**Trigger warning – violence, rape, victim blaming**
On New Year’s Eve, an 18 year old male was “king hit” on the streets of Sydney in an apparently unprovoked attack.
The story has led news bulletins for the last three days, has been the feature story on many news websites and a Google news search results in over 100 online articles relating to the incident.
On the same night, just over an hour’s drive south of Sydney, a 21 year old woman was grabbed from behind, dragged into nearby sand dunes, and raped.
I came across the story of the woman’s rape purely by chance. A Google news search results in just four almost-identical online articles about the incident.
It’s not necessarily the difference in media coverage between the two incidents that I find disturbing, (although, I do find it problematic) but the difference in the discourse in the articles.
The two incidents share similarities – both were violent, unprovoked and horrific. Both will likely have life-changing effects. Neither victim was at fault.
When discussing the “king hit”, Police Prosecutor Sergeant Lisa McEvoy called the event “horrific”, noting that it was “completely unprovoked”. There have been numerous calls for tougher penalties and requests to change the term “king hit” to “coward punch”. The senseless act of violence has been called brutal, horrific, savage and an act of thuggery.
When discussing the rape, Acting Inspector Dan Richardson of the Wollongong Police said the assault was an “unfortunate reminder for people to avoid walking alone” and “for friends to keep an eye on each other”, suggesting that “it might have helped if a different route was taken”. Articles discussing the rape all mention that the victim was walking alone and had been out a New Year’s celebrations. There have been no calls for harsher penalties for rapists, no descriptions of the incident as brutal or horrific.
I can’t help but wonder why the rape of a woman is an “unfortunate reminder” , while the bashing of a man is “horrific”. Kings Cross, where the “king hit” incident took place is well known as a frequently violent spot, yet nobody would dare ask why the young man was there in the first place.
Why, when writing about a rape, is it necessary to repeatedly mention that the woman was walking in the early hours of the morning, as though such an act caused her rape?
A rapist caused her rape.
As women, we are often reminded that we should take steps to ensure our safety. But when you tell me not to drink too much, not to walk alone, not to walk in dimly lit areas, what you are really telling me is to make sure he rapes some other girl. Because there will always be someone who has had more to drink, is more alone, or is walking in a darker area. And I want that girl to be safe as well.
When you call the rape of a person an “unfortunate reminder” you are using a horrific event that happened to a human being as a cautionary tale. A bullshit cautionary tale.
I can’t believe that this is even something that I have to be pissed off about. It’s two-thousand-and- fucking-fourteen.
Nobody’s rape is an “unfortunate reminder”.
Walking alone does not cause rape.
Rapists are the sole fucking cause of rape.
End. Of. Story.