"Why Not?"

[Trigger warning.]

In one of the most appallingly stupid columns ever penned on the alleged "folly" of hate-crime laws, Richard Cohen says blithely: "Rape, though, is not a hate crime. Why not?"

Well, Mr. Cohen, I suspect there are a lot of answers to that question, all of which have merit and varying degrees of relevance—like, for example, the extraordinary number of people who consider rape a compliment—but perhaps the most important of these many reasons is the fact that the people tasked with making hate crimes law are overwhelmingly male* and ergo: 1.) Significantly less likely to be victims of rape; and 2.) Almost totally unlikely to have lived a life being told to be careful what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you're alone, if you're with a stranger, if you're in a group, if you're in a group of strangers, if it's dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you're carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you're wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who's around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who's at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn't follow all the rules it's your fault, which you probably already know firsthand from seeing about 1 in 6 of your girlfriends going through it and getting victim-blamed, at least once and frequently more.

In other words, most of the people tasked with making hate crimes law don't live their lives quietly but persistently terrorized by the ever-present possibility of sexual assault.


* As of 2009, 441 members of Congress are male (83%) and 92 are female (17%). Six states have never sent a woman to the House. Twenty-seven states have never sent a woman to the Senate.

[H/T to Mustang Bobby.]

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