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View Diary: He Doesn't Believe There's a"Rape Culture" (208 comments)

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  •  It's ubiquitous in our culture, too. (12+ / 0-)
    Unfortunately there is no quick medical treatment for empathy deficit disorder.
    Keeps the gears turning, and the status quo securely in place.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:35:51 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  How does society react to these scenarios? (69+ / 0-)

      A man goes into a bar in a "tough" part of town. While there, he has a few too many drinks and flashes a big roll of cash. When he decides to go home, he decides to walk instead of taking a taxi and takes a short cut through an alley.

      Inside the alley is a mugger waiting for him, who demands that he give up the money,  and flashes a knife. The man hands over the money, and also his wrist watch and smart phone.

      In this case, the police will be called, they will take a report, they will tell the man that he did exactly the right thing in handing over the money snce the man has a knife. If the mugger is caught, the man will testify that he's the one who stole the money, and if the wrist watch and smart phone are found in the mugger's possession, that will be seen as proof that the mugger stole them and he will quite likely go to jail.

      Now....a woman goes into a bar in a "tough" part of town While there, she has a few too many drinks and does a little flirting with some of the patrons.  When she decides to go home, she decides to walk instead of hailing a taxi and takes a short cut through an alley.

      Inside the alley is a rapist who confronts her, demands that she submit to rape and flashes a knife. The woman does not resist and is raped. Afterward, she calls the police. Semen is found on her clothing and inside her.  

      In this case, in court, the woman will be asked why she came to this particular bar in this particular section of town. She will be asked why she drank too much, why she flirted with some of the men, why she didn't hail a cab. Didn't she know this was a dangerous area?  Hadn't she displayed sexual willingness in the bar? Why did she go down that dark alley? Wasn't that a foolsh thing to do? Surely she knew that! So....had she set up a meeting with this man?

      The woman points out that the man had a knife. But she has no marks on her. No cuts. No bruises. No proof that she resisted.  

      The rapist claims that sex was consensual. The case is thrown out of court. The woman is publicly labled a tease, a slut, a stupid whore who was "asking for it."

      This type of double standard is common. And we wonder why so many women don't report rapes.

       

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:15:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For people who don't understand the rape culture.. (26+ / 0-)

        they just have to look at science.  A lot of them simply refuse to believe the statistics that show that 1 in 4 women will be raped at least once in their lifetime - or if they do accept it, they only want to believe that there's this tiny number of men out there doing these huge numbers of rapes.

        Here's the reality.  Koss (1988) found a 8% rate of rapists in the college male population.  Lisak & Miller found a 6% in college males.  McWhorter found a 13% rate in Navy inductees.  These are DAMNED DISTURBING numbers.  These are just the people who have committed a rape,. let alone the 25% who think rape is acceptable if the woman asks the guy out, if the guy pays for a date, or if the woman goes back to his room (Muehlenhard, Friedman & Thomas, 1985), or the 33% who said they'd commit rape if they could get away with it (Malamuth, 1985).  This doesn't even cover the percent who may not approve but readily turns a blind eye to it and plays it down.  

        Your average rape-culture denier's first instinct will be to ask, how could you possibly study how common rape is in the general population - who would admit to a rape?  Well, it turns out it's surprisingly easy to find out if you simply don't use the word rape and just describe various sexual situations that are rape. Most rapists are quite proud of what they see as their "sexual conquests" and don't see anything wrong with their "sex by whatever means" approaches.

        To reiterate: about 10% of young men have raped someone.  That's just young men (the percentage can only rise with age), but let's just pretend it's all men.  Stop and think about that.  Go onto Facebook.  Take all the men on your list.  Count them and divide by ten.  At a minimum, approximately that many of your male facebook friends have raped someone.  You can go into conniptions for a while trying to guess at who, but it's what the data says.

        The rate of rape and acceptance of rape in society is simply outright disturbing.  And until people learn to admit the scale of the problem, it will never be effectively combatted.

        And concerning "effectively combatted", stop and think about this.  Studies show that about one in four women will be raped at least once, and about 10% of the young male population has raped.  Compare that with what percentage of people actually end up in jail for rape.  Really drives home the "most victims don't report, and only a single-digit percentage of those reported end up with a conviction" aspect, doesn't it?  The basic fact is that vast numbers of people are raping and getting away with it scott-free.

        And that's known as rape culture.

        ---

        One minor correction to the diary.  It's a common statement that "people don't rape for sex, they rape for power".  But actually, that's not what the science says.  There've been nearly a dozen studies that show that most rapists have no preference between consensual and nonconsensual sex.  They simply find nonconsensual sex the easiest to acquire.

        •  That's interesting (8+ / 0-)
          But actually, that's not what the science says.  There've been nearly a dozen studies that show that most rapists have no preference between consensual and non-consensual sex.  They simply find non-consensual sex the easiest to acquire.
          but, without reading the studies, we have no way of knowing if the 'power' motivation is incorrect or even if the  studies you cite were examining motivation. 'No preference' between consensual and non-consensual sex is, to my mind, not a motivation, it's just an expression of contempt. Why not simply masturbate?
        •  I agree that rape is a major problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HiBob

          and needs to be addressed, but I simply haven't encountered any acceptance of it in the general culture. Granted, that's probably partly a consequence of the company I keep, since I've never been in a frat or on a sports team and, in fact, have few male friends. However, going by the messages I get from the media (i.e. "culture"), the attitude that "she was asking for it because she was acting like a slut" is something that's always held up to ridicule and disapproval. Of course, it's possible for a "rape culture" to exist alongside an "anti-rape culture" in a society. I just personally have never heard anyone in public express those ideas that are accepting of (certain kinds of) rape without getting immediately blasted for it from all sides. And going on to lose elections. Again, I'm going by my own experience, which is limited.

          To summarize, everything you've posted is correct, a large number of men commit rapes and too many of them get away with it, but you have not shown that there is a pro-rape bias in culture. Probably a good way to find out would be to do a study of jurors at rape trials where the defendant was acquitted and see how many give "she was asking for it" as a reason for voting to acquit.

          •  Meanings (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            La Gitane, TiaRachel, qofdisks, DvCM

            I think many of us haven't defined our terms.  The best thing to come out of a conversation like this is the way we bring about some understanding of each other.

            I don't believe I, myself, used the term "pro-rape."  I suppose anyone who believes that a woman ever "has it coming to her" could be said to be pro-rape.

            By now after reading all these comments, I am thinking of three terms: Rape, rape, and culture.  There's a culture, it's an atmosphere, a substance of our minds, attitudes and activities in this country.  That culture lends itself to the growth of certain behaviors.  Rape with an upper case R doesn't occur in a vacuum.  It grows out of a culture.  Clamping down on Rape is only the beginning.  Many of us (men and women) would like to get the (lower case r) rape out of the culture.

            •  Well, let's start with what we can agree on. (4+ / 0-)

              1) Rape is an acute problem that needs to be addressed. It includes not only violent rape by a stranger, but any situation where consent is not given, or is withdrawn.
              2) There are still people around who will make excuses for rape in certain cases, i.e. when the woman was dressed provocatively.

              If you want to define culture as any point of view that exists within a society, then you can say there is a rape culture, but then I would suggest that we are already combating these attitudes. Yes, rape can be difficult to prosecute, and I can readily imagine that some rapists get off because of sexist jurors, as I said in my post above. I am just not ready to assume that the attitude is prevalent at this point in time (as it definitely used to be). I guess, as someone who has been exposed to the "no means no" message repeatedly, I have a hard time believing that there is still a significant number of people who haven't been. I am willing to be proven wrong, but would like to see some polls or something as evidence. I think the culture has been changing in the right direction on this and is continuing to do so.

              •  I think calling it (8+ / 0-)

                a "rape culture" may be a little too hyperbolic, but I understand where the diarist wants to go.

                Because when women are not seen as having full autonomy over their own bodies, the rape is already happening.
                This is a huge symptom of the problem.  Women are still seen as objects, vassals, baby incubators, "trophies", or property.  Whether it's politics or popular culture, we are inundated with portrayals of women as vulnerable victims, either not pretty and young enough or too pretty for their own good, constantly being judged.

                Until women have full equality with men, I'm afraid the "rape culture" (for lack of a better term) will continue.  We need to teach our sons that women are equals deserving of just as much respect as their fellow male buds.  And hell, teach young women to fight for that respect as well instead of cultivating these self-loathing "feminists" like Palin and Bachmann that do us no favors at all.

                "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

                by La Gitane on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 11:02:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Have you been in a situation where rape is (4+ / 0-)

                discussed in the actual rather than the theoretical? I think it's going to be very rare to find people who don't know the right things to say about rape. I'd wager a lot of people even think they believe it. But that doesn't mean they really do.

                A personal anecdote to illustrate (trigger warnings for explicit discussion of sexual assault and rape denialism):

                In college,  one of my teammates (track) was accused of rape by two women on his dorm room floor. My coach defended my teammate by stating that a man can never force oral sex because a woman is in the power position--all she has to do is bite down to resist and she's fine.

                Now that may seem like a logical statement; at the time I actually thought so. But as an older, more educated person, I know that's rape culture talking right there. It's claiming that there is one obvious way to react when being raped and that way is to violently resist. This ignores that many people freeze or disassociate rather than fight. Women in particular are socialized against violent resistance. It also ignores that violent resistance can factually escalate a situation and women are trained to think of ourselves as physically weaker then men--often ironically by anti-rape lectures (which is one of the many, many problems with the "teach women to keep themselves safe" approach to decreasing rape).

                I do not know whether my teammate was guilty or innocent. In his version of the story, there were two sexual encounters that proceeded from explicit, positive consent. But I do know that any person who heard my coach make the statement and all of us seem to agree to it would feel that much less empowered to report a sexual assault if coercion, intimidation, or other forms of non-physically violent actions were the means of assault and any potential rapist would feel that much more empowered that rape is only really rape if it involves physically overpowering the other person.

                Heck, if you feel like Googling, you can read the controversy over Alyssa Royse's article in The Good Men Project in which she defends her friend-the-admitted-rapist (so no questions about doubt) with very common victim blaming language. Royse is a rape victim's advocate! She certainly doesn't believe she supports rape culture. She thinks she writers and argues against it (and maybe in most points in her life, she does) But when push came to shove and someone she was friends with raped someone she wasn't close to, she sided with her friend. If you want to do that, I recommend starting with either Feministes' takedown of the piece or Yes Means Yes' simply because Royse and the other editors of GMP are very conversant with the language of consent culture and if you're not (i.e. if the phrase "consent culture" doesn't mean anything to you), it may be easy to miss how problematic what Royse is really writing is. She uses a lot of rhetorical sleight of hand to try to hide that her piece boils down to conventional victim blaming and rape excusing.

                •  Try this. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  madhaus

                  "Okay, bitch, see these fists? You're going to do exactly as I say, or I'll smash your face to bits. You think you'll look good without any teeth? No? Then do as you're told.  Got that? Good!"

                  We tell people confronted with muggers not to resist, to just hand over their wallet, because the mugger might hurt them.

                  But women? If they don't fight, f they're not cut, bruised or battered, they must have "wanted it."  

                  Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                  by Sirenus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:34:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Both a rapist and his victim were in my class (5+ / 0-)

              I was a prof for an intro undergrad science course at my university ca. 2000.  A frat party (with prohibited alcohol served) had been reported in the campus newspaper as the site of an "alleged" rape a couple of weeks back.  One of my female students approached me for help with her next exam.  The presence of the rapist in my class -- a man whose name she did not reveal -- was proving very difficult for her.  The campus police had (no surprise!) decided not to pursue her complaint -- or the infractions associated with the party itself, only 1/2 block from the police HQ.  On top of that, her parents were both accusing her of "asking for it" by being near the frat in the first place.  Her having been sober didn't seem to matter to the campus cops, the rapist, her parents, or the several who had witnessed the assault.

              Imagine having to attend class twice each week for the remaining two months of the semester with the very man who'd assaulted her; yet she attended every class.  Imagine how much strength it took for her to tell anyone -- in this case, a female stranger -- about it and then ask for help.  Imagine the possibility that I could have responded just as her parents had, leaving her even more traumatized than before.  To this day, I cannot fathom the inner steel that allowed her to take that risk.  I simply wouldn't have been able to do it.  

              Her average had been a mid-B to that point, so we made alternate arrangements that allowed her to finish my course, and she maintained her grade.  After that semester ended, I never saw her again.

              In my decades as a prof, I intervened with two young men having intense suicidal ideation; I drove all my night students back to their individual parked cars; and I held her secret.

              One in four women is sexually assaulted in her life?  Statistically that's relatively impersonal unless you are that one, or unless you know that one.

              So many of us are part of that 25%, or could easily have been.

              Yeah, there's a vibrant rape culture, and we're living in it.

              (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

              by argomd on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:54:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Rape Conviction very Low Everywhere (6+ / 0-)

            There have been numerous studies done showing that it is very difficult to get a rape conviction. Currently a study about the UK's very low conviction rate is making headlines.

            The problem is not that rape is considered acceptable behavior. Of course most people think it is horrible and rapist should be punished. The problem is that when people hear a specific account about rape,especially in a Courtroom,  in general they find it very hard to believe that what is being described constitutes rape.

            And even when they are convicted it gets overturned.

            http://rt.com/...

            http://www.independent.co.uk/...

            •  Well, they say they're against rape (9+ / 0-)

              and of course it's so horrible and nobody should ever go through it and rapists should have their balls cut off and get thrown in prison with the proverbial "Bubba" as a cellmate -- or hey, death penalty, even! -- and yadda yadda yadda.  All of that is very easy to say.

              But then you scratch the surface and -- as you say -- when it comes to any given woman, any individual case, people come out of the woodwork with umpty-million reasons why it may not have been rape.  Maybe it wasn't that bad.  Maybe he was set up.  And why did she do this and why didn't she do that, and oh my god I just want to scream.

              So what do women hear?  Oh yeah, rape is horrible.  Terrible.  Worst crime in the world even.  But if I am raped?  There will be a whole chorus of voices out to say it ain't so.  I will not be believed.  It's just going to make it worse to even say anything about it.

              That's what women hear, and we have all the evidence in the world to back us up.  So when some guy comes along and says "of course rape is horrible, BUT ..."  Well forgive us if we are just a tad bit dubious about it.

              •  "Reasonable doubt" (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HiBob, DarthMeow504, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                Everyone is entitled to a trial in front of a jury of their peers. The adversarial nature of the process is unfortunate but necessary. You are talking about ruining someone's life and throwing them in prison. In order for that to be done under color of law, the offense has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Many such cases are he said / she said with a lot of alcohol present and only the participants as witnesses (often there are even more confounding factors like a prior sexual relationship between the two people, or no or equivocal physical evidence).

                I don't know about you, but if I am going to ruin someone's life under color of law, I want to be damn sure I understand what happened in the incident. I'm not sure if one person's unsupported testimony would be enough in some cases.

                So we can assume that the low conviction rate is a cultural bias against women, or we can acknowledge that prosecution of these cases is hindered by the above factors. Maybe it's a little of both.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:55:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Why do you doubt a woman (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, crose, Janet 707, Donkey Hotey

                  when she tells you she was sexually assaulted.  When you do not doubt a man who tells you he was physically assaulted.

                  I am not talking about the law here, don't give me reasonable doubt or presumption of innocence or any of that other derailing BS.  I'm talking about how people treat people.  How people talk about people.

                  •  I am primarily concerned with the law (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dr Swig Mcjigger

                    Whether or not I personally believe any particular side of cases like these is (must be!) very focused on the particulars of the case in question.

                    It seems silly to generalize to all or most cases. In some cases I find the accuser more credible, in some cases the accused.

                    In some (many?) cases I reserve judgment because I know too little of the facts at hand to make a call.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 02:35:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  If you're a juror, you're supposed to doubt (3+ / 0-)

                    everything.

                    Presume everything to be false, unless, and only unless, the evidence forces you to conclude otherwise.

                    Regardless of the charges you're tasked with evaluating.

                    Justice demands no less.

                    --Shannon

                    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                    by Leftie Gunner on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:42:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So you think the legal standard for doubt... (0+ / 0-)

                      ... for capital crimes is the same as the one for petty theft?  There are many possible legal standards for doubt one can use - reasonable suspicion, reason to believe, probable cause, credible evidence, substantial evidence, preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, and beyond a shadow of a doubt.

                      Of course people always deserve the premise of "innocent until proven guilty".  Of course it falls to the state to prove someone's guilt instead of them having to prove their innocence*.  But there's a good debate to be had about what the standard of "doubt" to be used by the jury for different kinds of crimes can be, and all the evidence in the world that due to cultural biases, it's way too high concerning rape.

                      * There are a couple exceptions in British law at least that I think are fair, in that the state still has to prove specific circumstances, but once those circumstances are proven, the burden can shift to the defendant.  For example, in rape cases, if the state can prove that the situations were one of several categories where the concept of consent being present are exceedingly unlikely, the burden then shifts to the defendent to prove that consent was given.

                      •  These standards you cite (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sparhawk

                        are for different stages of a criminal proceeding. There is logically, a lesser standard to make an arrest, get an indictment, obtain a search warrant etc. then there is to convict a person, possibly depriving them of their liberty and permanently stigmatizing them with a criminal conviction record.

                        •  Not true. (0+ / 0-)

                          Different courts use different standards.  For example, civil trials in the US have the standard, "preponderance of the evidence" to get a conviction.  It varies country to country as well.  There is no one single standard that must always be used in every country, in every court, for every accusation, as ruled by God from on high.  The selection of a standard of doubt is a process of balancing the rights of the accused and the likelihood of their wrongful conviction with the public interest in preventing harm to the community.

                          And I think that it's pretty damned obvious that in the case of rape, this balance is all out of whack.

                          •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk

                            You don't get convictions in civil trials.  You get liability, which is why you get a lower standard. In civil cases, you are dealing primarily with monetary damages or perhaps determination as to ownership of property. No one will go to jail or sentenced to death in civil cases, which is why we can have that lower, easier to establish burden of proof. In civil cases, it is always beyond a reasonable doubt with very good reason.  

                          •  Who cares what it's called? (0+ / 0-)

                            It's a different standard of doubt for a different type of trial where the balance of interests is different, which is thus proof that all kinds of trials need not have the same burden of proof.  In fact, in some types of US civil trials, the burden shifts from "preponderance of the evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence".  And there's been a push for the standard in capital criminal cases to be "beyond a shadow of a doubt".

                            And in case you didn't notice, the US isn't the only country on the Earth with the only judicial system on Earth.  I already gave the example of the shifting burden of proof in the English judicial system.   Do I need to go into more countries?

                            To reiterate: There is no inherent reason that rape trials must use the same legal doubt standard as, say, a murder trial.  Bring it back to first principles here: what is the purpose of a trial?  Why do we choose the rules and standards that we do?  When take from a basic perspective, one can clearly see that the current standard is failing the basic principles of a functioning judicial system on the side of protecting the public interest.  This warrants reform.

                          •  The legal system for one (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk, burlydee

                            More to the point, if you are going to pontificate on our legal system and how it should be changed, you ought to at least understand how it works.
                             As for this:

                            And in case you didn't notice, the US isn't the only country on the Earth with the only judicial system on Earth.  I already gave the example of the shifting burden of proof in the English judicial system.   Do I need to go into more countries?
                            I've noticed. We've been through this before. I don't care about other legal systems. We have ours. It isn't perfect, but it does work and is better than most that exist or ever have existed. Going into more countries is irrelevant,since we are dealing with our system. There are other countries were men can legally marry ten year old girls, where the right to divorce is not reciprocal and where woman can be executed for adultery.
                            To reiterate: There is no inherent reason that rape trials must use the same legal doubt standard as, say, a murder t
                            rial.  
                            Yes there is. It is called due process of law, part of which is to ensure that the accused have a right to a fair trial and the overall theory of limited government whereby it ought to be difficult for the government to put an individual in prison, possibly for life, for conviction of a crime. If we use beyond a reasonable doubt for the ultimate crime, murder, we certainly should use it for rape.
                          •  Reasonable doubt about rape (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            madhaus

                            Men and women differ about what constitutes reasonable doubt in rape cases.  In rape cases, I am guessing that proof and legality is skewed toward a male's understanding of what goes on between men and women, and possibly without any understanding or sympathy for the idea that a woman is having a completely different experience than the man.

                          •  I don't know that this is true (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk

                            Males on juries have voted to convict men of rape and women have voted to acquit. I've never seen any evidence that what you suggest is true
                            Of course, men and women, blacks, whites, young and old might have different opinions about what constitutes reasonable doubt on any number of matters. That's part of the system and we can't change this by tinkering with a bedrock principle of justice in our country. I am still not seeing any reason why a particular type of defendant should be stripped of one of the most fundamental protections in our criminal judicial system.

                          •  Of course (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dr Swig Mcjigger, madhaus
                            Of course, men and women, blacks, whites, young and old might have different opinions about what constitutes reasonable doubt on any number of matters.
                            I agree.

                            But you are overlooking my premise that our society (and our justice system) is skewed toward a male experience of the world.  How much of Women's experience of the world do you suppose has informed the history of jurisprudence?

                          •  That is a fair point (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FrenchUltramarine, Sparhawk

                            a lot, probably almost exclusively at the beginning. But its also true that this has changed a great deal as well and will continue to do so, it is to be hoped. Society is changing and you are in fact getting prosecutions and convictions in cases that you would not have gotten not all that long ago. I expect that this trend will continue as society evolves. Men's understanding of the issues is part of it as is getting more female judges, prosecutors, and leglislators.

                          •  Got it. (0+ / 0-)
                            We've been through this before. I don't care about other legal systems. We have ours. It isn't perfect, but it does work and is better than most that exist or ever have existed. Going into more countries is irrelevant,since we are dealing with our system.
                            Got it.  America is the bestest and greatest land that ever existed, and no need to see what all of those idiot foreigners are doing, and no need to change anything because hey it's worked fine for me and my kind in ages past.!

                            Hint: that philosophy you're espousing is known as "conservatism".

                            If we use beyond a reasonable doubt for the ultimate crime, murder, we certainly should use it for rape.
                            If the "reasonable doubt" standard is convicting 70% of murderers and 5% of rapists, clearly they should NOT be using the same standard.
                          •  Or to put it another way, if we treated murder (0+ / 0-)

                            cases the way we treated rape cases, the prosecution would have to face the burden of proof to prove that the murder victim did not in fact want to be killed, and the jury would be highly disbelieving of this fact and readily convinced that the victim "asked to die".

                          •  No (0+ / 0-)

                            Because you can't consent to being murdered. You can consent to having sex. They are two very different crimes, but the burden of proof the prosecution has to meet is the same for good reason.

                          •  You can't *legally* consent to be murdered. (0+ / 0-)

                            But that just means that you're using the existing law to argue that the law must be the way it is.  It's a circular argument.  My whole point was that the default assumptions for whether someone was murdered are so much lower than for rape.

                •  But a rape culture (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Donkey Hotey, madhaus

                  attacks the victim in order to destroy her credibility, recognizing that credibility is essential to the charge.  It's why sex shaming is vital for a rape culture to exist.

                  It's a circle.  Being a slut makes you a bad person, which makes you untrustworthy, which means you could be lying about rape, which means you probably wanted to have sex, which makes you a slut . . .

            •  Every rape is unique like a snowflake. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Yep (9+ / 0-)

          I've always had a problem with this.  While I shudder when idiots liken rape to sex, I do think that there is definitely a sexual component.  To say that it is a crime motivated solely by power and control is simply not accurate, in my experience or others that I know of.

          Another unfortunate result of repeating this common meme is that it lets many men off the hook who see themselves as maybe having "taken advantage" of a woman or two, but they're not sociopaths or control freaks....

          IMO, this view only feeds into the "legitimate" vs "illegitimate" rape myth.  "Legitimate" would be the violent, criminal aggressor who wants to control the woman, while "illegitimate" is the guy who just wanted to get laid and, well, she happened to be a little drunk....

          Since we of course want to address the latter as rape, then we have to accept that there is plenty of sexual aggression that arises out of sexual desire and opportunity.  It's important to address this because we obviously STILL have a huge problem in our society with men understanding that nothing but explicit, conscious verbal consent counts as consent.

          We still have a long way to go, and getting these cavemen out of prominent public leadership positions is a number one priority.

          "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

          by La Gitane on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:51:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are their other traits that go with rapist? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          insaneliberal

          My sense is that being a rapist is not an isolated trait. We are probably not talking about guys who are otherwise awesome individuals but just have this one tiny flaw which leads them to view rape as acceptable behavior. For the most part, these are unpleasant people with a whole host of behaviors that make them someone to be avoided. The problem is that rape is something that is fairly easy to get away with, unlike say, beating up strangers in a bar, so is it the outlet of choice for certain personality types.

          It doesn't surprise me that 10% or more of men are rapist, because there are at least that many men wandering around that are just in general amoral and have no concern for anything or anyone. So unless we are talking about addressing the early life environments that increase the odds of shaping the kind of personality that perceives rape as acceptable, I don't think there is much to be done about the number of potential rapist.

          What we can do is work to make rape the kind of crime that would-be-rapist actually feel concerned about going to jail over. Right now it is way too casual a crime for many men, something akin to going over the speed limit, then something that they really think about the consequences to them if caught.

          •  It's a nice thought, but (5+ / 0-)

            everything from anecdote to studies shows that many men who rape -- not just the ones who'll admit to 'rape', but who do (& often admit to doing) things like "taking advantage of" a drunk women, pushing things a bit too far, etc. Engaging in non-consensual sex, basically -- these men are often 'just guys.' Even, y'know, nice guys -- except for the using a woman for their own sexual pleasure regardless of her opinion on the topic, rather than sharing pleasure with her. (Some of the studies/articles linked above discuss this stuff.)

            These men look like nice guys. They might be popular, might be genial, might be pleasant to talk to. What they are not, is social outcasts. (Though it's not unusual for women to feel uncomfortable about a guy when other men see nothing wrong with him. But, unless you've got a critical mass of women who are comfortable asserting their perceptions even when challenged by male opinions/'general knowledge', those feelings often stay internalized.)

            That's the problem with rape culture -- it's so endemic, so much a part of the way the social world is made up, that it isn't limited to just the sociopaths. It's not just that one person's impulse that's happening, it's an entire culture that supports (& builds) that desire.

            •  Yep--you nailed it. No one wants to believe that (6+ / 0-)

              their best buddy they watch the game with, would do such a thing.
              And the nice genial guy that hurts women? He isn't going to display his tendencies for other men usually. I mean that would just be weird.

              So what it is, you are getting two faces of one person. One is Mr Cool Popular Dude with his buddies hanging out and being generous,

              And the other is the thing that lies beneath when he is alone with a woman whom he perceives as available or vulnerable. And he knows he has it made. In the regular world he is Mr Cool Genial Guy--no one is going to believe this slut over him. And sometimes he is absolutely right, no one is going to be able to marry these two perceptions of one person together.

              Those two worlds rarely meet. So you can have men and women having completely different discussions and perceptions of the same person.

              •  yes. this. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DvCM, GreenMother

                Thanks GreenMother.  You put words to something I have always felt and not been able to articulate.

                •  This is an unfortunate lesson I had to learn, and (0+ / 0-)

                  so I will teach it to as many other women as possible. It's not that we don't know this--it's just that sometimes the shock and the horror and all the other emotions make it difficult sometimes to verbalize what we go through.

                  I have had decades to reflect on this.

              •  People are lousy judges of character (0+ / 0-)

                But that doesn't change the fact that the guys who rape women are terrible human beings in general. The kind of guy who can do something so terrible to another human being has something really broken inside. The problem is that there are far more terrible people out there then people want to acknowledge and many of them may present as otherwise perfectly Ok guys. Teaching someone not to rape is not like teaching someone not to pirate DVDs. It is not simply a matter of learning that the behavior is wrong. A rapiest is someone who doesn't give a shit about hurting someone else is they think they can get away with it. It is insult to all of the decent and kind men out there to suggest it is just a guy thing that an otherwise nice make will engage in because it is acceptable.

            •  It's entirely possible for a person to be popular (0+ / 0-)

              and still be someone who really cares for nothing but what he wants.

              The world if full of charming, personable people that everyone likes....except those who know them very, very well. I have two relatives like this. "Fun" to be with, life of the party, huggers, just delightful....until you get between them and what they want. Then the ugliness shows up. I don't even bother to tell people about how these two really are....they simply don't believe me. (My stepmother was a big fan of one of them--thought she was wonderful--until a situation arose that showed the manipulator's true personality. Shocked the hell out of my stepmother.)

              The truly great manipulators in this world are almost always charming and charismatic, enough to make people believe what they say, and help them get what they want.

              Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

              by Sirenus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:44:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you, Rei, (0+ / 0-)

          for addressing the still prevalent idea that rape is not a crime of sex but a crime of control. Actually rape is all about sex and access to sex. When you consider that the biological imperative for males is to have sex and spread genetic material and that they can do this anytime, it is not a far step to understand why rape occurs. If 33% in the Malamuth survey said they would rape if they could get away with it, it looks very much like a crime of access.

          BTW, Rei, you have convinced me of Julian Assange's culpability in the Swedish rape situation and I commend you for your fact-finding.

          •  It's pretty basic folks. It's about both. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrenchUltramarine

            The rapist wants something. Because it will give him a kick, a thrill, it will feel good.

            And what he wants, he should have. No matter what.

            Sex....and power.

            Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

            by Sirenus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:48:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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