Last week, a story broke that received surprisingly little attention from the MSM: a 14 year old Bangladeshi girl, after first being raped, was then accused of adultery and beaten to death. I say “surprisingly” because, since the women’s lib era, the dominant trope on the Left when it comes to rape is “never blame the victim.” In pre-women’s lib days, although raped women weren’t routinely beaten to death, there was a distinct lack of sympathy.
As a teenager, I still remember hearing and reading “she must have asked for her.” Back in the mid-1970s, Jules Feiffer had a multi-panel cartoon with a ragged housewife describing what she wore when she was raped. In each panel, she described an unappealing garment: curlers in her hair, old flannel nightgown, housecoat, slippers, no make-up, etc. In the last panel (and I’m describing this from memory) either a judge or a passer-by opines, “she was clearly asking for it.”
The women’s libbers were right to change that social dynamic, which blamed victims for savage sexual attacks. Typically for Americans, of course, we promptly went too far, insofar as we discounted a woman’s responsibility in terms of risk assessment. At the height of the “women are always the victims” insanity, a woman could wander bare nekkid into a biker bar, sprawl herself on the bar top, announce that she was free to all takers, and then cry rape afterwards. (This type of thing still goes on at American colleges and universities, where young women, having gotten dysfunctionally drunk and then willingly slept with a stranger, are allowed to call it rape when sobriety and regret arrive the next day.)
For the most part, while the American extremists are still trying to exculpate women entirely from responsibility, the vast majority of Americans understand that there’s a bit of nuance involved. That would agree that it is never okay for a man to have sex with a woman against her will. Legally, he’s culpable, and should be punished. Nevertheless, a woman who engages in exceptionally careless activity (that scanty attire in a biker bar, for example), is not without the blame for sheer stupidity. She’s not legally responsible, and the man shouldn’t get off the hook, but she should nevertheless get castigated for her stupidity, reminding other women that there’s only so far you can go being dumb before you get hurt.
The problem for liberals arises when there are two victims: the woman who was raped and the poor, benighted, imperialistically downtrodden, third world Muslim men. Multiculturalism demands that we give the men a free pass because it’s arrogant of us to impose our foul Judeo-Christian morality on , but feminism demands at least a nod to the woman raped. Except for one little thing…. The women raped don’t show up at your home or office and behead you. The women raped don’t throw acid on your face. The women raped don’t blow themselves up at your workplaces and airports. When it’s a matter of cowardice versus muddled principles, cowardice wins every time.