On victim-blaming and control

It’s virtually a law of Internet discussion that any conversation about rape will turn into a debate about the need for women to keep themselves safe. The attitude that women have the responsibility to protect themselves from rape is, at the most generous reading, an uncritical acceptance of the idea that men cannot be prevented from raping. At its worst, it is yet another example of the way society makes women responsible for anything men dislike. And all the while, there is no acknowledgement that this is just the mechanism by which sexist men can benefit from rape without themselves committing it.

That women are sexual beyond the ways men wish them to be disturbs a certain kind of man. The fears that once kept female sexuality in check are gradually being eroded by social change and medical advances: fear of ostracism, fear of disease, fear of unwanted pregnancy. But fear of rape remains, and it can be a powerful weapon.

There was one piece of fall-out from the paratrooper incident that I didn’t mention. A family member learned that I’d gone back to the camp with a couple of men for sex. He had no reason to think anything non-consensual had happened, but he was horrified all the same. He told me that my behaviour was disgusting and that I should be ashamed of myself. Friends and other family members defended his attitude by pointing out what many people in the other thread pointed out – that I’d put myself at quite some risk.

That explanation failed to convince me. Disgust and shame are appropriate responses to moral wrongdoing, not foolhardy risk-taking. He was horrified that I’d allowed myself to be sexual in an unapproved way; the risk of rape was a justification, not his true motivation.

It shocks some people that I want sex and don’t want to submit to male authority. It shocks them even more that these two desires outweigh my fear of rape, so that I dare to gratify both by picking up paratroopers in a pub. The “prudent” suggestions for keeping myself safe always boil down to giving up sex (or at least, the kind of sex I’m interested in) or submitting to male authority.

These “solutions” might well have no effect on my risk of being raped. But even if they were guaranteed to protect me from all risk, they wouldn’t be worth it. I think I’d rather be raped than spend the rest of my life turning aside from what I wanted and settling for something less. I know I’d rather take risks than allow fear of rape to control my expression of my sexuality.

In my ideal world, men would not be tempted to commit rape. Sexual encounters would be handled with negotiation, not with one partner’s insistence on getting what he wants at the expense of another. Men would respect the desires of women to control what happens to their bodies, whether they’ve known each other for ten minutes or ten years.

And in my ideal world, the fear of rape could not be used as a justification for slut-shaming.

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262 Responses to On victim-blaming and control

  1. 101
    Amanda says:

    The whole high-risk/low-risk thing is patently stupid. Most women are raped by men they know, not strangers. Therefore, the best way to reduce risk is to only have sex with strangers. Nick was being careful.

  2. 102
    La Lubu says:

    I find it hard to believe that a person who solicits anonymous sex does not place herself in a greater risk of rape than a person who does not.

    Funny, but I’m still waiting on the other thread for someone to patiently point out to me the physical difference between going home with a man with the intent to have sex with him, vs. say, having a male date walk you to your car. In both scenarios, the male has the opportunity to become a rapist. In both scenarios, the female who is raped will be held accountable for her own rape, even though in one instance she was seeking sex, and the other she was not. Where I live, the police wouldn’t arrest the rapist in either scenario; they would view it as a “he said/she said”, unless the victim was able to entice her rapist into punching the shit out of her. If he just held a knife to her throat, then he’d be home free.

  3. 103
    Lilith says:

    In the other thread, Amp said something about fearing that the debate was becoming so vehemently polarized there was a danger of a kind of “orthodoxy” materializing. Well, when people say things like this:

    Most women are raped by men they know, not strangers. Therefore, the best way to reduce risk is to only have sex with strangers.

    I’d say we’re definitely headed in that direction. Whether this was meant “ironically” or as a bona fide argument, it’s ridiculous. What is happening here is that the middle ground is being bombed out of the room entirely. Anyone who doesn’t agree with one side entirely is painted in a simplistic, stupid light by the other side. Few issues involving human beings are really this simple.

  4. 104
    ginmar says:

    Lilith, you’re just being literal-minded and doing exactly what you’re accusing those who disagree with you of doing. Nifty trick, that. Maybe you should—unlike Susan, who’s been trolling here for a while—-try, oh, I don’t know—actually listening? Seems like you came here with just as many preconcieved notions as you accuse other people of having. Pot, meet kettle.

  5. 105
    Jenny K says:

    Lilith – it’s called hyperbolie, not irony, and it’s a pretty reasonable argumentative tactic to take, especially when people are making ridiculous assertions that ignore the actual facts available. (such as the fact that most rapes are not stranger rapes…so all this talk about reducing rape by protecting individuals from stranger rape really kinda misses the point)

  6. 106
    Jake Squid says:

    The question, as I see it if we are talking about rape risk reduction, is what actions are actually efficacious and what are the trade-offs.

    It seems to me as if the only sure fire risk reduction technique is to never be in the company of men. For most women this is simply not workable or desirable. So, for those who have a firm belief in certain forms of risk reduction – what are those (in)actions? How much is the risk of rape reduced by following each of those rules? What are the tradeoffs in terms of freedom of movement/association/the pursuit of happiness, economic and otherwise? Is a woman a fool for not following each of those rules at all times without exception? What percentage of the time must a woman follow each of those rules? And what should those under the age of 16 or 12 or 8 be doing to reduce their risk of rape?

  7. 107
    Jake Squid says:

    Disgust and shame are appropriate responses to moral wrongdoing, not foolhardy risk-taking. He was horrified that I’d allowed myself to be sexual in an unapproved way; the risk of rape was a justification, not his true motivation.

    This, I think, is a brilliant summation of the issues enunciated in the title of this post.

    As I wrote in the other thread, I would never recommend that Nick go out seeking an anonymous sexual encounter at a pub because I would never do such a thing. At the same time, were Nick to tell me that is what sie was going to do I wouldn’t attempt to dissuade her. If I feared for Nick’s safety, I would offer to accompany hir. However, all of the “advice” so solicitously tossed in Nick’s direction has been, “Don’t do that. It’s a stupid thing to do.” Which is just a more subtle way of showing moral disapproval.

    I tell people not to drive drunk because that is demonstrably dangerous to both the driver & innocent bystanders. I don’t tell people not to skydive because that is really only dangerous to the skydiver & I trust people to make the risk/reward judgement that is best for them.

    For me, there is no moral disapproval of seeking anonymous sex or skydiving. I do have a moral disapproval of drunk driving because of the harm that can come to people who are otherwise uninvolved. (And I’d like to think that if I disapproved of seeking anonymous sex on moral grounds that I would have the wherewithal to say so outright.)

  8. 108
    Charles says:

    Lillith,

    I just really don’t see why one would be particularly at greater risk of rape in seeking sex from relative strangers.

    I suppose that the idea is that the number of men who will rape someone they don’t know when they think that they are going to get to have sex and then it turns out they aren’t going to is larger than the number who will rape someone they do know in the same situation.

    And I suppose that doesn’t seem like that unlikely of a claim.

    And both of those groups of men are probably larger than the group of men who will rape someone who they didn’t have any expectation that they were going to have sex with. So the random strange man in an elevator is less likely to be dangerous than he would be if you asked him to come have sex with you. The number of men who think that consent can’t be revoked is larger than the number of men who don’t think that consent matters at all. So long as you don’t change your mind, or the man doesn’t try to change the definition of acceptible sex on you, then going off with a stranger to have sex is probably no more dangerous than pretty much any other interaction with a man. However, that conditional is a pretty big one.

    On the other hand, I would guess that there are more men who will rape someone they know casually if their expectation of getting to have sex is not met. I would guess that early dates with an acquaintance are probably riskier than sex with strangers. Sex with strangers with explicit negotiation of what is and is not acceptible I would guess to be safer than your average steamy date with a new friend, particularly since many people’s dating culture seems to be strong on the “we should just know” dogma and weak on the explicit negotiation.

    However, those are just my guesses. Others guess that sex with strangers must be riskier than sex with friends or lovers. Others guess the reverse. I don’t think any of us come anywhere close to knowing.

    At least if you have sex with a stranger, they are unlikely to think that that gives them permission to start trying to run your life. Friends and lovers are much more likely to be a problem that way.

    None of which excuses the men who rape, or the society that ignores the rapist and blames the victim. None of which demonstrates that a particular course of action has obviously crossed the line from reasonable personal estimation of risk to just plain stupid. None of which excuses pretending that calling someone you don’t even really know stupid for making choices you disapprove of constitutes advice.

    Transforming your own personal experience into bright lines is also a crappy way of trying to spread risk reduction ideas, particularly when your bright lines rule out the entire goal that someone is seeking. It is obvious that Nick (who sounds reasonably experienced at doing this) employed multiple techniques to reduce risk given what she was trying to accomplish (explaining before hand “No condom = no sex,” etc). If, instead, Nick were a total neophyte at picking up men in bars and had made misjudgements and mistakes that were visible to someone who was more experienced in picking up men in bars, it would make sense for the more experienced person to politely offer to give her some pointers on how to improve her techniques (including making herself safer). However, for people who don’t have an interest in doing what she was doing to simply say, ” Oh that was stupid, doing that is much too dangerous, unlike the things I choose to do,” is simply pointless, dumb, offensive, and in this case part of the culture of shaming and scaring women who step out of line through the threat of rape. It is still that, even if that isn’t what you intended.

  9. 109
    Tapetum says:

    To add my own .02 on the hazards of particular behavior.

    I walk alone at night. A lot. I like to. I also get told often how hazardous this is (though less as I age and get less nubile). Stranger rape is the emphasized hazard in almost every single case. I’m supposed to give up my freedom of movement, right to associate, and a number of other things in the name of this “safety”.

    I’ve also been sexually assaulted twice. Both times by men I knew and trusted, in both cases the assaulter was and still is a “regular guy” with no criminal record. Well, one is almost certainly dead now.

    Tell me again why Nick’s behavior was dangerous?

    Stranger rape is not the norm, but we are repeatedly told to act as if it is. This is controlling, illogical behavior that works to our detriment. Pretending either that it isn’t, or that it doesn’t exist is sticking our heads in the sand.

    If you’ve never had it done to you, Susan, you are extraordinarily lucky, and you need to realize that.

  10. 110
    Rock says:

    Isn’t it rather obvious where the biases are in our societies? Why hasn’t anyone come to attack the position of the Paratrooper? Didn’t he pick up someone for sex? Why isn’t he being portrayed as shameful, disgusting and overly risky? He even removed the condom, talk about risk, Nick could not get pregnant, and so removing it would decrease the protection for him, increasing his risk.(As well as Nick and her baby, a risk she was unwilling to assume.) The reason that he is not being castigated as overly risk taking is that there is still a separate unequal standard for men, boys will be boys. We all have been told it so much, many in both genders believe it.
    Nick, There is nothing that I know of as seemingly irreversible as the helplessness of experiencing being raped. I am sure I missed a lot of opportunities for sex; I do not remember them as I do being assaulted. I appreciate your passion and your sentiment, you must feel very embattled and I am proud for your standing up to asses your choices and making them, and not rationalizing them to anybody. Blessings.

  11. 111
    Rachel Ann says:

    Charles:
    You said:

    Rachel Ann talks about how she avoids ever spending time alone with men not her family (either single men or groups). While she primarily does this for religious/cultural reasons, she clearly feels that this makes her safer and wouldn’t be a bad idea for others to do to.

    The first part of your statement in regards to me is true, but the last line is false. I don’t have an opinion on as to the “goodness” or the “badness” of spending time alone with a man who is not one’s spouse or near relative. I think it is safer not to, but I do it ONLY for culturael/religous and emotional reasons. It isn’t reasonable to expect others to do so.

    That is, I was stating a fact, not necessarily a program for living.

    I think that there are always things we can do to make ourselves safer in any given situation, and that is the issue I would like to explore. Not; you must sacrifice, but how can you be safer, in terms of what you wish to do with your life.

    I notice everyone also is focused on how 1) women can be safer and 2)rape.

    My initial reaction to Nick’s writing wasn’t “Well of course she was almost raped! or Well she would have deserved it. or even”What did she think they would do?” but “Oh my G-d she could have been killed! She and her baby could have been killed!”

    I would have had the same reaction if a homosexual man had stated that as his experience, and even if the goal of the outing was to purchase a puppy or a new car.

    Drunk are not known for their abiltiies to reason.

    Add in a desire to have unfettered sex and you add in another danger. Whether or not that danger SHOULD be there is not the same as saying it IS there. A significant portion of the population WOULD say she deserved to be raped (and I could try and find ti but don’t think it necessary to do so.) and THAT is wrong, imho. It will take a great many more years unfortunately for that attitude to leave the world, both in the court system and in the court of public opinion. Should she base her life on what others think? No. But they aren’t going to stop for that reason.

    Furthermore, I felt that her feeling that a man “would know how to put on a condom” is unrealistic. Many men do. Some do not. A man whose motor coordination is impaired by drugs are alcohol is even less likely to be successful in putting on a condom. The drunk in question could have been a virgin. It does happen. She was expecting the men whom she didn’t know to have her world view and the experience and abilities she thought they should have, which is unrealistic.

    That isn’t a moral condemnation.

    To get back to my original statement: I did make a judgement about Nick’s choice in an intellectual frame. Further conversation has convinced me she knows the risk she took, and I restructured my comments to reflect that. Given that this is a choice she is making how to make it safer? I can only deal with a particular case that I see. Someone else wrote and stated the methods commonly recommened wouldn’t work to help her, and my immediate thought was “Okay, what can be done in this situation.” I couldn’t think of too much constructive, said so, and gave the matter some thought. What could be done?

    Generalities have a limited effectiveness. Once they have been stated and the effectiveness is placed in dispute for an individual person either because of outside circumstances (this is my job, I like my job, but I can’t avoid X situation, for example, being alone with drunks, because I work with drunks.) then the next thing to do is try and make the situation safer DESPITE this aspect.

    I don’t see that as wrong or immoral, nor do I think it senseless.

    That at the same time we need, as a society, to work to eliminate the mindset that rape is okay in a subset of situations, is a given in my case.

    My suggestions are merely stop-gap, the way that food banks are a stop-gap for poverty. When we as a world can set up life so that no one is impoverished, then there won’t be a need for food-banks or charities. Till the, they are necessary, and finding ways to get food and money to the poor, that is helpful and effective for that paticular person in that particular situation, as well as making general plans that affect most of the impoverished population is the only way that I can see to put food on the table and clothes on the back of the hungry and naked.

  12. 112
    Charles says:

    Rachel Ann,

    I’m sorry I unfairly mis-stated your position. I think I agree with much of what you say, although I think the skill in putting on a condom issue is probably a red herring. If, when Nick had pointed out to him that he wasn’t wearing a condom he had said, ” Oh shit, I guess I didn’t get it on right, could you give me a hand with the next one?” I am guessing NIck would have said “Sure,” and thought nothing further of the incident.

    I totally agree that one should try to make ones situation safer within whatever limits one finds reasonable, given ones goals. I just didn’t see all that much sign that Nick hadn’t already done that. As I have said before, I am way too ignorant in picking up strangers for casual sex to be able to give any sort of advice that might even conceivably be useful. My own ignorant and biased response to Nick’s story is more like, “OMG, Soldiers!?” but that is purely my own anti-military bigotry speaking.

    The biggest flaw I find in the entire risk reduction arguments in response to Nick’s story is that Nick pretty clearly was not telling the story to solicit risk reduction advice. Nick was (I think) largely telling the story to be able to get to this point:

    It can still be rape even if she wants to have sex with you. It can still be rape even if she’s sexually aroused and apparently ready for sex. If she consents to this but not that and you make her do that, it’s rape. If she consents to any kind of safe sex and you make her have unsafe sex, it’s rape.

    I suppose it is conceivable that everyone who responded with risk reduction advice (and risk reduction abuse) was simply so far in to being the choir that that point seemed so obvious as to not really be an important part of the story. Conceivable, but somewhat hard to credit.

  13. 113
    TP says:

    Women can avoid rape by staying locked up *alone* in ther homes. But they would have to give up on their life.

    Despite what people may consider to be risky actions, the actions are only risky because of the ‘other’ party being willing to committ rape.

    Jut because there are *some* people who are capable of rape does not mean we should judge all people as such. Just because sometimes things can go wrong shouldn’t mean that a) we expect this to happen b) that we are blamed for this or c) that we should change the way we live our lives because some people are criminals (or potential criminals).

    Nick, what a horrible experience.
    But it’s not the womans fault. Why can’t people see, the only person responsible for a rapist actions are the rapist!

  14. 114
    Josh Jasper says:

    My first reaction to the orriginal thread was to offer some harm reduction advice, which I quickly thought better of. Other than bringing down some trollish comments a peg or two, or offering sympathy, I don’t know much mroe about what to say.

    I think in a really odd way, people like Susan don’t really live in just *a* bubble, they don’t recognize that there are areas outside of where they live where things are different. That’s a lot of the problem. Sure, it’s possible that Susan has never had to experience sexism.

    I can offern a paralell situation – lots of members of scienc fiction fandom have never experienced racism. We’re mostly white, but those of us who aren’t, as long as they tlak like the rest of us, don’t get dealt with in a racist manner.

    But then you look around and realize that there are all of about 10 black authors in science fiction. What the hell? You’d think that a society that’s that non-racist would attract a variety of views. Nope, what it does is attract a large number of generaly non-racist well educated white people. Most of the protagonists in science fiction books are white, the villains are white, the cultures are white, and the language is white. It’s not racist, but it is so racialy pure there’s no good hook for people who’re not white to get interested. After all, we’re not talking about them.

    It’s possible (absenting the huge possibility she’s jus making this up as a troll) that Susan really never encountered much sexism in her life, and can’t understand that there are people who’ve experienced it.

    I never saw that much racism in my life. I’ve also never seen first hand really bad homophobia. If I could delude myself into thinking my experinces were the norm, I’d be telling people homophobia didn’t exist.

    But I’m just not that stupid.

  15. 115
    Rachel Ann says:

    Hi Charles,

    I agree. Nick probably would have given the man a hand if he had so requested, and I have heard that can be part of the enjoyment of the sex act.

    I think my reaction was probably due to the fact that for the past 24+ years I’ve been a mom, and that does something to most women (probably most men are affected by paternity as well.) So I acted as maybe a mom would (not all moms please people!). Fear and the need to protect.

    I can not of course speak for anyone else’s reasons, though I presume at least some felt similarly.

  16. 116
    Nick Kiddle says:

    I don’t know what planet Susan is living on. Either she’s lived all her life among people with an unparalleled respect for women, or she’s become an expert at not noticing things that might disturb her.

    I consider myself to be pretty unaffected by rape (as far as it’s possible for someone female-bodied to be unaffected), and I’ve heard comments far worse than the “uptight bitch needs a good fuck” variety sitting in my own kitchen. I’ve experienced what was technically sexual assault, although at the time I thought of it more as “God, my boyfriend is such a dick”.

    I think Susan has about half a valid point when she talks about the effects of socialisation. Young women are taught to fear rape, they’re taught that potential rapists lie in wait every time they dare to express their sexuality and the only way to keep from becoming a victim is to submit, in whatever way, to male control. But at the same time, they’re not taught to fear the rapists at home, the nice, kind young men who “accidentally” go too far, the male controllers themselves.

  17. 117
    Richard Bellamy says:

    I guess my personal experiences also do not match the majority here, although I am much more aware of sexist/rape jokes/cultural references than Susan appears to be.

    My confusion/difference here is in the references to a “rape culture” that places it outside the world of “normal” violence/crime. While I said on a previous thread, I had never been raped (or raped anyone), I have been “mugged” twice — both during college, and both when I was walking alone at night in an urban area.

    Both times I got yelled at and told how stupid I was by friends (male and female)/parents/professors for being so stupid as to walk out alone at night. As I think back from an “older” perspective, I generally think they were right, and that I was stupid.

    So, I guess I don’t see the sexism/double-standard aspect that is assumed by many of the posters here. If I male friend were walking alone in a dark alley at night, I’d probably say, “Don’t do that, you could have been killed!” and to a woman I’d probably say, “Don’t do that, you could have been raped or killed!” So how my experience differs, is that I don’t see “fear of rape” as a social control over women any more than “fear of assault” is a social control over men. (or, if more, than of degree rather than kind).

    Since I asked for advice for my daughters on the previous thread, I did some research and found that, besides the fact that about 80% of rapes are acquaintance rapes, about 3/4 of rapes occur after the man has recently drank alcohol or taken drugs. My provisional/ new advice to my daughters or rape-reduction strategies would be “Stay away from being alone with drunk men, whether they be strangers or trusted acquaintances, because you can’t trust anyone when they are impaired.”

    Any thoughts?

  18. 118
    Jesurgislac says:

    Richard: Both times I got yelled at and told how stupid I was by friends (male and female)/parents/professors for being so stupid as to walk out alone at night. As I think back from an “older” perspective, I generally think they were right, and that I was stupid.

    So, basically, when you blame the victim of an assault, you are really just passing on the abuse you received for being the victim of an assault? That makes sense, but is generally more effective, if rather than just passing on the bad treatment you got (and internalising it, and arguing that you “deserved” it) you turn around and say, no, it wasn’t your fault: walking alone late at night does not mean you deserved what you got, either in being mugged, or in being told, afterwards, that it was your fault.

  19. 119
    Amanda says:

    For the record, I was employing hyperbole to demonstrate how ridiculous this whole conversation is. Entering into relationships with men is *highly* risky–men I’ve been in trusting relationships with have beat me down, but no one has ever suggested that I should just not have relationships with men and instead get sex from strangers in order to reduce my risk of domestic violence.

  20. 120
    Elena says:

    Sheezlebub, I don’t know what crap you want me to cut. I myself stated that the fear of rape is more oppresive than rape itself.

    I understand Q Girl to be saying that rape fear is a tool, enjoyed by all men if not used by all men, to oppress women. I disagree. In the context of US society in 2005, It’s a crime, not a tool. It’s not useful to think of all men as rapists, or as passivly going along with it. I strongly believe that most men are NOT and would never be so cruel to a woman, even if they never really gave much thought to the subject and even if they previously thought rape wasn’t a big deal. These are the higher expectations I speak of. This goes to the heart of victim blaming because it’s about expectations of MALE behavior, not victim behavior.

  21. 121
    La Lubu says:

    So, I guess I don’t see the sexism/double-standard aspect that is assumed by many of the posters here. If I male friend were walking alone in a dark alley at night, I’d probably say, “Don’t do that, you could have been killed!” and to a woman I’d probably say, “Don’t do that, you could have been raped or killed!” So how my experience differs, is that I don’t see “fear of rape” as a social control over women any more than “fear of assault” is a social control over men. (or, if more, than of degree rather than kind).

    And again, I will stress that this thought is coming from a position of strong privilege. You, Richard, may have the privilege of not walking in a rough neighborhood, but many of us don’t. I live in a “rough” neighborhood (translation: a neighborhood where many crimes are tacitly condoned by the police; a neighborhood where criminal activity is allowed to happen in order to keep that criminal activity isolated—to keep it from spreading to higher-income neighborhoods), because this is the neighborhood I can afford to live in.

    “Advice” about where I shouldn’t be walking, or how I shouldn’t walk after dark, is not advice that I can use. “Advice” about how I shouldn’t be living without a man in the house is not advice I can use. I do lock my doors and windows, even if I’m just working out in the yard, but since all the break-ins in my neighborhood are the result of smashed windows, the door-and-window-locking advice is really just a feel-good measure.

    I like Gavin DeBecker’s books on risk-reduction, but have seen the advice therein misinterpreted or oversimplified. Yes, I use my intuition. I have excellent radar for detecting the merest hint of trouble. But how did I gain that radar? For the most part, by growing up in a violent, alcoholic home and by moving a lot as a child and getting the shit kicked out of me as “the new kid” a bunch, too. I honed further skills when I married a man who became a violent alcoholic, and the icing on the cake was when my husband broke in to my home packing knives and intending to kill me after I served him with divorce papers. Like Emmetropia in the other thread, I notice the exits, lines of travel, and potential weapons I could use to defend myself. Like Emmetropia, I have had occasion to defend myself, and like her, I’ve been lucky in that I wasn’t raped or killed.

    The fact is, it’s difficult to develop that degree of radar, and that degree of emergency-preparedness, without having those types of experiences. And the elephant in the room is that our society gives completely contradictory messages to women about the desirability and necessity of those skills. Women in this society are raised to have a certain level of wariness about strangers, but are still not encouraged to be as aggressive as they may need to be to defend themselves (even if it doesn’t come to a physical altercation). And women are encouraged to let their guard down with men they know. That women are more likely to be raped by their boyfriends or husbands than a stranger isn’t just about proximity….it’s also about the fact that women will more readily fight off a stranger than a boyfriend or husband. The fact is, I’m strong and physcially fit, but I can’t “beat up” the average man. My only way to effectively defend myself against the average man involves maiming or killing. I’m not just going to “punch him out” the way a typical man would be able to defend himself against a simliar-sized, unarmed attacker. I am willing to “go there”—-to do whatever it takes to defend myself against an attacker, even if it was a man I knew. I have access to that primal part of my humanity, because I’ve been conditioned over a course of years. Many women have been conditioned over a course of a lifetime to suppress the very instincts that will save (or potentially save—we can all be killed) their lives.

    So, mere advice on being aware of one’s surroundings, etc, that many women are already doing to the best of their ability, are of very limited value in that many women have impaired instincts from a lifetime of sexist conditioning. Without acknowledging and combating that—yeah, the “risk-reduction” does sound a helluva lot like blaming the victim. Compounded with the pre-existing sexist notion that if a woman was raped, she must have been doing something to bring it on herself, or that she was a slutty, trashy woman, the “type” that gets raped (Phyllis Schlafly had a famous quote about that, and she lives not far from here), and Houston, we have a problem. Here in the hinterlands of central Illinois, folks hold on to their myths about the “type” of women who get raped like a talisman that will protect them and those they love from rape. It won’t, but for rape survivors, it’s still the same uphill battle all the way. Around here, it might as well be 1960 when it comes to rape. And that’s despicable.

  22. 122
    Q Grrl says:

    Saying that all men, in a rape society, benefit from rape is *not* the same thing as saying that all men are rapists. For a rape society to exist, the benefit to all men has to outweigh the harm suffered by all women. When rape is portrayed as entertainment and when pornography is considered protected free speech, the benefits that men garner in a rape society become pretty evident.

  23. 123
    Richard Bellamy says:

    And again, I will stress that this thought is coming from a position of strong privilege. You, Richard, may have the privilege of not walking in a rough neighborhood, but many of us don’t. I live in a “rough” neighborhood(translation: a neighborhood where many crimes are tacitly condoned by the police;

    La Lubu,

    My point, however, was about simply that what you are calling “rape culture” as benefitting men, you then go on to discribe as a “violence culture” that benefits the rich (“position of privilege”).

    I can choose not to walk in “bad neighborhoods” because I don’t live in one. My wife has the same choice. (A poorer man or woman would not.)

    So, I repeat: “So, I guess I don’t see the sexism/double-standard aspect that is assumed by many of the posters here. ” In my experience “Don’t go walking around late at night alone outside the bar” is equal-opportunity advice to men and women. The assumption that only women are given this advice is something I just don’t see.

  24. 124
    Crystal says:

    can see that, though I am not quite clear on it yet. guess I could ask it this way.. Would getting rid of male dominance get rid of rape? or Would getting rid of rape get rid of male dominence. Again, coming down to a personal level, I’m not sure what this means to two men raising three girls, but after reading some more, maybe I’ll come back to the discussion if i think it will help me.

    The feminist anthropologist, Peggy Sanday, has done extensive studies on “rape-free” cultures. In a nutshell, these cultures are gender-egalitarian, community-oriented, and discourage interpersonal violence. Men and women in these cultures do not think of themselves as different and mutually hostile types of beings “from Venus and Mars.”

    Sanday gives as an example the Minangkabau of Sumatra, who are matrilineal, matrilocal and egalitarian. The kind of swaggering, macho behavior so encouraged in American culture is thought of as unattractive, indeed horrific, by the Minangkabau, who prize amiability, kindness and sociability in both genders.

    On the other hand, Sanday finds that “rape-prone” cultures are violent in general and are marked by mutual antagonism between men and women, with men seeking to dominate women by fear and force.

    Rape is not a biological inevitability – the majority of the cultures Sanday studied were rape-free. Rape arises from a particular matrix of male dominance and interpersonal violence.

  25. 125
    piny says:

    But Richard, women generally have a higher standard of safe; I was told not to walk around after dark in my parents’ well-lit suburban neighborhood. My brother wasn’t given the same advice.

  26. 126
    JayQ says:

    Again, Susan, let me remind you what you said:

    You’ve listed a lot of alleged dangers, about which you were “told.” But…what if no one “told” you? What if the whole thing is made up? How do I know?

    Don’t like your medicine? Tough. You sure were happy to dismiss and disbelieve my experience.

    Since Susan apparently isn’t posting anymore- let me say this- I don’t think she was saying YOU made anything up. I think it was pretty clear that she was trying to say you had fears because you were ‘told’ to have the fears, not through your own personal experience, and how does she know that the person who ‘told’ you not to be alone at night, etc. wasn’t ‘telling’ you a fiction?

    That said, I do think she is naive in that she doesn’t have some fear of men and thier possible behavior, but at the same time, there ARE places men are advised not to go alone, but they do anyway, because they are also advised to be able to ‘handle themselves’ if they get in a fight, etc. It seems that many women are never taught or even recommended to learn to handle themselves when things get physical, and I think that is pretty stupid.

    I also think that ‘rape society’ is inaccurate. As an example, I have heard variations on “that woman just needs sex” (some worse, some less offensive even). But I have never heard ‘somebody ought to just rape her to help her relax’. And I have heard women say that men are uptight when they haven’t been laid in a while. So I always took those comments as indicative that the speaker thought sex was relaxing, not that the speaker thought rape was OK. I think this is one of the downsides to parents teaching their daughters to be more worried about violence than is perhaps healthy (although they should be more worried than Susan); this advice can lead to seeing hidden meaning in gestures and words when there is no hidden meaning.

  27. 127
    Jake Squid says:

    So I always took those comments as indicative that the speaker thought sex was relaxing…

    But we also live in a culture in which men are the actors and women are the object when referring to sex – that is to say that men are active and women are passive.

    Women get fucked, men fuck.
    Women get nailed, men nail.
    Women get screwed, men screw.
    etc, and so on.

    When a culture doesn’t view women as active participants in sex… well, you can see the question.

  28. 128
    JayQ says:

    But we also live in a culture in which men are the actors and women are the object when referring to sex – that is to say that men are active and women are passive.

    Women get fucked, men fuck.
    Women get nailed, men nail.
    Women get screwed, men screw.
    etc, and so on.

    When a culture doesn’t view women as active participants in sex… well, you can see the question.

    No actually, I can’t see the question. And I have several male friends (as well as myself) that ‘get’ laid, ‘get screwed’, etc. Not ‘get nailed’, but I don’t think they say thay ‘nailed’ anybody else, either. I also know women who ‘screwed’ a guy, not ‘got screwed’. I think it is YOU who doesn’t view women as participants . Maybe not just you, but a lot of people, but I don’t see it as a culture issue, and I am in a field that is really not ‘woman friendly’ (oilfield services). I see routinely people making stupid and derogatory remarks about women, and definitely several show that the men would screw anything that was breathing and had the right organs, but have never heard one of them brag about rape or condone it.

    I personally get really annoyed if the woman doesn’t participate, and the few male friends that I have talked about sex to feel the same- If I am the actor, and all she is is an object, I might as well have a magazine and some kleenex.

  29. 129
    Jake Squid says:

    JayQ,

    That is the terminology that is common in the USA at this point in history. That doesn’t deny the fact that there are many people who don’t subscribe to that theory.

    The question is… In a culture in which women are viewed as passive while men are viewed as active wrt sex, where said culture talks about the “sexual conquests” of men but regards promiscuous women as sluts, where rape is, if not the norm, not unusual, are you unable to see why that culture might be called a “rape culture?”

    I think it is YOU who doesn’t view women as participants .

    That is pretty funny.

    Maybe not just you, but a lot of people, but I don’t see it as a culture issue…

    Even though that view is pervasive throughout our media and, as you continue to say here

    I see routinely people making stupid and derogatory remarks about women, and definitely several show that the men would screw anything that was breathing and had the right organs…

    implying that such things are said in your presence on a regluar basis you don’t think it’s cultural. JayQ, meet Susan. Susan, JayQ.

    As to this:
    …but have never heard one of them brag about rape or condone it.

    I recommend that you scroll to the bottom of right column of this very blog and click on “Rape, intimate violence, & related issues” – you might begin to comprehend the difference between “many or most men are active rapists” and “we live in a culture of rape.” Come back after you’ve read some of those comment threads – pay particular attention to the many excellent explanations by QGrrl, radfem, and others (who I apologize for forgetting at the moment).

  30. 130
    La Lubu says:

    The assumption that only women are given this advice is something I just don’t see.

    You aren’t seeing it, because as a man the much higher standard of personal-safety advice that piny speaks of is not given to you. How many times have you been instructed to find a security guard or other escort before walking to your car? How many times have you been told “why did you pick that time of night to go shopping?” How many times have you been told that you shouldn’t go see that band you’ve really been wanting to hear, because you couldn’t find a friend to go with you—even though you had no intention of drinking alcohol—-that it is too unsafe for you to be “alone” in a crowded bar, even if you stick to soda? How many times have you been instructed to never accept a drink from a stranger, and that you should even watch the bartender pour the drinks you order just in case he may be “in cahoots” with a potential date rapist? Do you keep your hand over the top of your drink, so that nothing can be slipped in?

    Have you ever been told to keep your exercising (walking, biking, running) to the main drags (the better to inhale car exhaust!) because it is too unsafe for you to be alone in a park or on a side street, even during the day? Have you been told never to go hiking or fishing by yourself, even in semi-urban areas, because of the danger of assault? Have you ever had your clothing choices criticized, not because of fashion, but because your clothing may attract potential attackers?

    Think on this, Richard. There really is a much different standard that women are held to. And women really are blamed for their rapes to an extent that other crime victims are not. And if criminal records are any indication, rapists are not held as responsible for their crimes to the extent that other violent criminals are. It’s easier to get a conviction in a mugging or armed robbery than in a rape; jurors are more willing to believe that the mugging or armed robbery victim meant it when they said “no!”—or even if they didn’t say no, just handed over their money or goods in order to stay alive. There is still this lingering idea that women don’t really mind rape, that rape is a way for us to enjoy sex without saying that we enjoy sex. Or perhaps you don’t remember that, “just lay back and enjoy it” quote.

  31. 131
    JayQ says:

    Jake,

    Read what I write, not what you already think I’m going to say. I said I don’t think women are regarded as passive with regard to sex, even gave examples of why this is not so in MY surroundings. You reply with what seems to be ‘uh-huh’.

    I know that if your examples were the standard terminology that it wouldn’t preclude people from not participating, just as I know that if it were NOT the standard terminology, there are probably a lot of people that would still participate in it.

    Also- I have always hated the ‘culture thinks men who sleep around are cool, women are sluts’. This is NOT the norm, it is just said VERY loudly, as the men (and women, I might add) who think it’s cool like to brag. I don’t brag about NOT thinking it’s cool. Most people don’t get brag about what they don’t do. Again, I don’t think that just because you hear it all the time makes it a culture thing. We hear about children being kidnapped and ‘stolen’ all the time, but how many of you personally know someone whose child was kidnapped. How many of you have ever rolled the SUV you drive? Just because you hear about SUVs rolling all the time doesn’t mean that they do. Just because you hear that people think it’s OK for guys to be promiscuous doesn’t mean that a lot of them do. It is jut part of the nature of those people to stick out a lot. Kind of like the point made on the ‘male privilege’ topic about a group with 40% women seeming to be a majority female, due to conditioning. A group of 100 guys with 10 of them patting each other on the back for scoring with a cheerleader last night will make the entire group look like whores. But it may only be 10 of them.

    And just because men say things that show me they would sleep with anything breathing doesn’t mean anything sexist. Although there are not many women working in that area of the oilfield, a lot of the ones that do would also screw anything that breathes. Does that mean they benefit from a rape society?

    I was just pointing out that for this to be a rape society, it has to be CONDONED by a large group of society, not COMMITED by a large group of society. I admit, many people, male and female, automatically wonder what a woman did to deserve to be raped. I always wonder what John Bobbit did to deserve having his penis cut off. Does that mean I think he deserved it? NO- it means I don’t understand somebody who would do such a thing, and I try to think what could ever push somebody I know to that line. I also wonder when guys get their ass kicked in a bar, what they did to deserve that, before I even know whether they were in a bar fight, or stepped between a child and an abusive parent. Does that mean I rejoice when people get beat up? NO.

    Now, do some people think all rape victims bring it on themselves? YES. They are stupid (those people, not the women). Does some of society condone rape as a natural part of modern life? YES. But I don’t think it is a significant portion of the population, and I have read the relevant posts. I know you don’t have to be a rapist to promote a rape society, but the argument that usually follows from that is “it doesn’t matter what you say or do, this will always be a rape society”. I DONT believe that, and I don’t believe we are in a rape society.

  32. 132
    Jake Squid says:

    I’ve never seen that argument and I don’t believe that it is true, either.

    … it has to be CONDONED by a large group of society…

    And it is condoned. When you hear those sexist remarks at your job, what do you do? What was public opinon of Kobe Bryant & his accuser? Which one of them received death threats?

    Your whole paragraph about SUV’s & kidnapping seems like somebody is channeling Susan. “How do you know that SUV’s roll all the time? Blah, blah, blah.” That’s irrelevant. Nobody is claiming that we live in a “kidnap culture” or a “rolling SUV culture.” Before you come back making the same statements and threadbare analogies that we’ve seen in a dozen other threads about rape, try reading those threads & then come back and if you have anything new to add, please do so.

    The point is that your personal experiences do not necessarily correlate to those of the culture in which you live. Nobody denies that you have experienced what you have experienced, but your experience does not necessarily reflet the norm of the culture in which we all live.

  33. 133
    HC says:

    One of the arguments that has come up a time or two is that advice on reducing the threat of stranger-rape is counterproductive because most rapes are acquaintance rapes. Since the advice is so ill-adapted to the reality, the effect is to produce false security and blame the victim.

    I think there’s an unexamined assumption that the frequency of rapes by type directly correlates with the risk associated with encountering a stranger or associate.

    Most car accidents occur within five miles of home – but we don’t thereby conclude that the area near home is intrinsically more dangerous, but rather that most drivers spend more of their time near home than in any other area. Similarly, people are alone with acquaintances more often than strangers, conditionally intimate more often with acquaintances than strangers, and so forth.

    It’s worth rememembering that acquaintance rape exists and is a real danger, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that encounters with strangers are riskier than encounters with those known and vetted.

    Adults are free to strike a balance between risk and reward, but it seems odd to deny that Nick ran some significant risks with the paratroopers. Presumably, the potential rewards were at least equally significant.

  34. 134
    Jake Squid says:

    On further reflection, JayQ, I take it back. Your SUV analogy was not irrelevant.

    Here are two of our cultural values:

    If you drive an SUV, you run the risk of rolling over in an accident.
    If you are a woman, you run the risk of being raped.

    We accept both of those as being true and we don’t do a whole lot to solve either of those problems.

  35. 135
    Jake Squid says:

    HC,

    For a response to your car accident analogy, see comment # 117 in the “My Rape Story” thread.

  36. 136
    ginmar says:

    Jake, obviously JayQ is the final authority and if he has the opinion that a rape culture doesn’t exist we should all shut up and listen at his feet. I don’t think either JayQ or Susan have any interest in listening at all.

  37. 137
    JayQ says:

    And it is condoned. When you hear those sexist remarks at your job, what do you do? What was public opinon of Kobe Bryant & his accuser? Which one of them received death threats?

    Again, you don’t read the actual words- IT IS NOT CONDONED- THE REMARKS AT WORK ARE NOT ABOUT RAPE. I specifically said so in the post. A man being willing to have sex with any woman that will allow it can at the same time NOT CONDONE rape. Can be violently against it as a matter of fact. Does the female oilfield hand that sleeps around with strangers she meets on location condone rape? Does all sexism support rape? When people assume that women communicate better than men, does that condone rape? When people say that they don’t want to work for a female supervisor, does that condone rape? I don’t think so. Apparently you do. I just think it points out narrow minded thinking and a prejudice against women. They may or may not ALSO have certain predispositions toward rape, and/or violence against women, but while all sexism is bad, it is not all the same. Again- I have read the preceding threads. They are interesting. They don’t change my mind about rape. It is still a criminal activity that has not been condoned by more than one or two of the people I have known in the 4 towns I have lived in, and I know more people that would beat up an accused rapist before finding out if he was guilty than I do who would ignore it. And I say it was condoned by one or two not because I’m sure it was, but because I’m not sure it wasn’t.

    PS – the Kobe Bryant trial, in my opinion, shows us more about the stupid pedestal we put our athletes on more than it shows us about our opinions regarding gender. I know that there is something of a cultural bias to assume that celebrities either can’t do things that are bad, or if they did, it must have been justified. I didn’t pay enough attention to the facts of that case to decide if Kobe was guilty or not, but I did see the headlines and the people saying that the girl was probably planning this whole thing, etc. I just don’t think it was about sexism as much as sports-god worship.

    And there are women (vast minority) that do abuse rape accusations and sexual harrasment accusations. Not to say she is one of them, I don’t know, but it seems that everybody assumes these people don’t exist, so that when we give the accused party the privilege of being innocent until proven guilty, we must be condoning rape. I don’t see that either. I do think that sometimes accused rapists get more benefit of the doubt than they should, and that most if not all convicted rapists should serve more time, but again, these things can go wrong without an entire society condoning them.

    And please don’t think I’m trying to say anything like “how do you KNOW” such and such happened. Quit trying to interpret and just read the words. Some are misspelled, but they are still legible. I said that we hear about SUVs rolling all the time, when in reality it is still very rare. But if all you go by is the news and headlines, it can seem like everybody who drives an SUV will have a life threatening accident due to the vehicle being so hard to control. Just because we hear the oft repeated statement that men condone rape, or that men are the actors, and women the object doesn’t make it true. Even if you say it. Even if I say it. It may not be a truth or a lie, it may just be a misconception. I think it is. You don’t. I try to give reasoning behind my opinion (that the people who do believe that women are toys to use and throw away tend to be loud about it, where other people do not.). Your argument is to tell me I’m wrong, and tell me that my experience is not necessarily the norm. Well guess what- I knew that already. My experience is definitely not the norm. But who said yours is? That is why I look around me to other people’s experience. I do know women who have been victims of violence, rape or other. I do know men that treat women badly to one extent or another. I do know that those men’s actions are not idolized, accepted by the mainstream, or CONDONED, and the women are not looked at as being to blame for the man’s actions. I know it happens, but I do not believe that it happens to most.. I also see the television shows that use rape to draw in viewers, but I don’t think that amounts to using rape as entertainment. They are usually trying to show what rape does to people, to do the same thing that you guys are doing here- show us that it happens more than we think and that it is a societal problem to be fixed. So I think it is funny when both this thread and others get mad at police dramas that show rape in the same light they do. I am the one that disagrees with that interpretation, but I don’t mind it being put out there for everybody to see (except I don’t think it’s for kids to watch). Maybe THINKING about rape as a societal problem will help prevent it, even if it isn’t a societal problem.

    Do we live in a culture of violence? I think so. Sometimes I walk around just wishing somebody would start a fight with me so I could get the aggression out of my system. It’s not necessary, and I have actually never been in a fight with anybody that wasn’t related to me, but sometimes I wish somebody would just start one. But I have never twisted that into accepting violence as a fact of life, and I don’t accept rape as a fact of life. It is something to be avoided and deterred to the best of our abilities.

  38. 138
    Thomas says:

    it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that encounters with strangers are riskier than encounters with those known and vetted.

    That’s an assumption for which I have seen no support, HC. It is true that there is reason to believe that the prevalence of acquaintance rape may be related to opportunity. However, this merely casts doubt on the proposition that acquaintances are more dangerous than strangers. It does not affirmatively support the opposite proposition.

    it seems odd to deny that Nick ran some significant risks with the paratroopers

    Compared to what? I have written before that I believe that Nick’s method of seeking anonymous sex was as low-risk as any: she had an opportunity to meet her partners face to face, evaluate them, speak with them for some time, explain her limits and judge their reaction. Do you propose an alternative source of NSA sex partners in small-town Lincolnshire? If, on the other hand, what you are proposing as an alternative is that Nick should simply do without, that’s not morally differentiable from suggesting that that black folks in the Jim Crow South should have not registered to vote because they ran the risk of lynching.

  39. 139
    JayQ says:

    Ginmar,

    Why is it that when people are obviously misinterpreting what I say, the standard response is that I am not listening? I am listening. Jake is making assumptions about me and my opinions that are not true. I am not upset about that- he doesn’t know me. But now you jump in and assert that since I don’t change my mind when somebody tells me to, I am demanding that you all change your mind. Why? are you so weak minded that you can’t have an intelligent discussion without dismissing the other side as irrelevant or uninformed? I read and am interested in the responses to my post, but I have not seen any that actually respond to MY post. They respond to what they interpreded in my post. I clarify what I mean, and again, I must be uninformed, because apparently I’m not saying exactly the same thing everybody else seems to be. I don’t assume that you are so stubborn that all you want to do is repeat old tired arguments over and over. But I am not granted the same benefit of the doubt. If I thought of myself as the final authority, I wouldn’t bother posting at all, because I would have told you all what to believe in the first post and never looked back for responses.

  40. 140
    Anonymous says:

    Susan may not have experienced any effects of rape culture, at least not consciously; but I can certainly attest that it still exists. I (a thirtysomething year old woman) have been sexually assaulted twice in my life. The first time was over a period of months while I was still in elementary school (by a neighbor whom everyone trusted and who told me he would die if I ever told anyone). When my parents discovered what was going on (I came home with my dress on inside out one day), they backed me to the hilt– but the rest of the neighborhood wondered why I was ‘making trouble’ for this ‘respected man’ who was just going about his life. We had to move because of the general hostility provoked by my family coming forward about what had happened.

    The second time was in college, at a small private institution known for its liberalism. I worked as a research assistant for an emeritus faculty member, and was getting weird, threatening vibes from him. When I tried to discuss this with my advisor, said advisor was unsupportive to say the least– I must be misinterpreting, how could I think that, etc. I apologized, felt horrible, wondered how I’d become such an untrusting man-hater… and the next time I went back to work the jerk started kissing and touching me. I got out of there as soon as I could.

    But when I went to the school counselor to talk about all of this: how could I move on? How could I reconcile myself to the betrayal I felt re my advisor? Etc? The counselor asked me: “What do you think you might be doing to attract this kind of attention?” I repeat: the counselor wanted to know what I had done, as a seven-year-old and as a lowly research assistant, to make men feel like they could assault me.

    It took a long time to process that, to stop blaming myself for all of it. It took even longer to get mad at the people who deserved it, because of course *I was already thinking the same thing: how it must have all been my fault.* Women who get sexually assaulted are already going over their mistakes and don’t need anyone else to be telling them what they did wrong. In my case, both times, it was ‘trusting men I knew,’ whether it was the neighbor, my advisor, or my employer.

    That said, I have a different question and I apologize for the tangent: I think that an unfortunate byproduct of raising awareness of rape and childhood sexual assault has been that the effort to demand respect for the severity of the crime may have made it more difficult for victims to move past it. When you’re continuously told that you’ve suffered something that will wreck the rest of your life (and represented the same way in sensationalistic detail), I think it becomes difficult to move on because it feels… disrespectful to the gravity of your and others’ experiences. At the same time, I think it can also be materially disrespectful to people who have suffered abuse that was *not* necessarily sexual but was very damaging nonetheless, to highlight the way that sexual abuse can devastate lives so strongly without acknowledging other forms of abuse.

    So I guess my question is whether other people here see any tension between demanding respect for the experiences of sexual assault victims, and putting them into such a rarefied category of victimhood that it becomes more difficult to recover?

    Again, the issue is absolutely related to rape culture– both because it’s been such a struggle to get acknowledgment of rape and place blame where it belongs (see current thread) and also because there’s this tangled net of societal conflicts about rape as it relates to the conflicted terrain of sexuality; to rage and frustration at the relative immunity of perpetrators; to the uncomfortable ways it highlights gender roles and the enforcement thereof; and also of weird resonances of rape as a crime of men against the rightful property of other men (ie women). That’s a lot of violation to carry around.

  41. 141
    Jake Squid says:

    Geeze, guy. Talk about pots & kettles, huh?

    You are, of course, innocent of interpreting what has been written. Like this:
    Again, Susan, let me remind you what you said:

    You’ve listed a lot of alleged dangers, about which you were “told.” But…what if no one “told” you? What if the whole thing is made up? How do I know?

    Since Susan apparently isn’t posting anymore- let me say this- I don’t think she was saying YOU made anything up.

    Nope, only other people were interpreting that. You, you were reading only the words on the screen.

    Or this one:
    But we also live in a culture in which men are the actors and women are the object when referring to sex – that is to say that men are active and women are passive.

    Women get fucked, men fuck.
    Women get nailed, men nail.
    Women get screwed, men screw.
    etc, and so on….

    I think it is YOU who doesn’t view women as participants .

    There again, you knew better than to interpret and instead just read what had been written.

    Or this lovely bit:
    In a culture in which women are viewed as passive while men are viewed as active wrt sex, where said culture talks about the “sexual conquests” of men but regards promiscuous women as sluts, where rape is, if not the norm, not unusual, are you unable to see why that culture might be called a “rape culture?”

    Read what I write, not what you already think I’m going to say. I said I don’t think women are regarded as passive with regard to sex, even gave examples of why this is not so in MY surroundings. You reply with what seems to be ‘uh-huh’.

    How ’bout you take your own advice and read what I write, not what I said. You see, “You reply with what seems to be ‘uh-huh’” is your interpretation.

    I’ll take you as an interested participant in a discussion when you a) follow your own instructions and stop being so obviously hypocritical b) actually acknowledge that your personal experience may not be representative of the culture at large – especially when confronted by many examples of the experiences of others that do not match your own.

  42. 142
    JayQ says:

    Jake Squid – I did acknowledge that my experience is DEFINITELY not representative. Again, you fail to read. I also see that even in my posts that you quote, it is very clear that I am stating an opinion, hence the phrases, “I think” and “seems to be”. Where is the hypocrisy? You simply tell me that I am wrong. I tell you that I don’t agree with you, and that you should pay attention to what I am saying before passing judgement. You then say I am passing judgement. WILL YOU PLEASE READ A POST NOW AND THEN?

    I will try to make this easy. I THINK that you respond based on emotion after reading my post, without thinking about what it says. Am I interpreting? Definitely. But notice I didn’t just say you should look somewhere else, or tell you I won’t listen to your responses. I told you what I THINK after reading your post, and try to leave you an opening to show me where I have misunderstood you. Do you do that? NO. You instead quote me and tell me I’m hypocritical when your examples are not relevant or just wrong. I don’t mind people interpreting what I say- it’s human nature. I never said that was a problem. I said that the only responses to my posts were responses to what was interpreted in my post, and it was an incorrect interpretation. The problem is that even when I clarify what I mean, you don’t SEEM to care. You SEEM to have already decided what my thoughts and opinions are, and that I must be a hypocrite because they don’t line up with yours. It doesn’t SEEM to matter what I say, because it SEEMS that you will not listen to me. I am still ready to listen to you.

    By the way, again I will say that my experience is not representative of culture across the USA. I don’t THINK that yours is either. Or any one person’s for that matter. But keep in mind that although this seems to be a pretty active web site, it isn’t indicative of the culture at large either. We all have to keep an open mind and look at everybody else’s experience (that’s why I am still reading this). Can you take my experiences and assimilate them into what you feel is ‘culture at large’? I have already done that with many of the posts I have read. Including #139. I don’t know that that one person’s experience makes the country have a rape culture, but it reminded me that I have heard similar stories, so it does make me re-think my position. The attitudes she discussed may be localized in that area. It may be in several small areas scattered across the country. Or it may be everywhere with only little areas that don’t operate in a “rape society”. I am still open to discussion. You don’t SEEM to have ever been open to discussion.

    Note:
    The all caps are signs that I am making an assumption about you. I welcome you to correct me. I don’t expect it. I expect you to try and turn around what I said, so that it looks like I’m some kind of ‘bad guy’, without ever responding to anyhing I said. But UNLIKE YOU, if you do something unexpected and actually do respond to me, I will read it and consider it instead of responding to what I expected you to say.

    Please surprise me.

  43. 143
    HC says:

    Jake -

    you wrote:
    “Truth be known, none of us have the skills to make that determination” [whether someone would rape].

    Your point, as I understand it, is that one can never know with absolute certainty what someone else might choose to do.

    This is true, but trivial. Knowledge is not a binary value, so that things are either known or they are not – things can be known in part. So it is with most acquaintances – people think them highly unlikely to rape. The fact that they are occasionally, and tragically, wrong in believing this doesn’t make that conclusion about the relative likelihoods wrong.

    Thomas and Jenny K’s suggestion that ‘familiarity breeds attempt’ is interesting – that would make certain people inherently more dangerous as acquaintances than strangers. I have no idea how rapists break down by type, so I can’t say if that is a part of what is driving the acquaintance rape statistics, but I’d be surprised if frequency of encounter weren’t a significant part of it.

    Thomas – when I say that it doesn’t seem odd to think stranger encounters riskier than encounters with well-known people, I am merely saying that that the process of vetting screens out at least some undesirable partners. The remaining pool, although containing some false negatives, is still proportionately less risky. Otherwise, why would anyone ever vet anyone else?

    Nick ran some significant risks as compared to other sexual practices, including abstention. That doesn’t mean that she should be compelled or even advised to take no risks – she’s an adult, and can perfectly well choose to strike the balance between risk and reward appropriate to her. If one chooses to search for anonymous sex in Lincolnshire, her way is – as you said – as good as any I know of.

    Presumably Nick seeks these encounters because they are materially more satisfying than the less-risky options – which is fine, and a perfectly defensible choice.

    I do not see how acknowledging the risk is equivalent to disapproving the taking of it – the motorcycle analogy seems apt, here.

  44. 144
    Charles says:

    JayQ,

    Do you really think rape is as rare as SUV roll-overs? Or even that they are sufficiently rare that men who rape can be viewed as aberrations requiring no grand cultural explanation?

    One quarter of women will be attacked by a rapist during their lifetime. One eighth will be raped. One in twenty college age men self reports having raped (not if you ask if they have raped someone, but if you describe rape and ask if they have done that).

    Do you feel that 1 in 20 men is an evil and aberant freek? If not, then why so many rape needs an explanation. What in our culture teaches these men that they can do this? Is a culture in which this wasn’t the case conceivable?

    That you don’t think men who sleep around are cool says next to nothing about whether or not the culture says they’re cool. That they feel comfortable bragging about it, and that you don’t feel comfortable about objecting to their braggery does. There are plenty of pedophiles in the world, but oddly, you don’t see them bragging about it. Of course, you don’t see many rapists bragging about having committed rape, saying “Wow, I had a great time raping this women last night,” but I think you will find plenty of the 1 in 20 who have raped who would brag the next day about getting laid last night the day after they committed their rape. The idea that getting sex through any means necessary is cool is one of the major origins of rape. Sex as something that men do to women, and that therefore men can do to women as punishment is another major origin of rape. Do you really see nothing in the mainstream culture that plays on and supports those two ideas?

    The other aspect of rape culture that has been being talked about in this thread is “slut blaming” and fear of rape being used to restrict women’s options. Do you see none of that in the larger culture? I know you see the second one, since you commented that girls are taught to be perhaps to fearful of violence.

    That your circle of friends doesn’t blatantly do any of this is not the point.

  45. 145
    Molly Bloom says:

    Could someone define “stranger rape” for me? I would have thought the paratrooper situation falls under the definition of acquaintance/date rape, *not* under the category of stranger rape, which — as I understand it — doesn’t necessarily mean rape by someone you arranged to have sex with but have known for only an hour or so, but rather rape by an attacker who stalks, lies in wait, or otherwise ambushes a woman.

    I do find Nick’s behavior unnecessarily risky, but she is free to assume risks as she pleases (it’s a different matter whether she is free to assume such risks for her presumably wanted unborn child, but I won’t get into that). Let me be among the first, however, to declare that I find her behavior, and the behavior of the paratroopers, morally reprehensible and deserving of shame. Shame is underrated, though I notice the only people being shamed here are any who might — gasp! — judge Nick’s behavior.

    Am I being cold, harsh, and judgmental? Who are *you* to judge?

  46. 146
    Molly Bloom says:

    And just to be clear here — if the rubberless paratrooper had ignored Nick’s withdrawl of consent, would that have been rape? Of course. But the point is not that women who are raped are *not* (ever) “sluts,” but that “sluts” can be raped, too.

  47. 147
    JayQ says:

    Charles,

    I agree with most of what you said. I do see these problems in the culture, but I don’t think that 1 in 20 defines a cultural problem with rape in particular. It is a major problem, and changes in the culture CAN address that. But it doesn’t meant that we live in a culture where rape specifically is accepted. It means that we live in a culture that shows our young men and women that crime is OK as long as they don’t get caught. We live in a culture that says physical dominance over somebody else is an acceptable way to get what you want, and this is extended to rape for some people, so I guess that in a way I’ve defeated my own argument, but I still think rape is less accepted by society than other violence, which is why I don’t think the term ‘rape culture’ is acceptable.

    By the way, thanks for the rational response.

    A couple of things I do disagree with:

    That they feel comfortable bragging about it, and that you don’t feel comfortable about objecting to their braggery does.

    I do object to their braggery, but that doesn’t make as big an impression as their braggery does, which was what I was trying to say.

    The other aspect of rape culture that has been being talked about in this thread is “slut blaming” and fear of rape being used to restrict women’s options. Do you see none of that in the larger culture? I know you see the second one, since you commented that girls are taught to be perhaps to fearful of violence.

    Actually, I see the first, but not the second. Just because fear of rape or violence restricts women’s options doesn’t mean it is used to restrict their options. I think women will always have some fear of rape, or at least violence. I think they should. I have fear of violence from men, and although not that many men are bigger than/intimidating to me, there are enough. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up, but everybody should physically fear people that can hurt them. I have co-workers that are very friendly to me, and I have no reason to believe that they would ever attack me, but I still watch them like a hawk because they could beat me senseless if they wanted. It sucks that this impacts women more than men, but unless women in general become better fighters than men in general, I don’t see any options.

  48. 148
    Jenny K says:

    Last spring on another blog, someone asked for instances of male privilige. I think it fits quite well into the idea of rape culture as well, since they are often the same thing.

    A few days before I had walked downtown for the afternoon. I can’t remember why, probably to see a movie or sit in one of the cafes and read or write. By the time I was ready to go home it was well into late evening, quite dark, and my path home was much more deserted than it had been several hours earlier. Just as I had earlier that day, I walked home bobbing my head to some song on my iPod. Except now the volume was quite a bit lower and my hand was resting on the pause button, clicking it every so often when I thought I heard footsteps behind me. Can’t be too careful, you know.

    I was only a few blocks from my house when a car began to pull up beside me. I knew that they were probably just asking for directions, and it’s not like the street was empty of cars, just people, but….there was no strip of grass to act as a buffer between me and the car, and it was dark, and I was alone. Feeling paranoid, I shifted to the far side of the sidewalk and gripped the straps of my backpack, ready to bolt if needed.

    Turns out, it was my dad, asking if I wanted a ride home. I hadn’t recognized the car because it was so dark and I wasn’t expecting him. When I got in and told him he scared the shit out of me, he gave me a bewildered look. I actually had to explain to him why I had freaked out when a car pulled up beside me in the dark while I was walking home alone. My dad, the man who insisted on reviewing the crime stats and emergency call box locations for every college I applied to, did not understand at first why I had been scared.

    Now, as I said the last time I told this story, my dad is a big part of the reason I consider myself a feminist – in a good way, not a bad way. The point is not that he’s a big chauvanist, but rather that he very much isn’t, and he still couldn’t see what any woman automatically would – until I pointed it out to him.

    Jake Q, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means you don’t live it. You can choose to believe that you are right and we are wrong, but we are the ones who live it.

    Tonight a co-worker was sharing amusing stories about her grandmother. “Now always remember to check the back seat before you get in your car!” she mimicked, and we all laughed. How many time have I been told by relatives, friends, random people who managed to get my e-mail address – with words, looks, or anectodes – that I should never walk home by myself in the dark, that I was crazy for traveling alone in foreign countries at age 20, that I should always have my keys ready before I get to my car so I don’t make myself an easy target as I stand fumbling for my keys, that living alone is dangerous and if I must do it I should never ever state my name on my own answering machine? Far too many.

    The problem with your conclusion that “unless women in general become better fighters than men in general, I don’t see any options” is that you are assuming the fear we live with is justified and that the steps we are encouraged to take are rational. They aren’t.

    It is not rational to check the backseat of you car every night because of an urban legend. It’s not even justified, because while it may technically take only a few seconds, the paranoia that starts to take over the edges of your life when you are constantly reminding yourself to do stupid little things – like never carry your keys by the rings because an assailant could easily break your fingers that way – far outweighs any real advantages.

    I’m not a particularly brave person. I tend to worry a lot. That trip by myself through Europe? I was constantly afraid that I was going to get on the wrong train and end up in the wrong country. I was scared I was going to get on the wrong train and my ticket would be invalid. I worried that something would happen and I would be late getting back to school and not have enough time to study for my finals, or even miss my finals altogether. Which is why it always amazes me when I have to assure other people that no, really, I’m just fine walking home by myself. Yes, I know it’s late and it’s dark, but it’s only three blocks. No, honestly you don’t need to call and check up on me.

    Rapists may or may not use rape to restrict women in ways beyond the actual rape. But we all use the threat of violence, by us or from others, to restrict what all kinds of people, but most especially women, do – to get them to do things they may not otherwise have done. We do this in large ways and small. We do this sometimes even with the best of intentions, or despite our best efforts…but we do it.

    One of the big ways we do it is by always focusing on individual rape prevention, and never really bothering to change the culture as a whole. We do it by assuming that a rape averted is a rape prevented – when we have no way of knowing if it was simply moved to a different target. We do it by teaching our girls to say “no”, but never teaching them to say “yes”. We do it by teaching our boys to listen the “no”‘s, but to also never expect a “yes” without prior persuasion. We do it by treating rape victims as criminals themselves by failing to take bean’s advice and instead lecturing them when all they really need or can handle at that point is comfort, no matter what choices they may have made. We do it by focusing on the least common type of rape, thus minimizing the violence that so many endure.

    Any type of crime prevention includes rational advice for possible victims, but if the type of crime is considered to be important enough, it also includes preventative action by government as well. Most advice to women on how to prevent rape is not rational and far too much of the focus on rape prevention is placed on the shoulders of the potential victims.

  49. 149
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Let me be among the first, however, to declare that I find her behavior, and the behavior of the paratroopers, morally reprehensible and deserving of shame.

    Nice the way you put the two behaviours on a level, as if they’re roughly equivalent in moral reprehensibility.

    You might have a moral problem with looking for anonymous sex, but it doesn’t hurt anyone else when I do it. Ignoring the withdrawal of consent is a whole different matter, and for all your “of course it would be rape” I’m not convinced you really see that.

  50. 150
    Josh Jasper says:

    Molly, I find *your* behavior reprehensible because you’re telling someone they should be ashamed without telling them what they did wrong, and why it was wrong.

  51. 151
    Jesurgislac says:

    I think it’s fairly obvious what Molly thinks: she thinks that sex is intrinsically bad, and that people who want to have sex are also bad. There’s no point arguing with her: I was hoping we could all just ignore such an obvious troll.

  52. 152
    ginmar says:

    JayQ, you have lots of people with lots of experience and knowledge telling you you’re wrong but you continue to argue that your experience is more important than theirs and that your opinion is superior. Neither is correct. Moreover, neither is much of a surprise around here, given that any rape discussion must have some guy going, “Well, I’ve never been raped—har har har!—so it can’t be a big problem.”

    Your position boils down to Kate Roiphe’s. “If one in four of my friends were being raped, wouldn’t I know?” Now, whydon’t you do your little trick where you w hine you don’t know who KR is and you didn’t mention those particular figures. Doesn’t matter. If you don’t know about rape, it’s your own fault, especially since you’re determined to ignore what everyone says.

  53. 153
    Molly Bloom says:

    No takers on the “stranger rape” definition?

    Nick,

    I put the two behaviors on roughly the same level, because — unless I am misunderstanding your description of events — the paratrooper *did* honor your withdrawal of consent. Or is it your claim that what he did was *attempted* rape? We may disagree about the definition of attempted rape, but if you could convince me that what he did was attempted rape, I would certainly agree that *his* action was more morally reprehensible than yours.

    What never ceases to amaze me is that people feel they can tells these stories about themselves in a public forum and then get all huffy when someone dares to “judge” their behavior. For the record, I *don’t* think that sex is intrinsically bad. What’s the logic there? “She thinks anonymous sex with two almost-strangers is wrong; ergo, she must think sex is intrinsically bad”? I think sex is a positive and powerful aspect of our humanity, not an animal urge or apetite like eating or defecating. I think it should be expressed in relationship with another. I think it’s wrong to use another person as a means to an end, even if they are likewise wrongly using you. You all may disagree, but you have no right to demand that others *not* judge Nick’s behavior, since you clearly have no trouble judging the behavior of which you disapprove.

    On a practical level, I think — based on my reading on the subject — that *some* differences between men and women are biologically determined, that women, as child-bearers, are generally hard-wired to desire monogamous relationships, and that men are generally hard-wired to behave more promiscuously. A society that fails to promote monogamy — that expects women to be “like men” in their sexual apetites — is, in my opinion, ultimately harmful to women and children. Does that mean that some individual women *aren’t* more like men in their apetites or that they should be prevented from pursuing their desires? No. It does mean that a stigma against sexual promiscuity (in both men and women) is socially useful. Society is worse off for removing the stigma.

  54. 154
    Rachel Ann says:

    Actually,

    I would also like to know the definition of “aquantaince” in terms of rape, and I would also like to see the statistics broken down a bit more. Among women who have been raped by their husbands, how many were in the process of divorce or divorced at the time? And how many of the relationships were violent in other ways?

    Not that it makes a moral difference, but just as a woman who is exiting a violent relationship is at her most dangerous point, so to, if a woman is more likely to be raped by an angry ex/almost ex, she can be more on guard.

    And no, to attmept to stop all “but that’s blaming” arguments, I am not saying “if she isn’t aware it would be her fault.” It wouldn’t. It would give her more information however, and help her make decisions that might offer her a bit more protection against such a risk..

    And I’ve always had a fondness for information.

  55. 155
    Nick Kiddle says:

    I put the two behaviors on roughly the same level, because … unless I am misunderstanding your description of events … the paratrooper *did* honor your withdrawal of consent. Or is it your claim that what he did was *attempted* rape?
    Well, he continued trying to penetrate me after I’d made it clear that wasn’t acceptable to me. That sounds a lot like attempted rape to me.

    You all may disagree, but you have no right to demand that others *not* judge Nick’s behavior, since you clearly have no trouble judging the behavior of which you disapprove.
    I don’t have any objection to the judgements being passed. I think they say a lot more about cultural expectations than they do about me.

    It does mean that a stigma against sexual promiscuity (in both men and women) is socially useful.
    Why? In the ideal world where everyone’s sexual desires and limits are respected, women who want lots of anonymous sex would have lots of anonymous sex without shame and women who don’t would be left alone. In this imperfect world, the stigma is mainly used for making all women ashamed and afraid of expressing their sexuality, which is only useful to sexists.

  56. 156
    Molly Bloom says:

    Nick,

    Are you going to press charges then? If not, why not? That I’m not ready to say I’d definitely classify it as “attempted rape” is no reason to question my sincerity. If I were convinced it was attempted rape (which I might be), his action is extremely more reprehensible than yours.

    Why is the stigma (which you’ll note I said should apply to men as well as women) useful? Because it is meant to uphold a culture of monogamy that *benefits* women and children.

    My question about stranger rape referred to the fact that most of the commenters on this thread seem to assume that — if Nick had been raped — it would have been classified as “stranger rape,” which is much rarer than date/acquaintance rape. I’m not so sure that’s the case (that it would have been classified as stranger rape). Does anyone know how “stranger rape” is defined for statistical purposes?

  57. 157
    Spicy says:

    Does anyone know how “stranger rape” is defined for statistical purposes? .

    I don’t know if the definitions are international – here in the UK, a stranger rape is a rape committed by someone the victim has never seen before.

    If the rapist has had as little interaction with the victim as saying ‘hello’ , it’s classified as date / acquaintance rape.

    Are you going to press charges then? If not, why not?

    Nick can obviously answer for herself but FYI, it’s not up to her to ‘press charges’ – the most she could do would be to make a statement to the police.
    And given that the conviction rate for completed rape in the UK is a pathetic 5.6% (it’s even lower for attempted rapes) of those reported to the police – would you want to put yourself through it?

    And I’m still not seeing how this stigma is supposed to benefit me.

  58. 158
    mythago says:

    Because it is meant to uphold a culture of monogamy that *benefits* women and children.

    How does it benefit children if female rape victims are stigmatized? I suppose that the logic is that we shame women who have sex with any man other than their husbands. Seems like the ‘benefit’ of that shaming is far outweighed by its drawbacks.

  59. 159
    Molly Bloom says:

    But mythago, I’m not advocating the stigmatizing of female rape victims, but the stigmatizing of female AND male sexual promiscuity. A culture of monogamy benefits women and children because it upholds an ideal of male responsibility for sexual partners/children — an ideal men are far less likely to *want* to uphold absent such cultural disincentives (shame) and incentives (status and respect for marriage, monogamy).

  60. 160
    Jenny K says:

    “No takers on the “stranger rape” definition?”

    impatient much Molly? just how many people did you think were up between midnight and 9 am?

    As far as I know, Spicy’s definition works for the US as well, and it’s the one I’ve been using.

    “I’m not advocating the stigmatizing of female rape victims, but the stigmatizing of female AND male sexual promiscuity”

    You are certainly allowed to go around thinking that you can come to such equality of shame by shaming both men and women equally in a world that really only cares to shame women, and you are certainly allowed to think that doing so doesn’t feed into blaming rape victims, but that doesn’t make it true. And the fact that you put Nick’s behaviour on the same level as the man who attempted to rape her doesn’t do much to convince me you actually don’t blame the victim.

    “an [idea] men are far less likely to *want* to uphold absent such cultural disincentives (shame) and incentives (status and respect for marriage, monogamy)”

    And again, someone comes onto a feminist blog and proves that it’s not the feminists that have such low opinions of men.

    “…I’ve always had a fondness for information.”

    So do I. You may be interested to know then, that (as Amanda pointed out on her blog and another rape thread) according to the FBI, the best thing a woman can do to avoid rape is not to avoid certain places or situations, but to walk into all of them as if they belong there. All this talk about certain places being off limits, especially in excess of reality, makes women visibly cautious and afraid and in the end more vulnerable.

    The problem I have with most “advice” about rape is that it is often given at the wrong time, it is usually given in excess of what is rational, and it is almost always rooted in the sexism that contributes rape – not logic, statisitcs or law enforcement experience – and so it rarely ever helps to begin with.

  61. 161
    Molly Bloom says:

    Under the definitions of “stranger rape” provided above, if Nick *had* been raped, it would not have been classified as stranger rape.

    Jenny K,

    Let’s take care of this first:

    “And the fact that you put Nick’s behaviour on the same level as the man who attempted to rape her doesn’t do much to convince me you actually don’t blame the victim.”

    Could you point me to the place in my comments where I claimed that anonymous sex with almost-strangers was on the same level as “attempted rape”? I put the immorality of Nick’s engaging in anonymous sex on the same level as the immorality of those men engaging in anonymous sex. I have said, at least twice now, that I consider attempted rape to be far worse than anonymous or promiscuous sex. I just don’t know that I would define what happened to Nick as attempted rape — though, as I said, perhaps I would.

    “And again, someone comes onto a feminist blog and proves that it’s not the feminists that have such low opinions of men.”

    – To the contrary, I think the extent to which men in our society have been able generally to commit themselves to a culture of monogamy is enormously to their credit. And why, based on your worldview, would it be indicative of a “low opinion” of someone to claim that they are evolutionarily/biologically pre-disposed to promiscuity? Do *you* have a problem with promiscuity?

    “You are certainly allowed to go around thinking that you can come to such equality of shame by shaming both men and women equally in a world that really only cares to shame women, and you are certainly allowed to think that doing so doesn’t feed into blaming rape victims, but that doesn’t make it true.”

    – First, what world do you all live in in which rapists are *not* shamed? It appears to be a world in which everything is a matter of gender and nothing is a matter of sex, and there’s some good evidence to suggest that, in this matter, I’m right and you’re wrong. There is such a thing as a biological predisposition to certain traits — traits that are generally linked to an individual’s sex. A monogamous culture is one which must to some extent counteract the male biological predisposition to promiscuity; shaming is one way of doing this. Yes, in practice, even today women seem to bear an unequal burden in terms of stigmatization, but if you think the solution is to remove all stigma and celebrate male and female sexual “freedom,” I’m afraid you’ve placed women and their children in a worse place than they were before. You may disagree, but it seems rather silly to suggest that my argument is less “feminist” than yours.

  62. 162
    natural says:

    JayQ,

    Part of what you are missing in that 1 in 20 survey is that those men would have not answered yes to a “Have you ever raped anyone?” question. They only answered yes when a description of that behavior was asked. Those men do not think that what they have done is along the definition of rape.

    A rape culture does not necessarily mean that the culture actively condones rape. It could also mean that the ideals behind that mindset are prevalent in that culture. Those men in that study do not consider themselves rapists. However, they and their friends see no problem in their actions. This is rape culture.

    Quick story. One summer in high school, a male friend of mine assaulted me in my parents’ bedroom in the broad daylight. I was upset. The next day, he and his friend came over and tried to explain that I shouldn’t be mad. He hadn’t penetrated me with his penis. I couldn’t understand that both of them thought his behavior was ok. They were average high school boys. To them, my body was not really mine but his to use as he wanted. This was the way the world works.

    You can argue that we don’t live in a rape culture, but I respectfully disagree. People condone a degree of rapist mentality and behavior. People are more likely to accept the rapist’s version of events than the victim’s. Women must self-restrict their actions to keep themselves safe. This is rape culture. You may have not personally had to deal with these issues. Therefore, I can understand that, according to your experience, yu perceive that we do not live in a rape culture. I can tell you, according to my experience as a female, we do.

    I am terribly sorry for this obvious thread drift.

  63. 163
    JayQ says:

    JayQ, you have lots of people with lots of experience and knowledge telling you you’re wrong but you continue to argue that your experience is more important than theirs and that your opinion is superior. Neither is correct. Moreover, neither is much of a surprise around here, given that any rape discussion must have some guy going, “Well, I’ve never been raped…har har har!…so it can’t be a big problem.”

    That’s more than a little offensive. I actually have been raped. I don’t think it is in the same category as when a man rapes a woman, but the only reason I had sex the first time is because I didn’t want to hurt the girl. I told her no. More than once. But she didn’t care. Like I said, I don’t think this is in the same category, because I know if I had been OK with slamming the girl against the wall, I wouldn’t have been raped. I also NEVER said that rape isn’t a big problem. NEVER. Not even as a joke. Oh, and I guess it doesn’t matter to you, since my experience doesn’t matter, but I have changed some of my opinions from listening to these posts and responses. I posted because I WANTED TO HEAR OTHER EXPERIENCES. I have not discounted anybody’s experiences, or tried to imply that they are not real or that they are not important. YOU are the one that keeps telling me that my experience is not indicative of culture. You know what I have already replied to that more than once? DUH!! I never claimed that my experience was normal. But what floors me is that you can tell me that since my experience doesn’t match what I’m hearing from this group, that obviously this group is right and I am wrong. And then you accuse me of the opposite thought process, which I have demonstrated multiple times is not true. Rape is a big problem, both in the US and elsewhere. I just think it is more due to a culture that excuses crime and violence than it is to a culture that specifically excuses rape. How does that equate to

    “Well, I’ve never been raped…har har har!…so it can’t be a big problem.”

    ??

    I will say one more time, so that maybe you will do it…. READ THE ENTIRE POST. I am not someone you have had this discussion with before. I am not trying to say all feminists are always wrong, or rape is an illusion, or women are stupid, or anything in those neighborhoods. Can you get over that and have an honest discussion, or are you again going to say that obviously, since I think I am superior to everybody else, nobody is going to change my mind?

    Here are the things that I have come to conclude so far from this discussion (both are changes of opinion, in case you can see past your notion that I don’t allow others to influence my thoughts)

    a – rape is more accepted in society than I had previously thought, even by those who realize this fact and want to change it.

    b – most people seem to think that a change in society can’t be accomplished on a one at a time basis, and would rather ‘preach to the choir’ than actually try to persuade anybody and change anything, since those who have not already come a like opinion on their own obviously can’t be persuaded.

    c – there ARE still people who call themselves ‘feminists’ while promoting true equality. Previously I would have said that most feminists had gone off the deep end. There are still some that have, but at least the word can still be positive, and a large group of them are still rational. (I always knew that there were groups of people like this, but I thought they had stopped using the word feminist due to negative connotations.)

  64. 164
    JayQ says:

    Natural,

    Thanks for the comments – I can understand why many people would see this as a rape culture. The main disagreement I have with that is in this statement:

    Women must self-restrict their actions to keep themselves safe. This is rape culture.

    Men must self-restrict their actions to keep safe also. Not from rape, but from violence. There are gas stations I don’t fill up at because I have been threatened, and there are usually groups of fairly dangerous looking people standing around. There are places I don’t ride my bike at night. There are people I don’t want to be alone with because I know they get a little dangerous after work. Do I have to restrict myself as much as women? Definitely not. But the only point I have been trying to make is that the problem is violence, not just rape. I don’t mean to say that violence and rape are not related, or that rape is not one of the worst forms of violence, only that it isn’t the only one, and I don’t think we can stop the cultural problem of rape without stopping the cultural problem of violence.

    Right now, it is OK and perfectly normal for men to physically intimidate other men into doing things. I don’t think we can have any sort of equality without taking that away first. You will never have an equitable society that thinks men physically forcing men to do things is OK, but men physically forcing women to do things is wrong. The only society I can see with this mindset is one that looks at women as helpless frail pets to be protected. I don’t like that society.

  65. 165
    Rachel Ann says:

    I see that we live in a violent culture and that most people feel the restirictions placed on them because of either the actual nature of society today or the perceived nature of society today. Everyone experiences it differently.

    Women are more subject to fear of rape than men are.

    However; very few of the self-protection tips I have read are only applicable to women.

    Furthermore, I find self-protection tips to be fear reducing not fear increasing. The more I know, the safer I feel I can be, by making choices in my behaviour and my response to the behaivour of others.

  66. 166
    Emmetropia says:

    Nick wrote-

    Well, he continued trying to penetrate me after I’d made it clear that wasn’t acceptable to me. That sounds a lot like attempted rape to me.

    Molly Bloom wrote -

    Are you going to press charges then? If not, why not? That I’m not ready to say I’d definitely classify it as “attempted rape” is no reason to question my sincerity. If I were convinced it was attempted rape (which I might be), his action is extremely more reprehensible than yours.

    Nick, when one publishes differing accounts of an incident on multiple public sites, one runs the risk that someone might actually read all of them.

    In 9/12, the day after the alleged rape that you have written extensively about here over the last several days, you published a long description of your “Pull-A-Para-Weekend,” on your blog at LiveJournal. It sounds from that account, that you had the enjoyable night you were seeking.

    The only reference to rape is your following statement,

    “The dividing line between enthusiastic enjoyment and the fear that you could very easily get raped and no-one would believe you didn’t participate voluntarily can sometimes be as thin as latex. Drunk squaddies are not the easiest people in the world to convince that whether they have a spare condom makes all the difference, actually, no matter how many times they promise not to ejaculate.”

    I’m having problems with the insert a link function, but that day’s journal can be found at http://www.livejournal.com/users/ksej/91097.html

    Later you make mention that after your escapades on the ground at the camp, you brought one gentleman home with you at the end of the evening. I’m not clear if the man who was at one point threatening to rape you, is the same gentleman or not, or if you had more partners that evening than the two mentioned on Alas.

    The next day’s journal entry, makes no mention of your fears about the alleged rape. Only your frustration at your father who has given you an ultimatum regarding your behavior.

    On 9/15 you make the following entry:

    “What gets me most is that the squaddies have now packed up and left. I know in my head, that following them, tracking them down, would be a big mistake all round, but I just want some comfort. I want a pair of arms around me, a warm body next to me, and a little bit of practical assurance that sex is not an unreasonable thing to want.”

    http://www.livejournal.com/~ksej/?skip=20

    I’m have a hard time accepting that someone who really felt they were on the verge of being violated could then agree to sex, invite the man home after, and later speak longingly of that man. I’ve got to believe that the thought of such behavior would be pretty repugnant to anyone who had actually escaped an attack, or lived through a rape.

    Now about Molly’s question… I have to imagine that you didn’t intend to press charges.

    Yet there’s been a lot of bandwidth devoted to your “near miss.”

  67. 167
    Spicy says:

    Emmetropia – your attempts to cast doubt are repellant.

    I don’t see any inconsistency in the accounts other than your fantasy about how Nick ‘should’ have behaved. Shame on you.

  68. 168
    Lilith says:

    Hahaha, priceless. Absolutely priceless. Thanks for digging that up, Emmetropia. Though I am sure that some will attempt to make you pay for this for months.

    Everyone has a right to engage in stupid, self-destructive behavior so long as they’re not hurting anyone else. (Which is a point that could be subject to argument, in this case, since Nick allegedly cares about this fetus she’s exposing to the sorts of crap drunken, promiscuous soldiers carry, not all of which is preventable by condoms.) But lying or making up dramatic “pity me” stories about it? Oh, that’s in a category all by itself…

  69. 169
    mousehounde says:

    Emmetropia, quoting out of context to try and place folks in a bad light isn’t nice.

    Plus, it makes you look really foolish.

  70. 170
    mousehounde says:

    Lilith, it might help if you actually read the posts and not just the comments.

  71. 171
    Lilith says:

    I read the post. I would summarize it as “that was fun, would have been more fun if they hadn’t been too drunk to function.” There was a line that expressed a tad of ambivalence, but I don’t see anything that said “OMG I almost got raped!” There was a lot of nudging and winking and smirking. And certainly her friends didn’t seem too concerned. Are you saying that her friends are stupid?

  72. 172
    Charles says:

    Well Emmetropia, you make a lot of assumptions in order to give yourself the satisfaction of feeling that Nick is lying. Congratulations.

    So is your point that some man trying to stick his dick into someone while that person is telling him to stop is not attempted rape? Maybe it has to be really traumatic and upsetting before it gets to be attempted rape? Maybe she would have to be properly chastened and ashamed, otherwise it isn’t worth calling rape?

    It doesn’t matter what Nick’s reaction was, whether she thought “OMG, I’ll never do that again!” or “Drunk squaddies can be such jerks,” or “Guess I’d better find a squaddy who can figure out how to put a condom on.” No matter what she thinks, the guy was still trying to penetrate Nick after Nick had told him no. Maybe you have a definition of rape that that wasn’t an attempt at?

    A lot of words have been written on the issue of shaming women for doing things (having sex with paratroopers, walking in the park at night) that accompanied their being raped or the subject of an attempted rape. Whether Nick found the evening traumatic or whether (as she has flat out said in these posts) sie found it somewhat irritating doesn’t really have much to do with that topic, so your little “Gotcha,” isn’t worth spit.

    Also, go read spicy’s post 156 for a clear response to your snide little comment about not pressing charges. You don’t actually press charges, you make a report, and then the police and the [British equivalent of DA] decide whether or not it is worth pursuing. On account of people like you and Molly (who has presumably read the perfectly clear description of what happened, but doesn’t feel that a man trying to penetrate a women after she tells him ‘no’, and while she is physically preventing him from doing so constitutes attempted rape – no, she needs more information, although I have a hard time imagining what sort of information she needs), making a report would not get her anything more than some slut-shaming from some police. Even if she were incredibly distraught from the whole experience, she still wouldn’t get anything more from the police by making a report. So, like you, the fact that she can’t “press charges” even if she wanted to is part of the problem.

  73. 173
    mousehounde says:

    But lying or making up dramatic “pity me” stories about it? Oh, that’s in a category all by itself…

    Nick hasn’t done that. The post on this blog, that began these threads was making the point that any time consent is withdrawn and the person persists, it is rape. Nick didn’t claim to be raped or even almost raped. The story was given to set up the point that if it had gone further, it would have been rape.

    It can still be rape even if she wants to have sex with you. It can still be rape even if she’s sexually aroused and apparently ready for sex. If she consents to this but not that and you make her do that, it’s rape. If she consents to any kind of safe sex and you make her have unsafe sex, it’s rape.

  74. 174
    Charles says:

    Lilith, I think mousehounde meant Nick’s posts on Alas. Where the hell do you see her doing a “Poor me?”

    If her views on what happened have changed at all, so what? Have you ever had the experience of taking a month or two to decide that something that happened to you that you laughed off at the time actually has some interesting and even disturbing features that others might be interested in hearing about and talking about? If not, I’m impressed at your lack of self-reflection.

  75. 175
    natural says:

    Lillith,

    It is my reading of Nick’s post that she wasn’t terribly traumatized by the incident. People deal with these events in different ways – there is no right reaction. On this blog, she was simply noting that consent is an ongoing process. She has no responsibility to you or anyone else to mention everything that happened that night on her blog. Just because she didn’t cry about it the next day does not mean that it didn’t happen the way she wrote that it did. But then again, you have a right to not believe her. It is a free country. However, I have no reason to doubt her.

  76. 176
    Sebastian Holsclaw says:

    “A good way to see this is by viewing TV. One of the top leading storylines (other than murder) is rape. And we call it entertainment and innocuous. ”

    Q Grrl, look at what you are saying here. Your narrative fashions rape into a generalized social control method. Is murder a generalized social control method? Who is it aimed at? How does that work?

  77. 177
    Rachel Ann says:

    I think what Emmetropia and Lilith are referring to are lines in her original blog where she states the sex was consenual, that everyone had a good time, no one was harmed or hurt.
    The man she took home to bed was the wonderful guy; the one who was prepared and not the one who kept trying to penetrate her.

    It could be that after thinking the situation over, and in writing a different sort of post, one concerning rape, not her experience on a sexual level, she disclosed more information than she did originally. It is notable that she wrote about rape (cat and dog story) immediately after the Arnhem story. She also noted in the original posting how the pleasure was diminished because the guys were drunk and because she had to keep convincing the squddies that promising not to come wasn’t equivalent to wearing a condom. (paraphrasing here). She also mentions rape in the original post and connects it there, as she did there, to the possiblity of rape. (as Emm quote from the site proves) Her second posting on the incident was in regards to her father and her father’s moral outrage on the issue. Thus, her comments could be seen as a defense.

    It is also noteworthy that Nick did not say she was raped, but did seem to allude that she was almost raped. She also indicated in her first post that she wasn’t traumatized but irritated. There was no pity post, which was why I stated, in defense of my calling her actions stupid, that I didn’t feel obliged to simply pat her on the back and go there there; what a terrible event. Was calling her actions stupid nice? No. While I do try and be nice most of the time I am not always kind and thoughtful.

    While I disagree with her moral position, while I feel the risk she took was greater than a sensible person ought to take, I think the issue is not SHOULD she be allowed to do what she did (because it is legal) nor the morals of anyone else (because I can’t control those moral behaviours. Which is why I didn’t attack the partatroopers) But

    How can a person best protect themselves in any given situation.

    That is why I center on facts and try and find a method for each person rather than caring about feelings and how the person views their actions, or what a perfect world should be like etc. etc. I don’t have to like Nick or like anyone to want to help them and they don’t have to like me.

    I want to deal with facts and I want to deal with the real world and I want real solutions for how we live now, and how we can improve the world.

    That is what is real for me.

  78. 178
    Jesurgislac says:

    JayQ: There are places I don’t ride my bike at night. There are people I don’t want to be alone with because I know they get a little dangerous after work. Do I have to restrict myself as much as women? Definitely not

    JayQ: Right now, it is OK and perfectly normal for men to physically intimidate other men into doing things. I don’t think we can have any sort of equality without taking that away first.

    Joanna Russ describes this kind of male-privilege thinking as “And if there’s any equality left, you can take it into the kitchen and eat it.”

    JayQ, if you want men to be less violent towards each other, and you see that as a significant problem that you want to change, then I think that’s what you should focus on. You should set up a men’s movement for non-violence, you should set up consciousness-raising groups for men in which men discuss how to change their attitudes about violence towards each other and towards women – there are a ton of strategies you can use, which are described in any of the many books on the history of the women’s liberation movement, and I don’t doubt could be adapted into a men’s movement against violence. And if that’s what you think is important and should be done first, that’s what you should focus on. What you should not do is hector women on how women working to stop violence against women is not acceptable: women ought to be working to stop violence against men, first.

    I believe that you can work as hard as you like trying to persuade men that violence against other men is wrong: you won’t get very far because we live in a culture that privileges male violence, primarily against women, but also against men. I think the best way to counter this is to be a feminist and work for a culture in which male privilege no longer exists – where male violence is no longer privileged. I think this will be better for men in the long run, though men accustomed to male privilege may not find it so initially. (Men always complain about radical feminist ideas: fifty years on the radical feminist ideas have become normal to them and they no longer even see them as feminist.)

    That is to say, I think the strategy you propose of stopping male violence against other men first is absolutely backwards. But, if that’s what you want to do, you should go ahead and do it. What you shouldn’t do is tell women that women should regard violence against men as the real problem, and violence against us as secondary and unimportant. Because that’s just not going to get you anywhere.

  79. 179
    JayQ says:

    Jesurgislac,

    Sorry – bad phrasing on my part – I didn’t mean to say stop violence against men first, but that the acceptance of violence in general should be removed first, not specifically violence against women, or violence against men, but violence in general.

    And I don’t know what I posted that makes anybody think I tried to tell somebody that violence against women is unimportant… I just don’t think we can take away the acceptance of violence against women without simultaneously taking away the acceptance of violence against men… Any set of social values that would let us protect one gender and leave the other to the wolves just stinks of inequality to me, and the gender that is protected probably has the short end of the stick. I can’t think of any mindset that society at large would adapt to support protecting one gender other than the mindset that the gender needs to be protected due to inferiority. I think if the goal is specifically to protect women, you do women a disservice.

    But then again, I am one of the people that thinks parents do their children a disservice by not making them work for their spending money when they are able. I think that children should be allowed to roughouse, and that protecting our elementary school kids from physical aggression is not the best thing for them(while at the same time wanting society to progress to a point that we don’t see enough physical aggression to feel the need to protect from it).

    Okay- I tend to type a bit, and then re-read it before posting- I wanted to leave the above paragraph, but I think I need to illustrate what I am trying to point out about myself…. Most people look at an issue and come to it from either one side or the other. I generally jump into the middle and try to go both ways. Not that this makes me special, it just helps me get a better perspective of where both sides are coming from. I think that this approach may keep people from seeing that I am not trying to say something radically different than they are, it is just that our paths are not exactly parallel(but going to similar destinations).

    I don’t know if that made much sense or not, but oh well. I think I’ve said about all the original thoughts on this that I’ve got, but I’ll probably chime in if I see anybody misinterpreting my words(although I feel that my status has moved from ‘crap, another guy that thinks he walks on water’ to ‘he may have good intentions but he’s wrong’, which I can accept).

    As a side note, I know I can come off as pretty aggressive and argumentative when trying to get people to understand me. Part of this may be because of my argumentative nature :) – Just to clarify: I don’t think many have intentionally misunderstood me, but I have never been able to just ignore when people don’t understand what I say. Not agree with doesn’t bother me nearly as much as not understand.

  80. 180
    Jesurgislac says:

    JayQ: I didn’t mean to say stop violence against men first, but that the acceptance of violence in general should be removed first, not specifically violence against women, or violence against men, but violence in general.

    Given that the primary manifestation of privileged male violence in this culture is the normalisation of male violence against women, why would you think first of all we need to think about “violence in general”? Effectively, you are still saying “Let’s not think about violence against women first” – which is precisely what the privileging of male violence against women is all about.

    Any set of social values that would let us protect one gender and leave the other to the wolves just stinks of inequality to me, and the gender that is protected probably has the short end of the stick.

    No: because the set of social values that lets you think it would be wrong first of all to look at how male violence against women is normalized is precisely the set of social values that stinks of inequality, that protects the male gender and throws women to the wolves, and the gender that is protected has the best end of the stick. That’s what you’re trying to hold on to, because on some level you know that your gender is privileged and protected, and you know that’s the best end of the stick to be on. You don’t want even to think about giving that up.

    But then again, I am one of the people that thinks parents do their children a disservice by not making them work for their spending money when they are able. I think that children should be allowed to roughouse, and that protecting our elementary school kids from physical aggression is not the best thing for them

    Right, because it doesn’t count when boys beat up on girls: that’s just kids having fun.

  81. 181
    Charles says:

    Jes,

    Boys beat up boys far more than they beat girls. Girls beat up girls far more than boys beat up girls (At least in my experience and the experience of most people I know, maybe my experience or my interpretation of my experience is biased, is your experience really that different?). I think girls generally stop beating up other girls earlier than boys stop beating up other boys, and boys stop beating up girls at about the same point as girls stop beating up girls. Somewhere in the early teen years, the “never hit a girl” (meaning never beat up a girl in the way that boys generally beat up other boys) kicks in as a cultural rule.

    By beating up, I am thinking of public and semi-public violence in schools and other social settings. Once sexual relationships start kicking in in teen years, I assume that boys start beating up girls more frequently in private, although I don’t really know. They certainly start sexually assaulting and raping girls in private, but I don’t really know anything about the rates of non-sexual physical abuse in teen relationships.

    However, boys sexually abuse girls at least as much as they beat up boys, and possibly substantially more, and lots of this abuse is public and semi-public (bra-snapping, gropping, verbal abuse, etc). This is actually one of the main problems with JayQ’s views on violence to my mind. I agree that male violence is the basic problem for both men and women, but male violence is expressed and supported very differently for male on male violence and male on female violence. While working to reduce social acceptance of male violence in general is a very good idea, I wouldn’t expect focusing on male-on-male styles of violence to deal effectively with male on female violence as well.

    Also, I think that treating male violence culture as part of rape culture, or treating the rape culture as part of the male violence culture is laregely a distinction without a difference. Arguing that there isn’t a rape cuolture or a male violence culture seems to me to be simply silly. Is this the most extreme male violence culture or the most extreme rape culture currently around? Certainly not. Does it have a long way to go to not be a male violence and rape culture? Yes.

    Rape culture also has significant components that aren’t directly related to male violence culture. For instance, the way that women socialize women in relation to rape is part of the mechanics of rape culture, but not directly part of the mechanics of male violence culture.

  82. 182
    Spicy says:

    I don’t really know anything about the rates of non-sexual physical abuse in teen relationships.

    About 20% of teenage girls have been hit by their boyfriends, according to this research in the UK.

  83. 183
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Just to clarify, although other people have explained for me while I slept.

    The squaddie I took home was not the asshole who kept trying to penetrate me. I was involved with several men that night, not all of whom I mentioned in my original post here.

    I think I’m being accused of having been insufficiently traumatised by the experience with the asshole: read what I said right at the beginning. It was more irritating than traumatic. I posted it to illustrate my point that you can go looking for sex, can be very eager for sex, and still be raped if someone tries to make you have sex in a way you don’t want.

    If you think there’s some kind of inconsistency between enjoying sex with men who respect their wishes and being angered when people try to deny that attempted rape is attempted rape, I don’t know how much common ground I can possibly find with you.

  84. 184
    Jesurgislac says:

    Charles: Somewhere in the early teen years, the “never hit a girl” (meaning never beat up a girl in the way that boys generally beat up other boys) kicks in as a cultural rule.

    Chivalry (“don’t hit girls”) kicks in as a cultural rule, but its unspoken counterpart is (“unless girls step out of line”). Teenage girls are far more scared of male violence than teenage boys are: and, as was pointed out just upthread, with reason.

  85. 185
    AB says:

    JennyK, this

    >>We do it by teaching our girls to say “no”, but never teaching them to say “yes”. We do it by teaching our boys to listen the “no”’s, but to also never expect a “yes” without prior persuasion.>>

    is freakin’ brilliant, and I totally agree. I’d love to see a thread where we could get a bit more into this–it’s something that I have a lot of thoughts on. Whadya say, Nick? Amp?

  86. 186
    JayQ says:

    Given that the primary manifestation of privileged male violence in this culture is the normalisation of male violence against women, why would you think first of all we need to think about “violence in general”? Effectively, you are still saying “Let’s not think about violence against women first” – which is precisely what the privileging of male violence against women is all about.

    The only problem I have with this is that I don’t take for a given that the primary manifestation of priveledged male violence is the normalisation of male violence against women. Is it a manifestation, yes. But I think it is simply because it is easier than violence against men and it makes men feel big. But yes- I am saying “Let’s not think about violence against women first” – I think if we do that we take women a step backwards, away from equality, and back to the idea that women are fragile and need special protection. I don’t see anything following from this besides the accompanying ideas that since we must protect women, we can expect them to obey us, the same that we expect of our children that we must protect.

    Reducing violence in general doesn’t mean focusing on male on male style violence. It means focusing on ALL violence, including male on male, including male on female, including male-male rape, male-female rape, female-female rape, female-male rape, etc. It seems that everytime a male poster says ALL, the response is ‘why do you only care about men?’. I don’t get that – I am guilty of saying ‘guys’ to address a group with men and women in it, and I can see why that might upset somebody, but ALL seems to be gender neutral, which is how I meant it.

    I also agree that male violence against women is perceived differently. It is a different animal, but I think they both come from the same place. And remember, I am one of those guys that walks around wanting to be violent. I don’t do it, but I do understand it. At any point in time, I could (intentionally) ramp up my anger to the point of losing control and be very physically violent to anybody I wanted to, male or female. That’s why I don’t think we can concentrate only on male-female violence. I feel like I understand the mind of the criminal a bit better than most – even among my male friends and family, most don’t have the same anger and capacity for hurting people that I do. I also think that my experience can give hope that society CAN change, since I have not intentionally committed an act of physical violence against anybody since junior high, and I was not what could be called a bully then. If I can have these instincts and not act on them, or even feel on the verge of losing control of them, then other men who have these instincts can be socialized and/or raised in a way that helps them as well.

    OK – little too much to reveal about ones-self to strangers, but I think that will be my last post- I can’t get past people thinking that I don’t think violence against women is wrong. It doesn’t matter what I say (I think that if I even just re-wrote what some of my detractors have been posting, it would still be interpreted the same way, just because I said it).

    One last time- to summarize my position:
    -Violence against women is more tragic than violence against men.
    -Trying to stop one without the other weakens the gender being protected(and probably does little to stop the violence, IMO)
    -Violence against women, while I do not think is more common (long long discussion about what is considered violence against men, in which we would just find out that we have the same opinion as to what is happening, with different semantics behind the words), is more acceptable by a large chunk of our society than violence against men
    -To stop this, more men have to change than women.
    -Women have a greater stake in stopping this, which makes the above point difficult.

  87. 187
    JayQ says:

    Oops – one last post – this was being posted as I was typing:

    JennyK, this

    >>We do it by teaching our girls to say “no”, but never teaching them to say “yes”. We do it by teaching our boys to listen the “no”’s, but to also never expect a “yes” without prior persuasion.>>

    is freakin’ brilliant, and I totally agree. I’d love to see a thread where we could get a bit more into this”“it’s something that I have a lot of thoughts on. Whadya say, Nick? Amp?

    I agree – It never made sense to me that women are socialized to say no even when they don’t want to say no, to avoid looking like a ‘loose woman’. If women were more free to just say ‘yes’ when they wanted to, and not scared of the repercussions, I think that in itself would result in some pretty major cultural shifts in a fairly short time (generation or so).

    I’m not trying to say that ‘no doesn’t mean no’, but I have been in situations when the woman wanted to do something, but didn’t want me to know she wanted to, so she said no. Then later I found out she wanted me to pressure her about it so I would think it was my idea. I was extremely annoyed- I too would like to see that issue explored a bit more… You’ve got to admit, some of us are VERY stupid, and as long as there exists an exception to the rule ‘no means no’ there will be those very stupid people who don’t understand that it is an exception, and even when it happens, it should not be taken advantage of(in other words, if a woman says ‘no’, men should hear ‘no’, even if the woman means ‘talk me into it’).

  88. 188
    Jesurgislac says:

    JayQ: But yes- I am saying “Let’s not think about violence against women first” – I think if we do that we take women a step backwards, away from equality, and back to the idea that women are fragile and need special protection

    Ginmar, isn’t this on your list of stereotypical sexist responses to any claim for equality?

    In any case, JayQ, this is just yet another excuse for maintaining the status quo: male violence against women is normal, so don’t pay any attention to it. Instead, focus on violence against men, because only male problems really matter.

  89. 189
    Emmetropia says:

    Charles wrote-

    A lot of words have been written on the issue of shaming women for doing things (having sex with paratroopers, walking in the park at night) that accompanied their being raped or the subject of an attempted rape….On account of people like you and Molly… making a report would not get her anything more than some slut-shaming from some police.

    It is impossible to shame a person without their tacit consent. If I feel shamed, I have ceded my power over to you. I have internalized your beliefs about me, and have replaced them for my own. Self-aware adults, making fully informed, intentioned decisions, and with a healthy ego, cannot be shamed. They own their lives. They own their decisions. They own the consequences of their decisions.

    No matter how promiscus my sexual behavior, if I own every aspect of the behavior, no one can make me feel bad about it. You could paste my picture on billboards all around town, with the words SLUT in flashing neon lights, and I assure you, I will not feel ashamed.

    If I am raped, control has been ripped from me, not ceded, so how can I be made to feel ashamed? Others may BELIEVE that they can shame me, and may hope to use shame as a tool to make me behave in a way desirable to them, but this is their’s to own.

    If an adult asserts that they have knowingly and with full consent engaged in behavior that they later claimed to feel “shame” over, well, what are we to make of that?

    Could it be that sometimes people enter into agreements that really aren’t fully consensual, because they aren’t fully informed, fully aware of what they’re getting into?

  90. 190
    La Lubu says:

    It is impossible to shame a person without their tacit consent. If I feel shamed, I have ceded my power over to you. I have internalized your beliefs about me, and have replaced them for my own. Self-aware adults, making fully informed, intentioned decisions, and with a healthy ego, cannot be shamed. They own their lives. They own their decisions. They own the consequences of their decisions.

    Not true. That’s not the whole of the dynamic of shame. Critical mass does count. Most folks with a healthy ego have a thick enough skin to shrug off the occasional naysayer—-but how many of us, no matter the health of our ego, have enough inner strength to shrug off an entire community of naysayers? Part of the reason rape survivors are encouraged to get counseling isn’t just because of rape being a traumatic experience in itself. It’s also because surviving the aftermath—the critical mass of people who buy into the rape myths that bean mentions, and use that as Monday-morning quarterbacking for the rape survivor, is difficult. It is difficult to withstand a large number of people treating you like shit, all at the same time. Even the strongest of us need backup support; a community where we can remember who we are and refresh our strength.

    I live in a small town—only 120,000 people. I’ve seen Monday-morning quarterbacking for rape survivors in the letters-to-the-editor in the local paper. How well would you stand up to that, Emmetropia, if you were raped after a date (regardless if your intention was to have sex or not—-that’s why I don’t judge Nick for hir choice, because it’s irrelevant. If you are a woman, you are every bit in as much danger for rape whether you are on a date or a one-night-stand)? Everyone that knows me thinks I should write down my life story and sell it to the Lifetime network; I’ve been through that much shit and survived, without having a nervous breakdown. Even so, I don’t think I could withstand a large share of my community thinking I was some kind of slut who contributed to her own rape, without having some kind of serious physical reaction, from violently acting out on someone to having a heart attack. I’ve handled a lot; I don’t know that I could handle “you brought it on yourself with your stupidity” from that many people on a daily basis.

    I take issue with the highly individualistic idea that we are islands unto ourselves, able to withstand all the slings and arrows from all-comers without it making a dent into our psyches. I’m more solitary than most, more self-directed than most—and I sure as hell have my doubts about doing it—and even if I could, that experience would leave me far more scarred and embittered about humanity than the rape.

    See, I think some people on this thread (and some others) are missing the point entirely. Yes, bad things happen. Yes, I know that by being female, I am more at risk of rape than if I were male. And yes, I can handle that. I don’t limit my life based on that. I deal with it.

    What I don’t, and never will accept, is that I should accept any responsibility for being raped, ever. Under any circumstances. When someone is raped, it is always 100% the fault of the rapist. Yet, where I live, the standard belief is that rape is the one crime where it is partly the fault of the rapist, and partly the fault of the person raped. The person who was raped put too much temptation in the hands of the rapist, and he couldn’t control himself. Or, the person who was raped never should have been alone. Or….pick your myth. That’s what I don’t accept.

  91. 191
    AB says:

    It never made sense to me that women are socialized to say no even when they don’t want to say no, to avoid looking like a ‘loose woman’. If women were more free to just say ‘yes’ when they wanted to, and not scared of the repercussions

    Mmm, this is a little different from what I think me and JennyK are talking about (although I clearly can’t speak for her). It’s not that women say “no” when they mean yes–it’s more that the social scripts that men and women learn around sexual activities don’t have women saying anything *at all*. While there may be a couple of cases where a woman says “no” when she means “yes” (a bit of a risky assumption, but I’ll take you at face value when you say this woman later told you what she was feeling), I think the vast majority of the time no means no. In our culture, it’s *silence* that means yes–so men aren’t looking for a woman to say yes to sex, they’re just listening (maybe not so well) to make sure she doesn’t say no.

    If you think about this, it’s strange. There’s not too many other situations in which we take a lack of a “no” to be the same as a yes. When I talk about a “rape culture,” this is what I mean: we live in a culture in which we don’t expect a woman to have to say “yes” to sex in order for sex to be OK. All she has to do is not say no–or not say “no” too loud–or not struggle too hard–and it’s not difficult to see why this belief can lead to a whole lot of rape.

    You might have meant the same thing–but the way you phrased it put the responsibility squarely on women’s shoulders to say yes or no. Whereas I would argue that men are just as responsible to ask for verbal consent, rather than shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, women should learn to say yes.”

  92. 192
    JayQ says:

    Jesurgislac,

    I thought I was done, but then:

    In any case, JayQ, this is just yet another excuse for maintaining the status quo: male violence against women is normal, so don’t pay any attention to it. Instead, focus on violence against men, because only male problems really matter.

    What?

    Wanting to change the status quo is the same thing as wanting to keep the status quo?

    Why do you think male violence against women is normal? I don’t.

    Why not pay attention to male violence against women? I think we should.

    Focus on male violence against men? What?? How many times must I repeat-

    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    Is that any clearer?

    I thought the two previous times would be enough:

    Reducing violence in general doesn’t mean focusing on male on male style violence. It means focusing on ALL violence

    I didn’t mean to say stop violence against men first, but that the acceptance of violence in general should be removed first,

    Do you think maybe you’r coloring my words with your emotions and that you really want me to be a crappy sexist SOB so that you will have somebody ‘evil’ to rant against? It feels that way on my end. It doesn’t matter what I say or do, since I am a man, I obviously think that men can beat on women and this is acceptable. Is this really what you think? If so, how can any progress be made, since even men who want to stop violence against women(me), get blasted for it, and told that they actually don’t want to stop violence against women. I would point some male friends to this site, but I honestly think it would turn them against women. And that’s sad, because this site contains a lot of people that seem to be very good at making people think about the status of society in general, and that’s a good thing. The bad thing is when people do come in and want to get a better perspective on society and what other people think, that person is misrepresented and picked as an example of what is wrong with the world, which does a lot to push them back to the warped views they had before they came here. And I am not talking about me, but about other threads where I’ve seen the same thing happen… somebody starts out sounding like they have an open mind, and after being jumped by a couple of responders, they fall into stereotypical attitudes and defenses and leave probably more determined to continue in the beliefs this site tries to speak out against.

  93. 193
    Emma says:

    JayQ: But yes- I am saying “Let’s not think about violence against women first” – I think if we do that we take women a step backwards, away from equality, and back to the idea that women are fragile and need special protection

    To suggest that calls for action on violence against women is equivalent to arguing that women need “special protection” is disingenuous. What violence against women requires is a targeted approach. It requires this targeted approach because violence against women is othered, both in the language used to describe it [violence against men is called 'crime', or 'violence'], and within public and other services.

    For example, if you are the male victim of a street assault [in the UK], you can present yourself to the front desk of any police station to report the crime perpetrated against you. If you are a victim of rape or domestic violence you will be dispatched to a special family protection unit, because the police have [finally] realised that the general training they undergo doesn’t prepare them to respond to victims of these crimes appropriately.

    If, as many women do, you self-harm as a coping mechanism following rape or sexual assault, then your local healthcare provided is unlikely to respond in a sympathetic way. Anecdotal evidence abounds on both sides of the Atlantic of deliberately coarse treatment on the part of nurses and other workers who have limited patience for what they perceive as the self-indulgence of self-harming patients.

    Cognisance of the realities of violence against women is rarely built in to the policies and practises that drive our workplace. If your workplace has an absence management policy, then the sickness absence record you are likely to build up as a victim of domestic violence (odd days here and there, with no medical certificate) is precisely that most likely to raise the flag to your employer that you are a shirker.

    These are three small examples of a lack of awareness of violence against women in mainstream services and policies that all of us routinely come into contact with.

    Violence against women has enormous societal and human costs. It also has monetary costs: in the UK, the total cost of domestic violence to services (Criminal Justice System, health, social services, housing, civil legal) amounts to £3.1 billion, while the loss to the economy is £2.7 billion. This amounts to over £5.7 billion a year. [Source: DTI.]

    Women aren’t equal, and any public policy or programme that acts as though we are is doomed to fail to meet women’s needs.

  94. 194
    Jesurgislac says:

    JayQ: Wanting to change the status quo is the same thing as wanting to keep the status quo?

    You say you want to change the status quo. The status quo is that violence against women by men is normalized and ignored. Your idea of changing the status quo is to ignore male violence against women and pretend that male violence against men is more important. I can’t see how this is changing the status quo at all.

    since I am a man, I obviously think that men can beat on women and this is acceptable. Is this really what you think?

    Evidently, you find men beating on women more acceptable than you find men beating on men, since you see men beating on women as a lesser priority to stop than men beating on men.

    If so, how can any progress be made, since even men who want to stop violence against women(me), get blasted for it, and told that they actually don’t want to stop violence against women.

    You have specifically said that you don’t see stopping male violence against women as a first priority. Yet you complain when this is cited back to you as if you meant what you said. If you are actually, genuinely serious about wanting to stop male violence against men – if that’s a priority in your life such that you don’t care what anyone else thinks – what do you care what a bunch of bloggers say to you? If you can be put off wanting to change male violence against men by feminists pointing out to you that better strategy is working towards a more equal society and working to change one aspect of male privilege, male violence against women, then clearly you were never very serious about working for change in the first place.

  95. 195
    Emmetropia says:

    La lubu wrote-

    Not true. That’s not the whole of the dynamic of shame. Critical mass does count. …how many of us, no matter the health of our ego, have enough inner strength to shrug off an entire community of naysayers?… Part of the reason rape survivors are encouraged to get counseling isn’t just because of rape being a traumatic experience in itself. It’s also because surviving the aftermath…the critical mass of people who buy into the rape myths that bean mentions…Even the strongest of us need backup support; a community where we can remember who we are and refresh our strength.

    I live in a small town…only 120,000 people. I’ve seen Monday-morning quarterbacking for rape survivors in the letters-to-the-editor in the local paper. How well would you stand up to that, Emmetropia, if you were raped after a date

    I also understand and agree that at some point, public response can itself FEEL like a rape, because it is coercive and threatening, and can frankly, just wear you down if you’re not taking good care of yourself.

    But I don’t accept that rape victims are subjected to any more social pressure than others experience when they are acting in ways that threaten group solidarity or the existing power structure, or that they necessarily suffer more, because of that public pressure.

    I lived in La Jolla during Betty Brodericks murder trial for killing her husband and his new wife. Believe me, the Monday-morning quarterbacking went on for months and months on the radio, in the paper and in offices around the city. I was flabbergasted at the number of educated, seemingly moral women, who claimed that her husband deserved to have a gun emptied into him while he slept, because Betty was forced to live on $16,000 a month. I’m sure the children suffered greatly.

    Had Dan and his wife lived, I’m sure they would have suffered as well, to hear what was said about them.

    I was a “whistle-blower” early in my career. My job was threatened (a job I very much needed), I got threatening phone calls from strangers, and the director of the organization’s affirmative action department, which was supposed to protect me, accused me of trying to go after my supervisor’s job, and leaked confidential information back to that person, who it turns out was a friend of the director of AA. It was 18 months of hell. When it was all said and done, and she was arrested and led away in handcuffs, no one in divisional management thanked me. I brought unwanted attention to them. An employee six months on the job, caught something they should have noticed off the bat. I was a freaking pariah. Co-workers avoided me like the plague. I was often depressed. It was the support of a single supervisor in another department that knew what was going on, that got me through those eighteen months. Every night she called me after work, and listened while I cried. Sometimes she’d leave inspirational quotes on chair. Little things. Important things.

    In the end, the stand I took was an affirmation of who I was, and what I believed. I vacillated for some time before I turned over the evidence that I had, and asked for an investigation. I was afraid. But it was the moment that I understood that she thought you finally had gotten to me, made me afraid enough, that I would’t act, that I took a stand for myself.

    Doing the right thing is hard, whether it’s standing up for a principle, or insisting that you be accorded your rights. But it’s how change happens.

    If you are a woman, you are every bit in as much danger f
    or rape whether you are on a date or a one-night-stand)?

    I’m not sure if this an affirmation or question on your part, because of the punction, but if you meant to affirm this belief, I have to say, I don’t buy it. Essentially you’re saying that where women’s safety is concerned, all choices are equal. My choice to date a convicted rapist is no better or worse, than my choice to date someone who has taken a vow of celibacy for religious reasons. My powers of discernment and judgement are meaningless, useless.

    This perspective infantilizes women. What value is there in free agency if there’s no real choice?

  96. 196
    La Lubu says:

    But I don’t accept that rape victims are subjected to any more social pressure than others experience when they are acting in ways that threaten group solidarity or the existing power structure, or that they necessarily suffer more, because of that public pressure.

    In other words, you agree that by reporting a rape, and refusing to just suck it up and say in effect that rape is part and parcel of being female, that women are threatening group solidarity and the existing power structure. Well, now we’re getting somewhere.

    The question mark at the end of that sentence (sorry, I should have been more clear!) was asking if you would be cool with the aftermath of rape—if your psyche would be copasetic with the daily round of criticism you would endure if you reported that you had been raped by your date.

    Because frankly, that is exactly what happens to women where I live. If you are alone with a man, you are assumed to be alone with him for the purposes of having sex, regardless if that is your intent or not. In another one of Amp’s rape threads, I discussed a fairly recent case around here (actually, one of a handful of rape cases that has ever made it to court in the twenty years I’ve lived here) that involved a real estate agent being raped while on the job. Her intent was to show a house and make a sale. His intent was to rape her (it was brought out in court that he had chosen her picture from a number of other real estate agents in town as his target—-he had a detailed stalking blueprint in his apartment, discovered during a search warrant of his apartment). He held a gun to her head, so she didn’t have the shit beat out of her—-just the rape trauma and lacerations from his penetration. She called the police afterwards and did everything “by the book”; everything a woman is supposed to do after a rape. He was questioned by the police, and he told them that she was just a real horny broad, and that he was in fact reluctant—but she insisted on the sex! The police chose to believe him, despite the rape victim’s lacerations. He told the cops she “liked it rough.” This was an older, professional woman, with an impeccable reputation. She had been a successful, full-time real estate agent for many years. All that “good woman” behavior meant nothing though, because after her rape she was just another slut.

    After the guy raped and murdered his next victim, and the DNA in the sperm sample from the dead woman’s body matched the DNA in the sperm sample from the real estate agent, the police arrested the guy. He’s doing life in prison now for the murder.

    Yeah, color me skeptical. If that’s the kind of treatment that a white, professional, upper-middle-class woman, an official pillar of the community gets after she’s been raped, I figure I can expect worse. Why was she regarded as a slut? Because she voluntarily went somewhere with a man alone. How does that differ from being escorted to one’s car after a date? Sure, you can look up a man’s criminal record before going out on a date (and I do, and fuck it if anyone thinks I’m paranoid for doing so. this is my life, and I plan on continuing to live it), but just because someone hasn’t been convicted doesn’t mean he hasn’t raped.

    If we were all mind readers, none of us would be raped. None of us would be victims of many other kinds of violent crime, either. Why in the hell is rape considered the victim’s fault?! Carjacking isn’t!

    I’m sure the real estate agent looked up that guy’s name for a criminal record, but he was using a false name and fake ID. Even after the police discovered that he had fake ID, and rented the car he took to the rape scene using that fake ID, they still didn’t regard it as being suspicious enough to be arrest-worthy. The “slut” explanation was more plausible to them.

    What. The. Fuck.

  97. 197
    JayQ says:

    Evidently, you find men beating on women more acceptable than you find men beating on men, since you see men beating on women as a lesser priority to stop than men beating on men.

    I thought this might work last time, but apparently I need to do it again:

    MEN BEATING ON WOMEN IS NOT A LESSER PRIORITY THAN MEN BEATING ON WOMEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    MEN BEATING ON WOMEN IS NOT A LESSER PRIORITY THAN MEN BEATING ON WOMEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    MEN BEATING ON WOMEN IS NOT A LESSER PRIORITY THAN MEN BEATING ON WOMEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    MEN BEATING ON WOMEN IS NOT A LESSER PRIORITY THAN MEN BEATING ON WOMEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    MEN BEATING ON WOMEN IS NOT A LESSER PRIORITY THAN MEN BEATING ON WOMEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN
    MEN BEATING ON WOMEN IS NOT A LESSER PRIORITY THAN MEN BEATING ON WOMEN
    DO NOT FOCUS ON MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN

    Did you read it that time?

    Why, when someone says to treat BOTH types of violence at the same time, do you hear ‘only pay attention to violence against men’?

    You say you want to change the status quo. The status quo is that violence against women by men is normalized and ignored.

    Yeah, that’s what i want to change, I just don’t think your methods will work.

    Your idea of changing the status quo is to ignore male violence against women and pretend that male violence against men is more important.

    AGAIN, just because I think violence against men is a problem, that does NOT mean that I think violence against women isn’t a problem.. It isn’t an either/or situation.

    Where have I posted anything to even allege that violence against men is more important? I don’t think that, I never said that, I never implied that -unless you think that by saying I want to reduce ALL violence (last time I checked, ALL included women!), that what I really meant was I don’t want to reduce ALL violence, only SOME. Go back and try to find where I have said male violence against women is LESS important than male violence against women.

    If you can be put off wanting to change male violence against men by feminists pointing out to you that better strategy is working towards a more equal society and working to change one aspect of male privilege, male violence against women, then clearly you were never very serious about working for change in the first place.

    Umm…. I NEVER SAID WANTING TO CHANGE MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN IS MY GOAL. I HAVE SPECIFICALLY SAID IT ISN’T ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION. WHY DO YOU NOT HAVE THE DRIFT BY NOW?

    I have said several times that I don’t think just trying to reduce the one specific type of violence against women won’t work, and that it demeans women. I’m sorry, but it still boils down (to me) to the simple idea that we want to protect one class of people and not another. This puts the protected class in the position of being officially recognized as weaker and needing protection. This puts them on a lower standing than the non-protected class. It also won’t work, because it will just foster bad sentiment toward the protected class – “why do women deserve equal pay if I can’t treat them the same way I would a man”, “if you want this job, you better be able to hang with the guys, I don’t want a weak little woman screwing up the team dynamic”, etc. (yes I know these things already happen, but I think they would get worse)

    One more time, another variation:

    MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN NEEDS TO BE STOPPED

    IT WON’T BE STOPPED UNTIL WE CHANGE THE ATTITUDE ABOUT VIOLENCE IN GENERAL (not specifically violence against women OR violence against men, but BOTH)(notice, use of the word BOTH is not meant to exclude women)

    (notice, use of the word BOTH is not meant to exclude women)

    (notice, use of the word BOTH is not meant to exclude women)

    (notice, use of the word BOTH is not meant to exclude women)

  98. 198
    JayQ says:

    Also

    You have specifically said that you don’t see stopping male violence against women as a first priority. Yet you complain when this is cited back to you as if you meant what you said

    No, I complain when this is cited back to me to imply that I think violence against men IS first priority. I didn’t say that. Ever. But it doesn’t matter, because you already have your mind made up, and what I ACTUALLY said doesn’t really matter to you. You just want a bad guy.

  99. 199
    Jesurgislac says:

    Why, when someone says to treat BOTH types of violence at the same time, do you hear ‘only pay attention to violence against men’?

    Because you are arguing, consistently, that you don’t want to pay priority attention to violence against women.

  100. 200
    ginmar says:

    Yeah, well, the problem is, Jay, the problem isn’t equal at all, and your attitude that it’s a general problem that needs to be fixed is a classic dodge. “Both” implies equality of numbers, which doesn’t exist in reality. It’s that simple. This is a feminist website. Violence against men is a male problem, not a female problem. We discuss violence against women here because—-work with me here—-IT’S A FEMINIST WEBSITE, MORON.

    Men and women don’t BOTH abuse one another. There’s no equality of numbers, size, justice, retribution,strength, or condemnation between the two. Christ almighty already. FEMINIST WEBSITE.

    I bet you to the NAACP website and say that white and black racism are BOTH serious probelms,too. It’s just about that fucking stupid.