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Another cartoon inspired by the current, infuriating moment. Hundreds of hundreds of conservatives (mostly, but not entirely, white men) have been asking this question. Including the President of the United States, in (of course) a tweet.
And the constant denial can hurt. Emily Dreyfuss in Wired:
When I read Trump’s tweet this morning, first I stopped breathing. When the most powerful person in the land denies your lived experience, it feels like someone punching you in the diaphragm.
Thousands of victims of sexual assault – mostly, but not entirely, women – have taken to Twitter to respond to Trump, using the #whyIdidn’treport hashtag.
The failure of empathy inherit in the “why didn’t she report it?” question – asked by so many even today, while Christine Blasey Ford’s character and safety are under constant attack – is staggering. A better question is, given how some people are punished for reporting being raped, why do any victims report?
Almost two years ago, Rachel Sklar – addressing the question of why Donald Trump’s accusers stayed silent for years – wrote:
All of this reinforces the prevailing power structures of rape culture and patriarchy: Men are to be respected, believed and obeyed. Women mess with that at their peril. Not only are women expected to receive and submit, but they are expected to laugh off behavior that is otherwise invasive and threatening, to “not make a big deal” about it. But that just shows the normalization of violence against women…
Elizabeth King summed it up well:
Which is why “Why didn’t she report?” is a nonsense question. It doesn’t even need to be asked because 1) survivors are allowed to deal with a traumatic event however they want to — nobody is required to report, and 2) we all already know why; some simply choose either not to listen, or to not believe. It’s another way to blame victims, who deserve better than to rehash their trauma for the benefit of others’ understanding.
So, anyhow… about the art:
I’ve been working long days on this cartoon since… well, since an hour after I completed my previous cartoon.
The art here will remind some of you of the “Brave Truth-Teller” cartoon I did quite recently, which featured a similar bird’s-eye-view-with-tons-of-characters panel. And I probably wouldn’t have drawn this cartoon in this way, without having drawn that other cartoon fist. With Brave-Truth-Teller, I expanded my cartoonist’s toolbox a tiny bit, and now that I have that tool I can use it again.
I will admit, however, I didn’t expect to be reusing this particular tool so soon.
One last side note: As I was writing this, my housemate Matt walked by, looked over my shoulder, and said “I like the perspective you used to draw Kevin there.” And I looked again, and omg – the jerk at the bottom of the page does look a lot like my friend Kevin Moore.
(Kevin, dude – that wasn’t on purpose, honest. I didn’t even notice until Matt pointed it out. So this is Matt’s fault, maybe?)
Let me hasten to add that Kevin is incredibly nice and empathetic and would never say what the dude here who looks like him is saying. And also, Kevin’s a terrific cartoonist himself – he even has a patreon.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has only one panel. The panel shows a crowd of people, looking down on them from above. A dark-haired woman in the middle of the crowd, wearing a red blouse and a blue skirt, looks frightened. Everyone else in the crowd is yelling at her, pointing at her, shaking fists at her, etc – it is not a friendly crowd.
A little removed from the mob, at the bottom of the cartoon, a blonde man wearing a blue turtleneck talks to a black-haired woman, raising his hands in a shrugging gesture.
MAN: If she was raped, why didn’t she say so sooner?