Note from author: This is a sensitive topic and I would advise those who comment or share this article to behave with empathy and understanding to those who have experienced sexual assault. A little consideration goes a long way in an open dialogue.
Outrage at rape has swept across the western world, the perceived perpetrators of this being refugees and immigrants from Arab and South Asian countries. While there is clearly an ideological difference in the way women and sexuality are understood between these cultures, the racist assumptions and ethnic hatred expose something far darker than moral outrage, blurring the lines between fact and fiction.
The date is 1913, Atlanta, Georgia. A young girl, only thirteen, is found dead on the floor of the factory where she worked. Pretty, white and working class, the brutal attack and strangulation of Mary Phagan sends shockwaves through the Southern community.
She becomes a symbol of the tragic poor whites, many of whom feel angered by increased black, liberal and jewish power within the system, causing the loss of their supremacy and former way of life in which women stayed at home and they were top of the pile. ‘Poor Little Mary’ becomes the focus of a great deal of anger and frustration about their position in society, so much so that tourism and pilgrimage to her grave continued years after her murder.
The crime is immediately sexualised, despite there being no evidence that she had experienced sexual violence. Why else would anyone kill an attractive young factory worker? All eyes turn to two suspects: the black night watchman who finds her body, and her Jewish supervisor, Leo Frank. Both are completely demonised by the press, both tried heavily on racist stereotypes despite unsubstantial evidence. Obviously, several papers pointed out, only someone with ‘immoral and grotesque lusts’ could have carried out such a crime.
In the eyes of a horrendously racialised society, black men and Jewish men were stereotyped as highly sexed, greedy, brutal and desirous of pretty young white women. Numerous literature and films of the surrounding centuries presented this stereotype; Birth of a Nation, The Eternal Jew, even Oliver Twist. People were prosecuted until fairly recently, especially black men, almost entirely on these stereotypes. These groups, the narrative was, weren’t as ‘civilised’ as white men. Rather, they were selfish, sexually deranged and from ‘exotic’ cultures of brothels and sex slaves. This sounds ridiculous for many people now, but this was widely believed at the time, right up until the 1960s and 70s.
Leo Frank ended up being lynched for the ‘rape’ of Mary Phagan. While it’s still not sure whether he was actually guilty, the case is famous for being so heavily weighted on his ethnicity. No white man, despite being the majority of workers in the factory, was ever even questioned. Some women even gave false testimony about him being a ‘deranged Jewish pervert’ despite the fact this was heavily disputed by many other women working in the facility. There are numerous cases, both Jewish and Black, where the accused has been prosecuted on the basis of racist stereotypes and identity politics. One only has to google ‘Jewish stereotypes’ to see obscenely racist images of Jewish men ‘seducing’ young ‘Aryan’ women. It’s an old cliche.
Now, with a huge influx of immigration from the Arabic world, there is an increasing focus on the new outsiders. I’m the last one not to criticise the misogyny, sexism and generally horrendous status of women’s rights in many Arabic countries. I’m also not disputing that integration to western perceptions of women, sexual consent and freedom are absolutely vital to upholding our current social values and freedoms. I’ve been subjected to racialised sexualisation as a ‘white woman’ myself, and I’m not in anyway negating the fact that this is very real and something we need to tackle.
However, I take considerable issue with the perspective that (the implied majority of) ‘young Arabic/ Pakistani-Muslim men are rapists and paedophiles, coming here to attack our women and kids’.
I have heard this so often it’s become normalised. It’s ridiculous, offensive and untrue. Rapists and paedophiles exist globally, and your moral compass isn’t removed according to how much melanin you produce.
According to RAINN, 50% of all rapists are over 30 years old, removed from the image of 20 year old sexually frenzied young immigrants. 57% are white. And, most importantly, 70% are known to the victim. Paedophilia, most obviously, is committed by all races. This is not exclusively a ‘Arab Muslim Man’ problem. Sexual repression within Salafi societies is definitely an element of it, but it is incredibly racist, and inaccurate, to purport that rape happens because of young Arabic immigration.
It doesn’t. Sexual assault is commonly committed by males known to the victim, often within the societies themselves. By demonising immigrants as ‘the rapists’, we are ignoring a huge demographic who is committing rape. This sexually deranged, evil, cartoonish villain attacking women in swarms simply does not hold up to research.
Yes, there is a misogyny problem. Yes, there needs to be integration into the sexual norms of western society. But don’t you dare look ‘your women and kids’ in the face and tell them that the problem is ‘the rapist Arab Muslims’ and not a far wider, deeper level of sexual violence within our societies. It is incredibly irritating and distressing to see individuals being outraged about rape when it has a racial element, but ignoring it elsewhere.
Rape is a sexual violence problem. Not a race one.
Anthropologist, Liberally Jewish, Cat enthusiast, Nuance extremist.