There’s this essay –
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_cox/2007/09/feminisms_rape_fallacy.html – it starts off talking about trials, but quickly lapses into the frequently-made comparison to burglary, and exhortations to women to “think twice” about what they do. Predictable of course: almost any article on rape in a daily newspaper is like that (yet is somehow always treated as some Great New Insight); and just as predictably, it is followed by a slew of supportive, “rational” comments which somehow in their “rationality” never realise that women are *always* going to be way ahead of men when it comes to taking precautions against rape, or that comparing rape to a property crime is offensive on any level.
And then of course, the comments about false allegations kick in. Now while I don’t want to minimise the seriousness of a false rape accusation, or suggest that it’s the man’s fault, I do think it’s time that men were encouraged to take precautions to minimise the possible damage to their reputations: think twice before going to a woman’s hotel room; realise that keeping the company of an imaginative female could carry risks, especially if drink is involved. After all, in cases of identity theft, it is very hard to prove the truth of matters, and even rarer to see the guilty parties punished – so we take care to shred documents we don’t keep – we try to keep the flow of information about ourselves under control. Is it so outrageous to suggest comparable behaviour in regard to rape-allegations? Any men bristling? Probably, and rightly – it’s an appalling comparison, just as the comparison between brutally violating another’s body and stealing their valuables.
Any men wanting to say, “that’s different?” Probably, and wrongly – it’s not different. And if the previous paragraph doesn’t illustrate why, then let me acknowledge that castration is a horrible thing to do to a man, and I wouldn’t want to diminish the responsibility of the individual doing the cutting. But when our property is vandalised, we take steps to protect it – we lock it away, we fit it with alarms – is it so outrageous to suggest comparable behaviour in the field of castration? To suggest to men that going to a woman’s home (where she keeps her knives) might be dangerous, or advise men that getting themselves into a drunken stupor in the company of a moody female could carry risks? See it now?
People are not property; bodies are not property. But while this is apparently so easy to grasp in the case of men, with women, this identification of body and property is so deeply ingrained that even noticing it, let alone challenging it, is deemed irrational.