Right-wing Christian radio host Jesse Lee Peterson, who has claimed that it was generally a “big mistake to educate women” and that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have wanted to get raped during the Trump-inspired January 6 insurrection, spent part of yesterday’s show literally victim-blaming sexual assault victims.
Here's Christian radio host Jesse Lee Peterson with some very modern thoughts about sexual assault.
Don't write any of this off as some fringe belief. This victim-blaming message has long been preached at mainstream evangelical churches, too. pic.twitter.com/G5fXuJmMk1
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) September 14, 2021
… If you walk around looking like a slut, in some little tight dress all up your legs, and you get raped, that’s your fault. You’re asking for it!
You should do it… dress modest… modest… modestly. [Off-mike: Is that how you say it?] Modestly! Then you won’t get raped.
One nice lady [on a previous episode] said that rape was for power. It’s about power. No it’s not! That’s another lie that’s been told to you. Rape is not about power. Rape is about having sex.
When a man is raping a woman, he’s not thinking, “Ooh, I’m about to get power.”
Needless to say, all of that is insane Purity Culture bullshit.
No victim of rape is asking for it. Ever. Many victims — if Peterson ever cared to listen to them — would tell you they were covering up their bodies and what they were wearing had nothing to do with the attack. The power/sex distinction he tries to make is absurd, too. Many rapists are in relationships with their victims. It’s not merely about sex; it’s about power and control.
Maybe the worst thing about that segment is how Peterson has nothing critical to say about rapists. Only their victims. That’s what Purity Culture teaches, though: It’s a woman’s responsibility to not tempt men… and if anything happens, well, she deserved it. It’s the main reason cases of sexual assault go underreported or flat-out ignored at so many fundamentalist Christian colleges.
What Peterson said was disgusting. It’s also no different from what so many young women grow up hearing in mainstream evangelical churches.