I’ll Never Be Able to Watch Ghost Again

18Dec09

Or anything else Whoopi Goldberg has been in.  (I wasn’t a fan of Ghost anyway, so it isn’t much of a loss.)

It’s probably a good thing I am pulling away from tv and movies more and more these days.  I can’t separate my personal beliefs from my sources of entertainment anymore.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it is certainly frustrating.

I don’t watch The View.  Have never seen an episode.  So I had to hear about the existence of “rape-rape” secondhand.

Videos here.

Apparently when Roman Polanski drugged a 13-year-old girl so he could have sex with her, it was not “rape-rape.”  And it was perfectly okay for him to flee the country to avoid charges, because he believed the judge would have been harsh on him.

I haven’t been talking about Roman Polanski, because Samantha Geimer has stated that she’s over it and just wants to stop hearing about it.  I can’t blame her for that…I imagine, after all that time, I would be ready to move on with my life and just let it go, too.  But I just can’t ignore “rape-rape.”

What exactly constitutes rape-rape?  Does rape-rape have to be extremely violent?  Does the victim have to barely escape alive in order for it to be rape-rape?  Does the victim have to put herself in danger trying to escape before we can call it rape-rape?  Can rape-rape only happen to victims over the age of consent?

I am just disgusted with this.  You know, whether or not Whoopi thinks that Polanski should be prosecuted for the offenses he committed or not really isn’t my business.  But let’s not go into denial here.  What he did, it was rape.  Rape-rape even.  And trying to pretend it wasn’t is one of the major reasons sexual assault is so prevalent.

So rape makes people uncomfortable.  It should.  It’s bad, and bad things should make people fucking uncomfortable.  But being uncomfortable about rape should not make people brush it under the table and pretend it doesn’t exist.  It should make them take steps to prevent it.  I don’t mean women–we already try to cultivate a false sense of security by not walking home alone at night, not getting into compromising situations with strangers, trying not to send the wrong message to men lest they think we’ve given them permission to assault us.  The majority of women who are raped are raped by acquaintances–by people they thought they could trust.  Not walking home alone at night is not going to help us very much.  It’s not going to protect us when someone we thought was a friend decides to take advantage of us.

From an article on Yes Means Yes:

Change the culture. We are not going to pull six or ten or twelve million men out of the U.S. population over any short period, so if we are going to put a dent in the prevalence of rape, we need to change the environment that the rapist operates in. Choose not to be part of a rape-supportive environment. Rape jokes are not jokes. Woman-hating jokes are not jokes. These guys are telling you what they think. When you laugh along to get their approval, you give them yours. You tell them that the social license to operate is in force; that you’ll go along with the pact to turn your eyes away from the evidence; to make excuses for them; to assume it’s a mistake, of the first time, or a confusing situation. You’re telling them that they’re at low risk.

Everyone needs to take steps to send the message that rape is wrong, and unacceptable, and suspected rapists have no place in our society.  If that sounds harsh, good.  Our reactions should be harsh.

When people like Whoopi Goldberg make excuses, when they say things like “It wasn’t rape-rape,” they are condoning rape.  They are telling the rapists that it is acceptable, as long as they rape victims unable to fight back, as long as they don’t have to use force.  They are telling the rapists that they will get away with it, because people will turn their heads and pretend not to see.  And until more people are willing to say the opposite, they’re right–they will get away with it.

We do need to cultivate a Yes Means Yes approach to sex.  It isn’t enough to say, “she didn’t say no.”  Sexual acts should have the enthusiastic consent of all parties involved.  Anything else is sexual assault.  That doesn’t mean you always have to acquire a verbal yes from your partner–although if you’re uncertain, you definitely should.  It’s pretty easy to tell if someone is willing to engage in a sexual act.  It’s also pretty easy to tell if they’re capable of giving consent.

From Washington City Paper:

When rapists engage in sex acts without bothering to gain their sex partner’s consent, they are not “accidentally” raping someone. Rapes don’t come from miscommunication. They are not isolated, unpreventable incidents. They are a product of institutionalized, reinforced, life-long privilege. They are the symptoms of a flaw in the rapist’s entire worldview. They are the product of the way the rapist has habitually devalued women, laid claim to the bodies of others, pursued what he wants no matter what—and never thought anything of it because he has never been called on it. That’s not an accident. That’s a system.

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