Victim Blaming, Rape Apologia Piece by H. Ferguson on Christian Post site: “Rethinking Date Rape”

Victim Blaming, Rape Apologia Piece by H. Ferguson on Christian Post: “Rethinking Date Rape”

I am surprised I have not seen more Christians tweet or write in criticism of this page:

(Link): Rethinking Date Rape by Hope Ferguson – on The Christian Post

Here are some excerpts:

  • … Sulkowicz did not deny previously having taken part in consensual relations with the same young man. So was this a case of rape or of miscommunication?
  • According to the latest statistics, one in five women on American campuses has been subject to acquaintance rape. Although the circumstances vary, one common element is that alcohol has usually been consumed by both parties.
  • A young adult woman, lugging a mattress – the supposed scene of a crime – around with her to class, seemed to me to crystalize all that is wrong with the current focus on the “rape culture,” on college campuses and how it subsequently infantilizes adult women. I could only think of a child lugging around her security “blankie.”
  • ….If a woman decides that a consensual encounter is now not to her liking, and she tells the man to stop, but in a frenzy of testosterone and pleasure, he refuses, is that rape? Does her later no cancel out her earlier yes?If a young woman, such as one profiled in the New York Times recently, gets stinking drunk at a frat party with equally drunk young men, and finds herself “taken advantage of,” is that rape?
  • …While the young men, every bit as immature and drunk as the young women, are excoriated and raked across society’s collective coals, the young women are absolved from all liability and responsibility for their behavior.
  • We are not talking about mature adults preying on kids.
  • We are talking about peers and how they think about, negotiate, and act on their sexual desires.The Columbia student who was so outraged about being “raped” by her date, had already had consensual sex with the same young man previously. Rather than dismissing the incident as sexual communication gone wrong, instead, the young man, a student at Columbia as well, is labeled as a rapist on national TV, with no opportunity to defend himself without exposing his identity.
  • …Roiphe points out how smart young women who populate campuses are seemingly embracing the discarded stereotype of a woman who does not own her own actions, who is innocent, easily persuaded and manipulated; an image that women of her mother’s generation sought to dispel.
  • Are women really helpless victims?In the latest controversy over Jackie’s story in Rolling Stone, the writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, admittedly began her quest with an agenda to expose acquaintance rape on a prestigious college campus; to show how the charge is not taken seriously by college administrators (who frequently do not report the cases to police, either for fear of sullying their institution’s reputations, or in recognition of the murkiness of many of the charges) and to show how young women are therefore victimized all over again.
  • Now I am not defending rape, acquaintance rape, date rape nor any other kind. I am saying, as Roiphe did in her piece, that cases of heterosexual miscommunication may end up as “rape,” if the woman later regrets what she did; doesn’t remember what she did; can’t recall consenting; or did something under the influence of alcohol that she wouldn’t normally do, with the attendant shame.However, perhaps the young men also did something under the influence of alcohol that they would not normally do.
  • Why are they held to a higher standard of accountability than the young women? Why isn’t there more education on college campuses about the dangers of binge drinking? Nearly 2,000 young people a year die on American campuses of alcohol-related circumstances.
  • …Why aren’t young women taught to protect themselves and to avoid being caught in avoidable situations that could end badly, like being drunk to the point of passing out in a frat house full of horny young men suffering from TMT (too much testosterone).

I personally do not find it victim-blaming to tell women of preventative measures they can take to lessen their chances of being raped; I wrote about it earlier, here:

(Link):  Suggesting Preventive Measures Is Not Necessarily Victim Blaming

So far on that score, I’m in partial agreement with Ferguson, but I am astounded at how much victim blaming is in this article.

Where Ferguson writes,

  • However, perhaps the young men also did something under the influence of alcohol that they would not normally do. Why are they held to a higher standard of accountability than the young women?

Because a woman getting drunk is not the same thing as a man attacking a woman.

It doesn’t matter if the man in question is inebriated or not when he attacks a woman. Rape remains rape, and a crime that one human does against another.

A woman who is getting drunk in a frat house is only doing harm to herself (she may get liver problems if she continues drinking).

And that is one reason of several why society should hold young men “more accountable” in a situation where he rapes a woman, whether he is drunk or sober at the time. This isn’t rocket science, and I’m shocked that Ferguson doesn’t understand any of this.

Men who kill people while drunk driving face legal penalties, why should they not also do so in cases of sexual assault, if they rape a woman while they are drunk?

Ferguson writes,

  • A young adult woman, lugging a mattress – the supposed scene of a crime – around with her to class, seemed to me to crystalize all that is wrong with the current focus on the “rape culture,” on college campuses and how it subsequently infantilizes adult women. I could only think of a child lugging around her security “blankie.”

For those of you not familiar with the story of the rape victim who carried her mattress around campus, here are a few articles about it (all off site links):

I find it very troubling that this author, Ferguson, shows no understanding or concern for the young woman carrying the mattress, but chooses to view this as the woman “infantilizing” herself.

The young woman’s mattress was symbolic of her attack, and of seeking justice.

To compare the mattress of this story to a child’s “security blankie” belies deep ignorance on the part of the author (and I’m betting this is willful ignorance) and a lack of compassion for sexual assault victims.

Ferguson writes,

  • Although the circumstances vary, one common element is that alcohol has usually been consumed by both parties.

While I have no problem educating and cautioning women from drinking too much around men, especially at frat houses and at bars, it is immoral to blame women for being raped because they were drunk at the time of the assault.

Would Ferguson say that children who follow a child molester into his van for a promise of candy are to blame for being raped by the molester in the van?

Would she, Ferguson, shame those child victims and say, “It was their own fault they were assaulted, because they should have known better than to believe a stranger’s promise about candy?”

Probably not, so why blame a grown woman for being raped?

Ferguson writes,

  • Sulkowicz did not deny previously having taken part in consensual relations with the same young man. So was this a case of rape or of miscommunication?

Any time a woman says no or protests, or does not give her consent to have sex (the woman may be drugged or knocked out and incapable of accepting or declining), the situation is rape.

It does not matter if the man who rapes the woman is a man she has had consensual sex with 100 times in the past, only one time, or ten times, or zero times.

Marital rape was legal in the United States even up into the last half of the 20th century or earlier, because cultural and legal views were such that people believed that a husband had a right to have sex any time with his wife, even if the wife said “no” and did not want to have sex.

It looks as though Ferguson subscribes to this view that women have no agency, that they are forever the property of other men, and that their decisions about their own bodies or lives do not matter.

I also find it very odd and sexist that Ferguson acts as though because a woman may have had consensual sex with a man at one point in time that the man is forever entitled to that woman and her body any time he pleases in the future.

To argue in that manner would be to argue also that because I let the plumber into my house once five years ago to un-clog my kitchen pipes, with my consent, now means that same  plumber can just waltz into my house any time he wants to now and touch my pipes.

Just because I consented to let the auto mechanic down the street change the oil in my car six months ago at the local garage does not give that guy the right to get into my car today, change the oil, or drive the car around.

A one time “yes” of two days ago or ten years ago, does not equate to a lifetime “yes.”

Perhaps the most hypocritical part of the essay was this:

  • …Roiphe points out how smart young women who populate campuses are seemingly embracing the discarded stereotype of a woman who does not own her own actions, who is innocent, easily persuaded and manipulated; an image that women of her mother’s generation sought to dispel.

If anything or anyone is guilty of infantilizing women, it’s conservative Christian teachings about gender roles, dating, and marriage.

Under the rubric of “biblical womanhood,” “traditional gender role” or “gender complementarian” teachings, Christians tell Christian women to behave and think like little girls – though advocates of these positions may deny it, this is what their teachings boil down to in practice.

Christian women, in particular from evangelical, Reformed, fundamentalist, and Baptist backgrounds, get the repeated message from parents, churches, Christian material (such as books, blogs, etc) that a woman’s only  acceptable or suitable role in life is to be a wife and mother.

As a wife, they are told, their husband has authority over them, and they are to “graciously submit” to that husband. Christian women in abusive marriages are counseled by preachers to stay with abusive husband and to continually submit to him.

For examples of that, see these off site links:

(Link): Preacher John Piper: Wives should “endure” abuse “for a season”

(Link): Paige Patterson has never retracted his words on wife beating

Those are common views among conservative Christians concerning women in abusive marriages. I said COMMON, those are not rare, those are not exceptions.

Christian women are taught from the time they are young that they are always to put the needs and feelings of other people before their own.

Christian women are taught and pressured from the time they are girls and as adults that they are always to say “yes” to other people’s requests, no matter what.

Christian women are taught by most other Christians and conservative Christian culture that conflict is bad or wrong and to be avoided.

Therefore, many Christian women raised in such families or environments never get any practice at developing assertive life skills, disagreeing with others, standing up to people, defending themselves.

Conservative Christians raise females with the expectation that a good, biblical female is one who is constantly quiet, sweet, un-assertive, doesn’t make choices for herself, doesn’t challenge or disagree with people, especially never men.

Christian women are, in other words, fed a steady diet of Codependency, and they taught that being Codependent is God’s will for every woman’s life.

Women who are raised like this are incapable of making decisions for themselves. They tend to cave in quickly when they are too afraid to stand up to a person who is demanding something of them. The word “no” gets caught in their throat.

This puts Christian women in a dangerous position, from the time she is a kid, teen, and into her adult years, unless and until she visits therapists and reads books by doctors who explain it’s not mean, uh-Christ-like, bitchy, or selfish for a woman to say “no” and to have boundaries.

Here’s an example that happens to a lot of women a lot as they grow up and even into their adulthoods (this happened to me a lot):

If a strange man approaches a woman on the street asking for help, the woman’s instinct or gut tells her this man is possibly a mugger or a rapist, but she don’t want to hurt his feelings, offend the man, or appear as a bitch.

After all, their mothers, Christian pastors, and books about men and dating, raised them that Christian girls are ALWAYS sweet, helpful, and nice, and should not put even their own safety ahead of a stranger in need – so instead of running away or making an otherwise quick exit, which they should do, they let the strange man approach them and talk to them.

And all the while, they have butterflies in their stomach, worried if this man is going to harm them or not.

By the way, a lot of rapists prey on women using this as a tactic and use this to exploit women.

Ted Bundy, the serial killer, used to put a cast on his arm, and approach young women asking them for help, to carry things to his car. He knew they did not want to appear bitchy or mean, so they would help him out. Once they were by his car, he wound knock them out, toss their bodies in his car, drive away, and kill them.

Rapists, muggers, etc, count on women caring more about others than their own safety, they rely on women caring more about appearing nice, sweet, and “Christian” then they do about their own safety, and they exploit these traits to get female victims.

And Christians keep right on teaching women to be easy targets for rapists, con artists, abusive boyfriends, and muggers.

Yes indeed, it’s conservative Christian teaching itself which causes some Christian women to be raped, mugged, or killed.

It’s not always the fault of secular feminism, university campus parties, or alcohol drinking that is to blame for rape, but the cultural and Christian pressure on women from the time they are young, to always be compliant, lack boundaries, and afraid to say No to anyone.

The ideal biblical, Christian woman to most Christians is a passive, wimpy, sweet, subservient, woman who will never stand up for herself, never utter a negative comment.

And it’s precisely those kinds of women abusive men and rapists love to choose as their victims.

Christian gender role teachings set women up to be enticing, easy targets for con artists, rapists, abusive husbands, but then Christians – such as Ferguson – who write those awful articles, blame the women for being raped.

Christians who pressure girls and women to abide by gender complementarian teachings (which is nothing but codependency) set women up to be rape victims, conditions them to act and think like victims, but then they turn around and blame them if they are raped.

It’s demonic, evil, and very deplorable to set women up to be assaulted, and then blame them if or when they are assaulted. The Christian Post really should delete that article.

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Related posts:

(Link):  How Feminists Are Making Women Easier Rape Targets

(Link):  Southern Baptist’s New Sexist “Biblical Woman” Site – Attitudes in Total Face Palm of a Site One Reason Among Many This Unmarried and Childless Woman Is Saying Toodle-Oo to Christianity

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): The “Feminization” of the Church by K R Wordgazer

(Link): Population Decline and Bay-bee Obsession – Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Traditional Family, Christian Gender Complementarian Nuts