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Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

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Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  tomokun on Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:45 am

Ok, so I introduced myself http://www.secularsocialjustice.com/t202-why-i-joined-this-forum#2157 and now its time to see if I can get any responses out of this forum on an issue I'd like discussed that has either stopped dead in feminist forums or almost got me banned in the A+ forum.

Rather than start off with a whole long list of caveats and apologies in attempt to clearly outline what I'm NOT saying, let me just start off with what would convince me that Rape Culture is not a western phenomenon. 

To be clear, what would convince me that rape culture is real in western society is the following:

1. Clear evidence that rape is considered a normal consequence of social interactions. - This is an abridged definition of what Rape Culture IS as I understand it.
2. Clear evidence which distinguishes between the difficulty of prosecuting rape versus a system that was built specifically to marginalize rape victims. 
3. Clear evidence which demonstrates that rapists are not vilified or considered bad people by the majority of society.
4. Clear evidence that rape denial is NOT rooted either in the disgust and horror that a rape actually happened or in genuine skepticism of the veracity of the victim's claims.

Any ONE of these points would work towards convincing me that rape culture is a real phenomenon in the west. If you want to talk about it rape culture in Africa or Islamic countries... you aren't going to get much argument from me there. The conditions for women outside of the west are deplorable, and they are all the argument anybody should need for why feminism is important as a movement, but what happens over there is not an argument for the idea that in say the US we have a culture which condones and excuses rape.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  mood2 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:34 am

I see it as a consciousness raising tool. 
I can understand why people dislike the phrase, but it works as a way of getting people thinking about how all the smaller less obvious cultural norms and mores, personal or institutional, can contribute to the appalling rape statistics and conviction rates.  Other parts of the world being much worse doesn't mean the west has no room for improvement.

But the term itself can put people off to the extent that they go into defensive mode and dismiss altogether any need to change.  So it's hard to know on balance how helpful it is.

We're talking about it at least!  Maybe we wouldn't have otherwise.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  jimhabegger on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:47 am

Tomokun, I haven't done any research on rape culture, but I'm going to role play this as if the term meant something to me.

My role play name will be "RP Fem."
RP Fem wrote:I use the term "rape culture" to facilitate thinking and communicating with people who understand that term the way I do, about some social issues, the relationships between them, and what to do about them. I don't have any interest at all in trying to convince you that what we're talking about is real.

If this is about people using social justice terms as psychological devices for fundraising, to promote political agendas, or to otherwise intimidate and manipulate people, it might interest me to discuss what to do about that social issue, if you would like to.

Also, if you do see any real social issues about rape, and about sexualizing women, in American society, and you'd like to discuss what you and I can do about it, that might interest me too.


Last edited by jimhabegger on Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:53 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : to add some thoughts)

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  dandelionc on Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:18 pm

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }
Thanks to Internet semi anonymity...

Okay, so I should preface this by saying when I was a teenager I was one of those people whose wealthy parents had them kidnapped and sent to a boarding school where debating off of what other people projected on to me was an important survival skill. Like affected the quality and amount of food I got and lots of other things that could be debated as privilege/ right... If you project arguments on to me or twist my words I might have an unfair disadvantage coming back from that...


So... Rape culture...


I think that term is a real description of Western society.


Why?


I have personally known a lot of girls/women who have gotten raped as girls/women.


More than a few of them have had the questions go not so much towards, “What happened, who did it?” It was more like, “How much did you have to drink?” “What time were you walking home alone?” “Did you flirt with them before the forced sexual intercourse?”


I think in a culture that didn't support rape more appropriate questions would focus on actual consent and not circumstances.


I'm not saying that cases of unclear consent, or cases where because of past circumstances the girl/woman didn't feel like she had an option to consent but her partner thought she consented because she compromised don't happen because they do.


I think the questions and assumptions our culture makes are problematic. I read an article recently in an independent paper that discussed the different things men and women do before they go jogging in our area. For women they listed things like thinking about how they were dressed, where they are going, what time it is, if it's light out, does anybody know where they are going, is their cell phone charged, do they have a dog with them, how big is it, how strong are they, how fast can they run. Those are things I think about before I go on a solo hike. For men it said they simply tied there shoes. I know this is an oversimplification, but I think there is still a lot of truth in it.


Once I got in a big fight with one of my male friends. It was because I lived on a block with some really sketchy people in my building, and I knew it. We were at a bar. I was going to go home because it was late and I was getting worried about getting raped/something bad happening if I stayed much later. He said, nah, hang out, I'll walk you home. I got multiple verbal confirmations that he would really walk me home if I stayed later. He explicitly agreed to walk me home if I stayed later. He walked me within about two blocks of home (which was the amount that was on his way, we lived close) after that explicit verbal confirmation by him was granted, and then didn't walk me all the way home through my very sketchy poor person's complex over my explicit objections of what he promised much earlier. Nothing terrible happened that night. I got home fine. My problem was that he judged the next two blocks to be fine in his experience, and in mine it wasn't. I wanted to go home earlier and only agreed to stay later because of his promise. He broke his promise. My adrenaline was through the roof those last two blocks. I was really scared. Hyper alert because of things that happened to me in the past, things that happened to my female friends in the past. If there wasn't rape culture, we would have judged those last two blocks more similarly, right?

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  jimhabegger on Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:52 pm

dandelionc, my second or third reaction to what you said was to question how much the thoughts of women before jogging, and how much your adrenaline rush, those last two blocks, have been results of the actual social environment, and how much they've been psychological effects of fearmongering propaganda about the social environment.

It looks to me like a combination of both. I do see a lot in the social environment that seems to me to help perpetuate people being violated, and a lot that puts women in danger of being violated, much more often than it does men. At the same time, I see the adverse effects of the social environment, on the lives of women, being compounded by fearmongering propaganda campaigns designed almost exclusively to benefit the people promoting them, ultimately at the expense, as always, of the most ravaged people all over the world.

----

Tomokun, I just did some browsing on the Web about rape culture, and most of what I saw did look to me like using it for psychological effect, rather than to facilitate reasoning and communication. I did see one possible rational use, as a way to promote thinking about rape in a larger social context than simply the individuals involved in any given rape. I can see how that might help with recovery, and in discussions about how to help reduce rape and counteract its effects.

I see all public discussions, about all social issues, being obscured by huge volumes of fire and smoke, including the use of all kinds of social justice terminology mostly for psychological effects rather than to facilite reasoning and communication. I see that as a big part of our problems, in itself. At the same time, in my experience and observation, most of that terminology is also used, in some contexts, in ways that do facilitate reasoning and communicating about social issues, for people who are using them for that purpose. What I see needing to be challenged is misuse of that terminology rather than the terminology itself.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  nullnvoid on Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:42 am

The term "Rape Culture" is highly contentious - and part of the intent of the term is to generate contention.

At the time it was coined, back in the 70s, it was describing a situation where victims of rape, especially women faced extreme problems when reporting rape. There was a definite and undeniable culture of silence surrounding rape. The women who came forward were often subject to censure and opprobrium often having to face public humiliation and accusations of lying. The legal situation was terrible. Sexual harassment within the workplace was not addressed in law within the US until the late seventies. Women who were raped by their husband, were unable to seek legal redress (and don't forget how difficult divorce was) until the mid 70s. There were a variety of legal hurdles to the prosecution of rape cases which made it more difficult for someone to prove that they had been raped (including technicalities about what constituted rape, or by requiring levels of evidence that were difficult to achieve).

Skip forward to today. I would characterize the current situation as being somewhat better for victims of rape. They are likely to receive better treatment by police and comparatively face less difficulties in gaining justice. But there is still a problem of a significantly large number of rapes taking place. Many of these still go unreported and women are by and large the main victims. For those asking for evidence I would simply suggest you start with some crime statistics and then begin looking at some reports from victims. This can't go unaddressed. Women and men are both victims of rape - the young boys who were victimised in church groups...men who are raped in prison...

A discussion about whether a term like "rape culture" is valid, suddenly seems unimportant. Think about this - there are a large number of people in our communities who rape, and who go unreported. Some of these people are protected by their friends/family. Their protectors are participating in an age old culture or rape defense and their support of such a situation deserves our opprobrium. This is what I think about when I hear the term. The groups of people who exist and protect people who rape. The term seems perfectly valid to me.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  dandelionc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:18 am

null, I agree with you that the problem was a lot bigger in the 70s, but that it has certainly not died today. I also agree that the problem is a lot bigger than the name.

jim, I think you're right that people are affected both by their actual risk and their perception of risk. I think both of those are a manifestation of the rape culture or whatever you feel like calling it problem, though. I don't see them as two separate problems. Terrible analogy time. Do you always defensively drive because you know there may be some scarey, irresponsible people on the road? It's a not a great analogy, but it's one most people can probably relate to. Just because your risk of getting hurt on any given day is pretty low doesn't mean you don't look both ways at lights, right? Give the swervy person some space, maybe even change lanes or streets? Does your perception of risk affect your behavior every day you drive? Is the risk real? Have you known anyone hurt or killed in car accidents even if you've only been in a fender bender yourself? Do you think there are things about driving culture that could change to reduce the risk of accidents? I think perception of risk and actual risk when there is actual risk are linked really closely if not the same thing...

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  dandelionc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:49 am

After thinking about it a little longer, I do see value in talking about terms. I don't see anyone on here saying rape doesn't happen. I don't see anyone saying that it isn't a huge problem. Or that we shouldn't solve it. I do see people who aren't sure it's part of the culture or just some jerks, or who don't like the term "rape culture". Maybe discussing the term will raise consciousness. Maybe as one of you said, it is meant to be an uncomfortable term to provoke discussion and it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do here. I think in a support thread for people this happened to discussing the validity of the term would be wildly inappropriate and even cruel, but as an intellectual exercise in a thread started as such maybe it's okay because if people are talking about it in a not massively disrespectful and disparaging way then they're thinking about it. There are so many problems to solve and this is one of them. Intellectual exercise time. Let's start with premises: Rape is bad. It happens in the first world. This is a problem. Going from there:

Is rape a cultural or individual problem or a mix of both in your opinion? Care to give a breakdown?
Are there other names for the problem you like better? Why? What do they mean to you?
What's the best way(s) to stop rape from happening? Failing grade for saying anything about raped people staying sober or dressing a certain way or things like that, but I don't think anyone here is the sort to do that.
What's the best way(s) to educate people about those problems?

I'm interested in answers to any or all of those. This also counts as internet activism because someone here might come up with some really good ideas to stop the problem from happening so we don't have the things rape culture describes anymore. I would love, jump for joy, be ecstatic if that term were hyperbole soon. Who can come up with a way to make that happen?

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  tomokun on Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:05 am

Thanks all for the feedback, and I suppose now it's time for some responses. Sorry if it gets tl;dr - I tried to create headings to sum things up.

One of the things I tried to from the onset were to list what I would in my opinion qualify as falsifications for the argument that "rape culture" is an actual western phenomenon rather than just a hyperbolic explanation for the very real problem that rape represents to women, and to a lesser extent everyone else.

Let me start with the top down, in terms of premises.

Rape Culture is designed to be contentious in order to incite discussion
First of all, I think that acknowledging that "rape culture" is hyperbolic better positions us for actually solving the problem. Stating that "rape culture" is creates a false premise that what roughly 6% of men are doing is somehow permissible or acceptable to the other 94%.
Citation: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/01/08/the_enliven_project_s_false_rape_accusations_infographic_great_intentions.html

This is a different problem then saying that 3% of the population are doing something horrible, unconscionable, and we are extremely ineffective at combating it. In my opinion, it shifts the dialog from crime prevention [a pragmatic discussion focused on effective solutions] to criticisms of culture which have limited utility in stopping crimes beyond initiating the conversation. The conversation has been initiated, it's time to move towards practical applications, and "rape culture" gets in the way of that in a way that it simply wouldn't in places like Uganda, etc.

It also poses a problem because if in fact it was designed to be contentious, once the hyperbole has been revealed, there seems little reason to discuss anything else. Where do you go once you've determined that in fact rape is a problem, if you had already believed that in the first place? It is disingenuous by design in order to generate contention; which means it hurts the credibility of the proponents, which ultimately hurts and concrete plans they might actually suggest.

This seems important, because if "rape culture" is in fact getting in the way of discussions that could be spent on actually reducing rapes, then it is a counter-productive term of dubious value and limited utility.

I would also point out the rhetoric surrounding "rape culture" doesn't seem to indicate that it is designed to be contentious. Proponents consider this an accurate representation. Criticisms or even innocent mentioning that the term might be hyperbolic on feminists forums (I have been to more than 1, lol) are generally greeted as attacks on women, or denials that rape is a problem. This further derails productive lines of inquiry. That in itself is a problem.

After all, when the battle cry is that the people for responsible for rape are the rapists, why is it suddenly a good idea to list society and culture as a scapegoat? This strikes me as intensely counter-intuitive.

dandelion summary: Skepticism of victim claims supports "Rape Culture"
A lot of what you say dandelion mirrors some of the reasons that I've encountered for why "Rape Culture" is considered true in the west. However, all things being equal, one of the things that strikes me is how you can compare rape and murder, and we find that many arguments are given for why rape is considered socially acceptable, and murder isn't. "Murder Culture" doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry, which is hardly evidence that something doesn't exist, but its hardly encouraging.

And many of the issues raised have to do with the problematic nature of proving that a rape actually happened. Our laws are built around the concept of "reasonable doubt", and our culture reflects this. Sex is already confusing and emotional for many people, as well as intensely complicated, and unfortunately rapists rarely leave concrete evidence that a crime happened.

With murder, you've got a body. You KNOW a crime has been committed, we just don't know for sure how it got there. However, who are the first suspects? The spouse, or friends, or loved ones. Those closest to the victim, arguably victims themselves. Suicide is also a possibility, in which case quite literally the victim is considered a possible suspect. These are the pragmatic necessities when trying to uncover exactly what happened beyond a reasonable doubt.

The problem however, is that rape is intensely personal and traumatic for the victims (understandably). It's also heavily biased towards women, arguably because of the way society works and some components of biology, they are the easiest prey. Rape is under-reported, rarely "forcible" - which makes it difficult to differentiate from enthusiastic sex, and often confusing and shameful to the actual victims. Plus, the mere fact that false accusations are possible, even though they are rare, means that investigators MUST prove that the accusation isn't false in order to guarantee a conviction. Not easy to do when the best evidence is typically the victim's testimony, which pits their word against their rapist's. And rapists, as is there right, are innocent until proven guilty.

These are the unpleasant facts about rape that have little to do with culture. These are facts which confuse the issue in the west and make it difficult to protect future victims by convicting rapists, and especially difficult to get justice for the victims that deserve it. These are the differences between rape and murder that make rape easier to get away with, which in my opinion form the bulk of the rhetoric surrounding the idea of "rape culture", as well as why saying that "rape culture is" creates more problems than solutions. Because it shifts the focus from these problems onto questions like, "How can we stop victim blaming?"

Because the truth is, what is called victim blaming does happen, but typically it is a combination of horror that something like this could happen, and incredulity that somebody "good" could do something so bad. It's the same reason that serial killers will get fan-mail and marriage proposals from folks who believe they were set-up, and it is also partially an outgrowth of the genuine skepticism generated by the problems inherent in proving that rape actually happened.

The events of Stubenville, actually support this point I believe. The boys were heroes in a town rife with nepotism and a club of folks abusing their power. It's a corrupt place and a girl who possibly had a reputation seemed to have put herself in a bad situation. Hence the disgusting tweets, and the rhetoric of her being a party slut that pervaded them until it was realized that what actually happened was that she was drugged, unconscious, and treated as an object. When that came out, the only people that were protecting the rapists were the people who also had to protect themselves lest their corruption become vulnerable to prosecution.

I didn't see the media generating sympathy for the boys, I saw them focusing on appealing emotional content to their viewers. "What makes an interesting story about corruption and kids raping kids more interesting? How about an emotional breakdown? Why are they having a breakdown, because this is what's happening to them. Let's say it in a way where there family won't sue us or say that we are causing more problems for them. Oh shit, now people are calling us rape apologists."

But people were upset and enraged by that story, otherwise that backlash wouldn't have been felt. The story was compelling because it was horrifying, that's what makes news stories interesting. Because something horrible is happening.

Did victim blaming happen? Absolutely. But genuine skepticism over a scandal happened too, and the two should not be conflated just because something horrible happened to someone. Tragedy should not inform our reality more than truth.

Men only understand women's fears in the abstract

This is going to be a difficult point to make, because I am a man, so I CAN only address it in the abstract. So let me frame this correctly.

Just like white people will never know what its like to be hispanic or black, I get that I will never know what its like to be a woman. To have a woman's fears, to be influenced by gender expectations, or to have the very real fear that I'm going to be attacked and/or raped. I imagine its similar to my fear that I'm going to be arrested for being a suspicious "lah-teeno" every time I see flashing lights in my rear-view. There are some things a snapshot of daily life just cannot convey to people who do not and have not lived and breathed that same exact experience.

However, that doesn't mean that personal experience trumps empirical evidence. My experience is not reality, not necessarily, and the frequency of any type of victimization does not necessarily require wide-spread cultural acceptance and permissiveness. Bad people get away with things because they live in the margins of our society, and work within its rules. People get scammed every day out of money by distance healers, tarot card readers, and other such nonsense. This does not mean that our culture enables scammers - it means that scammers are good at working within our culture. The sheep are not permissive of the wolves who hide amongst them.

Dandelion, just saw your recent post, I'll read it before responding to it Wink

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  tomokun on Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:16 am

dandelionc wrote: Let's start with premises: Rape is bad. It happens in the first world. This is a problem. Going from there:

Is rape a cultural or individual problem or a mix of both in your opinion? Care to give a breakdown?

Rape is a problem because it is a difficult crime to prosecute. I view rapists like successful serial killers. Rapists are some of the most hated criminals around, so yes, its more of an individual problem.

Are there other names for the problem you like better? Why? What do they mean to you?

Rape Epidemic is good. It IS an epidemic. Similar to this report done by the WHO (not the band Razz):
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/women-suffer-domestic-violence-19444899#.UcsSFvnFV8E

What's the best way(s) to stop rape from happening? Failing grade for saying anything about raped people staying sober or dressing a certain way or things like that, but I don't think anyone here is the sort to do that.


We need to come up with ways of being able to prosecute. We also need to do what the FBI did and start really talking about some of the "markers" that indicate someone might be a rapist.

Most of all, we need to start educating kids about how to interact and relate to members of the opposite sex. Start demystifying the differences between men and women so that they can start to recognize the similarities. When teenage boys start saying, "Shit, girls have some of the same problems I do" it will cause them to relate more, which is important towards building compassion.

Rape is about power, and when you identify someone else as having sympathetic views, I imagine there is less of a chance that a potential rapist might see them as a potential victim for their crime of power.

Also, we need to focus more on keeping violent offenders like rapists in jail, so let's focus on making some room by not putting nonviolent offenders in there. Less pot smokers need to be jailed so we can keep the rapists in. Less hackers in prison too.

What's the best way(s) to educate people about those problems?

Getting them while they are young. Infographics. Social media. Making it personal.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  dandelionc on Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:06 am

tomokun, I like the name rape epidemic, too. I think it's accurate without being emotionally charged which might be what we need in the Jerry Springer culture of the 2010s. I also really like your solutions.

I think it would be cool if we got down as a culture what explicit consent meant, and if it was a cool and not a weird and feminist thing to do. I think some people think explicit consent ruins the moment or something. Like I don't have any statistics or anything I can really point to for backing it up, but it seems like there's this myth that too much talking during sex ruins it. It would be cool if in media and in mainstream discussions that became a thing because I think that would make it a lot easier to figure out what actually happened in social circles so people could take sides well, and make rape easier to prosecute. Do you agree? What do you think would be good ways to go about making that happen?

I also agree that it's stupid that there are nonviolent people incarcerated instead of rapists and other violent sorts. I see incarceration more as a way to protect society from dangerous people than a smart means to punish people. It's a huge drain on community financial resources, it's a huge waste of otherwise productive and joyful lives, and it's all around a tragedy. Also, I think maybe sometimes people come out worse than when they went in because we all tend to become more like who we hang around. (again no statistic, but I'm pretty sure I could find one if I wasn't so lazy after a long bike ride.) I'd like to see the criminal justice system for non-violent offenses focus more on fines and community service. And I think pot smoking shouldn't be a crime at all. I mean, seriously, when was the last time a stoner got violent when there wasn't some other factor going on?

I think the justice system confuses real sex crime with how people would like the world to be. I've met more than one guy who had consenual sex with a 17 year old in the wrong state and end up on the sexual offender registry for life. I think an age of consent is a good idea, but society should be more realistic about it. Like the ages should be a few more years apart or it should start at 16 or 17 instead of 18. I'm not really clear on what I think the details should be, but I think that's a problem, too, because I think a lot of that stuff isn't rape at all except legally. Stupidity and an idealized, unrealistic picture of what girls are supposed to do and be ruins lives on all sides of the gender divide.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  tomokun on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:27 pm

You are right about enthusiastic consent, but I'm not sure about it making rapes easier to prosecute. The thing about enthusiastic consent is that it doesn't apply to rapists. Studies have demonstrated that rapists typically know they're raping. They typically are repeat rapists. Once maybe it's an accident. Twice could be coincidence. Three times... That's no accident. These guys aren't confused, they just don't care. They are motivated by power, so they don't need a meme to remember that no doesn't mean yes. What they need is to start empathizing with their victims, or to give them other, healthier outlets for empowerment. Or.... teaching kids how to build healthy relationships and how to resolve conflicts peacefully along with math and science.

Age of consent is something I haven't considered. I wonder how big of a role statutory rape plays in the bigger picture. Here too, teaching kids how to relate to each other as people like we teach math or science strikes me as a valuable life skill. Ultimately, prevention of rapes is more valuable than making it easier to prosecute rapes, because the problems with prosecution is more mechanical than philosophical. Rapists take advantage of the system, but that doesn't mean the system is broken.

However that doesn't mean the culture can't be improved. If there is a meme that's necessary, it's that rape victims should be angry, not embarrassed. That pressing charges saves lives, and that it's your obligation to report a rapist. Not just victims, but friends too. Someone is spiking drinks with GHB. That's a rapist. It's not okay to keep quiet about shit like that.

Be a rat and stop a rape. Shouldn't need to be said maybe, but no one likes to tattle or snitch. But if snitching can stop a crime like murder or rape, then maybe we need a meme to move past mob movie mentalities like that.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  tomokun on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:28 pm

Double post, sorry.


Last edited by tomokun on Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Double post, sorry.)

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  dandelionc on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:54 pm

I just noticed there was a post above the one where you quoted mine. There are a lot of things to think about in there. This is a very interesting conversation and I really want to continue it. I might need a day or so to process all of that, reread it a few times, and think about all of your points. It is a lot of information. Thanks for putting so much thought into this stuff. It's such challenging issue, isn't it?

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  tomokun on Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:30 am

dandelionc wrote:I just noticed there was a post above the one where you quoted mine. There are a lot of things to think about in there. This is a very interesting conversation and I really want to continue it. I might need a day or so to process all of that, reread it a few times, and think about all of your points. It is a lot of information. Thanks for putting so much thought into this stuff. It's such challenging issue, isn't it?

Agreed and understood. That's the beauty of forums... we can take our times hashing things out, and the conversation is always there to reference. Smile

As for the time, I think its worth it... you can never work too hard at being a good or better person.

tomokun

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

Post  dandelionc on Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:25 pm

I had a few new thoughts about the discussion.

tomokun, you mentioned that 6% of men commit rapes. I think that means that most men who have raped once have raped more than one time. If you have one accusation it could be a he said/she said. Maybe it was a mistake or a case of unclear consent. Maybe a terrible rape happened. If it's he said/she said, though, reasonable doubt can be a real problem except in obvious cases. But if you have two people who don't know each other saying similar things, there is probably a much higher chance that the unrelated people saying similar things are telling the truth. I think that with the rates of rapes we have it means convictions probably aren't happening even after rapists strike twice. Maybe part of what rape culture means is that the push back on someone who says they were raped is so intense or harmful that they don't report, and then the rapist get away with it more than once. So we have a culture that punishes women for coming forward into what could be a he said/she said. Okay, if there's reasonable doubt don't send someone to jail, but I'd like to see our culture stop judging raped women really personally and terribly (what was she wearing, drunk? alone? late? past relationships? slut?) when they tell the truth.

I think the reason words like "rape culture" caught on would be that they gave a name to a thing a lot of women like me and some men felt but didn't have words for. Maybe they're not the best words for explaining to everybody what it is, but I think having a name for a thing, even if it's a name that other people don't like, could be healing for victims. I think most of us can relate to having an "ah ha" moment when we heard some word that described a problem well for the first time.

If there isn't rape culture, or a thing in western society that tends to doubt women and believe rapists, why isn't it really easy to triangulate between women who have been raped and make a strong case against a rapist when two people who have never met say the same man raped them? That might be kind of a cool law enforcement project. If a victim doesn't want to prosecute for some reason, ask her or him if you can keep their name in a confidential law enforcement data base. If the same person gets accused again, you could ask both or all people to testify at the same trial. It would be a much stronger case. Maybe that would help increase conviction rates. The thing stopping it is if people who say they were raped are frequently given doubt or scorn or hell by other people in their culture, which would discourage them from reporting at all.

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Re: Rape Culture in the west - I think it hyperbolic, let's discuss

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