Trigger warning: this post discusses rape apologism and cites examples.
Yesterday I blogged about what rape apologism looks like. Within minutes of tweeting it, rape apologists began crawling out of the woodwork, and soon the comments thread was riddled with rape apologists (and some absolutely brilliant commenters taking them down).
It was around then that I noticed a weird form of meta-rape apologism forming. Many of these rape apologists were vehemently defending their right to rape apologism: they were engaging in apologism for rape apologism (while, simultaneously, performing their own rape apologism). It is a curious higher level of the perpetuation of rape culture. This is what rape apologism apologism looks like.
Apparently, I wasn’t very nice to the poor precious rape apologists in my original post. Take poor little @lewisskinner, who reckons I should be a lot nicer:
I didn’t say it was ok, & I don’t think it’s ok. But shouty indignation & name-calling is not a clever way to make your point.
He then continued with this:
Incidentally, “rape apologism” is a very loaded term don’t you think?
That’s right. Apparently “rape apologism” is a bit loaded, and therefore, presumably, might somehow damage our argument.
You know what’s worse than being called a rape apologist? Rape.
It did get me thinking, though. “Rape apologism” is a fairly benign term for the consequences of the action. Perhaps “rape facilitation” is more appropriate.
The “being nice” line crops up again and again as a silencing tactic against women calling out bullshit from an oppressive system. As this amazing post (which you should read through) points out, it is merely a way of shoving us back into our appropriate gender roles and ultimately preventing us from changing anything.
“You’re trying to shut down debate”
This red herring tends to rear its head whenever someone has lost an argument and the other party doesn’t really care to engage. It is hardly surprising that this one keeps appearing when people try to justify rape apologism. This one seems to be most popular with the conspiracy theorist-type rape apologists, like Assange fanboy JB_Scott:
Your article seems to have a big fuck off brush and quite of a lot of tar to paint everyone with who has an opinion on the particular case or the subject of “rape” itself. Oh & Assange??? PMSL That wasn’t serious was it???? You really don’t have a clue [smh]. And by disagreeing with your points, I’ll automatically be adjudged to be a quote “rape apologist”? LOL Get a grip…
Like Islamaphobia, your “rape apologsts” term is a complete nonsense and unhelpful, particularly in debating the issues.
Here, JB expresses a completely daft argument that there is somehow a “debate” about consent (hint: there isn’t, unless you’re a rapist), and that I’ll just try and silence his right to type poorly-punctuated comments by calling him a rape apologist. Well, JB, you’re a rape apologist. I put your comment up, and the internet thinks that not only are you a rape apologist, but you’re also an oozing ballsack.
See also dear old @lewisskinner, with whom I engaged and gave curt answers to his stupid questions:
not baiting,but debating. Well trying, but
@stavvers will not engage. Refusing a platform to those you disagree with = #fascist?
Apparently, pointing out that rape apologism is A Bad Thing is akin to stomping around in jackboots oppressing women.
What function does rape apologism apologism serve?
Rape apologism itself is a vital component in maintaining a system wherein rape is possible. Many people benefit from this belief system existing. Many more have internalised this ideology, parroting it and desperately trying to believe the world is fair and right.
Defensiveness kicks in when it is pointed out to people that what they believe is not only untrue, but also actively harmful. They fight tooth and nail to maintain their self-image as a decent human being. They want to continue parroting rape culture, and rape apologism apologism never comes without rape apologism. @lewisskinner started frantically tweeting me single newspaper stories which he believed showed that women often falsely accuse men of rape. Commenter David Walsh gave this particular gem:
So I hope I won’t be considered a “rape apologist” for suggesting that while all rapes are abhorrent, perhaps some are more abhorrent than others.
Ultimately, it’s a similar linguistic trick to “I’m not racist, but…”: the individual is attempting to separate from being part of an oppressive culture.
But they aren’t. They are part of the problem, and the more they deny it, the worse it will get.