This is what rape culture and male privilege looks like

A woman made an IAmA/AMA1 about her experience with being raped, keeping the child and her current boyfriend staying with her and marrying her eventually. The story of how it happened was quite interesting to read since for a change it does not come from a “Western Nation” but rather from a “Developing Country” which has still quite backward social norms. And one of those that immediately jumped out at me was the crass rape culture that exists.

The 5th day, I finally called the police. I live in an asian country. You have to understand that the culture is different here and that when a woman accuses a man, the police always assume that the woman was lying. Except in my case, I wasn’t. They came, I told them what happened and the police was less than helpful.

This whole part of the story is in fact quite interesting in a horrifying sort of way in giving us a glimpse into the post-rape mindframe of a rape victim. How she was feeling so guilty and unsure that it took her 5 days just to report it and by then, much of the evidence is gone and the rapist has enough time to secure an alibi. And then, the police will immediately assume you’re lying. This isn’t just “too much” for the victim of a type of assault that completely destroys you emotionally, It is overwhelming. Is it any wonder why so many rapes go unreported? If it takes a week, or even a month to get emotionally stable enough to even speak about the event, who wants the first reaction to it to be an accusation of lying and victim blaming?

As a privileged person (male and have not been raped), I can’t even begin to feel what it must be like but even the thought of having to deal with such a traumatizing event and then have the whole world distrust me because of it, downright horrifies me.

This is what a rape culture looks like and the immediate distrust of rape survivors coupled with victim blaming is why rape is still so widespread. And this particular point, the fostering of distrust of the experiences of victims of rape is why I especially despise those who align themselves with the “Men’s Rights” movement which continuously agitates on the platform that false rape accusations are frequent and that being  falsely accused is just as bad as being the victim of rape (Yes, this was an actual position someone stood by).

The Men’s Rights crowd will of course claim that they only want the “guilty until proven innocent” doctrine be used, but in practice this boils down to treating anything the victim claims as lies until conclusive evidence is presented in court. When someone points out that treating rape survivors as liars at worst or dishonest at best is not exactly the best way to foster an attitude where rape victims can come forward, they strawman your argument as you are pushing for a “guilty until proven innocent” doctrine. A ridiculous strawman setup just to shut down any discussion by enraging their opponent and then derailing due to that.

That’s the first point, the second point I wanted to talk about can be seen by looking at the comments of the reddit post. Go look at them and tell me if you can see it. I’ll wait.

Done? Good. Did you see anything troubling?

Well, let me put it out clearly: Of the 15 best comments in the post2, 10 are praising the male. Of the best 3 comments, all 3 are about praising the husband. To put this into context:

In a post about the personal story of a rape victim who ended up getting pregnant because of it and her husband decided to stay with her, 2/3rds of the responses are all about praising the male.

Does it seem just a bit odd to you that in a story about the rape of a woman who opens her heart and allows for some Q&A, a male who is not even there would be getting praises in large amounts, just for being a decent human being?

This is what male privilege looks like. The fact that so little is required of you due to your gender, that even basic human decency is grounds enough for gushing adulation. It’s the sheer mentality of “I could act like a dick if I wanted to, but if I don’t, then goddamnit you’d better recognise it and give me the appropriate praise“. And this permeates everything. Woman doing the housework all week? No big deal. Man cleaning the toilet over the weekend without being asked to explicitly? OMGWTFBBQ Best. Husband. Ev4r!

In this case it just really really irked me the wrong way. Here we have a woman who had one of the most traumatic experiences a human can go through and ended up in a life changing situation (being pregnant). She nevertheless had the courage to report it, even though she knew she would be treated with distrust by those who were tasked with “protecting her”. She went through hell and came out alive and the boyfriend deserves all the praise for not dumping her on top of it?! I’m sorry, I just can’t wrap my head around this mentality. The sheer fucking absurdity of it…

It could be in part due to how much the woman herself is promoting her husband as deserving the lion’s share of the praise for sticking with her during these bad time, but for fuck’s sake people, this is the time to point out that most of the credit belongs to her. For being courageous enough to report it. For managing to overcome crippling psychological damage enough. For not taking her own life! She is the strong , wonderful person in the story here and she doesn’t seem to know it, given on how she attributes her whole recovery on her husband. You shouldn’t be reinforcing this. You should be pointing out that she is putting herself down far too much.

Argh!

  1. For those not in the know yet, IAmA/AMA stands for “I Am A [insert trait, description, experience here], Ask Me Anything []
  2. “best comments” being the default sorting algorithm that reddit uses []