A teenage girl killed herself, recently, after being gang raped at a party and her pictures broadcast across the internet. (“Rape Culture Claims Another Victim, by Andrea Peterson, ThinkProgress, 4/9/13 ) The Canadian authorities were unable to pursue the case because the girl, ashamed, didn’t tell her parents until days afterwards. By that time, viable evidence was lost. When the images of the rape became public, however, the girl was blamed by others and began receiving hate mail. Depressed by these condemnations, she killed herself. A similar fate befell a girl in California. After being gang raped. her pictures were distributed throughout the internet and like the Canadian victim, she, too, received hate mail and she, too, killed herself. http://news.yahoo.com/3-teens-arrested-assault-girls-suicide-024221519.html
What these two young women and others like them suffered is mindboggling in its breadth of brutality and cruelty. Equally appalling is the mindset that blames the victim and not the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this moral righteousness is more pervasive than we care to admit. In the last election, there were candidates seeking public office who attempted to draw a distinction between rape and “legitimate” rape. In order words, some women deserved what happened to them and others, maybe not.
Eradicating the mindset that blames women for the violence done to them will be difficult. For centuries, a man’s license to rape a women has been wrapped in religious authority. The Old Testament is a prime example:
Numbers 31:17-18 – women and children are the spoils of war
Judges 5:30 – women and children are spoils of war.
Sammuel 12:11-14 – God gives David’s wives to his neighbors to rape
Genesis, Chapter 19 – Lot offers his virgin daughters to quell a mob (“Denying contraception is a new form of rape” by Janet Brazill, Free Thought Today, 4/13/ pg. 11)
In this country, a man who makes prostitutes of his wife and children would go to jail. But the lingering sneer that pertains to victims of rape stems for an ancient way of thinking. It has no place in the 21 Century and should be rooted out.
(Rape of Sabine Women by Nicolas Poussin courtesy of metmuseum.org)