The World According to O’Reilly: If You Got It, You Were Asking for It

Amanda Marcotte

The reason that people blame Rihanna or any victim of a gender-based hate crime is that the supposed protection of the patriarchy is only extended to good girls.

The
creepy stalking and ambush of journalist Amanda Terkel by "O’Reilly
Factor" producer Jesse Watters

was notable not because it was unusual.  Sadly, O’Reilly’s staff frequently
uses this schtick — using harassment tactics to silence journalists
who say things that Bill O’Reilly doesn’t like, especially those
who criticize O’Reilly.  Terkel had pointed
out that it was inappropriate for O’Reilly to speak on behalf of an
anti-rape organization

when he engaged in rape apologism, and for that, he sent out the bully
patrol to harass Terkel for the viewing pleasure of his wannabe bully
audience.

But the stalking was notable because of the context. 
The producer followed Terkel from her home and ambushed her in the town in which she was vacationing because she dared to defend rape/murder
victims against O’Reilly’s insinuation that they have it coming
if they break one of O’Reilly’s Rules For Young Ladies involving
alcohol consumption, curfew, or clothing choices.  You can’t blame Terkel for being shaken. 
After all, O’Reilly has implied that women who break
a rule he wrote for them are asking to be raped and murdered, and now
she’s got a group of men following her around because she broke a
rule O’Reilly wrote for her.  The context elevates the usual ambushing
tactics of the "O’Reilly Factor"

straight into creepy territory, as Terkel noted: 

    Since I’m a 5 ft, 100
    pound woman with an opinion that he doesn’t like, perhaps O’Reilly
    believes I deserve to be treated this way. 

Unsurprisingly, bloggers who
wrote in support of Terkel drew
the ire of O’Reilly fans, who, as I’ve noted before, are huge fans of
virtual bullying.
 
The endless cycles of lashing out and virtual (or real life) bullying
in an attempt (often unsuccessful) to silence truth-tellers is the point
of another post, though.  What I find interesting in all this is
that O’Reilly is framing his attack on Terkel as a defense
of rape victims, because he’s claiming that his speaking gig at the
Alexa Foundation is well-deserved because he goes to bat for rape victims.   

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How can that be, one may ask, when he says things
like:
 

    Now Moore, Jennifer Moore,
    18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt
    and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every
    predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. 

If O’Reilly has trouble grasping
that the fault for rape and murder belongs 100% on the rapist-murdered,
then he has no business identifying himself as an advocate for victims. 
That alone should disqualify him, but the fact that he’s had his own
problems harassing
women
should have
made it beyond the pale to treat him as an advocate against sexual violence.   

But I suspect that O’Reilly
does think he’s a good guy who deplores rape, so long as it’s "real"
rape, i.e. rape committed against a young woman who follows O’Reilly’s
Rules For Young Ladies.  If you stay in at night and accept male
authority over your movements, and get raped anyway, he probably does
feel bad for you.  Isn’t that the selling point of the patriarchy–you’ll
be safe and under male protection if you behave yourself and follow
all the rules? 

This fantasy that male dominance
is better for women (at least good girls!) is explicitly stated in Kathryn
Jean Lopez’s deplorable
essay blaming feminism for Chris Brown beating Rihanna.
  Instead of Chris Brown, who
continues to enjoy varied, colorful excuses for his behavior offered
free of charge from the public.  Lopez would like to believe that
putting a man in complete control of you means he’ll never use violence
to enforce his authority–which is actually very close to what abusers
often say to their victims, that if they didn’t buck authority, they
wouldn’t get beaten.  (Somehow, she also finds lesbians to blame
for this.)   

    We’ve so confused ourselves
    that now many teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown. Why wouldn’t
    they? He and Rihanna are equal, and we expect no more from men – in
    fact, we’ve conditioned a generation or two now to expect less. 

I’m not sure what world she
lives in where a straight man is permitted to deliver a hospitalization-requiring
beat-down to another straight man because he complained about a broken
promise.  In fact, that sort of thing is indisputably a crime and
always has been.  It’s domestic violence–violence aimed at
women to keep them submissive, a role Lopez assumes women should just
take on voluntarily–that was treated and still is treated as a private
manner.  Because, in the world Lopez longs for, women are considered
property and men have certain rights to dispose of their property as
they see fit.  Lopez, with her grade A levels of misogyny, probably
wouldn’t even consider wife-battering a problem if feminism hadn’t
forced the issue. 

No, the reason that people
blame Rihanna or Jennifer Moore or any victim of a gender hate crime
is that the supposed protection of the patriarchy is only extended to
good girls.  Then, in a version of the post hoc fallacy, we assume
that anyone who gets raped or beaten must have been asking for it, because
we believe good girls don’t get raped or beaten.  It’s a tight
loop, and a victim must bring extraordinary amounts of evidence of submissiveness
and chastity to even be considered for an exception–levels pretty
much no woman can meet. 

Sadly, anecdotal evidence shows
that other controlling men are absorbing the message that Rihanna is
to blame for getting beaten, and are using that as moral support for
their own behavior. Tracy
Clark-Flory saw a disturbing example.
 

    Just the other day, riding
    the train home from work,  I heard a teenage couple seated behind
    me fighting. The girl pleaded to her boyfriend: "Let me see it!"
    She had caught a glimpse of a sexy photo of another girl on his phone.
    With mounting outrage, her voice catching in her throat, she shrieked,
    "You promised me you deleted all of ’em!" He paused
    and then, with smirking confidence, threw down his trump card: "Don’t
    go all Rihanna on me, now." With that, the conversation ended. 

The question for those who
believe male dominance is good for women (as long as they behave themselves)
is this: do you think this teenage girl was "asking for it"?

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