The Sexist

Victim Blaming and Transgender Rape Victims

Last year, we dredged the ugliest depths of victim blaming when a middle-school girl was gang-raped outside her homecoming dance, and a bunch of assholes got on the Internet to shame her for drinking alcohol. Thought that was bad? Consider what happens when a rape accusation is coming from a trans woman.

Yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that a New York woman recently filed a lawsuit against former NFL player Eric Green, claiming that Green "forcibly sodomized her" in his Scottsdale, Ariz. condo. According to the woman's suit, Green claimed to be taking her back to the condo so that "he could telephone his dealer, get some marijuana, and get high," and also, bizarrely, to "introduce her to his friend, the Prince of Bahrain." Green and the woman began having consensual sex, the suit claims. But when Green realized that his sex partner was transgender, the woman claims that Green held her down and forcibly sodomized her against her will.

At this point, no armchair observer in this case could reasonably determine whether this woman's story checks out or not. But the New York Daily News commenters are already inventing dozens of reasons why the assault could never have occurred—and if it did, she deserved it!

According to the commenters, the woman engaged in a variety of behaviors that screamed she was "asking for it." They include:

ENTERING A ROOM. Sure, this commenter doesn't write in full sentences. But intelligent women will still heed his advice: Never enter a room by your own free will:

She went to a room with on her own free will. Bad move.

BEING A TRANSGENDER WOMAN. No. 1 way not to evaluate claims of rape: "So let me guess what happened":

So let me guess what happened. he met "her" in a club, took her back to his condo thinking "she" was a woman, then it got all "Crying Game". Shocked and embarrassed he told her to get out. "She" in turn was humiliated and even though "she" isn't a woman, did what many women that seek revenge on men do . . . cry rape?

BEING IN THE VICINITY OF A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER. This commenter claims that anyone who goes back to the home of an NFL player to party—even a straight, cisgender, red-blooded, meat-eatin', football-lovin' American dude—should reasonably assume that that football player will rape him. Observe how thoroughly this commenter is not a bigot!: No matter who the rape victim is, he or she still deserves it!

Man/Woman/Gay/Straight/Transgender/Whatever...you go home with a biga$$ football player you don't know, you are playing Russian Roulette. I wouldn't feel sorry if it were any of the above. Has no one learned anything about personal responsibility for personal safety?

BEING IN THE VICINITY OF ANYONE WITH TESTOSTERONE. A closely-related argument: Big football players just can't help themselves:

Half the NFL players I would never want to meet in the bedroom, they are hulking gigantic people. If you disrupt the testosterone/steriods then your on your own.

BEING A TRANSGENDER WOMAN, PART TWO. Did you know that if you are transgender, your rape is so much less crucial than the consensual sex partners a professional football player prefers?:

Let's keep an open mind about this. Maybe Green has a fetish for transgenders.

BEING RAPED BY A PERSON WHO HAS FRIENDS. Oh, this old standby:

why are you people so quick to assume that any of this is true. all of his friends know him and know this is something he isnt even capable of doing. why be so quick to jump on the media bandwagon. because some person who obviously likes to file lawsuits everywhere it goes were supposed to beleive. dont be so quick to judge because if you knew him like i do you would know that he is one of the nicest, happiest person you ever met, he lights up a room when he enters it so instead of going with the looney maybe you should support the one who is truly the victim. ERIC.

BEING A TRANSGENDER WOMAN, PART THREE. According to commenter "RotorRooter"—surely, "the dominant expert on the subject—this woman's story is false because she is just too womanly!

I can almost guarantee that this was a situation in which he was naive and did not even know that this woman was actually born a man. Chances are that he tried to get intimate with her, she told him that she was experiencing her menstrual cycle, and offered her backside instead (happens all the time on Jerry Springer- LOL!). Afterward, she saved some DNA evidence and made up this cockomamy (no pun intended) story as a get-rich-quick scheme.

TALKING ABOUT YOUR RAPE. Congratulations to commenter "ccb94." Never has a victim-blaming argument come so close to exploding my brains out of my fucking head. Here you go:

I bet he never touched her. If he did, she wouldn't be this mad. I don't take those harmones, I am born with them and know that is how a woman would be. If she were raped, she would be acting differently and more quietly!!!

  • http://genderbitch.wordpress.com recursiveparadox

    Buuuuuuuuh. Ow. Ow my fucking brain. People seriously need to die.

  • Nancy

    Thank you so much for taking commenters to task. FAR to often, blogs and news sites let this kind of thing go unchecked and unaddressed, either in the name of "free speech" or because there are simply too many to moderate.

  • LeftSidePositive

    It is soooo important for sex education classes in this country to confront these issues head-on, and teach kids (male, female, and everything in between) about scientifically-based facts on sex & gender identity, and the importance of consent and human rights.

    I don't buy the general conservative "let parents talk to their own kids about these sensitive issues," because this lack of knowledge leads to people being victimized, and undermines our legal system when the general public and juries are so horrifically misinformed.

  • Em

    This is, perhaps, how aneurysms are formed...I think I can feel it happening.

  • Rick Mangus

    WHAT!, no groping story today!

  • Dana Lane

    There are just horrific people in this world. It is amazing how some human brains work. Anyone saying this woman deserved what she got is absurd. This was on the assumption that it did happen to her, of course.

    How can people be so full of hate that they want other people to suffer? I can't comprehend that.

  • K

    There's no pleasing you, is there Rick?

  • Rick Mangus

    'K', It's sarcasm, strictly, sarcasm.

  • http://sophie_jean.livejournal.com Sophie

    Thank you Amanda for showing how cruel people can be and dismiss women and transgender women for their suffering. I an glad the police and prosecution took the allegations seriously.

    As a transgender woman, I was in a very similar situation recently. There were a few differences. One individual entered my room to help me move, insisted on consensual sex, and brought his friend over, forcing me to have sex with him. He played emotional games and when I tried to stop it, he proceeded to assault me. The detective saw no case in one man and the DA refused to prosecute the other. Unfortunately, I find that this happens to all women all the time.

    Date rape/assault after

  • http://sophie_jean.livejournal.com Sophie

    Thank you Amanda for showing how badly all women are victimized in the case of date rape. I'm rooting for the transgender woman in this case because I am a transgender woman, something very similar happened to me, and between the DA and the detective, nobody was prosecuted. I just received a phone call from one of two indviduals a couple of weeks ago thinking I would tell him where I was.

    In my situation, the first man entered my place to help me move, insisting on consensual sex after he helped me in return. He brought his friend over who pawed me and with whom they forced me to have sex. Emotional games were played by the first gentleman, and when I tried to stop with him, he assaulted me, and insisted on sex anyways.

    This is about the fact that we have a system wherein if woman ever says yes on a date or gives into it, she's not allowed to resist later, and some of these men must know it.

    We need to get our legislators to pass marriage and date rape laws to protect our sisters and daughters.

  • jf1

    "Thank you Amanda for showing how badly all women are victimized in the case of date rape. "

    "...fire, fire!"

    I guess that it's better than screaming "rape, rape" at everything.

    Look it's simple. It's one thing to blame the victim for getting raped. Another thing to say that the victim is not responsible for what happened after putting themselves into a situation where they got raped. Don't you think that it depends on the situation?

    If you are likely to get raped in a situation, and you put yourself into that situation, then are you not at least SOMEWHAT responsible for what happened to you? Think of whatever sliding scale you want. When are we not responsible at all for what happens to us?

    Losers playing the "victim" card just undermine real victims, people who were truly victimized in situations in which no reasonable person would expect to be. As well they trivialize all crime. They act as if they are not responsible then they are just as much of a victim as anyone else. And that's simply not true. False on several levels.

    And if you want to talk about how rape punishes all women then you can't avoid talking about how making false claims hurt women too.

    If you're incredibly naive then people will not blame you for getting raped, almost without exception. If you're an adult, supposedly a thinking adult, with an expansive vocabulary who displays a penchant for argumentation? Why the hell weren't you smart & wise enough to keep yourself from getting raped? It's that simple. Did they rape themselves? No. Did they ask to get raped? Well, there's the rub. It all depends on who you ask and what they think that "asking for it" means. Attempting to dismiss all perspectives taht you don't like because they place at least part of the blame on the victim is no different than attempting to excuse all criminal behavior because of the criminals background, environment & personal history. 90% of life is effect. Only 10% of it is cause. You can argue about cause all day long. In the end what matters is that you got raped. And I'm sorry but you're not going to browbeat anyone who thinks that you're responsible for it, into not thinking that. If you don't respond to peer pressure then why should they?

  • jf1

    ...a guy gets put in jail with violent criminals on a felony charge, and you know that if you go to jail with violent criminals that there's a high probability of getting raped, whose fault is it if he actually gets raped? Even if YOU don't think that there is a high probability of getting sexually assaulted, that doesn't matter if you actually *get* sexually assaulted. You were either wrong and learned a hard lesson, or you were right and just unlucky. But still that's you pushing your luck too far. You may not like it but that's how it is.

  • LeftSidePositive

    jf1, you are truly a heartless and terrible human being.

  • http://genderbitch.wordpress.com recursiveparadox

    It only took ten comments to get a rape apologist! Hurrah, new record!

    Well maybe. I haven't been around in a while, so maybe Amanda's gotten a rape apologist comment faster than one after the first 10.

  • jf1

    ...stop trying to live in a delusional world and you will find life in the real world to be much easier and more rewarding.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Yes, our "life in the real world will be so much easier and more rewarding" if we never go out alone, never talk to people, never ride public transit, never wear anything attractive, never go to clubs, never drink alcohol, never dance with anyone, never flirt, never date anyone, never accept a ride from a friend, are never alone with another person, never go home with someone we like, never have sexual feelings for anyone, and never act like we should be treated like fully equal citizens deserving of human rights.

    OR, our society could put serious emphasis on prosecuting & convicting those people who take advantage of women no matter what the situation, locking them up for years, and educating everyone else that none of these "she asked for it" myths are valid or acceptable.

  • http://angryfeministdoc.blogspot.com Erica A

    Every now and then I have to try to remember why it was I went into medicine to help people.

  • kza

    Waiting a year to file charges makes it look you're telling the truth. It's even better when you only file civil charges and not criminal ones. Or not. I have no clue what I would do if I was raped but I think I'd only spend a month crying before I filed civil AND criminal charges. Not a fucking year. If he in fact did rape her he won't have to do jail time? Who knows what actually happened, either way someones getting fucked.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    At this point, no armchair observer in this case could reasonably determine whether this woman’s story checks out or not.

    That is not going to stop any armchair observers from unreasonably determining the allegations are true because that notion fits with their political point of view. Honestly, whenever there is any case like this people will take sides and make incredibly stupid comments. It is not limited to any one side, and one need only to look up comments made about the Duke and Hofstra false rape claims to see that. The nuttiness, victim-blaming and presumptive bigotry extends to both sides.

  • http://toysoldier.wordpress.com Toysoldier

    Kza, the length of time before a person files a complaint has no bearing on whether the person is telling the truth or lying. That said, the filing of a lawsuit rather than trying to press criminal charges does look questionable, especially since the statute of limitations has not expired. It certainly leaves the impression that this person is after money rather than justice. Of course, the burden of evidence in a civil case is lesser than it is in a criminal case, so it is possible that she filed a lawsuit because that might be easier to win due to a lack of evidence.

  • http://genderbitch.wordpress.com recursiveparadox

    @jf1: The only delusional one here is you. Thinking I should never leave my house, never drink, never meet new people? That's not living. That's house arrest.

    @kza: Do you know how hard it is to get a conviction in criminal court? Even for open and shut cases, judges and juries will use the same victim blaming bullshit that jf1 did to refuse to punish the person who did it. And then? You can't charge a second time and the rapist is cleared of charges and considered innocent. You know how much damage it does to stopping rape to get an innocent mark on a rapist because of sexism in the court systems? It's actually smarter to do it in civil court, because you might have a chance in hell of getting justice.

    That and there's very real fear involved in pursuing legally a rapist. Cuz then, the rapist knows. And especially a rich celebrity rapist? Yeah their reprisals can be very very bad for a person.

    And then take into account that she's trans, which means less than human to the law and very much subject to violence all over the place, as well as subject to the "trans panic" defense, that somehow makes beating a small nonthreatening girl to death just for being trans.

    Yeah, I'm sure /your/ speculations are a brill parallel for her experience. Yanno, considering you don't know shit about what it's like to actually be raped and to try to find a way to bring justice as a trans woman.

  • http://genderbitch.wordpress.com recursiveparadox

    "that somehow makes beating a small nonthreatening girl to death just for being trans."

    should be

    "that somehow makes beating a small nonthreatening girl to death just for being trans okay."

  • K

    "When are we not responsible at all for what happens to us"

    Gimme a minute, I'll think of something...

    Oh yeah! What about when we are driving our cars, dead sober, and are hit by a drunk driver? Would you argue one shouldn't be driving late at night, due to the higher likelihood of drunk drivers on the road?

    What if a man breaks into our house, and we happen to be home sick from work. He proceeds to beat us up and then take our stuff. Is it our fault for being home at a time that we usually are not, thus leading to our confrontation with the burglar?

    "Did they ask to get raped? Well, there’s the rub."

    If I left my car parked in a neighborhood known for carjackings, but also happened to be the only neighborhood in which I could afford to live, I suppose I shouldn't try to press charges against the thief, since I was "asking" for him to steal my car.

    If I leave my front door unlocked, I suppose I can't complain when my house gets burglarized, even tho a burglar wouldn't have tried to open my door had he not *already* been intending to rob my house.

    No where in your ludicrous apologetics does the PERSON WHO ACTUALLY COMMITTED A CRIME bear any responsibility. If I thought you were just an idiot troll, I'd stop feeding you, but I am reasonably sure no one would waste as much time as you do typing these horrifically stupid comments if you weren't deadly serious. When a woman is raped, it is the fault of exactly one person (or in the case of a gang rape, several people.) THE RAPIST.

    As for the idea of women avoiding places and situations and clothing that can "get them raped," there are whole countries where women must do that BY LAW. And guess what? Women are still raped in Jordon, Saudi Arabia, and other places of that ilk. Of course, rather than address this problem by trying to promote a more respectful societal attitude towards women, most of those countries just stone the victims to death. Problem solved!

  • Katie

    @K - I'm keeping those great examples in mind the next time a rape apologist takes the "avoid dangerous situations" line of attack. Nicely done.

  • m

    K is absolutely correct. Alcohol can't rape someone, a dark street can't rape someone, a stranger's home can't rape someone. There is no rape without a rapist. No situation is dangerous without a rapist there to victimize women. There are a lot of places and situations female bodied individuals are essentially barred from, for no other reason than that they're female, and as such deserve or are resonposible for rape. It treats rape victims like they aren't human beings with the right to do what they want, as long as it injures no one.

  • jf1

    "No situation is dangerous without a rapist there to victimize women. "

    But there are situations in which a rapist is likely there, to exploit it. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  • jf1

    I also must mention in passing the furor over sex offenders (and known drug users, rehabilitation clinics etc) moving into "genteel" neighborhoods. Why is this?

    Just a bunch of "geentels" worried about falling property values?

  • jf1

    ...not to mention the whole issue of "rape" vs consensual sex...how exactly does that work?

    It's not rape if the woman doesn't press charges afterwards? Or is he supposed to ask for permission before taking each step leading up to and including penetration? Before each thrust?

    Come on, you women want to be in control of your lifes to the Nth degree yet absolve yourselves of responsibility for anything that goes wrong that you don't like. You can't have it both ways.

  • K

    And you, jf1, want to advocate for "men's rights" AND come across as a logical reasoning individual. You can't have it both ways either.

  • jf1

    "And you, jf1, want to advocate for “men’s rights” AND come across as a logical reasoning individual."

    Yes, apparently that's a problem in this post-feminist world, where the only things that are allowable are those that women want, and everything is actually the way that women say that it is LOL

  • pantherq

    LSP- you forgot never take any medication that may leave you vulnerable to predation.

    And transmen are victimized as well, it took three times my calling 911 before the police believed me and by then the criminals had destroyed my entire life.

    We should start a website that documents police and prosecutors that ignore our victimization so we can either avoid those cities or so we can work on changing the ignorance that allows us to be raped again (figuratively) by those charged with protecting citizens.

  • LeftSidePositive

    jf1, your idiocy knows no bounds.

    "…not to mention the whole issue of “rape” vs consensual sex…how exactly does that work?"

    It's really very simple...if she doesn't consent, then it's rape.

    "Or is he supposed to ask for permission before taking each step leading up to and including penetration?"

    Yes, he is. Most definitely including penetration. If he doesn't ask how does he know he has consent?

    "Come on, you women want to be in control of your lifes [sic] to the Nth degree yet absolve yourselves of responsibility for anything that goes wrong that you don’t like. You can’t have it both ways."

    How is that having it both ways? All we're saying is that we deserve basic human rights. We deserve to be the sole owners of our own bodies. The majority of men already are, so they don't understand what it's like not to be. NO ONE claims that a man's autonomy somehow makes him responsible for the crimes committed against him. Why is it different for women?

  • LeftSidePositive

    @pantherq--well, I forgot one...I guess I must be "asking for it" then, right?

    I'm truly sorry to hear about your experience. I hope that you can get some justice or at least find peace.

  • Banyan

    @jf1

    There comes a time when you have to ask yourself two questions
    1. Am I wanted in this forum? Do people find my comments interesting, informative. If not, shouldn't you leave? I mean if I was at a party and everyone thought I was obnoxious and unhelpful I would leave. You should too.
    2. Am I being productive or have I devolved into a herpes?

  • Whatif

    Victim blaming rape survivors is awful, but this article and many of the comments presume that the woman has indeed been victimized simply because she has filed suit. It seems like in rape cases this community treats the accused as guilty until proven innocent.

  • http://transuk.freeforums.org Keltik

    I think the one blindingly obvious thing these people have in common is a lack of education. These arent the comments of educated people. They're morons, having an opinion does not mean you are intellegent.

  • http://aliceiscurious.blogspot.com Alice

    I think perhaps the most upsetting "excuse" for the rape (and it's hard to choose, certainly) is "If she were raped, she would be acting differently and more quietly!!!"

    It really speaks volumes about that individual's mindset. Ah yes, rape certainly shut up all of us women, who are clearly asking for it anyway, and puts us in our place.

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  • Katherine

    Most news sites where I am claim that every comment must be approved by their moderators before it is posted, and still horrendous bigoted comments get through. I have tried complaining but it just goes nowhere. We must assume that mainstream newspapers are letting these comments through on purpose.

  • Jen

    it's completely mind-boggling just how insensitive and ignorant people can be. :l

    and i just want to save what K wrote in comment #23, because it gives me faith in humanity where way WAY too many people use the "he/she was doing this so he/she deserved it" argument...and people like jf1.

  • Jen

    *and people like jf1 exist.

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  • ccb94

    This is ccb94 and I happened to find this article and its comments. I am a very un-judgemental person and apologize if my opinion offeneded anyone. I belive in your rights to make a choice but have not given up my rights on how they affect me. My point would have been the same if the victim was a woman. It is very rare that you see a rape victim who is sincere be so blatant about what happened and how it happened. The football player is still a rich man and she did file a law suit. I don't think I am wrong to question her real motives and my opinion had nothing to do with her gender!!!

  • Madeleine

    Saying that the motive for the lawsuit was due to the football player being a rich man is just a valid suggestion as saying that the man is definitely to blame because professional sportsmen are notorious for being involved in sexual assault cases.

    To say that it is rare to see a rape victim "who is sincere be so blatant about what happened and how it happened" is basically suggesting that any woman who is strong enough to come forward and be open about the occurrence is most likely making a false accusation, which in turn could discourage other women to come forward out of fear of being accused of lying for her own benefit, simply because she was able to speak up!

  • Loud and Clear

    If you are forced (either physically or by threats) into sex of any kind with someone it is rape! No one is entitled to someone else's body against their will at anytime. No one in there right mind would want to force someone to be intimate with them which is why no one ever believes that they would be raped because you give people the benefit of the doubt that they would respect your wishes and boundaries but unfortunately there are some who always want to have there way with others and will do things to you against you will because they are selfish psychopaths. It can happen to anyone I don't care if you are a virgin, boy, girl, man or woman, rich or poor, conservatively dress or what some would like to deem as provocative. You can never provoke someone to force themselves on you. They forced themselves hence you were resisting and they violated you because that was their choice. No one deserves to have anyone violate their bodies, no one! If you have to force yourself on someone because you have poor social or courting skills go look in a mirror and cry!

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