The right not to be raped is a human right.

This past week saw up-and-coming political pundit and progressive activist Zerlina Maxwell talking about rape, her own status as a rape survivor, and the fact that women shouldn’t have to carry guns in order to not be raped — because boys and men should be taught not to rape in the first place. This is not a new topic for Zerlina (see her excellent “Stop Telling Women How Not to Get Raped”), and she’s not a stranger to backlash.

However, last week the discussion was on television, which gives it much greater kick, and any conversation about guns adds an entire new layer of intensity to the process, and pretty much immediately after she was off the air, Zerlina began to be inundated with rape threats, death threats, racist slurs, and often a combination of all three, across all the various social media platforms. (You can read more about how it’s played out by clicking here to read the reaction of Josh Marshall over at TPM). I’ve tried to be supportive of Zerlina as the week has unrolled, and I’ve tried to help spread the word that her experience is very, very far from unique.

Today I kind of summed of what I’ve been saying all week on Twitter, and I just want to be on the record as saying here what I said there:


  1. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    This very timely article is important for all men and women to read.

  2. Neocortex

     /  March 11, 2013

    I don’t have any blisteringly insightful addition here, just, yes. I wonder if some of these people have ever knowingly interacted with someone who has been raped. If they realize that, given the stats, they almost certainly know people who have been raped.

  3. Given it was my daughter’s eighth birthday this weekend, and having read extensively about Zerlina Maxwell’s interaction with Sean Hannity and the subsequent flurry of abominable and detestable rejoinders to her, I, too, went on a bit of a Twitter rant on the subject. I just can’t be silent about a situation like this.

    It is my theory that when you strip away everything else from people, you are left with two main types: those who care about themselves and others, and those who merely care about themselves. The barbarous whorl that surrounded Ms. Maxwell was a cyclone of the latter type, a cretinous crust scraped from the edges of human society, that could not conceive that any libidinous urges stirred up within them by the sight of a woman were of necessity to be forestalled by hewing to morality. They were perfectly willing to write a personal moral code that told them that a woman so stirring them was “fair game.”

    If you are an adherent to human societal mores, if you believe you are intrinsically connected to other humans, by whatever means, then it should be of no consequence to you to allow those mores to subsume any inappropriate personal desires that may surface. If you are not so attached, it places you at odds with humanity, or should. No one can make a case for the morality of rape. No one can make a case for the necessity of rape. Any who try, even weakly, mark themselves as a part of humanity to be excoriated and excised. No human being may be forced to give themselves to another, under any circumstance, in any fashion, without prior consent. To deny this to any degree is to mark you as a traitor to humanity.

  4. Reblogged this on Susan Daniels Poetry and commented:
    Read. Spread. Share. Please.

  5. kingmidget

     /  March 11, 2013

    I can’t even begin to put into words how amazed I was with Ms. Maxwell’s logic and the contra-logic of the pro-gun people on this issue … and then the absolute venom of the responses she got. Just stunning. Thanks for posting this. I’ll be re-blogging it as well.

  6. kingmidget

     /  March 11, 2013

    Reblogged this on KingMidget's Ramblings and commented:
    Zerlina Maxwell, a female, African-American commentator — and a rape survivor apparently — engaged in a televised discussion about arming women as a means of self-defense and preventing rapes. She quite logically pointed out that what society should do is take away the reasons and causes for attacks on women rather than arming them. And that women should be able to walk safely in our society without having to carry a gun. Horrible rephrasing of her argument, but you get the point. The response — well, of course, the Twittersphere and commenters came out in droves expressing the hope that she be gang-raped, her throat slit, and, well, use your imagination, it’s out there. It’s disgusting. Really is.

  7. Reblogged this on visionvoiceandviews and commented:
    Speak Up Against Rape

  8. Snoring Dog Studio

     /  March 12, 2013

    Ah, humanity. Sometimes it’s awfully painful to be part of it. I’m leaving with the hope that the crazy trolls are in the minority.

  9. baiskeli

     /  March 12, 2013

    You’re a mensch. That is all.

  10. Very interesting post…and it’s sad that boys/men have to be “taught” not to rape in the first place…sad that they have the desire to force a woman/girl against her will in the first place…but equally we must not forget that women are capable and do, inflict rape on men/boys too. And this should never be forgotten as it is just as horrendous and damaging as when a male rapes a female…. thanks for sharing this post 🙂

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