[content note for discussions of rape culture]
I saw the following image on post secret this morning. It may be incredibly triggering for some.
I am saddened that the OP would have such a profound lack of compassion for their daughter if she were in such a situation. This attitude is both symptomatic of and perpetuates rape culture. It places the burden of not getting raped on women to police their own (and other women’s ) behavior, rather than the burden being on a rapist not to rape people. The flip side of this statement is that if you had a son at a frat party who saw a girl alone drinking shots on an empty stomach spending the night, it would be OK for him to rape her. Does that sound fair to you? Would you tell your son that?
Women are not responsible for their own rape. There are no specific conditions where raping someone is OK, just as there are no specific conditions where robbing someone, or assaulting someone, or burglarizing a house are OK. If I leave the keys in my car, this may mean people think I am stupid but it does not give anyone the right to take my car. Taking my car even if the keys are in the ignition is still a crime.
I don’t know why we treat Rape and sexual assault differently from other crimes. Maybe it is because it is something that happens primarily to women. Maybe it is because there is a bizarre societal perception that men are totally incapable of controlling their sexual desires and so women must do what they can not to entice them. Whatever it is, it is not right. The more we think about rape and sexual assault this way the more permissive we are as a society to its occurrence and the situations in which raping someone is permissible grow ever wider.
If I had a daughter I would say to her that there is nothing you can say, or do, or wear, that makes rape OK. I would say that your body is your own and you can dress it and treat it how you see fit. I would say that yes means yeas and no means no. I would say that being drunk in the company of males never implies consent. Your bodily autonomy is not conditional on your actions, whatever they may be. There is no such thing as implicit consent.
If I had a son I would tell them that all the same applies to him. I would also tell him that when he has a sexual partner he should ensure that it is someone who is consenting enthusiastically, and that he himself is also consenting enthusiastically. You my son are far more than your sex drive – it is not something that controls you, despite what the world tries to tell you. It is OK for you to say no. That does not mean there is something wrong with you.