Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Rape is Rape, even in Edinburgh

Today I read a blog post by John Fleming – you can find it here. It’s titled Feminist female comedians agree there are different types of rape in Edinburgh and the interview, albeit an extract in this blog, was with; Kate Copstick, Laura Levites and Lynn Ruth Miller.

I am writing in response to the post/interview because I literally cannot believe the sheer volume of statements made that both support the assertion that women bring rape upon themselves, along with line after line of victim blaming and rape-myth perpetuating opinions.

The statements throughout made under the cosy umbrella of “but we’re feminists” were also deeply galling. From one of the participants Laura, I balked at the statement regarding  “real feminists”; “You don’t say Look at me! Look at me! You just do things” SAID Laura whilst yelling look at me, look at me… The whole interview excerpt smacked of three people trying desperately hard to be funny at the expense of all else. Certainly at the expense of all compassion for victims of rape “real” or otherwise…Although what other kind there is I’m yet to be shown.

But, back to the victim blaming, it is dripping with it all the way through. I could quite easily copy and paste the whole interview here to highlight, but see below, just a few choice lines;

COPSTICK: Well I genuinely believe – this won’t go down well, but – if you walk into Battersea Dogs Home with your legs covered in prime rump steak, you cannot complain if you get bitten.”

To this statement, both other women agreed.

NO, Kate. Apart from the disgusting parallels being drawn between women and dog homes, if a woman dresses in ANY WAY she wants, when a man rapes her he chooses to rape her. That’s it.

Laura goes on…;

 LAURA: But I think most women don’t understand the way most men view them. Whether or not you like it – it’s not about liking it or not – men do look at you like a sexual being. It doesn’t matter what you look like as a woman, there’s some dude that’s gonna want to fuck you. It’s absolutely true. If you’re walking down a street at night with parts of you exposed, it doesn’t mean you’re ‘asking for it’, but you have to be aware…”

NO, Laura. Your argument claims all men are on rape standby, that all that is required for them to want to fuck me is that I am there, in a short skirt, at night. That if I do this,  any man I encounter will try and rape me. This is both unbelievably insulting to both men AND those women who…Let me repeat myself; wear what they want, when they want and where they want YET AGAIN – the responsibility resides with the person who chooses to rape.

So then, they victim blame some more, leave the onus on the woman, not once mentioning the man’s decisions in all of this and then Copstick lets forth with the following, which is why I wrote this post;

COPSTICK: “At the moment, it’s ludicrous, but that one word covers both someone who is wandering along a road and some person completely unknown to her leaps out – which must be horrendous and terrifying and it’s not about sex, it’s about violence”

The ONE WORD she is referring to is rape. That’s right, RAPE. But according to her, the only kind of rape that could possibly be terrifying and not about sex is when a stranger jumps out from behind a parked car or a darkened alleyway. So let me make myself perfectly clear Kate, because I know a bit about this;

  • Rape in relationships happens. It’s terrifying
  • Rape inside families happens. It’s terrifying
  • Rape at the end of an evening with a person you’ve only just met happens. It’s terrifying
  • Rape with a partner of (insert # of years) happens. It’s terrifying
  • Rape in the workplace happens. It’s terrifying

It happens. Every day. C90% of rape victims will know their attacker. It’s terrifying. It destroys lives. But I guess when You’re just a “19 year old twat who has dolled yourself up” there’s no way you can be REALLY raped. No way you would be REALLY terrified.

Every single statement made in support of both victim blaming and shaming is an outrage. I could sense that they were playing to an audience and there was an effort to keep it a bit on the “jokey” side.

It wasn’t funny. Rape jokes never are.


This post was first published here - thanks to author for permission to cross post.

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