Rape culture

Saturday, December 18th, 2010 · 165 Comments »

That’s why all the men are backing Assange. It’s why they don’t understand what he did wrong (allegedly), or even care what he did wrong, or even have the faintest clue what it’s like to be a woman living in a rape culture.

I read the Guardian piece with the details of the Swedish charges. It’s all so completely, entirely, 100% believable and familiar. The asshole who pushes you, who takes advantage. Feeling humiliated and angry and baffled. Wondering what you did to cause it or allow it—because as women we always know that it’s our fault somehow. Somehow we made it happen, somehow we weren’t clear enough when we said “no.” Seething inwardly for a week, furious and ashamed, blaming ourselves.

I understand completely what happened in Sweden. And I can imagine completely what happened when the two women compared notes. Oh shit. You mean he just does this? You mean it wasn’t just me?

Sweden is supposed to be a feminist-friendly country. I imagine there has been discussion over there in the past decades about changing rape culture, about making it so that women don’t just suffer silently, furious and ashamed and blaming themselves; about changing things so that women can push back. I bet that’s why these Swedish women felt emboldened to report Assange. Yeah! Let’s report the asshole! He’s a serial abuser!

But of course men refuse to see that. Rape culture is all about their entitlement, and there is nothing so blind as privilege. After I read the Guardian piece, I happened across this trash by one of these asshole men who manage to combine progressive politics with dumb-as-a-fucking-stump misogyny:

Count me among those who think that the rape allegations against Assange seem honeytrap-ish — downright outlandish. A raped woman isn’t going to let the rapist sleep in her bed for the next week, and isn’t going to tell friends that the guy is a lousy lay. Feminist readers may become infuriated by these words, but I don’t care: No male dissident is safe if the unverified word of a female is considered sacrosanct. The idea of a woman making false accusations may be inconceivable to you, but not to me.

Remember Anita Hill? Remember how men said asinine shit like, “any woman who has really been harassed isn’t going to keep working for the guy, even follow him to a new assignment!” (As if there weren’t harrassers everywhere; as if women could or should sacrifice their own jobs and careers in order to file claims that wouldn’t even be believed or taken seriously.) And how you realized then, if you hadn’t realized it before, that there is a gigantic, Grand Canyon-sized chasm between your experience of life as a woman and their utterly oblivious male-privileged existence?

Yeah. Like that.


P.S. Also, this pile of straw is sickening: “no male dissident is safe if the unverified word of a female is considered sacrosanct. The idea of a woman making false accusations may be inconceivable to you, but not to me.” That’s the rhetoric of rape culture right there. See how it’s all or nothing? Of course there are occasional false reports of rape, as with any crime, although the actual rate of false reporting with rape is lower than with auto theft. Rape victims simply ask to be treated with the same gravity, seriousness, and justice as other criminal victims, instead of being hounded to death and humiliated and relentlessly told that either they’re lying sluts or they brought it on themselves or both. But to the rape apologist that translates as treating “the unverified word of a female [as] sacrosanct.”

Filed under: Various and Sundry · Tags:

165 Responses to “Rape culture”

  1. Adrienne in CA says:

    Yup, yup, Yup. I’m having that debate with Joseph Cannon right now. It’s like describing color to someone who is blind.

    By the way, Violet, what do you think of the term Male Supremacist? Has it been used much? To me, it better describes what’s going on, while avoiding the inevitable claim by men that they just love women.

    *****A

  2. Sameol says:

    I remember when Mo’nique ‘s brother who raped her was on Oprah, he freaking admitted to it, the entire family was aware that he was guilty, and STILL other family members were trying to justify being more compassionate and accepting to him than to Mo’nique by saying things like “He’s not a monster, I remember them laughing together baking cookies” or “I remember her going to him for protection from bullies” or whatever. And even Oprah, who is big with the victim blaming, was basically like, well yeah, what the hell did you expect, there is enormous pressure on her to not make waves, if she was cold to him everyone would get mad at her and worry about his precious fee-fees. The pressure is on her to make him feel comfortable and preserve the social norms.

  3. Unree says:

    When there’s only one accuser, the story must be false because wouldn’t there be other victims if the accused really were a menace? (That’s one of the reactions what Anita Hill drew … even though of course there WERE others but Joe Biden locked them away during the Thomas hearings.)

    When there is more than one accuser, the story must be false because you know how broads are, always wanting to snare one of these prizes, and so once the first lady found out there had been a second lady they both got jealous; each decided Assange hadn’t been faithful to her. Naturally they chose to accuse him. Crying rape is a gal’s favorite weapon against an innocent guy.

    There’s always a benign spin on the behavior of a guy that the guys choose to esteem, no matter what a woman has reported. When accused of rape Kobe Bryant said he was guilty but only of breaking his marital vows. The elite d00dz and their followers went right along: Kobe Bryant’s not a rapist, just an adulterous husband. Assange is not a rapist, just a cad.

    D00dz accused of rape are kewl. Bitchez is liars. ‘Twas ever thus and ’twill ever shall be.

    /rage-spew

  4. Carmonn says:

    I love it when the doodz get melodramatic. No “dissident” is safe with “honeypots” on the loose! ZOMG! James Bond fantasies for people who supposedly don’t like the colonialist, racist, espionage services associations. Maybe Bradley Manning would get more support if he had an exploding pen and a punch in the face for a devious honeypot.

  5. myiq2xu says:

    Actually it was the two victim’s behavior in this case that gives their version of the story the ring of truth. I believe them.

    Real rape victims often act confused, unsure and inconsistent.

    Not to mention that if they were trying to frame the guy they would probably come up with a better story with no ambiguities.

    BTW – There are quite a few women besides Naomi Wolf who are backing Assange. I really don’t understand it. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of “acquaintance rape?”

    It’s like “Oh, I like him so he must not be guilty.”

  6. Nessum says:

    That’s why all the men are backing Assange.

    Actually a lot of women are too, which I for one find even harder to deal with than men backing him.

    These women, who had no problem acknowledging the bias and misogyni in the primaries, seem to be identical with those who also admire, and cheered on the return of, “one of these asshole men” cited above. Go figure.

  7. parallel says:

    Who is really telling lies about rape in our culture ? Men are.

    It is men who falsely accuse women (of making it all up) at a far, far greater rate than accusations ever leveled at them.

    But the dissident, heroic liberallefties never make a fuss about that real epidemic of lies though, do they ?

  8. Sameol says:

    Not to mention that if they were trying to frame the guy they would probably come up with a better story with no ambiguities

    The Giant Shadow Honeytrap Conspiracy may be all-powerful, but it’s the little details that trip them up. A hint of a Russian accent is all it takes to put the Flying Squirrel on your trail.

  9. Anglofille says:

    No male dissident is safe if the unverified word of a female is considered sacrosanct.

    Ha ha! I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it. This guy probably thinks he’s a “dissident” too – fighting the evil forces of feminism with his nifty Blogspot account.

    As for the “unverified” bit — rape is a crime that cannot normally be “verified” with hard evidence. Rape apologists seize on this to discredit women, as we can see here.

    Adrienne: “Male supremacist” is a term that is often used in feminist theory. I’m using it in my doctoral dissertation, for what it’s worth.

  10. lexia says:

    Clarence Thomas, along with Bob Packwood and Bill Clinton, came immediately to mind to me as well with this forking of the left.

    Packwood and Clinton were very effectively on the side of women, so taking them down using the behavior that all men consider normal was a no brainer. It wasn’t hypocrisy that left Republicans as guilty or more guilty, such as Newt and Bush I unnamed and unscathed, it was a feature. Calling out the sexism of a conservative Republican was a toothless insult; doing the same to one of the few Republicans on the side of women, or to any of the Democrats of that era, could take away a serious part of their support.

    Thomas was different in that Thomas was already a sexist and a conservative, so the Moynahan brand of sexism, with its assumption that black men are the only true representatives of all black people, was used to silence his more progressive opponents – because they share that assumption. I don’t think most people, including most progressives and most of the senators, thought Dr. Hill was lying, I believe they thought what Thomas had done was trivial.

    It’s working here too. Get the left arguing over the sexism that is almost equally present among progressives as it is proudly and overtly present among conservatives and you can slip just about anything past them. (Most progressive women are part of this blindness too, as their material comfort and financial status depend on marriage or a marriage like arrangement; even where this isn’t the case, their social and professional acceptance still depends on male created standards)

  11. Toonces says:

    although the actual rate of false reporting with rape is lower than with auto theft.

    If I had a billion dollars, I’d put that on billboards in every state. It was shocking the first time I heard it. I think most people are walking around thinking false rape reports are the majority of rape reports (gee, I wonder why?).

  12. quixote says:

    if the unverified word of a female is considered sacrosanct

    bwahaha.

    Of course, any normal human being only has sex with witnesses present.

    But for the doofi who don’t, the logical conclusion is obvious. If the unverified word of a male is considered sacrosanct, no female is safe.

    Right?

  13. lambert strether says:

    Violet writes:

    Rape victims simply ask to be treated with the same gravity, seriousness, and justice as other criminal victims

    True, that.

    I like the reports finally coming out of Sweden because they have corroborative detail like calls to a pharmacy, SMS messaging, and tweets.

    * * *

    Here are twelve examples of honey pot operations. This also seems to be ruled out by recent reports from Assange’s associates in Sweden (can’t find the link). Since the intel agencies are in the mix here, it wouldn’t be “serious” not to look at the possibility (though not everybody who raised the issue did so with serious intent).

  14. Nessum says:

    Julian Assange’s bloviating lawyer Mark Stephens (exposing his true feelings for women?) earlier on the Swedish prosecutor:

    The Swedish judicial system is by and large a very good legal system. This woman [sic!] is traducing the reputation of a good Swedish legal system by HER [his emphasis] actions in breech of international law.

    One questions the motives of this particular prosecutor and whether she is appropiate to continue this, in her role as prosecutor and whether she continues to … particularly where she doesn’t comply with her obligation under the UN regulations for prosecutors.

    Yet, at Assange’s release Mark Stephens, who seems to love nothing better than standing in front of an open mike and a camera, had to (/was made to?) take the backseat to a beaming female colleague.

    And on and on the spin, the lies, and the distortions go.

    I’m as sick of Assange successfully playing the all too gullible media – and liberal bloggers! – as I’ve been for years of Axelrod doing it.

  15. Violet Socks says:

    What enrages me the most is that men don’t realize acknowledge the double bind women are in. The pressure to not be a bitch, to go along, to be cool, to not make waves, to not be hysterical, etc., etc. And then if you do speak up it’s all, “well why didn’t you make waves/become hysterical/etc., etc..”

    When I first started working there was a debate on men patting women on the ass in the workplace. I was lectured that this was no big deal and it was a compliment and there was no reason to get all bitchy and hysterical about it. Wasn’t I an adult? Couldn’t I handle myself? Etc., etc. No matter that what was on the line was my body and the fact that women’s bodies are somehow public property. (Can you imagine if men were taught to be cool and accepting about the boss grabbing their balls in public?) This is the climate in which most women have spent their working lives. Don’t be a bitch, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, etc. And then you finally get fed up and charge harassment and it’s all, “well, if you had REALLY been harassed you would have quit/screamed/etc., etc.”

    It’s the same thing with sex and rape. That poor woman in Sweden, the first one. Wasn’t she hosting Assange? Wasn’t she part of the Wikileaks community? Oh yeah, I can just imagine how that would have gone over if she’d kicked him out after that first night. Hysterical bitch, jesus what is your problem, so just don’t sleep with him again, etc., etc., etc.

  16. Nessum says:

    I like the reports finally coming out of Sweden…

    Finally? Oh, they were there all along. All it took was wanting to see them! But it was so much more convenient choosing to see the accusations of rape and sexual molestation as a conspiracy by CIA and/or the US government to “get” Assange.

  17. lambert strether says:

    On the double bind: I’ve pointed out in mail to others, and will now post here, that statistically, it’s quite likely that at least one Corrente poster has been raped, and so it might be wise to give consideration to the idea that the views they share on how rape victims are likely to behave after the crime is based on field experience.
    * * *
    #16 The reports from the Swedish police that I saw were in the Guardian in the last couple of days so, yes, “finally.” News to me if there were earlier reports in English. If so, my bad.
    * * *
    #16 Yes, it’s obviously absurd on its face to think that the United States government, let alone its intelligence agencies, would have any interest in the affair. That’s just crazy talk. So I couldn’t agree with you more.
    * * *

  18. julia says:

    Great points, Violet; what if the women were part of Wikileaks? No one has mentioned that.

    I think is that it’s a waste of time trying to convince men. I don’t think they will give up their power or control or status. I’d much rather spend my time with women and spend my energy on women. Mary Daly would probably say that this is the same old patriachy, to laugh at them and then concentrate on each other.

  19. lambert strether says:

    #18 We can’t, and probably shouldn’t, know one way or the other in the general case. The New Yorker:

    Key members are known only by initials—M, for instance—even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services. The secretiveness stems from the belief that a populist intelligence operation with virtually no resources, designed to publicize information that powerful institutions do not want public, will have serious adversaries.

    However, none of the information in this affair speaks well of Assange’s tradecraft; perhaps a female frontperson would make the Wikileaks enterprise more effective.

  20. Carmonn says:

    The subtitle of lambert’s linked piece is “Julian Assange’s mission for real transparency,” so I can only conclude that his camp is being forced to lie about the rape charges and smear the victims. The most likely culprit forcing Daniel Ellsberg on steroids down this unaccountable path is, I’m going to guess, Conspiracy Honeypot.

  21. Violet Socks says:

    Because it’s transparency for men. Just like everything on the left is for men. Human rights for men. Civil rights for men. Equality for men. Every goddamn thing for men only, and don’t you fucking dare touch their male privilege.

    Nothing has changed since Robin Morgan’s Goodbye To All That. Nothing. And it’s infuriating because of the hypocrisy. These crusading assholes presenting themselves as the force for good — but only for one half of humanity. I’m fucking sick of it.

  22. Violet Socks says:

    No, that is not true. Things have changed. Some men are better. It’s not as bad as it was in 1970. I’m just tired and depressed.

  23. Sameol says:

    #16 Yes, it’s obviously absurd on its face to think that the United States government, let alone its intelligence agencies, would have any interest in the affair. That’s just crazy talk. So I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Yeah, because there is nothing more damaging to a man’s credibility than being accused of rape. That will make you persona non grata among all of the male progressives (excuse me, I meant male dissidents) who are strong feminist allies, give a damn about rape and believe it to be other than a) a myth b) deserved or c) irrelevant due to the far more significant superduper awesomeness of righteous warriors for truth who like to engage in it every so often.

    Boy, no wonder the GSHC is such a powerful force in society. It sure knows how to discredit its targets. No 11th dimensional chess for the GSHC.

  24. Nessum says:

    The reports from the Swedish police that I saw were in the Guardian in the last couple of days so, yes, “finally.” News to me if there were earlier reports in English. If so, my bad.

    So you only just saw it 3 months in, when it was served to you in English! In the Guardian, which of course – unlike the Swedish Prosecution Authority (and every Swede?) – isn’t influenced by the US, the CIA or the like. You could have informed yourself via the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s web page or statements from the women’s attorney, before taking a stand, but you apparently didn’t. So yes: Your bad.

    Yes, it’s obviously absurd on its face to think that the United States government, let alone its intelligence agencies, would have any interest in the affair. That’s just crazy talk. So I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Because it is of course so very unlikely that it isn’t all about you – “you” as in “the US” – is that what you’re implying? That two women in Sweden being raped and/or sexually molested by a man who might – might – be wanted by the US authorities, can’t possibly not be linked?

    And please don’t – verbally – pat me on the head with your sarcasm. It is so condescending … Sweetie.

  25. Three Wickets says:

    On the whole, straight progressive male bloggers are more sexist than gay progressive male bloggers. True statement? I go back and forth, and yes I do think the question is relevant when men and women discuss, advocate, and compete for time and resources related to issues of social and economic justice.

  26. Sweet Sue says:

    Not that my comment was so earth shatteringly brilliant, but I am concerned that it disappeared.
    Am I doing it wrong?

  27. Sweet Sue says:

    Well, my comments aren’t showing up. I wish I knew why.

  28. Nessum says:

    Any remark by Mark Stephens is a hoot and it doesn’t take much to realize that whatever he says, is to be taken with a huge grain– not to say a sack – of salt! Some excerpts from Guardian article:

    Assange’s solicitor, Mark Stephens, said: “The allegations of the complainants are not credible and were dismissed by the senior Stockholm prosecutor as not worthy of further investigation.”

    When the attorney of the two women contested this dismissal of the case, it was clearly deemed “worthy of further investigation”! And note M.S.’s use of “senior”! There’s nothing to it except for M.S. to discredit, as a “junior”, the on-duty prosecutor who initially made the charges.

    [M.S.] said Miss A had sent two Twitter messages that appeared to undermine her account in the police statement.

    Oh right! The Twitter messages. So very incriminating. That’s not how a sexually abused or raped woman reacts. Says the guy who discovered and publicized them. And he should know. He – a middleaged Swedish man who has a website, samtycke.nu (consent.now) with a very noble cause of focusing on and fighting rape – initially defended the women, but upon discovering the deleted Twitters he suddenly turned on them instead.

    Subsequently he attracted the vile, vicious comments we’re all, all too familiar with, but which were a shock to this man. It forced him to start moderating his comments section, but also made him “reverse his reversal” of opinion about the women. Made him make a profound apology to his readers and start questioning Assange’s credibility by exposing his spin and allegations for what they are.

    But the damage has been done. He helped further discredit the women’s credibility. Truth and facts be damned.

  29. tinfoil hattie says:

    If you read the comments at most progressive, not-specifically-feminist blogs, they are about 75-25 against the women who reported the sexual assaults/rapes. Maybe things are “better,” but I don’t see it. I see vitriol and hatred toward women who DARE to get raped and complain about it.

  30. tinfoil hattie says:

    Dudebros will be dudebros.

  31. myiq2xu says:

    Nessum:

    Stephens claims his client is innocent and says the charges are bogus and without merit but he’s doing everything he can to keep Assange out of a Swedish courtroom. Meanwhile he’s spreading misinformation about the case and about Swedish law.

    BTW – he hasn’t produced the tweets, has he?

  32. Violet Socks says:

    Sweet Sue says:

    Not that my comment was so earth shatteringly brilliant, but I am concerned that it disappeared.
    Am I doing it wrong?

    This is the first comment from you in the thread. There are no other comments from you in the filters, spam filter, etc. So maybe you did something wrong.

  33. myiq2xu says:

    NYT concedes the case against Assange “less flawed” than his supporters have claimed

    Slowly but surely the tide begins to turn and the truth starts to emerge. Now Assange’s lawyers are outraged over the “leak” of prosecution documents.

  34. Carmonn says:

    Also, you hear the exact same damn hoary sexist bullshit coming from Dudebro Nation that you would have heard decades ago, whether it’s about rape or about unqualified women using sex to get ahead professionally or about a million other things. Combine that with the ramped up ugliness of the rhetoric and how it’s increasingly acceptable to say anything about any women, Democrat or Republican, in just about any setting and it doesn’t feel like we’re making progress.

  35. julia says:

    I don’t know if much has gotten better since the Women’s Movement or has just been made to look better. And who wouldn’t be depressed – you’d have to be drugged or asleep.

    I think about the widespread use of porn, the number of women living in poverty, homeless women women in prison. And simply that living without a movement behind you to support you is isolating and can make you fell like quitting.

  36. Lori says:

    It got better and now it’s getting worse again – Obama and his campaign have a lot to do with the current rotted dialogue. That’s the fall out from his campaign – misogyny is now totally acceptable. Violet said he was going to put us back fifty years and he has. Over at Bartcop, I got kicked off because I consistently objected to calling Palin “bitch” and “cunt”. I demanded that the TOS be followed which forbids sexist language. It was very patiently explained to me by RussB, that women get called bitch when they misbehave. These are people who didn’t talk like that before Obama’s campaign. He’s degraded our entire national discourse in a profound way.

    Feminists made headway in regards to how rape is treated and perceived. We didn’t break through all the way but we agreed on some common matters for a while. But skilled attorneys and pundits have worn that down. Something will happen that’s egregious and the conversation will begin again. As Henley wrote, “All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again.”

    BTW, have you ever seen the pictures of Kobe’s victim? She had three inch solid black bruises all around her neck – like a thick, black velvet choker. There is no way that was a consensual act. No way. However, you cannot find the pictures online anywhere. His team has really done some work taking them out of public circulation. They are shocking.

  37. tinfoil hattie says:

    Things are WORSE, in my opinion, because they should be MUCH BETTER THAN THEY ARE. There is NO EXCUSE for this kind of misogyny.

  38. monchichipox says:

    If I may stray off topic just a bit as I’ve been pulling my hair out over this for the last two weeks. It’s more than just a rape culture it’s a murder culture.

    The Grim Sleeper serial killer and an investigation so messed up by the police that for decades they didn’t even warn the women in the area.

    New York sate police are looking for a missing woman. In the area they are searching they find the scattered remains of four women but don’t want to jump to conclusions about a serial killer.

    Now there’s one stalking and murdering women in Houston. They too don’t want to jump to conclusions.

    And who knows where else?

    I can’t believe I still get looked at like I’m a little crazy when I urge women to arm themselves and to seriously study a discipline of self defense.

    Then to top it off I see Obama hanging out with Kobe Bryant. Great. Just fucking great. I think I’m going to steal one of Old Lady Ma’s Ativan tonight so I can sleep.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWIOINaILKQ

    I’m just so unusually angry right now I could just spit in my own face. I just had to vent thank you for listening.

  39. Toonces says:

    I don’t want to go off-topic here, but speaking of rape culture and Kobe Bryant, there’s this commercial he’s in that uses one of my favorite songs (Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones) and every time I hear it I automatically look at the TV because I love the song, and then I remember that it’s that commercial he’s in, where he has a machine gun, and they’re playing war (to Gimme Shelter…*sigh*) and he and a young girl look at each other knowingly because they are both… soldiers, for entertainment, I guess. And they’re trying to be more inclusive (I think?) by having this girl and another girl shown playing; but I see Kobe and I just, I can’t, it’s so… I don’t want to say it’s triggering, because I don’t want to be disrespectful to any women who might actually remember their rape just because they see Kobe’s face or a Kobe puppet or whatever, but it just hits me like a wave how very little rape matters when you’re a Great Man, along with how fucked up we are about war and violence and just everything.

  40. Toonces says:

    Oh, and apparently “Gimme Shelter” has the lyric: “Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away.” So, um, yeah.

  41. Nessum says:

    Julian Assange, in the documentary “Wikileaks – med läckan som vapen” (“WL with leaks as weapon”) interviewed before the sex charges:

    [The leaks] has a second message, and that is, we set an example. If you engage in immoral, in unjust behaviour, it will be found out, it will be revealed and you’ll suffer the consequences.

    Guess he never imagined it should, could and would include immoral and unjust behaviour towards women.

  42. Lori says:

    If the charges are true, then Assange was merely engaging in the kind of gambling that certain men have always engaged in – that is, that a woman won’t be willing to lose her friends, or her career, to charge someone she knows with rape. Assange knows that the women’s social community will be split apart and that they’ll lose friends and maybe even family. I know that the young woman who charged Tyson with rape had to deal with her father being furious with her for not keeping her mouth shut. At her church, she was ostracized as well.

    There’s nothing described that young women who are dating a lot haven’t experienced a dozen times over – certain men just won’t take no for an answer and they make dealing with them very problematic. You may not be in fear of your life or of a beating in the encounter (though you may get left somewhere that makes it tough to get home), but it’s still rape.

  43. votermom says:

    Lori, I keep agreeing with all your comments on this thread.

    I commented on a corrente thread that:
    Tangentially, I think it’s probable that many laws that are usually skated by get taken seriously by the public once they are used to take someone powerful down. A powerful precedent. Like Tax Evasion and Al Capone, Insider Trading and Martha Stewart, and if Assange does get convicted, Date Rape and Julian Assange.

  44. Adrienne in CA says:

    Especially saddened to read comments elsewhere by women bragging that they too were subjected to sexual coersion attempts in their past (hello! pervasive rape culture!), and managed to escape because they’re smarter/meaner/more assertive than those wimpy Swedish women. How perverse is this Patriarchy that destroys women’s empathy for their sisters.

    *****A

  45. tinfoil hattie says:

    Hey, our president said Kobe Bryant is the BESTEST BASKETBALL PLAYER IN THE WORLD!

    Oh, that little rape & attempted murder matter (for that is what strangling someone is: attempted murder)? Well, you know. Bitchezzz lie, and besides, he’s a great BASKETBALL PLAYER.

  46. julia says:

    Tinfoil Hattie, I love reading your comments!

    I wish I hadn’t heard DemocracyNow today; Jaclyn Friedman debates Naomi Wolf about rape. First, why even have Naomi Wolf, why not just have the real feminist, and ask her to talk about the it. Amy Goodman, as much as I like her work, is no feminist. She’s played this ‘alleged charges’ thing to death and has had many rape apologists on her show to help her.

    This blog is starting to save my sanity again, just like it did back in 2008.

    Happy Solstice! :)

  47. Sameol says:

    I love the fact that Hurtig keeps saying that “secret documents” will prove Assange is innocent and the victims are lying sluts, jealous vindictives, and/or CIA honeytraps planted in Sweden after the war just on the off-chance, but– he can’t reveal the contents of the secret documents, because that would be wrong. And if there’s anything Wikileaks is against, it’s revealing secret documents.

    The more these guys paint themselves into hypocritical corners, the more their supporters cling to them, it seems. It’s Obama all over again, dump him before his lack of credibility becomes yours and you’re standing outside the courthouse proclaiming that transparency is only for human beings.

  48. myiq2xu says:

    It’s Obama all over again

    I was noticing that myself. There is that same emotional involvement that turns to anger if you don’t agree with them.

    “How dare you not agree that Obama is the greatest!”

    “How dare you think Assange is guilty!”

    It’s as if they find mere disagreement threatening.

    Someone the other day argued “You don’t know the women aren’t CIA plants”

    Yeah, I also don’t know if they are space aliens but there isn’t any evidence for that either.

  49. myiq2xu says:

    Naomi Wolf decided to double down on the stupid

    So, if you’re going to treat women as moral adults and if you’re going to take the issue of rape seriously, the person who’s engaging in what he thinks is consensual sex has to be told, “I don’t want this.” And again and again and again, these women did not say, “This is not consensual.” Assange was shocked when these were brought up as complaints, because he had no idea that this was not a consensual situation. Miss A kept Assange in her home for the next four days and threw a party for him.

    So, because I take rape seriously, because I’m aware that in 23 years, you know, in Sweden, which has been criticized by Amnesty International for disregarding rape, for letting rapists go free, because you have a better chance in Sweden, if you’re a rape victim, of, you know, dying in an accident or getting breast cancer than having a serious rape allegation prosecuted or getting any kind of legal hearing, according to Amnesty International’s report “Case Closed”—it’s because of that that I know that these charges are utterly, utterly atypically handled. In 23 years, I’ve never seen any man in any situation this ambiguous, involving this much consent, have any kind of legal process whatsoever. And all over the world, women who have been gang-raped, brutally raped, raped in alleyways, pimped, prostituted, trafficked, you know, their rapists go free.

    So, yes, this stinks to me. And yes, it’s about politics, and it’s about the same kind of politics that dragged you, when you were trying to cover a march, you know, violently into legal jeopardy, because really this is about a journalist who has angered the most powerful and increasingly brutal nation on earth, and it’s about all of us who are journalists being dragged into a dangerous situation because of criticism of the government.

  50. tinfoil hattie says:

    In 23 years, Naomi Wolf must not have spoken to many rape victims. Either that or she vets them – “Uh, sorry, after he nagged and nagged and nagged you and wore you down and raped you while you were asleep, you gave in and just waited for it to be over, so YOU totes consented! Sorry! I only help REAL rape victims!”

    ARRRGGGH. Time to go water my CIA feminist plant.

  51. tinfoil hattie says:

    Thanks Julia! :-)

    This blog is definitely saving my sanity. Fortunately we are all prepared to deal with this now, b/c of the Obama feminist hatefest of 2 yrs ago.

  52. spring says:

    Is there some kind of public response that can be made in between one side insisting that it is a “crime” involving “fear” — and the other side hair-splitting about “consent” and claiming “ambiguity” and denigrating the credibility of the accuser? Must it always be “all or nothing”?

    Perhaps we should consider a system of reportable (documented) infractions that would involve fines and require STD testing, similar to the way we handle traffic infractions. If there are in fact damages (pregnancy, STD) from events involving conditional consent, i.e. “would have been consensual if he had worn a condom”, then they would be subject to civil lawsuit. The documentation would facilitate repeat offenses being charged as crimes.

  53. Nessum says:

    Naomi Wolf is an effing idiot!

    Remember WORM – “What Obama Really Meant”? Now Wolf is “worming” on behalf of Assange, giving the impression that she knows exactly how A. reacted and exactly what he thought and said, while with the two Swedish women! Was she there? Or is she inside his head?

    In the clip actually both women are at fault, assuring each other that of course the case is political; and nooo, A. has not been charged, we’re talking about “allegations” ! Wolf of course goes one step further and calls it corrupt allegations.

    So when a woman reports rape/sexual assault, we talk about “allegations”, “claims”, or “accusations”. But when the accused declares his innocense, we don’t talk about “allegations” or “claims”; we say “innocent until proven guilty”.

    Am I missing something here and if, then what?

  54. Nessum says:

    The Swedish Prosecutor, from the website:

    The prosecutor emphasizes that this matter exclusively concerns Mr. Assange as a private person.

    - I would like to clarify that there have by no means been any political pressure on my decision making. I act as a prosecutor due to suspicions of sexual crimes in Sweden in August. Swedish prosecutors are completely independent in their decision making, says Ms. Ny.

  55. spring says:

    Both sides are speculating about how the women felt. What it sounds like is that Assange acted like a pig. Why, when it involves sex, harassment, coercion, and/or male privilege, does it seem to be so difficult to get some reasonable nuance, as for other kinds of wrongs, crimes and torts.

  56. funniekins says:

    “Is there some kind of public response that can be made in between one side insisting…”

    “Both sides are speculating about…”

    People really think this kind of framing makes them seem “reasonable” and capable of “nuance.” It’s funny, how they never see that they are swallowing hype wholesale from dude-centric faux-dispassionate status-quo-seekers (e.g. Jon Stewart) — AND that they, too, have a viewpoint, one that makes assumptions and attributes emotions and actions to other people, AND they feel compelled to share it/push it forward as reality. “Reasonable” reality, a/k/a an alternate version of what happened. Alternate, as in, different than what is documented that the women said happened.

    But right, we just can’t “speculate” how they “felt.” Inferring that what they SAID about what they FELT was likely to be true is waaaay too radical. Way too “unreasonable.”

  57. gxm17 says:

    spring @50 and 52.

    I won’t have sex with you if you won’t wear a condom means NO condom, NO sex. A conditional agreement is a conditional agreement NOT consent. If I tell a prospective buyer, no, I won’t sell my car for $50 does not mean that some Jack Ass can throw $50 at me and take the car. It’s theft because I did not agree (consent) to his “offer.”

    Yeah, sure, Jack Ass may have wanted to have sex without a condom, but when the woman said no, consent was not some ambiguous gray area. It was a clearly defined area and it was violated. That’s rape. Believe it or not, women are allowed to have sex on their own terms. Some horny, domineering Jack Ass is not allowed to override those terms just because he’s a horny, domineering Jack Ass. When he does, he’s more than just a Jack Ass, he’s a rapist.

  58. julia says:

    Phyliss Chesler has a great piece in her book Patriarchy about Naomi Wolf. And it reiterates everything you all are saying. I would only add that Wolf was like this years ago, and being a feminist who ‘sides with the guys’ is a good way to get press and get published – all the things that have become so diffiuclt, or even impossible, for radical feminists.

    I sent an e-mail to DemocracyNow telling them how dissapointed I am. I said that until they start to cover women’s news I will not support them.

    I keep thinking about what Violet posted earlier, that the women in Sweden must have been part of the Wikileak support group, and when the ‘star’ rapes you, who will you tell? No one will believe you, so you probably go along, go to the parties, keep letting him stay with you. And them later – when he’s gone and the parties are over – you wake up.

  59. gxm17 says:

    Make that spring @ 52 and 55 (unless/until more trapped comments are released).

  60. Toonces says:

    Do people not know that when something traumatic or even upsetting happens to you, you don’t always process it THE SECOND IT HAPPENS? Sometimes it takes me a week to know how I feel about something someone said to me. Or even a year, depending on the person. What the accuser clearly should have done is stopped her life completely until she fully processed her experience. Bleh.

    Time to go water my CIA feminist plant.
    Ahaha, TY.

  61. Nessum says:

    Correction. To myself #41. Assange’s sanctimonious comment about immoral and unjust behaviour was actually made after the sex charges – which only makes them so much more hypocritical. He continues:

    I came to Sweden as a refugee. A refugee publisher involved with an extraordinary publishing fight with the Pentagon, where people were being detained with an attempt to prosecute me for espionage. So I’m unhappy and disappointed with how the Swedish justice system has been abused.

    The poor victimized, persecuted, innocent saint. Seems that his English solicitor must be scripted by Assange himself, btw. I tend to agree with his mother, that he’s become “too smart for himself.”

  62. kiuku says:

    people have a hard time distinguishing a person’s work and reputation from their crime, or accused crime. Assange’s work is important to me. Assange’s rape is not something I support. Can we distinguish between the two. I doubt Naomi Wolf truly believes a conspiracy is involved in the speech of the victims, but she puts a spin on it. Yea, there is more attention given to this case because Assange is a figurehead in the news lately. Unfortunately it’s too typical; it’s rape culture; while I can count the number of times men have practically dry humped my leg like a dog, it’s only because I rarely interact with them. It would, otherwise be more, so this is just a matter of a sick pattern; they’re all nasty and sh*t; which is why I’d like to see more -women- being prominent in their work. where are the women of team Assange.

  63. kiuku says:

    i’d imagine there’d be more women in prominence, doing important work, if there was less rape.

  64. kiuku says:

    just make Assange a TSA agent and that’ll fix the problem, most problems.

  65. spring says:

    Inferring that what they SAID about what they FELT was likely to be true is waaaay too radical.

    I don’t recall reading words or actions indicating “fear”.

    I won’t have sex with you if you won’t wear a condom means NO condom, NO sex. A conditional agreement is a conditional agreement NOT consent. If I tell a prospective buyer, no, I won’t sell my car for $50 does not mean that some Jack Ass can throw $50 at me and take the car.

    How about if you rented someone your car for one week for $50, and then he returned it a day late. It might be something less than “theft”. Is this criminal law or civil contracts law? It’s not clear, when we are talking about the terms of an oral contract in the context of whether a crime was committed.

    The point is that there are degrees of wrongdoing, and it doesn’t have to be all one way or the other. There are degrees of wrongs, and degrees of damages. If your tenant doesn’t vacate the premises timely, his wrongdoing (it’s still wrongdoing) doesn’t transmogrify into burglary. A fender bender isn’t prosecuted as a crime equivalent to vehicular homicide. Shoplifting a pack of gum is indeed theft, but it isn’t handled equivalent to armed robbery. Many kinds of wrongs are not crimes at all, but noncriminal infractions or civil torts. (These women said they complained because they wanted Assange tested for STDs.)

    Also consider, when we start talking about whether there was or was not an oral contract (“consent”), whether that is moving the issues out of the realm of “crime” and into contracts law, or tort law (all intentional torts aren’t crimes either). Compare lack of consent medical malpractice, a wrong which may be, but is not necessarily, a crime. Also consider that an act that is a crime is not usually something that can be “consented” to.

    This isn’t about the golden mean logic fallacy. I think it’s time to look at the issues with something other than black/white thinking and structure the laws and responses to them accordingly — so that the options for prosecution and redress are not limited to two unacceptable extremes.

    Finally, going back to consent and oral contracts, what about “implied consent”. Why leave it at an “oral contract”? If violating it could create a crime, why not require express consent documented via a signed, sitnessed, and notarized written contract. (That’s what the law usually requires if the consequences of a breach or just a misunderstanding are going to be very serious.)

  66. myiq2xu says:

    Finally, going back to consent and oral contracts, what about “implied consent”

    Hmmm. Maybe we should could change the law so that “consent” is an affirmative defense to a charge of rape.

    That would put the burden of proof on the defendant if they claim the alleged victim gave consent.

    That might result in some guys not getting laid, but shit happens.

  67. spring says:

    Maybe we should could change the law so that “consent” is an affirmative defense to a charge of rape.

    If we are putting burdens of proof on defendants, we are taking this out of criminal law and moving it into tort law where this would be more appropriate, or else “lack consent” cannot be an element of the criminal offense. The “offense” would be “having sex”.

    Most democratic countries don’t require criminal defendants to prove their innocence of a crime. Instead, the state must prove each element of the crime.

  68. gxm17 says:

    spring, you need to remain consistent. The analogous example would be how about if you rent your car to someone and the terms of the rental are that if you are even one second late, the contract is null and the rental company will call the cops. There is NO GRAY AREA when consent is given with a condition, such as using a condom. No condom = no sex. Supposedly Jack Ass is a smart guy. What part of this equation is difficult to understand? The only reason this equation is difficult for people like you and Jack Ass is because you have been indoctrinated with the ideas that women are the sex class and a woman’s body is public property. But, in truth, in nature, and in law, they are not. A woman can say no, and a violation of that no is rape. When Jack Ass chooses to force himself upon a woman who has clearly not given consent to sex without a condom, then he is, just as clearly, a rapist. There is no “nuance” here, just rape, plain and simple.

    I agree with myiq, but let’s follow the patriarchy’s example and take it one step further. Not only does the defendant need to prove consent, but he must supply a multitude of female witnesses to said consent.

  69. Toonces says:

    What? So taking someone’s car without their permission is only a crime if they scream, “No! I do not give you permission to take my car!” after you (and only with witnesses)? What? No, I’m pretty sure lack of consent makes it a crime.

    The internet died today and nobody* cared. Maybe if Comcast threatens to take some of the rape porn down people will start to get upset about free speech.

    I like nuance. I wish people could evaluate Julian Assange’s hero status, or him as a person, or his actions, or Wikileaks’ status as the only solution to our present transparency and media crises, or whether its actions make things better or worse, etc. with some nuance. I also wish media reform evoked as much (progressive!) passion as defending an accused rapist does.

    *I don’t actually mean nobody, hyperbole

  70. spring says:

    The analogous example would be how about if you rent your car to someone and the terms of the rental are that if you are even one second late, the contract is null and the rental company will call the cops.

    (Assuming a rental car companies would do this, and they do not), calling the cops is not evidence of any crime. It is not a crime unless the state can prove the elements of auto theft.

    There is NO GRAY AREA when consent is given with a condition, such as using a condom. No condom = no sex.

    That’s contract law. Breach of contract.

    A woman can say no, and a violation of that no is rape.

    It appears unclear whether either woman said “no”.

    The act here that apparently was wrong was not the sex, but “having sex without a condom without consent to UNPROTECTED sex.” That may or may not set out the elements of a crime under this or that statute in this or that jurisdiction. Calling it “rape”, however, does not describe the specific wrongdoing. It’s fuzzy and inaccurate.

    If you want to define the crime here, then it has to be defined with specificity. (See shoplifting pack of gum versus armed robbery, in my prior post).

    let’s follow the patriarchy’s example and take it one step further. Not only does the defendant need to prove consent, but he must supply a multitude of female witnesses to said consent.

    The defendant against what charges? As you state it, the crime would be “having sex”. If the state proves someone had sex then he or she is guilty. Everyone who cannot prove justification or excuse such as “the other party consented” will be guilty of a crime. (What would be your proposed statute of limitations on prosecuting this crime? A year? Four years? Twenty years?)

  71. spring says:

    So taking someone’s car without their permission is only a crime if they scream, “No! I do not give you permission to take my car!” after you (and only with witnesses)? What? No, I’m pretty sure lack of consent makes it a crime.

    Assuming that “lack of consent” is an element of the crime of auto theft, then the burden of proof is on the state to prove “lack of consent” along with the other stated elements it must prove to demonstrate the crime (such as, e.g. “intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the rightful owner of his property.”)

  72. gxm17 says:

    And, spring, you do realize that buying or renting a car, or stealing a pack of gum are nothing compared to sexual assault. Yes? Most people understand that sexual assault is a violation, a crime, that stands in a league of its own.

    I’ve known women who were the victims of date or acquaintance rape who were terribly traumatized. One attempted suicide. Another required 13 stitches. And I know a woman who was the victim of a brutal stranger (kidnapping, gang) rape. Picking and choosing which is worse is a heartless and useless endeavor. Rape is not a subtle, or nuanced, crime. It is soul-crushing and evil. Looking Jack Ass in the face for what he, and many more like him are is so very difficult because it means confronting the reality of this nightmare called patriarchy. The unbearable truth is that “cad,” “creep,” and “Jack Ass” are names we use to hide the fact that far too many of the men we are surrounded with are Rapists. Oh, that nuance, it can be such an evil little instrument of delusion and comfort.

  73. Unree says:

    @67spring, not so. First, the “offense” isn’t having sex in myiq’s formulation. Similar to a scenario where a defendant can claim self-defense, there is no offense. Killing is acceptable under the criminal law when the killer used reasonable force to protect his or her life; having sex is and should be acceptable under the criminal law when one’s partner has consented.

    Defendants have the burden of proof when they are claiming an affirmative defense. Nothing wrong or unfair about that.

    Second, yes, the state does have to prove every element of a crime. But some crimes are of the “strict liability” category, where the defendant can be convicted just for engaging in a certain act, such as selling liquor to minors, or statutory rape, regardless of what he was thinking or what he knew. We could easily rewrite the elements of sexual assault crimes.

    As for your update @70, in my country (the U.S.) consent is an affirmative defense to theft or larceny. Statutes that I know of do not require the government to prove lack of consent. The defendant can raise consent if it is present but the state need not prove that the victim did not consent.

    I first encountered myiq’s suggestion over at Twisty’s place. As I understood what Twisty proposed, heterosexual intercourse would be presumed nonconsensual on the part of the woman. To defeat an accusation of rape, the male defendant would have to prove consent. I haven’t yet heard a good argument against the idea.

  74. Toonces says:

    So rape should be a special crime unlike others (because it’s all just so confusing) when spring says so (e.g., helps the accused), and not when spring says it shouldn’t (when it helps the accuser). Got it.

  75. spring says:

    So rape should be a special crime unlike others

    Every wrongdoing is not a crime. “Rape” or “theft” are terms that do not describe specific elements of a crime. They are general terms covering broad groups of behaviors with greater or lesser degrees or wrongs and damages.

    Similar to a scenario where a defendant can claim self-defense, there is no offense… Defendants have the burden of proof when they are claiming an affirmative defense… As I understood what Twisty proposed, heterosexual intercourse would be presumed nonconsensual on the part of the woman. To defeat an accusation of rape, the male defendant would have to prove consent.

    Twisty’s proposal makes “having sex” the crime. So by your formulation, all the state would have to prove in ANY case to get a conviction is “sex”.

    Not “nonconsensual sex”. Just “sex.” The moment that element of the “crime” — nonconsensual — is added to differentiate the activity from merely “sex” as being the crime, the burden is on the state to prove it.

    Affirmative defenses — such as “self-defense” or other “necessity” — are not elements of the crime. They won’t come up if the state cannot otherwise prove a crime took place.

    (By the way, in the gendered definition of the crime of having sex unless an affirmative defense is proved, what do you do with sex between two men? And how long would this crime of having sex be subject to prosecution?)

  76. Toonces says:

    Both sides are speculating about how the women felt. What it sounds like is that Assange acted like a pig. Why, when it involves sex, harassment, coercion, and/or male privilege, does it seem to be so difficult to get some reasonable nuance, as for other kinds of wrongs, crimes and torts.

    Yes, clearly I’ve misunderstood.

    You do realize the allegations against Assange are not, as misreported, that a condom broke in the middle of a consensual sex-act, yes?

  77. spring says:

    Most people understand that sexual assault is a violation, a crime, that stands in a league of its own.

    Why? Is it the “sex” part? If so, may I ask what weight we should accord to the casual attitudes about sex (or just sleeping in the same bed with a strange man) of the women in the Assange case?

    I am not negating his wrongdoing at all, but I AM questioning what makes the sex aspect special. What makes it worse than a bodily assault of some other kind? Some of these are hideous.

    I’ve known women who were the victims of date or acquaintance rape who were terribly traumatized…. I know a woman who was the victim of a brutal stranger… rape. Picking and choosing which is worse is a heartless and useless endeavor.

    I greatly disagree. I think we’re being short-sighted by generalizing assaults with different degrees of harm into the same category. Doing that — and making sex (definition?) versus other kinds of bodily assaults a matter of focus and specialness — is exactly why sex crimes persist in being so hard to successfully charge and prosecute.

    Many women also have been subjected to “date rapes” and other non-consensual sex acts, especially within existing relationships (but not necessarily) that in the main weren’t particularly emotionally or physically significant.

    I am NOT saying that wrongs weren’t committed. What I AM saying is that refusing to differentiate damages and circumstances downplays — and aids in public confusion and media report dilution — of some incredible horrors that other women have endured.

  78. spring says:

    You do realize the allegations against Assange are not, as misreported, that a condom broke in the middle of a consensual sex-act, yes?

    Having read the various available media reports and being a fairly old and liberal heterosexual woman with a lot of years of experience in both single and coupled life behind me, I suspect that I might have as good an idea about what transpired as anyone who is not privy to inside information.

  79. Toonces says:

    Sooo… yes? No? Or are allegations unimportant in rape cases because of all the special nuance involved in such crimes, uh, I mean, uh, wrongdoings?

  80. Sasha CA says:

    refusing to differentiate damages and circumstances downplays — and aids in public confusion and media report dilution — of some incredible horrors that other women have endured

    Ah yes, the old “you’re trivializing the experiences of REAL rape victims.” I guess the many women who are suffering from lifelong PTSD as a result of an “acquaintance rape” are just hysterical bitchez who don’t know how lucky they are that they weren’t really raped?

  81. Sameol says:

    Du-uh! Did you miss the part about how being forced into sex is a normal healthy part of any relationship? Anyways, who’s to say that stranger rape is “real rape” either? This whole consent/trauma thing is so confusing, but I am sure many women would absolutely love to be dragged into the bushes by a knife wielding stranger, too. The entire concept of bodily integrity is vastly overrated.

  82. Adrienne in CA says:

    Just listened to both days of debate between Naomi Wolf and Jaclyn Friedman, and must go on record:

    Naomi Wolf is a MORON and NO FEMINIST.

    First time hearing Wolf speak at length, so shocked she ever had a rep as pro-woman in even a pop culture sense. She’s pro-woman the way the dude she’s certain will send her latest HEro to Guantanamo is “Christmas and New Year’s and Hanukkah Rolled Into One.”

    Audio/video here and here, if you can stand it.

  83. spring says:

    Ah yes, the old “you’re trivializing the experiences of REAL rape victims.” I guess the many women who are suffering from lifelong PTSD as a result of an “acquaintance rape” are just hysterical bitchez who don’t know how lucky they are that they weren’t really raped?

    I did not do that. I gave you the opposite side of the spectrum. I repeatedly have emphasized that there are degrees of harm and a whole lot in the middle not being considered.

    I said: Many women also have been subjected to “date rapes” and other non-consensual sex acts, especially within existing relationships (but not necessarily) that in the main weren’t particularly emotionally or physically significant.”

    Is that impossible to accept? “Rape” by the way does not describe a crime in many jurisdictions, e.g. Florida, where I practice law. The various crimes are of “sexual battery”. You can read Florida’s statute here: http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0794/Sections/0794.011.html

    Under the old common law, “rape” originally commenced as a crime of property against a man, not a crime against the person of a woman. The female was the property. It was a special sort of crime, not because it was necessarily more emotionally traumatic for the woman than another kind of physical assault (for which we seem able to readily accept differences in the damages caused), but because of patriarchal attitudes about sex.

  84. Carmonn says:

    What I AM saying is that refusing to differentiate damages and circumstances downplays — and aids in public confusion and media report dilution — of some incredible horrors that other women have endured.

    Do you honestly believe that? Opposing rape creates confusion and leads to the social acceptability of rape, while downplaying rape and using “air quotes” while talking about “rape” and “consent” and what a big deal it’s not if it’s violated and spewing the same sexist bullshit that juries use when they acquit gang rapists who videotaped their crimes (“may I ask what weight we should accord to the casual attitudes about sex (or just sleeping in the same bed with a strange man) of the women in the Assange case?”) will suddenly make “rape” a serious offense in our society?

    If we combed through 10,000,000,000 case files, we might find one that you actually consider to be rape-rape, but then we lose anyway because she had a casual attitude toward sex or she let someone, someone else, you understand, sleep in her bed, and well, it was only a matter of time before that caught up with her. Maybe the man in the park was stalking her and he saw her give some guy that look.

  85. spring says:

    Response to the sarcastic comments:

    So…anything involving the delicate chaste woman’s unmentionables of course always being such a big deal from a bodily integrity standpoint… presumptive high trauma and emotional issues even though other kinds of assaults sometimes cause more significant physical injuries… oh good heavens, the poor pitiful thing and the shame of it, the shame of it… ????

    (I suspect that more women would come forward and report rape if we had a little less of this kind of attitude.)

  86. spring says:

    “Quotes” are because posters are talking about legal concepts while using words that can involve terms of art or otherwise are unclear and need to be defined.

  87. Toonces says:

    So…anything involving the delicate torso of a human of course always being such a big deal from a bodily integrity standpoint…presumptive high trauma and emotional issues of being stabbed even though other kinds of assaults sometimes cause more significant physical injuries…oh good heavens, don’t they know that a stabbing isn’t really that big of a deal when other people are being SHOT with GUNS?

    (I suspect if we stopped making such a big deal about stabbings more people would come forward about having been stabbed.)

    Rape apologist.

  88. Sameol says:

    Great point, spring. We wouldn’t want to be *frail flowers* or *victims* by thinking rape is worse than shoplifting a stick of gum. If we discard our Victorian primness, we’ll probably find it’s incredibly empowerful, and be much more willing to come forward and report it.

    Or something.

  89. Carmonn says:

    So date rape is such an arcane legal term you had to put it in quotes so as not to confuse the layperson?

    Well, that makes as much sense as anything else you’ve said, I guess.

    don’t they know that a stabbing isn’t really that big of a deal when other people are being SHOT with GUNS?

    Do you have any idea how patriarchal that attitude is? Objecting to using a gun to penetrate someone else’s body without their consent–what’s next? What if people sometimes orgasm from being shot, would you deny them that, you prude?

  90. May says:

    Why are you desperately trying to downplay the trauma of rape Spring?

  91. votermom says:

    Remember WORM – “What Obama Really Meant”? Now Wolf is “worming” on behalf of Assange, giving the impression that she knows exactly how A. reacted and exactly what he thought and said, while with the two Swedish women! Was she there? Or is she inside his head?

    WART – What Assange Really Thinks.

  92. votermom says:

    Aaahh — wrong blockquote tag!!!

    Anyway, Naomi is WARTing.

  93. funniekins says:

    (Inferring that what they SAID about what they FELT was likely to be true is waaaay too radical.)

    spring: I don’t recall reading words or actions indicating “fear”.

    That’s so very odd. I do. Both words and actions.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    ****

    According to her statement she “tried to put on some articles of clothing as it was going too quickly and uncomfortably but Assange ripped them off again”. Miss A told police that she didn’t want to go any further “but that it was too late to stop Assange as she had gone along with it so far”, and so she allowed him to undress her.

    she had tried a number of times to reach for a condom but Assange had stopped her by holding her arms and pinning her legs.

    Miss A said Assange was still staying in her flat but they were not having sex because he had “exceeded the limits of what she felt she could accept” and she did not feel safe.

    Miss A told her she had had “the worst sex ever” with Assange: “Not only had it been the world’s worst screw, it had also been violent.”

    Miss A says she spent Wednesday night on a mattress and then moved to a friend’s flat so she did not have to be near him.

  94. funniekins says:

    spring, I focused earlier on your “call to reason” and failed to answer this question, which to be fair, I perhaps should:

    Why, when it involves sex, harassment, coercion, and/or male privilege, does it seem to be so difficult to get some reasonable nuance…

    I DON’T think it’s because rape is unique among all other crimes.

    I suspect it’s because of demographics.

    I don’t think that, if you discussed it with them long enough, most women would truly view rape as a totally unique TYPE of crime, while everything else can be lumped together, including child abuse, torture, severe physical battery, nonsexual domestic violence, and the kind of pervasive street violence that causes people to hide inside their homes and fear for their safety (and can sometimes create severe emotional disturbance from PTSD & grief).

    What I do think, is that if you are a working-class-or-above American woman (as one often finds on the internet, for example), you understand rape as a uniquely PERVASIVE crime. And you also understand that there is a clearly-defined victim class and you fall squarely into it. The other crimes, not so much. Either you’re not the target, or the rain falls equally on the just and the unjust, as the saying goes.

    So, given that you are talking to a demographic that is statistically likely to be victimized in the future and knows it, and is unusually saturated with people who have already been victims of the crime and is unusually UNsaturated by people likely to have committed the crime,

    Are you really so puzzled by the way rape is talked about?

    If you were to sit in the basement of a black church in a neighborhood with a real violence problem, and listen while people whom you know have reason to view their own children as “marked” as a target for either killing or recruitment speak in all-or-nothing terms about “gang members” (as in, it should be a crime to even be a member), would you still be so puzzled about the lack of “reasonable nuance”? Even when you know it’s likely that 1 in 4 there has already had their own kid killed?

    Frankly, I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care, if the psychological aftermath of being raped is unlike being a victim of any other major crime.

    I do agree with you that – as we have for every other kind of crime – there should be a range of steps and classes, along with aggravating and mitigating factors in the range of sex assault. And that perhaps some actions are best suited for a civil, not criminal, remedy.

    But wait, we HAVE that. At least in my state. Different levels of sex offense. Different factors for each crime. And in my state, we also have a civil remedy for rape. As well as the range of not-rape coercive sex-related “bad acts” covered by civil sexual harassment law.

    I think that there are many ways these laws could be improved – and I don’t even necessarily mean “toughened,” because I frankly don’t think that’s been very helpful to women. Many feminists might disagree with me about that.

    But one thing I think is total BS is coming in here talking about traffic ticket and exclaiming about how people get their feathers ruffled. I think it shows a lack of care about both listening and being heard that (I suspect as an older lefty type) you would be mortified to exhibit with any other group than women, about any other kind of pervasive criminal problem.

  95. funniekins says:

    For anyone interested in why there are not more civil remedies for rape:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2254980/

  96. m Andrea says:

    Spring, the principle you are arguing is that there are circumstances which exist wherein it is approproate for you to use someone else as a masturbatory object, without regard for their right to NEVER be treated as a masturbatory object.

    You are arguing that one person is entitled to dehumanize another, but only under very special circumstances which somehow or another are never to be applied to yourself.

    I am curious. Can you name one instance in which it is appropriate for me to dehumanize you without your consent?

  97. Lori says:

    I think different crimes with different levels of punishment might make a lot of women more free to report crimes of date rape. If there is a category of crime that recognizes upfront that the plaintiff and the defendant may well have a flirtatious, romantic history and the crime springs out of the fact that they have a relationship (whether it’s one drunken evening long, or years long doesn’t matter), it takes a lot of the obfuscatory stuff off the table and brings it down to consent. If a stranger has broken into your house and beaten you before having sex, consent isn’t the really the issue.

    The problem with having a wide range of punishments for one crime leaves punishment up to the discretion of the judge. And the problem I see more often than not, is that discretion is going to side with the male defendant rather than the female plaintiff.

    I think a guy who breaks into a woman’s house, beats and rapes her is displaying a level of psychopathy that suggests he is much more dangerous than a guy who forces a woman he knows into sex. Both of those are crimes. Both of those crimes indicate sociopathy. If we quantify that crime up front, rather than tolerating a situation where a defendant can obfuscate the issue by comparing what he is charged with with stranger rape, we might make it easier for the plaintiffs.

    I also think quantifying date rape with a mandatory prison/jail sentence, would have a deterrent effect because most of the guys committing that crime aren’t full out psychopaths. There is a huge element, it seems to me, of narcissism in date rape but nothing suggests that the perps are in disengaged from reality in a substantial way.

    None of this is to suggest that date rape can’t be legitimately terrifying or debilitating, but that the mental condition that leads a guy to stranger rape and what that suggests about his capability of future violence is much different than what leads to date rape. I don’t think Julian Assange is likely to start murdering women based on what he is accused of doing in Sweden. I do think murder was inevitable with Richard Allen Davis. As it is, a guy like Assange can point to Richard Allen Davis and say, “Now, THAT’S rape!” – and a lot of people will agree. So, why not take that off the table?

    For me, I’d rather have the full out psychopaths who commit stranger rape locked up in prison for as long as possible. If we can achieve that by quantifying date rape as a separate crime with a different level of punishment, I’m fine with that.

  98. Toonces says:

    http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/2010/12/08/rape_assange/index.html

    The Swedes take rape very seriously.

    The country has the highest reporting rate in the European Union. (Perhaps because “Swedish women, backed by a strong consciousness of women’s rights and a history of a very public discussion of the scourge of sexual violence, may be more willing than most to look to the law for help,” writes the Times’ Katrin Bennhold.) Swedish law also recognizes “withdrawal of consent” as rape, which is what is alleged in the Assange case, and details three types of rape: “severe,” “regular” and “less severe.”

    Reading about Sweden’s tough stance on sexual assault, I couldn’t help but wonder how the U.S. measures up. I gave Diane Moyer, legal director of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, a call to find out.

    How does Sweden’s three-tiered view of rape compare to the legal framework in the U.S.?

    In most states there are different [legal levels]. Here in Pennsylvania, rape is forceable — that can be psychological, with a weapon or any number of other things. Then there’s sexual assault, which is without the use of force. So, we have tiered statutory codes regarding rape, but it varies from state to state. In some states, what you would call rape would be sexual assault in the 1st degree — and then there would be sexual assault in the 2nd degree or 3rd degree. So, it is not uniform across the country.

    Assange’s accusers claim that the sex started consensually and became non-consensual. How does U.S. law deal with such scenarios?

    To my knowledge, Illinois is the only state that does specifically recognize withdrawal of consent [during the act]. There has been appellate law in Maine, Connecticut, South Dakota, Alaska, California, Kansas and Maryland on the issue, but none of the other legislatures have responded by enacting a law.

  99. Unree says:

    Lori, I agree with you, but what about your comment @36 where you mentioned Kobe Bryant–where does he fall on your continuum? The rape he committed was extremely violent and he and his victim were strangers in the sense of not knowing each other.

    I have a feeling that celebrity defendants will always be placed at the indulgent end of any spectrum.

  100. Lori says:

    Toonces,

    That’s interesting. Thank you. So, it may be more of a cultural discussion that we need to have then.

  101. julia says:

    Wow- if only one state ‘allows’ withdraw of consent, then rape is still not considered a crime. What if it hurts and she wants him to stop? No, his orgasm is more important.

    I will never support the idea that one kind of rape is worse than another. What about when you trust someone and bring him into your intimate life and he ACTS trustworthy, for a long time, and then he rapes you. Knowing the victim is a different level of violation, but both are serious violations.

    Sweden made marital rape illegal in 1965. The United States made it illegal in 1994, with New Mexico as the last state to sign on.

    So this is what our country thinks of us. I keep thinking about Andrea Dworkin when she said that what most men want women for is ‘Clean the house. Spread your legs.’

  102. kiuku says:

    if you’re making out in a car and it’s 1952, and he rips your pants off, that’s rape. This is the same story line: 2011. Has Frat culture permeated?Have we become so desensitized to rape in America that rape is considered by American women to be bad sex?

  103. Sasha CA says:

    The misperceptions some people here have about rape are quite startling. Lori, do you realize that the average acquaintance rape is actually more violent than the average stranger rape? Do you understand that many so-called “date rapists” are serial rapists who are every bit as violent and sociopathic as the guy jumping out of the bushes in a ski mask? Moreover, your classification of rape as either “date rape” or “stranger rape” leaves out the very large group of acquaintance rapes where no romantic or dating relationship existed between victim and perpetrator. A very good friend of mine was a victim of such an acquaintance rape. The attack was brutal but she did not report for the usual reasons (i.e., she knew she’d be blamed and her rape would be trivialized). A year later we heard that the guy who raped her was wanted for the rape and murder of a 17-year-old high school student. I really wish we could get rid of the common belief that the victim’s relationship (or lack thereof) with the perpetrator tells us anything about the seriousness of the crime.

  104. funniekins says:

    I will never support the idea that one kind of rape is worse than another.

    You can say “both are serious” and refuse to rank victims, while still allowing for different classes and levels of crime.

    We hold men who rape 8-year-olds and men who use guns/knives to threaten women with death (rather than by using fear as a weapon by threatening pain or exposure or emotional abuse) more responsible.

    We do that because we think that their choice of victim and demonstration of willingness to use even more force indicates that they are more willing to flout social rules and therefore are more dangerous to the rest of us.

    That might not be a correct assumption, but it is the assumption.

    Crime/punishment, no matter what the people who pose in front of cameras say, is really not at all about whether a victim was harmed and how much they are harmed.

    Crime is foremost about the extent to which the person doing the crime is flouting the state and how much the state wants to exert control over that person in retaliation.

    The view that crime is really about harm to victims is wishful thinking, and it is a problem because it is why we assume criminal law is the answer to everything horrible (thus, if we just had tougher rules and took a harder line on any infractions, the horrible things would get better).

    Most men who rape are actually not flouting society very much at all. THAT is a pretty damn big hurdle to surmount.

    When you say that you refuse to support the idea that one kind of rape is worse than another, you might be talking about victims rather than perpetrators (I can’t tell). But we *do* know that things are worse for some victims as compared to others. Not all experiences are the same. Certain circumstances and types of events are more highly associated with trauma. Further, not all victims are the same – two people can have the exact same bad thing happen to them in the exact same way and one will move past it and another will be incapacitated by PTSD.

    So, if what you MEAN is that every rape (and rape accusation) must be taken seriously, I agree.

    But I think that trying to find out what kinds of rape are worse (for the victim) and what kinds of rapist are worse (for society) are important questions that we need to engage.

    Because if feminists don’t try to answer these questions in order to change both society and the law to align with the rape and rapists WE think are “worse” (which means we also say which things can be addressed outside of a criminal court and which types of perpetrators we think can most easily be rehabilitated and what kinds of rehabilitation/prevention/education we think are likely to be most effective), who will? No one. Or the wrong people. And we’ll end up with another bad anti-crime initiative that claims to be good for women, but isn’t.

    So, raped women will keep on being handed tools that do not work very well at all, at least not when employed by lawmakers, judges, lawyers, police, and juries who don’t necessarily believe women, consider their experience important, or want to take rape seriously.

    That’s why it’s important to “dig in” to rape rather than declare it monolithically awful and therefore all equally bad – it’s not about ranking victims or minimizing rape. It’s about trying to articulate what kinds of things, specifically, would best prevent/remedy which kinds of sexual assault.

  105. julia says:

    And what this all comes back to is this: my body is not mine. It does not belong to me. It belongs to him.

  106. Lori says:

    Unree,

    You’re probably right about celebrity rape. But I’ve seen the photos of the victim. Ironically, a guy defending Bryant posted them as evidence that she wasn’t seriously injured – just bruised. There is no way that someone with that level of bruising around their neck didn’t spend several minutes reasonably convinced that they were going to be murdered. Kobe needed to be put away for a decade of so in my book.

  107. spring says:

    I think it shows a lack of care about both listening and being heard that (I suspect as an older lefty type) you would be mortified to exhibit with any other group than women, about any other kind of pervasive criminal problem.

    The problem overall is closer to “woman hate” or “woman denigration” or subordination or disrespect, than to “rape” per se and it manifest in myriad ways.

    After decades of activism in the courts and legislatures, I’m tired of seeing women discredited and feminist advocates made out to be ridiculous. I’m tired of hearing the word “victimology”. I’m tired of talking to prosecutors who say they won’t file charges because they know that they just can’t get a conviction. (One reason for this — in addition to difficulty with the evidence that frequently is present — is that juries often won’t convict when they perceive the punishment to be excessive for the crime. I would like feminists to advocate for what works.

    Another aspect of the problem is that nowadays there are no crimes “against women”. Feminists have pushed, perhaps sometimes ill-advisedly, for gender blind neutrality across the board in the laws. So it’s not the old common-law “rape”, a crime against property owned by another man, but “sexual assault”, a gender-neutral crime that is defined differently, and involves perpetrators and victims of all ages and sexes.

    Also, and frequently, multiple crimes can be defined to occur out of the same course of events. In some ways this is good, because we should not ignore the assault or battery that also is present, or the fraud, or the stalking, or the breaking and entering. In other ways this is bad, because it obscures the patterns and ideas meant by, e.g. “rape culture”, as well as the “woman” in the consideration of crimes and how we address them. Adding in separate crimes in lieu of defining more nuanced degrees of sexual assault and harms also expands plea bargaining and pushes out the uniquely gendered aspects of acts motivated by woman-hate.

  108. Ciardha says:

    Re 104: the answer to that is not saying one is “worse” than another, but making it another crime along with the rape charges, this happens with other crimes that don’t almost entirely target girls and women.

  109. Sasha CA says:

    We hold men who rape 8-year-olds and men who use guns/knives to threaten women with death (rather than by using fear as a weapon by threatening pain or exposure or emotional abuse) more responsible.

    We do that because we think that their choice of victim and demonstration of willingness to use even more force indicates that they are more willing to flout social rules and therefore are more dangerous to the rest of us.

    Yes, and I have a HUGE problem with that. The fact that the rape of a middle-class, virginal fifteen year-old is considered more serious than the rape of a drug-addicted prostitute makes me very, very angry. As for the use of force, what if the reason I couldn’t fight back is that I was drugged or tied up? Is my rape then less serious than the attack on a woman who had the opportunity to fight back, did so, and was badly beaten as a result? And what if my rapist threatened me with death but didn’t have a gun or a knife? Is that less serious or more serious than a rape involving a weapon but no death threat? My rapist told me he didn’t need a gun to kill someone. Given that he was a psychopathic 6’8″ martial artist with a prison record, I had no reason to disbelieve that. But I guess that makes my rape less serious in your mind? Because clearly a guy who can kill people with his bare hands is less of a threat than a guy who needs a gun or a knife, right?

    Like Julia, I will never support the idea that one kind of rape is somehow worse than another. Of course there are rape cases that involve the commission of another crime (e.g., kidnapping, mutilation, murder) along with the sexual assault and of course that should (and does) result in additional charges. But that’s not the same as saying that the rape itself was somehow worse in those cases.

  110. Lori says:

    Sasha,

    I do not believe that the average acquaintance rape is more violent than stranger rape. I’d like to see some documentation on that.

  111. m Andrea says:

    The assertion that some feminists are apparently making in this thread (and elsewhere), is that “reducing the severity of the crime in some instances will increase the possibility of conviction”.

    That’s the assertion. I can’t tell if it’s valid or invalid yet, not without more information. On the one hand, that assertion does seem to work for other crimes. A jury wouldn’t want to convict someone for premeditated murder if the death was accidental, for instance. So different classifications are indeed helpful.

    But as has been pointed out, various classifications already currently exist. So the only thing a person arguing that position could mean, is that they want a special category added to what is already present — the “aw shucks honey I didn’t understand that you meant no when you said it the first dozen times” category.

    Well hmmm, that just reeks of male supremacy because hey that particular situation is already covered by current law. So the real problem is that the current society doesn’t feel comfortable correctly applying the law. So change society, not the law.

    It took a very long time to get marital rape to be recognized as rape, so it seems like putting “aw honey I didn’t know I was dehumanizing you” in it’s own special category AND equating it to a very minor crime — is some kind of wierd justification. Men already use that excuse now, why formalize it into law? Seems like a step backwards.

  112. Sasha CA says:

    Lori,

    I don’t have the study handy, but IIRC, the researchers found that victims in acquaintance rapes are more likely to fight back, resulting in increased injuries to both victim and perpetrator. The victims’ increased willingness to put up a significant struggle was attributed in part to the fact that acquaintance rapes are less likely to involve weapons (most people aren’t going to fight back if someone puts a gun to their head or a knife to their throat). I believe it was also speculated that victims who know their attacker may be less inclined to think that he will actually kill them. And fear of death is a major reason many women don’t fight back when attacked.

    [Trigger warning for descriptions of sexual assaults]
    Some of the most violent rapes I encountered as a rape crisis counselor were acquaintance rapes. Of course that may have been in part because sexual assaults where the victim and perpetrator knew each other (even if they were just very casual acquaintances) were by far the majority of rapes we dealt with. Several of these acquaintance rapes were gang rapes. One case I will never forget did involve some assailants not previously known to the victim, but the guys who started the attack, the ones who set her up and lured her to the location where she was to be raped, those guys she had known for years. Another extremely violent acquaintance rape involved a young woman who bit the guy who was forcing her to perform oral sex on him. He knocked out her front teeth and beat her half to death. One of the worst cases of sexual torture I’ve ever encountered occurred in the context of a relationship. It wasn’t until the victim ended up in the hospital after her rapist boyfriend rammed a hunting knife up her vagina that she sought help.

    So, please, can we get rid of the idea that rapes where the victim knows the perpetrator are somehow less serious? Not only do the victims in these cases have to deal with the violence of the attack, but there’s also the betrayal of trust and the victim-blaming reactions of friends and relatives. Why did you go home with him? Why did you get in his car? Why did you invite him in? Do people who think like that really believe that somehow they would know instantly that someone is a rapist? Sometimes I wonder.

  113. Lori says:

    m Andrea –

    I didn’t know there were different classifications when I was thinking about the problems with prosecuting rape. The post that spelled out the different categories came in response to my post, I think.

    Sasha,

    I understand what your concerns are. I simply don’t agree that men guilty of the type of crime that Assange has been accused of, are equally dangerous to women at large as men like Richard Allen Davis (who raped and killed Polly Klaas after a long and predictable history of violence against women). Had Davis been sentenced to life in prison when he was kidnapping and raping women he didn’t know, then Polly might still be alive. In the case of acquaintance rape where there is violence, that would increase the length of the sentence – in extreme cases, dramatically so.

  114. spring says:

    I would not call sexual assault in the context of severe domestic violence and torture “acquaintance rape” or “date rape”. Strangers also rarely commit family annihilations in a rages over the mother in the family leaving them…

    …a psychopathic 6′8″ martial artist…

    Perhaps one of the things we might do is lobby for the laws dealing with sexual assault and domestic violence to require prosecutors and courts to consider power differentials resulting from physical size and strength, and not merely power differentials on account of criteria such as age or legal status or who had a weapon. Seems kind of crazy to me that brute strength is not written into any of these statutes.

  115. May says:

    Interesting how this conversation has now turned to rape isn’t that bad for some people.

    Sorry, these men know what they are doing.

  116. funniekins says:

    The assertion that some feminists are apparently making in this thread (and elsewhere), is that “reducing the severity of the crime in some instances will increase the possibility of conviction”.

    Well, I am not one of the feminist”s” asserting that in this thread. I don’t think that creating more, less-serious crimes would necessarily mean more convictions.

    But my goal is not necessarily more convictions. My goals are: 1) less rape; 2) more and better avenues of redressing the rape that has already happened. That is not necessarily the same thing as convictions; do convictions prevent more rapes from happening?

    The fact that the rape of a middle-class, virginal fifteen year-old is considered more serious than the rape of a drug-addicted prostitute makes me very, very angry.

    By law, the rape of a middle-class virginal fifteen-year-old is exactly the same crime as the rape of a drug-addicted prostituted fifteen-year-old.

    I think you missed the point of my post, Sasha. My point was that criminal sanctions ARE NOT reflective of which RAPES are “considered more serious” (even though victims perceive them as meaning that) but which RAPISTS are considered more dangerous by the state. You can talk about how things SHOULD be, but this is how they ARE, and I honestly don’t see how that would change in my lifetime.

    I do not think your rape is less serious than anyone else’s. In fact, I have said that all rape should be taken seriously. I include yours.

    I don’t think you have to love the current rape laws (I don’t). There are plenty of ways current laws can be critiqued.

    For instance, the screwed-up effects of the gender-blindness spring mentions: If you are a little girl who was sexually abused by an adult male relative and you act out sexually against your younger sibling as a result (this is a very common psychological response among young victims of sex abuse), you are guilty of a crime that was written to target your older male relative BUT is gender and often age-neutral — in my state, it’s known as “aggravated criminal sex abuse (victim under 9).”

    And if you’re the kid who did the bad touching, you are, unlike your rapist, very likely to be caught because: 1)older sisters get “told on” more often than authority figures do; 2)you, unlike the adult man who abused you, do not have the ability to demand privacy or secure your environment; 3)you, unlike the adult man who abused you, are not adept at lying and do not have the skills and craftiness to hide your bad act; 4)you may not even have tried to hide it, since (depending on how old you were when you were first sexually abused) you might not have even known that what you did was so bad, given that you grew up being told that it was acceptable.

    So, now because of this adult man’s abuse, there are now TWO child victims of sex abuse — but the only person going to jail is the abused kid caught in the middle. This happens more than you could believe. Also frequent: Women and children being charged with domestic battery under extremely dubious circumstances.

  117. Unree says:

    Having agreed with Lori I just want to clarify that I too had been conflating “acquaintance” with “less violent,” which was an oversimplification on my part at best. And I agree with m Andrea that changing society would be a lot more effective than changing rape law.

  118. gxm17 says:

    Trigger warning

    Lori @ 113, WADR, my friend who was raped by an acquaintance required 13 stitches to close the wounds her rapist left behind. His sentence was not increased because he was found not guilty. How could a jury find a man not guilty after his victim had to break free of her bonds and crawl naked and bleeding to a neighbor’s apartment? Because of this horrible notion that is ingrained in our rape culture that acquaintance rape isn’t “rape rape.” And that if a woman “consents” to go home with a man, she is “asking for it.”

    The horrible truth, that so many people want to pretend isn’t there, is that there are way too many men in our society who have raped and who will rape again. There are no lesser rapes. There are rapes that escalate to murder, but it’s a very sad commentary on our culture that a woman has to be dead before we, as a cultural whole, will believe she didn’t “consent” to the brutality inflicted upon her.

    As far as stats, a woman is much more likely to be killed by someone she knows, not a stranger. Further, she is most likely to have been strangled/suffocated to death, not shot or stabbed. The stats are out there, but I’m too busy today to hunt them down for you. Sorry, you’ll have to do it yourself.

  119. m Andrea says:

    Lori all the other comments I have seen you make have been so spot on I felt like cheering. Only on this point must I disagree. While of course different people respond differently to being burglarized, the entire class of humans responds generally from within the same set of responses, to the thought of being robbed. The most significant difference between robbery and rape, is that the victims of robbery are treated like human beings.

    You already know that one of the reasons rape is so particularly hidious is the way it is used to control the behavior of an entire class of people. It’s a hate crime, whether the courts want to recognize it as such or not. Some people, mostly male supremists and rape apologists, don’t think rape is a big deal (mostly because they themselves aren’t usually the target) and so they don’t understand why non-violent rapes should require jail time. To them, it’s just sex that didn’t work out the way the woman wanted, it’s just men doing want men have always done and where’s the harm in that?

    Which is why it has been so difficult for feminists to change the pulic’s response to rape. I understand the frustration when, after all the previous hard work, the public still doesn’t understand the full scope of the problem and the juries still don’t convict. But formalizing into law the idea that rape — the systematic dehumanization of an entire class of people into nothing more than a disposable object, a masturbatory aid for the temporary pleasure of the real default humans — the idea that some rape is a very minor crime worthy of a five dollar fine, just because “that’s all the public understands” is indeed a step backwards.

    It’s giving up, instead of continuing to fight. Forty percent of the public still believes the sun is the center of our solar system, so do you also believe that we should adjust all our school textbooks to align with their beliefs or you do think we should continue to explain the facts until they do understand that their current beliefs are in error? Seriously, if we used that “logic” for everything, society would still be living in caves and worshipping the sun.

    Spring, if you’re too tired to continue fighting, that is understandable but GET OUT OF THE WAY while other feminists do indeed continue. Don’t make it harder FOR OTHER FEMINISTS to rise up and take your place. You seem to be under the impression that no one else will take your place if you quit, and guess what, under the very specific circumstance which you yourself are creating, you’re correct. If budding feminists see you arguing in favor of policies which benefit male supremacy, why would they want to fight both “established feminists” and patriarchy at the same time? THAT is an extremely depressing situation for young feminists. It would be much easier for new feminists if you and feminists like you just GOT OUT OF THE WAY.

  120. m Andrea says:

    “earth is the center of our solar system” Big oops there and I even previewed.

  121. spring says:

    I would point out that many of the same problems that permeate rape crime prosecution and prevention also affect domestic violence generally, especially coercive control, which is not a crime.

    Perhaps some stuff needs to be re-framed. Even when women have been injured, the defense claims “consensual rough sex / accident”. How does one “consent” to criminal behavior, and why do crimes of woman-hate turn on “consent”…

    Spring, if you’re too tired to continue fighting, that is understandable but GET OUT OF THE WAY…[etc.]

    At what point do we recognize that if particular arguments or approaches haven’t worked to date, more of the same is unlikely to? The “tired” in my post did not refer to my age or the amount of time spent, but of seeing lack of results.

    Rape has not diminished over decades. Domestic violence has been increasing. Pornography and woman hate is on a sharp rise.

    Each generation of young women newly learns about the issues and then reinvents the wheel. Does experience or knowledge count? Or not if it comes from a woman. Why are we having the same debates over and over for decades.

  122. funniekins says:

    Anyone interested in why some people develop PTSD and some don’t might be interested in this article on children:

    http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/Articles/PTSDkids.htm

    “…three factors that have been shown to increase the likelihood that children will develop PTSD: the severity of the traumatic event, the parental reaction to the traumatic event, and the temporal proximity to the traumatic event.”

    Aditionally, studies conducted on veterans about war show that adults who experienced a severe trauma as youth were more likely to develop PTSD after a different trauma occurring years later.

  123. Lori says:

    Folks, several of you are twisting and misstating my argument.

    No one here is arguing that one rape is less serious than the other. Read this and read it well – I am arguing that men who commit stranger rape are more dangerous to women at large and more likely to escalate their crimes to torture and murder. I am also pointing out that in 100% of those cases the woman legitimately fears for her life. If you have reason to fear for your life, then it’s fundamentally different crime.

    I am also saying that if we differentiate, as it turns out that we do, between acquaintance rape of the kind where the woman feels physically safe enough to throw a party for the guy – as is not unusual in the least when one is violated by someone who is a part of their social circle or family – from stranger rape, we take away the ability of the attacker to point those interactions out as proof that the assault didn’t happen. Got that? If we recognize upfront that acquaintance rape involves close ties and that there is very likely interaction, even flirtatious or drunken interaction up front, then it makes it more difficult for the assailant to use that against the victim.

    Now, I’ve been assaulted twice. The first time, I was 13 years old and it was stranger rape. I hopped in a car with a guy I thought was neighbor and was wrong. He drove me to a deserted spot, choked me until I was unconscious and attempted to rape me. He was impotent, thankfully. I knew nothing about sex, literally, and was unable to describe the interaction to the police’s satisfaction. I had never heard the phrase “erection” and didn’t know, exactly, what penetration was. No one explained it to me either. They decided my story didn’t make sense and didn’t pursue the case.

    When I was 15, I went out on a date with a boy I’d known for two years. It was winter time, 10 degrees outside and I was dressed for a concert – mini-skirt, chunky low-heeled shoes and a little mod jacket. He drove out to the farmlands and told me we were going to have sex or I was going to get out and walk home. So, we had sex. I never told anyone, but neither was I traumatized by it. Pissed, yes. Scared, no.

    This thread is about whether there are ways to clarify the crimes that make it safer for women in the world and make it harder to mount a PR defense for the assailants. It’s about putting the men who are most likely to become murderers in prison for longer periods of time rather than allowing the kind of situation that got Richard Allen Davis out of prison after just a few years served, though he was convicted of crimes that involved kidnapping and raping women. It’s about creating a world where it makes it harder for a guy who has raped a woman he knows from pointing out that she had coffee with him a week later. From pointing out, that she sent him flirtatious emails. If that’s a given in the crime that he’s charged with, that takes it off the table. Assange wouldn’t be making a big deal about the fact that the woman threw a party for him, because the charge he was facing would presume that kind of interaction.

    Am I clear now?

    And for those of you who don’t know what Richard Allen Davis’ history was, read his Wikipedia entry.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allen_Davis

  124. spring says:

    Query: if Assange had instead acted badly by smashing up things in the woman’s apartment or stealing and pawning her valuables, would she have reacted differently, do you think? If so why? Would she have thrown him out of the premises, called the police, left him in the premises and gone to stay elsewhere…?

  125. Kookaburra says:

    @m Andrea – Well, the sun isn’t technically at the center of the solar system either. :p

  126. spring says:

    Lori gets it.

    The general public never will if we keep indiscriminately characterizing all of it as one equivalent kind of “rape”.

    Having observed many court cases, one of the things I’m “tired” of is how women are not allowed to be angry. They are placed into positions of having to exaggerate and pretend to “trauma” and “fear”.

  127. Unree says:

    Lori, that’s an interesting idea. Maybe it could be implemented (although it certainly threatens d00dly privilege at its current levels). What would the name of the victim-not-in-fear-of-being-killed sexual assault crime be, and what would the government have to prove to get a conviction?

  128. Toonces says:

    So rape is only serious if it escalates to murder and if we take the accusations against Assange (it turns out it’s all about Assange of course) seriously, other (real) rapes won’t be taken seriously, and it will be our fault when women are murdered and not allowed to get angry about it because we were arguing that a man accused of a crime go through the judicial system and his accusers not be threatened with murder. Sure, I get it.

  129. spring says:

    Toonces, what is your definition of “rape”?

  130. Toonces says:

    Look, Lori, you may not have been traumatized by your, whatever (not-rape?), but when a 20-something had “sex” with my 16 year-old unconscious body WITHOUT MY FUCKING PERMISSION, even though he didn’t choke me or beat me to within an inch of my life, just posting about it makes me cry and shake. And I had NO idea it was a crime at the time. I felt violated but so what? Shit happens, right? NO. I shouldn’t have to live with this for the rest of my life, we can’t just excuse this sociopathic, predatory shit. He did this kind of thing as a hobby, everyone knew that girls would say they had “bad sex” or “kind of rapey” sex with him. It was sort of a joke, or gossip, that this guy people were friends with was a kind of a rapist. But he didn’t beat the shit out of me so it doesn’t count.

    He’s a dangerous guy, I promise you that. And not just in the so-what-he’s-a-rapist way. I know he has a child. All I can do is hope that child grows up with as little harm as possible.

    Is downplaying the kind of thing that happened to me really going to make rape be taken more seriously? If we only make a big deal of the extremely violent rapes… I mean, why care about Catholic priests masturbating little boys, right? It’s not really that bad. Maybe we should only save our outrage for when they anally rape them?

  131. Sameol says:

    The general public doesn’t care about rape because men matter and women don’t. Even when it’s known that the boys are guilty because it happened in a public place with witnesses no one wants to ruin the little dear’s future because of a “little mistake,” and there’s tremendous anger against the victim who makes a big deal of it. (Contrast that with your local middle school’s media generated “pregnancy ring” or “oral sex club” and how little concern is given to those girls’ futures when the community howls to expel them and run them out of town). It’s got nothing to do with “confusion” and everything to do with sexism.

  132. gxm17 says:

    Lori, I’ll see your Richard Allen Davis and raise with a John Couey, or Joseph Edward Duncan. The crime archives are filled with dangerous men who should have been locked up the first time and never let out again. And, honestly, it’s not because there aren’t lesser degrees of rape or sexual assault or attempted murder to charge them with. It’s because our rape culture permits it.

    Our rape culture has instilled most of us with the warped notion that rape is natural and normal and just a fact of life that women, children, and, yes, even men have to accept. In order to live with the monsters, we have to pretend they’re not really there, or that they’re hiding under someone else’s bed. Lowering the bar in criminal courts is, IMO, giving up. And we can’t give up. It’s too damn important.

    Legislation will not end rape, just as it won’t end meth labs (or whatever drug eventually takes its place) or illegal immigration or gang warfare. They are all part of the same disease which some recognize as patriarchy, and others simply call the natural order of things. (Personally, I call it the unnatural order of things.) Legislation is just the morphine for the pain. And I’m all for a good narcotic, but it is not the solution. We need to eradicate the disease. The solution is changing the way we, the people, process the information. And I believe a very healthy first step is realizing that there is no such thing as “rape rape,” there’s just rape. From the teenager who gets pressured into unwanted sex to the little girl who is buried alive with her stuffed animal, they are all symptoms of the same disease.

  133. Lori says:

    Toonces,

    Please quote me saying that it’s not serious if it doesn’t escalate to murder. If not, then I accept your apology.

    Please stop twisting my words.

  134. Lori says:

    Unree,

    The government would have to prove that he had sex with her without her consent, just like they do now. And the plaintiff would still be a sexual assault victim.

  135. julia says:

    In patriarchy, girls and women are kept from developing their strength. So by the time you’re grown, you may not even think about fighting back. I think the most common response is to freeze. Boys learn to fight, they are encouraged to. Girls get in trouble if they fight, they’re told to talk it out, not use force.

    I don’t think we should choose which kind of rape is worst – all are worst. Andrea Dworkin wrote about ending rape. That could be our goal.

    I’m so glad to see a real debate and discussion on this. It makes me hopeful.

  136. Toonces says:

    Lori, why did you think that comment was directed to you if you don’t think the substance of your argument was following that line of reasoning? You give no cites for your opinion that one type of rapist is more likely to be “violent” than another supposed type. We already have laws that deal with different levels of sexual assault (here and in Sweden). What exactly are you railing so hard against? I don’t see anyone saying current sexual assault/rape laws are adequate. So, if that’s all you’re saying, it’s been said, multiple times in this thread, and it’s not being refuted. If that was the point, it’s been made.

  137. Lori says:

    Toonces,

    You started the post off with my name. That’s why i thought it was directed at me.

    Yes, we learned about the different levels of offenses in response to my post. I’m addressing the fact that if we learn to incorporate that into how we address rape, we can simultaneously get longer sentences than we do now for the most dangerous rapists while taking a key PR gambit off the table for guys charged with acquaintance rapes.

  138. Toonces says:

    No, my comment at 128 where I say, “So rape is only serious if it escalates to murder…” is not directed at anyone.

  139. Toonces says:

    Lori, how are we not incorporating the different levels of rape into how we “address” (in what way?) rape? Are we talking about anything specific? For example, in the Assange case (has anyone heard of that one?) some of the minority of people who know what he is charged with accept that technically it is legally rape but don’t believe that these charges are very serious. It seems that people are addressing the specific circumstances around this case and are forming conclusions about what level of rape or sexual assault he is accused of committing. Is that somewhat like what you would like to see? Who is not doing enough to address the “levels” in this discussion? My observation is that in most high-profile rape cases, the charges and circumstances are picked apart voraciously and the “level” of rape is hotly debated and openly declared/assessed. What is it that you would like to see change?

  140. Lori says:

    Toonces,

    Alright, then you can apologize for claiming that I wanted to downplay that kind of rape. I’ve never said anything like that, and it’s a completely dishonest representation of what I wrote.

    Now, I’m talking about our cultural discourse and the actual words we use. I don’t think conflating the type of sexual encounter that Miss W had with Assange with the type of sexual encounter that Richard Allen Davis engaged is is productive for women. You may disagree. That’s okay. But engaging in misrepresentation of my statements and positions is destructive to discourse.

    You’ve blown it with me. I’m not responding to anything else you write.

  141. Toonces says:

    I don’t think conflating the type of sexual encounter that Miss W had with Assange with the type of sexual encounter that Richard Allen Davis engaged is is productive for women.

    I don’t see anyone doing this. I do see people calling the accusations against Assange rape, though.

  142. Unree says:

    Lori, now that I know you want to keep the assault/rape definitions unchanged, I am still not clear on one part of your idea: Should we add an extra penalty if the assailant put the victim in fear for her life, or instead lessen the penalty whenever that extra level of violence was not present? I think you are saying the latter, but am not sure.

    Again I emphasize that I think your premise about a hierarchy is correct. I just don’t know how to apply it. Especially when, as Sameol says, our culture doesn’t believe women have the same entitlement to bodily integrity that men enjoy.

  143. Sasha CA says:

    I believe a very healthy first step is realizing that there is no such thing as “rape rape,” there’s just rape.

    Yes, this.

    [Trigger warning for rape description]
    When I was 19, I was raped by my then-boyfriend. It changed my life forever. I did not suffer any physical injuries. He tied me up and gagged me so I could neither fight him, nor object. Then he did something to me that I had told him on numerous occasions I did not want to do. When it was over and he saw how devastated I was, he apologized. He said he thought I would “get into it” once it started. After all, wasn’t I kind of kinky? Hadn’t I liked this or that non-vanilla sexual activity? Over the next couple of days, I confided in my roommate and two friends. Unfortunately my friends were also his friends and they had been his friends much longer (I had arrived in NYC only seven months earlier). The people I told what happened immediately started making excuses for him. Their main concern was that I wasn’t considering pressing charges over what they were sure had to be a misunderstanding. Meanwhile my roommate blamed the rape on the fact that my boyfriend and I had been using drugs. According to her, we were both at fault.

    I entered an extremely self-destructive phase, going from recreational drug user to hardcore addict. Numbing the pain was my top priority. I quit my job–a job I loved–because it entailed contact with my rapist and other people who took his side although they knew what he did to me. To support my drug habit, I got involved with a wealthy sadist who paid for everything as long as he got to torture me. One day I overheard him and some of his friends talk about killing me. And you know what? I cared so little about whether I lived or died, I didn’t even attempt to leave. Part of me was already dead, and if he wanted to finish me off, I wasn’t going to stand in his way.

    That’s what “acquaintance rape” did to me. I have no idea whether the guy who raped me went on to rape other women, but as far as I’m concerned, what he did to me was enough. There are no excuses for what he did. None.

    And while the general public is busy believing that the only type of rapist they need to be concerned with is the “stranger rapist” who preys on “innocent” victims, actual rapists couldn’t care less about such distinctions. Countless acquaintance rapists have graduated to murder. I can think of numerous such cases off the top of my head–two of them involving a friend or acquaintance of mine. I can think of many more female lives destroyed by acquaintance rape even though the victims are still alive–sort of. I can also think of plenty of serial rapists who targeted women who didn’t really count–women they were dating, friends and family members, sex workers, drug addicts, poor women–until, one day, they raped a nice middle class girl or woman who was a perfect stranger and had “done nothing wrong.” None of this will change until we get to the point where ALL rape is taken seriously, not just a tiny minority of cases that meet a very specific, very narrow set of criteria.

    As far as what Assange is accused of doing to Miss W. is concerned, unless he tested negative for HIV 6+ months ago and engaged in no unprotected sex in the meantime (which is highly doubtful, given what we know about his unwillingness to use condoms), fact is that he doesn’t know whether or not he is HIV+. His callous act could very well have given her a deadly disease. And she now has to wait several months before she can be reasonably sure she hasn’t been infected. As someone who’s been there, I can tell you that living with the possibility that your rapist gave you HIV is no trivial matter.

  144. Lori says:

    I think we use the hierarchy to make sure the worst predators get long sentences which, frequently, they don’t. The reason I linked to Richard Allen Davis’ wikipedia article is that you read all the stuff he did and he only served 7 years after his penultimate crime spree. He was a staggeringly violent man, who, at the very least, kidnapped and assaulted three different women. Men who kidnap and rape women are very, very likely to graduate to murder. Yet, he only served seven years. Then he got out and murdered Polly Klaas. If his sentences hadn’t been served concurrently, he might never have had the chance to hurt her or maybe even another woman.

    I don’t think that judges having wide latitude in sentencing works to women’s advantage. I think a lot of judges and a lot of legislators don’t take crimes against women seriously. So, if there are different categories of rape, we can put the worst offenders into a category where the judge has no choice but to issue a long sentence.

    The change I think we need to see with acquaintance rapes such as Assange is accused of is getting people to understand that there may well be a continuing relationship. How many girls who have been raped by their father still have a relationship? Lots of ‘em. I’m not sure how that would get coded into law because I’m not a lawyer. What I’m talking about is finding a way to take the fact that there are flirtatious emails, and drunken evenings and perhaps continued social interaction off the table as evidence that an act wasn’t rape. It comes down to consent in the moment. The fact that she was consenting three hours earlier when she was plastered but her best friend was there, doesn’t mean she has to consent when he’s finally corraled her in his apartment.

  145. spring says:

    What I’m talking about is finding a way to take the fact that there are flirtatious emails, and drunken evenings and perhaps continued social interaction off the table as evidence that an act wasn’t rape. It comes down to consent in the moment. The fact that she was consenting three hours earlier when she was plastered but her best friend was there, doesn’t mean she has to consent when he’s finally corraled her in his apartment.

    How do we — meaning police, prosecutors, judges and juries — have the ability to know whether or not there was consent when none of us were there?

    Wee try not to lock up people as criminals unless we “know” beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. It’s not necessarily sexist to accord weight to the relationship, past course of dealing between the parties, the observations of third parties regarding behavior, and so forth. Without any additional evidence, the woman’s say-so versus the accused’s denial doesn’t even get to preponderance of the evidence one way or another. So we look at how and whether we can assess relative credibility. We look at the circumstances. We look at the relationship. We look for objective signs of non-consent, such as bruises. We look at the immediate aftermath and what happened, and the parties’ behaviors. We look at what the two say, the detail, the consistency or not. We all could come up with a plausible argument, speculation, that two victims conferring bolsters their respective claims — and we also can come up with a plausible scenario in which two pissed-off women by conferring bolstered false claims. Etc.

    That’s why I asked the question, to which no one responded, what people think would have been the behavior of one of the women accusing Assange if he had started trashing her apartment.

    We are all third parties who weren’t there, and no matter how many plausible scenarios we can come up with from other experiences, they are still guesses. Even if our speculations would be correct 90% of the time, they would not be an adequate basis to convict in a particular instance.

    How do we know what her “consent at the moment” or not in fact was. We have NO way of “knowing” and we’re looking at all the circumstantial evidence to try to figure it out. We canNOT convict someone based solely on a woman’s claims without something more, because the reality is, sometimes false or mistaken accusations are in fact made.

    It is ironic that many posters here are willing to look at “evidence” in completely unrelated other cases they know about, while insisting that it’s somehow sexist to examine the circumstantial evidence in the cases at hand.

  146. myiq2xu says:

    How do we know what her “consent at the moment” or not in fact was. We have NO way of “knowing” and we’re looking at all the circumstantial evidence to try to figure it out. We canNOT convict someone based solely on a woman’s claims without something more, because the reality is, sometimes false or mistaken accusations are in fact made.

    What we do is have a jury listen to her and all the other witnesses (including Assange if he chooses to testify in his defense) along with any other evidence and then let them decide if the prosecution has proven each allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. If all the jurors agree on an allegation then they return a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

    The law says that a single witness, if believed, is sufficient to support a verdict of guilty. If we can’t convict on her word alone then many rapes will be impossible to prosecute.

    It’s not a perfect system but it’s the best one we have.

  147. m Andrea says:

    Lori, I understood your argument the first time. You wish to downgrade criminal charges for rape on the off chance that doing so will improve the conviction rate. You are frustrated with the lack of egalitarianism for women in general and in this thread you are focused primarily on the conviction rate as the focus of your frustration.

    But if you truly wish to improve the conviction rate (of reported rapes) then you need to know that the best way to achieve that is to make all rape legal unless death results. Clearly, there are many ways to increase the conviction rate if that is your goal but most of those methods seem to involve decriminalizing rape. If you want to change public perception, however, then do exactly that: change public perception!

    Your implicit assertion, is that in order for feminists to change public perception then the law must first be changed (Supporting evidence for this assumption exists). But implicit to that, is the even more unexamined second idea that public perception can only be altered in a positive direction, you fail to account for any possiblity that the public perception may trend negatively.

    And then your logic gets even more circular. First, you assumed that public perception of any activity can be influenced by how seriously the State considers a violation to be but then somehow you assume that if the State decriminalizes murder then people will take murder more seriously. This make no sense. According to your logic if we decriminalize theft, arson, tax evasion and women-who-rent-their-vaginas-by-the-hour, not only will the public take those crimes more seriously but the conviction rates will increase!

    Somehow your argument doesn’t work for any other crime — including the swedish model of prostitution. Can you explain the discreptancy? You are assuming that rape is an exception and this exception is due to some mysterious distinction which seperates rape from other crimes. Yet rape (and men who pay to rape women by the hour) is unlike other crime ONLY in the sense that it alone dehumanizes a particular class of people and the public is generally unconcerned about this dehumanization. My argument, is that if we want the public to take the dehumanization seriously, then the law needs to take it seriously, and the law needs to reflect the seriousness of the crime. Decriminalization has the opposite effect, decriminalization means that the perpetrator of that crime has committed a very minor faux pas.

    I’m really sorry for the lengthy comment but here’s the problem. You personally experienced rape and weren’t truamatized, which apparently allows you to speak for the experience of all women AND minimize their experience; while you were mad at your boyfriend briefly for treating you like an object, you are apparently okay with that and so you keep telling yourself hey that’s just what guys do or something. First you’re frustrated that women aren’t considered human often enough and then you want to make some dehumanization a minor crime — something doesn’t add up here.

  148. m Andrea says:

    The change I think we need to see with acquaintance rapes such as Assange is accused of is getting people to understand that there may well be a continuing relationship. How many girls who have been raped by their father still have a relationship? Lots of ‘em.

    I am trying to understand here, and it still makes no sense. Why is it necessary to “code into law” the idea that victims don’t always move three states away from their rapist the day after the rape? You seem to believe that this would improve the conviction rate, and I don’t see how. Unless you are assuming that the reason judges and juries don’t convict is they are buying into rape myth?

    But the best way to change rape myth is through the very long and frustrating process we already have.

    And how exactly do you code something like this into law anyway? Have the judge say at the start of jury deliberations, “Dear jury disregard the fact that alledge victim and alledged perp continued their relationship”? Because that’s quite a stretch from what you were proposing at the beginning of this thread — that of decriminalization.

  149. julia says:

    Sasha CA, thank you for your story. It is very brave of you to share. It kills me that the people you told started making excuses for your boyfriend. I think your story could convince anyone that all rape is violent and all rapists are criminals.

  150. Unree says:

    We all could come up with a plausible argument, speculation, that two victims conferring bolsters their respective claims — and we also can come up with a plausible scenario in which two pissed-off women by conferring bolstered false claims. Etc.

    That’s why I asked the question, to which no one responded, what people think would have been the behavior of one of the women accusing Assange if he had started trashing her apartment.

    I can’t speak for the other non-responders, but I said nothing because the hypothetical question you raised didn’t add anything. First of all, you didn’t just say “trashing her apartment;” you also said, what if Assange had stolen and pawned the accuser’s property. Those two alternatives are very different from a rape accusation and also different from each other. The second one, which you have now dropped, is similar in that it’s stealthy and Assange could deny it. But the accuser probably couldn’t know for sure that Assange had been the thief of her stolen goods, and couldn’t know about the pawning.

    Furthermore, in those other two scenarios you raise there’s no worry about having received an STD from the crime. Big difference.

    Trashing the apartment is a kind of crime that Assange wouldn’t expect to get away with. Dudebros wouldn’t unite behind him.

    Just because nobody responded to either of your alternatives doesn’t mean you’ve scored a devastating rebuttal. You could have just missed the point. Or said something boring and trivial.

  151. kiuku says:

    the behavior of a rape victim cannot be compared to the behavior of victims of non-rape crimes,nor those crimes to eachother. It’s interesting that the behavior of the victims of rape is analyzed as evidence a crime did or did not take place, as opposed to nearly all other crimes.

  152. kiuku says:

    Rather, it would make more sense to compare the reaction of rape victims to eachother, and especially of convicted rapes. I think we would find these reactions to be consistent with other victims of rape.

  153. m Andrea says:

    You know what I think the problem is? Denial. It’s absolutely terrifying to consider the idea that so many men and boys would so casually dehumanize those they claim to love as equals. So if their brief desire to engage in an act of terrorism and intimidation wasn’t deliberate, then it must be a big misunderstanding, just a poor confused impulsive boy who can’t read body language or can’t hear certain words (like “no”) very well.

    And since it’s just an unfortunate misunderstanding, then of course he shouldn’t suffer dire consequences. So let’s try to find a more comfortable category of accidental rapist for him to occupy, one that doesn’t cause him too much distress.

    Except he can read his boss’s body language just fine. He can hear clearly when his boss even whispers the word “no”. He understands that individual racist acts are a means of controlling an entire population. It’s obvious to him when his boss is tense and doesn’t want to be bothered but somehow we’re supposed to believe that he misses all those signs when coming from his girlfriend. We would prefer to believe that his causual disregard for the humanity of those he claims to love occurs BY ACCIDENT, because for us to think other otherwise is untenable.

    I totally agree with Spring that the character of the individuals are important. Which is why examining closely the character of the alledged perp is so necessary. But as Kiuku mentioned, let’s compare apples to apples. Has he behaved respectfully towards the women he had been romantically involved with in the past or did he disregard their requests as well? Want to really see the conviction rate go up? Getting his previous romantic interests in the witness box would be a nice start.

    And of course, since everyone is sooooo concerned that the alledged perp be assumed to be truthful, we should extend that same presumption to his former girlfriends.

  154. Ciardha says:

    Thank you m Andrea. What it comes down to is Assange and all the date and acquaintance rapists think of women as possessions that they can do whatever they please to. This “possession” faces threats and violence if they dare to act if they aren’t “his possession”. That’s the hard truth. This is why rapes and all sexual assaults directed at women are still not treated seriously. Women are brainwashed from the get go to subconsciously accept this, thus the dismissals and minimizing by even some feminists. Men are brainwashed from the get go to believe this is their right, and I’m not just talking in right wing extremist circles, all men. Only a minority (even fewer than amongst women) reject this. Those men who reject this mindset are condemning Assange and those who make excuses for him and those that spout the standard misogynist garbage against Assange’s victims.

  155. Lori says:

    M Andrea,

    Actually, what I’m talking about is increasing the lenght of sentences for the most prolific and brutal assaults – hence, the link to Richard Allen Davis who only served eight years for assaulting three different women.

    Several of the readers here seemed intent on reading an alternative agenda into my post that they had to actually ignore what I wrote. Bizarre.

  156. Kali says:

    I don’t get this concept of violent rape and rape with injury. Rape in itself is violent and injurious. Any additional injury (physical assault, murder, etc.) should carry additional charges. Instead of categorizing rape as less violent and more violent, I think it would be better to treat all rape as violent and then have additional charges for stabbing, choking, homicide, etc. Categorizing rape as violent vs. non-violent (or less violent) removes the violence from the act of rape itself.

    Also, the only way to reduce rape is to have harsh and consistent punishment for rape. The only way to achieve harsh and consistent punishment for rape is to work very, very hard at changing the societal attitude towards rape (and having more women in power). Having more categories for rape will not get Richard Allen Davis any more jail time.

  157. DancingOpossum says:

    They can’t be called “victims” unless Assange has been convicted of a crime. Which he hasn’t. At this point they are accusers and the crimes are “alleged,” which someone here seemed to feel Amy Goodman was somehow a horrible person for acknowledging.

  158. Sasha CA says:

    They can’t be called “victims” unless Assange has been convicted of a crime.

    What a load of BS. So what you’re saying is that the millions of women who were raped but didn’t report (i.e., the vast majority of rape victims) can’t really be called rape victims because no court of law ever found their rapist guilty? You become a rape victim the minute you are raped. Whether or not your rapist is convicted doesn’t change the fact that you were raped.

    In the US (and many other countries), the prosecution must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That’s a high standard, and an acquittal does not equal innocence. Indeed, that’s one of the problems with rape prosecutions; many people assume an acquittal means that the victim is a liar (or delusional) and wasn’t really raped, when that’s not what an acquittal means at all. Insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (to say nothing of jury/judge bias against rape victims) does not equal innocence.

    As for the “presumption of innocence,” that’s a legal principle placing the burden to prove guilt on the government. It doesn’t apply to the rest of us (i.e., outside the legal system), and it certainly doesn’t apply to the victim who knows exactly what happened to her. It also doesn’t mean that we believe the defendant is really innocent. Obviously it would be pretty horrifying if we routinely put people on trial whom we believed to be entirely innocent.

  159. Sasha CA says:

    I would also argue that whether or not Assange raped one or both of these women (and their accounts of what happened seem very credible to me), they have certainly become VICTIMS of his supporters who have publicized their names, addresses and photos, made rape and murder threats, and forced them into hiding. This conduct appears to be a-ok with Assange and his lawyers, and it’s the same shit that happens every time a woman accuses a famous man of rape. Often it also happens when not-famous men are accused of rape. The community rallies around the accused rapist and begins to malign and threaten the victim. No wonder so many women decide to drop the charges or not come forward in the first place. If we want to do something about the rape statistics in this country, we MUST change the way women who report rape are treated.

  160. Carmonn says:

    They can’t be called “victims” unless Assange has been convicted of a crime.

    Oh, bullshit. What is it, Rape Apologist Thought Crime? Someone who’s been raped is a victim, regardless of how much we believe rape needs to be downgraded as a crime, how much we luurve her attacker, what a great guy we believe him to be, how appalled we are by her casual attitudes toward sex, or even how much we believe he’s 100% innocent. Her status as a victim is independent of his as a convicted felon, and we can give her that respect. Jesus Christ, that’s so basic it goes beyond Feminism 101.

  161. funniekins says:

    If I read “Richard Allen Davis” on this thread one more time I might scream. He was the man used to justify what might just be THE worst criminal punishment law in the country. He is just not a good example to use for anything, not even “Really Bad Violent Rapist Guy,” for several reasons. Not the least of which is that invoking his name over and over is (intentionally or not) its own particular political outlook – a fantasyland where only violent raping men get locked up under 3 strikes.

    the only way to reduce rape is to have harsh and consistent punishment for rape.

    You say this as though it is a proven fact, yet I do not believe it is either factual or proven.

  162. funniekins says:

    Anyone interested in how rape is prevented, as opposed to the kinds of “harsh and consistent punishment” that make society feel better but make women less safe overall (e.g. incarceration, sex offender registries, GPS tracking) might be interested in the case study of Richmond HS in CA (where bystanders filmed and encouraged a student being raped).

    PART 1:
    http://richmondconfidential.org/2009/11/05/knowledge-not-emotion-stops-rape/

    PART 2:
    http://richmondconfidential.org/2010/10/25/preventing-rape-one-year-later/

  163. funniekins says:

    This is what radical feminism looks and sounds like. TEN years later, not only have these questions NOT been answered, but few continue to even ask them.

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/582.html

    excerpt:
    If we concede that something about the training structures and the operations they [military, police, prison guards] are expected to carry out makes the men (and perhaps also women) in these institutions more likely to engage in violence within their intimate relationships, why then is it so difficult to develop an analysis of violence against women that takes the violence of the state into account?

    The major strategy relied on by the women’s anti-violence movement of criminalizing violence against women will not put an end to violence against women—just as imprisonment has not put an end to “crime” in general.

    I should say that this is one of the most vexing issues confronting feminists today. On the one hand, it is necessary to create legal remedies for women who are survivors of violence. But on the other hand, when the remedies rely on punishment within institutions that further promote violence—against women and men, how do we work with this contradiction?

    How do we avoid the assumption that previously “private” modes of violence can only be rendered public within the context of the state’s apparatus of violence?

  164. Adrienne in CA says:

    Funniekins, thanks for the links. The MyStrength program seems excellent. Imagine, actually discussing rape prevention with someone besides women. Hope it stays funded.

    *****A

  165. kiuku says:

    Funniekins,

    yea, these questions are going to be brought up cyclically until patriarchy is completely dismantled; the hows, and how to’s, so to speak, to end the violence dynamic that men rely on in order to keep themselves in power; all too often these topics are used as a “but what about the men” topic change to something male centric as well, and that’s not going away anytime soon, like Patriarchy.