What I do want to tell you is that you need to stop using the “wives, sisters, daughters” argument when you are talking to people defending the Steubenville rapists. Or any rapists. Or anyone who commits any kind of crime, violent or otherwise, against a woman.
In case you’re unfamiliar with this line of rhetoric, it’s the one that goes like this:
You should stop defending the rapists and start caring about the victim. Imagine if she was your sister, or your daughter, or your wife. Imagine how badly you would feel if this happened to a woman that you cared about.
Framing the issue this way for rape apologists can seem useful. I totally get that. It feels like you’re humanizing the victim and making the event more relatable, more sympathetic to the person you’re arguing with.
You know what, though? Saying these things is not helpful; in fact, it’s not even helping to humanize the victim. What you are actually doing is perpetuating rape culture by advancing the idea that a woman is only valuable in so much as she is loved or valued by a man.
The Steubenville rape victim was certainly someone’s daughter. She may have been someone’s sister. Someday she might even be someone’s wife. But these are not the reasons why raping her was wrong. This rape, and any rape, was wrong because women are people. Women are people, rape is wrong, and no one should ever be raped. End of story.
I Am Not Your Wife, Sister or Daughter. I Am A Person. (via jlmillered)
I would further this argument by saying that framing the argument this way, to make rape apologists understand, also frames the issue for me, that they should only look at rape as wrong in the context of women who are close to them, and only feel for and care about those women. Which I think, is what they are generally feeling already. They care about their own mother, and sister, and daughter, but every other woman…not so much. It is not because this woman is your family that it matters that she is raped, it is because she is human, and nothing more is necessary.