A Short-Term Solution for Rape Outrage Fatigue

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Photo: Rape Crisis Scotland

If, like us, reading about rapists and their apologists day after day leaves you a little weary, you may find some relief in this essay by Rebeca Solnit, "A Rape a Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year." Yes, it sounds like a bummer, but Solnit, the author of the definitive essay on “mansplaining,” has a knack for calling it like it is in a way that makes you feel much less crazy. Like, if you read about the Steubenville gang-rape and the New Delhi gang-rape and the New York Police Department cannibal and the Las Vegas Police Department murderer-arsonist all in one day and are like, What is wrong with men? (not all men, of course, and occasionally women, but if we’re being honest, overwhelmingly men), it can be nice to hear someone come out and say it. “Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality,” Solnit writes, "but it does have a gender.”

Here she is on the satiric poster above, circulated by Rape Crisis Scotland:

Mostly, however, we don’t talk about it -- though a graphic has been circulating on the Internet called Ten Top Tips to End Rape, the kind of thing young women get often enough, but this one had a subversive twist.  It offered advice like this: “Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone ‘by accident’ you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can call for help.” While funny, the piece points out something terrible: the usual guidelines in such situations put the full burden of prevention on potential victims, treating the violence as a given. You explain to me why colleges spend more time telling women how to survive predators than telling the other half of their students not to be predators.

More chilling statistics and common sense at Tom Dispatch.