I've got a new piece at BNR about Donald Trump's newly named campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who said in 2013 if only women were as physically strong as men, there would be no more rape:
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump unearthed video of a January 2013 PBS panel, featuring a number of women from across the political spectrum discussing the issue of women in the military. Conway, expressing concern that women aren't as strong as men, said: "If we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off."Click through to read the rest, which includes statements from women's organizations who are just as incandescently angry about this garbage as I am.
I cannot – and will not – soft-pedal this: What Conway said is utterly horrendous. It is an utter fallacy that "rape would not exist" if women were as strong as men, because rape is not exclusively a physical struggle between a man and a physically weaker woman.
Women who are incapacitated are raped. Women who are physically disabled are raped. Women who are physically stronger than their rapists are raped, through coercion or a number of other means, including having a gun held at their heads. There are women who are scared to try to defend themselves for fear that it will escalate the rape into something deadly. There are women who are virtually paralyzed by the shock of the assault.
There are also men who are raped – and not always by men who are physically weaker than they are.
This is, unfortunately, not a comprehensive list of the many ways in rape is more than just a sheer battle of physical force.
Conway is espousing an absurdly and harmfully reductive definition of rape, which frames rape as a power struggle between a stronger man and a weaker woman – which suggests that if only women were somehow better, bigger, tougher, mightier, we should be able to prevent rape.
Tasking victims with rape prevention is a key tenet of the rape culture. Rape prevention lies exclusively with predators, who have the responsibility to not rape people.