How Many Ways Did The Media Fail Rape Victims In 2014? Here Are 5 Of Them.
We can do better. So, so much better.Trigger warning: Some graphic discussion of sexual assault.
1. When Rolling Stone said they "misplaced trust" in their source, who gave an account of rape.
It's one thing to write an editor's note explaining that simple fact-checking didn't take place. It's another to fully place the blame on the source, a woman who gives a harrowing account of her rape, and to say that the discrepancies in her story mean the trust in her was "misplaced."
Also, as Marina points out above, "discrepancies" in a rape survivor's story don't automatically point to falsehood — in fact, science says it might be hard for a survivor to remember all the details.
2. That time Don Lemon asked a rape accuser a ridiculous question.
When it comes to investigating a rape claim, questions such as "What happened?" and "What did the person look like?" are totally reasonable. "What could you have done differently?" just isn't OK. Let's focus on the person who actually should have done something differently: the perpetrator.
3. When Fox News contributor George Will said people wanted "victim status."
We're not sure how being a rape victim is a "status" that anyone wants. But most of all, we're not really sure what sort of "status" Will is talking about. Stigmatization of rape victims is painfully real, and rape survivors face enormous hurdles when they open up about their experiences.
4. When the Washington Post published an article suggesting getting married would stop women from violence.
The statistics that the Washington Post article presented really don't add up. After all, marrying a man doesn't mean that he cannot rape or assault you. Intimate-partner violence still happens in marriages!
5. Time magazine allowed an op-ed claiming "rape culture hysteria" is a thing.
To quote the article:
"Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense."
Fortunately, Zerlina Maxwell had an epic response, which Time also published. Here are our favorite parts:
"Rape culture is when women who come forward are questioned about what they were wearing. Rape culture is when survivors who come forward are asked, 'Were you drinking?' Rape culture is when people say, 'she was asking for it.' Rape culture is when we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape."
Our only response to the unfortunate events in this list:
Let's hope that 2015 will be a less victim-blaming year for all sexual assault survivors.