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Why America Needs a National Rape Monument for its Countless Victims


Why America Needs a National Rape Monument for its Countless Victims

Rebecca Solnit

The nameless survivor of former Stanford student Brock Taylor’s hideous sexual assault won an extraordinary victory with her letter to him, now read by millions of people. It’s as though she erected a statue that said: this is who you are – a vile and despicable person. This is what you did—a violent and repulsive series of acts. And this is who I am—someone who is more than what you did and who you failed to destroy.


Love Solnit's conclusion, that the only monument adequate to the horror, would be a revolution that transforms the culture (and men's consciousness).

And it will need to be a comprehensive revolution. It cannot hold sexual violence, gender violence, intimate partner violence, as a distinct category without addressing societal violence of all kinds, most importantly including war, and the exploitive extractivist economy.

Our revolution needs to be explicit about all these, link them together, and offer a vision of a healthy ecological humanistic society and economy.

Which among many other things, means men need to be aware of, and think through the implications, and write and talk about the ways rape culture is intimately tied to war culture and to the economics of looting.


Good to see a male poster state these things.

In the past when I have applauded Ms. Solnit or pointed out how, according to Eve Ensler's research, a BILLION women, worldwide, will know rape, male aggression, or sexual abuse during their lifetimes... typically some very insensitive misogynistic male posters show up to play down this travesty, mention instances of violence against males, attack Feminists in general, or show a streak of ugly depraved indifference that speaks far more to their insecurity (as males) than to the problem.

Very few males have the kind of empathy that allows them to truly take in what life is like for women.

What Ms. Solnit has not mentioned is that attempted rape happens more often, and it still leaves its scar tissue as pervasive threat.

I've escaped 2 rapes. The sense of a man jumping me when I was 1. walking on the beach in Puerto Rico 2. walking home from my college waitress job at about 10 p.m. remains with people affected. I know 3 women who have been raped. One in an elevator, one in her own apartment, and one in the apartment building's laundry room.

As a grandmother with 2 daughters and 1 granddaughter, I have no choice but to be sensitive to (and mindful of) this issue.

Furthermore, based on what a former marine told me, that his sergeant taught the recruits a song that equated his weapon with his penis, violence and masculinity ARE coupled for the purposes of maintaining a State At War.

And the way men view women carries over into how the Earth, as Great Mother, is treated. Rape is apparent everywhere there, too.

For centuries women were viewed as possessions; thus the analogy between the treatment of the woman's body and the body of the Great Mother... is real and all too enduring.


CommonDreams should be ashamed to perpetuate the arrant falsehood that men are the perpetrators and women are the victims.

Even feminist Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men and founder of Slate XX has the courage to acknowledge the obverse in her article, available free on Slate "When Men Are Raped: A new study reveals that men are often the victims of sexual assault, and women are often the perpetrators."

Yet the author of the article, Rebecca Solnit, wants to write out close to half the victims of rape and sexual assault. Why--what does she get from this overt bigotry and falsehood? Perhaps it’s the same sort of bolstering of her fraudulent ideology that she gets by omitting any reference at all to the millions and millions of women around the world who perpetrate violence.

Every annual DHHS “Child Maltreatment Report” tells us the same thing: Mothers acting alone are overwhelmingly the primary perpetrators of violence against children. We also know that mothers commit the majority of parent murders of children under the age of 13.

Even mainstream outlets like USA Today and TIME magazine have, respectively, acknowledged women’s violence:

“A rape epidemic — by women? New CDC report reveals troubling equality when it comes to sexual assault rates.”

“Congo’s Forgotten Curse: Epidemic of Female-on-Female Rape.”

Furthermore, the American Journal of Public Health along with Harvard researchers have reported extensively and credibly on the fact that women instigate domestic violence more often than do men.

Please stop selling the article’s destructive nonsense.

Violence, including sexual violence, is something people do to people.


lemme guess: "all lives matter", right?
of course.


I defer to the sisters as to how this should best be dealt with, as long as habeus corpus is preserved.
It should be noted that part of the problem is more generalized: this culture is flat out cruel,now, and cruel cultures do cruel things. And since most of us would agree that the fix" for this is a general transformation in male attitudes towards women, it's hard for me to believe we can do that without addressing the even larger picture that American culture is hyper-masculine, violent, and cruel to the point of pathology.
Like so many issues of class, if you can get to the root, you can solve multiple problems sharing the same genesis.

So, guys, it's pretty simple: if you stop raping, rape will end. So stop it. Now. And while we're at it, just stop being d*cks about everything else, too.*

*does not apply to males who have already seen the light, so please, no "#alllivesmatter" responses.


Can you explain this comment?


Lemme guess: Men's Rights Association? Acts of violence of all kinds are not absent in any class of humans, but it takes dedication to craft supposedly verified statistical support for the MRA ideology. But gross statistical disparities exist in the experiences and perpetration of sexual, gendered and intimate partner violence.

Also, when writers address social systems that empower male sexual violence, such writers are allies, not enemies. We work to end human violence, and we welcome allies who fight against existing social support structures for male sexual violence.


Shut up. Why do we need to have men come and explain how sexual violence isn't actually a problem every fucking time it is brought up?


"There has been a marked decline in the past few decades, and feminism has achieved much in shifting how many men as well as women think about the problem."

Those may be both be true, but that doesn't mean they are connected or related. Over the years, the rates of violent sexual assaults have risen and fallen in tandem with violent assaults in general, but through the heyday of feminism in the 70's, the rates of violent assaults and violent sexual assaults were on the rise. And though both have declined markedly since the late 80's, some of the largest declines have been in sections of the population which appear to be every bit as sexist now as when the decline began.

There is, however, another theory to account for the changes in violence over time, and why this change has been more pronounced in men than women, and it appears to at least have some strong statistical support for it, unlike the feminism theory:


You think lead paint better explains the prevalence of gendered violence over time better than centuries of cultural dynamics, social struggle, and actual history?


So I guess women got the right to vote because of what, solar flares?

\/ oh no, I read the whole article. Conventionally one doesn't answer questions with questions, by the way.


I take it you did not read the article. Do you think centuries of cultural dynamics do a better job of explaining the rapid and pronounced rise and fall in violence that lagged about 20 years behind the rise and fall of leaded gasoline? Do you have an actual theory as to how that would work, and statistics which would support that theory at least as well as the statistics which support both the geographic and temporal associations with lead exposure?