I heard a little bit about Lindsay Mitchell's latest Truth column on Twitter on Friday, but no one could provide me an online copy. Today someone rectified that in comments here (thank you, kind of).
Now Lindsay and I disagree on many things. We often have those agreements online, through the medium of blogging, but normally we manage to be remarkably civil for two people who disagree so fundamentally.
I really struggle though finding civil responses to this incredibly harmful rape apologist Truth column from Mitchell.
1. It is not necessary to put rapes in scare-quotes, especially when you are already using alleged in front anyway. Quote marks are for quotes, and here are some examples: Calling rape a "sex 'accident'" is so incredibly awful that it should be erased from the english language and never ever used again except to point out how awful it is. Ditto for "retrospectively unwanted sex".
2. If a friend came to me and told me she'd been raped while she was drunk (or a male friend for that matter) then my first response would not be to have questions, but to offer support and love and whatever else they needed BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FRIEND.
3. The legal standard may be guilt beyond reasonable doubt, but when I'm not a judge or a jury member I am quite at liberty to make up my own mind to believe the person who was raped, which is what I intend to do, especially if they are my friend, but also as a point of principle to somehow slightly re-balance the constant disbelief that rape victims face at every turn. Hurtful, harmful, unnecessary disbelief that Lindsay is perpetuating with this column.
4. No one asks for rape. It is rapists who are responsible for rape. Being incapable of giving consent means you have NOT GIVEN CONSENT. Sex without consent is rape. It's really quite simply. I thought former ACT candidate's were generally big on people having free will and giving informed consent and all that jazz?
5. "I’d talk it out and insist she mentally take some responsibility for what happened, learn from it and move on. And I’d forgive her, so she could do the same. " This HORRIFIES ME. If anyone has had that conversation with anyone I know who has been raped you better not ever tell me because I will explode with anger. All over you in a hideous mess of brain matter and internal organ-ness. I am not entirely sure I am exaggerating.
6. Suggesting that the best response is to totally sweep any such incidents away from any examination whatsoever is just so irresponsible that I cannot believe Truth even published it.
I'm going to stop at 6 points. I have to because otherwise I could write and delete and write and delete and write all night and still not be any further on with saying what I want to than just saying this:
It is rapists who are responsible for rape; minimising, excusing or denying this is unacceptable to me.