Cordial reminder: the state is not our friend

Content note: this post discusses rape and victim blaming

Look, I respect your decision to call the cops if you’re feeling threatened–it’s not a choice I’d ever make, but do what works for you. Let’s never take things further than that, though. Let us not continue to step in and ask the state to do shit for us, like porn filtering and new laws and the like. Let us remember that they are definitely not our friends.

Let’s have a look at two stories that have been in the news today. First, we have the sad tale of a woman who reported her rape to the police, was referred to the specialist unit and they ignored her. The rapist was her husband. He went on to murder their two children. The police resisted an investigation into how this could have possibly been allowed to happen. Eventually, a disciplinary happened, and the officer in charge of this… didn’t lose his job, and just got a little slap on the wrist.

Then there’s this story. A thirteen year old girl was abused by a man who owned videos depicting child abuse. The judge allowed him to walk free because the survivor was “predatory” and was “egging him on”.

Ask yourselves. How can you ever trust an institution whose arms have such a pisspoor understanding of how rape and abuse work? You might think they have the potential for change, but these things keep happening again and again. The state is a particular manifestation of patriarchy. The state is not our friend, and it never will be. It is always against us.

My feminism will stand against the state, because it has to.

5 thoughts on “Cordial reminder: the state is not our friend”

  1. Ask yourselves. How can you ever trust an institution whose arms have such a pisspoor understanding of how rape and abuse work?

    Oh they understand it all right.
    In the same way a carpenter understands how hammers work.

  2. I’d like to know who suggested that the dream of the state is to become one, and for the individual to become two – if you know who said/wrote this pls post! I find it such a useful phrase when thinking about the way ‘the state’ functions, and also how as individuals we can orientate ourselves to states of institution.

    I’m inclined to agree with you in so far as we can’t trust an institution any more than we can trust toasters or smartphones – but it’s through such a mistrust I’m convinced we can make good, creative use of these tools and platforms to meet just and meaningful ends.

    I’ve worked with ‘survivors’ of childhood and adult sexual assault for some time now. Through the same I’ve met dedicated, engaged and sensitive officers, social workers, medics etc who have without exception shown themselves to have their personal and professional commitments to providing sensitive and just response to all such problems in living.

    I think it’s people and their efforts who make up the best parts of institutions and the state is really what we make it.

  3. I agree, the state approach to sexual violence is horrific. All the evidence coming out of operation Sapphire suggests that this “special unit for sex crimes” was specifically designed to stop sex crimes actually being prosecuted.

    The policing of sexual violence is extensive – it starts with slut shaming, goes on through barriers to reporting, then hits the brick wall of police procedures and then the misogyny of the court system.

    Everyone knows that if there isn’t a conviction, there wasn’t a rape. This is the purpose of the “justice” system – to prevent rapes by externally decreeing them null and void.

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