Last weekend, a woman was brutally beaten and raped on a Madison East side bike path. The incident has garnered a lot of attention from community members, and a march is being held tonight.
I'm happy to see the attention this is getting, but I'm also concerned. I'm concerned that the myth of "all rapists are strangers to the victim/survivor" will prevail. I'm concerned that we aren't having a broader discussion on rape culture, and what is at the root cause of it: misogyny and patriarchy. I'm concerned that after this march tonight, the community will forget. I'm concerned that the three people who reported being sexually assaulted in their dorms in the two weeks since school has began will feel like what happened to them wasn't "that bad", and thus, not "worthy" of community support. I'm concerned that by creating a fundraiser for this one specific survivor is a straight-up "fuck you" to all other survivors--some of which, may have needed money for hospital stays, therapy, etc, when we could also be giving money to Dane County Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. I'm concerned that our police will continue to discredit and victim blame survivors. I'm concerned that too many people believe we just "live in a bad world."
Though, I'm glad the Madison Police Dept are taking this most recent rape and attempted homicide so seriously, I wish they would choose to take ALL rapes that are reported this seriously. This is just another reason why I'm glad I never reported my rape that happened on UW-Madison's campus 11 years ago. Stranger rape still seems to trump partner rape and that really concerns me.
Methods of prevention work to some extent, but they're really just a band-aid for a much bigger issue. Rape culture is pervasive, and we need to stop it. Continuously telling women (or anyone) to "protect yourself" is putting the onus on the potential victim/survivor, and NOT where it should be--on the people in society who commit such atrocious acts. Telling someone to "protect" themselves is already assuming that rape and violence are inevitable.
Our police need to be educated. Our community (specifically the men in our community) need to be educated. The fact that women are told we shouldn't walk around at night (but men do it freely, often without a second thought) shows we live in a rape culture and it's unacceptable. Women have been taking charge of making sure men don't rape us since the beginning of time, and I'm beyond tired of it.