Why do we feel sorry for rapists all the time?

18 Mar

A lot has been said lately about how people talk about rape. As a few different commentators have pointed out, often the language is ‘she was raped‘ rather than ‘the suspect raped the victim’: it’s passive and the focus lies entirely on the object (victim) of the act, not the subject (perpetrator).

It’s interesting that when we finally get a story about convicted perpetrators – when there is a ripe opportunity to articulate the perp’s actions – it’s full of sympathy and concern for their wellbeing and futures. Can you imagine, for example, hearing a journalist describing the conviction of teen school shooters and saying “The most severe thing with these young men is being labelled as registered […] offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law…That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

Why do we have such sympathy for rapists?

Check out Mallory Ortberg’s excellent smackdown of the disgusting CNN coverage of the Steubenville rape trial here on Gawker.


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