“A rape culture is a culture of intimidation. It keeps women afraid of being attacked and so it keeps women confined in the range of their behavior. That fear makes a women censor her behavior—her speech, her way of dressing, her actions. It undermines her confidence in her ability to be independent. The necessity to be mindful of one’s behavior at all times is far more than annoying. Women’s lives are unnecessarily constricted. As a society, this one issue hampers the best efforts of half our population. It costs us heavily in lost initiative and in emotional energy stolen from other, more creative thoughts.”—Emilie Buchwald, “Raising Girls for the 21st Century,” Transforming a Rape Culture
Yes, officer -- there's a huge, systemic, oppresive problem.
So I went shopping today — as I foresee a potential for me getting sick due to weather + stress — for vitamins. After locating the vitamins I require, I made my way up to the cash register. As I walked up, I noticed the person in line in front of me happened to be a police officer. No big deal (not that I enjoy seeing dogs of the state out and about, but I’m not intimidated by them).
The cop turns around, gives me a once over, and I see his eyes fixate on my chest. Now, as it’s cold here, I wore my jacket which is adorned with a small triad cluster of anarchy pins on the right breast side.
Snorting, the cop looks me in the eye and says “Is there a problem, little lady?”
Taken aback, I shrug and shake my head and say “No.” I wasn’t quite sure what he was on about at this juncture.
Here is the following conversation:
Cop: If there’s no problem, then why are you showing gang symbols?
Me: I’m sorry?
Cop: The pins on your jacket, do you have a problem?
Me: Oh. Yes, I have a problem.
Cop: And what would that be.
Me: I have a problem with a system that propagates intimidation and censorship of alternative ideas.
Cop: Are you trying to say I’m intimidating you?
Me: Take it as you will.
Cop: You should be thankful for people like me, we protect your ability to have an alternative idea.
Me: Well, gee whiz, thanks. I’m sure glad you’re protecting my varied viewpoints while simultaneously accusing me of being in a gang.
Cop: You kids are all the same with your pathetic idealistic world views. You’ll come around one you’ve been raped.
The cop proceeds to turn around, finish paying for his purchase, and hastily storm out of the store.