Wordless Shrieking

Seriously, after reading about how NYPD officers are responding to a rash of stranger rapes in Brooklyn, I just want to scream at them in frustration, hurt and anger.

Society has a bunch of misconceptions about sexual assault and rape, tangled up in old sexist attitudes that continue to harm women and make it harder for us to discourage and prevent attacks.  A whole host of them is rooted in victim blaming/ slut shaming.

The idea that you can decrease your risk for assault or rape by hiding your sexuality, and cutting down your choices of where to go and when, with whom is not only not supported by evidence, but it’s actively damaging to women’s basic dignity.  Moreover, it creates opportunities for the actual bad guys to hide behind public censure of a woman who “wasn’t careful enough” instead of holding the violent man responsible.

Things are getting better in general: men are no longer legally able to rape their spouses, public movements like the great “slutwalks” organized around the U.S. help raise consciousness about rape culture, and in general, it seems like rape jokes are less acceptable than they once were.  But it is often difficult to stay optimistic that we’ll continue to achieve gains in equality when I see old slut shaming tactics at work in NYPD behavior toward a Brooklyn neighborhood.

But we can’t ever stop fighting to achieve change, no matter how discouraging it feels sometimes.  And protesters did just that in New York on Saturday.

Good for them!

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