“I think the bitch got what she deserved.” “However the woman was probably causing shit too.” “…there has to be more to the story.”
I do my best not to hang around threads concerning rape because the subject upsets me too much. Way too much. So, what am I doing with quotes like those above? Well, as much as those kinds of phrases crop up when dealing with rape, that’s not where I pulled them from. No, I got them from the bad_service livejournal community. According to two news articles, earlier one woman had spit on a fast food employee. Later, the woman’s aunt encountered the same employee. After an altercation that involved soda and lead to the aunt seeking a manager, the employee got a cup of oil and threw it onto the aunt.
Yes, that’s right: the aunt was punished for the “crime” of the niece. Does this sound familiar? Well, it does to me. Using women’s bodies to get revenge on others is one of the normal tactics embraced by rape culture. One that, for whatever reasons, tends to be unquestioned outside of feminist/profeminist circles. As pretty much happened with the livejournal post that lead to me writing this article.
Most commenters agreed that the oil was an over the top reaction for mere spittle (and in the ranks of those who violently disagreed was one tigerwolf, a gay male furry famous for his line that vaginas aren’t self cleaning but anuses are), but only very few commented on the fact that the “revenge” wasn’t even carried out on the person who had made the “offense.”
Amidst liberal throwing around of the word “bitch” (aggravated by the fact that all three parties involved are female), we run the full gamut of victim blaming, from the “I’d have done it, too!” response to the verbal bastion that every good victim blamer hides behind: “Justification and expectation of likely consequences are two very different things.”
One of the most common themes in the thread is the idea that she must have done something to instigate it, even though the oil was out of line (yeah, because someone who would throw hot oil onto someone would never do so without a really good reason). This sentiment was actually expressed in one of the linked articles, where the restaurant manager is quoted as saying, “Nobody would just throw grease at somebody without provoking.” But it’s not really victim blaming — the manager understands that it’s not okay to take it to the level of hot grease! You should just
rape her stick to the soda!
Seriously, have we made no progress in understanding that it’s not okay to claim that a woman “provoked” violence onto herself, especially when said woman wasn’t the one who made the initial insult? Are women still so ill thought of in 2006 that the majority of people don’t see using us as objects to enact revenge as something completely inappropriate?
I guess, all I’m left with is one last question: How can we ever hope to eradicate rape culture when it pervades the very fabric of our lives? Do any of you have any ideas? Because I, for one, am fresh out of them.
Via Darth Sidhe.