raping random women. It doesn’t stop all the men who suffer from prison rape, nor does it stop Jerry Sandusky, Tara Porter (or, apparently, Hugo Schwyzer) from committing these terrible crimes against other people.

More to the point, if you really truly believe rape victims need to be more careful/cautious/paranoid/whatever, then don’t punk out when people call you on it. Yes, you said. Yes, you still believe it.

And no, you’re not really sorry.

Which isn’t to say, “Bad on you VSB!” I’m just trying to remove the ish from bull****.

I remember one of my ex-girlfriends, and the time she told me when she was date-raped. A friend of hers. Someone she trusted, someone she knew personally. They got drunk, and when she said “no”, she was too intoxicated to physically stop him even after her voice gave out from crying for help. I remember that story chilled me to the bone when I heard it.

Conversely, I remember the day I was falsely accused of rape. I was 18. She was 16. I had dumped her after some petty fight and she started stalking me in an effort to get back together. When it failed, miserably, threats of violence and rape claims got thrown into the mix and my kosher butt got scared. Real quick. Thankfully I was saved by legal counsel, alibis, and immediate action.

I come to this conversation from both sides, with both genders in my mind. My current girlfriend and I often debate the issue’s finer points, the differences, the legalities, the realities, the innocent, the guilty.

But I never felt more upset than when someone blamed the victim. You leave your wallet on the washing machine in the dorms and it ain’t there when you run back to find it? That sucks, and you shouldn’t leave your wallet behind. You go for a jog late at night and some gang-banger shoots you near a taco-truck? That sucks, and you shouldn’t go running at night. You go out for a drink and some friend of yours takes that opportunity to rape you? That sucks, and you shouldn’t… what?

See how easy it is to take that slippery slope dude? See how easily we judge people, and fault them for the criminality of a few. That’s rape culture, as much as I personally dislike the term. That’s the stuff that allows Mike McQueary to ignore blatant rape of a child, or Richard Connelly to write a Top 10 Hottest Women on the Texas Sex Offenders List.

And it only gets worse from here on out. You can write humorously about tragedy, but you need to know what the tragedy is before you can find a way to laugh at it to keep from crying.

As for me, I think VSB should takedown this non-apology, and the other post, rewrite an entirely new piece consisting of one line:

“I will not write about what I do not know.”

Period. End of story. Fin. Aaaaaaaaaand scene!

3 footnotes:

Eurasian Sensation said...

Kinda off topic, but I saw you mentioned the use of "tranny" in Awkward Black Girl. I read about that on Racialicious (http://www.racialicious.com/2011/12/09/awkward-black-girl%E2%80%99s-no-pology-to-transgender-fans-and-allies/), and decided that this may have been the point where political correctness has actually gone way out of control. Firstly, I thought within the show's context, the word was ok. Secondly, Racialicious seemed to want to elevate the use of "tranny" to the status of the n-word; yet unlike the n-word, most people don't know that "tranny" is considered offensive, and see it just as slang. I thought ABG's non-apology was just fine actually.

Zek J Evets said...

Eurasian,

I kind of agree that maybe political correctness got out of control in that situation, yet I'm not convinced. Since I'm not a transvestite, I don't get to say whether "tranny" is offensive & inappropriate or not, despite my opinions and lived experience.

I applaud ABG's non-apology because honesty is always preferable to conciliatory BS. However, I would've liked it if they had simply skipped the sorry part entirely and gone right into why they're not sorry. Same for the situation in this post too.

Either way though, the dialogue is the important part -- allowing everyone their say to air their grievances is the first/most important step in dealing with these kind of issues.

Eurasian Sensation said...

I must say I didn't know "tranny" was offensive to anyone until I read that Racialicious post. Unconsciously I probably assumed that it is to "transexual" what "granny" is to "grandmother".

And this is probably true about lots of people, and that's part of the problem. One thing I really dislike about the Left is "the outrage machine". It feels like someone is always inventing a reason to get outraged about something. Perhaps that's unfair on the trans community, but the reality is that no one told the great majority that "tranny" is offensive, so I feel that getting offended by its use is kinda pointless. Sure, point out to people that certain terms are actually insensitive or whatever. But Racialicious and its ilk jump straight to the part where they label ABG transphobic for using the term, and thus try to dissuade people from watching it.
The Right also has its own Outrage Machine too, just for different stuff. One thing both sides have in common is that they don't always get the idea of context; as in, when something is used in a sardonic or ironic way.