Monday, August 22, 2011


There is a pretty consistent rhetoric that is inexorably present in mass media coverage of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment cases, which is that the "incident" itself is but a moment in time, therefore short-lived and easily brushed aside; meanwhile, the accusation itself of committing such an atrocity follows the unfortunate soul throughout the rest of his/her life, branding them for all of society to scorn and dismiss them at will.

This argument makes no sense.

In order for the latter to be true, that is, that being accused of such a crime carries with it the implication that the person may have done something unforgivable, the former must not be true. In other words, if being raped, or sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed is not a big deal, then being accused of rape, or sexual assault, or sexual harassment should also be not a big deal, because the crime itself is not a big deal.

This is rape culture.

This is the type of cognitive dissonance that we absorb and dispense when we treat victims of these crimes as if they are the true criminals for having the gall to accuse someone of harming them.

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