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Is rape rape?

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PDR
818182.  Sat May 21, 2011 6:39 pm Reply with quote

Physical assaults can often have psycological consequences - years ago a colleague (who I onloy knew slightly) was soundly beaten up by a gang of football supporters in Marsailles because their team had lost to an english team. He never recovered and is still a broken man psychologically - these assaults are about"control" more than anything else, and the damage comes from being subjected to that control. This assertion is usually made about rapes as well, so the physical aspects seem similar.

Now the next bit is the controversial bit, which I am referencing partly to play devil's advocate and partly just to open a discussion (this place prides itself on its ability to have reasonable discussions on almost any subject, after all). I am not promoting or espousing this view - just discussing it. I have raised this once before and got roundly flamed for my troubles, so if people aren't comfortable discussing it then we'll delete the posts and pretend it never happened!

Germaine Greer once participated in a radio discussion on rape. She said that in her view a rape was a physical assualt like any other. SHe suggested its "special status" was actually patronising to women because its roots lay in the idea that there was something special about damaging a woman's "virtue", and the origins of this came from the idea that this virtue actually belonged to a man (either husband or father, depending on whether the woman was married or not). She suggested that unless women wished to continue the idea that they were "chattels" of some man they should be looking to eliminate this "special status" both from their own and society's psyche.

Germaine likes to be controversial, but is there anything in this view?

PDR

 
Arcane
818185.  Sat May 21, 2011 7:05 pm Reply with quote

I do actually see your point PDR, but I think a lot of what happens with rape has also to do with it being an intimate invasion of your body, and the stigma that surrounds sex. Rape has nothing to do with sex, because it is about power and the perpetrator wanting to degrade and humiliate the victim. They know it makes the victims feel ashamed and humiliated, and that is what drives them. Because rape involves sexual parts of the body, I wonder then if the two separates of rape and sex then become intertwined in the minds of people, which is why rape victims can have issues with sexual acts afterwards. Sex is usually reserved for an intimate close relationship and/or pleasure alone, (although sex is still not a totally open subject), the act to be shared with by choice, not by force.

Men also suffer deep shame from rape, it is an invasion of our personal and private space, like any assault, but the invasion of our sexual space goes far deeper due to the still private aura surrounding sexual space. I know that the reported rapes are much higher in women, but that does not mean they don't happen to men, or the consequences just as significant for them, or that they shouldn't be included in discussions on this subject. I don't think Germaine Greer is completely correct because the rapist doesn't care about their victims virtue, only that sex to them is something to shame and degrated their victim over, I wonder even if they see their victim as a person, or just someone to humiliate.

 
bobwilson
818199.  Sat May 21, 2011 8:03 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Germaine Greer once participated in a radio discussion on rape. She said that in her view a rape was a physical assualt like any other.


I'm with GG on this - and it's telling that PDR felt it necessary to preface his reporting with an extensive apologia.

Arcane wrote:
I don't think Germaine Greer is completely correct because the rapist doesn't care about their victims virtue


She never said he did - what GG said (and which I agree with) is that society treats rape as an exceptionable crime. You could say there are two crimes being perpetrated - the assault, and the further societal attack on the victim in having been "violated". It isn't the rapist who cares about the victims virtue - it is the rest of us. There really isn't a great deal of difference between our attitude and that of the tribals who stone the victims.

I've seen some recent commentaries on "SlutWalks" - and I'm appalled. The approved line seems to be:

PC Plod said "if a woman dresses 'provocatively' it increases her chances of attracting the attention of sexual predators"
From this 'feminists' have extrapolated that PC Plod said "if a woman dresses provocatively she's asking for trouble"
PC Plod was merely offering sensible advice (perhaps badly worded according to the token liberals) akin to advising householders to secure their windows and doors before going on holiday
Sure it'd be great to live in a world where you could leave your windows open and skip off for a couple of weeks, or walk around in a skimpy skirt and not get attacked - but let's be realistic shall we?

That's the apparent approved line.

But what PC Plod actually said was

"Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised"

Now - if he'd said "Women should avoid dressing like sluts while walking in the red-light district in order to avoid unwanted approaches" or "Women should avoid dressing like sluts when there's a rapist on the loose" I'd have some sympathy. (Not much - but some).

What exactly is wrong with a woman dressing as a slut? We have licensed (and therefore officially sanctioned) clubs where women not only dress as sluts but are actually paid to do so. I don't know about the rest of the males on here but I can quite imagine coming across a scantily clad woman, late at night, when the alcohol has kicked in and I'm feeling frisky (although incapable) and possibly approaching her with the unoriginal line of "fancy a shag darling".

What I don't believe I, or the majority of the men of my acquaintance (there have been exceptions) would have ever done would be to take their dress and my testosterone to be an invitation to assault.

Rape is an assault akin to being beaten up for wearing the wrong football shirt on match-day. It's nothing more or less than that. Rapists are a minority of men - this pathetic attempt to pretend that "all men are rapists" is just that - pathetic. It might suit the priapic headline writers to pretend that it's difficult for a man to control his urges and give salacious details in the guise of disapproving tuts whilst secretly admiring hm for being gung-ho.

Rape shouldn't be treated any differently to any other physical assault - the victim didn't "invite" the assault; the perpetrator is a violent offender.

I just wonder - how would PC Plod feel about someone saying

"Police officers should avoid wearing their uniforms in order not to be subjected to (being subjected to the whistling of Dixon of Dock Green by groups of youths, being attacked by rioters, being targetted by bomb attacks on their cars)"

I presume he wouldn't be too happy if someone suggested he only had himself to blame would he?

 
Arcane
818200.  Sat May 21, 2011 8:16 pm Reply with quote

In my ham fisted and somewhat foggy headed way, what I was trying to say was that it's societies perception of sex and rape that have become intermingled - because sex has shame and secrecy attached to it, still, rape is still viewed as being something about sex, when it is nothing but. It is a continuation of violence that is made more shameful because unlike a physical attack, the wounds often do not show. It is the mental trauma that causes the majority of issues.

And all men are not rapists, that is a foolish assertion. Sexual drive and rape, again, are not related.

Also, the assertion if you dress "like a slut" means you're inviting rape is also foolish. Children are raped, men are raped, grandmothers are raped, all types of women are raped, and also, the definition of dressing "like a slut" is also very subjective. To some, wearing high heels may define them as a slut, short hemlines? A lowered neckline? Having dyed hair? Or a combination of them? Plenty of scantily clad women are not raped either. I wore short skirts and high heels and tight fitting clothing (I had a nice figure in my youth) in the past and not once was I on the receiving end of sexual assault.

Also date rape according to statistics comprises the majority of reported rapes; not the seemingly common perception that it is a violent stranger going after someone in a darkened alley late at night, or someone who could be a serial killer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_rape

 
bobwilson
818201.  Sat May 21, 2011 8:37 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Also date rape according to statistics comprises the majority of reported rapes;


A classic example of lies, damned lies and statistics

What do you mean by "date rape"? That phrase conjures up images of a couple who are maybe getting a bit jiggy - perhaps girl invites guy back for coffee, there's some heavy petting, and things get a bit out of hand. All very contentious when it comes to court.

Here's the wider definition according to your quoted article

Quote:
It can occur between two people who know one another usually in social situations, between people who are dating as a couple and have had consensual sex in the past, between two people who are starting to date, between people who are just friends, and between acquaintances. They include rapes of co-workers, schoolmates, friends, and other acquaintances, providing they are dating.


Now I don't know about the rest of you but a good proportion of that is not what I would imagine when presented with the phrase "date rape".

What needs to occur is that "rape" should be taken out of the genre of sexual crimes and placed firmly in the genre of crimes of violence against the person.

Once that is done then the question of what constitutes "slut" dress becomes irrelevant. And we won't have to listen to the ill-informed opinions of some provincial policeman about how to go about our daily lives - and he can go back to doing the job he's qualified for - that is, helping old ladies across the road and calling in the competent authority when anything serious (such as a missing golf ball) occurs.

Remember - the fact that he's permitted to wear a uniform doesn't mean he's exempt from the dictum that opening his mouth simply proves he's an idiot.

 
aTao
818227.  Sun May 22, 2011 12:58 am Reply with quote

Strikes me that much of the conversation is either sweeping generalizations or overly precise definitions, neither of which stand much chance in law.
But thats what judges are for, the discussion is not whether there are different scales of rape, but if in fact there was a crime committed and if it was rape.

 
Jenny
818368.  Sun May 22, 2011 1:58 pm Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
Here's the wider definition according to your quoted article

Quote:

It can occur between two people who know one another usually in social situations, between people who are dating as a couple and have had consensual sex in the past, between two people who are starting to date, between people who are just friends, and between acquaintances. They include rapes of co-workers, schoolmates, friends, and other acquaintances, providing they are dating.



Now I don't know about the rest of you but a good proportion of that is not what I would imagine when presented with the phrase "date rape".



What would you imagine then, bob?

I'm thinking of somebody I know who divorced her husband - with whom she had two children - because he raped her.

My definition of date rape would be that one person who wants sex refuses to take no for an answer and physically forces the other person to engage in it.

I do think rape falls into a different category than other forms of physical assault. As Arcane points out above, sex is not (for most people) just an ordinary form of physical activity like jogging. There is a strong emotional content to it, and society's attitudes towards it are not the same. Sex can be a source of great joy and pleasure, but it can also be imbued with guilt and shame.

Assault using sex as a weapon is thus different from assault using, say, a knife or a fist as a weapon. There are a few and very constrained circumstances in which it is legitimate for either a knife or fist to be used by one party on another (surgery and boxing, for example) and all of them involve consent. There are no circumstances at all where I can think sex forced upon another without the other party's consent is legitimate. There will often be a suspicion that the victim somehow invited or welcomed this crime, and the fact that he or she didn't is much harder to prove in the case of date rape where there has been a previously consensual sexual encounter. I guess this is why women often don't bother reporting it - they fear dealing with the consequences of making the report more than they fear the consequences of dealing with being raped.

 
Arcane
818429.  Sun May 22, 2011 6:30 pm Reply with quote

And I would imagine that with what Jenny has outlined above, men would find it even harder to report rape. There is enough stigma with rape for women, let alone for a man who could be felt that he "should" have been able to have fought it off, or "that sort of thing" just doesn't happen to men.

Rape can be difficult to prove, particulary if a condom has been used, or the stories don't add up even if at the heart of it there is an innocent party, or that there is still the old hangover of the way they dressed, or where they are, or something they did said somehow "invited" it. And that works both ways, with the victim and the perpetrator. There are still perpetrators who think that someone "asks" to have sex forced on them, if they have their own mental health issues, or sex was something forced on them, or they were raised in an atmosphere where this was treated as normal.

The fact is, that if sex is forced on someone, against their will, no matter who, where, what was said, what was worn, if they say no, and it still happens by force, even if they knew that person, it is rape. The hard part is proving it and that is often the real crux of the issue.

 
Ion Zone
818504.  Mon May 23, 2011 5:50 am Reply with quote

Something very similar happened with Michael Reiss and the Royal Society. It ended up with him being forced out despite almost the entire society being witnesses to his innocence over the alleged statement. LINK

Quote:
In an odd pact between journalists who want to write sensation, and readers who want to buy it, we choose cartoonish half-truths over complex reality. Professor Reiss is the victim of a culture where all arguments must be expressible in a sentence, and all sentences able to stand on their own. But don't take my word for it: read the speech.


Unfortunately, we can't read it anymore. For some reason it has vanished off the face of the Earth....


Last edited by Ion Zone on Mon May 23, 2011 6:08 am; edited 1 time in total

 
dr.bob
818506.  Mon May 23, 2011 5:59 am Reply with quote

I don't agree with Germaine Greer's hypothesis, put forward by PDR, for the simple reason that Arcane mentions: men also feel the same shame about being raped. That tells me that the shame and embarrassment is not about society's attitude towards women, but about society's attitude towards sex.

At the risk of cross-threading with the sex education thread, it does make me wonder whether people would be much more comfortable with reporting rape if society had a much more open, frank, and relaxed attitude towards talking about sex.

Of course, higher reporting rates wouldn't necessarily lead to higher conviction rates. As Arcane points out, rape can be difficult to prove. I imagine this is due to the fact that it's often simply one person's word against the other's, and any crime is difficult to prove under those circumstances unless you have some other evidence to back up the claims.

 
Jenny
818576.  Mon May 23, 2011 12:23 pm Reply with quote

And the evidence in the case of rape has to go beyond DNA, or we are left, as dr.bob says, with one person's word against another's. And then we get previous sexual history brought in, and suddenly a woman who may have had sexual encounters with other people in her life becomes portrayed by some people at least as if she were indiscriminate and therefore just as likely to consent to sex with the defendant as not, and her private life is paraded for all to see.

So - you're being raped. Do you lie still and let him get on with it, in the hope that he will go away and leave you alone when he's finished, or paralysed with fear that you will be murdered as well as raped? Or do you struggle energetically to fight back, thus providing yourself with evidence of being assaulted but risking worse physical consequences from a man who has already shown himself capable of physically overmastering you, *and* fearing that you may be murdered as well as raped?

 
'yorz
818668.  Mon May 23, 2011 4:36 pm Reply with quote

I don't think you can know beforehand how you will react if that happens. Depends on numerous factors.
I know a few women who have been raped. All of them got on with their lives; only one of them reported it and the perpetrator got duly sentenced. All of them went on to enjoy healthy sex lives. And all of them got quite irritated when the subject was discussed and their 'audience' became very nonplussed that they weren't scarred for life.
I guess that the amount of violence used in the act has something to do with how the victim deals with it. Oh, and those women definitely didn't see themselves as victims. They had after it first happened, but lateron they decided not to dwell on it and look ahead.
I have heard interviews with raped women who got quite confused because they had just wanted to get on with their lives and let the incident not dominate, but the people around them had made much more of it and the women ended up feeling they didn't possess enough self-worth, otherwise they would have kept feeling violated.

I was violated, by a gynaecologist. Because it happened whilst I was fitted with a coil, which was excruciatingly painful, it took a while before I twigged what he was doing. Mind, I was in my late twenties, and in those days the 'white coats' still had their aura. I muttered that I was fine, thank you, and he then buggered off, so I could get dressed. Quite some time later I told my friend about it, and she just laughed and said, "Oh, him? He's well-known for it". I wasn't traumatised, but felt slightly annoyed that I hadn't caused more of a stink.
Things have changed. If that would happen now, I'd feel really bad about it, and I'd be encouraged to report it, and the whole thing would have become a far bigger thing. I feel that it would be much more difficult to deal with it.

 
aTao
818703.  Mon May 23, 2011 7:04 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Do you lie still and let him get on with it, in the hope that he will go away and leave you alone when he's finished, or paralysed with fear that you will be murdered as well as raped? Or do you struggle energetically to fight back, thus providing yourself with evidence of being assaulted but risking worse physical consequences from a man who has already shown himself capable of physically overmastering you, *and* fearing that you may be murdered as well as raped?


You let the red mist of mayhem descend *, and when its cleared you might wonder where all the diced pork has come from. A person committing a crime is no match for an adrenaline fuelled rage.

* Preferably before it gets as far as rape.

 
'yorz
819064.  Wed May 25, 2011 5:31 am Reply with quote

Just received a request to add my vote to an on-line petition to change the Dutch Law that states

"Penetration in infants, toddlers and preschoolers is not classified as statutory rape as long as no further violence was used.
This crime will be treated as sexual abuse of a minor.
(Art. 242 to 251 Criminal Code)."

The petition says:

We believe that penetration does consist of psychological and physical violence, and request therefore that the Members of the House submit a legislative amendment so that indecent acts with minors are regarded as "rape" and will be treated as such by the Prosecution. We also request that the Members of the House increase the maximum penalty, which is presently 12 years, and make detention at Her Majesty's pleasure, combined with compulsory treatment, mandatory.

NB: That fact that minors cannot be raped according to the Dutch law came to the public's attention when it was mentioned in a TV program about two Amsterdam day care centres where such crimes have been committed. Between 30-50 children may have been involved. The defendent's lawyer mentioned that, legally, rape was not committed - and the whole thing blew up.

 
Zebra57
819085.  Wed May 25, 2011 6:45 am Reply with quote

The lady who Ken Clarke clashed with on the radio now says that she agrees with him.

 

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