Last night, I wound up walking back to my dorm from the computer lab at around 11:30 PM. A group of students walking in the other direction told me that I shouldn’t be walking alone. After all, if you walk alone late at night, you could run into a Serial Rapist.
In the article, “How Serial Rapists Target Their Victims” (page 194), Linda Farsten, a former Manhattan prosecutor writes about the MO’s of “serial rapists”–rapists who repeatedly stalk women, rape them, and then move on to their next victim.
There’s a lot of fucked-uppedness about this article. Let’s start with a picture.
Evidently, your average serial rapist wears a hoodie. Nevermind that Farsten specifically mentions a case in which the rapist was dressed as a young business professional. Man wearing hoodie=rapist.
Also, near the bottom, is a caption that reads “Making A Rapist Pay”, which heeds women to go to a hospital immediately after an attack, so that a rape it can be processed, and thus, the attacker can be prosecuted. Evidently, if you have a rape kit done, you’re not doing it for your own health. And “having a rape kit processed” does not equal “successfully prosecuting a rapist”.
Because the victim may not want to press charges, for a variety of reasons.
Because there is a tragically small chance, that even when charges are pressed, a rapist will be prosecuted, convicted, and spend time in jail.
Because rape is one of the only (if not only) crimes in which it’s okay to put the victim on trial. Obviously, the victim was drinking/wearing/doing something that made their rape acceptable.
Because rape culture is so pervasive that prison rape is considered the norm, and considered an acceptable crime deterrent. As heinous as rape is, raping an incarcerated rapist doesn’t somehow magically erase the fact that they raped someone.
Farsten says that serial rapists frequently target workplaces, parking lots, bus stops, and even the homes of their victims. So, I’m supposed to avoid taking the bus, going to class, or staying in my dorm because, someone, somewhere, might possibly rape me? Yeah, I don’t think so.
The most enraging quote comes near the end of the article.
Rape is a crime that occurs because of the offender’s predatory behavior, and you can never protect yourself one hundred percent from becoming a target. But every woman should make sure her day-to-day behavior isn’t putting her at a higher risk.
So, rape is a terrible crime that can happen to anyone, but you still need to follow all of these rules to prevent being raped, even though you have no control over whether you become a serial rapist’s target.
Farsten basically reinforces the idea of a “rape schedule”. Evidently, I am supposed to spend a good deal of my time and energy (that I could spend on more productive pursuits) worrying if the things I do could make me more susceptible to being raped.
And then, as we sat in peaceful silence from station to station, I came to the best realization of all: We could sit here alone for days and days, and he would not rape me if he was not a rapist.
What a fucking revolutionary idea!
There are times when friends have walked me back to my dorm after a long night of studying. But there are times when I have to go it alone. I do pay attention to where I’m going, and stick to lighted areas, mostly so I can see in the dark, but I refuse to walk in fear because I might run into a rapist. It is not my job to live in fear of being raped. It is everyone’s job to avoid raping people.