For the umpteenth time, we live in a Rape Culture. Many people don’t understand what that means so let’s break it down.
Women are objectified on an hourly basis. Not daily, not monthly. Hourly. And it’s normal. Normal. No one pays any attention except the women being objectified, and still, they take it in stride and move on, unless the talk turns to action.
When a woman comes forward with allegations of assault, sexual and non-sexual, everyone runs to read or listen to what happened. Lurid gossip follows. People are all too willing to chatter about it without getting upset. The reason is because the woman is *automatically* disbelieved. Sure, it gets attention at first, but unless it’s a huge tabloid story, it goes away after a few weeks. Except for the woman who has come forward. She has to live with this for the rest of her life.
Amanda Knox is an excellent example of Rape Culture. She’s an innocent woman railroaded by the Italian justice system because of a bigoted bias against young American women visiting or living in Italy. One cop said to her Italian boyfriend, “What are you doing with that American slut whore?” The cops and DA ignored the obvious evidence and created a fantasy that had no basis in reality. It isn’t hyperbole. It’s FACT. Why did the press go on a vindictive tangent toward this woman? Because the cops and DA made up a story about ritual sex murder and like their endless fascination with Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, the press and the public salivated over the continually changing details. She was vilified. She was demonized. People were all to willing to convict her and haul her out for an auto-da-fé. Burn the witch!
Rape Culture. We victimize women who have already been victimized because our patriarchal culture has us well indoctrinated to do exactly that. To keep women oppressed, beaten down. The Accused, a movie about a woman’s revictimization after she came forward and accused men of a gang rape. The title doesn’t refer to the men accused. It refers to her. She was The Accused. The movie brought the double standard out into the light, but nothing has changed. Sometimes a man (or men) will get the right punishment, but more often than not, he won’t. Only 3% of the 1% of those convicted actually see prison time. Rape Culture. What he/they did against a woman is so minimized in importance that we’ve become use to it. In many jurisdictions, men who rape get less sentence time than someone caught with a joint. Rape Culture.
Hillary Clinton has had a campaign of misogyny thrown at her ever since 1991–publicly. It’s been going on since she went to college. But as a First Lady, she bucked the system and the men in charge couldn’t have that. A campaign of disinformation began. Baseless accusations were hurled. In 2008, it got revamped and turned up to 11. Since then, the effort to demonize her has resulted in the profoundly sexist belief that she can’t be trusted or liked. Where is the basis for this public opinion? Spin Doctoring. It’s been slowly seeping into our society. Suddenly her liberal record is forgotten because we Progressives have been sidetracked with corruption allegations, allegations that have been crafted by smear merchants like Roger Stone and Roger Ailes. We are willfully ignoring the crafted misogyny that is right out there in the open. Why? Because it’s part of the culture to do that. Rape Culture.
“She deserves it.”
“She deserved it.”
“She can’t be trusted.”
“She must be guilty. Men in charge said she was.”
“She’s a slut.”
“She’s a whore.”
She asked for it.
Men like Donald Trump get away with murder. Almost literally. They definitely get away with rape. Why? Four reasons. In no particular order, but all are culpable:
- Rape Culture
- Class Bigotry
- Bad Parenting
- Money is Power
Now why would I say Bad Parenting? Because this man was not taught how to respect people. He was taught how to walk all over them. He was taught that money is power and when you have it, or the illusion of it, you can do whatever you want and not suffer the consequences. If you get into hot water because you stepped over that imaginary line or you didn’t cover your tracks, you can buy your way out of it.
Class Bigotry is part of it because we as a society–not just in America, but worldwide–have been trained to give deference to people in power, whether they deserve it or not. Most of the time, they don’t. We call them “elite”. But they aren’t. They have money. Others don’t. Therefore the others are insignificant.
We only remember the first sentence because it is a truism. We see it born out every day. And the public, those of us without that wealth, put up with it because we’ve been trained to think that that’s where we want to be. We see “finery” and think that’s what we need to strive for, except for most of us–the 99%–that will never be attained because the rich will keep it that way. And we see it, we know it’s unfair, it’s wrong, but we forget. George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So we forget that the rich get away with murder because we let them do it. We just think “that’s the way things are”.
So Donald Trump has this mindset. He has money. He has power. He is corrupt. Everyone with power is corrupt. The only difference among them is the level of it. Mark Cuban is corrupt, but on a far lesser scale than Trump. He takes advantage of tax loopholes. It isn’t right. Pay your share, like the rest of us. No, he won’t. And Trump won’t either.
For men like Trump, it’s deeply ingrained. He thinks it’s normal to do whatever he wants without repercussion. Somewhere inside, he might understand that it’s wrong, but if he does, it’s immaterial. Irrelevant. He can get away with murder. So to speak. His narcissism makes sure of it. And that narcissism was a learned behavior. We aren’t born that way. There’s a difference between self-sufficiency and parasitism.
But the “masses” have been carefully herded into thinking that rich men like Trump are deserving of it. They’re “gods”–in a way, they are. They get what they want, when they want it, for as long as they want it, and if you get in their way, they’ll step on you and consider it insignificant, like stepping on an ant.
So he gets away with whatever he likes. When men like him are caught, they’ll buy their way out. They won’t go to jail. They definitely won’t go to prison. They own the law. They own justice. Most of the time.
Trump may weather this storm of sexual predator status, but perhaps even he has gone too far. Sometimes, society punishes the rich for their excessive normalities because there’ll be something they’ve done that we regular people, on the surface, just can’t tolerate: To be caught acting like the rest of humanity. We’ve put them on so high a pedestal that when they fall off, we’ll either put them back up with a warning not to do it again, or we’ll fall on them like a pack of wild dogs.
Because that’s what we’re supposed to do. The offender’s rich peers will teach him a lesson, give him up, because he violated their code: Don’t. Get. Caught.
Trump got caught. Someone blabbed. And now he’s going to retaliate on his way down because like everyone, rich or poor, who gets caught in their corruption and can’t get out of it, they’ll take everyone else with them.
So many people are surprised by his behavior. Because he got caught. But we are NOT surprised. We’re not. We’ve been given a blindfold and it’s come off, so we blink at the sudden sunlight. When we see the condemned for what he (or she, but that gets a whole new set of rules; as always, double standards) truly is, we’ll want to escort him out of our lives and return to normal. Return the blindfold and sit in the dark, happy little mushrooms fed on bullshit that the Cultivators have arranged for us.
It’s time to stop being surprised. It’s time to take off the fucking blindfold and face reality. We live in a seriously fucked up society and we have to fix it. Especially for us women who are consistently, hourly, thrown under the bus.