Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Reader’s comment: Mary Beard’s response


In response to Julie Lynn: Mary Beard – rape victim or just a Twit?, Mary Beard wrote:

I may often be a Twit, but I think it would be useful to clear up two points here. First, I spend a lot of time writing books (I promise), but I do feel (as most of my colleagues do) that there is a duty of public engagement on an academic. People do this in different ways. I have enjoyed many encounters on Twitter (answering questions about my subject from people keen to know included). The idea of leaving Twitter simply to professional media types is not the kind of social media I want to live with. (I would also rather that people did not post saying that my vagina smells like a cabbage. Is that unreasonable?)

On the rape, the original article (which you can find on the LRB website) raises exactly the kind of complexities of definition that some commenters here are talking about. Indeed that was why I wrote it. I think that there is a major problem with sexual violence, assault and harassment. Yes. But I also think (and have often said) that the fact that you wake up in the morning in bed with someone you don’t want to be in bed with doesn’t necessarily mean that you were raped, or didn’t consent. It may also mean that you made a mistake.

I am very sorry if some of these subtleties didn’t come over.

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