The Roastbusters scandal it going on full blast in the media, and the big question is why the police haven’t acted before now. The answer is reportedly that the laws binds their hands, because they need an official complaint to act. And that’s fair enough. However, I think the big question should be, how this could have gone on so long?
What kind of culture do we live in that these boys have enough of the support of their peers that no-one stood up and said ‘stop, or I go to the cops’ or even just heads to the cops with no warning given? It’s a sick culture where rape is considered acceptable because ‘she wanted it’. A culture where no-one even considers it rape to violate a girl who’s too drunk to consent. A culture that is A-ok with treating women like sex toys and then humiliating them. A culture in which women’s sexuality is seen as the plaything for men’s pleasure. A culture that deeply disrespects women.
So it went on so long partly because no-one stood up and said no, because they live in a culture that says it’s ok or because they couldn’t break the chains of peer pressure. That’s not great, but it’s the reality a dissenting teen faces.
There is another reason that this went on so long, and it’s also a cultural thing. The girls that could have come forward and end it all face a rape-tolerating culture that will put them on trial, and is likely to side to a greater or lesser degree with their rapists. This part of our culture is even more sick than the part that accepted what the boys were doing.
If we lived in a culture that wasn’t so steeped in acceptance of rape and condemnation of the victim, then coming forward would be so much easier. A girl would not be interrogated on her drinking, on her dress, on how she was acting. The only question would have to be whether it happened or not, as it is with every other crime. When the girl came forward, she would be given unconditional support by whatever agency that provided such things. And most of the public, if it came to a public trial, would look at her as a victim and support her. She wouldn’t be vilifies by the media, and the big deal would not be how drunk she was but how awful it was for those boys to violate her while she was incapacitated. The girl or girls would be supported, and the rapist would face the same kind of press and public reaction as an accused murderer.
It’s not like that though. Being a rape victim is shameful, so shameful that single-digit percentages of reported rapists ever get to trial, never mind get a conviction. The process is insanely hard on victims. Is it any wonder that not one of the girls so far interviewed by the police want to put their name to this? They are already ashamed, and to go through public humiliation is just too much, especially for such young girls. Of course the cops have no case. Their own and the court processes, in addition to the rape culture we live in, are just too much. Too hard. Too cruel.