Jennifer Doyle’s exploration of exploitative, neoliberal power structures within the university that work against victims of sexual assault in favor of the university’s sell-able reputation made me think about all of the false narratives that work to support this system.
This passage in particular was thought provoking- it made me turn my traditional train of thought (that the system is anti-woman/anti-victim) on its head: maybe the system is just, on a very personal, psychological level, anti-sex. We are taught to regard sex in general as taboo- and when survivors share their stories, maybe it’s not always intentional misogyny but rather fear that drives victim-blaming. Maybe it’s not sexual assault that is scary, but sex itself. If this true, and I think that it is at least in part, we need to destigmatize general discussions of sex and desire before we can destigmatize discussions of sexual assault. We cannot fully confront sexual violence before we confront sex itself. Destroying the culture of fear and shame around sexuality is step one.