Who is at fault here?

Posted by on June 18, 2011 in Quick Note | 8 comments

Women’s right have made real progress over the past hundred years or so, especially in the west and in first world nations, but not all is well, and I keep reading articles like this one: “The Religious Right Defends The Rapist’s Right To Rape“. It outlines another article by one Dan Rottenberg, who says that while rape is wrong, the blame can be pointed back at the women for being provocatively dressed, in the wrong place at the wrong time, or by working as masseuses. The article opens thus:

“Earth to liberated women: When you display legs, thighs or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign that you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid. Forewarned is forearmed.”

While an epic facepalm works its way around the world at those opening remarks, I do agree that some men will see it as a sign that you want to get laid”. And some men are idiots too. And Dan Rottenberg is one example of an idiot. This is the advice he gives to women so they can avoid rape:

“Don’t trust your male friends. Don’t go to a man’s home at night unless you’re prepared to have sex with him. Don’t disrobe in front of a male masseur. If you take a job as a masseuse, don’t be shocked if your male customers think you’re a prostitute. And if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, don’t pose for pictures that emphasize your cleavage.”

So there we have it in a nutshell. Women are responsible for their own rape because they show off they cleavages, and therefore should be blamed for their own actions. Okay, let’s look at this further.

The ignorant words above refer specifically to the journalist Lara Logan who was savagely assaulted by ” a group of well over 200 men” during the recent protests in Egypt which led to the downfall of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Rottenberg links this event specifically to the fact that one can google search for a picture of Lara Logan and see her cleavage in some pictures. Rottenberg also has said that Logan can’t be taken seriously because she has shown her cleavage in that photo. Well Mr Rottenberg, it would seem that your name is befitting your ideas; “Rotten” to the core.

But what is the real problem here?

On one hand we have the rape and assault by 200 Muslim men in public, and on the other hand we have Rottenberg writing it all off as if it was Lara Logan’s fault. What they both have in common is this notion that women are nothing but sexual beasts, here on earth to satisfy the uncontrollable reproductive urges of the males of the species.

Rottenberg says, as do many Muslims, that women need to cover up to be safe. From men. Who is at fault here?

Sure, people could jump to his defence and say that Logan should have covered up to avoid being in this situation. But why should she have to?

I say any man who commits violent rape or assault needs to be held responsible for their actions. Every person has the right to live in this world in some semblance of safety, and any man who decides that their own gratification deserves special treatment above this is at fault. People like Rottenberg who dismisses the fault of the 200+ men in the Logan case are equally at fault. People who perpetuate the idea that men can’t control their urges are at fault. Any man that uses their historical culture or religion to defend their actions is at fault. Any man who says that in order for a woman to not be seen as an invitation for copulation that she must cover herself from head to toe, is at fault.

And anyone who defends rape or assault because of what someone was wearing, or where they were at the time, is at fault.

Time to grow the hell up humanity.

a group of well over 200 me
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  1. Thank you for this Martin. It needs to be said over and over again until it penetrates the dense skulls of these morons that perpetrate this nonsense. Keep up the good work.

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  2. Thank you, Martin. It so sad that–in the 21st century–this issue STILL has to be a subject of contention. I belietve its roots lie in the myth of Adam and Eve, and the counterpart(s) of that myth in other religions.

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  3. Well said, Marty.

    This sort of thinking is all too typical of those with the primitive notion that the world is fair, and that everything that happens to anyone, good or bad, is their own doing, and ignoring the randomness of life.

    I see such ideas expressed by a lot of those on the ideological Right here in the ‘States.

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  4. I’m in total agreement. I’m sure Rottenburg would applaud heartily if all women took a nod from the poor Muslim ladies who cover up from head to toe. I suppose that would make us more likely to be taken seriously too… dressed up like that XD Maybe it’d be even better if we just walked around in refrigerator boxes with holes cut out for our eyes. The cloth coverings still give some semblance of shape you know… that might become tempting as society reverts back to the days of nutty Puritan values.

    An extension of all this: “Jasmijn Rijcken was visiting New York City from her native Holland, and was pulled over by a New York City police officer and threatened with a ticket for wearing a short skirt on a bicycle. He called her skirt “distracting,” and only backed off when he learned she didn’t actually live in the city. He used the age-old excuse that women’s bodies are so “distracting” that they must be covered up, as men cannot control themselves when exposed to whatever body part the complainant deems too damn sexy. At least the cop in this case wasn’t suggesting men would be forced to rape her; he simply claimed that women’s alluring flesh would cause car accidents.”

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  5. All of those 200 men should be castrated and then thrown in a pit together.

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  6. When I had to take on of my best friends to the hospital to get a rape test done, it was one of the most upsetting experiences of my life. Sitting there holding her hand while she had to get a rape test done and then talk to doctors, police officers, nurses, etc over and over again about what happened to her was heartbreaking. Thinking of someone saying it was her fault is ridiculous.

    The women who was the counselor at the hospital for my friend said something that has stuck with me. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female. If you are standing naked in the middle of a football field surrounded by people, that does not give anyone the RIGHT to touch you. No one has that right.

    Thank you for this post.


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  7. I wholeheartedly agree. Though when you’re in an area known for pick-pockets it may be wise to hide your jewellery. You don’t have to and you definitely should not be forced to, but it might be better for your personal well being. If you get robbed the robber is, without a doubt, the one to blame, but you’re still a victim.

    So let’s stand up for women’s rights to look/dress the way they want, without having to fear for getting raped/molested. But please don’t be ignorant about reality either.

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  8. I am sure I have stated this about Islam & the other Abrahamic religions steeped in misogyny: This sort of victim blaming, not only undercuts and further victimises the ACTUAL victim, but it disempowers men. To think we would excuse the barbaric and repulsive behaviour of a mob of men because they ‘cannot control their insatiable sex drives’ is incredibly insulting to the civil, upright, morally sound, GOOD men we have all over this globe.

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