Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

"In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming 'rape culture' for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime."—RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, which bills itself as "The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization," in recommendations to the White House task force charged with creating a plan to reduce rape on college campuses.

This is unbelievable.

Advocates who are invested in dismantling the rape culture (no scare quotes) don't blame the rape culture and fail to acknowledge the personal accountability of perpetrators of sexual violence.

Rape culture is the description of the context in which sex predators operate; in which their crimes are abetted and normalized; in which they are routinely absolved of harm and their actions are rationalized and they escape justice and consequences.

Rape culture defines the narratives that are used to facilitate rape by blaming victims, and by inuring us all to the violence and ubiquity of rape, and by undermining legal pursuit and conviction of predators, leaving them free to continue to prey.

Rape culture is the reason that the cost of disbelieving victims is more victims.

Yes, it is crucially important to say, again and again, that rapists are exclusively responsible for the rapes they commit, but it is absurd to think that it's "an unfortunate trend" to identify how a culture of minimizing rape abets those rapists.

The people who make the choice to commit a violent crime don't make that choice in a fucking vacuum.

It is eminently possible—and, indeed, I would argue necessary—to acknowledge both the existence and function of the rape culture, and our own roles in perpetuating it, while simultaneously holding predators individually responsible for their individual crimes.

Not to get all meta and shit, but the failure of supposed anti-rape advocates to walk and chew gum at the same time? Is rape culture.

This is not the only problem with the RAINN's recommendations to the White House task force. Please read Wagatwe Wanjuki's excellent piece "RAINN's recommendations ignore needs of campus survivors of all identities."

And it is not the only group whose influence over the task force is profoundly discouraging. Please see my piece on No More, as but another example.

[H/T to Shakesville contributor and mod Misty Clifton for the White House link.]

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