Playing The Rape Card
Rape is everywhere it seems at the moment, especially in The Guardian. In the last seven days there have been no less than 120- yes, 120!- articles featuring ‘rape’ in The Graun.
You’d think there was a rape epidemic or something. But no, it has just been an average week, in which a UK politician has said some ill-informed things about rape and the criminal justice system, a French politician has been accused of assaulting a chambermaid, and women have GOT ANGRY like it was 1969.
Suzanne Moore is no exception. She has been inciting women to get angry ever since she reclaimed her rightful position as Chief Feminist Columnist at The Guardian a few months ago. Reading her columns has felt like being an audience-member in an avant-garde piece of po-mo theatre, or a sci-fi movie. It is a simulcra of the 1970s feminism I grew up in, with added ‘performativity’ and Jimmy Choos, and Prossecco. This is Feminism 2.0
But today Moore excels herself. First, she plays the victim card. It’s like a joker, you only get one or two in a pack, so you have to use it strategically and she has. In a week when the leader of the opposition called for the Justice Minister’s resignation/sacking, over his comments about how some rapes are more ‘serious’ than others, and his ignorance about the difference between rape and unlawful sex with a minor, the ‘rape victim’ card has particular value.
Suzanne Moore is telling us that she is qualified to pontificate about rape, not just because she is a woman, or a Guardian columnist, or a feminist, or someone of a certain age who understands the history of the term. Her special qualification is that she has been raped herself. And in telling us she has been raped, not only does she gain ‘victim status’ making it nearly impossible for anyone to argue with her, without being labelled a rape apologist, a rape denier, or, by insinuation, an actual rapist, she also is canny. She won’t give us the gory details of her ordeal (and I am sure it was an ordeal) because that will be playing the tabloid hand of demanding titillation with your feminism with your cornflakes in the morning. She is taking the moral high ground. She is also avoiding any argument over her authority about the facts of her case. Rape pretty well always boils down to ‘her word against his’. Two people have sex. One of them says there was no consent. If there are no witnesses it is very difficult to ascertain which one is telling the truth. But we all believe Suzanne, because she is our trusted Guardian columnist, our friend on facebook, our twitter follower/ee. We take her word for it and we don’t question anything she says.
So, once she has played the rape card, how can we question anything else she says in the article? She is the victim here, right? She is the survivor. She is the journalist whose piece on cif has been given special treatment, so comments below the line do not get published until a moderator has approved them. Usually an article by Suzanne will attract at least 300 comments. Often going up to 500 or 600. As I write this, in the afternoon of the day it was published, there are only 94 comments. Were all the others ‘misogynist’? ‘offensive’? We will never know.
But what does she say?
Firstly Moore tells us she is ‘disgusted’ that rape has become a party political issue.
‘Rape is rape. But rape is not a party-political issue, and I am fairly disgusted that it has been treated that way this week.’
Then she tells us that
‘Pretty much everyone agrees that our conviction rates for rape are appallingly low and the system has to change.’
I don’t agree that conviction rates for rape are appallingly low. But this is not the time to be arguing with Suzanne. She is a victim don’t you know. She knows best.
She then goes on to state:
‘All we have had from this government so far was the bizarre proposal from the Lib Dems about waiving anonymity for victims, which was thankfully thrown out’.
This is incorrect. The lib dems did not propose waiving anonymity for victims, they proposed giving anonymity to defendants. A slightly different suggestion.
She then defends Clarke’s proposals to reduce sentences for guilty pleas in rape cases, as an attempt ‘to avoid the trauma of trial, which for so many women is another further violation’.
Likening being in court to being violated is something feminists do a lot. Everything is a ‘violation’. Women are being ‘raped’ by the system. It is the metaphor of drama queens, of victim culture.
Suzanne then mentions how there is only ‘one small (rape crisis) centre serving nearly 4 million women’ in London, and suggests it is under threat of closure. When actually, it has been confirmed that the Mayor has agreed to increase that number to four rape crisis centres in the capital.
Once she has established that ‘misogyny is the theory, rape is the practice’, Moore feels free to conflate rape with any other form of unwanted sexual attention or violence against women. And to blame men for it.
‘Every time a high-profile man is accused of rape or harassment or assault, not only is there usually a backlog of complaints, there is usually a protective entourage. Tyson, Clinton, Schwarzenegger, Berlusconi etc etc. Powerful men have powerful urges, you see’ she writes.
‘There is an argument that we should see rape as an extension of assault and not a specifically horrific crime. It is not the worst thing that can ever happen. A penis is simply a piece of flesh. That’s all. But rape culturally is about power and humiliation and real, or threatened, violence.’
So Moore has placed herself carefully as someone who does not blame ‘penises’ for rape. But she still invokes the power of the phallus when she says ‘rape culturally is about power and humiliation’.
In my comment on cif, the one that was passed by the moderators, I said that Moore can talk in this way about men and rape, because technically women cannot rape men. Rape demands a penis to penetrate an orafice without consent. So even if feminists begrudgingly acknowledge that women can sexually assault men, which Suzanne does not in this particular article, they always have ‘rape’ kept special. The crime that only men can commit. And according to this article it seems, only against women.
She finishes with a final blow, that could have come out of Dworkin or Brownmiller’s mouths, forty years ago:
‘There is more than one way of imprisoning people and rape acts culturally as a form of incarceration. For women always. And for those men who do actually want us to set us free.’
This is what happens when we allow women ‘victim status’. They have us by the balls and they can say whatever they like about rape, about men, about power. And we can’t do anything to challenge them. Without being labelled as rapists ourselves.
Fine. I am ok with the label of ‘rapist’ however inaccurate it may be. If it is the only way I can counter the hate and the lies that have been spouting from feminism and from The Guardian lately, I will take it.