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Perception of rape

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960031.  Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:46 pm Reply with quote

I tried to find an already existing discussion here of the goings on in New Delhi, but it seems there isn't.

In this FT article there are some truly astoundingly archaic examples of how women are still viewed within Indian society and how rape cases are subsequently judged.

For most Indian women seeking to prosecute rapes or other sexual assaults, navigating the country’s criminal justice system is a harrowing experience. Women are subjected to aggressive, humiliating questioning about their own conduct and physical examinations that hinge around a “two-finger” test to determine whether a woman is, in the words often used in court, ‘habituated to sexual activity’.

Many judges also have their own ideas about how a rape victim should behave – both during an attack and afterwards. In the recent acquittal of one alleged rapist, a judge interpreted the woman’s weeping during her testimony as “remorse” at accusing “her lover”. A true rape victim would be “vengeful”, the judge decreed.

Interesting essay on the Rape Reform Law in England and Wales.

In an aside - with regard to UK law in cases of inter-spousal sexual abuse, the case of R v R makes interesting reading. It was this case that removed a husband's right to his spouse's acquiescence to sexual intercourse.

960188.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:10 pm Reply with quote

I don't want you to think we're ignoring this thread, but I think perhaps the lack of answers is that I doubt many people disagree that rape and sexual harassment laws in places like India are archaic.

I'd offer another possible thought, and that is that the attitudes in the last couple of decades that have been seen in countries like India and across many countries in Asia and the Middle East have nothing to do with traditional attitudes and this idea that people need to be educated doesn't quite strike with me.

I think people in all cultures know that it is wrong to rape and sexually harrass people of any gender, age or race, the attitude that has really changed seems to be that others are willing to look away and make it acceptable.

960191.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:17 pm Reply with quote

There are many threads that never get past their conception.
People's participation is never guaranteed. :-)

As for changed attitudes - I am not sure if looking away is a novelty. It seems to me that such has been the case for a long long time, and only because of modern media being readily available it's only now beginning to hit home.
That, and possibly changing mores due to freer contact with other (western?) cultures. And education. Growing awareness by the women in 'suppressed' societies.

960203.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:56 pm Reply with quote

Many people in those either previously-or still supressed countries now have access to tv, internet, even if the Govt. restricts it, they still find ways around it, so now know that things like that gang rape is wrong and won't tolerate it anymore.
Unfortunately many men in those countries think it's their right to do such an act. (and so do some in western society, too, I might add.)
The number of times I've been approached on the train or bus by a man supposedly wanting to talk....

960206.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:29 pm Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:

Unfortunately many men in those countries think it's their right to do such an act. (and so do some in western society, too, I might add.)

Let us not forget Dawkinsgate.

960231.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:36 pm Reply with quote

I think that consciousness-raising among women needs to happen more too - as witnessed by the mother's response that the woman 'shouldn't have gone out alone'. As long as women are willing to keep other women in a position where it is they who are shamed when sexually abused or harassed, it's hard for progress to be made.

960235.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:12 pm Reply with quote

The weird response from Dawkins and the response it got aside, did I misunderstand something?

According to the woman in the video, a man politely told her he liked her and wanted to get to know her, she said no and he left her alone. I'm not sure I understand where the harrassment comes into it?

I can understand if she says she felt threatened at being in a lift alone with him in the early hours of the morning, unfortunately there are some horrible people out there, and it's understandable she would worry about his advances, but it's not this man's fault that others instill that fear when he's not done or said anything wrong?

How are people supposed to start relationships if they cannot approach people they like when the opportunity presents itself?

960236.  Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:30 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
How are people supposed to start relationships if they cannot approach people they like when the opportunity presents itself?

"When the opportunity presents itself" is not congruous with "late night in an elevator". If it's likely a woman will feel threatened, one should not approach her.

960311.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:58 am Reply with quote

Having watched the video, I can see why she would've felt uncomfortable, but I can also see this situation from a very different point of view.

Given that she was at, what sounds to me, a fairly geeky conference, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the guy she met had problems gauging inter-personal relations. I'm quite geeky myself, and often have difficulty gauging how people will react to my actions. I know, and work with, people who are much geekier, bordering on autistic, and have much worse inter-personal skills than me (hard as that may be for some of you to believe)

So, imagine if the guy who got into the lift with her was someone like this. I've no idea if he was, this is all supposition, and I apologise if she's explained somewhere else that this was not the situation. However, if we imagine for a moment that he was, then he may simply have had no idea he was making this woman uncomfortable. He may simply have considered the scenario as two human beings having a chat. Since he would not have felt threatened by her, he may have found it hard to understand how she would've felt threatened by him.

I was also very struck by her description of his statement "I find you very interesting and would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?" as "sexualising" her.

The assumption here seem to be that he was only interested in sex, despite not saying so. Of course "come back to my room for coffee" has historically meant something more, but then again how are you supposed to ask someone back to your room just for coffee and discussion? In the past, I've invited women back to my room for a chat, and that's exactly what we did. In fact, one time, I invited a woman back to my room on the promise of alcohol. I've no idea if she was expecting something else but, being the geek I am, the thought simply never crossed my mind that we were going to do anything other than get slightly pissed and talk nonsense.

As far as I can see, the blame lies with both parties here: the man was wrong to place her in an uncomfortable situation and would've been better off approaching her before she got in the lift so she would've felt less trapped. However, I think she seems determined to assume that the man was being something other than completely honest and must've had some sexual agenda on what seems to me to be very little evidence.

Then again, I wasn't there, so there may have been some other circumstance that made her feel such an extreme reaction.

960315.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:21 am Reply with quote

I feel there was a major over-reaction. The guy said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but..."
She could have said, "No thanks, as I said I'm tired, but by all means if you want to talk we can meet in the lounge tomorrow and continue discussing the subject".
To me it seems this woman's vulnerability is a continuously felt condition. She should address that, and not sexualise an innocently offered cup of coffee/tea whatever. If there was a hidden agenda, well - he didn't grope or assault her verbally, did he? She may well have felt cornered by him getting into the lift with her. That's her problem, not his.

960319.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:26 am Reply with quote

Whoa - how is 'Dawkinsgate' even a '-gate'? And, why is Dawkins singled out for opprobrium for a web comment when thousands of dreadfully inappropriate or ill-conceived web comments are born literally every minute?

How desperately absurd.

I'm really struggling to see how the notion that no man should speak to an unaccompanied woman, as she may fear she is about to be sexually harrassed or assaulted is really any different from the notion that women should remain swathed in cloth from head to toe in male presence lest those men find themselves unable to control their carnal urges upon seeing a bare neck, or a fringe.

960326.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:03 am Reply with quote

I found this quote in one of the -gate links:
If a man is planning on raping you or not, whether or men who are not rapists talk to you in similar situations has nothing to do with it. Your fear is contributing nothing to your safety or gender equality it is simply creating divisiveness and supporting a culture of fear and victimhood.
[my bold]

The problem with this issue is that the focus on not what the man did, or the way he said it, but simply the fact he said anything at all. If this was a case of a man being belligerant or invading physical space or not taking no for an answer I would be supporting saying that is asshole behaviour and for people not to do it.


960327.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:06 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
The assumption here seem to be that he was only interested in sex, despite not saying so. Of course "come back to my room for coffee" has historically meant something more, but then again how are you supposed to ask someone back to your room just for coffee and discussion?

Well, of course that's what you assume. If someone just wants to talk to you, don't they suggest meeting in a public place?

960332.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:51 am Reply with quote

I first met Mrs Tenic in a nightclub, and at the point we fell into conversation, she was apart from her group of friends. Sure, it may not have been quite as isolated as in a lift, but The Electric Ballroom is full of out-of-the-way nooks and crannies.

That conversation did ultimately end up with us kissing, and as closing time for the club started to draw near, I did invite her to join me and my friends for the remainder of our crazy adventure, back at my flat. It should be noted that, at this time, the nightclub was in Camden, and my flat was in Southampton.

Rather unsurprisingly, she politely declined. But, after a bit of contemplation, she ultimately invited me back to hers - and accepted a lift from my friends before they set off on the long, bleak drive back down the M3. So she did end up getting into a car with three guys, one of whom she had known for a maximum of two hours.

And everything was fine.

My point, really, is that any invitation is not necessarily a 'take it or leave it' proposition, and is open to a certain amount of negotiation between sensible adults.

If the woman in question was open to the suggestion of carrying on a conversation, but was uncomfortable with the proffered venue, she could just as easily have suggested going back to the public areas of the hotel while she convinced herself that he presented no danger to her safety or chastity.

960333.  Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:53 am Reply with quote

At 4 o'clock pm there won't be coffee or whatever available in the hotel lounge I'd assume. Perhaps it was a bit clumsy of him to ask, but why assuming intent of malice straightaway?


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