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Author Topic: Rape Culture  (Read 53272 times)
HappyDays
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« on: March 28, 2013, 04:20 pm »

From a conversation that started here. Basically the discussion was about an asshole judge who let a sex offender off easy because the woman should have seen the sexual assault coming.

I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion, but I've never understood the use of the phrase "rape culture." I understand what it means, I think. It's the idea that in our society, rape is normalized, joked about, and women are often blamed for being raped. But I don't see why "rape culture" specifically needs to be used. And I think a lot of the ideas surrounding this concept are flat out not true. For example, the idea that rape is about power, not sex. I don't know where this idea comes from, but it's not supported with evidence as far as I can see.

I guess when I hear about victim blaming of rape victims, I don't feel the urge to call it "rape culture." It may be a product of a generally patriarchal society, but I feel like "rape culture" takes it too far. Unless I'm misunderstanding the term.

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« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 09:58 am by Remington Lonespear » Logged
BSam
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2013, 04:23 pm »

The judge did tell the guy that his arguments were bullshit, which is alright. Then ruined it all with the light sentence.

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Remington Lonespear
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 04:35 pm »

The guy who was banned from discussing the Steubenville case on Cracked for not doing his research doesn't believe the term rape culture is necessary? What a twist!

I guess what I'm saying is while I appreciate the effort, maybe this discussion should have been started by somebody who knows what they're talking about. I'm sure somebody like that will come along soon and set you straight as they rightfully should. In the meantime, you should really do some reading of your own.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 04:42 pm by Remington Lonespear » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 04:40 pm »

Oh hey, I guess I only read the first line of that first post.
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 04:58 pm »

So your main issue (apart from disagreeing on some aspects of it) is using the phrase rape culture to describe the worldwide culture of enabling and normalising rape?

There's a serious problem with the world and the attitude of the people in it which needs addressing, and you're arguing over semantics?
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Karlski
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 05:01 pm »

But BSam, arguing anything other than semantics is hard and would require him to spend some introspective time away from the internet, and that's scary, because it'd just be him and his own thoughts and no outside electronic noise and the silence would be overwhelming
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 05:10 pm »

Happydays, I'd honestly like to know why you think rape isn't about power in some way.
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HappyDays
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2013, 05:12 pm »

No, I'd be just fine being wrong in this. I'm not stoicly folding my arms and saying "I'll never change!" Maybe I'm totally misunderstanding what rape culture is. To me, it implies a society where rape is okay, where it's not that big a deal, and where it happens more than ever. Well, I don't think society finds rape to be okay. It carries very serious punishments. In the Steubenville case, assholes blaming the victim were the minority, they didn't represent the average person's thinking. Even in notoriously terrible comments sections, I found that the average person thought the two guys were scum who rightly deserved 100% of the blame. As for rape rates, they're lower than ever in America, partly due to the wonderful efforts of feminists across the nation. So this is where I lose the point of "rape culture." I don't think rape is normalized, I think it's generally seen as a terrible thing. I don't see victim blaming happen as much as I would probably see in a "rape culture." Is any amount of victim blaming too much? Absolutely. But a small portion of assholes who think they're edgy does not a rape culture make.

Again, I'm not a close-minded asshole set in my ways. I want to have the discussion and I'll happily educate myself if I'm saying something stupid and wrong.
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HappyDays
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 05:22 pm »

Happydays, I'd honestly like to know why you think rape isn't about power in some way.

It's not just that I don't believe rape is about power; it's that the evidence in favor of that assertion doesn't exist, so I take the default position that it isn't true. I see that assertion used by a lot of feminists, but I don't really understand why. Like what's the point? Why does rape have to be about power to be bad? So I did do some research, I was trying to find the psychological evidence that this was true. Finding evidence became very difficult, and literally the only thing I found that was based in scientific evidence rather than assumptions was Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker.

Quote
The [rape is power] theory, of course, is preposterous. Not only does it elevate rapists to altruistic troopers for a higher cause, and slander all men as beneficiaries of the rape of the women they love, but it assumes that sex is the one thing that no man will ever use violence to attain, and it is contradicted by numerous facts about the statistical distribution of rapists and their victims.

So here's the only thing I could find that was based in some kind of evidence or research. It seems like the "rape is about power" thing was based in some assumption made by feminists many years ago. I have no idea why this assumption gained traction, or why it's such a huge part of feminist theory. I am absolutely a feminist, so I'm just confused.

Also, don't think I'm like "there, I found a guy from HARVARD who agrees with me, your move feminazis!" I mean that I did try to find some research on the subject and came up empty. Feel free to direct me towards something I missed.
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Metsfan
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2013, 05:28 pm »

Rape culture refers to the collection of individuals or groups who believe women or men were either asking for it, that it's sometimes okay, that it's not a big deal, or it's okay to turn a blind eye to it.

If you don't believe in any of those things, you aren't a part of rape culture. The word culture is used to describe the subscription to those beliefs or the practice of sweeping it under the rug.

Maybe you'd have something with the semantics if you were saying, like in that article bondfiction posted here, where some dirtbag is ascribing rape culture to an actual race of human beings to justify his actions. That could be a point to find a different word.  But I don't think you're saying that, and it wouldn't really work anyway.

You're priorities are a bit off, and missing the bigger picture.
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Metsfan
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2013, 05:28 pm »

women and children*
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HappyDays
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2013, 05:32 pm »

Rape culture refers to the collection of individuals or groups who believe women or men were either asking for it, that it's sometimes okay, that it's not a big deal, or it's okay to turn a blind eye to it.

If you don't believe in any of those things, you aren't a part of rape culture.

This is news to me. I understand that Wikipedia isn't the best source, but this is the first line of its page on Rape Culture:

Quote
Rape culture is a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.

It sounds to me like rape culture is not confined to one group of assholes, but instead everyone in the society. That doesn't mean that everyone in the society agrees with some of these normalizations and excuses for rapists, but everyone in that society is still part of the rape culture. Kind of like I could say that I live in a gun culture without actually ever using a gun. At least that's my interpretation of it, maybe I'm wrong, or Wikipedia is wrong.
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jimbob
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2013, 05:33 pm »

Your editorial addition to, and selection of, that Pinker quotation is very misleading; read the passage again.

He's talking about a theory that occasional rape is a tool by which male society in general keeps power over women as a whole through fear.

What is being discussed here is that a particular man rapes because he feels the need for power over another person.

Also that is not a scientific study, it is an extract from a pop-science essay. Have you looked for any actual scientific or sociological studies?
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HappyDays
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2013, 05:38 pm »

Your editorial addition to, and selection of, that Pinker quotation is very misleading; read the passage again.

Here's another Steven Pinker passage that is crystal clear:

Quote
I believe that the rape-is-not-about-sex doctrine will go down in history as an example of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds. It is preposterous on the face of it, does not deserve its sanctity, is contradicted by a mass of evidence, and is getting in the way of the only morally relevant goal surrounding rape, the effort to stamp it out.

I did try to find some sociological studies and came up empty. The only page I found that dealt with research and evidence was this one (admittedly, it is just Wordpress, I have no way of checking the accuracy of this person's research):

Quote
The radical feminist ‘rape is not sex’ argument does not stand up to close scrutiny. The youthful age of rape victims might suggest that rape has something to do with a rapist’s sexual desire. Moreover, extensive interviews with rapists point to sexual desire as the primary motivating factor in rape cases. In fact, it is counter-intuitive to suggest that a rape could take place without any sexual motivation on behalf of the rapist. Yet radical feminists argue that rape is about power and control and not sex. And whilst it is partly true that rape is about power and violence this does not mean that it has nothing to do with sex, in much the same way that whilst armed robbery involves violence, it is primarily motivated by money. Simply put, violence is a strategy men use in order to obtain sex.

So there the author is mentioning research and interviews which seem to go against the "rape is about power" doctrine. Like he says, rape is obviously a power thing, you can't rape someone without holding power over them. But the belief that power is the realdesire of rape makes no sense to me. Sex is the desire of rape, this should be obvious. Why is this any different than any other act of violence, such as robbery where the motive is money?
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norumaru
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2013, 05:38 pm »

HappyDays, you are either bad at looking up things, or lying, lying, lying.

Quote
Accounts from both offenders and victims of what occurs during a rape suggest that issues of power, anger, and sexuality are important in understanding the rapist's behavior. All three issues seem to operate in every rape, but the proportion varies and one issue seems to dominate in each instance. The authors ranked accounts from 133 offenders and 92 victims for the dominant issue and found that the offenses could be categorized as power rape (sexuality used primarily to express power) or anger rape (use of sexuality to express anger). There were no rapes in which sex was the dominant issue; sexuality was always in the service of other, nonsexual needs.
From here: http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=155978

Want more supporting studies and articles?

Barbaree, H. E., Seto, M. C., Serin, R. C., Amos, N. L. & Preston, D. L. (1994). Comparisons between sexual and nonsexual rapist subtypes., in: Criminal Justice and Behaviour 21

Barbaree, H. E. & Marshall, W. L. (1991). The role of male sexual arousal in rape: six models. in:
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 59

Berlin, F. (1987). Interview with 5 rapists. in: American Journal of Forensic Psychology 2

Holt, S., Meloy, J. & Strack, S. (1999). Sadism and psychopathy in violent and sexually violent offenders. in: Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law 27

or, if you prefer this format, Twelve Reasons Why Rape Is Not Sexually Motivated: A Skeptical Examination by Craig T. Palmer, in The Journal of Sex Research Vol. 25, No. 4

I have about a dozen more. All studies ever done on this corroborate the view that sexual gratification takes the back seat.
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HappyDays
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 05:40 pm »

The guy who was banned from discussing the Steubenville case on Cracked for not doing his research doesn't believe the term rape culture is necessary? What a twist

There was the assumption that I hadn't done the research. This was untrue. I didn't jump into the discussion with no idea what I was talking about. Simply because I had a different opinion, it was assumed that I hadn't done any research.

I'll say it again, I would be happy to see research which says something different. It's not like "rape is not about power" is my devout religion, I just haven't seen any evidence which tells me otherwise. Please show me the evidence. That is what I have wanted all along.
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Karlski
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 05:41 pm »

HappyDays you might want to examine your "research" methods

and also if you actually read norumaru's post you'll see that he has, in fact, provided you with evidence.
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HappyDays
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2013, 05:44 pm »

HappyDays, you are either bad at looking up things, or lying, lying, lying.

Quote
Accounts from both offenders and victims of what occurs during a rape suggest that issues of power, anger, and sexuality are important in understanding the rapist's behavior. All three issues seem to operate in every rape, but the proportion varies and one issue seems to dominate in each instance. The authors ranked accounts from 133 offenders and 92 victims for the dominant issue and found that the offenses could be categorized as power rape (sexuality used primarily to express power) or anger rape (use of sexuality to express anger). There were no rapes in which sex was the dominant issue; sexuality was always in the service of other, nonsexual needs.
From here: http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=155978

Want more supporting studies and articles?

Barbaree, H. E., Seto, M. C., Serin, R. C., Amos, N. L. & Preston, D. L. (1994). Comparisons between sexual and nonsexual rapist subtypes., in: Criminal Justice and Behaviour 21

Barbaree, H. E. & Marshall, W. L. (1991). The role of male sexual arousal in rape: six models. in:
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 59

Berlin, F. (1987). Interview with 5 rapists. in: American Journal of Forensic Psychology 2

Holt, S., Meloy, J. & Strack, S. (1999). Sadism and psychopathy in violent and sexually violent offenders. in: Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law 27

or, if you prefer this format, Twelve Reasons Why Rape Is Not Sexually Motivated: A Skeptical Examination by Craig T. Palmer, in The Journal of Sex Research Vol. 25, No. 4

I have about a dozen more. All studies ever done on this corroborate the view that sexual gratification takes the back seat.

Thank you! This is what I wanted from the beginning. Now I just don't understand the contradiction between these studies, and Pinker's assertion that "rape is power" is nothing more than popular delusion.
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Bettytron
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2013, 05:45 pm »

Metsfan, that's not at all a complete picture. It's not just about addressing literal instances of rape and shrugging our shoulders, but about cultural trends that lead to objectifying women, trivializing or eroticizing rape, and normalizing misogyny. You can find advertisements everywhere that use violence against women for sex appeal, or PSAs against rape that engage in victim blaming (not to mention the countless stories where the victim is shamed by authority figures, not just internet-commenting-teens, for behavior that may have led to assault (see the New York rape cop's defense, the Canadian judge whose ruling spawned the SlutWalks, Steubenville, etc.). You can look at ways we discuss violence against women versus other kinds of violence. Or the Daniel Tosh thing, or Seth MacFarlane's "boobs" song at the Oscars, where nudity in films was stripped of context and used to reduce a woman to her parts, rather than her talents or what she was conveying (rape scenes! in a few of his cited instances).

I don't know what you think rape is about if power isn't involved. It's clearly not only about sexual gratification, because most manage to deal with those impulses without violently violating another person. Your robbery analogy is actually perfect but for reasons that you don't understand. A rapist isn't just taking sex/money, but he's turning a woman into an inanimate object from which to take it. The wallet has no say, but the woman ought to. You can see that, right? It's the turning-a-woman-into-an-object from which the rapist can take what he wants, that's the power play.
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Karlski
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2013, 05:45 pm »

Thank you! This is what I wanted from the beginning. Now I just don't understand the contradiction between these studies, and Pinker's assertion that "rape is power" is nothing more than popular delusion.

Often what you will find, here in the real world, is that when there is a mass of researched studies on one side saying one thing and one lone voice on the other side saying the opposite, right

stay with me here, it gets tricky

what you find is that the lone voice on the other side is wrong
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