[Content note: discussion of rape and sexual assault]
I was actually going to force myself this weekend not to read articles online. Too late. This post comes from a place of rage, so if you’d prefer to read something more suited to the nature of weekends, read Vic’s excellent guest post instead. And sorry Vic, for publishing this so soon after your post, but the rage has taken over.
I read this article today about yet another teenage girl who has killed herself after photos from her sexual assault were shared online by her so-called ‘friends’. It’s similar to this story, and of course, Steubenville. It’s similar to probably tons of stories like this that occur every day but are not reported on the news. I mentioned on twitter that it’s hard to read story after story of this happening to young girls and women and not think that our societies just really hate women. And we do: we fundamentally hate women. A teenage girl is raped, and she is the one who is bullied. How is this anything other than misogyny? And this is not a culturally specific hatred, it occurs everywhere. I found it telling how certain people from Australia, UK and the US who commented on the various articles on the Indian gang rape victim who was so brutally raped and killed sought to make it a cultural or Indian problem. Sure, misogyny and rape are subject to particular cultural practices and beliefs, but they do not belong to one culture alone. All we have to do is look in our own backyards to know that’s true.
I just can’t even begin to express the sense of rage I feel when I read these stories. And it feels like indulgent rage sometimes because I’m not one of these women who have been raped, and I’m not a member of their families dealing with the aftermath of their death. But this rage nevertheless exists. It’s a rage that comes from a feeling of complete uselessness and hopelessness, and it’s also a rage to do with the fact that I recognise how little I’m worth as a woman in the world as it is. You know what reading these stories says to every woman and girl? It says this:
You are a piece of shit. You are not a person, you are a thing. You are worthless.
I read these articles, and I wonder: why do we even exist, to be treated like this? Because articles like this one show women what the world really thinks of them. And then you have some smart-arse dude wanting to argue with you that rape culture doesn’t exist and that misogyny is a myth. Or read a comment saying that the girl shouldn’t have been drunk if she didn’t want to get raped. Newsflash genius: THAT’S NOT THE FUCKING POINT. You do not get to demean, brutalise, penetrate, or treat another human being as anything other than a human being just because they are unconscious. Funny how my first thought when I see a guy passed-out at a party is not: ‘gee, let me sexually assault him with my mates, because that’s just so fun!’ I don’t know how in the year 2013 we’re still teaching boys that aggressive dehumanisation is an acceptable and endorsed definition of masculinity and girls that they are essentially a piece of shit. And I feel so useless writing this, because I know that tomorrow, or next week, or next month, I’ll read another article that sounds exactly the same. My rage is meaningless.