T here are few sports more popular in Americans than beating up on women.
While men are disproportionately the aggressors in both physical and emotional abuse, women certainly aren't immune from attacking our own — particularly, it seems, with words. On TuesdayRolling Stone magazine posted an interview with time Grand Slam tennis singles title winner Serena Williams, where Williams berated a year-old rape victim, saying that the girl, whose case was widely publicized, was "lucky" to have only been raped.
The rape victim in question was assaulted at a 5 things guys hate during sex with women instead of intervening, many of her peers took photos and posted them on social media, ensuring that she wasn't just assaulted but was publicly humiliated.
According to Williams, that's pretty good luck, because "It could have been much worse". Williams also initially said she wasn't blaming the victim, right before blaming the victim:.
Or perhaps parents should teach their sons not to rape people. After a bit of outrage, Williams apologized.
What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only 16, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families 5 things guys hate during sex with women — that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl's family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
I have fought all of my career for women's equality, women's equal rights, respect in their fields — anything I could do to support women I have done.
My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent year-old child.
None of us are immune from saying asinine things or being taken out of context. And Williams' apology is a good one, right up until the part where she deems the rape a horrible tragedy "for both families involved — that of the rape victim and of the accused".
First, the young men are not longer simply accused; they've been convicted, and there aren't real disputes about what happened that night.
And second, while I am sure the conviction was quite tragic for the families of the rapists, being guilty of rape is not quite as bad as being raped.
Realizing your son or loved
5 things guys hate during sex with women did an awful thing is surely heart-wrenching; I'm not sure it quite compares to watching your child undergo national media coverage after being sexually assaulted and publicly shamed in your small town, knowing that as her parents, there is little you can do to protect her.
Where Williams is right, though, is that she is a role model and an icon for women, which only makes her comments all the more disturbing. But they do serve as a good reminder that none of us is immune to misogyny when we live in a culture that's swimming in it. I don't think Williams is a bad person or a cruel woman-hater.
I think she's a woman who lives in a woman-hating world. After all, the country in which the Steubenville rape happened is the same one where Rush Limbaugh hosts the most popular radio show in the nation. Last week, he blamed abortion — and of course, the women who have abortions — for a laundry list of America's ills. Women who terminate pregnancies shoulder the blame for illegal immigration, tax increases, dearth of creativity, lack of economic growth, general moral decay and year-olds shooting each other in Chicago.
Of course, society has actually changed for the better since the feminist and liberal gains of the s and 70s. Violent crime is down. Most Americans have actually seen their tax rates fall.
Americans, and women in particular, are better educated. In the nation's various Ground Zeroes for moral decay — liberal blue states — divorce rates are lower, children are healthier, people live longer, and unintended pregnancies are fewer than in the bastions of Rush Limbaugh's Real Moral America. Republicans are pushing for a ban on abortion after 22 weeks, which passed the House on Tuesday.
The ban has no chance of becoming law, but that doesn't stop the GOP from wasting everyone's time — not to mention taxpayer dollars where's the Limbaugh segment on that?
Why the week ban? Anti-abortion ideologues say it's because week 22 is when fetuses can feel pain. The scientific consensus may be different, but the Republican party hasn't bothered with silly things like "facts" or "science" for a good bit of time now, especially when they're looking for ways 5 things guys hate during sex with women restrict women's rights.
After all, this is the party that thinks Uterus Magic can shut down a potential pregnancy after a rape, and that sexual trauma means "the juices don't flow". If you're one of those girls who happens to "rape easy" and the juices do actually flow and you get pregnant after being raped, well, you should just turn a "lemon situation into lemonade". Since the GOP clearly isn't going to stop with the misogynist rape comments, I beg them to at least quit it with the beverage metaphors.
They might have time to come up with some others if they quit their diligent research into the pressing medical question of whether or not fetuses masturbate in utero. In a political and cultural climate so hostile to women, and so toxic for rape victims, is it any surprise that a whole lot of women would like to convince ourselves that we can avoid rape if we're good girls who make the right choices?
That's what Serena Williams' comments come down to: She's hardly the first to make that argument. Even people who claim to want to end rape and advocate for safety do the same things when they tell girls and women not to walk outside alone, not to wear particular articles of clothing, not to drink too much, never to accept a drink from anyone else, and on and on. That advice doesn't just put the onus on women to avoid normal behavior like walking in public or going out with friends; it fundamentally misstates the reality of most rapes, which are disproportionately perpetrated by someone the victim knows, usually in her home or theirs.
It's more convenient, though, to imagine a rapist as a scary stranger rather than a classmate, a friend or even a romantic partner. Our cultural narrative about rape implies that women are at risk if we leave our homes, which handily fits into a conservative ideal about where women belong. Women and girls are raised with that pervasive sense of vulnerability. Of course we want to personally escape from it. Of course we want to believe that the power to avoid tragedy befalling us is entirely in our own hands.
It's harder work to recognize that power comes not from assuming we're immune to tragedy, but from building a culture that challenges assumptions about female vulnerability and male aggression. The truth 5 things guys hate during sex with women that most men aren't rapists. The truth is that men are much more at risk of violence in public places than are women.