[The author of this open letter is Heidi Howkins Lockwood.--ES]
Dear Katie Roiphe,
In your “Katie Roiphe: this much I know” piece posted on The Guardian this past July, you said you know that you make people uncomfortable because you claim that women are partly responsible for their own date rapes; you know that women who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey are fantasizing about being the submissive sex again; you know that you get under people’s skin.
Unfortunately, Katie Roiphe, you haven’t gotten under my skin – though I wish that you would. I wish that you’d get under my skin, in my skin, in my mind, under the covers of my silence with me, for just an hour. You can trust me. I won’t show you anything you don’t want to see.
I won’t. show you. anything. you don’t want to see. I won’t show you what it’s like to be raped, because you don’t want to see it; in The Morning After and other pieces, the fact that you haven’t talked to many rape survivors is clear in your insistence that a rape which fits even your “violent force” criteria for a rape doesn’t count as a rape if the victim doesn’t call it that. I won’t try to show you the body of research that shows that rape and attempted rape is an epidemic in the U.S., because you don’t want to see it; instead of following the scholarly journals that this research appears in, you opted to concentrate on a single article in Ms. Magazine. I won’t show you what it’s like to work in an environment rife with sexual harassment, because you don’t want to see it; instead of talking to women who have been harassed, instead of soliciting anecdotes from all corners, you have bolstered your arguments with anecdotes and quotes from your own narrow niche of bourgeois friends.
But I will show you why your “The Philosopher and The Student” piece in Slate was despicable, ignorant and mean-spirited. I will show you how a power differential can twist reality. I will show you how your refusal to see is the product of creating a narrative in which you yourself are victimized.