Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why telling people not to rape won't work...

...and why we need to do it, anyway.

Yeah, folks. CW is rambling. Again. And it's probably 100% garbage, but hey, it's my blog and I can write what I want to.

We're going through our new people at work the way a movie goer eats popcorn. Staff turnover in a restaurant is an incredible thing. The only thing I can compare it to are the greenhorns on Deadliest Catch. Those of us who have been there for years--that is to say, me and the owner and the owner's kid--look at each new person and size them up. Are we going to get a month out of this one? Six weeks? Longer?

Yeah, so the new guy stole from the owner and got fired.

The interesting thing about it is there's this little speech the owner gives, that I've begun to re-enforce because it's a good speech. We do not use a Point of Sale system, because those are overly complicated pieces of shit doomed to break and/or glitch during a rush and it's much easier to teach a waitress how to write the goddamn ticket right than it is to try to make a computer overcome it's single minded programming. So you are not only responsible for tickets, you are responsible for keeping your own bank, and for keeping all the money given you at the end of the night. It's easy for somebody to go "HEY, I CAN JUST 'LOSE' A CASH TICKET AND TAKE A COUPLE HUNDRED DOLLARS HOME".

The first part of combating this is letting people know that if you lose your half of the ticket, it's a hundred bucks out of your pocket.

The second half is the speech. First, you explain about the whole, lose-this-and-it's-100-bucks out of pocket speech. Then you explain why. THEN you let them know that they're going to be bringing home a hundred bucks a night in tips, average, and much more than that in the summer, and that you can either steal a couple hundred dollars and have to go find another job to steal from, or you can continue to be honest and make a couple thousand a month working twenty hours a week. (I'm not even remotely exaggerating. This is why I put up with my shit job.)

And of course, the unspoken half of this is, stealing is wrong wrong wrongity wrong, and you shouldn't do it.

He still stole from the restaurant. AND we believe he stole from several of the employees, AND he'd already "borrowed" money from the owner, the owner's Signficant Other, the dishwasher and two of the other waitstaff. Money that never got paid back. When he left the restuaruant he told my boss "You know, I could have taken you for a lot more."

My point? Bad people do bad things. And even when you explain that (X) is wrong, people with no moral compass will continue to do whatever the fuck they want to, because they don't care about the consequences.

Ted Bundy knew that murder was wrong. Ted Bundy knew, because he hid everything he did from everybody he knew. Ted Bundy still killed lots of women. Not because he thought there was justification, not because the victims were "asking for it" (Fuck, most of his victims were trying to be nice to a cute guy with a cast on his arm) but because he wanted to, and fuck morality and fuck the consequences, he'd rather satisfy his urges than hold the moral high ground.

Also, he knew as long as he lied his ass off, he could keep the moral high ground, because that's something that doesn't have fuck-all to do with morality, just appearance and how other people accept you.

A campaign to educate men on how taking advantage of women is wrong would not have ever worked on Ted Bundy. The same mechanism that makes rapists believe they are entitled to rape their victims is the thing that makes drunk drivers get into their cars after twenty plus years of "DON'T DRIVE WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK" Legislation and education. They don't think the rules apply to them, they believe that they are in the right, and they will never, ever, ever, ever change.


And believing that you CAN change a rapist's behavior with the right education? That's just victim blaming, only you've taken it off the victim themselves and put it onto society. It's society's fault that people rape. Our educational skirt was too short, and we probably shouldn't have been in that alley of negligence anyway. 

And yet, I want to see a campaign like that. I want to see billboards up everywhere, even though I know they'd be about as effective at stopping the real monsters as a screen door would be on a submarine.


Because the culture does need to change. You can't change the bad people. You never will. But you can change the ignorant people. You can't make a man who would rape in the first place not rape just because you give him a good scolding. But you can make the MORON who says "Well, she shouldn't have been there in the first place" understand that no, that's not how it works.  Victim blaming is an engrained part of our culture. You see it in the horror movies where the Designated Slut is the first one to die, as is the Annoying Sexist Prick and the Unhealthy Fat Guy. The characters themselves are an issue, you bet your ass, but so is casting them as victims, because having an undesirable die horribly justifies their death. It provides you with a kind of catharsis and (this is the key point, my lovelies) it lessens the impact of their death on the viewer.

We're seeing that right now with Ruben the Punchable in Wolf Gift. He is killing horribly. (HE CRUSHED A MAN'S HEAD IN HIS TEETH AND THEN LICKED UP THE BLOOD) and yet he isn't being demonized because the people he kills are worse than he is.

Writers do this (cast victims we don't give a shit about so that the murderer becomes a kind of anti-hero) for two reasons. The first, of course, is that we are chicken-shits and we don't like having good people die in our stories. The second is that we have "It's the victim's fault" driven into our subconsious by generation after generation of bad movies and shitty writing.

As long as we have people who will ignore the long term consequences of their actions in favor of short term pleasure, Victims will exist. We can't change that. We can't stop that. We cannot create a consequence big enough to make them stop, or an educational program in-depth enough to change their mind. The only answer would be to remove these people from society at birth, before they indicate their criminal tendencies.

I do not believe anyone has the moral authority to do that.

But we can change the culture so that it's not the victim's fault. And maybe in the process create a world where universal condemnation exists, and where the only victim-blaming voice a person has to deal with is the one in their own head.

Edited to add: (Because, yeah, I've been thinking about this all day)

The issue I have with the whole "Tell people not to rape solves rape" arguement is that it's still victim blaming. Just on a social scale. By saying that telling someone not to do a thing prevents that thing from happening, you take the responsibility off the person being told and place it onto the person doing the telling.

This is the same mechanism that causes a victim to blame theirselves for what happened to them. It's an attempt to take control of the event by making it a failure on your part. If you had done something better (be it wear less revealing clothing or create a functional anti-rape education program) then the rape would not have occured, ergo the rape itself was controlled by your actions, and not by the actions of the rapist. 

This is a desperate attempt by the human brain to ensure that the world we live in is not outside our control. By stating that rape education would control the behavior of rapists (ie, make them not rape) we attempt to get control back from the rapists. It's why we victim blame as well, because we turn the event into something the victim controlled (or in the case of rape, failed to control) and thus make it safe for ourselves because obviously we control our own universe.

This is a monumental lie. We do not and cannot control the actions of another individual through our words or behaviors. We cannot do it on an individual basis and we cannot do it on a social basis. As long as individuals have the free will and agency to make a decision, a percentage of them will continue to make socially unacceptable decisions.

It is not society's fault that rape occurs. Just as it isn't the victim's fault that a rape occurs.

What is society's fault is when the rape is condoned. We cannot control the rapists. We can damn well control our responses. If the purpose of rape education is to stop rape, it will fail. If, however, the purpose of rape education is to make an environment safe for victims and/or potential victims, that universally condemns the criminal and universally supports the injured party, then it would stand a chance of success.  

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