The idea of the lurking monster is no doubt a useful myth, one we can use to defuse any fear of the women we love being hurt, without the need to examine ourselves or our male-dominated society. It is also an excuse to implement a set of rules on women on “how not to get raped”, which is a strange cocktail of naiveté and cynicism. It is naïve because it views rapists as a monolithic group of thigh-rubbing predators with a checklist rather than the bloke you just passed in the office, pub or gym, cynical because these rules allow us to classify victims. If the victim was wearing x or drinking y well then of course the monster is going to attack - didn’t she read the rules? I have often come up against people on this point who claim that they’re just being “realistic”. While it may come from a place of concern, if we’re being realistic we need to look at how and where rape and violence actually occur, and how troubling it is that we use a nebulous term like “reality” to condone the imposition of dress codes, acceptable behaviours, and living spaces on women to avoid a mythical rape-monster. Ok, this rape-monster did exist in the form of Adrian Bayley, but no amount of adherence to these ill-conceived rules could have stopped him from raping somebody that night.
Tom Meagher (husband of the late Jill Meagher), The Danger of the Monster Myth. (via hanneflute)
I think part of the reason that people want to blame the victim here is because we don’t want to think that about the rapist we just rode the elevator with, or live down the hall from, or, worse, are related to. The emphasis must, must, must be on teaching boys and men what rape is and why it’s wrong, and making the law punish rapists more strongly.
Since her death in 1979, the woman who discovered what the universe is made of has not so much as received a memorial plaque. Her newspaper obituaries do not mention her greatest discovery. […] Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.
Jeremy Knowles, discussing the complete lack of recognition Cecilia Payne gets, even today, for her revolutionary discovery. (via blvckovt