Should women carry a firearm in case of rape? People have been arguing over this question since Colorado state senator Evie Hudak told a rape survivor that "statistics are not on your side" as a potential rape victim even if you're carrying a concealed weapon. So what should we tell women about preventing rape? YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION, says rape survivor and political commentator Zerlina Maxwell.
Zerlina appeared on Sean Hannity's FOX News show over the weekend and introduced a rape prevention idea so radical, it blew people's minds: Teach men not to rape. Teach who not to what now? Brain hurts. Confused. Words not make sense. WHAT.
I'm kidding. Obviously it's the most sensible solution and it's sad that Maxwell got any blow back over it at all. But she did. Of course she did. Conservative news sites were all, "that's shocking!" and "bizarre" and she's "oversimplifying" and she "owes rape victims an apology!" I just ... I can't with these people. Oh -- and then there were all the rape threats she got from trolls on Facebook. Well done, asshats. Well done.
Anyway, here's how Zerlina put it on Hannity's show:
I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there. You’re talking about this as if it’s some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of times it’s someone you know and trust. If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape.
This is the chilling thing about rape. Sure, there's "evil" stranger danger out there. But most rapes are committed by men women know and trust. The Stuebenville boys accused of rape were just "average guys," Maxwell says. But we don't want to admit this! We don't want to admit that our sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and friends are capable of rape. But we do need to wrap our heads around this idea. We need to believe "regular" guys are capable of rape (not just random "criminals"), and we need to educate these guys about what rape is and why they shouldn't do it.
Because there's a lot of men out there who haven't gotten the memo.
Anyway, Maxwell would like to see more training and conversations for men. She recently wrote up five ways we can teach men not to rape. And she'd like us to stop lying to women about how, if we would just stop acting like such sluts, we wouldn't get raped. "I don't want anybody to lecture a rape survivor about anything. And I don't want anybody telling women that if you don't wear a skirt or don't drink at all, you're going to be safe. That is a lie."
This reminds me of an incident at my college years ago. There had been a few attacks on women in the wooded area at the edge of campus. And so the university administration sent out the message to women: NEVER WALK ALONE. A few of us thought that was pathetic, and that maybe it's the men who can't be trusted to go anywhere alone?!?
So we came up with a crazy idea -- we put up flyers announcing that because of the attacks, men would be required to be escorted around campus by at least two females in order to demonstrate that they're not threatening. It was a joke, obviously. It was supposed to make people stop and ask themselves: Why is it women's responsibility to stop men from being violent? Shouldn't it be the other way around?
Because people are defensive and literal-minded and sometimes just plain dumb, this idea went over a lot of heads. But I still want to believe we made a few people think. And I really hope Zerlina Maxwell is making people think (like, with their brains and everything) about how we're going about this whole rape prevention thing all wrong. What's it going to take, guys? Do you have the balls to learn -- and teach each other -- not to rape? Are you ready for that? Are you man enough?
Do you agree with Zerlina that we need to stop lecturing women and start teaching men not to rape?
Image via Zerlina Maxwell/YouTube