“Kill Your Rapist”

This graffiti appeared in my neighbourhood recently. Here I simply note and draw your attention to it.

There’s a connection between this graffiti and D.A. Clarke’s classic short essay which I included in this post in January: HOW TO STOP RAPE: ‘JUSTICE IS A WOMAN WITH A SWORD’ While she doesn’t advocate killing your rapist she certainly contemplates women fighting back. It’s a powerful and salutary essay.

For those who do not have time to read it in full, I quote from it here:

If the risk involved in attacking a woman were greater, there might be fewer attacks. If women defended themselves violently, the amount of damage they were willing to do to would-be assailants would be the measure of their seriousness about the limits beyond which they would not be pushed. If more women killed husbands and boyfriends who abused them or their children, perhaps there would be less abuse. A large number of women refusing to be pushed any further would erode, however slowly, the myth of the masochistic female which threatens all our lives. Violent resistance to attack has its advantages all round….

It’s interesting–amusing in a bitter kind of way–maybe even liberating–to envision a slightly different world. The man limps into the emergency room with one ear half-torn off and multiple bruises. As he gasps out his story, the doctor shakes his head: “You mean you grabbed at her breasts and tried to pull her into your car? Well I mean, dummy, what did you expect?” And he gets no sympathy, not a shred, from anyone.

She concludes:

I am not here to lay out a list of easy answers, but a tangle of difficult questions.

Violence may be a tool and a tactic that feminists should use; certainly we ought to be putting some serious thought into it. If we refuse it, it should not be because it offends against our romantic notion of morally superior Womanhood, but for some better and more thoughtful reason. If we accept it, we had better figure out how to avoid becoming corrupted by it.

Finally, another form of fighting back—parody, a lampooning of patriarchal explanations of rape in India.

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