On the 4th of July at 8pm we had a Twitter chat with Justin Irabor @TheVunderkind on the topic How to Spot a Rape Apologist and these were the talking points from the chat.
A Rape Apologist is someone who makes any kind of justification for rape. This justification might range from what the victim was wearing to the social status of the rapist.
Silence in the face of rape makes you an enabler and not a rape apologist. But the minute you break your silence and then justify the rape, then you are an enabler and a rape apologist.
Rape apologists pose the following dangers to rape victims among others: They give rise to more rape apologists. They derail the conversation and shut up rape victims. They sap the energy from rape victims seeking justice for the crimes committed against them. They are custodians of the rape stigma. They isolate rape victims and drown out the voices of support they have.
If you are unsure if you are a rape apologist, find out if you
- Lean towards the accused
- Believe the victim might have some blame
- Bring up cases of male rape victims as a way to derail the conversation when female victims are speaking up about their experience
- Make arguments that cast doubts on the victims story
If you answer YES to all or any of this, then you are a rape apologist. To not be a rape apologist, there are two things you need to do:
- Learn empathy and know what it is like to be forced to a sexual activity without your consent. Learn that rape is a traumatic experience and victims need all the support they can get.
- Learn that there is no textbook format of how rape happens. Rapists are usually very calculated in committing their crimes and bank on rape apologists, like your former self, to keep getting off the hook. Learn by reading stories of rape victims, talk to the women in your lives, learn that the fault is never theirs, or what they wore, or the time of the night, but essentially the criminal mind of the rapist.
Also, listen without bias, form opinions on a case by case basis, support the pursuit of justice when rape victims seek it, do not be a cog in the wheel by asking irrelevant questions of why-what-when-who-how-was she dressed.
It was great having Justin join us. Look forward to more Twitter Chats on Consent every Thursday at 8pm WAT with the handle @HandsOffNG and Hashtags #ConsentWithHandsOff #CWH.
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