Friends, Pretty Lady is feeling so cheerful today, what with the unwonted sunshine, the Hildegarde of Bingen CD generously provided by Paul and Rebecca, and a progressively de-cluttered apartment, that she has decided to Plunge into a Sea of Controversy, and discuss Rape Politics. She confidently expects there to ensue a sobering Hue and Cry, but then, her life has been remarkably trouble-free lately.
As a jumping-off point, Pretty Lady provides the following Comment, taken at random from Rape Politics Central:
My office is prepping for the big electronics show in Las Vegas, which always coincides with the Adult Entertainment “Oscars”. I overheard one of the other women saying how much she hated working the later shift at the booth because she gets “creeped out” coming back from the convention center by herself. Her main “creepy” experience was the “sleazy” cab driver chatting her up about the adult entertainment expo; “why is this stranger discussing porn with me? This is scary!” Listening to her other examples of “creepy” experiences, I was suddenly strucked by the idea that they all boiled down to “I’m afraid I’ll get raped.”
She was annoyed at the person who wrote up the booth schedule, the sales men who had to leave early and couldn’t escort her back to the hotel, the AE industry for scheduling their convention the same time as the electronics show, etc. etc. She was fighting against the circumstances that evoked the fear of rape; never once did she–or anyone else in the conversation–consider how unfair it was for women to have their freedom so curtailed by the constant, subconscious fear of rape. It was just…normal. Obvious. Just the way life is.
Now, before anyone accuses Pretty Lady of being a sheltered little lamb, one of the ignorantly favored Pets of the Patriarchy, let it be known that Pretty Lady has, in fact, been the 'victim' of at least one attempt at violent rape. At least, that is what she figured out some time later. At the time, she vaguely wondered why the large gang of strangers was taking all that trouble to pound her head against the ground, without even checking to see if she was carrying any money; they didn't even seem interested in her watch, which was, in fact, quite a nice one, and which she was mildly pleased not to have lost in the fracas.No, even at the time, it did not occur to Pretty Lady to be afraid of rape. She was concerned, of course; concerned that she might die and upset her family, concerned that her dear friend who was also getting head-banged might meet a similar fate, concerned about getting upright and getting away from this unfriendly crowd of persons. These seemed to Pretty Lady to be the primary issues, requiring her immediate attention; 'fear of rape' was such a distant irrelevancy that it did not surface upon her radar.
Thus, it was that Pretty Lady came out of her experience of violent victimization by the Patriarchy, relatively unscathed. In fact, she did not even dare to inform her dear brother of the event until some time had passed, for fear that he would rush out to her neighborhood, vigilante-style, and perform some regrettable acts of retaliation, thus jeapordizing his own inner peace and well-being.
Pretty Lady understands that this incident does not quite establish her bad-ass credentials. In order to write upon the subject with True Authority, she realizes that she ought to have been repeatedly molested by her father, her brother, her cousins, and a handful of random strangers, every week since the age of two or three. She knows that there are many women who can, indeed, say that this is true; she defers completely to these individuals, in matters concerning the Subjective Experience. Pretty Lady's further views are that such individuals require the utmost love, compassion and protection from all of us, and she will not countenance any dissenting opinion on the matter.
However, Pretty Lady wishes to let all potential and future rape victims in upon a little secret: fearing rape does not prevent rape. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the opposite is true. What we dwell upon, we attract. A person who flinches whenever addressed, no matter how gentle the tone of the addressing, sooner or later is likely to get swatted.
This is because, as humans, we are relational creatures. We do not act and react within a vacuum; we pick up on cues, social gestalts, scripts, and Subtle Drifts. Each of us is wandering around in a sea of conflicting or assenting projections, glomming on to whichever of these fit our preconceived notions.
Thus, any interaction between two persons, no matter how skewed in matters of physical or psychological power, requires that both persons be reading from the same script. Fear is a powerful projection, and thus writes a most compelling script. Evil and violent persons feed upon the fear of others; this is why it is so vitally important not to cultivate fear in oneself.
For, when you consider the matter, there are an infinite number of things to fear, at all times, and in all places, none of which it is possible to fully control. One may fear earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, atom bombs, global warming, unemployment, economic collapse, illegal immigration, drive-by shootings, break-ins, train wrecks, car crashes, plane crashes, pit-bull attacks, thunderstorms, hotel fires, floods, cancer, old age, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and spiders. All this, and sleazy cab drivers too? How exhausting. It is a wonder that any of us ever get anything done at all.
Given the infinite possibilities for crippling fear, then, Pretty Lady prefers to say 'no' to all of them, as much as possible. Rape in particular seems to be a very poor investment, fear-wise; either the gentleman coming toward her on the street is an Evil, Violent Rapist, or he isn't. Pretty Lady prefers to assume he isn't, and treat him with the friendly courtesy attendant thereupon. In all likelihood, he will plug in to her 'friendly courtesy' script, nod, and walk on.