*NOTE: trigger warning.*
“please shame me!”
I will begin by acknowledging that I had the most positive experience in Missoula, MT. After attending U of M for 3 years, I moved back to Portland dragging my feet the entire way. My friends were some of the best I ever had, and the essence of Missoula was comforting, loving, and will be forever cherished as my second home. Needless to say, I have been undeniably pained to hear the constant media coverage of Missoula as the ‘Rape Capital’ of america and I cannot imagine how my friends and family feel being continued residents of their beloved town.
So yes, I am pained and I am sure that my Missoula friends and family are deeply saddened as well. However, I am honestly not surprised by Missoula’s new title. I do not expect high rape allegations because its Missoula, I expect such high rape allegations because Missoula is a college town. Even in the extremely liberal Portland, OR, my student e-mail inbox has been overwhelmed with safety advisory notices of sexual assaults and rapes that occurred on PSU’s campus. That said, it is also to my understanding that each individual case that took place on PSU’s campus, regardless of whether or not the peoples involved were students at PSU or not, was handled by the University and/or police authorities in a timely and non- victim blaming manner. And that right there is why Missoula, MT is getting the negative attention of the media.
A police chief telling a young woman, who ran straight to the authorities after being assaulted, that ” most rape reports are false” is NOT OKAY (and utterly inaccurate!!). In what other crime handling would something like this fly?….
Sooo I just got mugged (hypothetically of course). my purse was taken right out of my hands. I run to the police and they tell me, “most reports of being mugged are false” (my shit just got stolen, asshole.. do something about it!)…..or there was a bar fight and a guy got brutally beaten up. The victim shows up and the police say, “most reports of bar fights are false”. Go ahead, try any situation. It sounds incredibly obbsurd every time.
Why is it that in cases of rape, which might I add, only 6% of reported rapes end up being false, everyone seems to be in disbelief? Is it because all women are sluts? (certainly we’re not still ignorant thinking cavemen). Is it because women are attention whores? (cause I would just fucking LOVE to be given the attention of being shamed by the public and known for being a victim of non-consensual sex… so fun right?!). Or is it because a prevalent understanding of women’s sexual liberation in the 21st century means that we always want to fuck? That women are asking for it if we’re drunk and wearing a mini skirt? That no means yes because we won’t remember it the next day?Because if I invite you into my home and yes, even into my bed, that I am giving you a green light to have sex on me?… I honestly can only boil down all of the outrageous rationale that any one person can come up with to patriarchy. But that is a way longer tangent that I will withhold from at this moment for the sake of all you non-feminist thinking readers (wait, why aren’t you a feminist? educate yourself).
The main question that we need to be asking here, is why in cases of rape and sexual assault, with all of the statistics and history revealing women as being constantly and consistently sexually taken advantage of since the beginning of time, are we still victim- blaming? And does the fact that the victims, in the wide majority of cases, are all women have something to do with them being blamed? Maybe its just me, (I hope its not just me) but it is so incredibly fucked up that the focus of Missoula as the ‘Rape Capital’ is on figuring out how to do away with the fake accusations of rape rather than what to do with the rapists themselves!!! Or even better… why is rape so prevalent in the first place???
To wrap things up, even though I could go on for-literally-ever on this topic, no one wants to be a victim. Attention seeking individuals want positive attention, not shame, embarrassment or pity. And in no other crime would the victim be the one getting blamed besides in cases of rape… when the victims are women. you do the math.