Thursday, September 29, 2011

What We Stand For

It's very difficult to get a fish to understand that water is wet. Some would say impossible. Especially because the only way to achieve this, really is to hold the fish out of water for a while, but the shock of it makes the experience less than instructive, for the most part.

Looking at the kyriarchy is like that. We've swum in it, breathed it in, and when we are made aware of it for the first time, it makes us acutely uncomfortable. This happens because it is the first time we starkly realise that life isn't fair, that the individual is not as in control of his/her on circumstances as much as we would like to believe. It's also the first time we're made to think about our own privilege and realise that there are things we've gained in life because we belong to the right groups and classes. The first time is never an instructive moment, because it's very difficult to push past the gasping horror and discomfort at it all.

We understand that, and we keep blogging, because hopefully, the more you see these things, the more the discomfort will subside. Ideally, the discomfort will give way into outrage, into an attitude of "What can we do about this?" Before that though, we need to look at some of the assumptions the people who find their way here are making.

With that, I'm now going to respond to a comment made by someone who is still operating from a position within the kyriarchy.

The comment:
Xavier said...

Does Slutwalk plan to take a stand against false rape accusers?
Or are all rape accusations supposed to be viewed as completely true?
The short answer is no.

The long answer, is no, because we don't have to. Before I delve into why we don't have to secure that front, let me turn that question around a little. Do we regularly ask if a stand needs to be taken against people who report being burgled? Who report being robbed? Who report being assaulted? These are all crimes that involve one party aggressing another, yet we dont feel a pressing need to get up in arms about these charges.

Rape, on the other hand, seems to get everybody all fired up.

This persistent attitude that "the bitch is lying" means that the cost for a woman to allege rape is very high. This is particularly true if the case is taken to court, where the accuser's past sexual history is dredged out as a possible defense (to properly see how absurd this is, think of someone being mugged - the person whose wallet was stolen is never asked about the many times they've walked that route with a wallet on their person and then being treated as a liar for it). This is so traumatic that in the UK, 97% of accusers attrition out of their court hearings. Take that statistic, against the well-researched figure that only 5.9% of all rape allegations are false and you see why we don't have to take a stand against false rape accusations. I'll even spell it out for you in case you haven't quite been able to follow along: we currently live in a society where the default is to treat anyone alleging rape as a lying slut. The stand has already been taken. (See also: Rape Culture)

This default stand is harmful and disenfranchises victims of sexual assault. And there are many of them. And they deserve better.