Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The rape of a teammate

You've likely read the reports already, but if not, here it is at the Washington Times. A couple of things to get out front.
  • Both of these criminals need to be prosecuted and punished as harshly as the law (which is likely too lax) allows. 
  • It wasn't her fault.
  • It's not too early to talk about it. Yes, legally the rape was alleged, but there was video and both men have been arrested. Anything left is technicalities.  
  • People should be able to have a few drinks and expect NOT to be assaulted/raped/attacked by anyone. 
  • As a community that constantly...and I mean constantly emphasizes self-defense, it would be hypocritical for us now to focus only on punishing the offenders and not discussing the situation surrounding the crime. 
I'm hesitant to even talk alcohol and acquaintance because it will inevitably come off with a hint of condemnation of the victim...but I'm going to try.

80% of rape victims know their assailant. That means that it's not just the creepy guy in the club or the stranger around the corner that are the risks. That means that even if you carry mace/pepper spray/a gun, you're likely not even going to be of the mindset/proximity to access those tools in a situation like this. That means that the fact that the she was raped by teammates and not strangers shouldn't be shocking. It's the norm for rape. As one commentor on the article put it "Contrary to popular belief, all criminals don't wear dreads, wear their pants sagging, wear hoodies, or live in the inner city."

Two men in my life...upstanding, educated, very conventional looking men--who have been convicted of rape--I would NEVER have suspected either of them. I'll never forget a male friend sitting me down afterward, looking me dead in the eye and quite chillingly telling me "If they got caught this time, they've done it before." (what that says about what men know about other men that rape out of convenience is an issue unto itself). Since then, I know...quite certainly...that the nice guy is not out of the question. I know that every man that rapes isn't driving around in a ski mask with duct tape in his trunk. Some are just taking advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. I'm a firm believer of being aware of when you're present that opportunity.

I don't believe that women should be running scared from every man they some point we need to be able to relax and trust...but I do think it is important that we start being honest about the circumstances around this type of crime, especially as a community that teaches self-defense. 


Felicia said...

I saw a link to the news story where the female reporter insinuated that the rape was the victim's fault. It was subtle, but it was there. And all I can say about that is WOW.

Anonymous said...

You make a great point. Simply because we SHOULD be able to have a society that isn't a rape culture, riddled with misogyny and shaped by sexism and patriarchy doesn't mean we "can" expect safety because anything else is wrong. Our history reveals otherwise. Thus, while I bear ZERO responsibility for someone choosing to violate the law and basic humanity and choosing to rape, I still analyze where I drink, why, who to be around, which route to take, so many things. I know that I cannot control the choices rapists make.

And you're right, if women are participating in self-defense related courses such as BJJ and others, it means we are acknowledging that there are things we can do to reduce risk and fight back--NOT that we are claiming we are responsible for the actions of a rapist or engaging in victim blaming, as I reject that.

Sorry to hear this happened in your BJJ community, but sadly in this world, such is life...

Very heartbreaking story.

Megan said...

Very true Trudy...and I think this is what most of us having this discussion are tripping over. We need to get past the very elementary level of thinking that rapists should be punished and victims are innocent...true, but that leaves the situation unchanged, basically ignoring the concept of prevention.

Felicia, I'm not surprised. I'd like to hear that report myself...kinda curious how much of a stigma she's carrying outside of the BJJ world because she practices a martial arts too.

christy said...

Great write up & spot on comments! Thanks, Ladies.