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I was a victim-blaming little shit. Now I am not. Education is Great for that.

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This is a very special post about how I used to be a rape-victim blaming little shit, when I was in my late teens. Oh yes, I drank the kool-aid. I believed that victims were somehow culpable in their own assault (especially in cases of “date rape,” the most common kind) because, hey, crawling into bed with someone or talking sexually with them or dry humping them are totes consent!

Except not.

I learned by reading both print and in the feminist blogosphere. I learned by thinking really hard about sexual assault, what it is, what it isn’t, what it means, and how we as a global society fail massively in talking about it, preventing it, and pursuing justice for survivors.

I learned SO MUCH from Harriet J at http://www.fugitivus.net– go there. Seriously. Click through. Read.

All of which is to say- I believe that we can change victim blaming little shits. I get angry and depressed and bitter at the ways that misogyny, homphobia, transphobia and toxic masculinities combine to create a great huge clusterfuck of victim blaming hatred. But I am optimistic that hearts and minds can be changed with education. That people can learn to see the ways that rapists take advantage of our collective contempt for vulnerable people to systematically isolate their victims and assault them. Rapists will often rape several different victims. They do it again and again because our culture tells them that they can. That the survivor will not be believed, that the survivor will be too ashamed, or tired, or traumatized to seek justice from law enforcement and court officials who will not believe them, or worse, will simply not care.

They do it because no-one calls them out on the way they push boundaries, on they way they “cleverly” take advantage of people who cannot give meaningful, informed consent.

They do it because of the myths about sexuality and rape that our culture holds near and dear.

But I believe that we can change things, especially by educating the peer groups of those who are at risk to rape, than the groups of those who are more likely to be raped.

I believe it because I made the journey myself.

Some other resources:

http://www.mencanstoprape.org/

http://endthebacklog.org/

http://www.rainn.org/

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About Pepper

Pepper Lee Hales is a twenty something, married, vicious feminist liberal. She likes dogs, cats, spiders, epistemics and cake.

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