Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This American Rape Culture

One of my great loves in life is the NPR show This American Life. I listen to it in the car and often when I write. It's been a huge inspiration to me as a writer, especially a memoir writer. This week's episode, Anatomy of Doubt. Made me a rage monster. 

I will warn you that the episode deals with rape, and while it is not explicit, it is very triggering. It is a perfect example of the many, many ways the American justice system fails women, particularly women who have been raped. 

The story centers around Marie, a young woman who had grown up in the foster care system. She was in the processing of transitioning out of the system into living on her own. She had a good job, her own apartment, and she was enjoying life on her own. She stayed close to two of her foster moms, Peggy and Shannon. So when a man broke into her home and raped her, she turned to them for support. 

And they failed her. So hard. Especially Peggy, who even went so far as to call the lead detective and tell him that Marie was lying. Peggy's only reason for saying this is because Marie wasn't reacting the way Peggy thought a rape victim "should." The police let Peggy's statement derail the entire investigation, and it spiraled into this horrible quagmire of shit that no one should have to suffer. 

I found myself yelling at my phone, and I'm sure other commuters thought I had the worst case of road rage ever. 

When Madeline Albright said that there is a special place in hell for women who don't support other women, she meant women like Peggy and Shannon. I really don't know how they can live with themselves. 


  1. That was a powerful episode. It just crushes me the number of messages we get from all around us: women can't be trusted. They can't be trusted to report rape, they can't be trusted to parent children, and they definitely can't be trusted to make decisions about child birth and abortion.