Monday, November 9, 2009

Headline: One Third of NYC Traffic Deaths are Pedestrians

Headline: One Third of NYC Traffic Deaths are Pedestrians (Gothamist)


The Sexist said...

what's weak about it?

Katherine said...

I just don't think it's a very strong connection. I felt like it diminishes rape. The current climate with pedestrians is that comparing victims of rape to pedestrians feels like increasingly uneven ground. (For what it's worth, and not much, I was agreeing with your position on pedestrians and cars.)

The Sexist said...

The thing about analogies is that you're not comparing apples to apples. That's the point. I write about rape victims constantly, and it's been amazing to me how much more sympathetic people are to pedestrians hit by cars than they are to rape victims. It would be absurd for you to disagree with my position on pedestrians and cars. But a lot of people disagree with me about acquaintance rape.

Pedestrian accidents are public, and they're not hidden in the way sexual assaults are. As a result, it's a lot easier for a person to recognize driver's privilege than a rapist's privilege. That's extremely sad, but it also gives us the opportunity to illustrate what privilege means to people who have never thought about it before.

Katherine said...

But that's not what I'm disagreeing about. I'm not contesting that rape victims are treated poorly--that's why I think it's unfair to rape victims, or that people get behind the wheel of the car and have a sense of entitlement, or that people are generally morons and disagree with you regarding acquaintance rape.

I think rape is a violent crime about power and control, but I don't think a driver hits a person in a crosswalk to deliberately establish his or her control. (Except, of course, an incident of road rage.)

So with that in mind, I don't think I'm being absurd.

My personal experience is that many people are not willing to recognize a driver's privilege. (That's why I was so happy to see that you had--and was the whole point of sharing what you had written.)

I'm sorry a disagreement is how you've "met" me, since I always thought it would be an awkward fawnfest.

The Sexist said...

I don't think it's absurd that you disagree with me on the *analogy*. You just said it was weak without explaining why, so I wanted to know why!

Like I said in the post, I generally find analogies imperfect in dealing with sexual assault. But I also find them really helpful. So I appreciate the feedback on that.

But I think conceiving of all rapes as premeditated and "deliberate" does a disservice to rape victims, because it ignores how rape is a product of privilege. That privilege is so normalized that many rapes are not "deliberate." They're just an extension of the power and control the rapist is accustomed to have a right to.