Monday, 15 August 2011

Has Anyone Even Asked?

Trigger Warning for rape discussion of brutality

The UK riots of the past week can be summed up in one word: terrifying. However, summing up anything in one word is problematic. One word is never enough, one word only conveys one point of view, and as usual, the point of view is that of the white, heterosexual male. Riots are frightening, horrible things, terrible for victims and innocent bystanders, but from the reports you're led to believe that causalities are few and the majority of damage has been done to property. I believe this to be a falsehood, because if it's predominately young men rioting, then you can bet that they're raping, too. Because, as we all remember, men will rape in the streets even in times of celebration.

The stories now are of reaction. How Britain will clean up, regroup, and change as a result of the riots, trying to find it's 'moral compass'. Prime Minister David Cameron says:

"This has been a wake-up call for our country. Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face," Cameron said in his prepared remarks for a planned Monday morning speech. "Do we have the determination to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations?"
Okay, player. Fair enough. But are the riots even really being reported on accurately? And just who are you talking about when you say 'social problems' and 'moral collapse'? Are you talking about what happened to this girl

This is just about the only case of rape or sexual assault I could find concerning the UK riots. I find this highly suspect. A riot is an event that violent, heterosexual men revel in. Destruction, physical violence, power, trying to exert dominance over authority... you're telling me that isn't a recipe for rape? And yet, in the middle of a week's worth of rioting, there is only one case of sexual assault? And I had to search very specifically for it? I'm not naive enough to believe that the case I mentioned previously and will discuss momentarily is the only, isolated incident, so that means either other cases of rape during the UK riots are deliberately being covered up, or nobody gives enough of a shit to report them.

During the UK riots, a fifteen year old boy robbed and raped a thirteen year old girl. After demanding the girl hand over her cell phone, he asked "for a kiss". When the girl refused, he dragged her down an alley, threw her onto a pile of broken glass and garbage and raped her. Of course, the media paints the rapist in a sympathetic light. During the hearing the poor boy appeared "close to tears" and is described as "vulnerable and troubled". Let's examine that for a moment. The rapist was close to tears, vulnerable and troubled? Well, if I might to so bold as to ask, WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIM??? I'll bet she was a lot closer to tears than he was, as they were probably running down her face non-stop since the asshole raped her. I'll bet she's more vulnerable now than ever, since she's now a victim and is broken mentally and spiritually forever. I'll bet she's more troubled than this little shit could ever be, as she now has to see the world for what it really is, far younger than she should have to. But, of course, the poor boy, this must be so hard on him.

Want to hear a quote from the boys' mum, who is described as a "devoutly religious nurse"? I'm sure you do.

"We can't quite believe this. We are a good family with Christian values. He is not from a broken home."
 Ha. Because only people without "good Christian values" that aren't from broken homes ever rape. Here's another good one, this time from an uninvolved neighbor, doing the good neighbor victim-blamey thing, I've talked about before.

"The family are completely shocked by what has happened and feel very ashamed. The parents are hard-working members of a close-knit community and tried to do the best for their son. They were very strict with him - perhaps that's why he rebelled and fell in with bad company."

Gimme a goddamn break. This even takes a stab at blaming the parents, but let me point this out, just in case you're not paying full attention:

Nobody is blaming the rapist.

People are blaming the victim. People are blaming the riots. People are blaming the parents. People are blaming society (I can almost get behind that one), but nobody is looking directly at the rapist. How many times does THAT have to happen before people wise up and realize that this shit does not happen in a goddamn vacuum? 

Let me also point out that if one in four women are raped during "normal, everyday conditions", then it stands to reason that during a riot, that number would rise. And even if only 40% of victims report their rape during "normal, everyday conditions", then it stands to reason that due to increased rape during a riot, the number of reported rapes would also rise. So, how is it that we're only hearing about this one? Once again, let me reiterate, I'm not naive enough to believe that this is the one and only, isolated case of rape or sexual assault that has happened during the UK riots. Nobody seems to be telling about any others, and I had to dig to find out about this one, so this brings me round and about to the title of this post: Has anyone even asked? Does anyone in a position of news authority even care? Is there not interest in reporting the riots from this angle? People need to know. People deserve to know. And, in the very, very, VERY slim chance that there was only one case of rape or sexual assault during the riots, wouldn't THAT be a phenomenon worth reporting, too? Of course, I don't believe that, but either way, shouldn't someone, somewhere be asking what happened to women during the UK riots? I know I'm asking. If you're reading me, you're probably the type to ask these questions, too. Who will answer us?

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