Well Being

#LiberalTips2AvoidRape Exposes Dark Assumptions About Rape Victims, Rapists

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For a full explainer on “the most horrible hashtag of the week, thus far” (are we all cynics now?), see Mother Jones. In a nutshell: A Colorado bill would ban concealed firearms on college campuses in the state. State Rep. Joe Salazar, a Democrat, defended the bill Friday, in a clumsy speech about how armed and frightened college students might not always make the best decisions. The bill's opponents, however, think college students need to be able to carry concealed weapons to fend off mass shooters and rapists. Conservative bloggers parlayed Salazar's speech into “Democrats don't want women to be able to protect themselves against rapists.” A hashtag was born. And that hashtag, #LiberalTips2AvoidRape, has since turned into a catalogue of disturbing and disgusting ideas about rape and rapists.

Perhaps the most surprising part about this #LiberalTips2AvoidRape is that anyone's surprised. Maybe I just read too many feminist blogs and watch too much Law & Order SVU, but it seems all too apparent always that a lot of people still believe rape (and any violence against women) is brought on by women themselves. That it's generally committed by a stranger in an alley with a gun (SVU doesn't help with that). That it's generally about sexual desire or dependent on a victim's desirability (an idea SVU does do a good job of dismantling).

Still, it's not often that you see all these rape myths and falsehoods all coming together in one place, driving myriad nasty underlying assumptions about rape to the surface in a gleeful mix of misogyny and political posturing with dash of gun rights paranoia thrown in. That is something to see, I guess; something not surprising, but sad, and sociologically interesting. I'm going to post a few of the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape tweets below — if you're not in the mood to feel angry, offended or hopeless, move right along (that's my version of a ‘trigger warning'). I think it's fair to call these a representative sample, culled from about 5 minutes of scrolling through the hashtag page.


Here we can see at work the common assumption that rape is about finding someone appealing. ‘Oh, I like her looks and her lack of talking about nutrition; I think I'll rape her.' Most people don't think like that. Subsequently, most rapists don't become deterred in their pursuit of sexual violence by an available victim's dietary choices or personality traits.


A variation on the same theme, from some sort of Michelle Obama parody account.


Here we see two bizarre assumptions colliding: That reading news is incompatible with realizing bad people exist, and that people get raped because they just aren't trying hard enough to protect themselves.


Then we have our run-of-the-mill liberal bashing, framed through the lens of rape jokes. Liberals are pussies who believe in quaint concepts like law enforcement instead of everyone being their own personal militia! Liberals are weak and believe in science and other pussy things like not being racist!



El SOOPer!!, btw, is the person credited with launching the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape tag Monday night.



Liberal? Raped? You probably deserve it.


Yep, because the only negative thing about rape is the potential for an unwanted pregnancy, not the actually having someone repeatedly shove something inside your body against your will.