Creative Destruction

April 9, 2006

Agenda, or Reality?

Filed under: Current Events,Feminist Issues — Tuomas @ 6:45 pm

I dropped a comment on this post by Jill at Feministe“Those Duke Boys Just Needed A Dose Of Chivalry”.

Here goes (edited slightly):

Quoting Jill:

Rape is not about “lust gone wild.” It is not about “lust” any more
than fantasizing about killing someone and skinning them is about
“lust.” It’s about violence, power and depravity. Not sexual
attractiveness. Not the inability to control your hormones.

Not really related to this particular, horrific rape case, but I must object to this blanket statement.

I suspect feminists make this claim to avoid letting men off the hook
(”aw, he just wanted some sex, that’s not so bad”)*, but I don’t
believe the dogmatic insistence about it’s NOT about sex, is really
based on facts. And indeed, I don’t think it matters why the rapist did it, the crime is vile and needs to be punished with seriousness.

Usually Nicholas Groth’s work on rapists is provided as support to this, like in this site:

Rape is NOT about sexual gratification. Rape is a crime of violence, anger, and power. It is NOT motivated by sexual desire.

Of course, Groth’s work really found out that (from an excerpt):

Rape is a distortion of human sexuality. It is sexuality in
the service of nonsexual needs. Rape is the sexual expression of
hostility and aggression
– a behavioral act not a psychiatric

condition. Rape typically reflects deep seated feelings of
inadequacy.
For the most part, offenders report finding little if any
sexual satisfaction in the act of rape. Their subjective reactions
range from disappointment to disgust. When rapists discuss
pleasure they speak of being aggressive and having power over
their victim, her actions, her life. “It gave me pleasure knowing
that there was nothing that she could do.”

(my emphasis)

Which isn’t exactly the same as a blanket statement: It’s NOT about sex.

Then, the site beautifully contradicts itself later, on acquiantance rape
(which is, as I understand, the most common type, unlike the stranger
rape, which perps Groth interviewed):

Many
acquaintance rapes are initiated by the perpetrator, with the intention
of having sex. When the victim resists the perpetrator’s advances, the
perpetrator uses more aggressive measures to ensure compliance.

Intention to have sex is NOT about sex?

Thus I submit that the primary motivators for date rape are sex and utter, reptilian selfishness.

This excellent site, that discusses self-defense and criminal mindset writes (under Agenda over Reality):

We
disagree with many trends in WSD programs, and we certainly disagree
with this blanket statement. Is power and control a factor in rape?
Yes. Is it the primary motivation in certain kinds of rape? Absolutely.
Is rape and violence used as a means to control women in extreme
patriarchal countries and cultures to this day? Yes. But we maintain:
In civilized countries, a majority of the time rape is about sex. But more than that, it is about selfishness.

This
is especially true in many — if not a majority — of date rapes. It is
interesting to note that nobody defends against a date rape charge
with: “Yes I raped her for power and control.” The immediate defense is
that it was consensual sex. We have a problem with conspiracy theories.
And that includes inferring that every experienced rapist took aside a
novice and told him to use that plea. So in light of the use of this
defense, we can assume that an overwhelming number of these idiots
believed it was consensual sex. Was it date rape? Yes. Did they see it
as such? No. And if they didn’t know it was rape, how could it be about
power and control?

Gee, could it have been about getting laid?

(my emphasis)

I’m not blaming anyone expect the rapists here (don’t shoot the messenger). And the article Jill took down was kind of asinine, I agree with her on that.

* Glaivester explained this in a good analysis, the controversial part being:

The more casually a society takes sex, the less of an impact the act of
rape has in terms of sex. Therefore, in order to have rape be a serious
crime, one has to redefine it away from sex.

That was not the only part, but anyway, I agree with him on his analysis.

Addendum/thoughts: (Just in case this doesn’t pass the moderation there… Perhaps I should learn to make trackbacks. Hmm. Now that’s an idea!)

Advertisements

13 Comments »

  1. I left this same comment as a response on my site:

    Tuomas-

    I don’t think I made the claim that rape isn’t at least somewhat about sex; my point is that it isn’t about lust. Rapists often rape for perverse sexual gratification; that gratification comes from the power and violence inherent in their act. However, rape isn’t caused by average men being suddenly unable to control their lustful urges. That’s what Brooks was implying, and what I was objecting to.

    Comment by Jill — April 9, 2006 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  2. Oh. Okay. I’ll see if this brings some generalized discussion, then.

    [I responded there in a way more relevant to the case]

    Comment by Tuomas — April 9, 2006 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  3. I am not at all sure that’s true, Jill. I can believe it to be true for many stranger rapes.

    But I’m not at all sure that it isn’t true for date rapes. Or, at least, that lustful urges aren’t a contributing factor to date rape; obviously there’s a great deal of willful blindness to a woman’s desires and autonomy. But “Damn, I’m so horny and even though she passed out I think she was into me, so…” seems to be a mental construct that is aggravated (though of course not excused) by physical lust.

    I can also see lustful urges as being a contributing factor in at least the timing for a stranger rapist of the sociopathic sort – the man who rapes because he wants sex and doesn’t view women (or anyone) as being human beings. That guy doesn’t rape when he isn’t lustful.

    Comment by bobhayes — April 9, 2006 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  4. To my mind, there are any number of reasons why a man may do such a thing. It may be that he is filled with lust, and that he is angry with the fact that he has been unable to satisfy it. And so, the act of rape is an expression both of his sexual desires and an act of violence against people or a situation that he feels are denying him something. Or, it could be just about power. Or, it could be just about sex with an indifference to the feelings of the other person.

    It’s interesting to speculate, but it is in the end only speculation. The larger matter, and the more important truth, is that there is never any excuse, and it is always wrong no matter what the motivation.

    Rather than focusing on what motivates men are less than dogs, I would instead focus on making it clear that even if she changes her mind at the last second and asks him to stop, it is rape to make her go through with it. And I would focus, also, on educating girls from relatively young on situations that leave them vulnerable and make escape difficult, and how to avoid those situations.

    Comment by Adam Gurri — April 9, 2006 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  5. On another front, how much time is afforded for complying with an order to desist in an already in progress sexual act? 1 Second? 1 Minute? Well, this guy got four years in prison for taking 30 seconds. The judge found that he had committed rape and if the feminist interpretation of rape is to be accepted then he was driven by 30 seconds of violence which were preceded by minutes(?) of horniness devoid of violence.

    and it is always wrong no matter what the motivation.

    That’s fine for now but feminists, combating the low conviction rate for rape accusations, are working on moving the boundaries to allow rape to be defined after the act. What do you do when it is right in the evening and a crime in the morning? See this related post as well.

    Comment by TangoMan — April 9, 2006 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

  6. The judge found that he had committed rape and if the feminist interpretation of rape is to be accepted then he was driven by 30 seconds of violence which were preceded by minutes(?) of horniness devoid of violence.

    Nevermind the violence done to the woman’s psyche.

    Comment by Lauren — April 9, 2006 @ 11:59 pm | Reply

  7. Check the link, Lauren. The woman turned out to be running a scam.

    But let’s assume that wasn’t the case; let’s assume she was an honest reporter. God knows there are enough honest reporters.

    The strict feminist interpretation would seem to require the instantaneous transmutation of lust into violence. That doesn’t jibe with my own emotional experience during sex. And yes, I’ve been told to stop, and of course I have – but there wasn’t any violence, just confusion and worry.

    The fact that a woman feels an emotion doesn’t automatically mean that a man made it happen.

    Comment by Robert — April 10, 2006 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  8. TangoMan and Robert,

    I think 30 seconds is too long, but I question whether I’d call it violence. It’s certainly a violation, though. If I want to show you a breakable heirloom, and you first handle it gently, then start tossing it in the air for some warped reason, I’m going to demand that you put it down, and I want you to comply immediately. You’re not being violent, but thoughtless, but there’s certainly a power element in this behaviour.

    It’s all dependent on context. If I’m with someone I trust, and I ask him to stop for whatever reason, and he continues briefly, I’ll think he’s being a jerk, but not necessarily feel raped if I generally feel safe with him. If it’s someone I don’t entirely trust who doesn’t stop, I might end up on the phone with the police. If we don’t already have a solid relationship, then not stopping could cause me to feel extreme fear and panic. It’s clearly the man’s actions making me feel this emotion, even if it’s not his intention. Whether he just wants to finish or he actually wants to terrify me is not the issue. He’s violated me by refusing to stop when asked. Sex isn’t the same as masturbating with a doll; we have a responsibility to pay attention to the needs of the person we’re with.

    I think a “Please stop” *must* receive an immediate response. 30 seconds is a lot of thoughtless, violating, non-concentual thrusting.

    Comment by Sage — April 10, 2006 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  9. I don’t know whether 30 seconds of continuing after an initially consensual act of sex is as bad as some other forms of rape (and justifies penalty of four years in prison), but I don’t find the man’s excuse that compelling (it is physically possible to stop, even in the brink of ejaculation, don’t ask me how I know).
    Sage wrote:

    I think a “Please stop” *must* receive an immediate response. 30 seconds is a lot of thoughtless, violating, non-concentual thrusting.

    I’d say it pretty much proves my point about sex and selfishness, and may well be linked to feminist theories about men considering women unimportant (not that I find them perfectly compelling always).

    Comment by Tuomas — April 10, 2006 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  10. Sage,

    I would however be interested in reading your thoughts on where the dividing line should be, why your trust level is key to whether a crime took place or whether it was just an inconsideration when regardless of your trust level the act continued after you said stop.

    Is the crime of rape defined by the continued sex act after consent is withdrawn or is the crime of rape defined by your feelings about the matter after the consent was withdrawn. If the latter then what to do about the man’s impression that your feelings were more aligned with the continued thrusting simply being an act of inconsideration rather than an act of rape. The way I read you you’re arguing that given the same circumstances (withdrawal of consent and continued thrusting) that rape is then determined by how you feel about the outcome. I think that that’s very dangerous territory in that crime is now defined subjectively. How do you navigate these issues?

    Comment by TangoMan — April 10, 2006 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  11. I think we are splitting too many hairs here. The matter to me appears to be quite straightforward.

    If the woman tells the man to stop, or is physically restrained when she tries to get away, then it is rape.

    If she has second thoughts afterwards, then it was a mistake, and not rape.

    I have no love of men who don’t pay any attention to the feelings of who they are with, or neglect to ask if they are comfortable with doing what they are doing. But this describes an unhealthy relationship–not an unconsensual one.

    I understand that there are levels of negligence that could be considered emotional abuse.

    But negligence and emotional abuse are not rape. Forcing someone to have sex with you when they tell you that they don’t want to have sex, or making them stay when they are trying to leave–that is rape.

    I don’t like to frivolously bring up my own sentiments in a discussion, but I have to confess that looking at this so up close turns my stomach. Rape is what it is–how can you consent at the time and then decide you didn’t consent later? Isn’t that just called regret? If you express that regret, and tell the person you don’t want to do it again, and they do it anyway–then it is rape.

    How on Earth can something that wasn’t a rape become it after the fact?

    Comment by Adam Gurri — April 10, 2006 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  12. Adam:

    If the woman tells the man to stop, or is physically restrained when she tries to get away, then it is rape.

    If she has second thoughts afterwards, then it was a mistake, and not rape.

    Yep, me too.

    TangoMan:

    The way I read you you’re arguing that given the same circumstances (withdrawal of consent and continued thrusting) that rape is then determined by how you feel about the outcome.

    Eh, I don't read it as such. I read it as rape being defined by continuation of sex after consent is withdrawn. It seemed quite clear to me. I think the continuing after she tells you to stop, and she regrets the outcome are whole different issues.

    Again, I don't see anything unfair about the concept of withdrawing consent. If the time in question would be even shorter, then yes.

    Update: Of course rape is partly defined by the woman's feelings. It has to do with the nature of crime: The fact that a consensual, non-crime equivalent exists.  

    Comment by Tuomas — April 10, 2006 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  13. TangoMan,
    What Tuomas said. Also, I wrote in much more detail here.

    Comment by Sage — April 12, 2006 @ 1:15 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: