One more example of how not to talk about rape

No one looks to Fox News contributors for sensitivity on issues of gender, sexual violence, or rape culture.

That’s a sad sentence, but it’s the case. The network has continually shown a lack of general awareness to many of the grave stories that come across the desk regarding sexual violence, rape culture, victim-blaming, shaming, and like issues. And yet, if we’re to make change on these massive problems, we must continue to recognize the failures.

So, the latest from Fox News, regarding the rape case unfolding in Maryville, Missouri, contributor Joseph DiBenedetto (a defense attorney) had the following comments:

There’s no denying that from the surface it appears to be some sort of cover-up. But when you look at the finer details, there are telltale signs of this girl actually lying. She is leaving her home at 1 a.m. in the morning and nobody forced her to drink. And what happens? She gets caught by her mom, she’s embarrassed and the easy way out here is, ‘Mom, someone took advantage of me.’ But what did she expect to happen at 1 a.m. in the morning after sneaking out? I’m not saying — assuming that these facts are accurate and this did happen — I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but knowing the facts as we do here including what the prosecutor has set forth, this case is going nowhere and it’s going nowhere quick. 

This is troubling stuff.

I’ve no idea what actually happened in Maryville that night, and there are questions surrounding the stories involved in this case. But what DiBenedetto has to say on the case is ugly, reflective of a culture of blaming females for being victims of sexual violence, and contributes to the cultural problem that allows this behavior to continue.

“What did she expect to happen?” is the same as “She asked for it.”

What did she think would happen if she dressed like that? Went to that party? Got in that car? Hung around with boys like that? It’s all the same. It is blaming the victim for getting raped, and not blaming the rapists for committing rape.

A good sign that you are contributing to a culture of sexual violence, Mr. DiBenedetto, is when you say, “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but …”

Nothing that follows that clause is of any value. No one deserves to get raped. There is not “but.”

2 responses to “One more example of how not to talk about rape

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