21 September 2014

Neoliberal rape in Spain

Al Jazeera

While being interviewed on Spanish radio last month, Francisco Javier Leon de la Riva - the mayor of Valladolid, northwest Spain's largest city - announced that he was wary of getting into elevators with women because you never know when they might "tear off their bras or skirts" and then run out of the elevator claiming sexual assault.

In response, Twitter exploded with creativity (see, for example, memes featuring images of women in elevators and the words "Waiting for the mayor of Valladolid"), and Leon de la Riva protested that his statement had been taken "out of context". One is hard-pressed, of course, to think of a context in which such an utterance would not be terribly inappropriate.

As it turned out, the "context" was just as absurdly offensive, and had to do with a list of guidelines for females that had just been issued by the Spanish interior ministry. The subject? How to avoid being raped.

The document reads a bit more like a list of instructions for creating a nation of paranoid recluses. Suggestions include acquiring a whistle, "leav[ing] the lights in two or more rooms on [at night] to make it look like two or more people are at home", and conducting a thorough inspection of the interior of the car before getting in: "An intruder might be crouching in the back." READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.