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#LiberalTips2AvoidRape – More Proof That Conservatives Should Avoid Rape Talk

February 19, 2013

I honestly don’t understand what makes some conservatives believe that they can talk about rape without royally screwing it up, because we saw another example today that they can’t.

The use of the hashtag #LiberalTips2AvoidRape has been honestly one of the most ignorant, vile, women-hating, and victim-blaming things I’ve ever seen in such a concentrated way on Twitter.

Colorado State Rep Joe Salazar, a Democrat, in expressing support of banning concealed guns on college campuses, made an inelegant statement about women not needing guns to prevent attacks because of the availability of call boxes and whistles and the like, and the possibility of introducing accidental shootings into the campus mix.

He didn’t make the most intelligent statement in the world. But now, conservatives who love guns and gun rights – and who are promote the idea that more guns on campus would prevent rapes – have taken to twitter with the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape hashtag in a way that is insulting to rape victims and really trivializes the issue of rape. Big surprise from anti-women conservative types, right? *eyeroll*

Some examples accompanying the hashtag, and it’s not like I spent a lot of time combing Twitter for horrific examples – this was about 2 minutes of not really trying:

  • Close your eyes and think of Colorado Democrats
  • Pray that the wicked witch of the left comes in time (with picture of Nancy Pelosi as the witch)
  • don’t get raped
  • give them what they want then suggest sensitivity training
  • Pour acid on your face leaving you too ugly to be raped.
  • most liberal women have a square head, no neck, hairy armpits, and hair on their tongue. You want some of this?
  • U leftist F*CKTURDS force Selfish-Sandra-C*nt-Fluke on us & then you have the GALL to lecture us about rape?!? F.U.
  • First off, who would want to rape a Liberal?
  • tell him without makeup you look like Hillary Clinton

Yeah, there’s obviously a lot of love and support for women and rape victims being expressed. I can feel how much you all really give a shit about women and rape.

A few tips:

Nothing stops rape other than *rapists not raping.* Maybe in some circumstances a potential victim wielding a gun might stop a rape. It won’t address the vast majority of rapes, which don’t actually tend to happen in dark alleys where one might be attentive to possibly needing to use a gun. Rapes happen in our dorm rooms, in our homes, in our friends’ homes. They happen when we’re not fully dressed, when someone refuses to listen when we say we don’t want to go further. They happen when we’re sober, but they also happen when we’re a little tipsy or drunk or have been drugged by our dates. They happen in situations where a gun is not close to our bodies or our thoughts.

So maybe guns would interrupt individual attempted rapes. In many other cases, they would be useless, unavailable, or even lead to the intended victim being additionally shot or killed. But let’s not pretend that guns solve the problem of rape. Rape victims already undergo tremendous scrutiny about their actions, their dress, their location, their behavior, anything to pretend that somehow the victim must have been a little to blame. The absence of a gun too easily becomes just one more way to blame victims for not doing enough to prevent attacks. The surest way to prevent rape? Rapists not raping.

Rape is not a compliment. This whole thing apparently started when @AdolfJoeBiden tweeted that we should “Go for the Democrat woman look…you definitely won’t be raped.” Accompanied by a graphic calling Democratic women “old, bitter ugly-ass women.” Let me repeat – rape is not a compliment. Nobody actually wants to be young and compliant and pretty enough to get raped. People of all ages and appearances get raped. Calling Dem women too ugly/bitter to be raped just tells us who YOU are, what YOU look like on the inside.

Guns just prevent someone from raping you (or, the “as long as *someone else* is victimized” approach). There’s evidence that rapes are very often committed by repeat offenders. It’s a common refrain that a woman who was out a night, wearing this, in that place, should have done something different to prevent her rape. Worn something different. Not had a drink. But individual choices don’t prevent rape; at best, they just make you not the specific victim. Which might be good enough for selfish assholes, but is not good enough for the world. Steps that put responsibility on the victim are just a wish for somebody else to be victimized instead, not an actual strategy for preventing rape.

Having a gun is not sufficient to ward off an attacker. Contrary to popular myth, most victims aren’t raped by some stranger jumping out of the bushes. In about 2/3 of cases, the attacker is known (this is probably even higher on college campuses). It’s a friend, colleague, family member, even a spouse. Having a gun doesn’t prevent rape – the intended victim has to be willing to shoot and possibly murder a brother, a father, a boss, a fellow student, a friend. The gap between having a gun and being willing to use it on one of those people is large. That’s before we even talk about the implications of college kids firing off guns inside of dorms or other shared housing.

But here’s the thing. We know you’re not actually anti-rape. We know you’re not actually concerned about women’s rights to their own bodies. If you were, you would speak out against bills that would force them to have ultrasound wands shoved in their vaginas to obtain legal medical care. If you were, you’d approve VAWA. If you were, you’d talk about how to prevent rapists from raping, not all the ways women should be expected to defend themselves against rape. If you were, you wouldn’t promote myths and victim-blaming and rape culture in your tweets, and you’d show some consideration when people tell you what’s wrong about what you’re saying. If you were, it might occur to you that an endless stream of tweets using the specter of rape to argue for concealed weapons on campus might actually harm rape victims. If you were, you’d stop to ask whether those college boys with concealed weapons are going to help prevent rape, or cause more of it.

I didn’t see that. I saw rape culture. I saw victim-blaming. I saw trivialization of the experiences of rape victims. I saw active, explicit misogyny pretending to stem from concern for women. Dear anti-women, anti-feminist Conservatives: stop talking about rape. You obviously can’t do it without doing harm.

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