Three Reasons Rape is Not Like Getting Mugged
Maybe we should all thank Emily Yoffe that a conversation about Rape Culture has returned to the forefront (probably not). I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how I am implicated in rape culture, and about how maybe if we stopped telling girls not to drink so darn much (because they’re putting themselves at risk of being raped) we could start telling them to stop being so afraid of and embarrassed by their sexuality (because then maybe I wouldn’t have felt like I needed to drink to be comfortable expressing sexual desire or agency). But more on that later.
There have been plenty of great responses to Yoffe’s piece, including Roxane Gay’s The way we talk about sexual assault is broken, and Cockblocking Rapists Is a Moral Obligation; or How To Stop Rape Right Now on the Yes Means Yes blog. And at least one truly terrible response from Toronto’s own Margaret Wente (the title of which has already been edited to sound slightly less inflammatory), who pulls out the rape apologist’s best defence:
Advising young women to watch out for themselves at drunken parties is not the same as saying it’s their fault if they get assaulted. It’s simply granting them the agency to stay out of harm’s way. It’s like cautioning people to avoid dark alleys where muggers lurk.
This is a false equivalency that I don’t really want to engage anymore. So. Here are three (of many) reasons that being raped is not at all like being mugged:
1. There will never be a different narrative that paints a mugging as a misunderstanding. You may get raped on a night that you were looking for consensual sex, but you will not get mugged on a night that you were looking for consensual robbery.
2. If you are robbed by somebody that you care for and trust, it isn’t called mugging, and it isn’t discredited. The closest comparison I can even draw involves old-timey confidence men endearing themselves to rich widows, and we never argue about whether or not they are criminals.
3. You don’t [socially] bear the burden of proof if you are mugged. Yes, authorities might question why you put yourself in a dangerous situation, but they will never suggest that you did it because you wanted to be mugged.
So please, pick another argument.