“Live Through This”

From The New Inquiry; sex worker Charlotte Shane offers an interesting critique of the modern feminist response to rape, and why she believes that her assaults are “not even in the top five” worst things ever to happen to her:

Insisting that no rape is ever “about” sex but is rather about an individual man acting on a patriarchal mandate to sow terror by exercising “power” does a disservice to us all… Though mugging victims may face sadness and anxiety in the period immediately following their assault, we do not expect them to attend therapy for years or to define themselves by the mugging for the rest of their lives. Somehow, we still manage to recognize armed robberies as a serious crime… The truth is that it does not suit our social narrative to recognize that a woman can be raped and… won’t see herself as a “survivor”… (so much more “empowering” than the word “victim”)…

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Understanding Rapists as Predators

Admin note: **Trigger warning** for the article linked to this post.  

One thing that is often missing from serious discussions of sexual assault on campus is the willingness to see some student perpetrators as criminal predators: repeat sexual offenders who have a method tailored to execute the exact kind of rape that is most likely to be seen as an “unfortunate gray area incident.” Recent studies in criminology, not just victimology, have revealed that this is exactly what happens much of the time. This understanding of rapists as often predatory criminals is an important prerequisite to moving forward in efforts to reduce sexual assault.

Excerpted from the middle:

“It is the modus operandi that keeps the undetected rapist undetected: they correctly identify a methodology that will put them under the protection of the rape culture. They are unlikely to be convicted because the story doesn’t fit the script. In fact, they are unlikely to be arrested because the story doesn’t lead to easy convictions. In fact, they are unlikely to be reported because rape survivors know that the tactics these men use leave them with little real recourse. In fact, these rapists may put the victim in a position where she is so intoxicated or terrified or just isolated and defeated that she never even says “no,” and because the culture overwhelmingly refuses to call these tactics what they are, even the victims themselves may be unable to call it rape for a very long time afterward, if ever.”

http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/25/predator-theory/

The Official Guide to Legitimating Rape

From The Official Guide to Legitimate Rape (or as I like to call it,  How Politicians Attack the Voices and Bodies of Survivors for Political Gain) via Jezebel:

Let’s stop differentiating between different types of rape as if they were different flavors at an ice cream shop. Politicians need to get over the pervasive fear that adopting a zero-tolerance attitude towards rape means that people will be able to disingenuously “cry rape” if they’re having a bad day. That’s not going to happen. You know what’s way more dangerous? Allowing legislators like Akin to make declarative statements that are unarguably false. If you don’t know how basic biology works, you shouldn’t be able to hold a government position that gives you real power over the bodies of millions of women.

Things that aren’t okay: rape metaphors

You know what wasn’t raped? Land that has coal mines on it. Or a tree that has had its limbs trimmed. Or a novel whose new translation you don’t like. Rape metaphors are questionable generally, but right now I am on a rant about the “I care so much about the quality of this object or entity that I think the desecration of it should be likened to rape.” I think this has been bothering me lately because I am home and my dad (who knows I was raped) makes this kind of metaphor often. Also, I have even heard people who consider themselves aware of issues related to rape and sexual assault do this and it pisses me off majorly.

A few things wrong with using rape as a metaphor this way:

1. It is triggering to survivors (and you never know 100% if there is a survivor in your vicinity).
2. It is an incredibly insulting metaphor to survivors. So you mean to tell me that a person after they have been raped has lost some of their value, aesthetic or otherwise (like the land, the tree, the novel, etc.)? Excuse me, but I am still just as attractive and just as valuable as I was before I was raped. Yes, it wounded me (which I assume is why anyone thinks the metaphor is appropriate), but my wounds are not something that should make me any less valued by another person. If you value you me less (like you would value land less after it has coal mines put on it) then you are an asshole.
3. It is trivializing. Yes, it is terrible when people mine on a beautiful landscape or give a novel a bad translation. It is not nearly as terrible as when one person rapes another. It just isn’t.

I really wish I could work up the courage to say this to my dad and other relatives and adults in my life who use this kind of metaphor all the time. I wish I could tell them what I tell friends who are being careless and use a rape metaphor this way, “You mean to tell me that the land is a human with a bodily opening that was nonconsensually penetrated with an object or body part by another human being and that that has something to do with coal mines? Explain, please.”

Chains of oppression: Katie Roiphe, Lena Dunham and the sexual counter-revolution

Via Pennyred

Kink has been part of the sexual menu for so long that it’s hard to pretend anyone is shocked anymore when it turns up on the table. The practice of male masochism, for example, has become almost idiomatic when one is discussing Wall Street workers, or the British aristocracy – despite Rousseau and De Sade, the French still refer to sadomasochism as ‘La Vice Anglais.’

At no point, however, has anyone implied that men who want to be sexually dominated by women also want to be dominated by them socially and economically. Quite the opposite, if the long history of powerful men paying poor women to beat them up in backrooms is anything to go by. Apparently, though, a few smutty books about naughty professors wielding handcuffs are meant to prove that modern ‘working women’ (sic.) aren’t really as into all this liberation schtick as we make out.

In a cover story for Newsweek, noted rape apologist Katie Roiphe argues that the recent success of pop-porn bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ proves that even feminists secretly want to be shagged into submission by great, big, whip-wielding brutes. Not just in spite of our feminism, but because of our feminism. Roiphe argues that modern “working women” – I’m sorry, was there ever a time when women actually did no work? – find “the pressure of economic participation… all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world”…”exhausting.” Roiphe goes on to theorise, based on precisely one film, one tv show and one novel, that “for some, the more theatrical fantasies of sexual surrender offer a release, a vacation, an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality.”

[Admin note: per our posting policy, this full-length article from another site has been excerpted. Visit Pennyred for the full article.]

“Grey Area” Rape

This is an article I found through a website called Pandora’s Aquarium (http://www.pandys.org/), which is kind of an online support group for survivors of sexual assault and their friends and family.

“Grey area rape

It is a widely held belief that you get ‘real rapes’ and then those that fall into the ‘grey area’. The idea of grey area rape is bourn out of the way that society has constructed rape – as a violent act carried out by a stranger. This understanding of rape has been built around rape supportive myths and does not reflect the experiences of survivors.

If there can be a half-rape or a grey-rape then it follows that it must be possible to give half-consent. The idea that there is grey area consent however clearly makes no sense. Either someone has consented – willingly and actively without coercion– or they have not. If a person freely and willingly wants to have sex with someone then it is clear. If it is not clear, then that person does not have consent – there is no grey area.

There are many factors that people use to define a grey-area rape such as being drunk, flirting, being in a relationship with the perpetrator, not fighting enough or not fighting at all. However there is no such things as a ‘rapeable offence’ – being drunk/dressed in a certain way/doing a certain job/being intimate with a person/alone with a person/having slept with them before does not make rape inevitable or acceptable. Rape is not defined by the behaviour of the victim but by the actions of the perpetrator. A person either consented to sexual activity or they did not and if they did not then this is rape – there is no ‘grey’ about it.

Male or female, stranger or partner, date or acquaintance, child or adult, drunk or sober – it is all serious and it is all traumatic. If you have experienced any form of unwanted sexual contact then you have been sexually assaulted and you deserve to be here and you deserve to heal.