What I’ve been reading – bad mothers, and more NYT victim-blaming

Just two pieces today for I feel rather sick about both of them.

  • Sweet mother of all that is good and holy, the Daily Fail may just have surpassed itself with this one. Think your man doesn’t pull his weight at home? Maybe it’s YOUR fault. Yes, you can do a double-take. The wimmin are too precious about the babies, apparently, and the poor menz don’t get a look in. And they’re all hurt and stuff. Never mind that, by default, most mothers simply have to be solely responsible for feeding and, until recently, were not able to share early months leave from work with their partners; they still only have themselves to blame for having it all to do. Their fault! Trying to balance childcare with any sort of work, study, social life has always been a minefield for women. (A close friend of mine has just had her second child. Her doctorate is, once again, on the back burner. Her husband, on the other hand, has just got a brand spanking new job. I don’t resent him for him – and neither does she – but he’s done that because he can.) The Daily Fail will find any excuse to deride women. The fact that they get frustrated about their lot in this world sometimes is always the kind of thing they can really get into.

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

Because if she hadn’t worn make-up and hung out with boys, she wouldn’t have been raped, amirite? That’s certainly what the NYT and the folks in the neighbourhood thought. The paper has since [sort of] apologised for that piece but it seems that it has a short memory. This week in its coverage of a rape trial, it’s blaming the victim again. Its opening line is about how drunk the victim was on the night of the rape:

There were certain things that she remembered from that night, and some things that she did not.

This was followed this up with a in-depth description of just what a state she was in.

She recalled dancing and drinking at a bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn, celebrating a job promotion with friends, but even that was a bit hazy. Her next recollection, she testified in the rape trial of two New York City police officers, was waking up in the back of a taxicab outside her apartment building in the East Village, lying on her side and vomiting.Then she remembered tugging herself up the red handrail of her apartment building’s staircase, escorted by two men in navy blue suits with radios crackling.

What happened to this woman – rape – isn’t even mentioned until the fifth paragraph. By that time, the scene is well and truly set. She was wasted, she was hammered, she couldn’t even walk, she was puking gawdammit!! What do you expect!? Immediately, the reader is drawn into questioning the victim’s credibility. Many things will be running through his or her mind. Is she lying? Is she misremembering? If she was that drunk, unconscious, did she actually refuse or struggle? And if not, it probably wasn’t really rape, right. Yes, all of the above. These are the very questions that she is going to be asked in court by the prosecution, and it’s unbelievable that they’re being asked by the media too. Trial by media indeed. I used to really respect the NYT but these recent pieces have made me sick.

8 responses to “What I’ve been reading – bad mothers, and more NYT victim-blaming

  1. I wonder if we’ll ever reach a time when it will be judged a man’s responsibility not to rape rather than a woman’s responsibility not to be raped.

    Oh and on the first story I think you forgot to make your man a sandwich. We men really like sandwiches apparently but only if women make them for us. That’s what I hear anyway.

    • This could be my cynicism at play but I don’t think so. I spend so much of every day reading articles that blame the victim, apologise for rapists, enhance rape culture etc. It’s so deeply upsetting and clearly very entrenched. My senses are so heightened now that I see rape culture all around me. So, no, not at time soon I think.

      Yeah, I hear that too. The menz can’t make the sandwiches, apparently. So I’ve been told.

  2. In a slightly linked, but less serious issue, I was in Debenhams yesterday looking for a nice pen. All pens & paper etc were in the mens section. No pens at all in the womens areas (I asked – not even a ‘pretty pink’ one to be found). Debenhams clearly thinks only men can write, or indeed need to write. Women should just wear high heels and hats. And make the menz the sammwiches.

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