Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Rape laws written in favor of rapists?

Since the Duke lacrosse team’s media attention related to the rape of a woman from a near by school, many of the media coverage has neglected to mention clearly the relevence of the story and violence against women. (Google the story to see the diverse angles different reporters have taken.) This Guardian Article on Catherine Mackinnon is extremely interesting and summarizes some of the theories of the renowned women’s rights lawyer.

It really makes you think about what this lack of coverage indicates in terms of rape laws being written to favor rapists.

Furthermore, I have yet come across an article that makes the connection between this story and the prevalence of rape on all college campuses. We learned at the Take Back the Night forum that in 2004 it was estimated that 93 women at Tufts would be victims of rape or attempted rape. Why is one story getting so much attention when this is an endemic problem for all college campuses? Is this going to make women fear reporting even more than they already do because the events were so scandalized?

-AG

21 Comments:

Blogger Max said...

Hey guys!

Great meeting last night! It was awesome to meet and speak with JWC (cheescake aside.) I was clicking around on the net and found this frightening site. Please take a look and comment?

Scary Article

Also: I'm putting together a Viewpoint for the Daily with this recent Duke rape and ensuing catastrophe in mind. So if anyone has any ideas (however brief) about the things campus men get away with (sexually) because "boys will be boys" please email me. Much appreciated.

Take care and enjoy this lovely weather!

-Rebecca

rebecca.novack@tufts.edu

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the "scary article" actually makes some good points (along with some inflammatory statements). The scenario about the stripper trying to frame or blackmail the members of the Duke lacrosse team is possible, as unpleasent as that is to think about. I also don't think that we should be passing judgement about a case like this before all the evidence has come out and been examined. (All new sources I have read seem to agree that there is no DNA evidence whatsoever that any member of the lacrosse team raped her). People in this country are, after all, innocent until proven guilty as a right of law. This applied even to rapists. The very proposition that rape laws a written in favor of rapists in absurd as judging someone before evidence is presented. Rape laws, as all laws, are written to insure that people aren't falsely accused and that those who committ crimes pay for them. To change the law to favor an alleged rape victim would be tip to the scales against a supposed rapist and such a change would undoubtably lead to more women accusing more men of rape that never happened. Wanting to change a law in such a way is just as mindboggling as thinking there is no such thing as consentual sex and in effect all sex is rape (as the Guardian article suggested). If a woman and a man both consentually agree to have sex that is not (and should not) be considered rape, regardless of societal circumstances.
Finally, the Duke incident probably got so much coverage exactly because the victim was a stripper, the case happened under strange and unclear circumstances, and there is a possibility that people are being falsely accused. Duke has also handled the situation badly by trying to get in the way of the investigation, and the team acted badly by sending around strange emails about what they wanted to do to the "victim" in question. The Duke lacrosse team is certainly not filled with saints, but rapists? I'd like to see the evidence first.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Max said...

What you don't seem to understand about law is that applying a universal code to a system full of gender, class, and race-based inequalities disproportionatly disadvantages some and privileges others.


With 93 rapes at Tufts just last year-- (THAT'S ABOUT 1 IN 8 WOMEN!) and only 3% of rapes reported (nation-wide) I think the last thing we need to do is interrogate the victim's background, job, and credibility.

If your opinion is representative of the national climate- or even the Tufts climate- it's no wonder that sex workers so rarely report sexual assault unless accompanied by physical assault.

The relative presumed innocence of the rapist should not correlate with your (so eloquently articulated and informed) opinion of the victim's value as a human being.


-Rebecca

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly, I made no assumption of the woman's worth as a human being. But since we're on the topic she certainly has the same rights as any other human being in the US legal system. If she feels she has been wronged she has the right (and probably will) bring it to court or settle out of court if she feels that she has been justly compensated. I am not saying that she is falsely accusing anyone. I am saying she MIGHT be, and until all the evidence has been presented and weighed we can't be sure if she is or not. I don't have enough evidence about the nature of the case or the evidence and that's why we have a judicial system in the first place.

Secondly, I think there is something you don't understand about applying a universal judicial code either. The whole point of it is that everyone gets equal treatment in the eyes of the law. It isn't an attribute of the law that the wealthy and the like are able to get better lawyers. That isn't built into the system, that's just the way that things are. To tip the system in favor of the disadvantaged and make it more equal for them would be to corrupt the system inherently instead of trying to make it as good as it can be and accepting that in the real world problems will happen that will make it imperfect.

Lastly, I would like to know where the statistic of 93 rapes at Tufts last year came from. 93 is a fairly specific number and if only 3% of rapes are even reported (as you alledge) how can we be so sure that's anywhere near the truth? Just to be clear I a not in favor of rape or any other crime for that matter but I would like to know statistics are accurate. In addition I think that anyone who ever accuses or is accused of a crime SHOULD have a thorough background and credibility check in the interest of justice. Like it or not there are some people that really are less credible than others when it comes to giving evidence and they should be shown as such in the interest of justice.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TUFTS POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN PROVIDE ALL THE STATISTICS YOU NEED.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, those statistics (I don't care if they're provided by the police department) need to be questioned. 1 in 8 Tufts women raped? Absurd. And Rebecca, your conception of the legal system is incredibly skewed. Are you suggesting the unequal application of law to compensate for inequality? That's ridiculous and dangerous. The law is not a social equalizer, it's a means to keep order and administer justice indiscriminately. And rape laws, especially in Massachusetts, certainly do not favor accused rapists. For every rape that's not reported, there's another false accusation that, even if it's never validated in a court of law, destroys a man's reputation. For some women, rape has become a weapon. DNA evidence hasn't fixed this, because a woman can call consensual sex rape post facto.

-P

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Estimates are based on statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the US Justice Department and reporting at Tufts University. This is a useful website helps explain the results of the US justice department studies Also check out the section where they discuss the rate of punishment for rapists.

Also consider what your reluctance to accept the facts says about the potential for bias against women in the justice system. If the majority of rapes are not reported (and you can look to the justice department for the methodologies for finding that out) then why is there an assumption that false accusations are so prevalent? Only about 16 percent of accused rapists end up going to jail. Do you really think that all those women are lying when there is already a fear of reporting to begin with? Could it be, perhaps, that women are inherently disadvantaged in these proceedings, creating a myth of false accusation rather than justice for the perpetrators?

We both all want due process here, but there is seriously a problem when rape is so prevalent, but the system fails to bring justice to the criminal.

And P, before I address anything you said about rape being used as a weapon and the prevalence of false accusation I want you to provide me with some sort of credible back up information, because that looks like a blatant assertion and a complete distortion of rape laws in Massachusetts. It is true that you cannot legally consent if you are drunk, so that is not revoking consent post facto, that is never consenting at all.

That does not preference the women at all. When you are drunk, you are more vulnerable to coercion. When you are coerced in to something, your ability to consent disappears. You can only defend yourself after the fact. Without that law we would be saying to the victims: “oh, you had an uncomfortable sexual experience in which you felt like your ability to say no was compromised? Well that is your fault.” You don’t have a responsibility to not be a victim—that is out of your control. You have a responsibility to not commit a crime.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna, I was not speaking statistically when I made the comment about false accusation. But the implications of false accusation are grave for the accused. You argue that, given the low incidence of valid reports, a woman would be even less likely to report falsely. There's no correlation though, because a woman who knowingly makes a false accusation isn't inhibited by the fear a woman has who really had experienced rape.

Let's also look at your logic for claiming that Massachusetts law does not favor the victim. And I'll overlook the percentage of convictions for accused rapists, because I contend that if it weren't for biased rape laws there would be even fewer convictions. You say that alchohol makes one more vulnerable to coercion; an obvious corollary to this is that it makes one likely to coerce. By that logic, a drunk man's loss of control should absolve him of culpability by the same amount a drunken state reduces the level a woman can be held accountable for her own consensual behavior. But that is not the case; a drunk man can be a rapist, but a drunk woman can't consent. That's how Massachusetts law is biased. Which brings me to the statistic of 1 in 8 women being raped. What this would inevitably mean is that many of the women who comprise the inflated statistic wouldn't even know they were raped. A lot of women who have had consensual, drunk, happy sex have probably never even considered that they were raped. Why? Because they weren't raped. Because they said yes and they liked it.

And let's talk a little more about responsibility. You DO have a responsibility not to be a victim. To argue otherwise would be to say that people don't have a responsibility to protect themselves. If a woman wears slutty clothes and is raped, her rapist is responsible for the rape, and is no less guilty for the temptation. But the woman is responsible for wearing slutty clothes and putting herself in harm's way.

-P

6:56 PM  
Anonymous M&S said...

I'm quoting P here:
"You say that alchohol makes one more vulnerable to coercion; an obvious corollary to this is that it makes one likely to coerce."

Come again? The two are in no way connected - no corollary can be drawn! If a man or a woman is drunk and s/he harms, assaults, coerces, or otherwise attacks another person, that is NOT the same situation as being drunk and getting harmed, assaulted, coerced, or attacked. To legally claim that one is crime and the other is not is perfectly logical. I understand where you're coming from on this one, P, but I entirely disagree with you. A woman has NO legal obligation to "avoid being a victim" or "stay out of harm's way." American women are independent, free individuals, with the same basic rights as American men: life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's sorta hard to obtain this if they can't
1) wear what they want
2) do what they want
3) go where they want
Let's face it: men can.

And hey, watch your language. Would you like to define "slutty," please? Because nothing any woman ever wears is EVER an invitation to unconsensual sex. If what she's wearing turns you on but she rejects you or says no [at any point in the relationship], TOUGH LUCK. You have no right to assume what another person wants, nor do you have the right to take what you want.
Here's an analogy: a hot man in a bar, dressed up and looking good, rejects my advances. Would I be legally entitled to drug him, lure him outside, and sexually assault him? No. Because he's a person, no matter what he wears or what he looks like.
However, African American dancers at Duke are clearly not entitled to this full personhood in the American conscious. She was not putting herself in harm's way; she was doing her job. And if any male stripper were beaten and strangled doing his job, people would not be calling him a liar.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P (and others) -
Let's say that I'm drunk, and I'm at a party. Someone else, who is also drunk, decides that it would be a good idea to chuck a beer bottle at a wall near me. However, in their drunken state, the fail to throw said bottle in the direction they had planned to, and instead it hits me square in the face. Am I at all culpable for this? I would hope not. You could say that I am since I was in the vicinity, but in that case why should I ever go out anywhere? Some nut might deem it prudent to throw a bottle at me in class for all I know.

I'm sure that if we really wished to brainstorm for a while, we could come up with all sorts of similar arguments for why being intoxicated shouldn't be used as an excuse for both the committal and the victimization of a crime. However, that wouldn't be particularly productive.

In my mind, what would be productive, given the way this has spun off, would be to discuss the way in which societal imbalances act to perpetuate themselves. If you look at prison populations, you'll see an overwhelming proportion of the incarcerated are either black or hispanic; take a glance at the statistics regarding those given the death penalty, and the racial bias is incredible.

That being said, this blog isn't about race and prison populations- it's about rape/sexual assault and rape laws. I don't think that rape laws are necessarily written in the favor of the rapist; however, the system surely is set up in such a way as to make it far easier to get away with such a crime than it is to be convicted and sentenced.
To go (somewhat) necessarily off topic, I go to Haverford College. We have an honor code which applies to both the academic and the social spheres of college life. The main concept inherent in the social part of the code is that you are obliged to confront someone face-to-face when you see them doing something that violates the 'community standards' - we are supposed to trust and respect one another, as well as show concern for others. Having lived within this system for 6 semesters now, I can tell anyone that one of the hardest things you can do is confront someone regarding their behavior. Add to this the severe mental trauma involved in a rape/sexual assault, and the fact that such things are so gravely underreported becomes quite clear.

Sorry for the length of this thing.

Nathaniel

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You clearly misunderstood my corollary, because you confused it with my subsequent disussion of responsibility. I never suggested a "legal obligation" to protect oneself, just that you're irresponsible if you don't. I was not advocating the logical result of the corollary (that a drunk man can be a rapist but a drunk woman can't consent) or its flipside. I clearly believe that a drunk man can be a rapist AND a drunk woman can consent.

As to my language: "slutty" is a fitting word for the clothes and situations I have in mind, and I'm not even going to try to define it for you, because I know it when I see it, and if you don't, that probably explains why you're having trouble understanding this. Once again, you confuse legal obligation and culpability for personal responsibility and consequences. No slutty girl deserves to be raped, and no one is entitled to rape her (I think I made this clear), but yes, actually a slutty girl can be inviting unconsensual sex. This has no legal ramifications, it just means she's stupid and personally irresponsible if she's strutting her stuff in the wrong neighborhood.

-P

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

P, your own arguments are proving my point. First of all, you demand statistics--which I give to you from the US Justice Department, not a random rape crisis center, but from the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the US Government—and that you reject them without any valid counter evidence but out of disbelief. That disregard for the fact of the matter demonstrates how you are not asking for presumed innocence until proven guilty, but rather outright blame of the victim. You refuse to believe the evidence…that is what happens in these rape trials. In drug trials or in terrorism charges one person’s word is enough evidence for the indictment of the accused. Only in sexual assault cases is there such blatant disregard for the word of the witness. You have an obvious bias against the victim, so much so that you refuse to look at the facts—you also MAKE UP your own facts.

Now let's talk about your fallacious comment that if a women is drunk then she isn’t accountable for consenting then a man must not be accountable for coercing when he is drug. Seriously now, lets use a drunk driving anology. When you kill someone in your car because you are drunk are you absolved of responsibility for your homocide? No. That is because you are always responsible to not commit a crime or harm others. When my car gets hit by a drunk driver running a stop light at night is it my fault for being out late at night and stopping at the stop light? Maybe my car is black and is more difficult to see, or the other driver doesn’t like my model of car, or maybe the driver thinks I’m in the way and that I’m drunk so it won’t matter if they run the stop light. Are those circumstances an invitation for the drunk driver to hit my car? This is the standard you are suggesting.

When a woman dresses “slutty” which is whatever you want by your definition, then she is asking for someone to commit a crime against her. Former deputy president of South Africa claimed that he had the right to rape a woman because her skirt was above her knees. That is what happens when you allow the “I know slutty when I see it” argument is ever considered valid. Also, making that argument contradicts your own argument that men are not perpetrating rape nearly as much as the statistical facts say they are. If a woman has to protect herself from a man by not being too much of a temptation of him, then you are operating on the assumption that men are sexual predators. Just like it is your responsibility not to walking on the road at night because drunk drivers are known to kill people. So either you drop the notion that women are accountable when they are dressed in the way that highlights their sexual attractiveness, or you accept that men are sexual predators and they are dangers to society. Also, if you maintain that women are inviting nonsexual sex when they dress in whatever you deem as sexy/slutty, then you are also arguing that men have no control of their penis.

This brings me to your misinterpretation of my question about why there would be so many false accusations if so few rapes get reported and so few rapists get convicted. Being an accuser is just as damaging emotionally, to ones reputation and livelihood as being accused. In some countries, being raped makes you a second class citizen, spoiled goods. That still happens here, not just in Pakistan. There is no incentive to accuse people of rape and it is an absolute myth that false allegations are a wide occurrence. Furthermore, fewer convictions don’t mean false allegations, it means biased rape trials. And Nathanial, I would go so far as to say this forum is also about race because I’ll bet you’d be astounded when you look up how many black rapists get convicted. We have pretty accurate estimates of how many rapes occur, but you have chosen to ignore the data. Your arguments assume the victim is a liar and that men have no responsibility for what they do with their penis when they are drunk or when they think a woman is hot. Tell me that isn’t biased.

I personally think there are many men out there who can control themselves and I don’t think they are all sexual predators. I think you can have happy drunk sex, and many people do enjoy it. But if she isn’t happy, don’t blame her. I would go so far as to say it is a good policy for guys not to have sex with a drunken girl, it is too much of a risk to her and yourself.

By the way, in 80 percent of rapes, the victim knows their attacker. If a woman can’t feel free among her own male friends, exactly which neighborhood is the right one?

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna, nice try, but my arguments don't prove your points at all. Your rebuttal is rife with gross oversimplifications of the causal relationships involved here. Let's look at the points I made and see if they require statistics: 1) false accusation is damaging to the accused. Speaks for itself I think. 2) the 1 in 8 statistic necessarily includes women who had drunk, consensual sex, and aren't even aware of it. That's the effect of the law, and it can't even be proven by statistics, because it would be a statistic ABOUT a statistic that's based on a majority of people who don't report rape. It's a logical conclusion of a statistical projection.

Since everyone here loves to use analogies instead of talking about the actual drunken rape scenario, I'll play along and use your drunk driving analogy. Since I already went to great pains to make clear to M&S that someone like a drunk driver WOULD be culpable, we both agree on that. Your analogy breaks down after this though, because there's no parallel for consent. In order to make your analogy relevant, I would have to make it two drunk drivers playing chicken or something.

For the last time, I have made it abundantly clear that wearing slutty clothes, while it is personally irresponsible, has NO legal ramifications, is NOT legal grounds for dismissal, and does NOT justify rape. And Anna, we both know that your claim about my operating assumption is patently false and an insult to the intelligence of both of us. I never made the fallacious leap and said that since a woman has an obligation to protect herself, all men must be predators. Come on. A simply analogy (you'll love it) will demonstrate this. If I choose not to walk around Roxbury at midnight by myself, is that because all black people must be predators? Of course not. Some black people are predators, some men are predators, and in some situations you expose yourself to a greater degree of exploitation by predators.

Now, you also think I misunderstood your question about the unlikelihood of false accusation due to emotional damage. Actually, you just misunderstood my answer. "Being an accuser is just as damaging emotionally." Sorry, but I was talking about false accusation. And there is an incentive, because for women who are at their rope's end, they already don't have a "reputation and livelihood," so they accuse a man of rape either out of revenge or for material gain after they sue him for emotional damage. Remember Kobe Bryant? I'm not saying it's widespread, but it happens. Far more widespread, however, are what I would call delusional false accusations. A woman in emotional turmoil decides in retrospect that she didn't want to have sex, a willing drunk woman decides she was taken advantage of, etc. And if you need your precious statistics for this, check out this information published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

http://www.fathersforlife.org/Sodhi/debunkingDV.htm#Rape

There are as many as half a million false rape reports annually, about a third of reported rapes. And that's only accusations invalidated by DNA evidence; it doesn't even consider cases where no sex ever occured.

Lastly, you observe that 80% of rape victims know their attacker. So, what neighborhood is the right one for a sluttily dressed girl? No neighborhood. Girls shouldn't dress like sluts.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous M (of M&S) said...

Man. You're putting Bureau of Justice Statistics up against statistics from "fathersforlife.org"? Do you actually consider that to be an impartial organization? Do you actually consider that to be definitive information? The internet is a dangerous thing, isn't it, when any political group out there can call the Police of Oklahoma University and use that conversation to convince people that they know more than the census bureau and the Department of Justice does about crime.
Also, it drives me crazy when people consider that DNA evidence can prove or disprove a rape case. This isn't Law & Order, you know, it's real law and real science - it's a lot more complicated than DNA evidence. DNA can match and that doesn't mean rape; there can be no DNA and that doesn't mean no rape, either. Maybe fathersforlife.org should go back to High School biology class before they start talking about DNA. That site is psychotic, btw (it refers people to the book "How the Women's Movement Taught Women to Hate Men," for starters.....hmmm....real fair and unbiased).
OK, I guess I'll stop being snippy and just say that I think most disagreements about this issue can be traced back to fundamentally different ideas of "what is rape". You can get very narrow or very broad statistics depending on how you define it, and I think that you seem to have the idea that for an act to be rape it must include physical violence (which is not the case, legally speaking). That's just one of the basic definitions on which I think we disagree, so it's hard to argue or understand each other when we're talking about different things...

7:47 PM  
Blogger Tufts Feminist Alliance said...

Dear P,

Your last comment has been deleted because you condoned rape and the suppression of women. Now you get to feel what it is like to be silenced. Maybe I’ll put your comment back up later, I just wanted to let you know that there is no patriarchy here. Thank you for participating in our discussion and have a day.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous math boy said...

Hey guys come on this is an important issue and what I am reading is people lobbing numbers at eachother and using tailored analogy to draw broad conclusions that help their arguments. Statistical inference allows people to use a statistic in support of their argument with no thought to the cause and context of that statistic being calculated in the first place. People can build their own cause and context when presenting statistical arguments. I agree with M, this isn't about what we can assume from the numbers everybody is dropping or from these highly specific analogies, we are talking about sex with an unwilling partner and the number dropping is underminding the complexity of this worldwide problem. Its not just the women who are dressed like "sluts" in America, which is an absurd comment because P if you had a clue about prostitutes besides you're own assumptions then you would know that they dress very low key to avoid being arrested, . Saying a women is dressed like a slut is nothing more than putting a negative focus on the sex trade and is in no way related to the real world or what the causes of this massive problem really are. Use the correct and respectful language and say that she is dressed provocatively or she is dressed in a very sexy way. I am willing to bet that the women being raped in Africa where rape is a societal plague in most African states are not dressed like "sluts."

Also saying that women "accuse a man of rape either out of revenge or for material gain after they sue him for emotional damage." and then citing an incedent between an NBA superstar and his misuse at an exclusive celebrity spa is just silly, what kind of broad conclusions can you make off of a situation like that?

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, statistics can be used to support a broad range of arguments. Yes, perhaps we (myself included) have gone a little overboard in our use of analogy. However, if we're not going to refer to statistics, what can we refer to? Heresy? That hardly seems like the correct way to handle this. Regarding analogies, I also believe these are a "necessary evil" of this ongoing conversation - if we were to bar the use of analogy, we would only be able to speak in highly specific or highly general terms, neither of which would further our understanding of this issue much at all.

Switching gears... I'd like to echo something said earlier, regarding DNA testing. DNA isn't the end-all-be-all of criminal research. At the risk of alienating the analogy haters even more, here's another: If I break into a building wearing gloves, leave no blood, spit, etc, I leave no evidence, and no one sees me, I will be innocent in the eyes of the law. However, I will clearly have committed a crime.

In the same vein of reasoning, I can see quite clearly how the DA (I think) in the Duke case believes that a rape took place, despite the lack of DNA evidence. DNA alone can neither convict nor acquit someone - luckily, far more goes into the legal process than just that.

-Nathaniel

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna, I defy you to explain how I have condoned rape whatsoever. If you feel empowered by deleting a blog comment then I feel bad for you, but we both know the world is patriarchal. And you haven't done a good job of silencing me, because here I am writing another comment.

Math boy, the only conclusion I can extract from your mess of a comment is that you haven't really read the previous comments. Don't enter a discussion and make a fool of yourself by assuming people made comments they didn't. And have you ever seen a prostitute? Apparently not. You also seem not to know about police arrest practices. I'm also not sure why you're talking about sluts of the world, since no one else was making cross-cultural comparisons of prostitute's garb. Finally, there is no correct and respectful language to describe whores, and I will use whatever descriptive term I please.

Nathaniel, no one here is arguing that DNA IS the be-all-end-all of criminal forensics. But contrary to the beliefs of some on this forum, DNA evidence alone CAN and DOES procure convictions and acquittals. Now, lest anyone take that to mean that it always has that effect, I will reiterate that DNA can, that is, has the potential in some cases, to decide the case completely.

To go back to math boy's non sequitur comment, he does bring up an interesting point. Rape is a plague in Africa. So why do so many feminists think they'll accomplish anything by preaching to the choir at a liberal university, when across the blue Atlantic far more women (and children) are brutally raped every day? I guess because it's a lot more comfortable to maintain a blog and organize campus awareness events, even if they don't reduce the number of rapes.

-P

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

P,

I deleted your entry to exercise power and demonstrate that rape isn’t an issue of attractiveness or “slutty” clothes, it’s an issue of one person overpowering another and the fact that the law does not provide adequate protection against that. Math boy isn’t non-sequitur, by the way. He is pointing out a flaw in your causal relationships and the fact that you keep rejecting statistics and providing faulty ones from organizations that equate feminism with witches and terrorism.

You condoned rape when you said “men have always
been able to rape women. This simple physical advantage is responsible
for the great patriarchal societies of today.” Rape is more than a physical advantage, it is a social advantage. Perpetuated by laws, institutions and suppression.

And yes, lets talk about Africa and other cultures. Rape is a tool of war and I am appalled that international law has been so slow to address it. Rape laws were revolutionized in international criminal courts after prosecution of war criminals of former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Don’t be so quick to think I’m not doing anything about rape in other cultures, maybe you should ask me what I’m doing this summer. As it turns out, women are really smart, and they can address rape on campus and abroad at the same time. Deleting your entry was more for fun, and I’ll do it again if I feel like it as long as you keep perpetuating antiquated notions of male dominance in a discussion forum where women rule. I can do that here, like men do in the mainstream. I’m working pretty hard to stop the silencing of women, and I think rape law reform is a good start. So don’t feel sad for me, I am very empowered.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Tufts Feminist Alliance said...

P's deleted post (because I can)

M, read more carefully. fathersforlife.org was citing statistics from
the BJS, not arguing them. And come on, you want to talk about a biased
point of view? You need to go talk to Christina Hoff Summers, who
eloquently points out that the statistics of most feminist and rape
advocacy organizations are false because the people who fabricate them
are LIARS. I don't care how many definitions of rape are floating out
there, at the point where someone says that 1 in 4 women are raped, or
1 in 8, that person is not manipulating, not exaggerating, not
inflating. That person is LYING. At least some of the raging feminists
out there make a clear stand by saying that all sex is rape. I don't
care for statistics, but you needed some, so I gave them to you.??And
you can spit on DNA evidence all you want, but it's certainly a lot
more trustworthy than the witness testimony Anna puts so much stock in.
And let's be honest, you probably know no more about DNA than I do. It
may not always be a failsafe test, but obviously it CAN prove or
disprove some rape accusations.??As for definitions... Neither of us
approve of how courts handle rape cases in this country. You think the
operating definition is too narrow, I think it's too expansive. The
important thing is, more people who matter agree with me. ??Now, on a
related subject (rape), allow me to steer the discussion a little. We
all know men predominate in society, generally make the rules, and that
this is almost universal throughout the world and throughout human
history. When people ask why men are in charge, this is the reason
feminists give (that men have made the rules, as opposed to men being
intrinsically smarter). But why have men always made the rules? I mean,
millenia ago, men had to gain the upper hand somehow that allowed them
to stay on top through the ages. One answer many people look to is the
masculine nature, the fact that it's more domineering. This has much
truth. But I would look to a more basic condition of the human race,
one that existed when our ancestors squatted in caves: men have always
been able to rape women. This simple physical advantage is responsible
for the great patriarchal societies of today.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello all,

Whether or not we believe in the statistics of the Justice Department, or the Tufts Police Department, or the statistics provided by fathersforlife.org, let's not downplay the issue at hand. Rape happens, and it happens far more than it should, (which is never). (I think we can all agree on that.) It is also true that rapes are underreported. There is absolutely a stigma to having been raped just as there is a stigma to being a rapist. A girl who has been raped is not only physically damaged, she is emotionally damaged in the eyes of the world. She is looked at by many as a pariah and a social leper.

While I believe in innocent until proven guilty, I also firmly believe that the woman involved in the Duke rape scandal will not receive a fair trial because people will assume that because she strips for a living she was inviting them to take advantage of her. Stripping is a job not a reflection on her character. It does not suggest that she would lie about her situation or that she was in any way incapable of saying 'no' and meaning it. And dressing like a 'slut' is not an invitation to have unconsentual sex. Men and women should be able to dress as they please, and whether they are being irresponsible in their behavior, location, or appearance should have no bearing on this discussion or on the validity of their rape charges.

Also, I am severely offended by the idea that women use rape accusations as a weapon. While it is true that these things have happened, it is by no means a frequent occurrance. Women are not man-hating, militant, and intent on causing men pain whatever demagogues and religious zealots might say. Eve, Pandora, Kali, and other female religious figures are representations of woman as the downfall of mankind. Buddhist texts speak of women as temptresses who incite desire in men and doom them to perpetually be reborn into this life of suffering. These depictions are false. Fear and desire are awkwardly mixed in arguments that give women this epithet.

This conversation is incredibly disturbing to me also because prejudice is wrong. We all know that. But prejudice is insidious. It creeps up on us unawares, and we find ourselves succumbing to stereotypical images of others. There is no question that fear is a cause of hatred. While we may acknowledge our discomfort with difference and 'otherness,' it is much more difficult to weed out subconscious prejudices and how our conduct is affected by them. But I hope that we can all give it our best shot. Oppression in all forms is wrong. Women have historically been discriminated against, but societies have not always been patriarchal. (The Japanese creation mythology, for example, is incredibly egalitarian.) And perhaps if we all take a step back from this discussion to examine our own prejudices, we can be more sympathetic to each other's arguments.

Perry

1:08 AM  

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