Christianity / Fundamentalism / Hypocrisy / Sex

Has anti-rape culture gone too far? The Duggars, Date Rape Nail Polish, and Demanding Middle School Girls

Is it possible to take a movement (if we can call it that) to end violence too far? What I’ve seen and read lately concerning rape culture, I think it is possible. Let me make some caveats first.

First, Bill Gothard’s teachings are unquestionably, undeniably encouraging rape culture. Victims are taught to look within and find the fault in themselves. Children are not taught about sexual words, so they can define what is going on. There is a massive amount of shame and guilt that comes with being abused, especially in this circle. Bill Gothard’s teachings are abusive. On top of that, they are abiblical for the most part. And they reveal a personal agenda of lust, molestation, and manipulation. His teachings are inexcusably wrong.

Second, the Duggar family was raised in this culture. Call them brainwashed, indoctrinated, whatever. The children certainly have a different view of life because of these teachings. It’s obvious that the girls have taken many of the teaching to heart as we see them follow a quiverfull path.

Third, I believe that women should be able to walk down the street naked and not get raped. It would still not be their fault. No matter what we wear, don’t wear, how we kiss, where we go and with whom, no woman is asking to be raped… that’s kind of the definition, right?

That being said, it’s possible we’ve taken this too far.

Duggar Controversy

This whole Duggar controversy has brought out two different sides to me. As I was raised in a conservative fundamentalist Christian environment, I understand how much victim blaming and guilt goes on with sexual abuse in that culture. I understand how it feels personally. However, after the formerly Duggar girls gave an interview about their experience and their feelings on it, I’m inclined to believe them. I read this post in which the author insists that she would have defended her abuser as well. While the tone of the post is introspective, it clearly presents the idea that the girls are not allowed to speak up against Josh and that’s the reason that they are not calling him out. That they perhaps don’t even know the extent to which they are damaged. It seems to me that this view is discrediting the voice of the victims. These are not little girls. They are 22 and 24 years old. If they say that they aren’t scarred, if they say that it was seriously mild, then I am inclined to believe them. My mother was chronically abused as a child and teen. No one believed her. From the time that I was very little, she taught me to believe kids. I was taught to believe the victim as it is very hard to even speak about it. But I have a feeling that saying that I believe the victims, that I trust their voices, is not going to be looked upon in a favorable way.

That is one way we have taken this too far. Since when is it a counter of rape culture to discredit the voice of the victims? I personally believe that we need to show that we can trust the word of the offended. If we teach them that they can’t trust their own experiences, how are we making rape culture less influential? Isn’t this a continuation of rape culture in reverse. Sorry honey, we can’t trust your experience because you were raised wrong even though you’re an adult and clearly are able to understand it now.

Middle School Crushes

I was reading a post in response to another post when I couldn’t deny that I had to say something. One lady is trying to raise a son that respects women and himself. She encourages him not to look at women in the cleavage, but in the face. Respectful, right? Apparently it’s offensive. Because she cites purity and asks that the girls who are throwing themselves at him to calm down, it’s offensive. The response post indites the mother for being superior and for discouraging the courage of little girls who simply want to tell a boy he’s ‘cute.’ (When they actually tell him he’s hot.) She goes on to say that the mother should train her son how to react to such compliments, not with disdain but with kindness.

Woah woah woah! You’re arguing that sexually empowered little girls should be able to harass little boys who don’t want the attention and the boy is supposed to smile and say something nice? This boy is going about his day with his family and girls are demanding his attention and giving him unwanted compliments and he’s supposed to be grateful for their attention? Isn’t this exactly what men insist to catcalling women? Isn’t this exactly what pisses us off? The idea that our hotness being expressed in a pushy manner is not a compliment. That we are more than a sexual object that sexually empowered boys can’t help but notice? Here we see another place in which opposing rape culture is creating a responsive rape culture. If we want to end oppressive sexuality on girls, we must teach boys how to endure it with kindness and grace…? It’s not okay just because genders switch roles.

Date Rape Nail Polish

When I read that such a thing had been invented by four young men, I was stoked to say the least. How awesome is it that you can paint your nails with undercover colors, and dip your nails into your drink to know within seconds if you have been slipped a rape drug?! This could save lives, right? So, when I read about a controversy surrounding it’s development, I was a little confused. Apparently, this nail polish creates an excuse for victim blaming. Rape crisis says that things like this take the full responsibility off of the perpetrator and even discussing what could be done to prevent rape is victim blaming. Apparently because you shouldn’t have to defend yourself, you’re not allowed to. Don’t test your drink to see if it had been drugged, because you shouldn’t have to worry about that. Just because you shouldn’t have to worry, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to.

These three things have something in common. They are taking options away from the ones being acted upon in a sexually aggressive action. These ideas border on taking away their voice. They are demanding that they smile and enjoy the attention. They are demanding that they take no precautions whatsoever. Stop limiting what the victims can and should do. If they say that their abuse was severe believe them. If they say their abuse was mild, that they are not scarred, believe them. (By all means offer counsel and allow yourself to adapt to their voice, but don’t discredit them!) If they don’t want the attention, don’t demand they treat the pushy person graciously if they don’t want to. If they want to try to prevent taking a drink that has been drugged, don’t dissuade them from doing so. Come on people. Don’t limit the victim and potential victims by trying to liberate them!

*Not sure why it published twice.*

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6 thoughts on “Has anti-rape culture gone too far? The Duggars, Date Rape Nail Polish, and Demanding Middle School Girls

  1. About the nail polish thing:

    If we lived in a world where women weren’t already placed under suspicion for not taking every means available to protect themselves, I’d agree with you. But, sadly, we don’t. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had people tell me things like “any woman not carrying a gun is stupid and deserves it,” or asked me “why wasn’t she carrying mace/a rape whistle/brass knuckles?” or told me that any woman who “really didn’t want to get raped would take self-defense classes.”

    In that context, supposedly rape-proof underwear and date-rape-discovering nail polish are just one more way for those sorts of people to blame women. If an individual woman wants to take advantage of them, awesome, but the people I read who were reacting to the nail-polish weren’t reacting to merely it’s existence but, rather, headlines like “New nail polish can prevent rape!”

    It completely ignores that even if the nail polish were effective, very few rapists use drugs. Most rely on undetectable methods, and the vast majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows and trusts and wouldn’t think to test the drink they’d been handed by the boyfriend or buddy anyway.

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    • I understand the perspective, but not sure I agree with the hate on the project idea. These guys are innovating with the intention of making girls safer. A lot of what I read was hating on them for adding to women’s burdens. I think those people saying stuff like you mentioned are the tiny minority. Myself, I would certainly encourage my girls to know how to protect themselves, and teach them that if something happens it was in no way their fault. Not sure why we can’t both provide protection and put the blame on the perpetrator. It doesn’t have to be either or. And we have to call out each place that is wrong, not throw good things out because of the slippery slope syndrome.

      People should have the right to protect themselves until we can educate and make progress on actually preventing rape. The summation of the arguments against this polish are, in my opinion, dangerously naive and idealistic.

      Thanks so much for stopping to read and contributing to the discussion. I really appreciate your engaged dialogue!!
      Blessings on your journey.

      Like

  2. I know it is possible for someone not to know how much they have been damaged.

    The mother was wrong: she should allow her son to feel his sexual attraction, and learn to act upon it consensually. “Look at her face”, a teenage boy, really? But she was also criticising the clothes. Don’t criticise the clothes.

    Buy your own drink??? Don’t get ratarsed when out on the pull??? I would rather carry a test strip in my handbag than paint it on my nails.

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    • It is possible to not realize how damaged you are. Victims of abuse, myself included, go in an out of phases of emotions concerning the abuse. We should be embracing them and their feelings at each stage fully, so they can get accustomed to listening to their own voice. Emotional states change. It doesn’t mean that you’re not speaking the truth just because it changes.
      With this I feel there is a fine line between setting realistic expectations and raising a gentleman. Though he also has the right not to return affection. And yes, the clothes. If you don’t want him to see bikinis take him to an amish lake.
      Well, now aren’t blaming those who may get raped? I think it may help the embarrassment factor for college girls. most don’t want to use test strips, even if it keeps them safer.
      Blessings on your journey!!

      Liked by 1 person

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