Sunday, December 02, 2007

Is rape a crime?

I ask because if that law enforcer in Ohio gets off for the unprovoked electrocution of a pregnant woman in front of her child, there is really no reason to continue to keep rape on the law books as an illegal act. Why? and how are these events related?

Simple. Victim-blaming is the first line of defense for anyone who has done anything wrong. Small children blame each other all the time, and in fact one of my favourite quotes from Hunter Thompson is the repeated latin phrase Res Ipsa Loquitor. It literally means "the thing speaks for itself". It is used often in negligence cases. I use the example of marrying one's divorce lawyer and then being surprised that the marriage falls apart.

It's everywhere really, and though the legal side of it is meant for tort cases, the argument has been carried out towards rape survivors for centuries. 'Your honour, what did she expect walking around like that/in that part of town/unescorted/with other girls like that/working as a prostitute/staying after class/knocking on doors/getting into his car...' ad nauseaum.

In this case, the apparent wrongdoing was towards the unborn child of the woman in question. Apparently, if the woman had properly announced her pregnancy, by wearing a sign or something, the officer would have backed off out of kindheartedness. Or at least out of reverential fear of all things vaginal. But she didn't, and so it was perfectly alright to arrest a pregnant woman in front of her child and electrocute her when she flailed around on the ground underneath a uniformed officer.

Police everywhere are under our scrutiny and paid by our tax dollars ostensibly to protect us from those who would harm us. If police officers are permitted to simply electrocute the bodies of women who are somehow 'asking for it' how can we ever expect them to seriously arrest and prosecute violent rapists? If a person can somehow ask to be electrocuted, they can most certainly ask to be raped. This is how blaming the victims ties all violence together.

When shocks can be inserted into your nervous system by way of small rips in your skin from metal clips shot from a gun, when you can be seen to have willingly requested such treatment through action, then a rape can most certainly be a request.

TASER International stocks have soared in the last year and this Christmas marks record sales. As more of us die by electrocution in streets and doorways I must admonish the profiteering of TASER International who use police and coroners as salesmen. May your bodies shake with heat and humiliation, may your begging for mercy be met with pointed fingers and merry laughter. May smoke float from your ears as static arcs across your eyeballs and flies off your lashes like airborne tears.

May police find you one day agitated. Your comfort is our silence.

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