Much has been made of the recent British survey wherein a majority of respondents blame rape victims for their assailants’ assaults at least some of the time. Whilst most news outlets focus on the fact that women are harsher on victims than men, and feminists explain why, commenters insist that certain behaviors are so stupid and slutty that rape is inevitable. As Amanda observes, these behaviors are also called “dating.” There’s really no way to win. Women can either treat all men like rapists and be frigid bitches, or they can live their lives and be stupid sluts who were asking for it should anything bad happen to them.
After reading about this yesterday, I began thinking about all the times I’ve done things that supposedly “invited” rape but, miraculously, was not raped. I do feel lucky that I’ve never been raped, considering how many times I’ve allowed myself to be alone with boys and men: my father, my brother, uncles, cousins, grandfathers, neighbors, boyfriends, potential boyfriends, boys I’ve kissed at parties, study buddies, co-workers, cab drivers and others. According to a lot of people, I’ve lived a life of danger!
During my freshman year of college I met a guy. That summer, he drove to visit me at home whilst my parents were on vacation (they didn’t know). We had a good time. We slept in my bed together, though I never had sex with him. He had a huge window of opportunity to rape me but he never did.
When I studied abroad in Sydney I went out a lot. I went to bars with my friends and chatted with young men. One time I even agreed to leave the bar and go for a walk with one. Looking back, I think, damn, that could have ended really badly. But it didn’t. He didn’t rape me.
I spent a lot of time alone with my now-boyfriend when we were teenagers. I got into his car and let him drive me places. I drove him places. I went to dances with him. I hung out at his house after our other friends had gone home. He never raped me. And as college students in the beginning of our relationship, I visited him at school. He visited me at school. We had consensual sex and slept in bed together. He never raped me.
The reason I haven’t been raped is not that I’ve followed some impossible Good Girl script that supposedly lowered my risk. It’s not because of something I did or didn’t do. It’s because the men I’ve spent time with have not been rapists. There was no way for me to know that by looking at them. It’s just the way it is. I suppose the commenters on Cara’s and Amanda’s articles would say these men are defective because everyone knows that, given the chance, men will rape women, especially if said women are foolish enough to express interest in them and trust them. That’s nonsense and it needs to be called out.