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Thoughts about rape [Jan. 19th, 2007|10:21 am]
John
I'm putting this behind a cut tag, but I think it's relatively safe and non-triggering.


Yesterday, I saw a horribly scary thing said about rape. It was here. It suggested that we could use bullying as a metaphor for rape. People understand bullying more than they do rape, after all.

What's horrifying and scary about this? It fits. It fits so incredibly fucking *perfectly* that I feel like, have I and the rest of the world been blind?

Are there studies looking into the linkage?

I mean, aren't most rapes easily defined as sexual bullying? And isn't bullying fun for some people? And isn't it too goddamned accepted in our society?

And it makes me wonder if the angst over "you're making it sound like a guy who just wants to get laid, and is being a bit aggressive in his approach, is a rapist!" can be boiled down to "but if you aren't (willing to be) a bully, you'll stop far short of rape."

I mean... gods. Look, I grew up getting busted on a lot, but I learned to give and take; I learned that sometimes, folks like to cut up each other, but it's all in fun. And it's a common enough activity that people have learned when they've accidentally crossed the line, and back off (and often, in private, apologize - they don't feel comfortable doing it right away, because it would spoil the game). But everyone (I hope) understands that there's some folks who look for the nasty insult, the folks who *want* to draw blood, and don't like those people, and recognize them as bullies.

So it's not like people don't often have risky interpersonal activities where they have to be sensitive to the reactions they've caused. And it's not like it's *hard* to avoid hurting someone with your sexual overtures.

I think that difference - the rapist wasn't just making a move, he was being a bully - is one that's accessible and maybe really, really strong.
linkReply

Comments:
From: penitence69
2007-01-19 10:29 pm (UTC)

interesting

what am i missing? i mean, i've had ideas about this stuff for two decades. but i think bullying is the point; rape (real rape, not role-playing) is about control and violence and humiliation. and yeah, a true rapist gets off on it because he's got someone he can abuse and control and sexually manipulate. so here's a question: can a husband rape a woman? i believe the answer is yes. i've heard it said "rape is defined by the word NO." so again i say it's possible.

i read nancy friday's book "women on top" and looked at the askmen.com website, and everything i have found suggests some women have rape fantasies, which makes me feel a shitload better. but the fantasies most often expressed are about having control taken away, which can alleviate some of the guilt women can feel about enjoying themselves, but i am willing to bet most fantasies are NOT about humiliation and pain and violence.

i'd love to role-play in the future with my hubby, when we iron out our wrinkles, but i'd much rather NOT get my face bloodied! see what i mean? power exchange is about pushing the limits, but with the ultimate understanding of the responsibility that power entails. if there's no integrity or sensitivity to other's feelings, which rapists lack by their very nature, then a good power exchange is a failure. in that instance, all you'd get is a mess and the "bullying" i think you're pointing to.

is that right? am i hearing you correctly?

i appreciate someone talking about this stuff, because it's so taboo. years and years ago, my mom said people have a tendency to go "gasp!" when they hear the word rape in the news, but said everyone then goes on to read about it or watch the news bit about it. morbid curiosity? i don't think so. i think there's a strange hope in some people that maybe the story could be sensual if the person wasn't hurt at all. oh look! not so much in the sensual department, since she got smacked around. icky. but we still click on the links when they appear.

or then again, maybe i'm a sick individual and i have read too much nancy friday! but i think the fight or flight response can be very powerful; i'd just rather NEVER actually experience it wherein complete fear for my person pervaded! right?

but i think i get what you're saying. and i have always taken it for granted that rape is perpetrated by the lowest form of human, who must have some sort of inferiority complex and a shitload of issues that totally correlate with a bully's personality. i believe the only difference is when people are role-playing or doing something consensual (sp?) and the "bully" is conscious of his or her actions and their effects and can keep total control over the entire situation. i don't think that's easy.

btw, don't unscreen this if i'm sounding like a nutcase!
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2007-01-26 06:39 pm (UTC)

Re: interesting

can a husband rape a woman? i believe the answer is yes. i've heard it said "rape is defined by the word NO." so again i say it's possible.

Of course. In fact, if you(generic) think a man can't rape his wife, you're thinking of rape as a crime of "OMG, SEX!" rather than a violation of consent.

Geez, "violation of consent" (to a non-BDSMer) can sound so mild, but it's hurtful and humiliating to do anything you don't want to do. Did you ever have to finish your vegetables under threat of Dire Consequences from your parents if you didn't? I bet it sucked; I know it did for me.

Fantasies... fantasies are a different issue. They're based on the idea that, okay, if things go south you can say "whoa, hold on, stop!" Folks can fantasize about roughness, about wildness, about a (seeming) lack of control... but, generally, no one actually fantasizes about being bullied.

but i think i get what you're saying. and i have always taken it for granted that rape is perpetrated by the lowest form of human, who must have some sort of inferiority complex and a shitload of issues that totally correlate with a bully's personality

Nod. I don't think that rapists are "the lowest form of humans", in the sense that they are unusually monstrous. I think it's the bullying urge or bullying willingness that leads to rape.

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[User Picture]From: ruth_lawrence
2007-01-19 10:56 pm (UTC)
I always thought I'd been bullied when sexually assaulted, somehow.

Of course it fits.

And I do know how it differs from BDSM (theatre, consent, negotiation etc etc).
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[User Picture]From: nsingman
2007-01-20 03:19 pm (UTC)
Agreed. It is a strong difference, and for reasons that strike me as pretty obvious (hence its being accessible). Aggression is aggression, so there will always be some strong commonalities between rape, murder, bullying, theft, kidnapping, assault, trespassing, etc. The differences are quantitative, not qualitative.
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From: penitence69
2007-01-21 07:39 am (UTC)

right!

and the bullying link, i think, has been made before. i mean, a bully just picks on someone. usually someone smaller or less able to fight back, either with words or whatever. so, for a male with issues, bullying can just evolve into an extension of the penis. right? where you really get into trouble, is when a bully is educated enough to know they shouldn't LOOK like a bully, so then you get sociopaths or serial whatevers.

i guess i should go back and read your link, jp., just for educational purposes.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2007-01-26 06:59 pm (UTC)

Re: right!

Chuckle; you can also check my blog, longhairedweirdo.blogspot.com, where I've been digging into the issue.

Part of the issues is that not all rapists are constantly bullies, but I think they operate off of the bullying instinct, to either

1) hurt/humiliate someone, or
2) to get their own way, regardless of whether or not it hurts someone.
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From: penitence69
2007-01-21 07:57 am (UTC)

hmn

ok. so having read the thread, i think i'm hearing you were connecting with the description of a rapist as a bully, which sounds like it elucidated something for you. that's awesome! the problem is, anyone who CARES enough to educate themselves or who can actually care enough to back off for a while, couldn't possibly have rape issues simply because it shows they have a conscience (sp). for my part, i never talk about bdsm fantasies or rape fantasies because i've always feared sending the wrong message, i.e. being one of the women who perpetuate the "she doesn't REALLY mean no" myth. it's kind of the other side of the problems you faced! you know, there are so many levels to the issue of rape, no blog in the world can
A) cover every level of offense or offender or victim,
or
B) cover every aspect of the human psyche in regards to this particular issue.

so, i think it's awesome that you see the bullying as a tangible correlation. i think it's awesome there are educators willing to make those connections in educational settings. i think if there were more people who could identify childhood animal-mutilators decades ago, some violent criminals may have been identified much earlier. but, live and learn.

still, i appreciate people being willing to talk about the whole subject. for me, just being in on this discussion has elucidated the differences between mild power exchange fantasies and violence. it's also obviated any desire i've ever had to suggest role-playing it with my husband. it takes a specific personality to be an empath AND a fearsome warrior AND an actor! LOL!
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2007-01-26 07:11 pm (UTC)

Re: hmn

Well, my biggest connection with the description of "rapist as bully" is how to differentiate between "guys are supposed to make a move on women if they're interested... and sometimes that means, they'll make a move when she isn't interested" and "rapists will make a move on a woman, and frankly, they don't give a damn if she's not."

For a while, I had some angst over "how do you know if she's interested?" and I finally came to the ugly truth: you can't. You have to fumble through, make mistakes, and learn from them. So, make sure your mistakes are ones you can recover from without causing yourself grief.

But I would still hear women complaining about nonconsensual touch, and arguing about how, no, it's *not* okay to put the moves on a woman until she says "no".

And that's partly because there are guys out there who will walk up to a woman and start groping her. They'll stop if she says to, but part of what they're counting on is that she'll be to shocked to say anything for a moment.

And it's partly because, gads, no one wants to be pawed at or groped when not in the mood, even on a date.

But thinking of it from a perspective of bullying, no guy who's hoping to get a woman turned on, so she'll want to have wild, happy sex with him, is going to look anything like a bully.
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From: penitence69
2007-01-26 11:14 pm (UTC)

Re: hmn

LOL! you are so right! and it reminds me of what one of my sex therapists said several years ago: people shoot themselves in the foot all the time. some of them can't seem to be bothered to figure out what a partner wants so they can appeal to the other persons' desires.

i always equate that with chocolate: if i were a guy and knew my gal loved chocolate, i wouldn't be bitching about it, i'd be slathering *something* in chocolate!
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