08/30/2012 05:06 EDT | Updated 10/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Thanks Krista Ford, Now I'm Suffering From Rape Fatigue


This Krista Ford "don't dress like a whore" thing has really put me over the edge -- truly. I am experiencing the pinnacle of what Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan coined "Rape Fatigue."

Assuming many of you are also suffering from this enraging affliction based on the last seven or so days of the news cycle, I'll keep the recapping to a minimum and just get right to it: everyone needs to stop telling women how not to get raped. Now.

Stop telling women their rape wasn't legitimate. Stop telling women they seemed like they wanted it. Stop telling women to change how they dress to avoid having their safety compromised. And women? Stop talking about other women that way. Whatever happened to solidarity?

And recognize that even if you apologize -- even if you go to great lengths to set the record straight -- you have made it just a little bit harder for sexual assault victims to be taken seriously. I don't slut-shame, but I'm all for bigot-shaming. Shame, shame, shame on you.

"Don't dress like a whore" -- that's such a threatening sentence. Why don't we just tack on "or else"? It rings of a misguided "I told you so" -- like saying to a victim of arson, "Shouldn't have lived in a house."

I don't even want to talk about this any more -- I want to move the conversation forward. Let's stop wasting precious space, time, airwaves and thoughts talking about the ignorance of others and do something about it.

The next report I see about Krista Ford's tweet better instead be a multi-step action plan as to how we can teach this and the next generation of men not to rape women, and how we can educate the rest of the world to treat people with respect. (It's probably going to need to be a pretty big action plan, but hey, that's what elected officials are for.)

I want increased police presence, I want politicians taking sexism seriously, I want basically every current Republican to just shut up. But, one step at a time. First, let's focus on getting people to stop sexually assaulting women (notice I didn't say "let's focus on figuring out better ways to not get raped.")

The only good thing that has come out of the ignorant woodwork, however, is one big strong community outpouring. Last year, we saw Slutwalk -- a reaction to one cop's comments that took the power back and took the world by storm.

Today we saw bravery in epistolary form from Alice Moran, a recent sexual assault victim who addressed a letter to Ms. Ford directly, and did so with dignity and humour.

This is an age-old problem that rears its ugly head all-too-often, but that doesn't mean we have to accept it, and it doesn't mean that we have to play out the same old narratives. Don't pander -- move the conversation forward. Do something about it. We can only get better from here.