If someone gets too drunk and they pass out, and a gang of dudes decides that they’re going to use that person as a pinata to see who can land the biggest punch, would we say to the drunk person, “Well, you should have known that’s what dudes do.” I would hope not. I would hope you’d be so horrified that anyone would think that beating the shit out of someone for shits and giggles was a fucked up thing to do.

Well, that’s what rape is. It’s a violent assault that uses sex as a weapon instead of fisticuffs. But the general gist is the same. But we get all confused, because we as a culture don’t think of sex as something that men and women do together for fun, but as something men extract from women. If we were clearer on this, why rape isn’t sex wouldn’t be so damn hard to understand. And we wouldn’t tolerate rapists wandering amongst us, free to rape.

Amanda Marcotte

For those of you who wonder why rape victims get all super sensitive about rape jokes ‘n shit, well, this is why. Before you’re raped, rape jokes might be uncomfortable, or they might be funny, or they might be any given thing. But after you’re raped, they are a trigger. They make you remember what was done to you. And if the joke was about something that wasn’t done to you, not in quite that way, you can really easily imagine how it would feel, because you know how something exactly like that felt. Rape jokes stop being about a thing that happens out there, somewhere, to people who don’t really exist, and if they do they probably deserved it, and they start being about you. Rape jokes are about you. Jokes about women liking it or deserving it are about how much you liked it and deserved it. And they are also jokes about how, in all likelihood, it’s going to happen to you again.

And until you’ve been raped, you don’t really wake up and see how much rape is out there for the casual consumer. You didn’t really hear those offhand comments when walking down the street – “oh, you know she totally made that up for attention” – you didn’t really notice that the sex scene in Blade Runner actually really looks like a fucking rape scene, you didn’t really hear how the TV news focuses on what she was wearing, and calls it “sex,” and digs for details about where and how he penetrated her, when you don’t really need to know that, do you? And you don’t realize how many of the people you know and love do not take rape seriously, because they have been sucking up all the same TV shows and movies you do, and they don’t think they know a real person who has been raped. Of course, some of them you might tell, and they can accept that, accept the secondary trauma, begin to start thinking of you whenever they see a rape in a movie, hear of one on the news, hear a rape joke. Or they can disqualify you as a real person. Guess which one happens most.

Harriet Jacobs

‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.

But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.

And that guy? Thought you were on his side.

— My brilliant friend Kate Harding: http://kateharding.net/2007/04/14/on-being-a-no-name-blogger-using-her-real-name/

Rep. Jan Schakowsky opposed to HR3

Yesterday I wrote to my Congresswoman, Jan Shakowsky (D-IL), to ask her to stand against HR3. I just received an email response:

Thank you for sharing with me your opposition to H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. I agree with you. I strongly believe that abortions should be kept safe and legal and that we must safeguard the right to reproductive freedom for all women. I am a leader of and active participant in the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.

H.R. 3 goes far beyond current law and would seriously compromise women’s access to reproductive health care.

The decision to have an abortion should be made by a woman and her doctor, not by her government. I will vigorously oppose any attempt the Republican-controlled House of Representatives may make to intrude into the most intimate aspects of women’s lives or erode the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade. This issue is a top priority for me.

Thank you, Rep. Schakowsky, for standing up for women’s rights. 

If you haven’t yet contacted your representative, please do so.