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Thoughts on rape... [Apr. 16th, 2006|09:51 pm]
John
More behind the cut tag....

I was reading some blogs and thinking - a dangerous combination tonight, because my head feels terrible, but I'm definitely recovering - and I finally found a quick, sound-byte like statement that I think sums up a lot of confusion about rape.

People talk about rape being a crime of power, or violence, or whatever you wish, but not about sex.

And I finally realized a good way to express that is that many people think of rape as a crime that a rapist commits, rather thank think of it as a crime that a rape victim suffers.

And tonight, I realize how subtle that can be.

If that was true, if rape was a crime that a rapist commits, then one must be a rapist to commit the crime (and everyone knows that rapists are terrible, horrible beasts). Whereas, if rape is viewed as a crime that a victim suffers, all that matters is that the damage was done. Who did it, what justifications they used, etc., don't matter as much.

There's more that I want to think and write about that, but I'm pretty exhausted now.

There is an interesting thing to note, though: if you view rape from the victim's perspective, that it is "about power and violence, not sex" makes a lot more sense. It brings to life the example Rivka gave me, of "if someone hits you over the head with a frying pan, the crime has nothing to do with cooking".

In the end, the victim is hurt with sex, punished with sex, and sex is clearly the weapon. But it's the exertion of power, the force, that makes it a crime.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-04-17 04:51 am (UTC)
PS: Is it fucked up that I realize I'm getting better when I start writing stuff like this?

For some reason, I think I should be using my limited superpowers for things like thinking about cleaning up the apartment, buying food, or, you know, getting back to work.
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[User Picture]From: kyra_ojosverdes
2006-04-17 04:53 am (UTC)
I realized I felt better when I remembered the half-eaten gourmet brownie in my bag.

Thanks for the post. And the cut tag.
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[User Picture]From: hopeevey
2006-04-17 05:41 am (UTC)
I do not consider it fucked up to realize you're getting better when you're able to think better or think at all.
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[User Picture]From: hopeevey
2006-04-17 05:40 am (UTC)
That's a really good insight that is. I think it applies to other things as well - I'll certainly think on it.
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[User Picture]From: ruth_lawrence
2006-04-17 01:09 pm (UTC)
I think you are onto something.

It's not plain old power, either, it's the power to degrade, to cause long-term emotional harm, to steal and spit upon/in another.
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[User Picture]From: nsingman
2006-04-17 02:46 pm (UTC)
For a libertarian, the only thing about rape that really matters is that it's unwelcome contact with someone else's person. I see little reason for treating a rape and a non-sexual physical assault differently in the criminal justice system. Anyone justly convicted of doing either sort of crime has no business breathing free air again. And if the potential victim or rescuers kill the assailant to prevent the initiated crime from continuing, I'm fine with it.

Rape is certainly unusually degrading and offensive. However, I'm more offended by the fact that rape accusers have their names withheld, though the accused are not granted the same courtesy. Sometimes, accusers lie. Also, I oppose rape shield laws. When the power of the state is brought to bear against an individual in a criminal trial, the defense should not be categorically impaired because of the nature of the crime. If a particular question about the victim is deemed irrelevant, the prosecutor may so object, and the judge may sustain or overrule.
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[User Picture]From: wordweaverlynn
2006-04-17 04:35 pm (UTC)

"The boys throw stones at the frogs in jest, but the frogs die in earnest."

Yes! And this explains how a guy who thinks he's entitled to sex can force a woman and yet not feel he has committed rape. He knows he's not *bad*, so he can't be a rapist. "I didn't use a knife, and she said no but she didn't struggle, so I knew she didn't mean it." (Real defense, real rape case from Pennsylvania some years back.)

It also explains how female-on-male rape sometimes works, and why it's so damned hard to identify it. The kinds of violence female rapists use on their victims is often emotional (though God knows they can be physically brutal too). And although the victim has indeed been "hurt with sex, punished with sex," a ,ale victim may not identify the experience as rape, because whether he enjoys it or not, whether he wanted it or not, men are always supposed to welcome any kind of sex. And very few women would ever think of themselves as rapists.

Excellent thoughts.
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