The World According to O’Reilly: If You Got It, You Were Asking for It

creepy stalking and ambush of journalist Amanda Terkel by "O’Reilly
Factor" producer Jesse Watters

was notable not because it was unusual.  Sadly, O’Reilly’s staff frequently
uses this schtick — using harassment tactics to silence journalists
who say things that Bill O’Reilly doesn’t like, especially those
who criticize O’Reilly.  Terkel had pointed
out that it was inappropriate for O’Reilly to speak on behalf of an
anti-rape organization

when he engaged in rape apologism, and for that, he sent out the bully
patrol to harass Terkel for the viewing pleasure of his wannabe bully

But the stalking was notable because of the context. 
The producer followed Terkel from her home and ambushed her in the town in which she was vacationing because she dared to defend rape/murder
victims against O’Reilly’s insinuation that they have it coming
if they break one of O’Reilly’s Rules For Young Ladies involving
alcohol consumption, curfew, or clothing choices.  You can’t blame Terkel for being shaken. 
After all, O’Reilly has implied that women who break
a rule he wrote for them are asking to be raped and murdered, and now
she’s got a group of men following her around because she broke a
rule O’Reilly wrote for her.  The context elevates the usual ambushing
tactics of the "O’Reilly Factor"

straight into creepy territory, as Terkel noted: 

    Since I’m a 5 ft, 100
    pound woman with an opinion that he doesn’t like, perhaps O’Reilly
    believes I deserve to be treated this way. 

Unsurprisingly, bloggers who
wrote in support of Terkel drew
the ire of O’Reilly fans, who, as I’ve noted before, are huge fans of
virtual bullying.
The endless cycles of lashing out and virtual (or real life) bullying
in an attempt (often unsuccessful) to silence truth-tellers is the point
of another post, though.  What I find interesting in all this is
that O’Reilly is framing his attack on Terkel as a defense
of rape victims, because he’s claiming that his speaking gig at the
Alexa Foundation is well-deserved because he goes to bat for rape victims.   

How can that be, one may ask, when he says things

    Now Moore, Jennifer Moore,
    18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt
    and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every
    predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. 

If O’Reilly has trouble grasping
that the fault for rape and murder belongs 100% on the rapist-murdered,
then he has no business identifying himself as an advocate for victims. 
That alone should disqualify him, but the fact that he’s had his own
problems harassing
should have
made it beyond the pale to treat him as an advocate against sexual violence.   

But I suspect that O’Reilly
does think he’s a good guy who deplores rape, so long as it’s "real"
rape, i.e. rape committed against a young woman who follows O’Reilly’s
Rules For Young Ladies.  If you stay in at night and accept male
authority over your movements, and get raped anyway, he probably does
feel bad for you.  Isn’t that the selling point of the patriarchy–you’ll
be safe and under male protection if you behave yourself and follow
all the rules? 

This fantasy that male dominance
is better for women (at least good girls!) is explicitly stated in Kathryn
Jean Lopez’s deplorable
essay blaming feminism for Chris Brown beating Rihanna.
  Instead of Chris Brown, who
continues to enjoy varied, colorful excuses for his behavior offered
free of charge from the public.  Lopez would like to believe that
putting a man in complete control of you means he’ll never use violence
to enforce his authority–which is actually very close to what abusers
often say to their victims, that if they didn’t buck authority, they
wouldn’t get beaten.  (Somehow, she also finds lesbians to blame
for this.)   

    We’ve so confused ourselves
    that now many teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown. Why wouldn’t
    they? He and Rihanna are equal, and we expect no more from men – in
    fact, we’ve conditioned a generation or two now to expect less. 

I’m not sure what world she
lives in where a straight man is permitted to deliver a hospitalization-requiring
beat-down to another straight man because he complained about a broken
promise.  In fact, that sort of thing is indisputably a crime and
always has been.  It’s domestic violence–violence aimed at
women to keep them submissive, a role Lopez assumes women should just
take on voluntarily–that was treated and still is treated as a private
manner.  Because, in the world Lopez longs for, women are considered
property and men have certain rights to dispose of their property as
they see fit.  Lopez, with her grade A levels of misogyny, probably
wouldn’t even consider wife-battering a problem if feminism hadn’t
forced the issue. 

No, the reason that people
blame Rihanna or Jennifer Moore or any victim of a gender hate crime
is that the supposed protection of the patriarchy is only extended to
good girls.  Then, in a version of the post hoc fallacy, we assume
that anyone who gets raped or beaten must have been asking for it, because
we believe good girls don’t get raped or beaten.  It’s a tight
loop, and a victim must bring extraordinary amounts of evidence of submissiveness
and chastity to even be considered for an exception–levels pretty
much no woman can meet. 

Sadly, anecdotal evidence shows
that other controlling men are absorbing the message that Rihanna is
to blame for getting beaten, and are using that as moral support for
their own behavior. Tracy
Clark-Flory saw a disturbing example.

    Just the other day, riding
    the train home from work,  I heard a teenage couple seated behind
    me fighting. The girl pleaded to her boyfriend: "Let me see it!"
    She had caught a glimpse of a sexy photo of another girl on his phone.
    With mounting outrage, her voice catching in her throat, she shrieked,
    "You promised me you deleted all of ’em!" He paused
    and then, with smirking confidence, threw down his trump card: "Don’t
    go all Rihanna on me, now." With that, the conversation ended. 

The question for those who
believe male dominance is good for women (as long as they behave themselves)
is this: do you think this teenage girl was "asking for it"?

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • invalid-0

    I cannot believe the ignorance of people today. This Lopez woman is out of touch. This is going to add fuel to the fire of abusers. Many men do not believe that abuse against women even exists! I guess it was so “acccepted” for so long to beat your wife or treat her like a possesion. No one sees the difference? Someone needs to put tape on her mouth or something. This issue of violence and abuse needs so much more disscusion. It is no where near being solved.
    Thank you

  • http://WWW.THEOFFTOPIC.COM invalid-0

    then they are both victims. none greater than the other. Maybe you should treat them like equals.

  • colleen

    Who is ‘they’? Can you possibly be talking about Chris Brown and Rihanna? O’Reilly and Terkel?


  • invalid-0

    Anonymous, you and I are both equals, so if I punch you in the nose, will we both be victims? (Ouch, my hand!)

  • amanda-marcotte

    He’s talking about the girl who gets raped in her room while studying at Bible college and the girl who gets raped while out drinking.  It’s true—both are equal, and both deserve justice and our sympathy.

  • invalid-0

    at the slut scolds.

    As if wearing some article of clothing protected women. Women in burkas are raped. Women who stay home reading the Bible are raped. Most women are raped by men they know.

    If there were a way you could dress that would prevent rapes, don’t these scolds understand that all women would dress that way? Plenty of women exercise their right to walk at night and wear what they will and nothing bad happens to them. Plenty of women obey the ‘rules’ and are raped.

    The solution is not for women to forfeit more equality and cower inside. The solution is to hold men responsible for their actions. Women aren’t raped b/c of what they are wearing or b/c they don’t have escorts. Women are raped because a rapist decided to rape them.

    And no woman ever deserves that.

  • harry834

    is that no one believes that they believe that male dominance is good…but "belief" is more than just a conscious mission statement or opinion that you tell to others. You have unconscious beliefs that get revealed when you act. You’re actions reveal the beliefs you have, even if you believe you don’t believe.

    We (often men) got to look at ourselves, and let others look at us.

  • amanda-marcotte

    But I also have to point out that K-Lo openly scoffs at women who think they’re equal, which implies that she thinks that’s just not true.

  • invalid-0

    How can anyone, anywhere, think that the physical abuse of another person is ok? If a man goes out to have a couple beers with friends and walks home, is is asking to be mugged and beaten or killed if he wears nice clothes? I was molested at 7 years old by my best friends much older brother while I was at her house after school. Her mother was home. What did I do wrong?

    I was molested at 11 after taking a horseback riding lesson with my girlscout group when I walked my horse to the barn.

    I was sexually battered at 13 by my riding teacher because I was out in the riding ring at night painting the rails. Why was that wrong?

    I was raped by my first love when he decided he did not love me anymore. I had stayed at his house but his mother did not come home that night, and he came into my room. What did I do wrong?

    I dont think my experiences are unique. I think most women have been the abused at some point. We are however, carefully taught not to tell because no one would believe us-it just does not happen to good girls. If it happened to you, therefore, you are not one.

    O’Rielly is truly damaged in his thinking. Will stalking her make her agree with him? Why does he care that much and why wasn’t the stalker arrested along with his boss?

  • invalid-0

    O’Reilly gives his listeners and viewers what they, and his producers, want. The truth be damned. He gets paid very well to be a right-wing talking head. I watch him on those rare occasions when I need my naturally low blood pressure to go up.

    Good men don’t need the kind of excuses people like O’Reilly provide, because they do not abuse women. Men who abuse women grasp at any straw whatsoever to justify their behavior. It must help to quiet the tiny twinges of guilt they may possibly feel to hear the old mantra of “she must have done something to deserve it.”

    Bill, tell that to a young Alice Sebold (“Lucky: A Memoir”) who was raped the last day of her Freshman year at Syracuse University. Her rapist was unable to complete the act until she, a virgin, bled sufficiently. Tell that to the family of the young rape/ murder victim in Kate Braestrup’s wonderful memoir, “Here If You Need Me.” A student at a church-affiliated college in Maine, she was abducted in broad daylight in the parking lot as she left for a dentist’s appointment and lunch with her mom. Tell that to women who are attacked in their own homes. Tell that to the families of small children who are abducted and murdered by sexual predators. Those monsters listen to, and take comfort in, the very same fictions you repeat.

    No female person of any age deserves to be raped. Never, ever.

    Mr. O’Reilly needs to step away from his comfortable studio and actually join the dialogue about rape. I’ve read that he is actually a bright, well-educated man who has a rather different persona away from his fan base and his producers. Wonder if he’d appear on Oprah?

    • otaku1960

      Keith Olbermann calls him "Bill-O the Clown".  O’Reilly is a frequent target (hey, he practically begs to be satirized) of Keith’s and he has great fun poking this particular bag of hot air. Olbermann’s show is on MSNBC at 7 & 9 pm CST from Monday to Friday.  Some of the best free entertainment around. 


      Your grievance shall be avenged.

  • invalid-0

    Rapist rape because they are rapist! Any man that says what O’Reilly said is almost certainly a rapist himself. And as this J-Lo woman, my God. I feel for the women that date this “persons” kid. What in the hell is she thinking?

  • invalid-0

    There are Male victims of rape, and they are as innocent as the female ones, and as much wrongly blamed (“It doesn’t happen to a real Man”).

    • invalid-0

      Why is it in a discussion about violence against women, someone always has to chime in “yeah, but men get rapped too”…yes they do, and statistically this is also committed by another man and usually, it’s done in a way that feminizes the man, for instance calling him ‘a pussy’ or sodomizing him.

  • invalid-0

    You should treat them like equals.

  • progo35

    This post is just so full of it that it’s not even worth writing any further reply to.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich