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Rape Culture isn't a left/right issue; it is a cultural one.  As a culture, we seem inclined to disbelieve a survivor because of the clothes she wears, the time of day she was walking outside her own home, whether or not she was drunk, and/or her sexual past.  No such burden is ever placed on the accused rapist.  Instead, he is defended vigorously by his supporters, leaving the victim feeling alone and isolated, and in many cases, is denied justice.

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According to RAINN, 97% of rapists will never see jail time.  Does that mean that the 97% of rapists were falsely accused?  No.  It means that the system failed in those cases, in some form or another, to side with victims.  

It has been indeed discouraging (if not surprising) to see Republican male politicians saying remarkably stupid and ignorant things about rape.  Their hostility to a woman's autonomy is well-documented, between passing radically-draconian laws against abortion, denying that women deserve equal pay, and believe that bosses should have a say in how their female employees utilize their compensation benefits and what they do in their off-hours.  Right-wing radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh use slut-shaming as a tool to silence women such as Sandra Fluke, for daring to speak out about the injustices of denying women access to basic healthcare needs such as birth control.  They also show remarkable ignorance in how birth control actually works (which is not like Viagra where you need to take it every time you want sex).  They have, to the delight of their Democratic opposition, not shut up about their misogyny and in the end, lost their election bids.    

But while we may applaud the result of Republican misogyny leading to their electoral doom, we fail to look inward as progressives.  There are misogynists among us, too.  They may be pro-choice when it comes to women's reproductive rights, but when issues of rape and abuse are put forth in the media, especially when the accused is someone famous and privileged, they show almost the same kinds of misogyny that we attack right-wingers for.  They don't want to believe that an instance of rape and abuse occurred and find themselves questioning the accuser's integrity and behaviors.  They never question the accused and what his behavioral patterns are.  They refuse to hear or see the actual evidence, no matter how many times it's been linked to them.  

This is what's protecting the rapists among us.  Denying their culpability in their own actions.  By saying that men cannot control themselves around women and have uncontrollable sexual urges.  By scrutinizing the survivors' integrity and not that of the rapists'.  This is a universal issue.  It needs to stop.  Rape is not about sex; it is about power and the need to control.  Rapists need to be held accountable for their own actions.  They are responsible for the actions they take, not their victims.  Until we can grasp this most basic concept, the rape culture continues.

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Originally posted to infinitygoddess on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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