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Pitt Meadows Rape Prompts Victim-Blaming September 21, 2010

Posted by Jarrah H in Can-Con, feminism.
Tags: , , , , ,

Last week’s alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl at a rave in Pitt Meadows and the subsequent posting of the photos on Facebook is absolutely sickening.  Police say the girl was allegedly drugged and raped, potnetially by multiple attackers, sustaining significant injuries. They said being drugged means there was no way she could’ve consented.

The first question that leaps to mind is how so many young people could be seemingly okay with re-victimizing the girl by spreading the pictures around the internet. It challenges your faith in humanity when a group of people does something so fundamentally wrong.

But even though the primary reaction to the spread of the photos has been shock and outrage, there are still those who’d like to use the event to blame rape victims and conscribe women’s behaviour.

On the amateur side, some local girls started the group Reasonable Doubt in Pitt Meadows, which at last check has just over 100 members.

The group says it’s about “Advocat[ing] for the process and for critical thinking and for truth and justice”, saying the case has been sensationalized and the accused men not treated fairly. To be fair, they do seem to agree that sharing the photos is wrong, but instead of critical thinking what you’ll find instead is a group officer suggesting both the guy and girl should be charged in order to ensure the law is applied equally, and another administrator who just does a whole lot of random victim blaming (the “…”s are hers):

she was with him after this allged rape… and completly fine partying im sorry but if i was raped i dont think i would be hanging out with the guy after…. totally sobers you up… if it was something horendes like that and a lie detector test would prove what actually happened in a she said he said situation…. im not saying it wasnt wrong to be getting with a girl that was drunk or high on something but he was drunk to where are his rights huh … she was the one that took him to the field….

and if your drunk too its still rape… even if she says its not rape and it was consentual… figure that one out guys have the short end of the stick… the only way to know what the truth is is to do lie detector tests on both of them

Note: when I’m looking for legal experts, I’m probably going to be looking for people who can punctuate a sentence and spell “consensual” and “alleged” correctly.

Then there was Jon Ferry’s column in the Province, which while it strongly indicted the attackers and those who distributed the photos and did not directly suggest the victim was complicit, nevertheless used the whole situation to lament what he sees the declining morals in our society due to the demise of organized religion.

Ferry writes, “Teen girls should be better educated about the perils of excessive partying. If they’re going to a rave, they should take steps to ensure their own safety, perhaps by bringing along reliable male protection. In more chivalrous days, brothers used to perform that function.” A Criminology professor interviewed on BC Almanac last Thursday similarly suggested the best step to take would be to ensure more adult chaperones at such parties.

The problem is rape is about power. It’s only reinforced by the idea that women are essentially men’s property. Saying that women need men around for protection only serves to further those attitudes and to imply that women who want to go out drinking are just asking to be assaulted. There’s practically no onus placed on parents to teach their sons to respect women and their bodies, or on men to change their attitudes towards women. The prevailing belief seems to be that boys will be boys.

Luckily there are those who are standing up and saying that nothing makes drugging and gang rape okay, including a Facebook group created to give people a place to express support for the 16-year-old girl in Pitt Meadows. It’s not about prematurely convicting anyone, but about saying that no one asks to be drugged and raped. The group has signed up almost 10,000 members in just a few days, which should at least go a little way to restoring one’s faith in humanity.




1. Victim-Blaming and Rape-Denial « Equality Kitten - September 21, 2010

[…] over at Gender Focus wrote a blog entry today on this same topic, which I strongly recommend. Her post deals with many of the same issues I raise […]

2. jay cummins - September 22, 2010

this is a load of crap

3. Theresa - September 22, 2010

I do not think it is ok for you to generalize everyone who is apart of that Facebook group. I am and in no way have I been ok with what has happened. I do not advocate victim blaming or rape denial. I am there to express what facts there are to express. I have not once said that she was lying. I have not once said I didn’t believe her. I also do not think I have the right to say that he is guilty of anything. Yet. As there has been no trial. I was not at the rave, I cannot crawl into the girls or the boys mind to know for sure what happened. But I in no way condone what happened and I do take offense to being lumped into one category just because I may be apart of a group that the majority may believe something that differs from me. I have posted something to this affect before. And I do not appreciate one person who obviously didn’t read ALL the posts in that group to condemn everyone who is apart of it. In no way am I advocating the boys innocence. There was a rape counselor on that page also who was in now way advocating the boy. There was also an ex-police officer who was in no way advocating anything. So until you have all your facts I would appreciate it if you keep your opinions about people you don’t know to your self. I did nothing wrong, yet I am now being labeled as a victim blamer and some one who condones rape neither of which is true.

4. jarrahpenguin - September 22, 2010

@Theresa: Thanks for sharing your perspective. I did read through a fair amount of posts on the group and my opinion was formed primarily by the posts by group officers and administrators. I’m sorry if you were offended but I do think it’s fair to generalize the tone of the group based on the stated positions of its officers and adminstrators. I hope more people like you continue to push the rest of the group to think critically and I hope that the fact the group’s activities and wall are no longer public will not hinder productive discussion. Thanks again for taking the time to comment and share your views.

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