I’m going to talk about #mooreandme, and then send you on over to Sady Doyle’s blog Tiger Beatdown to read the genesis. Why read me first? Because I don’t want my take on it to suffer in comparison. I feel really strongly about this, but for different reasons. She grew up idolizing Michael Moore. I have a lot of family who have spent their entire lives working in the auto industry, so… not so much. So, what he did didn’t hurt me in the same way. But it does hurt, because it is endemic of a larger problem.
Sady began the #mooreandme campaign over Michael Moore’s mischaracterization and dismissal of the rape charges against Julian Assange on Keith Olberman’s Countdown on MSNBC. Sady has several posts about why she started the #mooreandme hashtag at Twitter, and I’m listing them all at the bottom.
Now, what I would like to point out, is that the majority (because you always have one or two that have to fuck it up for everyone) of people who object to Moore’s characterization of the rape allegations against Assange aren’t crying for Assange’s blood. We agree that the decision to pursue extradition for these allegations is most assuredly political, because as any woman in the world can tell you the idea of any government taking rape charges seriously without other political motivations, is fucking laughable. However, we also know that the reaction to nearly every rape that makes it into the media, and every rape by a famous man, is that the woman is a lying whore.
And, sadly, Mr. Moore did not break the pattern of assuming that women who accuse men of rape are lying.
When you continue and support that trope, what you are doing is validating every rape apologist, every victim blaming douchebag out there. When I hear you dismiss allegations of rape out of hand, I hear the cop who asked my best friend if she was sure she wanted to press charges, because she could ruin that nice young man’s life. A cop, in case you missed that. One of the people who is supposed to protect us from the bad guys, protecting a bad guy from rape charges.
Someone said, “Well, Assange was surprised that the women thought it was rape.” I think I’ve told the story here before of a former friend who looked me in the eye and told me about holding his ex-girlfriend down and penetrating her, even after she said “No,” started to cry and tried to fight him off. When I said, “Oh my God! You raped her!” His response was, “Did that lying bitch tell you that?” He was genuinely surprised that I’d called what he did rape, utterly floored. So, yeah, I can actually believe that Assange didn’t believe he raped those women, if he did.
Rape Apologism and misogyny are sadly common in liberal and progressive circles. There seems to be this attitude, particularly among the powers that be, of “Well, what are you gonna do if we DO throw you under the bus? Vote Republican?” The fact that Naomi fucking Wolf can sit on Democracy Now and argue about “real rape” speaks volumes about how women’s rights and causes are undervalued, even by women. How many rape victims have been silenced because their rapist was “a good man,” “doing important work,” or just more popular. At fifteen I knew the score when a football player raped me. Even though I had been a virgin, I knew I didn’t have a chance in HELL of seeing him charged, let alone convicted. So I shut my mouth, and tried to find “subtle” ways to warn his subsequent girlfriends (which worked a couple times). Granted most people thought I was just a psycho ex trying to get back at him. See that? That’s rape apologism in action.
I have, at various times in the course of being a survivor of sexual assault, been told that it isn’t a big deal (I don’t know since he didn’t have to cut the hole to rape me?) That I should be grateful a guy like that noticed me at all. That I had to be lying, or just regretted having sex. That I’m too fat/ugly/stupid to rape. Since deciding to speak openly about having been raped, I have been asked why I can’t just shut the hell up about it? Who the hell wants to talk about rape?
Well, judging from the anonymous comments on my rape awareness posts when this blog was back on Livejournal, lots of people. Particularly women, but several men as well, who never felt able to talk about it before. Surprising to no one, very few, if any of them, have ever pressed charges.
I have no doubt that the governments Assange has pissed off are behind the exploitation of these women’s complaints. But you know what? That does not make these women de facto liars. And if you immediately thought so, shame on you. I mean, for fuck’s sake, one of these women has reportedly fled the country because of death threats. Sady, who merely brought Moore’s asshat-ism to everyone’s attention has received death and rape threats, as well as being told to kill herself, or mocked for having survived a sexual assault.
Sady’s articles are brilliant, and far more emotionally charged than anything I wrote here. You should go read them. All of them.
On Progressives, Rape Apologism and the Little Guy
Day One of #MooreandMe: Or, How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Being Blocked by Keith Olbermann on Twitter
#Mooreandme, Day Two: Keith Olbermann Internet Consciousness-raising Tool
Sexist Beatdown: Until This Frenzy of Hooey and Anti-Rape Activism is Stopped Edition
#Mooreandme: What Matters
#Mooreandme: Four Days Outside the Tower. I’m Scared. I’m Tired. I’m Crying. And I Won’t Stop.
#MooreandMe, Five Days and Running: Run It All The Way Down (A Timeline of Relevant Quotes)
A week of Moore and Me: Keith Olbermann and the Eternal “If”
Tonight Rachel Maddow got Moore to say that we must take rape allegations seriously. No apology, or mention of #mooreandme, but it’s a start. Maybe next time, even if he doesn’t feel it in his heart, he’ll think a second before saying stupid, harmful things. And yeah, I cried. I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t spent the better part of their life being called, and sometimes feeling like, a “lying whore” can really appreciate how amazing it is to hear a public figure say that rape must be taken seriously. Let’s hope it’s not just lip service, folks.