It was pointed out on a page I follow on Facebook that the non-feminist discourse on the topic of serial rapists targeting young girls has been dominated by the voices of upper-middle class, (mostly) white, men. Sure, there are plenty of people who don’t think of themselves as feminist who have positions on this, which range from the feminist condemnation through disbelief to a ‘yea boi!’ approval (which I dearly hope is confined to the young and inexperienced). But we’re not hearing many of those voices.
From what we hear, the opposition is privileged and male. The opposition are rape apologists, slut-shamers, victim-blamers, and brutish in their treatment of young people. They are, by feminist standards (and often by Joe Public’s standards) reprehensible, and lacking in common decency.
These commentators labour under the delusion that men are all just one short skirt or one too many beers away from becoming rapists, and so the ladies should really cover up and drink soda water to save men from themselves. They believe that every woman that puts out for a guy is likely to cry rape because she regrets it, or because she wants to ruin his reputation. They think that ‘boys will be boys’ is an acceptable excuse for sexual assault, and ‘she was asking for it’ an acceptable defense. And they think that rape culture is a made-up feminist term for something that they imagined up for themselves.
People I am acquainted with often wish destruction, or at least summary dismissal from the platform that they opine from. It may be the voice of the opposition, but their opinions are harmful to the victims of crime, and they’re perpetuating the rape culture that they don’t believe exists. They have a right to an opinion, but they have a right to have it in the privacy of their own home.
From the opposition’s perspective, I imagine that they see us as over-picky about how sex works, and too quick to cry rape. They see asking about what a victim was wearing and what she had to drink as legitimate questions, because those are things that girls can change to avoid being raped. They may not even think about the intimate partner or good friend as a rapist. It’s hard to get into their mindset because it is so alien to mine, but this is my best guess.
But what do other groups have to say? What about the lower classes, or the minority groups? Perhaps we could value their voices more, because at the moment we have what amounts to privileged males having a spat with their female counterparts. Different perspectives should be able to enter the discussion, and we should actively support that, and try to make this less of a clash between the over-privileged and the privileged, and make it about our entire community.