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Thursday, September 16, 2010

FRS FTW


This article is a great take on the Hofstra false-rape case, and more importantly the need to criminalize false-rape claims in this country, as well as how rape hysteria leads to gross misconduct by the media, the police, as well as the courts of law and public opinion. It's a long article, but details exactly what's wrong on multiple levels that Feminists seem hesitant to condemn as quickly as they condemned the poor men who were exonerated.

Enjoy: [Lambs to the Slaughter]

9 footnotes:

Mira said...

I am surprised you didn't receive more comments here (or maybe you did, but didn't have time to approve them?)

This is a very serious issue and nobody seems to have a clear answer on what to do. It's not about false accusations- they are horrible and I hope women who do that will have to serve a time in jail, because such an accusation is not a joke. because of prevalent cultural norms (we'll get to it later), rape is seen as one of the worst crimes, sometimes, morally, as the worst one (worse than a murder). So lying about it is a terrible crime.

So I do think girls and women should learn that rape is a serious crime and that they don't have to hide it and be ashamed of it if it happened to them, but also that it's not something they are allowed to lie about in order to save their own reputation.

But as much as this case deserves attention it got, it can also be counter productive for women who were really raped. Like we all know, just there are people who believe a women by default, there are also those who assume women lie about rape all the time, and that nothing except a violent attack in a dark alley is rape. Oh, and if a woman was drunk or dressed provocatively, there's no chance she was raped- she was obviously looking for it! And I don't even want to go into race dynamics here, but I bet you all know what it might be like.

So all in all, I do believe most of the women don't lie about the rape, so that needs to be said and clearly stated. But there ARE some false accusations so nobody should be sentenced in media before the trial even starts, or to be labelled a monster, etc.

PS-More about why women lie and whether it's really a lie in my next comment.

Mira said...

So, why do women lie about the rape?

Well, most of them don't, but those who do often do it to protect their reputation, plain and simple. Double standards and society norms make them believe certain sexual behaviour is bad. And if they do it with all consent and willingness, they might regret it later.

They might regret it if somebody finds out (parents, boyfriend, etc). So in order to protect their reputation, they lie about being raped. They might also regret it in their minds, if they see themselves as dirty and bad for doing it and in order to feel better, start seeing the sexual act in question as rape.

In this sense, I don't think all women who lie about it are liars- many believe they were, in fact, raped. But there are those who lie because they see is as "me vs him" situation, and obviously think to be labelled a slut is a worse thing than spending years in jail AND having your life ruined.

But it brings us to another issue: WHAT is rape, exactly? It seems obvious, but it isn't. Is any unwanted sexual act a rape? Is any bad sex rape? Similarly, is any wanted sex or any act in which a person felt sexual pleasure a priori not-rape?

We can see it's not easy to answer these questions.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: i think you bring up some good points. rape as a crime is hard to define because there are so many different ways to commit rape, and kinds of rape that are committed. many people would consider consensual sex between a 17 year old girl and an 18 year old boy nothing to worry about. but in america, federal law says this is statutory rape, and the boy is jailed then registered as a sex offender. yet, at the same time, an older female teacher who has sex with a younger student, is given relatively light sentences and it's not called rape.

the problems i see are the various ways in which rape occurs, and the abuses of structural power designed to stop rape.

overall, i believe rape will continue to be a difficult crime to deal with, because of the stigma associated with it, as well as the difficulties involved in policing it.

Mira said...

What happened to my first comment?

Hmmm, to be honest, it seems ridiculous to call consensual sex between a 17 and a 18 old rape... Not even between 17 and 24 year old (well, the age difference might or might not be the most important factor).

On the other hand, I didn't know female teachers who raped their students get light sentences! Why? Is it because people believe men can't be raped by women, especially a teenage boy who probably enjoyed sexual act!

What I think all rapes have in common (and that's basically the only thing) is that there is some sort of power imbalance between a rapist and his (her) victim. Well, power imbalance doesn't automatically means rape, but I don't think rape without power imbalance is possible.

Jasmin said...

Mira,

I agree. I think college in particular is a stage in which girls are vulnerable to confusing rape and regret. If you sleep with the guy, not because you wanted to, but because you wanted to impress him, and he dumps you the next day, can you call it rape? (I would say no.) What if you tell a guy point-blank that you want to sleep with him then get drunk (by law, unable to give consent), but not drunk like blackout status?

I think most rape laws have the right intentions, but don't work well in practice, and I don't appreciate the way they try to police women's sexuality. Women should be able to have casual sex and like it (or not) and not have to worry about making up a story to protect a reputation. I don't need the law trying to regulate what kind of sex I get to have, whether it be within the context of a romantic relationship or with a guy who's name I don't even know.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: sorry! one of your first comments get sent to spam for some reason. random...

anyways, i'd like to acknowledge that ultimately the prevalence of rape and false rape claims is impossible to determine with any accuracy, at least at the moment with our present definitions of the crime, and our present methods for preventing it. i don't think false rape claims are as common as rape itself, but i do believe they are common enough to be a serious problem that needs to be addressed when we talk about rape, because as a college student i see too many young men (mostly black and hispanic) having their lives ruined by being accused of rape yet actually innocent and put through a modern-day rape hysteria almost on a level with scottsboro.

you brought up another good point mira, sometimes women think they were raped due to feelings of regret/guilt/societal pressure, and then only LATER realize that it wasn't rape at all. just a one-night stand. this is because people aren't educated about their sexuality -- what's appropriate, what's not, etc -- and especially because (as jasmin said) women are not given complete control of their sexuality, even by other women!

also, if you want to know more about the discrepancy between women's criminal sentences versus men, i suggest looking at some examples from a blog i follow which posts links in the media by the handful:

http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/woman-sentenced-for-sex-with-foster-son/#more-3344

http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/woman-sentenced-to-nine-years-for-raping-boy-she-gave-up-for-adoption/

http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/woman-gets-12-years-for-child-abuse/

http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/dance-star-tells-of-sexual-abuse-ordeal/

i mean, i could go on and on with these examples. it's sad that the double-standard in our legal system seems to let female abusers off-easy, while young boys who have become victims are often left to sink or swim on their own afterwards. there are no centers dedicated to male victims of sexual abuse. (though there are for women.)

all in all, talking about this issue gets me fired up, because i feel these issues tend to be ignored or completely mocked by gender politics.

Mira said...

Zek,

I think it's all about the double standards and cultural norms about sexuality (male vs female) AND about power and control. Ok, I guess this sounds like an attempt to derail a post (which is about male victims) to a feminist-garbage POV, but here's what I mean:

I believe rape is rarely about sex itself (though there is a sexual aspect to it). I believe it is about power and control. Men have more power and more control in society and THAT'S WHY most of the rapists are men. The (alleged) difference in sexuality has nothing to do with it.

But the rape as a traumatic event itself it's often not about violence but about sexuality. I know there are many violent rapes in which women are hurt badly, in which they are tortured and murdered. But this violent aspect is not different than any other attack/murder- and yet, rape is seen as a different kind of crime because of the sexually traumatic experience.

And as we all know, there are double standards when it comes to sexuality. THAT is why rape is seen as one of the worst crimes against women, even if a guy didn't hurt her physically at all. THAT is why women are made to believe they were raped if they realize they just woke up from an one night stand with a guy who didn't care about them or their sexual needs.

THAT is why teenage boys are never seen as rape victims of women, because they enojoyed sex and the attention they got from said women. THAT is why most of the courts automatically believe woman's side of the story and not man's (bonus if a man is black or Latino, but that's another story).

But it doesn't mean I believe a rape is only an attack from a stranger in a dark alley, and that a woman who was drunk, provocatively dressed, or who knew her attacker (or was in a romantic relationship with him) can't be raped. She can, and it often happens. But what makes rape different than the ordinary bad sex, sex that happens in situations we are not proud of or didn't plan is the POWER AND CONTROL rapists force upon their victims. THAT is the main reason, btw, why women are rarely rapists- they still don't have enough power and control, but when they do (when they are teachers, for example) we can see they use and abuse their power like any other rapist does (and whether the victim enjoyed sex is irrelevant here).

Mira said...

Zek,

(after reading the links you posted)

I think I understand better how the whole "women are not rapists" thing works. Like I said, it's also about double sexual standards (a teenage boy or a man can't be raped by a woman!!!) but also about the way the trauma is treated. Men should enjoy sex any time and in any circumstances, and therefore an affair with an older woman should not hurt them badly, if at all.

I am sorry to say there might be some truth to it: men are not made to feel ashamed for having a bad, random sex, their reputation is intact, and they are often expected to feel proud about it. In other words, just like society makes women believe they were raped even if they're not, it makes men believe they were not raped even if somebody forced power and control on them and raped them.

This has gone too far, to the point of men being ashamed of the fact they were sexually abused by women, to the point of feeling guilt and questioning their whole character and sexuality/masculinity. Which is exactly what a TYPICAL female rape victim thinks and feels!

And now back to women rapists. I think this line from one of your links explains it all:

This leaves the false impression that the women only acted out dire circumstances rather than intentionally seeking out victims.

In other words, it's not in female nature or sexuality to act like that! Frankly, I think it's crap. It doesn't work that way. Like I said, rape is about power and control, and men and women can both abuse it (if they have it).

PS-You wrote: sometimes women think they were raped due to feelings of regret/guilt/societal pressure, and then only LATER realize that it wasn't rape at all.

Hmmm... I though it was the other way around. They have a consensual sex which looks ok at the moment, but later (due to guilt, or societal pressure) start to believe it was rape.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: i agree, and the line you quoted from toysoldiers isn't always true. i do believe there are some women who intentionally seek out victims, but the evidence from testimonials seems to imply that most false rape cases are simply due to mixed feelings regarding an act of sex, and then subsequent re-evaluations which could lead the woman to believe she was raped, when in fact she wasn't.

this leads me to your other point, "Hmmm... I though it was the other way around. They have a consensual sex which looks ok at the moment, but later (due to guilt, or societal pressure) start to believe it was rape."

i should clarify myself. i mean that in cases of false rape, a woman might not have believed it was rape during sex, but afterwards felt that it was, only to change her mind again once the seriousness of her accusations + the consequences begin to appear when the man is being put through the legal system. some women become so embarrassed that they try sticking to their story no matter what because they're too scared to admit it wasn't rape and that they just felt bad about this sexual act. at this point, only DNA evidence or video/pictures can help her to admit the truth of what happened. (as in the case of hofstra.) hope that clears my point up.

anyways, it's like you said, the consequences of denying the victimization of men and women induces similar consequences even if the experience is different.