Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What love looks like, what rape looks like

The Happy Feminist has
another great post,
this one about various issues relating to the Duke rape case.

This section really got me:

From where I sit, it sounds like Doe was acting like someone who was absolutely terrified. She was not acting like someone who was eager to set up the Duke lacrosse players. The guard's opinion is further fascinating to me because it illustrates very clearly the problems rape victims face. The guard for some reason felt herself qualified just by looking at Doe to determine whether Doe had been raped-- and felt no hesitation about essentially labeling her a liar. I have seen this time and again. Victims with whom I have worked have frequently been labeled as liars because they are not acting the way a rape victim is "supposed" to act.

I also have seen this as a pattern far beyond this trial. It is very weird to me that people think they know how other people would react in a given situation. For many years, I came off as really cold (I hate to hug) and it took forever to convince some people I really cared about them.

Anyway, I don't really have a point here, other than I always thought it was weird to hear "If you loved me, you would have done X." And it is weird to hear "she wasn't behaving like I think rape victims should act, so she must not be a rape victim."

Do we really know each other all that well?


Ps. I sympathize with anyone who reads this and finds a certain contradiction between my own tendency to want to figure people out and make decisions about them, and the problems I see here. The best defense I can mount is that while I can get a general impression of a person someitmes long before other people can, I still can't predict how they would react in a certian situation. I am quick to say "There's something about her I don't trust," I would never say "she's not acting like a rape victim."

And by the way, Cassandra struck again last night. There's a guy in a group of old friends of mine who has never liked me and has always treated me badly. I eventually distanced myself from this group due to his behavior. I hung out with them again last night, something I haven't done regularly in about two years, and found that he had started to treat them badly too and had been more or less kicked out of the group. They spent much of our hang out time parroting my complaints of two years ago back at me as if they were new information.



The Happy Feminist said...

From one non-huggy person to another, thanks for the link!

Kim said...

In reply to the question of do we really know each other that well:
I once got a letter from an ex-boyfriend. I showed it to 6 friends. I got six completely different interpretations of what it meant. and that was with written words that hold still for you. It's much harder with evanescent words and behavior. Besides, what is knowing each other? Are we even predictable to ourselves? If we were completely predictable, would we be alive and/or human?
I guess I don't think we CAN know each other all that well. Just better or worse, more or less. It's all relative.