Still Indecent

[Content Note: Rape culture; victim-blaming.]

On Friday, I noted that Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich had engaged in some gross preemptive victim-blaming that tasks women with preventing their own rapes, telling a female college student concerned with sexual assault: "I'd also give you one bit of advice. Don't go to parties where there's a lot of alcohol. Okay? Don't do that."

Yesterday, during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Kasich was super confused about why that was problematic:
Pressed about whether he understood why a lot of people saw that as victim-blaming, Kasich said that he did not. "Actually, I don't know how anybody would take it that way."

"I don't care if there's a party with alcohol. I'm just saying be careful! That's what I would tell my daughters," he added, continuing to embrace the disproved myth that that there is a direct link between rape and alcohol consumption.

The Ohio Governor then boasted that he had been the leader in trying to punish sexual assaults. "When our folks first sat down with the colleges and universities, I have a lady attorney who sort of led this effort for me. They didn't quite know what do and I said, I don't care about what they know or don't know — we are going to have a system in place to make sure that the women on our college campus are protected and if something would happen to them, that justice can be done."

Kasich then urged Bash to drop the subject: "Let's go on," he told her.
There are about two dozen different reasons that Kasich's "advice" is undiluted garbage, but perhaps the most obvious is this: Telling women how to avoid rape, instead of telling men not to rape, is straight-up rape culture garbage.

Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about 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.

Be careful, he says. As if "carelessness" is why women get raped.

Here's the thing about rapists: They rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are knowledgeable and people who are ignorant, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are conscious and people who are incapacitated, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance. The only thing that the victim of every rapist shares in common is the bad fucking luck of being in the presence of a rapist.

Rapists are determined to rape. And if this girl doesn't go to a party "where there's a lot of alcohol" and (more importantly) a rapist, that girl would. It doesn't make that girl any more responsible for being raped. And if no girls at all went to that party, that rapist would find another way to obtain his victims.

Victim-blaming is based on the damnably fucked-up notion that people (and women in particular) allow themselves to be victimized by virtue of carelessness or stupidity, and we need to be warned and educated and lectured and hectored and cajoled and shamed into never being victims (again).


Our culture creates rapists—and they create victims. No one has ever been a victim of rape, until they had the bad fucking luck of being in the presence of a rapist.

Enough victim blaming. Enough.

That John Kasich doesn't agree we've had quite enough of this reprehensible rhetoric already is just another one of many reasons that no one should cast another vote for him ever again.

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