REBECCA REINGOLD ’17
Recently, cities throughout the United States and other countries allowed rallies endorsing the concept of “pro-rape.” Misogynistic blogger Daryrush Valizedeh had planned a worldwide gathering for his pro-rape followers who go by the name “Return of the Kings.” This organization promotes (and hopes to one day legalize) rape, claiming that raping women in private should be legal in order to give them a “learning experience.” Classy. Naturally, these rallies sparked outcry among feminists and, well, anyone with a heart. People legitimately protested these protests. However, Return of Kings cancelled the remainder of these rallies due to the safety concerns when a female boxing club from Toronto threatened and prepared to enter the presentations by storm. Daryrush, also known as “Roosh” can be quoted reacting to the opposition by saying “[u]p to now, the enemy has been able to exert their power by isolating us and attacking with shrieking mobs, but we’ll be able to neutralize that tactic by amassing in high numbers come February 6. I will exact furious retribution upon anyone who challenges you in public on that date.” Big whoop kid, have you seen these Toronto female boxers?
The direction of my opinion—especially as a female—is evident. I am enraged, disturbed, disgusted, and simply flabbergasted by this legal move. Yes, legal. That is precisely what these rallies are considered. Our first amendment right allows for these forms of “peaceful” presentations. However, subsequent legislation confuses citizens—such as myself—about certain legalities and what constitutes free speech. I’m especially confused because a hate crime is illegal – a criminal offense against a person or property motivated by an offender’s personal opinions on another person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. My facts on hate crimes are spotty, admittedly, but I would like to play devil’s advocate regarding the legality of “free speech” with these pro-rape rallies.
Rape is an act of hate and violence. To rape another person is, typically, a non-verbal announcement of your hatred not necessarily towards that specific person, but to what they represent. The vast majority of rapes are acted upon women. This pro-rape organization consists of men who believe that women are objects who deserve no respect or rights. Sexual assault is becoming just as common as a sexually transmitted disease, which is a frighteningly high percentage. I could dive into the psyche of a rapist and elaborate on why rapists choose to rape but the facts are simple: rape is an act of hate. Rape is an act of discrimination towards a specific gender. Rape is a hate crime.
Allowing a pro-rape rally anywhere in the U.S. is promotes future hate crimes. Yes, the protest was declared to be a peaceful demonstration to support the rape culture; that means no actual hate crime was expected to be committed. However, if the rallies were not cancelled for safety concerns, how can we be sure that no acts of hate would be committed? Any sort of rally that supports violence and/or controversy tends to receive strong reactions from people either involved or not involved so how can authorities know for sure that everything will go peacefully and according to plan?
People are abusing our constitutional rights and doing more harm than good with them. Yes, we have had various presentations and protests to take incredible strides in our nation’s history (gay rights, civil rights, etc.) but recently it seems there have been way more protests supporting hatred against other groups of people than protests supporting groups of people without hating another group in the mix. What’s next? Pro-KKK rallies planned right in the middle of Times Square during an incredibly sensitive time regarding the Black Lives Matter movement? In fact, there have already been various KKK rallies and discriminatory rallies throughout the U.S. because they pulled the “freedom of speech” card. I am utterly baffled by the allowance of any of these hate groups being allowed to rally.
Oh, but don’t worry – the men from the pro-rape rallies cancelled their events due to a “fear” of being attacked or discriminated against violently for their rallies. The irony is laughable and the ignorance repulsive. I feel absolutely terrible for these participants. It is such a shame that these men did not get their shining moment to express and spread their hatred amongst the nation. How upsetting that they did not have the chance to show modern America just how far we have come to actually endorse pro-rape rallies! I couldn’t even imagine what it must be like to think about the possibility of being attacked. Could you? Could you even process the mere thought of possibly being attacked? Imagine what it must be like for them to walk around knowing that they might be attacked for who they are and what they represent. Must. Be. Tough.
For a group of people who support the concept of being violent and asserting their dominance I feel terrible that people would want to test that. The hypocrisy is amusing. There are too many contradicting laws that all tie back to allowing these rallies and, indirectly, endorsing this behavior. The First Amendment is one of our most sacred rights, but in this regard we need to address free speech v. screaming hatred.
REBECCA REINGOLD ’17