Sunday, June 19, 2005

Rape and Woman Hating Behaviors

It's the same tired debate which is why I haven't talked much about the young woman missing from Aruba, who is now almost certainly dead. How about the hundreds of other women that disappear each week under the same circumstances that we don't hear about?

And of course, this kind of talk brings out the crazy woman-haters who feel they need to post hateful crap that misses the much larger issue.

Take the latest post at Feministe for example. The first commenter isn't making a lot of sense and seems too busy apologizing for disagreeing that the true meaning their comment is lost.

Feministe linked to another article that gave the whole post written by another blogger, Creek Running North. It's good stuff so go read. There is also a commenter of that post who seems to have missed the entire point.

Because what those who blame the victim fail to realize is: the rapist is just as much at fault for his conscious decision to rape and/or murder a woman simply because she is a woman. In fact, I think the rapist is completely to blame so scratch that earlier thought. A woman could be walking down the street, on her way into the club at the corner, but that doesn't give the man who lurks in the alleyway she has to cross in front of the license to rape her.

I remember when Beverly Hills 90210 was finally hitting their show's finale and Kelly was raped on her way to meet Dillon at a bar in order to save him from his alcholic fate. They did a bad job convincing me Kelly was really raped, but they didn't allow her to wallow in pity and suffer through a horrific trial either. Of course she ended up choosing Dylan in the next couple of shows and the rape was forgotten, but my point is that even 90210 tried addressing the issue (yes, I was one of those suckers but sometimes you can't help yourself).

Commentors on the threads have also been comparing rape to muggings, carjackings, etc. Wtf? The two are like apples and oranges. So yet again I feel the need to bring out the short story called, "The Rape of Mr. Smith." Read it for yourself, it's that good and makes a great point.

"The Rape" of Mr. Smith

This small piece is so clear on the injustices – legal, cultural, and attitudinal – that are visited upon women who are victims of rape that it is used everywhere – women’s studies courses, in rape crisis centers, in training seminars for police and social workers – yet no one seems to know its origin.

It must be remembered that we are all subject to rape: those who have been raped, those who may be raped and therefore have their lives altered, and those who are related to the victims of rape.

The law discriminates against rape victims in a manner which would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the following example, a holdup victim is asked questions similar in form to those usually asked a victim of rape.

"Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of 16th & Locust?"


"Did you struggle with the robber?"


"Why not?"

"He was armed."

"Then you made a conscious decision to comply with his demands rather than to resist?"


"Did you scream? Cry out?"

"No. I was afraid."

"I see. Have you ever been held up before?"


"Have you ever given money away?"

"Yes, of course – "

"And did you do so willingly?"

"What are you getting at?"

"Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given away money in the past – in fact, you have quite a reputation for philanthropy. How can we be sure that you weren’t contriving to have your money taken from you by force?"

"Listen, if I wanted – "

"Never mind. What time did this holdup take place, Mr. Smith?"

"About 11 p.m."

"You were out on the streets at 11 p.m.? Doing what?"

"Just walking."

"Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street that late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?"

"I hadn’t thought about it."

"What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?"

"Let’s see. A suit. Yes, a suit."

"An expensive suit?"

"Well – yes."

"In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think you were asking for this to happen, mightn’t we?"

"Look, can’t we talk about the past history of the guy who did this to me?"

"I’m afraid not, Mr. Smith. I don’t think you would want to violate his rights, now, would you?"

Naturally, the line of questioning, the innuendo, is ludicrous – as well as inadmissible as any sort of cross-examination – unless we are talking about parallel questions in a rape case. The time of night, the victim’s previous history of “giving away” that which was taken by force, the clothing – all of these are held against the victim. Society’s posture on rape, and the manifestation of that posture in the courts, help account for the fact that so few rapes are reported.

We don't examine vitcims of robbery like we do victims of rape. A woman who has been raped doesn't need a grand inquisition, she needs someone who believes her, mainly the judicial system. However, the "American Society" tends to blame the woman full force, including the young woman whom Kobe Bryant purportedly raped. One of the biggest wins claimed by the defense was allowing her past sexual history to be included in the trial, including the supposed fact she had sex the night before and the morning after the incident with Bryant.

Do we need anymore proof?

by Adrienne Rich

There is a cop who is both prowler and father;
he comes from your block, grew up with your brothers,
had certain ideals
you hardly know him in his boots and silver badge,
on horseback, one hand touching his gun.

You hardly know him but you have to get to know him,
he has access to machinery that could kill you.
he and his stallion clop like warlords among the trash,
his ideals stand in the air, a frozen cloud,
from between his unsmiling lips.

And so, when the time comes, you have to turn to him,
the maniac’s sperm still greasing your thighs,
your mind whirling like crazy. You have to confess
to him, you are guilty of the crime
of having been forced.

And you see his blue eyes, the blue eyes of all the family
whom you used to know, grow narrow and glisten,
his hand types all the details
and he wants them all
but the hysteria in your voice pleases him best.

You hardly know him, but now he thinks he knows you:
he has taken down your worst moment
on a machine and filed it in a file.
He knows, or thinks he knows, how much you imagined;
he knows, or thinks he knows, what you secretly wanted.

He has access to machinery that could get you put away;
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
and if, in the sickening light of the precinct,
your details sound like a portrait of your confessor,
will you swallow, will you deny them, will you lie your
way home?

I'm sure many other bloggers have talked about this same issue ad naseum and I feel no need to keep reiterating a very simple fact: Men Can Stop Rape, too, by controlling those "natural" urges. Women don't tease men into an erection anymore than men seeing elephants having sex tease them into one. The erection is the only natural response begat by sexual organs. What we do with that horniness thus becomes a conscious decision to do something about it. That is when many men make the conscious decision to rape a woman and there is absolutely nothing natural about it.