Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Right wingers are forever going on about how the sexual revolution has brought about the decline of civilization and has been simply terrible for women due to us no longer being able to use pregnancy to force reluctant men to shotgun marry us, among other things. But this Mother Jones report from Missoula, MT clearly illustrates how antediluvian attitudes toward sexuality and women held by the prosecutors there are causing rapists to go free, tormenting female victims, and causing some victims not to even bother trying to get justice.
On Friday, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office in Montana, alleging that it has found “substantial evidence” that prosecutors there systematically discriminate against female sexual-assault victims. According to the DOJ, the office considers sexual-assault cases involving adult women a low priority, often treats these victims with disrespect—quoting religious passages to one woman who reported assault, in a way that made her feel judged—and declines to prosecute some cases in which it has confessions or eyewitnesses, including a case in which Missoula police obtained incriminating statements from a man who admitted to having sexual intercourse with a mentally ill woman, who had asked him to stop.
“We uncovered evidence of a disturbing pattern of deficiencies in the handling of these cases by the County Attorney’s Office, a pattern that not only denies victims meaningful access to justice, but places the safety of all women in Missoula at risk,” wrote Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division, in a statement on Friday.
Deny it all you want, conservatives, but this is exactly the culture of female shame and rapist enabling you want to preserve and strengthen, no matter how much you claim to be for “protecting” women and girls. And this right here is straight out of the handbook:
…In another case, the Justice Department spoke to a woman whose daughter was sexually assaulted, at the age of five, by an adolescent boy, who was sentenced to two years of community service for the crime. A prosecutor handling the case allegedly told the mother that “boys will be boys.”…
Boys will be boys! You know you’re dealing with a pretty powerful double standard where girls and women are deemed responsible for the behavior of every male in their midst but, gosh darn it, we can’t even trust dudes to behave themselves around a five year old! And it’s that exact mindset that is prevalent in the anti-choice movement and “abstinence-only” sex ed, where passing lip service may be given to the idea of guys remaining chaste until marriage but the need for the ladies to keep themselves pure is heavily emphasized.
Unfortunately, and to the delight of sexual predators everywhere, right wing views on female sexuality haven’t been relegated to the fringes where they belong because plenty of non-conservative people also share at least some of them. When even President Obama expresses squeamishness over Plan B being available to girls “alongside bubble gum or batteries”, it’s a reminder that right wing activists operate in a larger culture that is angst-ridden over young female sexuality and mistrustful of female independence. Which is why I’m such a broken record on this stuff. This isn’t just your grandparents being silly old fogies. Slut-shaming and victim-blaming are pervasive cultural forces that continue to hold back progress and negatively influence the public and authority figures. These attitudes cause untold harm to real people and they need to be fought vigorously.