Rape: Not as bad as seeming prejudiced
Around 1,400 children were beaten, raped, tortured and trafficked for over a decade in the lower-class town of Rotherham, in north England.
As authorities stood by. Or fined parents of the missing children for wasting their time.
Some of the girls were splattered with gasoline and told they’d be set afire if they reported the abuse. Some were forced to watch other kids being raped. Others were told that their parents or siblings would be killed or gang raped if they went to authorities, according to the New York Times.
And when girls were brave enough to make a report, the police did nothing.
Some officers worried they’d be accused of racism since the victims were white, while the attackers were Pakistani. One report charged officials with ignoring “a politically inconvenient truth.”
Others blamed the victims (aka “tarts”), insisting it was all consensual.
Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work, investigated. She points to the police department’s culture of institutional sexism.
Due to patriarchy we’ve historically seen rape through a male perspective. And men rarely worry about being sexually assaulted. They’re more frightened of being falsely accused. So it’s been common to blame girls and women for being attacked. As these police officers did.
Altogether, the atrocity follows a world-wide pattern of greater sensitivity to cultural and ethnic offenses than sexist wrongs (although we’re not necessarily more sexist than racist).
You see the pattern when most people are more offended by racist than sexist jokes, for instance.
Gangsta’ rap is full of sexism, but few complain for fear of sounding racist. (Yet, if a music genre talked about people of color the way that women are talked about in rap, we’d all be outraged.)
But it’s not just rap. Women are routinely called “bitches” on the small screen and the silver screen, too. What if the N-word were used so lavishly?
Years ago, Don Imus called Rutger’s women’s basketball team “nappy headed ho’s.” He was fired for racism. The sexism was invisible.
I could go on.
Maybe this happens because men are often targets of racism but are rarely targets of sexism?
Instead of privileging ethnicity over gender, the weight of outrage and action should be based on the level of harm done.
Doing things that create prejudice is harmful. But it is insane to cover up the trauma of sexual assault due to fears of appearing prejudiced.
Rape is a greater hurt.
Besides, rapists come in all ethnic shades. (And even genders).
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Posted on September 12, 2014, in feminism, psychology, race/ethnicity, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged England, feminism, psychology, rape, Rotherham, sex trafficking, sexism, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.