Friday, September 07, 2012

The Rape Flowchart: Because Sometimes Visual Aids Are Necessary

Reading this article made my blood boil.

Yet another rape or sexual assault case where the perpetrator gets off scot-free because someone with the power to stand up for the victim chose to blame her instead. The latest of too damn many.

I can't believe we still have to actually have this conversation in two-thousand-fucking-twelve. But here we are. Again.

Too many people subscribe to this harmful victim-blaming philosophy. And yes, I mean "people".  It may be tempting to fall back on the old "men bad/women good" bludgeon, but it doesn't apply here. Too many people of both genders believe this fallacy.

The damage this "blame the victim" mentality does is incalculable. It prevents rapes from being prosecuted and rape arrests from being made. It makes women reluctant to report because of the very real fear that they might not be believed. It makes women fear for their safety, thereby inhibiting them from fully enjoying their lives and even advancing their careers in every way they have a right to. It fosters unfair prejudice against men, where the assumption is that every man is just a short-skirt-viewing away from becoming a rapist. And worst of all, it allows rapists and sexual predators to strike again and again with impunity.

The blame is 100% on the rapist or sexual abuser. Period. It's frustrating because this is such a simple concept, yet too many people just don't get it.

So I figure maybe a visual aid might help. Something like a flowchart.

This is a little something I whipped up on the spot. (Forgive those awful-lookiing arrows.) You can print out and give to other people if you like. Give it to your parents, or your daughter or son, or your friends, especially if they are in law enforcement or the court system.

This is a simple MS Paint design, so you can save it to your drive and retool it as you like. The small letter fonts are simple Arial Size 8, while the larger ones are Arial Black with sizes ranging from 10 to 14. Maybe you want to change "rape" to "sexual assault" or "sexual harrassment". Or change "rapist" to "sexual predator" or "sexual harrasser". Or even change "woman" to "person" (men can get sexually assaulted, too). Be my guest. In any of these cases, the message is the same.

The key is sending the message.