Discussion Thread: What I Was Taught About Rape

[Trigger warning for discussion of sexual violence, rape apologia, victim-blaming.]

In 2006, I asked: What were you taught about rape? The most common answer was nothing. Or: Nothing formal, anyway.

Lots of people were taught their first lessons about sexual violence when they were victimized by its perpetrators. Men were implicitly taught that rape was something swarthy strangers in bushes do, not Nice Guys like them and everyone they knew. Women were implicitly taught that rape prevention was exclusively their responsibility. Everyone was implicitly taught all the narratives of victim-blaming and rape apologia.

Vanishingly few respondents had ever been in a formal setting where the subject of sexual violence had been broached. Virtually no one had discussed rape in school in sex education courses, nor in the workplace in harassment seminars. The most likely place for people to have run into a formal discussion of sexual violence for the first time was a women's studies class at university.

Almost no one had discussed sexual violence with their parents, unless it was a daughter hearing some variation of "don't get yourself raped."

That discussion is long gone in the dustbin of a now-defunct commenting system. And the blog is now bigger by several orders of magnitude, so.

What were you taught about rape?

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