Rape in Fandom

Earlier this week, [link removed at her request] shared a letter to her rapist in order to warn others in fandom about this individual.

A number of people have responded to express their support.  To say “I’ve got your back,” and that those who would commit rape are not welcome in this community.  To which I can add only, “Hell, yes.”  So often we as a society ignore rape.  We make excuses.  We pretend not to notice, and by doing so, we allow it to continue.

I’m bracing myself for the backlash.  For the indignant bloggers to ask why the Internet is dogpiling this poor man without giving him the chance to defend himself.  For the guys to rally behind the flag of False Accusations.  For the victim blamers to ask what she did to enable this, or why she didn’t press charges.  For the men to point out how terrible it is to be accused of rape, and the horrible damage it can do to a man’s reputation.  And for all of the other excuses why publicly confronting rape and rapists is a scary, dangerous, bad idea.  I’ve already seen it in a few comments.

To all of these people, please just shut up.  Instead of immediately working to silence someone who found the courage to speak out, how about you take a turn being silenced for once.  Maybe even try listening.

I’m not saying false accusations don’t happen — they do, albeit rarely.  I’m not saying there’s never a time to talk about criminal prosecution of rape and why people might choose not to endure the ugliness of a rape trial.  I’m saying this is not the time.

People don’t choose to be raped.  People choose to commit rape.  If you make that choice, I don’t want you in my community.

You know what?  The same goes for those who choose to grope their way through conventions.  The ones who believe a costume that shows off a woman’s body is an invitation to sexually harass her.  The ones who think drunk/unconscious is an acceptable substitute for consent.  If those are your choices, I don’t want you around.

Can you imagine what would happen if, every time someone raped, assaulted, or harassed another person, the rest of us actually spoke out?  If we as a community let them know — clearly and loudly — that this would not be tolerated?  If we told those who had been assaulted that we would listen, and we would support them?

Comments are open, and discussion is welcome as always.  However, please consider this fair warning that I’m going to be quicker to freeze and delete comments that I feel cross the line.