The XX Factor

Taking Rights To Prove You Deserve Them

I’m counting down the days until Naomi Wolf cracks and suggests that any woman still young and firm and sexually active who has sex forced on her by a man she’s dating should simply sit down and shut up, lest she be taken for some kind of weakling who takes offense at merely being raped. That’s the next logical step in her reactionary back-pedaling of many years past, and especially her vicious and somewhat baffling vendetta against the women accusing Julian Assange of rape.  Her latest mind-blowing screed is to suggest that rape victims accusing famous men be named in the press , which she disingenuously and without a shred of evidence claims will somehow make it easier to prosecute rape.  And I suppose it will, if anyone was ever willing to file charges again after being assured that her basic right to safety will be compromised and her reputation shattered if she does press ahead.

Wolf has many more media appearances to milk, and so there’s a strong chance this is going to get uglier.  Perhaps she can also argue that women have to prove we’re “moral adults” by standing on a podium after filing rape charges, with a group of the supporters of the accused gathered around and helpfully supplied with paintball guns.  After all, if women aren’t put through far more than we would ever ask of a man to ask for simple justice for a crime committed against them, we’re basically children, right?

“Moral adults” is Wolf’s favorite phrase to hide behind, but of course the phrase implies that a woman who files rape charges has transgressed morally and should be held accountable.  I would argue the opposite. A woman who files rape charges-at least when they’re true (which is true in the vast majority of cases)-is making the moral decision to go through hell to get a criminal off the streets. Making it harder for her would deprive those who do so of their status as moral people, adult or otherwise, because they’re working for more crime and more rape.

But honestly, I don’t think Wolf’s suggestion that we simply release the names of rape accusers to the public goes far enough.  Some women may still think it’s worth it to file rape charges, thereby proving to Wolf they’re moral children. Perhaps women who are raped should have to prove they’re tough enough to deserve justice by having “Wanted” posters with their names, pictures, and addresses posted in helpful places such as gun stores, and distributed to men who’ve served time for rape, in case they find that information useful. Can’t be having women think they have the same right as anyone else to actually go to the police and file charges after a crime has been committed against them.