Taking responsibility for sexual assault

I get it: it’s hard to be a wealthy, privileged white man in this day and age, when women everywhere are clawing at you in their effort to retain their basic human rights. You can’t trust them to use birth control to try to trap you into marriage when, as a poor graduate student in an Ivy League law school who hopes to one day wield tremendous judicial power, you simply can’t accept responsibility for something as basic as using a condom. You can’t trust them not to be “bitter” after you dump them and tell the world that you don’t understand consent. When they discover that you’ve been mocking them behind their backs for years as sluts, they get upset at you and say so in the newspaper. #Metoo has made it virtually impossible to understand when and where you are allowed to touch women. Like, is it even okay to push an old lady out of the way of an oncoming bus these days, or would you be accused of a sex crime and forced to register your family estate in Chevy Chase and your beach house on the Outer Banks and the city apartment you keep for your mistress on the sex offender registry? It’s very hard to distinguish between actual rape and attempted rape, which is a big problem since rape is for men of color but attempted rape is for gentlemen, as Franklin Graham reminds us.

On the other hand, I think we have to ask the tough questions: Even in these PC-times, doesn’t Brett Kavanaugh bear some responsibility for sexually assaulting at least three women?

What, after all, did he expect going to those parties? Frat parties are known to be sites for increased risk of men raping women. In fact, he probably had a good sense of the sexual violence of the place during the elephant walk or whatever other initiation ritual he underwent. If he saw men treating other men like that, how did he think he was going to be expected to treat women? If he didn’t want to be accused of rape, he should have made sure to stay away from parties where men rape.

And once he went to one and saw what was happening, why did he keep going back? Why did he continue to participate in a rape culture if he didn’t want to become a rapist? If you don’t want to commit the crime, don’t put yourself in a place where you’re going to be tempted.

And why did he join a sports team, a clique with the nickname “Tits and Clits,” and a fraternity known for promoting rape? He put himself into, literally, the rapiest groups in America outside of prison or the military. He hung out with known sexual offenders; of course something was bound to happen! You gotta watch out who you hang out with.

And why did he drink so much? It’s harder to make good choices when you’re inebriated. Maybe he needs to drink less if he wants to avoid being a rapist.

Above, a set of rape whistles. Maybe next time Brett Kavanaugh is tempted to sexually assault a woman, he could put one in his mouth and choke on it until he loses consciousness, and then women can do to him what they want: never think about him again. 

Sure, it can be difficult to sort out who is responsible when a man rapes a woman. Is it all her fault–for being a woman, for wearing clothing, for having a body, for occupying space where men are? Or might rapists have some culpability?

I really hope we can keep this conversation going, forever, ideally, in tones that make us sound reasonable and balanced, like we care about fairness and justice. The more we talk, the less we have to listen to the real stories of real victims, and that’s the goal, isn’t it, really? To make sure that men like Brett Kavanaugh have a national audience to hear their perspectives and the power to make their words law, without interruption from overwrought women whose are just here to ruin their lives for no reason.


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