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Because: stupid 

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Does anyone know what kind of pipe the pied piper used? Was it a piccolo or some kind of tabor or reed pipe? My third cousin has an oboe that I borrowed when his back was turned.

Also, I’m going to need lessons. I’d like to learn to play something eerie and haunting, the type of song that will get victims to leave their beds in the middle of the night and follow me down Santa Rosa Street and directly to the County Jail. That’s the safest place for them, really. We’ll start with rape victims. Then victims of petty theft and arson, and we’ll graduate to murder victims, who we’ll probably have to dig up first. But it’s a small price to pay to protect victims by incarcerating them.

So long as I can get this oboe to sound like a sultry siren, we’ll be in business.

Does anyone know how to make an A sharp?

Stop looking at me that way. I have it on good authority that the San Luis Obispo Police Department approves of my methods. In fact, I got the idea from a press release the department sent out in early September in which they established that a) local prostitutes have been the victims of several violent and alarming crimes lately and b) this actually happens quite frequently, but prostitutes are generally afraid to make a complaint to the police, lest they be arrested, so c) the police department conducted a prostitution sting and arrested 10 prostitutes.

That’ll show ’em! The prostitutes, that is. No, I mean the people who committed the violent crime—the rapists. Wait a minute. I’m a little confused. Are we trying to teach the prostitutes a lesson for being victimized, or are we trying to teach the men who raped them a lesson for, well, committing rape? Because the press release has left me a little fuzzy on the thought process that linked a, b, and c.

For example, if I were presented with points a and b, I’d probably conclude that the police department should reach out to local prostitutes and offer to teach a self-defense workshop or, at the very least, make sure they’re comfortable reporting a crime. I would probably argue that it’s more important to catch a potential rapist than it is for police officers to feel morally superior to a group of people committing a crime that is actually legal in a number of other countries. And victimless to boot.

I mean, I’m capable of following the police department’s logic, if you’re willing to beat me over the head with a frying pan to scramble the part of my brain that can’t help produce thoughts like: Why are we arresting prostitutes because some of their fellow prostitutes were rape victims? If you’re going to hold a prostitution sting, why do you have to reason that the sting is necessary because local prostitutes have been victimized? How is it that Sgt. Kurt Hixenbaugh of the San Luis Obispo Police Department, who was quoted in the Tribune as saying “People say prostitution is a victimless crime, and most of the time, it is—but we do this because there are men out there raping and beating prostitutes,” passed the necessary tests to become a law enforcement officer with that kind of sick logic? You do have tests, right? Sensitivity training?

So yeah, I can totally get behind the police department’s logic. If I’m willing to promote rape culture by foisting responsibility for rape on the shoulders of victims. You know, what the San Luis Obispo Police Department is doing. I sure as hell hope I never have to call them after I’ve been sexually assaulted. Because questions about what I was wearing and how I, as the victim, might have reduced my odds of being assaulted probably aren’t what I’d want to hear after a traumatic event, no matter what my profession is.

I can hear the countering moral argument now, mostly because I’m writing this in a church where I snuck in because I needed an available electrical outlet to plug in my laptop, and this guy in there wanted to know what I was doing, and when I told him, he got all mad—first at the fact that I was stealing electricity and then at what I’m writing about. Make up your mind, guy!

Anyway, the reasoning is that if these women didn’t want to be raped, they shouldn’t have become prostitutes, linking their identities—professionally, anyway—to sex. But sex isn’t rape. It’s sex. Rape is rape. It doesn’t matter what your job is or what you’re wearing or where you were walking or even how much you had to drink.

The problem with rape is the rapists. It’s that simple.

Look, some groups (*cough, cough* Taliban *cough*) aim to resolve this whole issue by demanding that the victims marry their rapists. How about that, huh? If we adopted that, we wouldn’t have to clutter up our jails with prostitutes we arrested to protect them from themselves, since themselves are the problem. Not the rapists.

To be fair, yes, the police department has arrested the alleged perpetrators in several cases in which local prostitutes were robbed or raped, so kudos for that.

But before we start dishing out too many kudos, let’s be real clear: Arguing that prostitution is not a victimless crime because a prostitute was raped puts you in the same head space as the jackasses in Washington who argue over terms like “legitimate rape.” And the crime when someone is raped is—let’s see, by show of hands, how many people understand where I’m going with this—rape. Not prostitution. People aren’t raped because: prostitution. People are raped because: rape.

And people who cast blame on the victim contribute to a culture in which what happens?



Shredder’s into the blame game, but never the victim blame game. Send comments to


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