Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Telegraph does whole article about teaching men how not to rape while continuing to mis-educate about rape

Here’s an article that wound me up today, I invite you to be wound up too.

Let’s start with the course itself.  It’s apparently “designed to prevent professional sportsmen from becoming embroiled in sexual allegations”.  What do they mean by sexual allegations?  An allegation that someone’s penis isn’t very big?  That they didn’t go on for long enough?  That they made funny sniffing noises during sex?  That their personal grooming wasn’t all it should be?  Somehow, I don’t think those are the sorts of allegations this article is talking about.  I think they’re talking about allegations involving unlawful sexual behaviour like rape or other assault.

The article discusses how footballers are likely to become “embroiled in sexual allegations” because “their age, fame and disposable income make them susceptible to the type of scenario where things go wrong.”

Things go wrong?  Really?  They just “go wrong” do they?  Without anyone doing anything to make them “go wrong”?  In general when it comes to embroilment in sexual allegations, it’s not because things have somehow inexplicably gone wrong, it’s because someone has actually done something wrong.  Like sexually assaulted or raped somebody else, just as an example.  Using the passive voice in this context, is a deliberate removal of responsibility from the perpetrator of a criminal act.

“The lines get blurred” the article tells us, "there are situations where people do things that later, when alcohol has left their system, they regret".  Again with the old rape myths.  Lines don’t get blurred, men ignore women’s physical boundaries and decide that it doesn’t much matter if the woman they are with is actively participating in sex with them or not.  It’s not a question of “regret”, it’s a question of not having had a choice about whether you participated in a sexual act or not.  Young men don’t just need to learn what consent is, they actually need to learn what sex is: something you do with somebody, not just something you do on or to somebody.  It’s much easier to understand consent, if you already know that sex is a participatory activity.

And apparently saying out loud to someone “fancy coming back to mine?” is proof of consent to sex if they agree they do fancy that.

I’m not actually opposed to daft young men learning what consent is and that they have a responsibility not to engage in sexual activity if there’s any doubt whatsoever that they have it.  But when the Telegraph report it, do they need to unquestioningly use the usual assumptions, rape myths and victim-blaming language found in our rape-friendly culture?  Can’t they do a little bit better than this?  #Fail

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