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Jewesses with Attitude

Discussing rape, the "sisterhood" fails

We mentioned Tuesday the disturbing news of a British survey that showed that women were more likely than their male counterparts to blame rape victims for being raped.

As someone who writes about reproductive rights and gets frustrated with the frequently encountered “abortion for me, but not for thee” syndrome, this all sounds very familiar. Some women think: I’m a good girl; she’s a slut. I took precautions; she was careless. We blame each other even when, as Amanda Marcotte points out sheer bad luck is the primary determining factor which leads women to end up in the path of a rapist, with an unintended pregnancy, or as a victim of harassment.

This kind of statistic leads me to think about the title of [the Sisterhood blog], and the Jewish women’s organizations it’s named after. “Sisterhood” presumes that women, just by virtue of being ourselves, can find value in socializing and working together. The truth is I’ve been feeling a bit of soft nostalgia for the principles behind an old-school sisterhood version of feminism, the kind that we third-wave, ironic young feminists sometimes distance ourselves from.

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Sarah Seltzer is a regular contributor to the Sisterhood, which crossposts weekly with Jewesses with Attitude.

1 Comment

I, too, yearn for the good old feminist days, but that's another story. For what it's worth, here is my 2 cents on why women are so damn hard on another women. To blame women for rape or harassment is a form of self-protection -- if it isn't the women's fault, then it must be men's: random men and a whole system of random sexist crap that you can't control. Way to scary to imagine that no matter what you do, some terrible thing might happen to you. Far easier to blame the woman who lost control over her life.

How to cite this page

Seltzer, Sarah. "Discussing rape, the "sisterhood" fails." 19 February 2010. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on May 29, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/discussing-rape-the-sisterhood-fails>.

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