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led astray

January 2013

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amulet

to redress a cultural problem

This is talk about how our society views some sexual misconduct. I know I've mentioned it before, but it came up again, so I'm mentioning it again.  Once again, a male whom I considered to be not only safe, but liberal and sensitive and feminist, made a distinction between "rape" and "someone being forced to have sex against their will."  Bwaa??  So again I had to stop the conversation, which was about a movie, and give a lesson, Sledgehammer style.  How does this happen?  Rape is forcing someone BY ANY MEANS to have sexual relations they don't want.  Somehow, the definition seems to have been socially narrowed down to "force by way of brutal beating".  This assumption puts blinders on the situation.  At the point when I stopped the conversation and said she was being raped, this otherwise pretty enlightened fellow responded with, "Oh, nothing as brutal as that."  Me, "But she was being forced to have sex against her will?"  Him, "Yeah, but he wasn't beating her or anything."  This view MISSES THE POINT COMPLETELY.  Rape is rape and beatings are beatings and they don't have to exist in the same space, though sometimes they do.  So the problem isn't that these guys, because as I said, I've had this conversation before, think that forced sex is okay, but that they associate rape with beating.  Allow me to state frankly that there are many ways to use force that are not fist-based.  This hits home because when I was in High School I was raped, but not beaten.  It took me nearly 8 years to figure out that rape was what happened that night, because I had the same notion that rape = beating.  And then there was a moment I'm not proud of; I almost raped someone.  I didn't recognize what was going on until he looked into my eyes and said, "Are you going to rape me now?"  Until he said that, the answer was yes.  

Is there a point to this?  I guess it's to broaden our scope and educate ourselves and in many cases our children.  Rape is not a very narrowly defined, rigid set of circumstance.  It takes many forms and NEEDS TO BE RECOGNIZED in all of them.  I'm half tempted to repost this to fb because I think it needs a wider audience, and i'm preaching to the choir here in lj land.  But I also realize that my lack of tack and subtlety may not be appreciated over there, and it seems to be less and less a place for serious discussions about important matters.  I don't know how to effectively communicate this to a wider audience, but I feel like I should.

Comments

(Anonymous)

I had a similar conversation last week with a liberal co-worker who claims to be a feminist. He said there's a difference between a woman being raped and a woman "just saying no." I guess a girl has to claw a guy's eyes out just to show she's serious.

- Zac, who doesn't seem to have a LJ account anymore
(((hug)))
Did you ever have a LJ account?

(Anonymous)

I did

for a little while, though all I ever did with it was reply to a few of your posts. Not sure I'll challenge him on this one, since he's married now and probably wants to believe there's a distinction so he doesn't feel bad about something he might have done a decade ago (that's totally a guess on my part). For a lawyer, I'm a pretty non-confrontational dude :)
Also, feel free to share the text of this blog with him, if you think it would help. ;-)
I've never understood people's issue with understanding that non-consensual is rape... regardless of what package it comes in.