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

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  •  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?  

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