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View Diary: NO! Pandering to the Rape Culture. (264 comments)

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  •  Probably some truth in this diary (14+ / 0-)

    though most of it is lazily overstated. I'm not for exaggeration as a argumentation tactic, because it indicates to me an unwillingness to take on the situation as it exists in reality.

    For instance, these two statements, found in back to back sentences, are not true:

    If she is showing even an inch of skin, then she is dressed too provocatively.  It’s always about the woman and NEVER about the man.
    There is a strong argument to be made against the culture that says that women are "asking" for rape by dressing provocatively, but let's deal with that reality rather than the false one you're presenting in the statement above.

    And no matter how much you capitalize the word NEVER, it's not true. It's probably true that our culture is not nearly as evolved on the issue of rape as it needs to be, but there are many times when rape is about the man. Our society is odd in a way - in some cases, it focuses too much scrutiny on the victim, in others, it convicts the rapist before he ever sees a trial. This is reality. It's far more complex than the false reality you've presented above.

    Also, I have major problems with this:

    Our legal system is just an extension of the rape culture, losing rape kits, grilling rape victims about their pasts
    Losing rape kits is irresponsible and preventable. No qualms with you about that. But your second complaint about the legal system is bunk, to be honest.

    "Grilling" rape victims is how the legal system works. The rape victim and her testimony is evidence. And evidence deserves scrutiny. Rape victims are witnesses. And witnesses deserve to have their credibility questioned in a court of law. This is designed to protect the innocent, and it's due process required by the Constitution of the United States.

    If you were ever accused of a rape that you did not commit, you would be glad that a lawyer was able and willing to protect your freedom by asking these HARD questions. Rape sucks. And any culture that glorifies it or protects it is complicit in the proliferation of rape. But the justice system has checks for a reason, and it has a process for a reason. That's because we are rightfully abhorred by the idea of sending innocent people to prison. And the only way to ensure that we don't do that is to ensure that every single person has the chance to use constitutional protections in court.

    "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

    by Grizzard on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:18:40 PM PST

    •  Um, rape victims' pasts have nothing to do with (41+ / 0-)

      a present case. Tarring women as sluts who deserve it is about rape culture and not about "freedoms," unless you consider a freedom to rape with impunity an important right. Seriously, WTF? You can question someone's credibility, but the fact that they've had sex before says nothing about their credibility. Absolutely nothing.

    •  That sounds really nice (31+ / 0-)

      until you get in the real world.  Where a woman's credibility in the eyes of defense lawyers (and as attempted to transfer to the jury) has nothing to do with whether she has a history of falsely accusing people of things to get herself out of a mildly uncomfortable situation and everything to do with how much sex she's had in her life and with whom.  Where the process of getting rapists off the hook plays into every godawful false belief our society has about who commits rape and who is a victim of it, and what rape even is.  Where, in order to believe in that nice fiction about protecting the innocent accused, you have to sacrifice dozens and dozens of actually victimized women -- right down to making each and every one of them out to be the worst kind of liar if she dares to speak up -- for each rapist actually convicted.

      The system does NOT work.

      •  No, it doesn't work 100% of the time. (6+ / 0-)

        It isn't supposed to. Any prosecutor can show you a big stack of unsolved murder cases which will never go anywhere. Not enough evidence, end of story. The system is designed to protect the innocent, not rack up impressive conviction rates.

        You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

        by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:51:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd settle (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madhaus, LSophia, demoKatz, Lonely Texan

          for better than abyssmal.  I'd settle for a woman being by default believed, so that that overwhelming majority of non-reported rapes turns into an overwhelming majority of reported ones.  (Which would, btw, HUGELY reduce the proportion of false accusations, since those are always by their very definition reported.)  Neither thing is ever going to be true if the attitude toward the criminal justice system's failures and outright malignacies is just "oh well, cost of doing business".

          As things stand, at least those unfortunate few men who do run afoul of a psychopathic liar can console themselves with the fact that even real rapists overwhelmingly are not convicted.  Their chances of vindication are excellent.

          •  Why should anyone be believed by default? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, Massconfusion, dizzzave

            That's not how our system works or should work

            •  Why should they be believed by default? (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leaf63, NancyK, Lonely Texan, LSophia

              How about because, while studies range by orders of magnitude on the rate of false rape reportings even the most accused-friendly ones still show more true reports than false ones, and the most accused-friendly show ratios of many dozens to one in terms of true to false reports?

              Yet the rate of convictions is unbelievably abyssmal.

              Here's a fascinating blog entry you may want to read discussing studies on the rate of "undetected rapists" in the general population.  There have been two so far.  The first found that 6 percent of male college students at the college in question had committed rape.  The other found that 13% of Navy enlistees had.  It was a rather clever methodology - basically, they found that rapists will generally gladly confess to rapes if you don't use the word rape in the description, and simply describe sexual situations that are rape.  Most rapists see nothing wrong with what they did, and are often proud of their "sexual conquests by whatever means".

              •  That turns the basic philosophy (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sparhawk, Massconfusion, dizzzave

                of our criminal justice system on its head. Everyone is presumed innocent, including those accused of rape. What you have posted in no way justifies changing this concept.

                •  People make that absurd argument all the time. (5+ / 0-)

                  No, it's not turning "innocent until proven guilty" on its head.  Nobody is saying "call them guilty until they prove they're innocent".  The accused isn't being deprived of their right to vote, their property, their right of movement (unless there's determined to be an imminent threat), or any of the other things that happen with a guilty conviction.

                  There are different standards for achieving a conviction for different types of crimes.  Most civil crimes have the standard "presumption of innocence".  Most criminal crimes have "beyond a reasonable doubt" as the standard.  Some capital crimes have "beyond any doubt" as the standard.  The standard is not always the same.  All people who say that the standard should be changed in rape cases are saying is that the balance between the public interest eradicating an ill and the risk of and seriousness of wrongful convictions is currently poorly balanced on the side of the accused and against the victims, given the absurdly high rate of rapes and absurdly low rate of convictions.

                  Nobody is saying that the accused shouldnt have a trial by their peers.  Nobody is saying that they should be deprived of rights without a conviction.  Nobody is saying that the burden of proof doesn't lie on the state.  All people are staying is that the standard for the particular level of doubt required in this particular type of case is clearly far too friendly to the accused.

                  And dont even get started with the "women falsely accuse all the time and get away with it" nonsense.  One, its false that women falsely accuse all the time, and two, falsely accusing is a serious crime that can itself lead to jailtime.  If clear evidence emerges that there was a deliberate attempt to falsely accuse, then of course they should get tried.  But that is A) not common, and B) completely irrelevant to the question of whether criminals of a major societal plague are getting off the hook because the standard of doubt in their particular type of crime is too high.

                  •  No (0+ / 0-)

                    Sorry, but this is just plain wrong:

                    There are different standards for achieving a conviction for different types of crimes
                    All crimes must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt and there is no such thing as a "Civil crime." In EVERY criminal case, there is a presumption of innocence going into the start of it. Every one.
                    •  There is a such thing as civil law. (0+ / 0-)

                      If you don't believe civil law exists, what the heck do you think OJ Simpson was convicted in after being acquitted in his criminal trial?  Civil law concerns conflicts between individuals - things like tort, breach of contract, etc.  The legal standard for civil law is generally a mere presumption of innocence and not "beyond a reasonable doubt".  On the other hand, capital crimes often have higher standards than "beyond a reasonable doubt".

                      This isn't some radical concept here.  In fact, even presumption of innocence isn't even maintained in some first-world states in rape cases.  For example, in the UK, the prosecution has the burden of evidence to show that the sexual act took place under the details specied, but under some circumstances where consent would appear highly unlikely in such circumstances, after that's been established, the burden can be on the accused to show that the act was consensual.

                      •  I didn't say there was no such thing as civil law (0+ / 0-)

                        There's no such thing as "Civil crimes."  
                        O.J. was never convicted of anything. He was found liable for damages to Fred Goldman in a cilv case. There's no determination of "innocence of guilt" in a civil case, only liability and no, there's no higher criminal burden of proof. It's always "beyond a reasonable doubt" in a criminal case, be it for murder, rape or trespass.

                        I honestly don't care what the U.K. standard is, since my concern was U.S. criminal law. The U.K. has a lot of features in its legal system that I don't think are good ideas.

                •  So if a friend calls to tell you s/he's been (7+ / 0-)

                  robbed, your first response is to interrogate about how much s/he's been drinking, or how s/he's been dressed, or whether s/he's just mad at his/her robber? And you think that's an appropriate line of inquiry for the officer who comes to take the report (assuming your friend feels comfortable pressing charges of course)?

                  Because that's the type of believing survivors that should happen that does not happen. Survivors of sexual assault are routinely disbelieved by friends, acquaintances, police officers, members of the jury. Heck, Feministing recently had a blog post off chronicling the amount of times Dear Prudie encouraged letter writers to not believe their friends about rapes since Prudie was convinced the rapes must really be regretted drunken hook-ups. This is the real. This is rape culture. This is why people do not report rapes. This is why rapists rape repeatedly.

                  It is obscene to have this discussion in a case where there are photographs, tweets, and video that let us know the perpetrators not only raped and humiliated a vulnerable teenage girl but did so with support from their social circle.

                  Also, in reality, people are not presumed innocent prior to conviction. If they were, no one would see the inside of a jail prior to conviction or ever need to post bail. someone like Nancy Grace wouldn't talk about Casey Anthony as the Tot Mom. People are presumed innocent in the sense that the crimes are described as alleged in formal media and jurors are instructed only to consider the evidence presented in a courtroom.

            •  Please distinguish (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              demoKatz, leaf63, Lonely Texan, LSophia

              between legal obligation and ethical obligation.   The legal system is obligated to presume innocence and make the accuser prove her case.  If she can't, she loses.  No one here has a problem with that as such, assuming a non-prejudicial defense.

              Ethically, when it comes to you or me or any other non-legally-obligated individual, I believe we need to TRUST that any given claimed raped victim is overwhelmingly likely to be telling the truth, and relate to her and discuss her case accordingly.  Because any given victim probably is telling the truth, however many "but why did she do THAT" questions can be dreamed up about her story and however uncomfortable her accusations may make you or me or anyone.  We will be right to support her far more often than we will be wrong.  On balance, we will be giving comfort to the right person instead of adding to her burden.

              •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dr Swig Mcjigger, nextstep
                The legal system is obligated to presume innocence and make the accuser prove her case.  If she can't, she loses
                The accuser isn't part of a criminal case at all, except possibly as a witness, and does not 'win' or 'lose' the case.

                The state is the prosecuting party.

                (-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 Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 04:33:02 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  The system doesn't work (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oakborn, skyounkin

        in fact, the state can legally rape you in many states if you want an abortion.

    •  Duke Lacrosse happened. (6+ / 0-)

      You can show me graphs all day about how rare false accusations are, but when you assume guilt you lose all credibility when a case comes along where, not only was there reasonable doubt, it became clear at the end that the young men accused in that case had definitely been railroaded. Rape is a horrific crime, one of the the worst crimes imaginable short of murder. It is frustrating that so few rapists are convicted, but the same is true of many other crimes. Theft happens every minute of every day, how many of those crimes result is a conviction? Protecting the innocent means that often times the guilty get away with their crimes. All that said, I do not believe these guys are innocent. I am as disturbed as anyone that folks are suggesting that the girl is lying or that she is somehow responsible for what happened to her. We live in a very prudish culture, and slut shaming reduces diminishes the humanity of it's target, which is clearly happening here.

      The one other area where I had a problem with the extreme black and white framing of the issue which the author employed is the notion that no one can consent to sex if they are impaired. There are some women who intentionally take drugs such as GHB before sex because it is the only way they can enjoy sex with their partner. Obviously it's different when consent to the drugging (with the understanding that sex is coming after) takes place, that makes consent to what happens after implied. That didn't happen in the case in Ohio, and it rarely does. And of course I would never recommend anyone use GHB in this manner, the risks are obvious. But it does happen, and that has to be considered before we start passing laws saying anyone having sex with someone who maybe had a few drinks is a rapist.

      I saw the sexual assault videos the author described shortly before I got out of the army, and they were an absolute joke. I'm sure the people behind them had the best intentions, but if we're going to court martial every male soldier who ever had sex with a female after they've been drinking, you're going to have to incarcerate half the army. I understand that date rape happens, and it's awful. I understand how frustrating it is that many rapists go unpunished. But this oversimplification of the issue and calls for "zero tolerance" policies won't solve the issue. Frankly, I felt the scenarios presented and the guidance provided was about as realistic as the teen abstinence propaganda that the religious right is so very fond of.

      You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

      by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:46:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please don't compare rape to theft (15+ / 0-)

        it's not remotely comparable in terms of trauma to the victim.  You may as well compare a hangnail to to a lost limb.  Further, the reason that most thefts go unproscecuted has everything to do with the fact that most people who have things stolen from them do NOT know who the thief was and have no realistic way of finding out.

        A sizable majority of rape victims know EXACTLY who raped them, and finding them is as easy as walking next door, or down the street, or down the hall.

        No one doubts the truth of a reported theft for any reason other than a history of graft on the part of the claimed victim.  They don't have their sex lives dragged through the mud to prove that no one could actually have stolen from them.

        Drinking and having sex is different in the extreme from forcing sex on someone who is unconscious or otherwise unable to consent.  Having sex with someone who has consented ahead of time to have sex while sleeping, or while taking drugs, or while tied up, or what the fuck ever, is likewise not rape.  If you TRULY can't see the difference, there is something wrong with you or those you are defending.  No sexual assault prevention program I've ever been exposed to has blurred the line like that; the only people I've ever seen do it are those who are in the process of trying to derail discussions of rape culture by bringing in diversions, distractions, and by dwelling on the grayest of gray areas in lieu of the millions of women who are raped by any definition and will never see justice.

        •  Please don't put words in my mouth. (4+ / 0-)

          I specifically said rape is a horrible crime, one of the worst. Multiple times. The theft remark is merely to point out that crime, even the most mundane crimes, are very difficult to prosecute in an open society.

          I have reached the conclusions that it is simply impossible to have a rational discussion of issues like this on this forum. People are simply too angry about it, and they start lashing out and saying disgusting things like "you think rape is no worse than shoplifting" and then I get angry and just want to tell the person who said to go to hell and it's just no good for anybody.

          So please just stop putting words in my mouth, and if you really think that video is so great, then you go and watch and then tell me how realistic it was. Show me how, if the system really worked that way, large numbers of folks wouldn't get steamrolled by overzealous prosecutors. You can't. Human nature will always get in the way.

          You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

          by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:03:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Got a link for that video? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Naniboujou, LSophia, misslegalbeagle

            I've never seen it.

            I never said you think rape is no worse than shoplifting.  My comment was about the analogy, which I think is crappy and offensive one for more reasons than just the stark difference in severity.

            Emotion and reason can co-exist.

            •  OK. You win. (0+ / 0-)

              Consider my analogy changed. How about murder? Murder happens frequently, and the conviction rate is not especially good. Does murder work better?

              The video is a new sexual assault awareness video the Army made every soldier watch, I saw it during my last official unit training activity. It was just... words fail. Several of the officers who watched it with me all agreed that the different statistics which were hurled at us by the guy giving the presentation seemed to contradict each other and defied credibility.

              As soon as it was over everyone forgot about it. The enlisted guys then proceeded to slap each other in the ass yelling "good game". Inside joke, you had to be there.

              It's sad because this is a serious issue, and it is clear that people are incapable of seeing it for what it is, even when presented with irrefutable video evidence.

              You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

              by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:32:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lonely Texan

                you might want to check your assumptions about murder convictions.

                Queens, 2000

                It's only a few data points, but still.  There is a vast gulf between a 90%-ish conviction rates for accused murderers put on trial and the 30-something percent for rapes.  And keep in mind also that virtually all murders are "reported", while relatively few rapes are; and that most rape victims know exactly who attacked them, while murders rarely have such reliable witnesses.  Both those factors make the rape conviction rate look even worse in comparison.  All told, if you want justice (and don't mind being dead), you're far better off being murdered than raped.

                I'd really love to see that video, get my own opinion on it.  It might be actually over the top, it might just be poorly done, or it could contain truths that people just don't want to hear.  No way for me to know from your description.

                •  Accused being the key word. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  How many actual murders resulted in charges being filed. Prosecutors don't tend to file charges unless they think they have the perp nailed. And that brings us back to the problem with rape accusations. Juries generally don't question whether or not murder victims consented to being shot, stabbed or beaten to death. That part of it pretty fucking obvious. But it takes more than establishing that sex happened in a rape trial, if you can even manage that much. With the infamous Duke Lacrosse case I doubt the accused ever touched their accuser, the evidence certainly didn't suggest that they did.

                  This is all very tiresome, really. People get away with all sorts of crimes for all sorts of reasons. The fact that rape is an especially bad crime doesn't exempt it from this basic fact of life in a liberal democracy. The fact that the act of rape does not often result in a conviction of the person guilty of the crime doesn't tell me that our system is broken. It's doing what it is designed to do, making it hard to deprive someone of their liberty. I guess I just have a problem with the absolute fact that there are untold thousands of innocent people rotting in prisons in the United States, and all anyone seems to want to do is grease the wheels of justice to cram some more in there.

                  The young men in Ohio appear to be guilty as sin. I can't imagine there is a lack of evidence, but they'll get chance to defend themselves. But what I see over and over is people saying that "hey, there are hardly any false accusations so let's just convict all the bastards". I find that a disturbing response to these sorts of news stories. Frankly I feel the system is already heavily slanted in favor or the prosecution and against the accused. We don't need to make it easier to throw people in jail.

                  You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

                  by Eric Stratton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:55:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No one says that there are no false accusations so (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Lonely Texan

                    let's convict everyone. That's ridiculous. The point is that false accusations are not the problem that needs solving for rape anymore than they are the problem that needs solving for murder, assault, or theft. Remember the charges against the Duke Lacross players were dropped. I don't believe it ever went to trial. The system worked exactly as it should for them. Was it fun? No, of course not. But it's just as not fun to be falsely accused of murder or any other crime. It's not unique to rape.

                    What is unique to rape is that when the low rate of convictions comes up in conversations about rape culture, people (predominantly men) leap to the "problem" of false accusations as the real issue. Also unique to rape is how victims are questioned and disbelieved and blamed even in cases where there's photographic evidence or even confessions. Heck, just look at Alyssa Royse's article on the inaccurately named Good Men Project where she admits her friend raped a woman who was passed out but spends the whole article trying to say it wasn't her friend's fault because the woman had flirted with him. And Royse is a freaking rape victim's advocate!

          •  So if we treated theft like we treat rape... (14+ / 0-)

            Man: Hello, I'd like to report a mugging.

            Officer: A mugging, eh? Where did it take place?

            Man: I was walking by 21st and Dundritch Street and a man pulled out a gun and said, "Give me all your money."

            Officer: And did you?

            Man: Yes, I co-operated.

            Officer: So you willingly gave the man your money without fighting back, calling for help or trying to escape?

            Man: Well, yes, but I was terrified. I thought he was going to kill me!

            Officer: Mmm. But you did co-operate with him. And I've been informed that you're quite a philanthropist, too.

            Man: I give to charity, yes.

            Officer: So you like to give money away. You make a habit of giving money away.

            Man: What does that have to do with this situation?

            Officer: You knowingly walked down Dundritch Street in your suit when everyone knows you like to give away money, and then you didn't fight back. It sounds like you gave money to someone, but now you're having after-donation regret. Tell me, do you really want to ruin his life because of your mistake?

        •  That just isn't true (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wednesday Bizzare, Sparhawk

          A lot of activists on the issue of rape argue that it is still rape if the person was "too intoxicated", even if they were conscious and did consent.  (The argument being that they were too intoxicated to give meaningful consent).

          Of course the commenter above agrees that an unconscious person cannot consent (unless they gave advance consent).  They are not disputing that.

          We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

          by RageKage on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:04:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've seen people make that argument (5+ / 0-)

            but never anyone in any position of authority.  And when I have seen it, it is typically brought up in order to forcefully make the point that men should really think twice and three times before they have sex with someone who is really drunk -- because you know, if you do do something to a woman that she can later not remember consenting to and didn't want to happen when in her right mind, it's going to hurt her.  Whether the man "meant" rape or not, it's going to feel like something wrong was done to her.  It's could even fuck her up rather badly, and that's something that no decent person should want to invite.  Err on the side on caution, people.

            Why does every single conversation about rape devolve into a discussion of grayest-of-gray-area edge cases anyway?  Does anyone really get proscecuted for things like this?  Will anyone ever?  I tend to doubt it.  So why even bring it up?

            •  Because they don't want to deal with reality (7+ / 0-)

              The reality is rape culture enables not only rapists, but even the men who never have any intention of raping anyone.  They damned well know it, and they don't want things to change.

              It's same thing with the gun arguments, bring up the most ridiculous edge cases possible and get away from the vast majority of clear-cut crimes that aren't being prosecuted.  The behavior is identical.  Meanwhile we have laws going in to prevent a predicted 25 deaths nationally due to electric cars being too quiet at low speeds.  But 30,000 gun deaths a year, or I don't even know how many unprosecuted, let alone unreported rapes a year, hundreds of thousands, oh nooooo, we CAN'T make those laws tougher.

              •  Yep, it's a way for men to control women (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LSophia, Lonely Texan, demoKatz

                even when men aren't actively participating in it. By condoning it, they ensure that women live in fear of the dominant male culture.

                •  I know men who do not want any woman to have to (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LSophia, madhaus

                  live in fear ever again and unfortunately, I also know rapists.  Between the two is a vast middle, where to differing degrees this certainly appears to be true.  While some Nice Guys tm  in that vast middle do receive some awfully nice benefits from women being afraid all the time.

              •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hmi, LSophia
                The reality is rape culture enables not only rapists, but even the men who never have any intention of raping anyone.  They damned well know it, and they don't want things to change.
                I am, sadly, not very shocked that this abhorrent point of view is represented. I fervently hope that people with this opinion are the minority.

                (-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 08, 2013 at 05:53:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Yes they do get prosecuted for it. (0+ / 0-)

              And I say that from personal experience as a defence lawyer.

              We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

              by RageKage on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 04:44:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                I'm fascinated (no joke).  Someone actually takes such a thing to court and expects to win?  Do they?

                •  Well, at least in my jurisdiction there is an (0+ / 0-)

                  incredible amount of pressure on prosecutors not to drop cases.  Especially sexual assault.  My most recent case where this happened got thrown out of court at the preliminary inquiry.  But not before my client spent thousands of dollars and had this hanging over his head for a year.

                  We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

                  by RageKage on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:26:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  A lot of date rape drugs work... (6+ / 0-)

            by making the victim too woozy to understand what's going on or think straight, and/or giving them amnesia of the events that transpired.  If the standard is "the person must be fully passed out", then date-rape drugs are A-Okay.

            If we can manage standards for how drunk a person has to be to operate a motor vehicle, we can manage standards for how drunk a person has to be to be unable to consent.  And just like not everyone walks around with a breathalizer to tell if they're to drunk to drive because it's obvious if you're in the ballpark, if some girl is so drunk she can't even walk, she's too drunk to consent.  

            •  I really think (6+ / 0-)

              it's a lot more obvious when consent is there, and when not, than most of these arguments accept.  Wherever the legal line is drawn, as a matter of pure human decency it has to be understood that you don't fuck someone if you're not 100%, swear-on-your-mother's life sure that she (or he) wants to be fucked.  Verbal consent or encouragement, physical enthusiasm, and yes, something vaguely resembling a normal state of mind.  The damage done is real when these things are not in place, whether there's any legal remedy or not.  Don't be that guy.  Don't let your friends be that guy either.

              •  Yes, the available research teaches us that the (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LSophia, Lonely Texan

                majority of rapes are committed by people who know exactly what they're doing. They may not consider their act rape, but they know they are taking advantage of someone's diminished physical and mental capabilities to take sex that they would not be able to take if the woman was sober. IMHO, the challenge is that rape culture supports these predators. We've changed culture so that it if it is not common to intervene when someone's too drunk to drive, it's at least not uncommon. We need to change culture so that people intervene when they see someone off with a person who's too drunk to positively consent.

                •  If the standard is: would they have consented if (0+ / 0-)

                  sober (as you seem to be suggesting), I think you are asking for something that is simply out of touch with reality.

                  Just because someone regrets a decision they made to have sex when they were intoxicated cannot mean they did not consent, or that it was an act of rape.  If this was the case, you could have a ridiculous situation were two people get loaded, have sex (and neither would have if sober), and both of them would be guilty of rape.

                  We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

                  by RageKage on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:44:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I'm really tempted to HR this (4+ / 0-)

        A lot of what you're saying is truly offensive.

        Really, how hard is it to ask somebody if they've been drinking and getting back together the next night if they say yes?


        Praxis: Bold as Love

        by VelvetElvis on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:56:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You take issue with "zero tolerance." (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susanala, LSophia, Lonely Texan

        So, tell me...exactly how much tolerance for rape is appropriate?  

    •  I have to totally disagree with you here. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      susans, kyril, madhaus, skyounkin

      How is a woman's past behavior jermaine to her being assualted. Would you ask a robbery victim if he had been robbed before and then blame him because he was robbed twice? Rape is a he said she sadi thing but the weight of proving the truth is the burden that women must bear. It is like domestic abuse used to be. the burden of proof is on victim and often the system turns the perp into the victim.

      My mother taught me no means no. I have never been slapped by a woman. I do not beg for sex. I do not try tp persuade women to do things they do not want to do. I would hate the idea that i wpould embarass myself by forcing myself on someone who does not want to have sex with me. Rape is always wrong and we need to change attitudes like we changed attitudes on domestic abuse and drunk driving.

      I can see my daughter sitting across from me scolding me not to blame the victim but the fact of the matter is that a number of men are untrustworthy. Then deserve neither trust nor respect. And women have to watch out for these types and guard against being assualted. That may mean a self defense course or a swift knee to the family jewels or a can of mace.

      Bing drinking by young women is becoming a very serious problem. A women passed out drunk is in no postion to defend herself against rape. It is still rape and she is still the victim of a crime but better to avoid being assualted than be assualted. This in no way addresses the way a woman chooses to dress or where she chooses to go. To say "well if she had not been dressed that way or not gone there" is to blame the victim. Which is completely wrong.

      But women need to be more proactive about protecting themselves. And men need to be taught to be real gentlemen and understand that if they get told no they need to respect that and have more faith in their masculanity. Being told no is not any cause to prove your manhood. Go take a cold shower. Or watch some porn. But no means no!

      •  How proactive do you expect me to be? (9+ / 0-)

        I've taken several self-defense classes. I know how to throw a punch, get out of holds, and use my keys as a weapon.

        I make sure that I am aware of my surroundings when I walk somewhere. If it's at night or in a neighborhood where I feel unsafe, I either make sure that I'm with a group that includes at least one guy or I take a cab to get where I need to go.

        I carry my drink on to the dance floor to ensure that it's, at the very least, difficult for someone to put a drug in it. I only drink drinks that I've seen made in front of my eyes for the same reason. I make sure that if I do decide to overindulge when not at home, that there is someone I trust, usually a close female friend or my sister, to make sure that I get home safe.

        I rarely wear revealing clothing and quite frankly, depending on what I wear, I look like a guy.

        And yet, in spite of all this, I still know that it's possible for me to be raped.

        My sister's never taken a self-defense class and enjoys wearing short dresses, but follows all the same rules. If she was ever raped, would that mean she hadn't been proactive enough?

        Elimination of rape culture means that women (and men) should feel safe regardless of what measures they may or may not take.

      •  Why should we accept this standard? (13+ / 0-)

        Why should YOU get to go out and drink with your friends without fear, but when WOMEN do it, if they're not doing it in a gaggle while guarding their drinks in a safe and doing blood-alcohol tests at regular intervals while wearing a burqa, hey, they're asking for it

        How is it acceptable to tell people, "the problem is too hard to deal with, so you need to accept living in fear and not enjoying the same activities men can generally enjoy in peace"?

        The problem is not with women.  If the attacker can't get a particular girl, he's just going to get another.  You're not changing the rate, just passing around who the victim is.

    •  probably? (3+ / 0-)

      "It's probably true that our culture is not nearly as evolved on the issue of rape as it needs to be."

      You make valid points about due process etc, but that one innocuous-seeming abverb stands out.

    •  Lazy is a cheap shot. (11+ / 0-)

      I have lived 47 years as a woman on this planet.  Most of that as a feminist.

      I have heard too many stories about women's past sexual histories getting trotted out on the witness stand to be used as evidence against them. There are also plenty of places in this country where rape kits are either hopelessly backed up or the cities don't even know where they are.
      And the non-renewal of VAWA is going to make that worse.

      Our legal system is great on paper, but like so many systems, it gets screwy when people enter the equation.  A rape kit may get done, but if the officers at the "Statesville" PD don't have the funding or desire or staffing to process it, it will sit on a shelf somewhere and may never see the light of day again.  Especially if it's a small department, the manpower to follow up a rape vs. a murder pushes the "lesser" down on the priority list. As a public health nurse, I am supposed to investigate every dog bite in the county I work in, but the deputies look at it as a hassle and they don't take it seriously.  

      You also fail to mention the fear that women live under, for the reasons mentioned in the diary.  Not to say that men are never raped or under fear, but fear rules most womens lives, whether they know it or not. This cuts down on reported rapes, to be sure.

      I hope that as a future lawyer, you go on and do amazing things. But remember the world isn't all puppies and unicorns.

    •  "Rape shield" laws were passed in the mid-70s (12+ / 0-)

      starting in Michigan, and eventually reaching nearly every state and the D of C. These were designed to end the overly aggressive defense tactics used to attack the victim's testimony, because in theory the woman would no longer be vulnerable to attack as a whore, slut, sexually voracious, a liar, etc. etc. if she were anything but a demure virgin. In MI at least, if I recall correctly, it was supposed to be off-limits to introduce any evidence about a woman's previous sexual activity (unless, unfortunately, it involved the perpetrator).

      These laws are still on the books, as I understand it, but they're not as effective in protecting the complainant as they were hoped to be.

      To my mind, since that initial legislation was implemented almost 40 years ago but few revisions have been put into place, it is a sad indication that we have not been able to maintain the ground that we once thought to have gained in changing the basics of "rape culture," one of whose precepts is that the word of the female complainant is always to be doubted and discredited.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:22:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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