there are no perfect accusers anymore
trigger warning for discussions of rape, sexual violence, and racism.
I’m going to add a word to that title.
There are no perfect accusers anymore.
Jill’s analysis here is good; but it is also incomplete. In the history of American rape trials and vigilante justice, there was a perfect accuser even if it only existed as a racist, classist construct.
She was cisgendered, heterosexual, and white. One word from her about her chastity (whether real or imagined), and whole towns could be burned down. Men would be lynched. Families would be destroyed.
There were also perfect victims: women of color, queer women, immigrant women, trans women, poor women. No amount of class mobility could protect them from rape, and no amount of purity could eradicate the marginalization inherent in their being.
Since the feminist movement, in which well-to-do white women have tried to move out of the locus of protection and into the locus of power, they only have recently began fully experiencing the breadth of what white men would do to protect themselves and their power. What slut walk would have protected Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s victim? Would enthusiastic consent have helped her here?
Highly fucking doubtful. And yet, a LOT of our rape conversations don’t get beyond a simple credibility and sexual promiscuity analysis.
You have to look at the HISTORY of rape accusations. A white woman who is a citizen cannot be raped under the threat of deportation. A heterosexual woman would never receive offers to be raped straight. Rich white women would not be considered fair game because they live in trailer parks or in predominantly poor, of color communities. The intersectionality that plays into who can be raped and who can be ignored is critical in how the media have portrayed this woman and have all but absolved Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Rape cases in America have not evolved from the he-said she-said investigations. You know why?
Because for a long time, “that’s what she said” was enough when “she” was a white woman. And that is SO important here. You don’t think dog whistles aren’t sounding and relating this to the Duke lacrosse case or the Tawana Brawley case?
I’m not saying this post isn’t intelligently written. I’m saying it’s shallow because without including those very important contexts, it’s fucking naive.
I wish oil corporations were investigated with the same fervor and intensity as rape victims of high profile politicians.
holy fuck this is so dead on.