Friday, November 12, 2010

What Women Are

[TW: Sexual Assault, Suicide]

Via Shakesville, a 14-year old girl who accused an 18-year-old man of rape has commited suicide after "merciless taunting" about her allegations and "weeks of harassment became too much."

Melissa McEwan aptly notes:

"I would love to see this case open up a national conversation about talking rape accusations seriously, about victim-blaming, about victim-shaming and -silencing, the way that we've begun a national conversation about anti-gay bulling. But I suspect that's not going to happen."

And to that I would add, that's not going to happen because the categories female and human are still mutually exclusive. Anti-gay bullying and the suicides caused by it are atrocities that occur to a group that also includes men and boys. Indeed, have not all of the recent high profile cases in the media been instances of anti-gay harassment and gender policing of boys?

While this national conversation about anti-gay bullying is long overdue, I reckon we are having it at all in large because what is being done to LGBT people is being done to a group that is significantly comprised of cisgender men and boys.

Sexual assault, however, is a crime whose victims are predominately women and girls, making sexual assault appear too specific to the female to be seen as the more general human rights violation that it is. Whereas anti-gay bullying is rightly seen as abhorrent because gays possess the same human dignity as heterosexuals, sexual assault is a crime that too closely parallels the very essence of what women and girls are for in our pornified rape culture to be granted the same national conversations.

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