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Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Can't Talk About Rape, So This Entry Contains Nothing About It

UPDATE: Please read this too.

Jim C. Hines, who keeps getting more and more fascinating, has posted another entry about rape. He used to be a rape crisis counselor, so he knows a little better the reality of rape, rather than this collegiate newspaper.

I can't talk about it because one out of four women have been raped. If you haven't been raped yourself, then that number is lower. If you have been raped, then that number is higher. So let's say it all averages out to 1/4. That means either my mom, my sister, or my wife has been raped. If it's my wife, I must have done it, because I'm the only one she's had sex with. Wait, that's only three... I guess one of my daughters is going to be raped too. Is this like blue car phenomenom? If you buy a blue car, then you notice every blue car out there? If you've been raped, does everything look like a man trying to attack you?

I have a solution. At age sixteen, everyone gets raped. Men and women. That way we'll all know what it's like, we'll have a frame of reference, so we can talk about it rationally.

But let's not forget that rape is love. Gone with the Wind's Scarlett O'Hara, favorite movie heroine of about every sensible girl I know, was taken against her will by Rhett Butler and carried upstairs, kicking and screaming. Don't you remember that scene? The next shot is her lying in bed with a big smile on her face. Remember kids, it's not rape. It's just surprise sex you didn't know you wanted.

But through this, I figured out why there's so much argument. Too much emotions. Just like with racism.

Sex + violence + needling fundamental differences in mentality between men and women? It's a wonder we haven't started Civil War over this. I'm reading posts and comments about what is rape and what isn't and I find myself heating up. And I agree with the points! Everyone is too close to the issue.

So the simpler solution is to walk away, avoid the arguments, never play devil's advocate or... what's the opposite? Angel's advocate? So these issues don't get talked about. It's like being in prison. Those who have been there know. But those who haven't been there have no experience, no emotional baggage resulting, so they can joke about it, disregard it. And they're in the majority.

And I'm in that majority, but I'm trying to understand the minority. But I can't because they're thrusting all of their anger, their resentment, their fear, their shame, on me. So I can't get a rational discussion going, to get information so that solutions can be found. Maybe to raise awareness or to dash misconceptions. No you get a bunch of rapees pointing fingers and saying "You're wrong. You don't know the struggle. It's this way, there is no fuzzy area, no middle ground, no different degrees of rape. If she never said yes, you raped her. And you're ignorant for not knowing". It's the same reason white people can't use the n-word in any context--the fraction of people who blow up over the issue.

The reason I say I'm a devil's advocate is because I agree with their salient points, but I'm bringing up counter-points to provoke discussion and my own understanding. Apparently, no one likes this. But it doesn't matter, because I'm no longer devil's advocate. Now I'm my own advocate.

It's not that people are too sensitive, it's that they can't downplay their emotions long enough to give arguments without sounding like shrieking harpies. I felt very attacked on the forum. People were yelling at me, yelling at me for not getting it.

Now, let's talk about this: The Rape of Mr. Smith

The more I think about Mr. Smith, the more his scenario doesn't make sense. The man was walking--just walking--out late at night in the city in an expensive suit, all alone. It doesn't say he was going to his car, he was just walking. It doesn't say he was coming back from a late business meeting, just that he was in an expensive suit. And it doesn't say why he was out so late, in the city, walking alone, where there were no witnesses. Mr. Smith does not sound like the brighest bulb on the tree.

No, rape is never okay. But that doesn't mean you can walk into the ghetto and start shouting "nigger". He knows there are muggers out there, and that he put himself in a scenario that lends itself well to being mugged. Should I also have sympathy for him if he jumps into a polar bear enclosure and the bear attacks him?

I'm not talking about consequences, I'm talking about prevention. Avoid putting yourself in likely scenarios in the first place. No, it's not your fault that the guy raped you. The raper is at fault, and should have known better. But why did you alter the scenario so as to let down your guard?

I tried to think about it from the perspective of the rapee. Let's say I get so drunk I can't remember a damn thing from the moment I enter a party. And we'll say it's a gay frat house, so we keep the unwanted sex factor (I'm already digging myself in a hole, might as well make it nice and deep. Let's see if I can offend everybody). A guy takes me into a room and butt-rapes me. I'm not thinking about this glibly either, I'm running an actual scenario in my head of "if this happened to me", trying to understand the perspective. And the answer is, yes, that guy took advantage of me, of my state. I was clearly raped. And I would feel victimized. But really, what was I doing in that such a state in the first place? It's not the going to the party, that's fine. But if I got so drunk that I could not keep a guard up, an ability to give resistance, in an environment where something could happen, then that's foolish.

Here's a thing I learned from Loveline--there are two types of rape victims. There's the ones that have the little girl voice. Timid, high-pitched, breathy. Someone got to them when they were eight or nine, and arrested their emotional development. That's why they sound the same age as when they were molested. And since they've been trained to accept that behavior, they keep being victims. They keep hooking up with guys who abuse them because they're attractive. They're attracted to the chaos. They seek them out the same type of people to abuse them, because sources of extreme trauma in youth become causes of arousal when they get older.

Then there's the second type. They also seek out people to abuse them, but they provoke it. They project their anger and resentment onto you. They act angry and berate you so you'll get angry and provoke them. Then they get the same kind of abuse (maybe physical abuse) that they're used to receiving. She gets you to act like an asshole by goading you into it, because that's what she wants. Watch MTV, it's there all the time. I feel like a lot of these people were in the forum.

Case in point--one of the commenters posted a link to this person's website with two arguments about rape jokes that aren't funny (number that are: 0) and the other a counter-argument to those who say a woman's behavior may invite rape. The first thing I see is a woman flipping me off. Not the best way to start a persuasive argument. (the person in the comments says it doesn't make her point less valid, but actually it kinda does. If you're trying to make a persuasive argument, the first thing you do is not antagonize your reader with an act of aggression and make him/her resistant).

And while her prose is crackling, her argument is flawed. She states you can't use the "robber/rapist" metaphor because the difference between a robber and a rapist is that a robber targets his victim based on their outward characteristics (going to the bank, carrying a wallet, expensive suit). A rapist can acquire what he wants from any woman. This is a stupid argument.

Both a robber and a rapist can get what he wants from any person--male or female (we all have a hole somewhere), rich or poor. Everyone's got something valuable on him at some point. And here's another thing. If robbers only targeted those people that have the most yield, high-class business districts would be filled with muggers. They'd be hiding in parking garages waiting by the CEO's Mercedes all the time. Does this happen? Not as often as the drug stores and gas stations that probably don't have much more money than them. The reality is that selecting a target is more about ease of obtainment. A CEO's got security around him, trackable cell phones, password-encoded cars, and stuff that's so personalized you can't fence. A middle/lower-class guy's got cash, maybe checks (if you're lucky), a generic cell phone, a watch, maybe an MP3 player, and no weapons. Body language and visual cues matter too. You pick a guy who's looking down, not going to fight back. It's profiling.

Rapists use profiling too. They know the difference between a confident women and a victimized/victimizable woman. They don't go for her because she's slutty, or trashed. They go because they're trained to, because they identify themselves by their actions, behavior. They know she's going to keep her mouth shut. She's used to this behavior from men. Whether she resents or accepts this doesn't matter. Just because a woman has a vagina does not make her any better candidate for rape than any man walking down the street. Rapists and pedophiles know who makes a good victim. Just like a lion can tell which antelope in the pack is the sickly one. They don't have start running to find out.

I have to say all this here because the comments are closed, thanks in no small part to me. That says because I'm not understanding, I should cease to make any attempts to try and understand. I can't ask a basic question without twelve people jumping down my throat telling me how wrong I am with so much anti-rape rhetoric they no longer remember how to have a rational discussions about it. I'm reminded of a 20/20 episode where John Stossel was going to up to some demonstrating college students who were against deforestation. He tried to tell them some anti-thetical facts, like how there are actually more forests today than 20 years ago. The students (mostly girls) started chanting their slogans, drowning him out.

That's fine. I'll be your bad guy. Nothing I'm not used to.

Next time, I'll just stay out of any rape discussions. Clearly, I don't understand it, and people don't want to teach me. Fine. Keep your stewing in your rape juices. I'm going to play Left 4 Dead.
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