Tags

, , , , , ,

There are many topics, slogans and saying that are part of “Rape Culture” awareness. Most of these deserve their own posts so that I can deconstruct them properly and show the backwards, harmful and objectifying nature of most of them. I will be focusing on the very words “Rape Culture”

Let me start by saying RAPE IS BAD. It is very very bad. It is a horrible thing to do. That said it’s not the worst possible thing that could ever be done under any circumstances. It’s just one of many really bad things in this world. Murder, torture and war are other really bad things. We do need to address the problems in society, and rape is a problem. Becoming shrill over “Rape Culture” is just not a good way of addressing the problem.

So what is rape culture? Rant Against the Random provided a great definition that I think really gets to the heart of the matter.

a set of socially accepted beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes which contribute to the trivialization of a survivor’s experience, make light of sexually violent behavior, and perpetuate the negative effects suffered by both individuals and communities as a result. [1]

Simply put, by this definition labels every culture at all time everywhere with out exception or ability to change a “Rape Culture”. There will always be some minutia of doubt or disbelief that “perpetuates the negative effects”. There will always be miscommunication that result in “the trivialization of a survivor’s experience”. We can not avoid at some time in some form “making light of sexually violent behaviors”. To even attempt this would mean no humor of any sort at any time for any reason.

To fight against “rape culture” under this definition will result in nothing good. It’s chasing your own tail. You will either accomplish nothing, or bite yourself in the ass. Rape is a problem. Something needs to be done. Trying to address it in terms of “Rape Culture” will only make problems worse, not better. To illustrate this point look at “Dongle Gate”. A man was fired from his job because a woman at a tech conference over heard him make a G rated Dongle joke to his friend. This isn’t going to make tech conferences more “woman friendly”, but much more hostile. Men will now fear any interactions with women at these events. It just changed the environment from G rated sex jokes to a strongly enforced culture of freezing the women out over fear of being fired. Similarly this talk of “Rape Culture” will drive the good men away, leaving only the pervs and rapists that are even willing to talk to women.

A note on false rape accusations. This is a very real problem that needs to be talked about, and something needs to be done. It is not an overly common problem, but neither is rape. False rape accusations occur within rape accusations with comparable frequency to rape in the general population. Given that rape is worth addressing in the larger cultural narrative, false rape accusations are worth addressing in the rape narrative. My solution is simple. Extend the rape shield laws to protect both the accused and the accuser. The very accusation of rape is enough to get people fired, prevent finding another job, and lots of other real problems. We should prevent the “innocent until proven guilty” accused from the harm done by trial by media.

Do we live in a Rape culture? No. Rape is a crime. It is a major crime that is taken very seriously. There are small groups where there are real problems with trivialization of rape, but these are very small. There are a few athletic programs where this is apparent. There is the military and prisons where rape is a problem of pandemic proportions. The inmates at a high security Federal Penitentiary are hardly properly representative of the population as a whole.

There are even more problems with rape culture than every one every where at all times is always with out exception supporting rape culture. We have major problems with definitions and classifications of rape. “Rape is Rape” gets thrown around all the time, and it’s blatantly false. There are many different kinds of rape many different affects and many causes. To say that statutory rape where both people said “Yes” is the exact same as being shoved in the back of a van at gun point is just stupid. With definitions of rape ranging from “A man forcing Carnal Knowledge upon a woman” to “Forced to engage in unwanted and non-consensual sexual activity” We don’t have consistent data on rape.

The most commonly used definition of rape currently is “Penetrated by force” It comes with a list of inclusions and clarifications. The problem with this definition is that during normal heterosexual intercourse, men are not penetrated. This definition excludes women as perpetrators and limits male victimization to male perpetrators. If you want to find “the trivialization of a victims experience”, I can think of no better example than recognizing that the events happened but refusing to call it a crime.

According to the CDC in the “National Intimate Partner Violence Survey” 1 in 5 women is raped, but only 1 in 71 males.[2] However if you look at that data, and not the abstract, both women and men where “forced to engage in unwanted and non-consensual sexual activity” at very similar rates 5.3 vs 5.6.

“Rape Culture” is not a useful thing to talk about to help end rape. We are not talking about “Murder Culture” or “WMD Culture”. Rape is not a monolithic homogenize thing. Homicide is the same way. If a person is the victim of homicide they are dead. It doesn’t matter if that homicide was Premeditated Murder or vehicular manslaughter. The affects on the victim are the same. The law treat the perpetrators of these crimes very differently. “Rape Culture” prevents this very important distinctions from being made.

So, what is the solution? Again Rant Against the Random has the answer, but it was buried.

There are a lot of problems in the world. Many of these issues are interrelated (see: intersectionality for some awesome reading and perspective). It could be argued that they all stem from the same thing: our insistence on constructing and defending artificial hierarchies of human worth. [1]

The problem will be solved by attacking and deconstructing the hierarchies of human worth, not rallying against a problem that can’t be solved. We will make progress in reducing rape and other sexual assaults by looking at the crimes, the criminals and the victims to find trends and these hierarchy of human worth, not by blaming and shaming scapegoats

Rape is bad. It is a problem that needs to be solved. “Rape Culture” awareness and it’s surrounding ideas and activities will do nothing but make the problem worse.

Advertisements