Oregon Woman Convicted of Acting Insufficiently Traumatized

An Oregon woman who says she was gang-raped by three men, has been convicted of filing false rape charges, because she failed to act “traumatized” enough. From the Oregonian:

After a day-and-a-half trial, Municipal Judge Peter A. Ackerman on Friday convicted the woman of filing a false police report, a class-C misdemeanor. Ackerman explained his decision, saying there were many inconsistencies in the stories of the four, but that he found the young men to be more credible. He also said he relied on the testimony of a Beaverton police detective and the woman’s friends who said she did not act traumatized in the days following the incident.

That’s appalling.

The Judge seems to believe that there is a typical way in which all rape victims act, and that if a woman fails to act that way, she must be lying. But that’s nonsense. There is no “rape victim script” that every rape victim follows. Essentially, this woman has been convicted of a crime for failing match the judge’s stereotype of what “legitimate” female victims act like.

Judge Ackerman has sent a message to rape victims in Oregon: If the judge doesn’t think you’re weepy enough, emotive enough, hysterical enough, whatever enough, then he might just convict you of a crime. There’s every reason to think an asinine ruling like this will deter rape victims from reporting rape to the police.

Shakespeare’s Sister, The Heretik and The American Street have more. UPDATE: See The Countess’ post, too. And a new post from The Heretik. And My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. And Once Upon A Time…. And Political Animal. And this stunning post at Shakespeare’s Sister. And Liberty Street. And Radioactive Quill. And Ded Space.

For a contrary view on this case, see Cathy Young’s post.

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185 Responses to Oregon Woman Convicted of Acting Insufficiently Traumatized

  1. 101
    Charles says:

    City Attorney Alan Rappleyea is Ted Naemura’s boss, and presumably had the power to stop this prosecution from going forward.

    Personally, as well as seeing both Ted Naemura and Peter Ackerman fired, I would like to see negative coverage of this case be the top google link for both of them. I’m willing to bet that both of them have political aspirations, and Ackerman has a private law practice, and I’d like to see all of that hurt by them being firmly linked to this gross and intentional miscarriage of justice. Alan Rappleyea had less directly to do with this case, but he could use some tar as well, particularly given that this case is part of a pattern of abuse by his department and not merely a unprecedented miscarriage of justice.

  2. 102
    Lee says:

    In addition to the steps Charles has outlined above, I would strongly recommend pushing to make the Beaverton court a court of record. Leaving a paper trail in legal proceedings is always a good thing, I think.

  3. 103
    Susan says:

    Was the ‘then-girl-now-woman’ troubled prior to the rape? That depends on the definitions you use. I could relate various life incidents which some would say “possible sign of trouble” and others would say “pretty normal stuff that occurs in the confusing time of adolescence when you’re ready or wanting to be an adult”

    I’m wondering how relevant that question is anyway.

    Rapists are in some ways like wolves. Wolves do not attack the strong, healthy caribou, the ones who can defend themselves. Not while they have any choice. They pick out the weak in the herd.

    Thus also rapists, often. Sometimes a rapist will attack a strong woman, but often they choose the weak, the troubled, the confused, simply because it’s easier. And afterwards they can say, “Well, she was troubled anyhow.” Like that’s an excuse.

  4. 104
    mythago says:

    That is really bizarre. It’s a criminal hearing that could result in jail time, and they don’t even have a damn court reporter taking the proceedings down?

  5. 105
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Well, starting the wheels turning locally, I sent out heads-up information to my local parenting groups. Considering making a post on the Portland CraigsList forums as well. Interesting, by the way that the question of why on earth tax dollars were spent on a case that a case that had no clear red flags of false accusation and was circumstantial at best, but not bother to prosecute the preceding case of the actual accusation of rape.

  6. 106
    mythago says:

    and was circumstantial at best

    Just a pedantic note here, but in legal terms “circumstantial” doesn’t mean “weak” or “bad” evidence.

  7. 107
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    God damn, pedantic indeed. The nit-picking over legalese is getting a bit irritating lately. Circumstantial evidence is of course a valid form of evidence, but it doesn’t make it ‘better’ or ‘good’ or ‘best’. Many people, myself included, find circumstantial evidence to be less convincing than other types, especially with regards to basing an entire case around it.

  8. 108
    mythago says:

    Many people, myself included, find circumstantial evidence to be less convincing than other types

    Like eyewitness evidence?

    And y’know, when you’re talking about a LEGAL ISSUE such as, oh, a court ruling, I don’t see that it’s so awful to use LEGAL TERMS appropriately. Silly, pedantic me.

  9. 109
    Lilith says:

    Yeah I agree with Mythago. It’s important for us to be precise when discussing these things, especially in a case like this where a * judge* acted so irrationally. If we want to confront him and his colleagues, it helps to use the right words. When people with expertise step in and make corrections in these threads I find it educational, not pedantic.

    My understanding of a circumstantial case would include something like, a man’s fingerprints were found in a dead woman’s apartment, he had been turned down for a date with her the previous week, he was inexplicably absent from work the next several days, and bought a $1200 TV the next week (whereas $1200 was missing from the woman’s wallet and his salary is paltry.) In that case, there’s no murder weapon, no eyewitness (though those are notoriously unreliable, but anyways), and it’s possible that he could have left the fingerprints when there for a legit purpose (say they were coworkers or neighbors) but yet, the case is pretty damning against him in the eyes of most–including myself.

    This case against the young woman in Beaverton? It’s not even circumstantial. It seems to me it’s almost pure speculation–something usually banned in court, I thought. There’s no apparent indirect evidence that she fabricated the charges or would have even had a motive to do so–no evidence of bribes or payoffs, for instance. The only “evidence” is the opinion of a couple of very unreliable bystanders that the woman wasn’t acting like they personally would expect a rape victim to behave. Convicting on this basis isn’t like a circumstantial case. It’s like convicting someone because their neighbors think they act like a stereotypical murderer, or fining them for tax evasion because their father in law doesn’t think they act like a typical taxpayer.

  10. 110
    Daran says:

    circumstantial evidence
    n. evidence in a trial which is not directly from an eyewitness or participant and requires some reasoning to prove a fact. There is a public perception that such evidence is weak (“all they have is circumstantial evidence”), but the probable conclusion from the circumstances may be so strong that there can be little doubt as to a vital fact (“beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal case, and “a preponderance of the evidence” in a civil case). Particularly in criminal cases, “eyewitness” (“I saw Frankie shoot Johnny”) type evidence is often lacking and may be unreliable, so circumstantial evidence becomes essential. Prior threats to the victim, fingerprints found at the scene of the crime, ownership of the murder weapon, and the accused being seen in the neighborhood, certainly point to the suspect as being the killer, but each bit of evidence is circumstantial.
    See also: evidence

    Link to source

  11. 111
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Silly, pedantic me.
    Silly? Not so much. Patronizing? Ding. Ding. Ding.

    The lead detective was received as the most credible witness, though the evidence was all circumstantial (except the words he recorded of others, which is recorded hearsay) and open to interpretation.
    This is where I based my conclusion. The person who said this (Kevin) knows the woman and was as I understand it in attendance for most of the proceedings.

  12. 112
    jaketk says:

    BritGirlSF, you agree with the concept of a rape culture. That is to say, we live in a rape culture. By this you mean specifically that the less than equal views our society has towards women allows for rape. You do no think (I assume) that our culture literally says, or honestly condones, rape, just that the view of women as weaker or the view of men as needing to be dominant could certainly lead to such an act. In other words, the views that are held, though never explicitly stating “go rape women,” could act as a catalyst for some men to rape, i.e. those men might be inclined to commit such an act if this view of women is taken to the utmost extreme. Outside of the rape culture element, there is no blame, just a mentioning of what can happen if such a view were taken far too seriously. That is precisely what I think happened with my aunt. She latched onto feminist views about women, men and society, and took it to the utmost extreme and then acted upon those thoughts. Granted, I pushed her further towards it. Still, nothing changes that she agrees with the above premise, though how she would handle it would be far different. Again, there is no blame. I simply accept that I am responsible for my actions, the consequences of those actions, and the actions caused as a result of those actions. I dislike what happened, but I have “blamed” no one for it. I start my courses in criminal psychology next spring, so I am well aware of how that sounds.

    And if there is indeed a Hell, I am certain I am far more deserving of it than my aunt.

  13. 113
    Brandon Berg says:

    Ms. Flores (Comment 37):
    Excuse me, but WHAT THE F*** are you talking about?

    You know, I’ve never really understood the point of masking. Everyone knows what you meant, and replacing “UCK” with “***” doesn’t make it any less vulgar. If you want to swear, go ahead, but don’t do it and pretend you didn’t. This “F***” S*** is silly.

    Rape is a devastating crime that can* leave great damage to its victim and by extent her family and loved ones.

    Absolutely. When I said I didn’t want to belittle rape or the psychological damage it causes, I meant it. But being convicted of a rape you didn’t commit, and, as a result, spending several years in prison with violent criminals and being branded for the rest of your life as a rapist, also has a devastating effect on the victim and his family and loved ones.

    The difference is that the rape victim is free to try to go on with her life. It’s a lot harder to do that from inside a prison cell.

    If you had been held down and nearly castrated at age 17, would you describe it as “oh, it was over quickly–all I have now is psychological trauma”???

    Yes. Better to be traumatized and whole than traumatized and castrated. Likewise, it’s better to be traumatized and free than traumatized, imprisoned, and branded as a violent criminal.

    Oh, and you write, “If I had to choose, I’d rather be raped myself than be falsely convicted of rape. Can you honestly say that you’d choose differently?” If you could choose, then it’s not rape, is it?

    Sure it is. Maybe you’ll understand if I rephrase it so that the victim is a woman. Suppose I approach a woman in a remote location, point a gun at her, and tell her that if she doesn’t have sex with me, I’ll throw her in a cell with a bunch of violent criminals for several years and force her to register as a sex offender when she gets out. She thinks it over for a while and agrees to have sex with me.

    That’s rape, isn’t it?

  14. 114
    Ampersand says:

    Brandon and Ms. Flores, I don’t see any point in a “which suffering is worse” competition. Surely we can all agree that being falsely accused of rape is horrible, and being raped is horrible, without needing to rank them in order of horribleness.

    In any case, I’d discourage both of you from continuing this line of discussion, as in my experience it never leads anywhere fruitful.

    Kim (bv!) and Mythago, please cool it down a few notches.

    Daran, please use html to create links, if possible, rather than posting long “raw” URLs. Or use tinyurl, if you’d prefer.

    Thank you to everyone for being patient with my sucky moderation skills. I’m sorry if I gave offense. As always, my moderation is by necessity “random spot check”; I apologize for the inherant unfairness created by this system.

  15. 115
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    She started it! (jk – fine, I’ll stop :) )

  16. 116
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Granted, I pushed her further towards it. Still, nothing changes that she agrees with the above premise, though how she would handle it would be far different. Again, there is no blame. I simply accept that I am responsible for my actions, the consequences of those actions, and the actions caused as a result of those actions. I dislike what happened, but I have “blamed” no one for it.

    You’ve said that you blame yourself a few times, and I’m gathering from your description of what happened there are some things you’ve left out. Out of curiousity, if you don’t mind answering to kind of help frame your example a bit better; How old were you and how old was she when this happened? Did you or she initiate the sexual relationship? How did you ‘push’ her to act in this way? Do you regret that it happened and looking back would you change what happened? Do you feel you had no choice in what happened?

  17. 117
    Daran says:

    circumstantial evidence
    n. evidence in a trial which is not directly from an eyewitness or participant and requires some reasoning to prove a fact. There is a public perception that such evidence is weak (“all they have is circumstantial evidence”),

    I disagree with the last statement. It’s not that the public’s perception that “such evidence” is weak. Rather, the case is that the public uses the phrase to mean “weak, inconclusive evidence”. It is in this sense that we should interpret Kevin’s remarks, but we should also try to educate each other that often, words and phrases have a formal meaning which is different from the one we’re familiar with.

  18. 118
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    How it’s been written, I had gathered it to be a sexual relationship of some sort. And lest we get bogged down in more pedantics, I used relationship as one would use it without color, but instead to describe a particular type of association between the two, which could have included lack of consent or abuse, not as in they were lovers. Regardless, I’m still curious to understand the nature of the relationship if he is fine with discussing it. If not, no problem, but I’m trying to sort out his perspective and rationale for the defense of his aunt that he offers.

  19. 119
    Brandon Berg says:

    MSN (Comment 55):
    So you had a bad legal experience involving a woman, and that convinced you that women are disproportionally hysterical and crazy?

    No. My point is only that women sometimes dishonestly manipulate the legal system to hurt men or to protect themselves (e.g., a teenage girl who gets pregnant through consensual sex may allege rape to hide her sexual activity from her parents).

    Do you think women have cornered the market on being frivilous and malicious, and misusing the law? Do you think rape is the only crime that’s subject to false accusations?

    No. But we’re talking about rape, and men don’t accuse women of rape very often. I would make a similar argument for many other crimes (i.e., a false accusation is as bad as or worse than the crime itself). I do suspect that false accusations may be more common for rape than for many other crimes, for two reasons. First, it’s often difficult or impossible to distinguish between rape and consensual sex on the basis of physical evidence. And then there’s the fact that emotions tend to run strong on both sides where sex and dating are involved. Heaven hath no rage…yada yada yada.

    If you honestly would rather be raped than be falsely accused of rape, then you are, to put in kindly, insane.

    I didn’t say that. I said I’d rather be raped than falsely convicted. I’d choose accused and acquitted over rape.

    The chances of a false rape claim actually being prosecuted and leading to a conviction are very small.

    I made no claims about the frequency other than that it’s greater than never. And I’m very skeptical of anyone who claims to know how often false convictions are obtained, because I can’t think of any plausible way to measure it. If you know of any research on this topic, I’d be very interested in hearing about it.

  20. 120
    Jenny K says:

    jaketk

    “Writing them off as mentally ill denies that many people do things once part of a group or ideology that they would otherwise not do.”

    Actually, that could also considered a form of mental illness: mass hysteria.

    “Part of it is on them, but part of it comes from the ideology that reinforces those beliefs.”

    If you replace ideology with ideological group, I’d agree with you. That is, after all the point we make about patriarchy and rape culture – that people do things they may not otherwise do because of cultural pressures. However, neither this, nor mass hysteria, absolves individuals of their responsibility towards their fellow citizens, most especially with regards the most vulnerable members of society – which includes children. I may blame the patriarchy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also hold individuals criminaly responsible for their actions, and it does not justify your aunt, or anyone else, commiting criminal acts.

    “If the ideas behind a person’s acts are that you should punish your child, then technically Christianity has given the person license to punish their child however they see fit”

    Christianity hasn’t done anything, although it’s possible for a church (or The Church) to contribute to the abuse. Patriarchy, after all, is a collection of people, not just attitudes. It’s a system rather than a cohesive group, but to be system rather than just a bunch of opinions, it needs people that support it.

    “I know it is easier to accept that women only abuse if they are mentally ill, but many people who are abusive do so just because they can, with no mental illness or drugs.”

    Actually, men who abuse children are often referred to as mentally ill as well and the idea that anyone who commits extreme child abuse is mentally ill in some way is more of a liberal view of crime than a feminist view of abuse.

    “…if I do not think my aunt is mentally ill, I hate women and feminists? ….I accept full responsibility, so there is no point is claiming I blame feminists for anything.”

    See, it’s the fact that you don’t blame your aunt that (in addition to other comments) is causing people to assume you blame feminists (not the fact that you don’t see her as metally ill). You taking the blame upon yourself is not an acceptable answer to us. We understand that victims often blame themselves and absolve their attackers – we see it all the time in rape. That is why so many people have disagreed with you on you sharing the blame, much less taking it all upon yourself. But the fact that you haven’t really explained why you feel this way has left us at a dead end as far as that argument is concerned, and so we shift our focus to the ideology that you assert played a role in the abuse, because that is all that is left.

    “my experience discredits nothing other than the myth that women cannot abuse.”

    Qgrrrl wasn’t saying that your experience itself discredits anything , she was arguing that your manner of sharing it does . Not because “It would be the equivalent of posting about a hang nail on a thread about murder.” That is just plain wrong. How the hell can I, as someone who has never been raped, claim that you, who was abused as a child, are the one with the “hang nail?” It’s because, since you don’t claim solidarity with women who have been raped and instead assert your experience as an exception to the rule rather than another form of it that your story, as you are telling it, discredits women’s experiences. There doesn’t need to be a conflict between my experiences with sexism and your experiences with abuse – they both relate back to issues of power and control and how patriarchy places adult masculine men above everyone else, even if other circumstances contributed.

    “I am already aware that mentioning my experience promotes and facilitates female rape. But for the sake of argument, yes I realize that my experience promotes the “rape culture.””

    You are either seriously mistaken about what feminists believe or just seriously mistaken. Mentioning your experiences does not promote female rape. Child abuse in any form, by any gender, contributes to the idea that might makes right, and since (despite RonF’s good point about how things are changing) women are, on average, weaker in terms of both physical strength and status, this view primarily benefits men, and benefits all rapists. Your experience benefits rapists, your testimonial of it, depending on how it’s done, can have quite the opposite effect. Likewise, your experience does not promote rape culture, it is evidence of it.

    “your issue is not her views. those you actually agree with it”

    Well, we obviously don’t agree with her that child abuse is ever justified.

    “you agree that something should be done about them, even if it requires forcing people to change their views about women. you would do so with words, and sometimes by berating those who disagree. she would do so by enacting the violence on them. same views, different method.”

    No, it’s not. That’s like saying seduction is the same as rape. Or that assault is no different from debate. Bodily autonomy is one of the fundamental beliefs of feminism. I can see how some people may call themselves feminists and engage in acts of violence – people are inconsistent all the time. But rape is never justified by feminism (without being inconsistent), violence (against people) is never justified by feminism – except in cases of self defense – and child abuse is never self defense.

    “Outside of the rape culture element, there is no blame, just a mentioning of what can happen if such a view were taken far too seriously. That is precisely what I think happened with my aunt.”

    Actually, there is blame – and that is for the people who take such views to heart and those who do not work to change things. (Not always criminal blame – but moral failings, surely). Which is why people are taking what you are saying as to mean that you blame feminism. To say that you see feminism in a way that is analogous to how feminists view rape culture, and then turn around and say that no one is to blame, doesn’t really make sense. (That is what you are saying, right?)

  21. 121
    Myca says:

    One thought about “circumstantial evidence” … the majority of rape cases are based on circumstantial evidence.

    Right, Bean. The Dougal case, that’s been so extensively discussed here, for example, was almost entirely circumstantial. If you’re (not Bean. I mean the royal ‘you’) someone who felt that the case against him was a good, strong, one that should have gone to trial, you probably believe in the use of circumstantial evidence.

    —Myca

  22. 122
    Linda Flores says:

    Berg,
    I think it’s interesting that we’re discussing a conviction (woman convicted of making false reports) for which we’ve seen no evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that such a crime was committed (i.e. the prosecution would have had to prove that the rape did not occur in order to prove she made it up), and we’re discussing how much more difficult it may be for some rape victims to come forward now. And in the midst of this, some are talking about how “women get raped too” and “women sometimes falsely accuse men”.
    Yes, this does happen. But why can’t women talk about the oppression of women, which is overwhelmingly how it goes, not the other way around, without dudes coming along and saying “but men get it too”?

    Oh, and my use of F*** is not to prettify the fact that I’m swearing — it’s out of respect for whatever rules the owner of the blog may have to follow, and it allows people to more easily re-post to other places and blogs without having to edit it themselves.

  23. 123
    Ampersand says:

    Linda, I can’t help with reposting on other forums, but on “Alas” feel free to say fuck as much as you’d like.

    Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

    ;-)

  24. 124
    Daran says:

    Linda:

    Yes, this does happen. But why can’t women talk about the oppression of women, which is overwhelmingly how it goes, not the other way around, without dudes coming along and saying “but men get it too”?

    There’s nothing stopping you from creating a women-only space where the topic of discussion is restricted. But why should you expect to be able to do so here, where such restrictions aren’t in place?

  25. 125
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Actually Daran, most of the moderators (if not all) would prefer that as well. It’s Amp’s final say, but as a general rule, thread derailment and hijacking in such a manner is frowned upon.

  26. 126
    Daran says:

    Jenny K:

    “Part of it is on them, but part of it comes from the ideology that reinforces those beliefs.”

    If you replace ideology with ideological group, I’d agree with you. That is, after all the point we make about patriarchy and rape culture – that people do things they may not otherwise do because of cultural pressures.

    Of course I agree with the last part – from “that people do” onward.

    I don’t think you can separate the ideology from the ideological group. If the ideology is that “men are responsible for all the world’s ills”, then that’s an ideology which will tend to lead its adherents into hating men. Now that hatred will play out in many different ways, from the extreme hatred and violence expressed by Valerie Solanis to the Rape Crisis Centre that refuses to serve men.

    The problem with the idea of the ‘Patriarchy’ is that there’s no ideology and no discernible group of adherents. The word is effectively synonymous with ‘men’. I’ve never heard of a Rape Crisis Centre that refused to serve patriarchs.

    Rape culture is a similarly vacuous idea. You could just as well talk about the culture where is any problem which is widespread and generally hidden. There’s no reason to single out rape.

    However, neither this, nor mass hysteria, absolves individuals of their responsibility towards their fellow citizens, most especially with regards the most vulnerable members of society – which includes children. I may blame the patriarchy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also hold individuals criminaly responsible for their actions, and it does not justify your aunt, or anyone else, commiting criminal acts.

    It’s the explanation/excuse dichotomy. Solanis’s history of abuse may explain her violence, but doesn’t excuse them. However the judgement that an abuser is mentally ill is regarded as an excuse by society, if only a partial one in some cases. (And it is right that society does.)

    “I know it is easier to accept that women only abuse if they are mentally ill, but many people who are abusive do so just because they can, with no mental illness or drugs.”

    Actually, men who abuse children are often referred to as mentally ill as well and the idea that anyone who commits extreme child abuse is mentally ill in some way is more of a liberal view of crime than a feminist view of abuse.

    Indeed so. And some abusing men undoubtedly are mentally ill, as are some abusing women. And jaketk’s may be one of them. The issue here is surely not whether she is or she isn’t, but the demand, by Q grrl and others, that he acknowledge it (Comment 75 etc.). Just imagine the reaction there would be against me if I responded to a female abuse survivor’s disclosure by demanding that she acknowledge that her male abuser was mentally ill or by asserting that if she didn’t she was “bludgeoning” men. (Comment 41, etc.)

    “…if I do not think my aunt is mentally ill, I hate women and feminists? ….I accept full responsibility, so there is no point is claiming I blame feminists for anything.”

    See, it’s the fact that you don’t blame your aunt that (in addition to other comments) is causing people to assume you blame feminists (not the fact that you don’t see her as metally ill). You taking the blame upon yourself is not an acceptable answer to us. We understand that victims often blame themselves and absolve their attackers – we see it all the time in rape. That is why so many people have disagreed with you on you sharing the blame, much less taking it all upon yourself. But the fact that you haven’t really explained why you feel this way has left us at a dead end as far as that argument is concerned, and so we shift our focus to the ideology that you assert played a role in the abuse, because that is all that is left.

    I should have thought it was obvious. Every time a feminist says that men are responsible for rape, they are blaming him for his own abuse. If a feminist says “Men benefit from jaketk’s rape.” (Post 75), then his own brain is going to fill in the second line of the syllogism “jaketk is a man, therefore…”

    Do I really need to spell it out? Feminism makes him feel like crap. So he turns that accusation back on feminism, which makes you feminists feel like crap. The moral difference is, feminism is what feminists do. It’s a voluntary choice. Male is what a man is. There’s no voluntary about it.

    Qgrrrl wasn’t saying that your experience itself discredits anything , she was arguing that your manner of sharing it does.

    “Tell us how you feel, so long as you don’t make us feel like crap by telling us that we’re making you feel like crap.”

    Not because “It would be the equivalent of posting about a hang nail on a thread about murder.” That is just plain wrong. How the hell can I, as someone who has never been raped, claim that you, who was abused as a child, are the one with the “hang nail?”

    But that’s the message he gets from feminism. Do a Google search on the phrase “violence against women”. I get 7,940,000 hits. Not every one is a feminist source, but it has been driven by feminism. Now do the same for “violence against men”. I get 83,200, which comes as a surprise to me, because the last time I tried this exercise there were less than 5000. Looks like the MRAs are beginning to make an impact. but it’s still tiny in comparison. Every survey on violence confirms that men suffer more violence than women, yet for all the attention it gets, it’s a hangnail.

    It’s because, since you don’t claim solidarity with women who have been raped and instead assert your experience as an exception to the rule rather than another form of it that your story, as you are telling it, discredits women’s experiences.

    It’s feminism which declares that he is an exception to the rule: Feminism doesn’t say to female survivors that they’re responsible for rape, or that they benefited from their abuse.

    There doesn’t need to be a conflict between my experiences with sexism and your experiences with abuse – they both relate back to issues of power and control and how patriarchy places adult masculine men above everyone else, even if other circumstances contributed.

    He is an adult masculine man, and the ‘patriarchy’ isn’t putting his needs above anyone else’s.

    I agree that there doesn’t need to be a conflict. For several years during the early nineties I was a member of a small survivor group for both sexes. (I am not a survivor myself.) Every year consistently about one quarter of the number of contacts we got were by or on behalf of male survivors. There was no friction between the male and female membership, because everyone was treated with respect. (Of course there was friction between individuals; that’s true of single-sex groups too.)

    “I am already aware that mentioning my experience promotes and facilitates female rape. But for the sake of argument, yes I realize that my experience promotes the “rape culture.””

    You are either seriously mistaken about what feminists believe or just seriously mistaken. Mentioning your experiences does not promote female rape. Child abuse in any form, by any gender, contributes to the idea that might makes right, and since (despite RonF’s good point about how things are changing) women are, on average, weaker in terms of both physical strength and status, this view primarily benefits men, and benefits all rapists. Your experience benefits rapists, your testimonial of it, depending on how it’s done, can have quite the opposite effect Likewise, your experience does not promote rape culture, it is evidence of it.

    That’s bullshit. The most powerful and abusive man on the planet is GWB, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with how much he can benchpress.

    “your issue is not her views. those you actually agree with it”

    Well, we obviously don’t agree with her that child abuse is ever justified.

    “you agree that something should be done about them, even if it requires forcing people to change their views about women. you would do so with words, and sometimes by berating those who disagree. she would do so by enacting the violence on them. same views, different method.”

    No, it’s not. That’s like saying seduction is the same as rape. Or that assault is no different from debate.

    It’s interesting that the language of assault has been used about him in this debate. He’s the one “bludgeoning” women according to you (plural). Strangely, I haven’t seen him criticise “women”. His criticisms have been directed at feminists.

    Bodily autonomy is one of the fundamental beliefs of feminism. I can see how some people may call themselves feminists and engage in acts of violence – people are inconsistent all the time. But rape is never justified by feminism (without being inconsistent), violence (against people) is never justified by feminism – except in cases of self defense – and child abuse is never self defense.

    The front cover of Amnesty International’s member’s magazine does not invite me to “Imagine a world without violence against people”. Nor does the postcard they exhort me to send, condemn violence against people. of course I’d like to see an end to violence against women. I’d like to see an end to violence against everybody. But I object to the exclusive focus upon women.

  27. 127
    Daran says:

    Dunno how that bold got in my last post. It wasn’t there in the preview.

    Kim (bv):

    Actually Daran, most of the moderators (if not all) would prefer that as well. It’s Amp’s final say, but as a general rule, thread derailment and hijacking in such a manner is frowned upon.

    I guess Ampersand is not particularly interested in having that kind of echo chamber, but that’s his business. As I said, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own forums and running them how you wish.

    I don’t agree that the thread has been derailed or hijacked. I see it as a bit of topic drift, that’s all, but the question of whether feminism caused his abuse, and how it makes him feel like crap would appear to be on-topic for the blog as a whole, and there’s no other story where it would be better placed.

  28. 128
    Ampersand says:

    The problem with the idea of the ‘Patriarchy’ is that there’s no ideology and no discernible group of adherents. The word is effectively synonymous with ‘men’.

    No, it’s not – that’s a misunderstanding common to people who criticize feminism without knowing what they’re talking about. Wikipedia’s definition is okay for a starting point:

    Patriarchy (from Greek: patria meaning father and arché meaning rule) is the anthropological term used to define the sociological condition where male members of a society tend to predominate in positions of power; with the more powerful the position, the more likely it is that a male will hold that position.

    Since there are about ten bazillion feminists in the world, I’m sure you could find one or two who simply define patriarchy as “men,” but that’s not how the word is typically understood by feminists. As Allan Johnson (author of a feminism 101 textbook used in many WS classes) writes, “Racist isn’t another word for ‘bad white people,’ just as patriarchy isn’t a nasty code word for ‘men.’”

    Rape culture is a similarly vacuous idea. You could just as well talk about the culture where is any problem which is widespread and generally hidden. There’s no reason to single out rape.

    Indeed; we could, for instance, use the term “materialist culture” to describe those aspects of society which encourage materialism, or “pro-family culture” to describe aspects which support families, etc. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

    The reason feminists single out rape to talk about “rape culture” is that those aspects of society which encourage rape are aspects we’re particularly eager to change. That’s hardly an unreasonable thing to want to do.

    Nor do I find focusing on violence against women reprehensible. It doesn’t mean that other problems are acceptable, just that it’s not useful or possible to focus on everything at once. There’s a lot of awful things in the world, and people aren’t obliged to give equal focus to everything.

    There are people out there who focus on violence against men, and on kinds of violence that happen mostly to men (bullying of boys, rape in prison, murder by strangers, etc). I don’t find that objectionable either.

  29. 129
    Ampersand says:

    Dunno how that bold got in my last post. It wasn’t there in the preview.

    This doesn’t matter everywhere, but when posting on "Alas, a Blog" you should leave a blank line before the <blockquote> and after the </blockquote>. This will prevent that mysterious bold effect from appearing.

    Regarding thread drift, it’s one of those things that’s not objectionable in any individual thread taken on its own, but becomes objectionable when it becomes a pattern over many, many discussions of violence against women. I hope there’s a middle ground between “no thread can ever drift into a dicussion of how men are hurt, too” – which I think wouldn’t be good – and “pratically every discussion of violence against women has to become a venue for putting feminists on trial for not caring enough about men, or for making men feel bad,” which isn’t good, either.

    So it’s acceptable for people to commit thread drift, as long as they don’t commit the exact same thread drift on thread after thread after thread. And it’s also acceptable for posters here to criticize other posters for thread drift. Both are allowed.

  30. 130
    jaketk says:

    One thought about “circumstantial evidence” … the majority of rape cases are based on circumstantial evidence. Yeah, that’s partly why there’s such a low conviction rate for rapists. But, thankfully, not all jurors discount circumstantial evidence, or that conviction rate would be a lot lower.

    this case technically falls into the “weak circumstantial evidence” bin. the only thing that is evident, unless there is something that has been deliberately left out of the papers, is that it is possible that she lied. there is no physical evidence, so everything is based on whether or not her story is considered credible.

    personally, i dislike circumstantial cases because of how easy it is to take the person’s behavior, image, or whatever, and use that as a reason for conviction. this happens in a lot of circumstantial cases, and i am sure it has happened in a lot of rape cases.

    the only thing that bothers me about the arguments made on this thread about the current case is that if the accused has been convicted with the same lackluster (or lack of) evidence, there would be little issue. it is unfortunate that the burden of proof for the prosecution can be as low as “it’s possible X did it,” but it is. until we decide to change that, it will still be possible for prosecutors to gain convictions with zero evidence.

  31. 131
    jaketk says:

    Kim, i was 4, maybe 5. that would make her either 33 or 34. i had no interest in having sex with her whatsoever. i simply did as i was told. what happened was unfortunate and i did not like it, but what is done is done. regret changes nothing. it stopped once i hit puberty, as my father stepped in. it was more of a gesture of keeping me to myself than anything else.

  32. 132
    alsis39 says:

    Amp wrote:

    There are people out there who focus on violence against men, and on kinds of violence that happen mostly to men (bullying of boys, rape in prison, murder by strangers, etc). I don’t find that objectionable either.

    Well, nobody with common sense would, right ? They would know that violence begets violence, and that the more aid you can provide to an abused boy, the more likely he is to mature into someone who does not consider violence against others an appropriate solution to his own pain. Likewise, nobody with common sense would object to the work of women-only DV shelters (again, this is a misnomer anyway, as bean has gone into great detail about the circumstances under which shelters will accept male children;It’s not as if there is a blanket rejection of all male children who are seeking help alongside their mothers). Those who don’t want children –including male children– abused should be applauding all efforts to break the cycle of abuse. Funny how often that doesn’t happen.

    jaketik continues to insist that he is responsible for his abuse at the hands of his aunt, which seems key to his continual conduct in these threads. He feels as if he could have prevented his abuse and failed– that it is strictly a personal matter. The women who champion DV shelters don’t treat abuse as a personal matter to be dealt with in isolation. Perhaps this is the crux of jaketik’s objection, which doesn’t make it anymore distressing to watch in action.

  33. 133
    alsis39 says:

    any “less.”

    Bah. >:

  34. 134
    jaketk says:

    Alsis39, honestly, and not to sound condescending, “me thinks the lady doest protest too much.” If you would stop attempting to turn every post I make into an attack on women, then you might actually begin to understand my point of view. I accept that you do not think that highly of me, but considering you do not know me, you should not presume to know what I think about my experiences. Such a thing could be taken as a sign of conceit, I am sure that is not your intent.

    Jenny K writes:

    To say that you see feminism in a way that is analogous to how feminists view rape culture, and then turn around and say that no one is to blame, doesn’t really make sense.

    As I have been told countless times by feminists that no one blames all men for rape, your statement is an interesting contradiction. Still, the fact remains that views in and of themselves are harmless until a person acts upon them. And the acts that follow vary from person to person. Since my view is only that there are elements of feminism that can lead to such extremism, there technically is no blame. The only way this actually becomes a problem is if you start from the position that feminism is beyond distortion and corruptibility. I think many here want me to blame feminism, as it is the easiest means of writing me off. The problem is that my experience puts people in the precarious position of having to save face before doing so, hence the reaction you have seen.

  35. 135
    alsis39 says:

    I understand your point of view perfectly, jaketik. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, agree with it, or consider it helpful to the women who frequent this space.

    To me, it’s very simple: The powerless party in a blatant exercise of power-over relations accomplishes nothing by berating himself or herself as if that power-over relationship was a relationship of equals. It’s counterproductive, both to the survivor and to others around him/her.

  36. 136
    alsis39 says:

    P.S.– I hope your “protest” comment is not some snide attempt to acuse me of abuse. If so, I don’t, I haven’t, and you’re out of line.

  37. 137
    Jenny K says:

    “I don’t think you can separate the ideology from the ideological group. If the ideology is that “men are responsible for all the world’s ills”, then that’s an ideology which will tend to lead its adherents into hating men.”

    I was making the distiction because he is arguing that a feminist did something to him in part because of her beliefs, but doesn’t seem to be able to seperate the person from the beliefs. They are two different things. Ideologies can still be dangerous, and they can carry the blame in the non-technical sense of the term, but you can’t put ideologies on trial – just people – even if you sometimes use their ideologies as evidence of motive. Ideas are only as dangerous as what people do with them – to do harm even bad ideolgies require that people adhere to them. Plus, all ideologies require that their adherents have social connections in order for it to flourish. Focusing on the ideology rather than the people who promote it doesn’t make sense to me.

    “I should have thought it was obvious. Every time a feminist says that men are responsible for rape, they are blaming him for his own abuse.”

    It is, but that doesn’t make it the only response – or even the most logial or accurate assemsment of the arguments – that was why I was trying to clarify the points more. You could say similar things about racism and being a part of the dominant group. I don’t find anything contradictory in the statement that, as a member of the dominiant group, I can be a victim of racism, and that racism benefits the dominant group, including me. Even if racism has hurt me, personally, more than it has helped me, even if a particular act of racism did not directly benefit anyone but the racist, every act of racism indirectly benefits the dominant group by perpetuating the idea that judging others based on race is acceptable.

    “And jaketk’s may be one of them. The issue here is surely not whether she is or she isn’t, but the demand, by Q grrl and others, that he acknowledge it (Comment 75 etc.). Just imagine the reaction there would be against me if I responded to a female abuse survivor’s disclosure by demanding that she acknowledge that her male abuser was mentally ill or by asserting that if she didn’t she was “bludgeoning” men. (Comment 41, etc.)”

    You are actually conflating two different arguments. (you aren’t the only one to do so but again, my point, whether well done or not, was to seperate them out). We have three possible groups to immediately blame for jaketk’s abuse: jaketk, his aunt, and feminists. The first is ludicrous (and yet the one he himself seems to be taking). The second is obviously true (and yet the one he refuses to blame). The point of the mentally ill responses is to argue that she is the one responsible. Jaketk himself sees this as giving her a pass, which is a valid criticism of the argument; but that does not change that the intention, ill-conceived or not, was to blame the aunt, not not blame the aunt. The question is not whether jaketk sees his aunt as responsible because she was mentally ill, but who he sees as responsible and if he considers his aunt mentally ill.

    ” So he turns that accusation back on feminism, which makes you feminists feel like crap.”

    “”Tell us how you feel, so long as you don’t make us feel like crap by telling us that we’re making you feel like crap.””

    The issue is not that “he makes us feel like crap” but that it isn’t terribly productive to point out the obvious when no one is arguing otherwise. The point is not that his arguments need to coincide with ours. His arguments about ideology, while I disagree with them, are relatively on topic. They may also be insulting at times, but they are still more productive than arguments of, say, which individual has suffered more. However, his claim that the mere existence of his abuse not only denies the existence of patriarchy, but that that is why we disagree with him, is not only something I disagree with, it’s counterproductive because it’s so obviously illogical. And what Amp said about repeated thread drifts – something Qgrrrl did refer to.

    “It’s feminism which declares that he is an exception to the rule: Feminism doesn’t say to female survivors that they’re responsible for rape, or that they benefited from their abuse.”

    Not because it’s not possible for women to benefit in an indirect way from abuse done to them (white female victims of racism still benefit in a non-direct way from racism, even if they are the ones being discriminated against) but because women are not the dominant group. The responsibility thing is a bit trickier. Jaketk was a child when this happened, so none of us actually think he is in any way responsible. An adult, however, that does not actively combat the “ism” that the group he/she belongs to benefits from, could conceivably be seen as indirectly contributing to the problem when that “ism” is turned aginst them – but in an indirect moral way, not in a criminal way. In that same sense, I see women who accept patriarchy having some responsibility in its continuation even though I think that they (like many men) are as much victims as they are part of the problem. Admitting moral responsibility for a cultural phenomenom and the acts that result from it is not the same as assigning criminal, or even moral, responsibility for an indivual act.

    “He is an adult masculine man”

    In this particular case, he wasn’t when he was abused, thus my argument. Even if he had been – again see racism.

    “the ‘patriarchy’ isn’t putting his needs above anyone else’s.”

    Last I checked he still benefits from stuff like being less likely to be swindled by a repairperson, less likely to be subjected to catcalls, etc. The indirect benefits that a man gains from sexist abuse that he is subjected to may not, in any conceivable way, outweigh the suffering it causes, but the suffering doesn’t make all the benefits from the perpetuation of sexism go away, either.

    “That’s bullshit. The most powerful and abusive man on the planet is GWB, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with how much he can benchpress.”

    I’m sorry, you are saying that the power GWB – flight-suit wearing, brush clearing, “we will bring our enemies to justice” GWB – weilds is completely unrelated to (the public’s perception of) his physical prowess?

    “Strangely, I haven’t seen him criticise “women”. His criticisms have been directed at feminists”

    Actually, his criticisms seem to be directed at feminism. But, in any case, he isn’t being accused of criticising women, just making it more difficult to help women – thus the argument that he is hurting us. I never said bludgeoned because, to me, he sounds more confused than angry, but I can see the metaphor because his arguments along those line tend to shut down conversations on how to help women.

    ” I’d like to see an end to violence against everybody.”

    I agree – but as discussed in another thread recently (I think it was here, actually) I think that the fact that men are more likely to be victims of violence is a result of the patriarchy and sexism as well, and so focusing on the gendered aspects of violence is necessary to combat both types of violence.

  38. 138
    Jakobpunkt says:

    Jaketk,

    While it’s true that feminists don’t blame all individual men for rape culture, we do hold individual men who rape responsible for the rapes that they commit, rape culture or no.

    And by the same token, we will hold your aunt responsible for the abuse that she subjected you to, regardless of whether you do. Because we recognize that the abuse of the powerless by those with power is unacceptable, be it by men of women, or by adults of children.

  39. 139
    Samantha says:

    The powerless party in a blatant exercise of power-over relations accomplishes nothing by berating himself or herself as if that power-over relationship was a relationship of equals.

    Especially when there are enough people berating the powerless party already. What’s with authorities in the Northwest blaming rape victims these days? At least 7 out of 9 decided the girl in the following case isn’t to blame for her rapes, but wtf about the other 2?

    Court rules girl not responsible for sex with teacher

    December 9, 2005 12:00am
    Source: Associated Press WorldStream
    Olympia, Washington.

    A 13-year-old girl cannot be held at fault for having sex with her teacher, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday, rejecting a school district’s argument that it shouldn’t have been sued because the girl was partially responsible.

    In its 7-2 ruling, the court dismissed the defendant’s assertion that the girl consented to the relationship.

    “The child, in our view, lacks the capacity to consent to the sexual abuse and is under no duty to protect himself or herself from being abused,” the ruling written by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander said.

    The court ruled that criminal laws protecting children from sexual abuse apply equally in civil cases concerning sexual abuse.

    The girl was an eighth-grade student in 2001 when the sexual relations occurred with a 26-year-old teacher, Steven Diaz. Diaz was arrested and entered a modified guilty plea.

    The girl and her family accused the Royal School District and Principal Preston Andersen of negligence for failure to supervise and for negligent hiring of the teacher. Under state law, it’s criminal for a teacher or anyone else in a position of power, like a priest, to have sexual relations with anyone under the age of 18.

    The court wrote that in the particular civil case before it, “a child under the age of 16 may not have contributory fault assessed against her for her participation in a relationship.”

    The district and Andersen argued that contributory fault applied because the girl “had a duty to protect herself against sexual abuse but failed to do so.”

    In dissent, Justice Richard Sanders wrote that school officials tried to intervene, but that the girl allegedly lied about the relationship, “thwarting the school district’s efforts to protect her.”

    “Children should not be allowed to take advantage of the school’s duty by forcing it to pay damages for injuries invited by the student or injuries which the district could have prevented but for obstruction by the student,” he wrote.

    Attorney Robert Crotty, who represented the family, said that in sexual abuse cases, there’s pressure put upon the victims to not talk about what happened.

    “Sexual abuse by its very definition is cloaked in secrecy and cloaked in lies,” he said.

    Crotty said the case now goes back to federal court, and the school district’s attorneys will not be able to bring up any claim that she has any contributory fault.

  40. 140
    Jenny K says:

    “As I have been told countless times by feminists that no one blames all men for rape, your statement is an interesting contradiction.”

    How so? I deliberately said rape culture – which is a social phenomenom – not sexism, and I thought it was prettly clear I meant feminism as a collection of ideas (which is how you seem to be referring to it as, my bad if I misread you) – not feminism as a social movement. Are you sure you aren’t confusing “not all men are rapists and/or supporters of patriarchy” with “people who don’t fight the patriarchy are in no way responsible for its consequences” ? You’re claiming I’m disagreeing with the former rather than the latter, which isn’t true.

    “I think many here want me to blame feminism, as it is the easiest means of writing me off. The problem is that my experience puts people in the precarious position of having to save face before doing so, hence the reaction you have seen. ”

    No, as I stated already, as we completely disagreeing with you that you are in any way to blame for abuse you suffered as a child means, and that your aunt is not, – and so we are left with only your comments on feminisms role in your abuse to discuss. It doesn’t help that you have made it clear that you think feminism has more inherent problems than your average ideology – that is what we object to.

  41. 141
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Jaketk;

    Well that being answered, I’m going to have to stick with my original feeling and say I think your aunt is definitely not quite firing on all cylinders. I’m extremely sorry for what happened to you, and quite honestly I read what you said, and then considered your words of how you feel like you were partially responsible for it and feel extremely sad and angry at the notion. I have a baby and a toddler. At no point will I -ever- agree with you that a child is somehow ‘responsible’ for adults victimizing them. Your aunt was a pedophile and an abuser.

  42. 142
    Daran says:

    Jenny K:

    Plus, all ideologies require that their adherents have social connections in order for it to flourish. Focusing on the ideology rather than the people who promote it doesn’t make sense to me.

    Well, the people who “promote” feminism are feminists. I don’t see much difference between criticising feminism and criticising feminists.

    “I should have thought it was obvious. Every time a feminist says that men are responsible for rape, they are blaming him for his own abuse.”

    It is, but that doesn’t make it the only response – or even the most logial or accurate assemsment of the arguments – that was why I was trying to clarify the points more. You could say similar things about racism and being a part of the dominant group.

    I do.

    I don’t find anything contradictory in the statement that, as a member of the dominiant group, I can be a victim of racism, and that racism benefits the dominant group, including me. Even if racism has hurt me, personally, more than it has helped me, even if a particular act of racism did not directly benefit anyone but the racist, every act of racism indirectly benefits the dominant group by perpetuating the idea that judging others based on race is acceptable.

    I’m not arguing that it’s contradictory. I don’t agree with it for several reasons. I don’t agree with the proposition that there is a dominant group, rather there is a hierarchy of overlapping groups with a complex interacting web of dominance. I don’t agree that the dominant groups benefit from racism, they suffer a smaller disbenefit, but it is still a disbenefit, the world would be better for almost everyone without racism. Finally I distinguish between racism, which is practiced openly, and child sexual abuse, which is generally a secretive affair, at least in the west. Individual acts of racism, openly committed, do indeed “perpetuate the idea” within society in general, while individual acts of CSA in secret can only “perpetuate the idea” to the victim, and this is not a benefit.

    I have another quite separate objection. True or not, it’s a crappy thing to say to a survivor. Here’s an analogy: It’s generally true that people don’t always act wisely in respect to their personal safety, and consequently sometimes they suffer injury (whether accidental or perpetrated by another) that might have avoided had *the victim* acted otherwise. This is just as true for rape as it is for any other injury.

    But no matter how applicable that might be to any individual survivor’s experience, focussing upon how their behaviour might have contributed to the rape is a crappy way to respond to the disclosure.

    “And jaketk’s may be one of them. The issue here is surely not whether she is or she isn’t, but the demand, by Q grrl and others, that he acknowledge it (Comment 75 etc.). Just imagine the reaction there would be against me if I responded to a female abuse survivor’s disclosure by demanding that she acknowledge that her male abuser was mentally ill or by asserting that if she didn’t she was “bludgeoning” men. (Comment 41, etc.)”

    You are actually conflating two different arguments. (you aren’t the only one to do so but again, my point, whether well done or not, was to seperate them out). We have three possible groups to immediately blame for jaketk’s abuse: jaketk, his aunt, and feminists.

    Two other possible groups are “men” and “women”.

    The first is ludicrous (and yet the one he himself seems to be taking).

    Well, in so far as feminists are blaming it on “men”, jaketk is included. It is ludicrous, but it’s hardly surprising that he’s internalised it. It’s what his aunt told him and it’s what ‘you’ (i.e feminists) keep telling him.

    The second is obviously true (and yet the one he refuses to blame).

    “Women are not responsible for abuse”. That’s another one of ‘your’ messages that he’s internalised.

    The point of the mentally ill responses is to argue that she is the one responsible. Jaketk himself sees this as giving her a pass, which is a valid criticism of the argument; but that does not change that the intention, ill-conceived or not, was to blame the aunt, not not blame the aunt.

    I’m sorry, I just don’t buy that. Society regards mental illness as tending to absolve a person of responsibility, and with good reason. In order to behave in an ethical manner, a person needs to be able to observe the world as it is, make moral judgements, and control his or her actions. Different mental illnesses play out differently, but to the extent that they impair any one of these faculties they absolve responsibility.

    The question is not whether jaketk sees his aunt as responsible because she was mentally ill, but who he sees as responsible and if he considers his aunt mentally ill.

    I’m not particularly interested in a critical analysis of jaketk’s views. It’s obvious to everybody except him (and it may be obvious to him too) that they’re incoherent. Equally obviously to me – and far more interesting – is that many of his feelings about himself and his aunt mirror what feminism says about men and women generally: Men are responsible; women are not responsible. Men are bad; Women, if they do bad things, are mad, (Comment 63 for example: “a lunatic aunt [...] and an abusive father.”, my emphasis. Nobody is demanding that the father be labeled mad.)

    “ So he turns that accusation back on feminism, which makes you feminists feel like crap.”

    “”Tell us how you feel, so long as you don’t make us feel like crap by telling us that we’re making you feel like crap.””

    The issue is not that “he makes us feel like crap” but that it isn’t terribly productive to point out the obvious when no one is arguing otherwise. The point is not that his arguments need to coincide with ours. His arguments about ideology, while I disagree with them, are relatively on topic. They may also be insulting at times, but they are still more productive than arguments of, say, which individual has suffered more. However, his claim that the mere existence of his abuse not only denies the existence of patriarchy, but that that is why we disagree with him, is not only something I disagree with, it’s counterproductive because it’s so obviously illogical. And what Amp said about repeated thread drifts – something Qgrrrl did refer to.

    Well, you have me baffled. I don’t recall anywhere in this thread him saying anything about his abuse denying the existence of patriarchy, or anyone (prior to this post) having a problem with that. Please cite.

    What he did do, is introduce his experience to support his proposition that people are discernably changed by abuse (comment 15), and therefore that the lack of discernable change is therefore evidence of lack of abuse. This, surely, was on-topic. Of course, anecdotes don’t prove generalities, but they are nevertheless generally regarded as admissible in debates like this. At the very least, they indicate what informs our opinions.

    “It’s feminism which declares that he is an exception to the rule: Feminism doesn’t say to female survivors that they’re responsible for rape, or that they benefited from their abuse.”

    Not because it’s not possible for women to benefit in an indirect way from abuse done to them (white female victims of racism still benefit in a non-direct way from racism, even if they are the ones being discriminated against) but because women are not the dominant group.

    I don’t agree for reasons given earlier, but even if true, it’s still a crappy thing to say to a survivor.

    The responsibility thing is a bit trickier. Jaketk was a child when this happened, so none of us actually think he is in any way responsible.

    By the way. Several years ago, I was an administrative worker for a small survivor group for men and women. We suffered a lot of hostility from some female-only survivors groups. In one case, when we sent two female survivors to a conference, a vote was taken to see if they would be even admitted.

    So what was that about?

    An adult, however, that does not actively combat the “ism” that the group he/she belongs to benefits from, could conceivably be seen as indirectly contributing to the problem when that “ism” is turned aginst them – but in an indirect moral way, not in a criminal way. In that same sense, I see women who accept patriarchy having some responsibility in its continuation even though I think that they (like many men) are as much victims as they are part of the problem. Admitting moral responsibility for a cultural phenomenom and the acts that result from it is not the same as assigning criminal, or even moral, responsibility for an indivual act.

    As an initial matter, feminists do not blame “men who do not actively combat patriarchy”. They blame “men”. Sometimes they blame “all men”.

    I agree that there’s a moral duty to oppose injustice and -ism. I do not agree that there is any particular duty to oppose the -ism that benefits the group to which you belong, because the very act of drawing lines to define groups is an -ism. As a practical matter, most of my activism has been to the benefit of disadvantaged white women. White because I’ve always lived in predominately white areas. Women for a lot of different reasons, not least of which is that it is actually a lot easier to help disadvantaged women than it is to help disadvantaged men. And this is because society is structured to make that so. Feminism has been very successful in that respect.

    I don’t mind my activism benefiting disadvantaged women. I help those I can reach. It they happen to be women, so be it. But I object to the structures that make it harder to reach men, and to the ideology which supports this.

    “the ‘patriarchy’ isn’t putting his needs above anyone else’s.”

    Last I checked he still benefits from stuff like being less likely to be swindled by a repairperson, less likely to be subjected to catcalls, etc.

    And more likely to be imprisoned, to suffer violence, to die in a work-place accident, and so on, but all this is irrelevent, since the need under discussion is his need for help with the aftermath of his abuse. He’s a lot less likely to get it because he is male.

    The indirect benefits that a man gains from sexist abuse that he is subjected to may not, in any conceivable way, outweigh the suffering it causes, but the suffering doesn’t make all the benefits from the perpetuation of sexism go away, either.

    Feminism perpetuates its own unsavoury brand of sexism.

    I’m sorry, you are saying that the power GWB – flight-suit wearing, brush clearing, “we will bring our enemies to justice” GWB – weilds is completely unrelated to (the public’s perception of) his physical prowess?

    That’s a demonstration of vigour, of health. It has nothing to do with the 30% or so extra upper-body strength men typically have over women. Margaret Thatcher gave similar demonstrations.

    “Strangely, I haven’t seen him criticise “women”. His criticisms have been directed at feminists”

    Actually, his criticisms seem to be directed at feminism.

    As I’ve already observed, I don’t see much difference.

    But, in any case, he isn’t being accused of criticising women, just making it more difficult to help women – thus the argument that he is hurting us. I never said bludgeoned because, to me, he sounds more confused than angry,

    He sounds hurt to me.

    but I can see the metaphor because his arguments along those line tend to shut down conversations on how to help women.

    I don’t see that. From what I can see, the “insufficiently traumatized woman” issue has been discussed at length

    Nor can I see that he was to blame for the firestorm that ensued. He said (comment 15) “i question ideologies that were part of or caused the abuse, like feminism. and because of the attacks and insults i got for speaking up, i only share those experiences with other male survivors, which is one of the reasons i am being so vague.”

    There’s no attack there on any individual. No attack upon “women”. No reason not to ignore the comment, if you don’t want to discuss it, or politely respond (as I did) if you do. Q grrl’s response in comment 41 was, frankly, shameful. There’s your bludgeoning. There’s your attempt to silence.

    “ I’d like to see an end to violence against everybody.”

    I agree – but as discussed in another thread recently (I think it was here, actually) I think that the fact that men are more likely to be victims of violence is a result of the patriarchy and sexism as well, and so focusing on the gendered aspects of violence is necessary to combat both types of violence.

    Except that we don’t see a focus on the gendered aspects of violence. We see a focus on violence against women. And violence against men is not a different “type” of violence. Prick us, do we not bleed?

  43. 143
    Daran says:

    Ampersand:

    Regarding thread drift, it’s one of those things that’s not objectionable in any individual thread taken on its own, but becomes objectionable when it becomes a pattern over many, many discussions of violence against women.

    I can’t make a judgement about patterns across many threads. When I look at jaketk’s comment 15, then on a balance of probabilities basis, I don’t see a deliberate attempt to disrupt the thread. That’s a judgement call, of course.

    I also know that I wasn’t trying to disrupt the thread with comment 39. I was genuinely curious about his remark. His comment 53 was responsive to me and to Q grrl. Everything he has said since then has been responsive to what was said to him. I did not expect or want the firestorm that followed and I doubt jaketk did. He just refused to be silenced. I was, and indeed still am angry at the way he has been treated here, because I too have seen a pattern across many interactions with feminists/ism of the victim-blaming of male survivors.

  44. 144
    Ampersand says:

    First of all, I never said anything about “deliberate attempts” to do anything. You’re trying to make intent the issue, but I wasn’t talking about intent at all. Just because a pattern isn’t intentional, however, doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem.

    Second of all, you’re trying to back me and the other feminists here into a catch-22 where the only way we can defend ourselves from your accusations is to point out the ways that Jaketk – not just in this thread – has repeatedly (but not always) been belligerent and aggressive towards feminists, to counter your “feminists pick on male victims for no reason but that they’re anti-male bigots” implication. But if we build a case critiquing Jaketk’s behavior, you’ll use that as evidence of our “crappy” behavior towards him. As I said, a catch-22.

    I’ve never been sure how to respond to Jaketk when he brings up his past abuse in a debate. He uses his past abuse as a debating tool to attack feminism, not just in this thread but also in past threads, iirc. (I’m not saying this is necessarily Jaketk’s intent, but it’s certainly the effect). On the one hand, as you say, having a discussion about how patriarchy benefits men as a class is a lousy thing to do with a man who has been so screwed over as an individual. It’s for that reason that I haven’t often engaged Jaketk in these debates.

    But then again, I always wonder if that view isn’t condescending. It’s not as if Jaketk happened to be talking about his abuse in a neutral environment and us evil, man-hating feminists shoved ourselves into his discussion; Jaketk has deliberately sought out an environment in which feminists were debating about rape-related issues, and he brought up his abuse in a way that bolstered his debate position. Treating him and his arguments with kid gloves because he (like many people here) has been victimized is, one could argue, insulting to him. Q Grrl was rude in a way that hurt the thread’s discussion (and she knows I’d rather she not behave that way on “Alas,” it’s something she and I have discussed at astounding length in the past and reached an “agree to disagree” space on), but she was also honest in her anger, and didn’t treat Jaketk as a delicate flower.

    I’m honestly not sure which is the better way to react when Jaketk brings up his abuse in the way he did. On the one hand, it seems cold and unkind to respond to someone’s story of abuse in a debate; on the other hand, Jaketk knows that this is a feminist-run forum, not a therapy for survivors forum, and presumably debate with feminists is what he’s seeking. Since I can’t see which way is best, I’m not about to go blaming people for picking one way or the other.

    I don’t think every feminist here has been a perfect saint, of course; but I think the feminists here have acted in human and understandable ways, and that most of the feminists on this thread are trying to find the difficult balance between debating with Jaketk and trying not to be insensitive about his history of abuse. I see flaws in how some feminists here have acted, but I blame that on the difficulty of the situation, not on the anti-male bias you’re implying all feminists share. And, frankly, I don’t think your “jaketk and I are blameless in this thread, only feminists ever do anything wrong” attitude is accurate or truthful.

    Finally, I think the way you’re responding to Jaketk’s abuse – using it as a debate tool to prop up your pre-existing bias against feminists – is morally dubious. It’s one thing for Jaketk to use his own history as a debating point; as difficult as I and others here find that to deal with, I can respect that his history has left him scarred and that perhaps coming here and blaming feminism – as incoherent as that argument seems to me – is something he feels is helpful to him in some way. Under the circumstances, blaming him for using what is clearly an unfair debate tactic seems petty.

    But you don’t have that excuse; you’re just using Jaketk’s history in order to give you an advantage in a debate. That behavior is at least as questionable as anything the feminists on this thread have done.

    [Edited for typos and clarity.]

  45. 145
    jaketk says:

    Ampersand, the only way it honestly becomes a catch-22 is if you hold my statements to a much higher standard than your own. If I am given the same treatment as other posters, then there will be no issue.

    Assuming that what happened to me can be classified as “rape,” it would be logical that I would offer my experiences on such threads. You are, in fact, discussing rape, so my experiences would have something to do with that. Perhaps it is considered an attack on feminism because I am male, blunt about it and offer it as a counter point to situations being discussed. In terms of this thread, I offered it only as a counter point to illustrate that I did not react in a traumatized manner, but I was still affected, not as an attempt to discuss any part of it. It was only when specifically asked about it that I answered, and even then I was rather vague.

    Many female victims have used their experiences as a debating tool here. Broce, in fact, did so on this thread. The only difference is that you agree with those opinions. In terms of your statement about a catch-22, this is honestly the only way you would be caught in one, by having two different standards, one for female victims and one for males. If it is truly an unfair debating tactic, then it would have to be unfair across the board. If it is not, and understanding the response I will get just by mentioning what happened on this site, it would seem prudent to reserve the mention of my experiences for instances where they act as a point/counter point to an argument, not as an attempt at therapy, support, sympathy, or otherwise.

    While posters have responded in (what you feel is) justified anger, I understand Daran’s point. He sees a difference in the way my experience was responded to, even when I made no attempt at attacking anyone, and I was responding specifically to his question. It would appear, either from casual glance or closer inspection, that the anger has more to do with the connection I feel exists between my aunt’s political views and her actions than what her actions were. That could certainly be read as anti-male, regardless of intent. That, I think, is the point Daran is making.

    If he chooses to use my experiences as means of countering an argument made here, considering the same has been done in the reverse, I would suggest that it is only fair.

  46. 146
    Ampersand says:

    If I am given the same treatment as other posters, then there will be no issue.

    Jaketk, if I held you to the same standards I held other posters, I would have banned you a while ago.

    Perhaps it is considered an attack on feminism because I am male, blunt about it and offer it as a counter point to situations being discussed.

    No, it’s considered an attack on feminists because you use your experience to attack feminists and feminism. For example:

    I am fully aware that my experience is considered irrelevant, fully-deserved, laughable and negligible here. As this is a feminist blog, I know better than to come here assuming I would get any sympathy.

    That’s something you said about feminists, and you related this to us being feminists. You didn’t say it based on people here having actually said anything that justified your insinuations; no one here has said that what happened to you was deserved, laughable or negliable. And no one here has said anything half as mean about you as what you’ve said about the other posters here.

    I am really sorry for what happened to you. But sympathy for you doesn’t obligate us to take abuse without responding. (And it’s not like this thread is the first time you’ve ever said hateful things about feminists.)

    He sees a difference in the way my experience was responded to, even when I made no attempt at attacking anyone, and I was responding specifically to his question.

    No one’s treating you differently because you’re a man. Any other poster here, who came here and attacked feminists the way you’ve done since before this thread, would be treated the same – even if the poster was female. (Actually, if anything I’d say that the large majority of posters on this thread have tried to be nice to you – nicer than many other anti-feminists have been treated by the posters here).

    What you’re complaining about isn’t that we’re not treating you like other posters. We are treating you like other posters. But you’re determined to see anti-male-prejudice, regardless of how we actually act.

    [Edited to clarify my thoughts.]

  47. 147
    Ampersand says:

    Daran wrote:

    I don’t agree with the proposition that there is a dominant group, rather there is a hierarchy of overlapping groups with a complex interacting web of dominance. I don’t agree that the dominant groups benefit from racism, they suffer a smaller disbenefit, but it is still a disbenefit, the world would be better for almost everyone without racism. [...]

    It’s quite clear that white people in general benefit from racism in some ways. If you send equally-qualified whites, blacks and hispanics out applying for jobs, the whites will on average have an unfair advantage; how is that not a benefit?

    However, particularly regarding sexism, I agree with you that there’s an overlapping system of benefits and debits, so that both sexes are in some ways advantaged and in some ways disadvantaged by sexism. At the individual level, it’s all up for grabs; there are men who have, on balance, suffered horribly due to sexism, and women who, on balance, have benefited. But at the overall social level, I think it’s clear that the system, while not making all white straight men happy, does tend to put white straight men at the top of power hierarchies in unfair proportions.

    I say “particularly regarding sexism” because I think that men probably suffer more from sexism than whites do from racism, the rich do from classism, etc.

    I also think that saying “all men have benefited from rape,” as some radical feminists do, is a highly theoretical analysis that becomes embarrassing – in fact, ghastly and offensive – when the man being addressed is himself a rape victim, and ought in such circumstances be dropped.

    Here’s an analogy: It’s generally true that people don’t always act wisely in respect to their personal safety, and consequently sometimes they suffer injury (whether accidental or perpetrated by another) that might have avoided had *the victim* acted otherwise. This is just as true for rape as it is for any other injury.

    But no matter how applicable that might be to any individual survivor’s experience, focussing upon how their behaviour might have contributed to the rape is a crappy way to respond to the disclosure.

    I don’t recall that anyone’s focused on how Jake’s individual behavior might have contributed to his rape (apart from Jake himself). On the contrary, most posters here who have addressed that matter have emphatically said that the Aunt is to blame. That’s certainly my view.

  48. 148
    jaketk says:

    Jaketk, if I held you to the same standards I held other posters, I would have banned you a while ago.

    Ampersand, given Q Grrl’s comments, and her ability to continue to post after making them, I seriously doubt that. There is a very clear difference in the way you reacted to what I said and the way you reacted to what Q Grrl said, and how you have reacted when others have made similar statements towards me and other males in such a fashion on other threads. However, while I consider it unfortunate, I understand your reason for the difference, though I disagree with it. As we are not going to agree on this at all, let’s agree to disagree and drop it.

  49. 149
    Q Grrl says:

    I think that both of you (Amp and Jaketk) need to go back and read what I wrote. No where did I attack jaketk personally. No where did I throw in ad hominem’s. I stated, in my two posts (yes! only two on this thread!) what I had problems with in jaketk’s use of his rape narrative. I was specific and thorough in my criticism. I again would hope that the content of my criticism would be critiqued rather than any alleged style of writing (is that what you were alluding to Amp?) or to any misinterpreted assumptions of other posters.

    I have very, very specific complaints about how jaketk utilizes his narrative in this space and how he uses it as a tool against women and feminists. I do not have a problem per se against jaketk’s beliefs or his abuse. But that is *most* obvious from what I have written.

    In a thread discussing a woman who didn’t act traumatized enough (!), we have a man attempting to hold the entirity of feminist theory and politics responsible for his aunt’s actions. It is quite plausible to read this as an attempt to one-up women’s trauma and reactions within a rape society. That is not a far reach at all. Especially when it is an established pattern vis-a-vis this particular poster and threads about men raping women.

  50. 150
    Casey says:

    I know i’m a little late in the discussion, and i haven’t read all the comments yet (155!) but all this talk about rape and false accusations is sort of disturbing me. Especially brandon who said he would rather be raped than falsely accused of it. This is absurd. If you were accused, (falsely or otherwise), chances are you WOULDN’T go to prison, or even trial. Also, clearly we have a bigger problem with rape than false accusations. You could take a vote on this blog alone asking who has been raped and who has been falsely accused of it, and u would see what i’m talking about.

    and this quote
    “But in most cases it’s over quickly and leaves no lasting damage beyond psychological trauma.”
    makes me sick. You state that someone going to prison is then always known as a rapist, but the same happens to a victim if she goes to court. (just look at Kate Faber). Often she is stimitized and hated in her community, or even has to move away, or change her name. And if the rapist gets off often he will be angry and then you have to live in fear he’ll come back and rape you again or otherwise hurt you. You are blamed for the crime, and if you’re raped MORE than once, it’s even worse. Also, the psychological trauma doesn’t only affect the victim, but the victims future partners. (at least it has with me. there are certain things i can’t do sexually that i would like to with my partner w/out having a panic attack) rape can destroy a life, just as much if not more than being falsely accused (that is if ur accused and go to prison).

    And where is your evidence for this statement?
    “it’s clear that her failure to act sufficiently traumatized wasn’t the only factor under consideration.”

    As for jaketk,
    “Alsis39, honestly, and not to sound condescending, “me thinks the lady doest protest too much.” If you would stop attempting to turn every post I make into an attack on women, then you might actually begin to understand my point of view. ”
    well, first of all, clearly you WERE trying to sound condescending, and every post you make HAS been an attack on us.

  51. 151
    Radfem says:

    What Q Grrrl said. I’m wondering if it’s possible anywhere to have a discussion on men raping women without the feeling that women are being “one-upped”.

    No offense to you, Amp, I think that’s more of a universal dynamic of how this topic is too often discussed with men and women. Women’s concerns on issues such as rape and DV are secondary to that of men’s feelings about being called on sexism. That is what living under patriarchy does to both genders.

    (I’m still shaking my head at the reality that 60 women at the local state university were raped, including many “stranger rapes” on the mostly unlit campus. When they were the ones being raped, signs went in certain spots where I guess lights and emergency phones were too expensive to place, warning women not to walk alone in these places, to avoid them at night. B/c patriarchy teaches that women should be restricted from certain places at certain times for their own “safety”.

    Well, all that changed when one man was sexually assaulted, by other men while he was running at 10 pm on the track. Not that this attack was any less horrible to this individual than those involving the woman(though he appeared to have been spared the oft-accusatory inquiries into WHY he was running alone late at night), but it was the attack against the man which led to street lights being erected and emergency phones being set up where they hadn’t been before. Sixty women’s safety and well-being weren’t worth that much attention.)

    That and the oft-repetitive “what about men?” mantras are why I mostly read threads like this one and say little. I’m a bit weary, at this point.

    not to say this thread hasn’t been interesting, but also, deja vu.

  52. 152
    Ampersand says:

    Q Grrl wrote:

    I again would hope that the content of my criticism would be critiqued rather than any alleged style of writing (is that what you were alluding to Amp?)….

    I was indeed referring to the tone of the post, not its content. Its content, tone aside, I thought was mostly spot-on.

    However, I think where you and I disagree is, I think style makes a real difference. Style, imo, is a form of content. However, I don’t want to get into a big discussion of that on this thread.

  53. 153
    Daran says:

    Casey:

    I know i’m a little late in the discussion, and i haven’t read all the comments yet (155!) but all this talk about rape and false accusations is sort of disturbing me. Especially brandon who said he would rather be raped than falsely accused of it.

    Brandon did not say that. He said that he would rather be raped than falsely convicted, (comment 34). This is at least the second time he has been misread in this way, since he addressed the same point in comment 125.

    This is absurd. If you were accused, (falsely or otherwise), chances are you WOULDN’T go to prison, or even trial.

    I don’t think it absurd that a person may not be prepared to take that (unquantifiable) risk.

    Also, clearly we have a bigger problem with rape than false accusations. You could take a vote on this blog alone asking who has been raped and who has been falsely accused of it, and u would see what i’m talking about.

    I guess that you would see no falsely accused people.

    This blog of course is about as unrepresentative sample as you could get, and too small anyway. I bet if you asked who here is a rapist, you’d get a zero result too, but I wouldn’t conclude from that that rape was rare.

    If you look at communities which might reasonably be judged to be sympathetic to those falsely accused of rape, my experience is that not more than a handful of make such disclosures. I consider this to be an indicator that false rape accusations are relatively small in number, though not conclusive, and I wouldn’t dignify the observation with the word ‘evidence’.

    Against that, you have a very small number of very limited studies that indicate rather high incidence of FRA.

    and this quote “But in most cases it’s over quickly and leaves no lasting damage beyond psychological trauma.”
    makes me sick.

    I groaned inwardly at that too, when I read it. It certainly reads as though he was dismissing the trauma suffered by victims. However, reading the whole of his post, I don’t think he meant to be dismissive.

    [...]

    And where is your evidence for this statement?
    “it’s clear that her failure to act sufficiently traumatized wasn’t the only factor under consideration.”

    The only evidence we have about anything to do with this case is the story in the Oregonian and Kevin’s comments. Neither has said that this was the only factor under consideration.

  54. 154
    Mary says:

    How is “but in most cases it’s over quickly and leaves no lasting damage beyond psychological trauma” NOT dismissing the trauma of rape victims? “Sorry, bitches! Prison time trumps your little five-minute rape experience! Get over it! Move to the back!”

    Honestly. There’s a lot to be said for context, but there’s a fuck of a lot MORE to be said about THINKING ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS OF WHAT YOU SAY BEFORE YOU SAY IT.

  55. 155
    piny says:

    >>The only evidence we have about anything to do with this case is the story in the Oregonian and Kevin’s comments. Neither has said that this was the only factor under consideration. >>

    Actually, apart from the judge’s hunch that the woman seemed less credible than the accused, which isn’t evidence at all, that _was_ the only factor under consideration: testimony to the effect that she did not seem like a typical rape victim.

  56. 156
    Casey says:

    Brandon did not say that. He said that he would rather be raped than falsely convicted, (comment 34). This is at least the second time he has been misread in this way, since he addressed the same point in comment 125.

    Ok, you are right, I misread it. I suppose I was probably mostly reacting to
    “But in most cases it’s over quickly and leaves no lasting damage beyond psychological trauma.”
    which I think is way too dismissive of victims, not matter what he was INTENDING. I agree with what Mary said.

    I also think comparing rape to false convictions really won’t work, it’s apples and oranges. But I stand by my statement that rape is more common than false convictions for rape and is a bigger problem.

  57. 157
    jaketk says:

    Q Grrl, “sexist prick” is an ad hominem. i think you should go back and read what i actually wrote, not the views you would like me to have. you in fact made your reply (#41) prior to me even commenting about my aunt’s views (#53). it is regrettable that some people consider the mentioning of those experiences as an attempt to “one-up” women, as sexism, and offensive. and it is sad that some would use women’s rapes as a tool against male survivors who speak about their experiences. however, it is truly unfortunate that the message you send to male survivors is that silence is the best virtue, whether it was your intent or not.

  58. 158
    Q Grrl says:

    “sexist prick” was descriptive of your behavior — it was not meant to discredit your argument but to point out how you use your argument. No ad hominem.

    The message I send male survivors of rape is this: don’t be a sexist prick and use your rape to one-up yourself in regards to women. Your experience does not prevent me from calling you out on your sexist beliefs and practices.

    Get used to it jaketk.

  59. 159
    Sheelzebub says:

    And we’re still on the feelings and experiences of a man, instead of the ramifications of misogyny and rape culture on rape survivors, the overwhelming majority of whom are girls and women.

    I’m glad to see that the feelings and experiences of WOMEN have been so highly regarded. You know, this thread being about the unjust conviction of a RAPE SURVIVOR, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of rape survivors are girls and women. But don’t mind me. Us silly beatches count for nothing.

    /sarcasm

  60. 160
    Ampersand says:

    Leaving aside Jaketk’s particular example, Sheelzebub, do you really think that because women and girls are the majority of rape survivors, it’s never appropriate to talk about the feelings and experiences of male rape survivors on threads about, or relating to, rape?

    (Also, women are only the “overwhelming majority of rape survivors” if you don’t count men who are raped while in prison. Women are, as far as I can tell, the majority of rape survivors, but the number of male rape survivors is also distressingly high).

    I don’t think women’s experiences ought to be discounted or ignored; but I don’t think men’s experiences ought to be, either, when we’re talking about male rape survivors. It ought to be possible to talk about male rape survivors without implying that “silly beatches count for nothing.”

    Again, all of this is leaving aside Jaketk’s particular example. I think it’s possible to object to Jaketk’s posts without endorsing a general “male survivors can never be the focus” policy.

  61. 161
    Q Grrl says:

    Wow, Amp. You’re really missing the bulk of our criticism aren’t you.

    We’re not talking about men not being able to talk about rape. We are ***specifically*** talking about a man who repeatedly uses his rape narrative in an inappropriate and harmful way. And we are also talking about a general trend that happens when such narratives are introduced in this manner. Jaketk is not the only man who does this. I would bet that 95% of the rape threads right here at Alas! have been derailed or attempted to be derailed in exactly the same manner.

    No one has **ever** said that because women are raped by men that men can’t talk about their expereinces. However, when the majority of the men who have been raped use that experience to belittle women instead of the build solidarity, it becomes highly suspect.

  62. 162
    Ampersand says:

    We’re not talking about men not being able to talk about rape. We are ***specifically*** talking about a man who repeatedly uses his rape narrative in an inappropriate and harmful way.

    Q Grrl, as I ‘ve already said, I agree with nearly all the criticisms you make of Jaketk on this thread, although I disagreed with the tone. However, the specific post of Sheelzebub’s I was responding to put its critique in general terms, rather than as a specific critique of Jaketk’s approach.

    Jaketk is not the only man who does this. I would bet that 95% of the rape threads right here at Alas! have been derailed or attempted to be derailed in exactly the same manner.

    Yes, I agree this happens all too often, and that the pattern is a problem. (Although the majority of the people who do this are MRAs who don’t claim to be rape or abuse survivors themselves.) I already argued that the general pattern formed is a problem, earlier this thread, so I’m not sure why you think I’m unaware of this.

    No one has **ever** said that because women are raped by men that men can’t talk about their expereinces. However, when the majority of the men who have been raped use that experience to belittle women instead of the build solidarity, it becomes highly suspect.

    I wouldn’t assume that Jaketk represents “the majority of men who have been raped” or abused. But otherwise, I agree with your point here.

  63. 163
    Q Grrl says:

    Honest to god, I’m still working on the tone. It might take a reincarnation, or two.

  64. 164
    Radfem says:

    And we’re still on the feelings and experiences of a man, instead of the ramifications of misogyny and rape culture on rape survivors, the overwhelming majority of whom are girls and women.

    Um, I’m working on the tone thing too, but I’ll give it my best shot. It’s hard to harness the anger of a life’s worth of sexism, both genteel and otherwise, but we get pretty good at playing at it after a while.

    I thought the deja vu was getting rather thick in here. So the discussion of female rape survivors is deflected once again by a man using his experience as a survivor to flog us with, because after all, we’re not really talking about what is important here.

    Just like, DV involving women, often turns into a discussion about how feminists oppress male survivors of DV by not putting them first, when they push for DV shelters.

    So, now women are in the position of derailing the original discussion further by proclaiming that we support male survivors of rape. Well, that should go without saying. ALL survivors of rape should be supported, male or female. But that’s different than the dynamics of this thread, which apparently are that the only way women can REALLY support male survivors is to step aside on a discussion involving the rapes of women and do what we’ve been socially condititioned to do since the birth of patriarchy, put men’s needs first. If someone wants to use his experience to berate us with, we should just dispense with our discussion of issues involving ourselves that even in feminist space(and I think ALL feminist space or space involving discussion of women’s issues has been prone to this, all over the Net at one time or another which I think is part and parcel of the culture of the patriarchy that all spaces ultimately belong to men ahd their concerns) are of minor consequence compared to the realities of being men.

  65. 165
    Mendy says:

    Rape has victims of both genders, all ages, economic levels, education levels, and races. Rapists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. All rape survivors need to be supported regardless of the particulars of their particular attaker. And, I put child abuse in with rape, because of the lasting psychological trauma that it causes.

    I, as an activist, would like to put rape survivors first. And I would like to do so without the descriptors.

    I am not trying to derail the thread, but I would like to discuss things so that ideas can be shared. My own personal experiences aren’t relevant to the discussion, and so I won’t share them here.

    I still believe that violence begets violence, and hatred begets hatred. Is it any wonder that rape is as prevalent as it is when the whole of our society often “shoots first and asks questions later”? I honestly believe that if we work on solving our cultural acceptance and promotion of violence then the prevalance of rape will also fall.

  66. 166
    Sheelzebub says:

    Leaving aside Jaketk’s particular example, Sheelzebub, do you really think that because women and girls are the majority of rape survivors, it’s never appropriate to talk about the feelings and experiences of male rape survivors on threads about, or relating to, rape?

    I reread my post to see where I said that men who were raped should never talk about their experiences. I haven’t seen that. I did write that the feelings and experiences of a man have apparently trumped the feelings and experiences of women, and discussion of rape survivors (the majority of whom are female) and misogyny. I stand by that.

    And frankly, I’m not going to leave aside Jaketk’s particular example, as he’s the reason why I posted my comment in the first place. It wasn’t as if he posted about his experience as a way to share it and support women who’ve been through it. Context is key–he used his experience to bash and belittle women, and to derail the thread. Who’s been dominating this thread, exactly? Who’s getting the attention and energy? That’s been Jaketk. Not women, not the female rape survivors who’ve posted here or read the thread.

    (Also, women are only the “overwhelming majority of rape survivors” if you don’t count men who are raped while in prison. Women are, as far as I can tell, the majority of rape survivors, but the number of male rape survivors is also distressingly high).

    Frankly, one rape survivor of any gender is a distressingly high number. But to answer your prison rape assertion–women in prison are raped, too. It’s not as if sexual violence stops for us once we’re incarcerated, so I’m not convinced that male prison rape = not an overwhelming majority of female rape survivors.

    And that’s not to say that sexual violence against men isn’t important, but I’m getting bone tired of threads about issues that intimately affect women–hell, threads about specific cases of violence against women–getting derailed with tactics like the one Jaketk’s used.

    If Jaketk had merely posted about his experiences, you’d have heard nary a peep from me. But that’s not the way it went, or the way it goes in general in these discussions. I have yet to see a thread about rape, or DV, or abuse, or any women’s issue not get derailed into a thread about a man’s feelings, a man’s outrage that we aren’t doing enough for him, or a man’s decision and judgement that we are being insensitive because damn it, we’re talking about women and how dare we. So you’ll hear some tone from us some of the time because we are fucking tired of the equivalent of “Oh! Look! A pony!” or “Oh! Look! You’re being mean, stop talking about you and talk about me! Me! Me! And how awful you women are!” as a way to deflect and derail a thread about women.

    And what Radfem and Qgrrl said. Deja vu and all that. It does get tiring. I suppose I should have been more specific in my post, but I figured that anyone reading the thread would have gotten the context of what I was saying.

  67. 167
    Ampersand says:

    Sheelzebub, I wasn’t clear that “a man” meant a specific man (Jaketk), not a generic man. Sorry for the misunderstanding on my part, and I agree with your criticism of Jaketk’s approach.

    Regarding prisons, even if women and men were equally likely to get raped in prison, the fact that there are far more men than women in prison would mean that many more men would get raped. Plus, from the research I’ve seen, I think that men in prison are more likely to be raped.

    Regardless of all that, however, it’s clearly true that rape of female prisoners is a significant problem. For both men and women in prison, the sad fact is that almost no one in the US gives a fuck what happens to them, which makes rape and abuse pretty much inevitable.

  68. 168
    ginmar says:

    Mendy, most rapists are men. Most rape victims are women. It doesn’t affect “ALL” people to the same degree. Either you haven’t been reading or you’re not paying attention.

    We can’t even talk about one single fucking rape case of a woman without a bunch of rape apologists whining about men and trying to obscure what’s actually going on.

  69. 169
    Mendy says:

    Ginmar,

    I am not a rape apologist. And as far as the original post: I think it is horrendous and I was one of the first that posted that the judge in question should be removed from the bench.

    I have read every comment made on this thread, and it has been very enlightening indeed.

  70. 170
    Daran says:

    Mendy:

    I am not a rape apologist.

    Nor am I, and I find the characterisation objectionable and offensive.

  71. 171
    Daran says:

    Ampersand:

    For both men and women in prison, the sad fact is that almost no one in the US gives a fuck what happens to them, which makes rape and abuse pretty much inevitable.

    This is not true.

    Stop Prisoner Rape has been giving a fuck since 1980. Currently it gives a fuck about both male and female victims; I believe, (but do not know for certain) that it has always done so. Stephen Donaldson, its late president was the first person to even attempt to quantify the problem in his highly speculative “Preliminary Statistical Look”.

    Amnesty International gives a fuck about female victims both in the US and elsewhere in the world. Other than a gender-neutral concern about the role of prison rape in the spread of HIV, (bizarrely categorised under “Children’s Rights”) Amnesty does not appear to give a fuck about male victims.

    Human Rights Watch gave a fuck about female victims in 1996 and again in 1998. However it wasn’t until 2001 that they gave a gender-neutral fuck. (The report – about prisoner on prisoner rape – is only about male victimisation because their gender-neutral notices received no responses from or about female victims.)

    It wasn’t until 2003 that Congress got round to giving a fuck, when they passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PDF) which is gender-neutral. [irony]but as it’s obviously going to benefit men more than women, this is clearly an illustration of the high priority the patriarchy puts on looking after its own.[/irony] The first Government statistical survey (on reported sexual assaults behind bars) was published last year, Two national victimisation surveys are scheduled for next year (PDF), and it probably won’t be for another year or two that the data will be available.

    Then we’ll finally have a reasonable idea of just how much prison rape there is in the US to give a fuck about.

  72. 172
    Daran says:

    Sheelzebub:

    And frankly, I’m not going to leave aside Jaketk’s particular example, as he’s the reason why I posted my comment in the first place. It wasn’t as if he posted about his experience as a way to share it and support women who’ve been through it. Context is key”“he used his experience to bash and belittle women, and to derail the thread. Who’s been dominating this thread, exactly? Who’s getting the attention and energy? That’s been Jaketk.

    And why is that? Go look at the first sentence of the quoted paragraph again. He’s getting the attention and energy because you and other feminists insist upon giving it to him.

    Also, women are only the “overwhelming majority of rape survivors” if you don’t count men who are raped while in prison. Women are, as far as I can tell, the majority of rape survivors, but the number of male rape survivors is also distressingly high.

    Frankly, one rape survivor of any gender is a distressingly high number. But to answer your prison rape assertion”“women in prison are raped, too.

    Hey, that’s ‘disrupting debate’. At least it is when we do it.

    It’s not as if sexual violence stops for us once we’re incarcerated, so I’m not convinced that male prison rape = not an overwhelming majority of female rape survivors.

    I’m not either, but that’s only because nobody has been counting male victims. The national Violence Against Woman survey estimates that about 300,000 women are raped annually. Donaldson’s figure for men, which is really little better than a guess, is 242,000.

    If we accept those two figures, then the number of female victims is greater, but not overwhelmingly so. But the figure for men could easily be an order of magnitude or more too high. Or it could be an underestimate. Nobody knows.

    And that’s not to say that sexual violence against men isn’t important,

    Not to Amnesty it isn’t. You won’t find a page like that about sexual violence against men on their website. And there’s a reason for that. Feminists have been very successful in pushing their women-only agenda into the mainstream.

    but I’m getting bone tired of threads about issues that intimately affect women”“hell, threads about specific cases of violence against women”“getting derailed with tactics like the one Jaketk’s used.

    In this case, the tactic was Ampersand’s. He introduced the subject of prison rape to rebut the claim that women are the “overwhelming majority of rape victims”. However the inevitable result of this is that we’re are now discussing prison rape. If Jaketk or I had done that, we would be facing charges of ‘derailing discussion’.

    What’s the alternative here? Only allow statements to be rebutted if you can do so without mentioning men’s interests? Forbid topic-drift in such directions?

  73. 173
    Ismone says:

    Daran,

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics keeps statistics on both females and males who report that they are victims of rape.

    I’m sure we could have a fascinating conversation about how male rape victims are oppressed by sexism, because they are. But that isn’t the conversation we’re having today. What Sheelzebub said about conversations about women’s rights being derailed. On this thread, we are trying about one female who was disbelieved because, according to the source we have, she didn’t “act traumatized”and what that all means.

    Think about how women are supposed to act traumatized. How we are supposed to cry, break down, become irrational, need support, not want sex, fill in your stereotype of a female rape survivor here. And some women do react that way. But women who don’t cry aren’t believed. Because it is unfeminine not to cry. Women who don’t report immediately aren’t believed, although most women delay reporting. After being raped, some women start having a large number of casual sexual affairs with men. Instead of adopting the Victorian “touch me not” prudery that is expected, they are instead what our culture would call promiscuous. And so they are disbelieved.

    We think that women are physically weak, but we ask women who tell us they are survivors why they didn’t fight back. Some of the reason for that question is self-protection–we want to think she could have stopped it by fighting back, because then we, or our sister/daughter/mother/girlfriend/friend could stop it by fighting back. We want to think it is her fault, because if it isn’t her fault, then it could happen to us, too, which is a terrible thing to think. We want to think it is because she took some risk that we don’t take. She wore something “slutty.” She went somewhere “dangerous.” And I say “we” because I’ve done some of these things myself, and I know I’m not the only person who has. But I’m trying to change, and I think it is important that everyone else try to, so that we can look at rape cases on the merits, instead of on our biases.

    So what range of behavior do the posters on this thread think is normal for a typical rape survivor? Do you think it is even a good ideal to talk in terms of “typical” or “normal”? Do you think our culture does a good job of supporting rape survivors? Where there is a lack of support, what does this have to do with sexism? With assumptions about “appropriate behavior” and the initiation of consensual sex? With whatever else you all think is relevant to the conversation?

    Let’s please talk about this, because I want to hear what everyone has to say. Because I can bet you’ve all got answers that would never occur to me, or that might help me figure something out.

  74. 174
    Daran says:

    Ismone:

    Daran,

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics keeps statistics on both females and males who report that they are victims of rape.

    My last post was the second of two lengthy consecutive posts. The first was stuck in the moderation queue when you wrote your reply, presumably because it has a large number of links. (It’s been passed now.) The post you could see was therefore missing necessary context.

    The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports do not include male rapes. The National Crime Victimisation Surveys do and the National Violence Against Women Survey did indeed record both male and female rape, but neither of them survey prisons. the methodology of the NVAWS in particular was designed to effectively measure violence against women and is likely to underestimate the incidence of violence against men.

    The BJS will conduct the first national survey of sexual violence in prison next year.

    I’m sure we could have a fascinating conversation about how male rape victims are oppressed by sexism, because they are. But that isn’t the conversation we’re having today.

    I don’t see that we are restricted to having one conversation.

    What Sheelzebub said about conversations about women’s rights being derailed. On this thread, we are trying about one female who was disbelieved because, according to the source we have, she didn’t “act traumatized”and what that all means.

    Think about how women are supposed to act traumatized. How we are supposed to cry, break down, become irrational, need support, not want sex, fill in your stereotype of a female rape survivor here. And some women do react that way. But women who don’t cry aren’t believed.

    So aren’t some women who do.

    Because it is unfeminine not to cry. Women who don’t report immediately aren’t believed, although most women delay reporting. After being raped, some women start having a large number of casual sexual affairs with men. Instead of adopting the Victorian “touch me not” prudery that is expected, they are instead what our culture would call promiscuous. And so they are disbelieved.

    I know all this. I have spoken to scores, possibly hundreds of survivors over the years, most of them female. I’d say that I’ve heard it all, except that I know that the next person will likely prove me wrong.

    We think that women are physically weak, but we ask women who tell us they are survivors why they didn’t fight back. Some of the reason for that question is self-protection”“we want to think she could have stopped it by fighting back, because then we, or our sister/daughter/mother/girlfriend/friend could stop it by fighting back. We want to think it is her fault, because if it isn’t her fault, then it could happen to us, too, which is a terrible thing to think. We want to think it is because she took some risk that we don’t take. She wore something “slutty.” She went somewhere “dangerous.” And I say “we” because I’ve done some of these things myself, and I know I’m not the only person who has. But I’m trying to change, and I think it is important that everyone else try to, so that we can look at rape cases on the merits, instead of on our biases.

    I’ve done it too – I’m painfully aware of that. :-( But hopefully not recently.

    So what range of behavior do the posters on this thread think is normal for a typical rape survivor? Do you think it is even a good ideal to talk in terms of “typical” or “normal”?

    I don’t think “normal” is appropriate, because of the implied value judgement.

    I usually say that rape victims typically feel devastated by the experience, which I base upon what I’ve read about rape, and what survivors have told me. That’s not a statement about behaviour, though. I’m also aware that there’s a selection effect in operation. Survivors who are not devastated are perhaps unlikely to talk about it to me or present to rape crisis centres etc. Nevertheless, I have spoken to a very small number who have indicated that it had only a minor effect upon them, and I consider that to be just as valid a response, albeit not typical.

    Do you think our culture does a good job of supporting rape survivors?

    No, I think it does a lousy job. I think rape crisis centres, etc., do a fairly good job for women. (Not perfect, though.) The service for men varies from as-good-as-for-women to non-existent. I consider the very notion of gender-apartheid in this important service to be abominable.

    Where there is a lack of support, what does this have to do with sexism? With assumptions about “appropriate behavior” and the initiation of consensual sex?

    Lots, I would say.

    With whatever else you all think is relevant to the conversation?

    Linda Flores said in her footnote to comment 37: “…that the severity of rape’s effects, as well as how long they last and how difficult recovery is, varies a lot from woman to woman”. From man to man too, but one pattern that I’ve noticed is that the best predictor of how quickly (or not) a survivor of either sex will recover is how they are treated the first time they disclose, whether it be the day after the assault, or a year later. If the response is supportive – if they are believed – then they have the best chance of a relatively quick recovery. If the response is hostile, then chances are they may still be suffering decades later.

    That’s a “typically”, though. No survivor should be made to feel that they “should have got over it”, no matter how long its been. Nor is recovery ever permanently out of reach. I know a woman who had an epiphany over the course of three days some twenty years after her rape.

    So “believe the survivor”, then. Uncritically. Not because every rape claim is true, (I have no idea, nor any way of telling, how many rape claims are false), but because you risk harming someone if you don’t.

    But there’s a problem with that. In the context of a police investigation/criminal prosecution, you also risk harming someone if you do. Ideally the criminal process should first and formost eliminate the actually innocent suspect/defendant as quickly as possible, convicting the actually guilty is a secondary consideration. The failure to convict the actually guilty is far less serious that then false conviction of the actually innocent. The welfare of the defendant during the process should be the next priority, and the welfare of the complainant should come forth. Why that order? Because the complainant, unlike the defendant should be able to withdraw from the process without penalty (which, of course, is precisely what didn’t happen in the case under discussion).

    If there are ways the criminal justice system could be changed to be more supportive of rape survivors without negatively impacting the other three priorities, then I’d be in favour of them. What is not appropriate, is the ‘typical’ feminist focus exclusively upon ‘believing the (female) survivor’ and increasing rape convictions without any apparent regard for the welfare or rights of (male) suspects/defendants or consern about convicting the innocent. For example, Sheelzebub just presumes that the men in this case are guilty (comment 165), and that’s not an uncommon reaction. Another example is the promulgation by feminists and rape activists of the myth that “women don’t lie about rape”, and it’s associated 2% false rape accusation rate canard, which is now so widespread that even the police cite it. See Greer (PDF) for a scholarly analysis of the source and propagation of this myth and its consequences.) It is particularly ironic that it appears on so many webpages devoted to debunking rape myths.

    So yes, “believe the survivor” in a therapeutic context (which includes informal disclosures). In the context of a police report, I can see no way of squaring the circle. I can see no way of fairly investigating rape allegations and preserving the rights of the accused without engaging in a thoroughly critical, and perhaps hostile, investigation of the complainant’s claims.

    I do agree, however, that the complainant’s post-alledged-rape behaviour is of little, if any, probative value, and should be excluded from consideration. This is true whether or not she appears to be traumatised.

    Let’s please talk about this, because I want to hear what everyone has to say. Because I can bet you’ve all got answers that would never occur to me, or that might help me figure something out.

    I have always been willing to talk to the topic. What I am not willing to do is accept restrictions about what I and other dissenting voices can or cannot raise when talking about the topic. I also object to the attacks upon us when we do.

  75. 175
    Radfem says:

    Exactly. And that’s not likely to change any time soon.

    At least we can still ponder the issues that greatly affect us as women in our own heads, even if we can’t discuss them for five minutes before the “what about the men” mantra begins.

    That said, in reality, why does there have to be a typical way for a rape victim to behave? Who really made those rules? Because who ever did, apparently defined what the crime of rape was as well. There’s a hundred different ways women can react afterwards.

  76. 176
    Mary says:

    Not to sound rude here (ha! see what I did there? classic male tactic! now I plan on being totally rude), but as I grow older and more entrenched in my feminist ways, I’ve learned to really just stop including men in feminist conversations altogether. No exceptions. There are some delightful pro-feminist men who I can talk TO about feminist topics, but our interactions are better characterized as “I lecture, he agrees with me.” I can’t involve a man in a DISCUSSION about rape/DV/abotion/what have you without it devolving into some discussion of how bad MEN have it. This way, of course, they can keep the focus of the surrounding women on them, which is of course where it belongs, and the women end up getting nowhere. It’s really a fascinating phenomenon, when you think about it–that the dominant status of men relies so heavily on the reinforcement of their own victimization. You would feel sorry for them if that wasn’t precisely what they’re wanting and expecting. So you end up getting angry at them instead, and that only serves to feed the fire some more–LOOK, FEMINISTS DON’T APPRECIATE THAT MEN GET RAPED TOO, DOWN WITH THE LOT OF YOU, YOU HEARTLESS BITCHES INTERNATIONAL. It’s a fine racket. How can feminists exploit it?

  77. 177
    Mendy says:

    So ignoring those that would derail the thread, how should the posted case have been handled? What could have been done differently (and something different should have happened)?

    I am actually interested in discussing the above case as it relates to women, because the discussion should prove fruitful in examining my own beliefs and views.

  78. 178
    Ismone says:

    Mary–Sorry you’ve had such bad luck w/men not being willing to listen. I’ve been fairly lucky, I’ve found it is easier if I’m talking to only one or two at a time. Also, I may be dealing w/a younger generation. I’d come up with some pretty good numbers showing it was much more likely that a man would be raped himself than be the victim of a vindictive reporter. That really made a couple of my friends stop and think. Plus the ones with sisters who have a good relationship with them tend to understand better.

    Mendy–My take on this whole thing is that the some investigators don’t really understand rape, which is why they expect a stereotyped reaction, and also they worry more themselves about men being falsely accused, because fear of rape isn’t real to them. While I was in the military, they showed us a training tape known as the “Seattle Tape” used to train police officers about how to deal with rape survivors. The police officer walks his (small) audience through this scenario where they, a police officer, are forced at gunpoint to blow a male suspect who gets the drop on them. It is very graphic, and somewhat hard to hear. He makes the offender so disgusting that trust me, no one would want to blow this guy even consensually. Then he talks about the aftermath. The second-guessing about what else he could’ve done to control the situtation. Why did he go back into that alley without backup? Then, to make it worse, other police officers start coming up to you, telling you that they’ve heard you’re gay and you’d previously shown up at this alley for trysts with this man, and you’re just making it up because you’re embarrassed that you’re gay and blowing this other guy. By the end, both the audience on the videotape, and the mostly male audience I was a part of, was in the grip of horrified silence. They GOT IT.

    I don’t think it is just men who have a problem getting it, though. People are surprised to learn that most rapists are intimates or close friends, or at least close acquaintances (roughly 2/3.) The courts started really changing their tune of the sufficiency of evidence for rape and resistence requirements fell out of favor, after a study was done that showed that women who resisted were much more likely to be badly hurt (I have reasons to doubt that study, but it is old and I haven’t gotten the chance to review its methodology. The best advice I’ve gotten, about preventing attacks and getting through them, is to trust your instincts.)

    And, as I mentioned above, victim-blaming allows us to keep up the illusion of control. If it is the victim’s fault (not that she was “asking for it” but that she could’ve avoided an “obvious danger”) that means I am capable of protecting myself.

    Another aspect of sexism at play here is the assumption that we women are responsible for men’s reactions to us. If he gets turned on, it is my fault for dressing the way I do. And boy, have I bought in to that. I hate the looks, comments and responses so much that I tend to bury myself in large T-shirts, loose-fitting jeans and just overall ugly. I enjoy dressing in a feminine manner until I get an overreaction. I don’t mind being looked at, even sexually, but there are lines. So, if I’m responsible for a man’s response to how I dress, that implies that I am “responsible” for how he might misconstrue my friendship, my behavior on a date, or my dancing as a come on. Even if I say it isn’t, its as though his reading of the situation controls. I’m not saying we have no obligation to communicate, but when wires are crossed, I think it is assumed to be the woman’s fault.

    Daran–I think you have a number of very perceptive things to say on the subject, and your experience with survivors (although more extensive than my own) certainly mirrors it. My question to you is, if the first person to hear has to uncritically believe, what about the police? What if they are the first (or nearly the first) to hear the story from the person claiming to be a survivor? I would take what you say a step further–I think that the police should always treat the survivor as though they believe him or her. Maybe there needs to be a higher-up decision maker who decides if a case goes forward, but you don’t have to call someone a liar just because a prosecution doesn’t come out of the case. Oh, and regarding the earlier study you posted, I did read it, but unless it says how many of these women accused a specific man, I would treat them as false reports (an attention-getting, poor me gambit), which are quite different from false accusations.

    I was also concerned with the study author’s/police officer’s unwillingness to believe certain women who had slept with “friends” of theirs. I think they would have a strong incentive to pretend it was as false report due to pressure from other friends. I’ve had friends who’ve been raped by their “friends.” A lot of them do not report, one woman even though she was drug raped.

  79. 179
    Mendy says:

    Isomone:

    Thank you for your response to my question. Part of the reason I have such a difficult time with these issues is that I wasn’t socialized to have “rape fear” or to believe that I am personally responsible for a man’s reaction to me. I still carry those feelings with me today, and when a man catcalls, I call him on it.

    I do believe that more needs to be done to illuminate the preavalance of aquaintence rape, and that the definition of rape needs to be clarified so that everyone in the criminal justice system is aware of what actually comprises rape.

    On a side note, I was told by a very dear friend of mine that teaches self-defense classes that unless the attacker was armed then fighting back is a good thing. Her thoughts were that the more you fought the more evidence that was left on both you and the attacker. Her thinking was more physical evidence=better chances for prosecution later. I think that is interesting in and of itself.

    I was sexually assaulted when I was much younger, and my instincts told me that if I fought he would most likely get frightened off. My instincts proved correct, and though I reported there wasn’t a trial. My attacker to a plea bargin to a lesser offense.

  80. 180
    Ismone says:

    Mendy,

    I’d heard the same thing about fighting back–that it often prevents the attack. So without reading that study that the courts got all fired up about, I’m guessing the results might be skewed b/c someone who keeps attacking although the woman is fighting back is particularly violent/depraved–the study probably didn’t include non-completed assaults.

    I’d never thought about the physical evidence part of it. Your friend has a good point.

    I think that it is wonderful that you talk back to the catcallers. I’ve gotten to the point where I do too, but I still feel somewhat guilty and avoid dressing in a feminine manner. (And I’m not slamming my parents, I honestly don’t know where I got the attitude from.) I hope I will be able to raise my children to be confident enough to respond to the situation you do from day one.

    And if VD or anyone else tells me that “date rape isn’t real rape” I may well slug ‘em. Especially if it is on a date. B/c then it won’t be “real battery.” Not that I would date VD if he were on the market.

  81. 181
    Mendy says:

    Isomone:

    I hope one day you find the strength to dress however you like without considering other’s reactions. I dress however I like. Sometimes that is more feminine and sometimes it isn’t. But, I seem to get more negative male attention when I wear my motorcycling clothes than when in a miniskirt and heels. I don’t understand that anymore than I understand why men think that catcalling is attractive or wanted. I don’t object to the occassional brief whistle every now and again, but some of what I’ve heard is truly obscene.

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