Bitter Pills: Men and Women in Rape Culture

Peter Houlihan breaks down the defining assumptions of rape culture, its gendered state, and asks that blame not be placed on all men.

I was asked to write this article after I wrote an, unfortunately angry, point-by-point response to this piece by Soraya Chemaly. When I wrote my response I felt somewhat hurt by what I perceived as her, probably unintended, marginalization of male victims of assault.

I highly prize calm and reasoned discussion of gender and I’d like to take advantage of this space to explore some arguments and constructs commonly associated with rape culture theory that seem to me to be problematic and in some cases contradictory. Some of them are mentioned in the above article; others are drawn from elsewhere. I don’t wish to represent them as the specific views of Ms. Chemaly, or any other commentator, but they are ideas I have seen used on several occasions to support the concept of rape culture.

I also don’t wish to present myself as an expert on the subject, but my objections are sincere and I believe that they are both relevant and logically sound. I understand that many definitions of rape culture exist, but for the purposes of this piece I’d like to present the following definition from wikipedia.

Wikipedia:Rape culture is a term which originated in women’s studies and feminist theory, describing a culture in which rape and sexual violence against women are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalise, excuse, or tolerate sexual violence against women. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification and rape apologism.”

♦◊♦

Rape is something that happens only to women: Unfortunately this, and any discussion concerning rape, is something of a semantic argument. In many jurisdictions, rape is legally defined in such a way that nothing done to a man can ever be considered rape, regardless of whether the same act, performed on a woman, must be.

Even in legal systems which recognize the rape of men, the definition often focuses on the penetration of the victim, meaning that PIV sex, and other common sex acts that don’t involve penetration, cannot be considered rape when performed on an unconsenting male. The presence of an erection is also used as evidence of consent, even in cases of diminished responsibility and mental disability.

Interfering with a woman’s right to control her reproduction (such as falsely claiming to use a condom) is also often regarded as rape, but despite that this form of assault is also perpetrated against men, I know of no legal system which attributes such violations against men with similar gravity. Many gender theorists also define rape, and even sexual violence in general as specifically something men do to women.

Regardless of what we call it, and whether we wish to make hierarchical distinctions between different groups of sexual assault victims, sexual violence can and does happen to men and boys.

♦◊♦

Rape is something perpetrated only by men: Again, this is a somewhat semantic argument. Where rape is legally defined as something that can only happen to a woman or girl, or something that can only be committed by a man, the statistics will uniformly show that only women are victims and men are perpetrators. Added to this are cultural and ideological biases within which men are not permitted to be recognized as victims, particularly of sexual violence, and women are uniformly constructed as non-agressive, non-sexual people. Given these two tendencies, the dismissal of male victims, and the existence of female perpetrators, by courts of law, policing forces, researchers in the field of sexual violence, and society in general is inevitable.

♦◊♦

Women are raped more than men, men rape more than women: Given the above issues, with the recognition of male victims and female perpetrators, we simply cannot know how sexual violence breaks down by gender. But I’d go a step further: it’s not relevant. If we are willing to accept that women can victimize and men can be victims, then solutions focused on gender difference are clearly missing the point. I sometimes question the motivation of gender commentators who can’t seem to mention rape without emphasizing the gender gap in current statistics. It almost seems as if they are attempting to establish a moral high and low ground for each gender respectively based on crimes performed by individuals against individuals. Even if men rape more than women, it is still a human issue, and divisive tactics aimed at blaming an entire group of innocent humans are highly counterproductive.

♦◊♦

Masculinity, and all men, are fundamentally rapacious: At this point I would like to quote an article from The Guardian:

What Facebook and others who defend this pernicious hate speech don’t seem to get is that rapists don’t rape because they’re somehow evil or perverted or in any way particularly different from the average man in the street: rapists rape because they can. Rapists rape because they know the odds are stacked in their favour, because they know the chances are they’ll get away with it.

Commentary like this is very hard to ignore, or accept, especially since I am a member of the group she is talking about. If a commentator were to focus on statistics claiming that black people commit more violent crime in the US than any other group and subsequently use these facts to imply that all black people and black culture were fundamentally violent and criminal by nature, their commentary would be quite correctly labelled as a hate speech.

Even if we ignore female perpetrators of sexual violence, rape is only committed by a minority of men. Those men often themselves have a history of abuse and other psychological problems. I by no means wish to imply that all victims of abuse become abusers, but if we examine the psychology of perpetrators of sexual crime it quickly becomes clear that they are usually very different from the average man in the street. It is also quite clear that the opportunity to commit rape does not turn an ordinary man into a rapist, if it did then rape would occur without exception every time a man and woman were alone together.

♦◊♦

All rape jokes directly contribute to rape and misogyny: Personally I am highly critical of the Facebook pages mentioned above. In the context of Facebook, with widespread anonymity in a somewhat serious atmosphere, it’s not unreasonable to assume that some people who clicked “like” may have been doing so out of genuine feelings of misogyny. This said, I do know at least one rape victim who “liked” them, so I think we can also assume that many users took them as they were probably intended: as jokes.

What makes those jokes unacceptable, at least to me, is that they have the potential to be taken seriously. They’re also being broadcast in a manner by which they have a definite chance of reaching a victim of rape. While Facebook isn’t intended as a safe space, it still seems unreasonable to me that victims of rape should fear all public spaces on the basis that they may be reminded of their ordeal.

I don’t agree, however, that these conditions are true of all spaces. When intimate friends joke in private, they do so in the knowledge that those present don’t intend offense and don’t hold opinions, which imply that their jokes are serious. Assumptions can be made about a friend making a racist joke in private that cannot be made about a stranger making the same joke in a public bar. Equally, some public spaces, such as a stand-up comedy club, specifically allow a suspension of offense (in much the same manner that cinema allows a suspension of disbelief) and require a suspension of suspicion regarding the motives of the comic.

People likely to be sensitive to jokes on a particular subject are also empowered to decide whether or not they are exposed to them by such humour being confined to private or “humor safe” spaces while equally allowing other people to explore such humor in freedom. I also find the tendency of some gender commentators to put jokes about rape in a separate category to jokes about other offensive topics such as racism. If we were to adopt a zero-tolerance policy to any humor found by any group or individual to be offensive, we would quickly find that all humor would be off limits, except perhaps for jokes involving ducks crossing roads.

♦◊♦

Personal safety advice puts the onus on victims to prevent rape: While victim blaming does exist, and is by no means confined to sexual assault, it should not be confused with genuine concern for the safety of others and the dissemination of information empowering people to make safe decisions.

Only one group of people is responsible for rape: rapists. This said, we live in an imperfect world and we can all take measures to protect ourselves from violent crime. There are many streets in Dublin that I would be unwise to walk down after dark. While I absolutely assert my right to do so, it would be foolish of me to exercise that right absolutely. If I were assaulted while passing through such a space (and I have been) only one person would be responsible for my assault: my attackers. But I was nonetheless responsible to myself for putting myself in an unsafe situation which I could have avoided.

Rape, and other crimes, cannot be completely prevented by playing it safe, but we can take measures to reduce the chances of it happening to us. The distribution of information allowing people to make their lives safer shouldn’t be opposed on the basis that it somehow blames victims.

♦◊♦

Rape is incomparable to other forms of assault or sexual assault: All violent crimes are individual, and the experiences of their victims are individual. Some victims of rape are left incapable of functioning normally and endure psychological scars which darken the rest of their lives. Other victims are able to more effectively deal with their trauma and move on to live full and happy lives. This doesn’t imply any culpability of victims who can’t do this. Every human being is individual and has different strengths and weaknesses, it follows that every victim of sexual assault will react in a variety of different ways.

While accepting this, it is also reasonable to note that certain symptoms and illnesses, such as PTSD and depression, are often observed across rape victims. Just as they are often observed in victims of other forms of sexual assault, non-sexual assault, and exposure to extreme violence.

The reason that it is important to establish this is to break an unfortunate tendency on the part of some gender commentators to enshrine rape as the ultimate crime and rape victims as the ultimate victims. This is especially problematic when rape is not a closely defined term and is, sometimes, strictly defined to the point where very few victims are considered victims at all and other times expanded to the point where women who have been forced to have sex at knifepoint are directly compared to women who chose to have sex while drunk with an equally drunk partner.

The impact of violent crime cannot be scientifically measured or neatly sorted into categories. What emotionally cripples one person for life is easily shrugged off by the next. While it is often necessary for legal systems to categorize crimes in terms of their characteristics and assign gravity accordingly to ensure fairness, I propose that outside of the courts it would be more compassionate to accept each victim as an individual and avoid comparing, elevating, debasing or otherwise ranking their victimhood in terms of other peoples experiences.

♦◊♦

Believe the victim: This stance has huge and obvious problems. We do not live in a world where truth and falsehood can always be absolutely determined. On this basis, our legal systems, in principle, allow the benefit of the doubt to fall to the accused of any particular crime. This gives rise to such constructs as innocence until guilt is proven and reasonable doubt. Unfortunately some people have and do lie about their victimhood and falsely accuse innocent people of crimes they have not committed.

The call to believe the victim is a perfectly reasonable one, except that prior to any given trial, and sometimes even after it, we are completely unaware as to whether the victim is the accused or the accuser of rape. This uncertainty also means that the examination of the motives and actions of the accuser is appropriate within the context of establishing whether reasonable doubt exists as to whether the rape actually occurred. This should not be interpreted as victim blaming, any more than cross examination of the accused should be, as there is every possibility that the accuser is not the victim.

Unfortunately, the policy of believing the victim is enshrined in some laws such as the rape shield laws that have in the past prevented innocent men from introducing relevant evidence. In some cases this evidence subsequently proved that they were, in fact, the victim when their case was appealed. Similarly, laws protecting the accuser, but not the accused, from public scrutiny unfairly assume the victimhood of the accuser over that of the accused.

♦◊♦

Rape is condoned by gendered cultures: It is commonly claimed that gendered culture condones and accepts rape as part of the natural order. If this were so, it is difficult to imagine why accused rapists are so avariciously pursued by law enforcement authorities, condemned in the media, and their guilt often assumed prior to their trial.

Victims of false accusations of rape, and even their family members, are subject to intense media scrutiny, threats of assault and arson, expulsion from their educational institutions, actual assault or even rape itself.

Ask any man who has been falsely accused of rape whether society condones rape, and you will very quickly find how shallow the truth of this idea really is.

♦◊♦

Only men can prevent rape: This is hugely problematic. From the point of view of someone who attributes all rape to all men and is fighting what they perceive as a tendency on the part of society to place to responsibility of rape prevention on women, all of whom are victims, this is perfectly reasonable. If, however, you accept that at least some of the people coming forward and reporting sexual victimisation at the hands of women are telling the truth (and some of these people are very close friends of mine) then you would have to accept that the responsibility for rape falls at least as heavily on women.

In reality, the only people who can absolutely prevent any crime are the criminals who perpetrate it. In the case of crimes such as rape, which are often the product of a twisted and warped psychology, a call to reason is ineffective to the point of comedy. We don’t produce posters calling on violent offenders not to commit assault, if a person is of such a disposition that they intend to do so the call will be ignored, if they aren’t inclined to do so then they won’t. Equally, calls for men not to rape won’t reach the ears of actual rapists, male or female. They can however reach the ears of innocent men and falsely imply that all men are potential rapists.

A far more realistic approach is to equip people with as much information as possible as to how situations in which might render them vulnerable to violent crime can be avoided, and for the police to do their job. These measures won’t end rape, but they’ll do a lot more than placing the blame on all men.

—Photo nwhitford/Flickr

 

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Peter Houlihan

Peter Houlihan is a human being from Dublin. He thinks everyone should listen to each other more, including himself, and tries to see the good in people.

Comments

  1. David Byron says:

    Seriously? “rape culture” again?

  2. +1

    It seems like there are more articles here about rape than any other subject.

  3. The Bad Man says:

    Standing ovation man!

    But I’d go a step further: it’s not relevant. If we are willing to accept that women can victimize and men can be victims, then solutions focused on gender difference are clearly missing the point

    The argument over statistics is just a distraction from treating all people as human beings rather than different victim classes. Do you think feminist jurisprudence might have an influence?

  4. “I was asked to write this article after I wrote an, unfortunately angry, point-by-point response to this piece by Soraya Chemaly. When I wrote my response I felt somewhat hurt by what I perceived as her, probably unintended, marginalization of male victims of assault.”

    You just don’t get it, Peter, and you probably never will.

    • Don’t get what forweg??

      • Feminism.

        • Easy to casually dismiss something you don’t agree with. Harder to actually refute it. Does what you wrote contribute anything at all to this discussion?

          • Maybe not. But if I explained myself properly, my words would likely be censored.

            I’ll try to phrase this civilly:

            Attempting to politely debate with hardened ideologues is a fool’s game, let alone assuming best intentions from such individuals.

            • Forweg,

              I thought you were opposed to Peter’s article until I saw the link to your website.

              In terms of the issues with Feminism, I agree that there is a fraction of feminists who truly seek to undermine and subjugate men, and then there is the vast majority of women who identify as feminists who really do want gender equality. The majority are not specialists in feminist theory, researchers, or academics they are students who have received all their learning from a set curriculum handed to them from the ‘specialists.’ The majority does not want to demonize anyone and have no political goals beyond altruistic intent. This usually means that the majority also has insecurities and questions about their beliefs and they fell less confident in the face of the “specialists.” The problem that then comes from this is three-fold:

              1) the extremist minority drowns out the logical and reasonable majority, and the majority’s voice gets lost, or

              2) by identifying yourself with any group there is a need to belong. This means that while the majority of members within the group have more reasonable and moderate views when any member of their group (or would you like to substitute “tribe”) comes under attack the entire group rushes to the defense of its members; this is how polarization occurs.

              3) Finally we have the final problem where since the vast majority is in the mode of acting as “students.” The role of the student is generally considered one of passive learning rather than an active engagement. Students unless brought into the right mode are knowledge consumers rather than producers. Seriously, how often do you hear a college student mention with confidence the “fact” that they read in an article on Cracked.com or heard on the Daily Show.

              This phenomenon is not reserved for feminism. Look at any number of “group-think-esque” phenomenons where followers are told to consume the product of the leaders as bastions of virtuous knowledge without ever critically thinking about the knowledge consumed. This includes:
              – communism
              – the feminist movement
              – Occupy Wall Street
              – both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice groups
              – the PUA community
              – the men’s rights movement
              – college fraternities and sororities

              And I could continue to go on. Also note that I’m not saying that any of these groups are necessarily bad, rather I’m pointing out the tendency to disregard using a critical eye against one’s own belief structure when in the mode of being knowledge consumers. We like to point out hypocrisy in others without taking time to see hypocrisy in ourselves.

              This is one reason why I oppose the idea of having a “men’s studies” course or even identifying oneself with any of the many “-isms” out there.

              To call all feminists villains is just was wrong as it is for feminists to call all men villains. I agree that we should not assume the best intentions from others; we should EXPECT the best intentions from others.

              If every time we engage someone with the expectation to disagree with, vilify, or disregard their opinions or beliefs then we are just as in the wrong as they are when they start spouting words like “male privilege” or “heteronormative garbage”

              Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment, feminism, regardless of how evil it is or isn’t has done some great things. Without feminism having laid the groundwork we likely would not have male victims stepping forward and we would not have the opportunity to think about and define manhood on our terms. So let’s praise feminism for the good that it has done (even if you believe this good was accidental), tell them that they are an important part of the dialogue for gender equality, and that we need them fighting with us to fight for the equality everyone deserves because we all know it is the right thing to do.

              Give a man/woman a good name and he/she will more often that rise to the occasion to meet you.

            • In the worst case scenario, you come off as the reasonable and honest one and they are the ones spouting hate the potential allies will see more truth to what you have to say. After all, if they have to resort to such nasty tactics to “sell” their product the potential buyer will wonder what is deficient about their product that makes them have to rip apart yours.

            • kckrupp: “Without feminism having laid the groundwork we likely would not have male victims stepping forward”

              Stop right there, kckrupp. Here, as a male survivor (not of sexual abuse but general hurt from both genders, men and women, girls and boys) I have to state how, in my opinion, this doesn’t click with me at all.

              Feminism may have laid the groundwork, but they sure as heck weren’t there to defend me from the malcious treatments certain gynocentric feminists gave me in the early days. Read Bullied By Girls and Women on this publication for more information on the invalidation I received from them, from society, etc.

              Luckily I found feminists now who support me. But I could’ve used that support in the thick of the minimisation and invalidation I faced speaking out. Only in certain safe spaces was I defended.

              So your claim that without feminism, male victims wouldn’t be able to speak out is not true. Male victims have been trying to speak out since the 80s, 90s, all the way to now.

              It’s only NOW they’re getting support.

              Now before you accuse me of being anti-feminist, bare in mind that I respect feminism too for what’s it done. To a point. Like claiming without them, male victims wouldn’t have come forward. That’s what I dispute.

              Otherwise, I have nothing against all feminists or feminism in general.

            • Eagle,

              I apologize that my statement caused any offense. I certainly don’t have the personal experience of having gone through what you did (I have read your story here on GMP and I am so sorry you had to endure that.) My comment was merely my perspective from what I’ve seen and read not having experienced this first hand and it certainly may be wrong. The groundwork I was referring to was that it has seemed to me that feminism initiated the discussion in terms of questioning traditional gender roles. As far as their efforts to redefine the roles of men, particularly in terms of male victims, I have seen little to no evidence of any effort on their part to do so and more often I have seen the purposeful concealing of this evidence. I’m sure male victims would have eventually come forward without feminism, it has just seemed to me that by initiating the discussion enabled men to re-define our role as well.

              I may be completely incorrect on this. If so please correct me. I would rather have facts than continue to remain misinformed.

              Also, I’m in no way a feminist…It’s sort of funny that I’m defending them at all since in most cases I get so fed up with engaging them in conversation in anything more than a one-on-one setting because the group-think logic gets so infuriating. I have to keep reminding myself over and over:

              When it comes to dealing with people, perception always triumphs truth; a person has to change their perception to match the truth before the truth will be accepted.

            • That’s what I mean.

              They laid the groundwork, yes, but that’s as far as it goes in terms of supporting male survivors in the beginning.

            • Eagle,

              I’m glad that we are on the same page. Again, I am sorry that I wasn’t clear in my initial comment.

            • I admit that my initial comments may have been inappropriate for this website. I’m sure Peter had good intentions with this article, even if I find his methods and worldview naive. Go ahead and delete them if you wish.

            • Peter Houlihan says:

              I’m glad to hear you think so, I assure you they are. I wrote the article because I felt much the same way about the above components of rape culture theory.

            • Peter Houlihan says:

              *or to put it another way: where feminism is the radical notion that women are people too I’m definitely a feminist, as are most people I know.

            • The problem, Peter, is that feminism isn’t what feminists claim it to be. It is better to judge a movement or ideology on its actions rather than its words.

            • Peter Houlihan says:

              Depends on the feminist, take this one for example:
              http://digital.library.ucla.edu/websites/2003_999_066/images/bio6.jpg

              He wrote this:
              http://www.lib.nus.edu.sg/calendar/0801/HQ1090.3%20Far.jpg

              Another feminist wrote this:
              http://gandt.blogs.brynmawr.edu/files/2009/02/scum.gif

              No wonder feminist theory is contradictory, its being written by people at opposite ends of the political spectrum. The only thing all feminists can really to be said to have in common is a concern for women’s rights. I assume you care about gender equality if you’re on a website like this. Doesn’t that, in a tiny way, also make you a feminist? This doesn’t have to mean you agree with the crazy stuff on rad-fem-hub, all it means is that you care about women and how they’re mistreated because of their gender. And it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t care just as much about men (although, god knows, some feminists don’t).

            • True but that is true of almost all movements with few exceptions. The only way to really deal with this is to argue at the level of psychological motivations instead of arguing facts. But nevertheless I like Peter’s article because without it there is NO counterargument to rape culture whatsoever.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          I disagree. I’d even go further: I’m a feminist. I’m also an MRA and I don’t see the distinction.

          I don’t see many arguments in favour of rape culture as being logical, evidence supported or consistant, but this doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in gender equality.

  5. It’s not a culture!

  6. John Sctoll says:

    This is an absolutely fantastic article.

    It is so great because it leaves out ‘emotion’ and ‘feelings’ and while those things can be good , in a hot button topic like rape they only serve to derail the discussion.

    Your article lays out your points of view and clearly offers your perspective on each.

    Now, lets wait for the crap storm to start.

    • Well thought through and well written piece, Peter. Thank you.

      John, there will be no crap storm over this article because that would just give it attention. The problem is challenging and then changing the culture on the ground, when boys and men are victimized, when judges and the helping professions do not help, by naming names, showing faces and taking other direct, pointed but non-violent action. At present, those in power believe it is in their political and business interest to continue the frame the matter as they have.

      So, out of wild curiosity, has the Rape Culture entry on Wikipedia been challenged? Hard-line female superiority supporters have caused Wikipedia entries on equal rights for men to be pulled or annotated as suspect.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        I believe mediahound has edited the above definition and clafified the origins of the term somewhat.

        • Peter – Myself and a group of editors are working on the Wikipedia Definition of “Rape Culture”.

          It is quite fascinating, given that It has multiple meanings and definitions. It is quite clear from the Page History that some have edited for Propaganda Reasons – and the Theory/Model/Concept/Term has been abused in ways that fundamentally disagree with Wikipedia’s own mission.

          The “Systemic Bias”, “Cultural Bias” and “Systemic Racism” have been about using the Wiki page to define the USA as a “Rape Culture” for Political Reasons. It’s been so abusive it’s beyond reprehensible.

          It ignored such things as Prison Rape, Rape In the Military, Rape as a tool of war – ref VietNam, Rwnada Genocide, Bosnia, Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan and even recent events such a Libya.

          As long as it said in the lede that “America Is A Rape Culture” that so all that some wanted and enforced.

          It seems that some are quite Racist and willing to ignore such things as The Known Issues in places such as Central Asia – Afghanistan just as long as they can make out the “Term Rape” Culture is all about the USA. … and then the abusive propagandised wiki page gets served up Hook Line and Stinker.

          It’s been about some people’s demands to control Pop Culture – and has ignored Feminism, Human Decency and even Morality. I’m still Furious, and it makes my Equality Blood Boil!

          Must be the Irish coming out in me and the revolutionary zeal of my forefathers in dealing with the Black And Tans, and how they use rape and Manifested Rape Culture from their own ranks!

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “It is so great because it leaves out ‘emotion’ and ‘feelings’ and while those things can be good , in a hot button topic like rape they only serve to derail the discussion.”

      Its true, I’m a vulcan.

  7. Great article, thanks Peter.

  8. “Encyclopedia Of Rape

    “In the United States the belief that representations of violence reproduce real violence was reinforced in the 1980s and 1990s by an intensified debate of prominent cases of rape, date rape, and sexual harassment within the media. This prominence of rape and sexual violence in popular culture seemed to suggest that American culture is a “rape culture.” However, the term rape culture misleadingly hints that rape occurs more frequently in a culture that talks about rape intensively than in cultures that deny its existence. Instead of documenting the state of real rape, though, the deployment of rape in American popular culture bespeaks the status of rape as a central trope within the American cultural imagination.”

    Page 150 SABINE SIELKE”

    Peter, Thank you for writing this. I too share all of your concerns, frustrations and misuses of basic information. I am also fed up with people who have suffered rape being abused and marginalised by those who claim Authority and Expertise.

    And sorry, if my activity as a Meddling Rational Archivist, has meant that your Reference from Wikipedia was outdated before you even published. It’s Ludicrous that so many have been gulled by bad information, and just followed it and Viral Internet trends Hook, Line and Stinker.

    Rape Culture has been given far too much prominence and there has been far too much discussion, because in the USA/American Psyche it has been allowed to run wild since last year with the advent of Slutwalk – April 3, 2011. One Police Officer the wrong thing and The Viral Overload begins.

    The term “Rape Culture” was hardly known until SlutWalk. Then it exploded – I went Viral – it became the Boggy Man and the Boggy Woman of gender and gender politics. It became abusive to every person in USA/America when such things as “America Is A Rape Culture” was allowed to be written on a Wiki web page and so many just accepted it Hook Line And Stinker!

    “America Is A Rape Culture”? Why have so many readers been willing to see a Whole Nation Slandered and Defamed. WHY?

    If I was to write “All American’s Are Child Molesters” I would have people screaming! The flames would be seen all over the globe.

    But, some Unqualified Idiot finds One Reference In One Book and puts it on Wikipedia and no-one says “What the Fuck?, That’s Wrong!”.

    Anyone can look at the history of the Wikipedia page since it was first created on 24 July 2005, and you can even read all of the thousands of edits made to the page ever since. As you look at the history can see how it has been changed and Propagandised – and even when and by who.

    It gets interesting to cross reference that with what has been in the media that day – and even on certain people’s blogs. You can even go and check what the Twits have been up to. It’s almost like sitting and watching Pavlov’s Gog Drooling as soon as a bell rings!

    I am furious that supposed cleaver people have been happy to quote it. I do find it funny that so many supposed authority figures with links to Wikipedia telling the world that America Is Rape Incarnate, will now either have to revise all their work, or run the risk of people reading it – clicking a link – and then thinking “What An Idiot”, and passing on by!

    If they are Professors and Academics and Experts and Bloggers from their own Blogs to International News Papers – why have they been so willing to collude and misuse the term? For no other reason that they thrive on Popular Culture and have been exploiting it. They have been happy to be Fraudulent and They have been acting in Bad Faith. It’s that, or they are so stupid they should not be allowed out unattended.

    They have deliberately Conflated, to Conflate their own images, Conflate their own supposed Self Importance and to Conflate their Follower and Disciple numbers so they could play games with reality and other people. They have been happy to abuse, because of their own peculiar and aberrant minds. People who can see only their own self value as measured by Page Views and Twits, that follow and Retweet them, and who then become disciples on a Farcebook[sic] page that acts as a church for them to be Worshipped.

    I’m Furious at both EXTREME Feminists and EXTREME Men’s Rights Advocates who have been happy to exploit, and be exploited by all others, so that they can continue their School Yard Fights. “But the Internet says.. !” is not a valid argument and just shows how stupid some are in their lack of basic insight.

    I keep wondering at the attitudes that some have. It’s NOT hard to debunk the Mystique and reveal the Bizarre way that Rape Culture has been twisted and misused for Media Hype and Propaganda – and yet so many have just sat and fought at their keyboards. They can google when they want – they can blog and run so many supposed important web sites, and they can quote and quote and quote . And yet that seem to lack the capacity to go to a Wikipedia page and say “That Is Wrong”.

    Saying you agree with something that is so clearly wrong does make people wonder why you think that way. Is It Stupidity, Bias, Brainwashing?

    They lack the capacity to click on a link which says “EDIT” or the link that says “DISCUSS”. They lack the basic will and interest in stopping extreme views and extreme behaviour, because THEY ENJOY IT, they REVEL IN IT and they are happy to be little puppets for those who thrive on Page Views and Retweets as a measure of personal value and worth.

    These lesser lunatics even set up their own Farcebook churches with as many Farcebook disciples as possible. Someone liking you on Farcebook is not a good way to see your own self worth and importance.

    So it’s time to call time. If so many people want to fight – well I’m editing over at Wikipedia. The basic reality of what is Rape Culture and it’s definition are getting sorted out. It’s even going to be discussing where it came from and who it was about.

    What surprises me most is the number of people who seem to believe they can’t Question the reality of even a clearly wrong Wikipedia page. It’s distributing to see so many have given up so much authority in their own lives that they believe they can’t act without someone else saying they can. They lack permission to even say “That Is Not Reality” and put the distortions right. Are so many really that Mindless and Unable to act even in their own minds and lives?

    Now it’s time to bring an end to the Cliché Cyber Theatre here at GMP.

    It’s not what GMP is supposed to be about. The school yard types and their little gangs can stop the attempts to own all the playground.

    Back to your little corners and your little controlling ways. The other people in the school yard have had enough.

    We know that you are unlikely to grow up – so we know you will have to be tolerated. One aspect of tolerance is management, so the toy you have been squabbling over is being taken away and put under safe keeping to manage your inability to play nice with the other kids.

    So, now I hope there will be some peace and quite – and even adult content here on GMP. Maybe some of the school yard types can learn from Good Men examples. Attention seeking behaviour in children is well known, as is it’s management. You will be rewarded for good behaviour and all other behaviour will mean you get sent to your rooms until you have had a think about your silly ways.

    It’s interesting to look at some of the children’s own web stats too and see if they have any rankings at all. It’s a well known cyber tactic to try and piggy back on popular websites in the hope that you can somehow up your own Internet status and stats. Nice Try – No Cigar.

    It’s interesting to see how since some have left and the supposed exploitation of Twittergate failed, the stats for GMP are going up and the children’s school yard grades are going down. As I have said “Mortality Is Short – Internet Immortality Shorter – and Internet Infamy Its Own Reward”.

    It’s time for GMP to get back to what it says on the tin – Good Men Project – and it means acting like Good Men who left the School Yard where it belongs.

  9. One of my dearest friends was a duck who was killed crossing a road, so I resent the implication that duck crossing road jokes are acceptable. How dare you, sir….

  10. wellokaythen says:

    I think the Facebook rape pages are/were in poor taste, as I think most reasonable, mature people would. Whether they should be banned is another question, although Facebook is a private company and it can set whatever terms it wants for its space. It’s basically private property.

    What I question is the argument about other people taking rape jokes too seriously. The argument: most people know these are just jokes, but there are people out there who will get the wrong idea and think rape is okay because people are joking about it.

    Of course, the person making such an argument doesn’t take the jokes seriously and knows the difference between a joke and reality, but somehow the unenlightened “masses” out there are not so intelligent. Somehow, somewhere out there are those nameless, faceless, impressionable people who just won’t get it and will think rape is actually okay because people are joking about it. I’ve noticed it’s always *others* out there, no one I know, but I’ve heard about them, and I know the masses are easily programmed, so….

    Yet, do any of us actually know anyone like that? Do you know anyone who *doesn’t* think rape is wrong, and if so, is that person like that because of rape jokes? The impulse to protect the people who are overly impressionable often overestimates how many people are really like that.

    It reminds me of studies done about kids seeing sex and violence on TV. Kids of every age will tell you they can handle the content, it’s no big deal, but they also say that younger kids probably shouldn’t watch such things. 13 year olds say they can handle it, but maybe not 10 year olds. 10 year olds say they can handle it, but maybe not 6 year olds. 6 year olds think nothing of it, but maybe those things aren’t for babies. Hard to ask infants, but they would probably say they’re fine with it, but don’t expose anyone in utero – too young and impressionable.

    Somehow it’s always someone else who’s too impressionable, too clueless, too easily programmed by the dominant paradigm. Not like us, of course.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I dunno, I think part of it is a little specific to facebook: the fact that the evidence of hundreds of pleople “liking” a page about rape is thrown at you, with no knowlege of the context in which they did so, makes it scarier than someone laughing right beside you. At least then you could gauge their tone and the tone of the comic as to whether malice is intended, on facebook its all very impersonal and scary.

      It reminds me a little of wandering around Killkenny with a girl I knew, we walked into an art exhibition that basicly consisted of wall sized photos of adult men dressed as infants playing with tanks and planes harassed looking adult women cleaned up around them. My friend kept talking about how much she liked it, but didn’t smile too much. To this day I don’t know whether she meant she liked it as a joke or whether she thought that was what men are like, but there was a passive aggression to it that was a little uncomfortable.

      If I felt that way walking through an art gallery of slightly misandric photos I can only imagine how some rape victims must feel about those like pages. ‘taint fair.

  11. Peter, thank you for writing this clearly and outside of the depressing forum of comments. I really want to comment on the overlap however between what you and I both said, namely:
    1) Rape happens to both men and women
    2) Men are not fundamentally rapacious or predatory but hypergendered stereotypes about them support a culture of violence
    3) Rape jokes are offensive because they perpetuate a culture of acceptance and do nothing to redefine what a society finds “acceptable.” In the same way that violently racists jokes, once totally ok, are now no longer “acceptable”
    4) What I said in my post is that until we broaden and redefine rape we will not be able to understand the scope of male victimization and that boys especially pay the price for this. Especially when you take into consideration related shame and blame dynamics related to being a boy victim of a female aggressor.
    The primary difference that I see between what you are saying and what I am saying is the degree to which you agree that female rape is part of a widespread, planetary, spectrum of violence against women used to oppress them and inhibit equality. So, regardless of numbers or gender of aggressors and perpetrators this remains fundamentally true.

    • “widespread, planetary, spectrum of violence against women used to oppress them and inhibit equality.”

      Oh yeah? The why are at least 40% of the rapists showing up as women?

      • Thats the same bullshit the feminst movement told us about domestic abuse, they had to cover up the truth about it for decades to support their conspiracy theories.

    • Random stranger says:

      Thanks soraya,

      I too, believe rape culture exists, and that it is fundamentally a tool to control women. as a man, i see that rape culture keeps women in a state of fear of men and seeks to restrict their independent movement among them, that it seeks to limit their sexual liberty, and seeking the shelter of a patriarch. But keeping women in fear of men means enforcing the narrative that all men rape and that any women can be a victim.If you are against rape culture, than you should wish to contain the gendered narrative of a criminal pathology, a crime that is more indiscriminate that rape culture desires.

      In the end, I don’t think the feminists and the MRAs are actually in disagreement on this one. We are just talking past each other.

    • “The primary difference that I see between what you are saying and what I am saying is the degree to which you agree that female rape is part of a widespread, planetary, spectrum of violence against women used to oppress them and inhibit equality.”
      I’ve seen rape is used as a tool in war against men at times, is this used to oppress men as a group, or more just culture/country/group vs culture/country/group, eg rival factions in a warzone? Also is rape targeted more to women whilst other violence is targeted more towards men?

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      No problem :) As for the overlap:

      “1) Rape happens to both men and women”
      Yep, we definitely agree on that.

      “2) Men are not fundamentally rapacious or predatory but hypergendered stereotypes about them support a culture of violence”
      First bit, definitely. Also the second bit, but only if its *some* hypergendered stereotypes. Its important to recognise that many aspects of traditional masculinity are staunchly anti-rape. Its equally important to accept that aspects of femininity are also abusive. I think you mean this, but theres a running narritive throughout alot of the discourse on rape culture that seeks to imply that all masculinity is violence and all femininity is peaceful.

      “3) Rape jokes are offensive because they perpetuate a culture of acceptance and do nothing to redefine what a society finds “acceptable.” In the same way that violently racists jokes, once totally ok, are now no longer “acceptable””
      Within the conditions I spelled out above, yes. I still think theres appropriate forums for racist jokes where they’re unlikely to cause any harm, just as theres arenas where they absolutely should not be aired.

      “4) What I said in my post is that until we broaden and redefine rape we will not be able to understand the scope of male victimization and that boys especially pay the price for this. Especially when you take into consideration related shame and blame dynamics related to being a boy victim of a female aggressor.”
      As above, I think rape has passed beyond being a useful term in this regard, its too sullied in extreme gender politics on both sides for a clear discussion. I’d agree with the rest.

      “The primary difference that I see between what you are saying and what I am saying is the degree to which you agree that female rape is part of a widespread, planetary, spectrum of violence against women used to oppress them and inhibit equality. So, regardless of numbers or gender of aggressors and perpetrators this remains fundamentally true.”
      Pretty much, I agree that rape has been turned on civilian populations as a weapon of terror (along with other violent means). Both men and women and children of both genders have payed the price for this. But the situations where that kind of thing occurs are already so screwed up that its not really useful to examine it in the context of a peaceful society.

      I don’t agree that female rape is used as a political weapon intended to oppress women en masse, it seems to me to be more of an individual crime motivated by violent sexual urges. This said, I acknowledge that many women are forced to alter their behaviour to protect themselves from rapists, such as women in south africa ironing their breasts flat to make themselves unattractive, and that’s not right either.

  12. CandidCutie says:

    This was a great article, male victims of sexual assault are under served, ignored and when they speak up shunned… however there are few critical points I strongly disagree with…

    1. Only men are capable of logic – the author did not state this outright – that women are incapable of logical reasoning, but it was implied throughout the article:

    “I highly prize calm and reasoned discussion of gender and I’d like to take advantage of this space to explore some arguments and constructs commonly associated with rape culture theory that seem to me to be problematic and in some cases contradictory…I also don’t wish to present myself as an expert on the subject, but my objections are sincere and I believe that they are both relevant and logically sound. I understand that many definitions of rape culture exist, but for the purposes of this piece I’d like to present the following definition from wikipedia.” If you are not an expert on the subject, using Wikipedia as the source of your argument is problematic, as commentators expressed can be created or updated by “anyone” without the benefit of being thoroughly fact checked. The CDC, FBI and local law enforcement have more pure data to source from undermines your argument as a humanist.

    • I believe you are reading far to much into this one sentence. “I highly prize calm and reasoned discussion of gender and I’d like to take advantage of this space to explore some arguments and constructs commonly associated with rape culture theory that seem to me to be problematic and in some cases contradictory.” Here Peter observes (as I have previously) that discussions on rape and rape culture can quickly devolve into emotion-driven, opinionated shit-throwing. He makes no insinuation as to who instigates, as both men and women, Feminists, and MRAs have been guilty. To prevent this decay of decorum, he couches the article as a logical discussion and refrains throughout from using provocative language. I would argue it is extremely unfair to interpret Peter’s article as an attack on women or feminism in any way. He’s exploring the construct of “rape culture”, no more, no less.

      Also, Wikipedia cannot actually be updated or screwed around on by “anyone”. Especially for “hot button” topics, they require extensive moderation and fact checking. Using Wikipedia means he’s drawing from the most culturally accepted definition.

      I don’t really know how you think the CDC, FBI, and local law enforcement’s “data” undermine Peter as a humanist. I don’t see how ANY data could perform such an action, and the “data” from these three sources has been shown to be restricted, unrepresentative, and in some cases falsified. Therefore, I’d contest that any argument based on such data is waaaay more inherently flawed than one based on a Wikipedia definition.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Hi, and thanks :)

      As for your dissertion:

      1. I’d like to assure you that I was by no means attempting to contrast my manly logical mind with Sorya’s (supposedly) irrational female hysteria. I absolutely recognise that some people still do fall back on sexist assumptions like these, but that wasn’t what I was going for. I mentioned that I prized rational and unemotive discussion when it came to gender because I had just, myself, broken that rule by posting an angry and emotive comment on Sorya’s article. The above piece was my attempt to put my point across in a more rational manner.

      2. Wikipedia is far from a perfect source, but I wasn’t basing my argument solely on wikipedia. I looked around for several different sources to provide definitions of rape culture, but all the ones I found were either too extreme, too long or too dismissive. The wikipedia version was the closest, in my opinion, to the arguments I’ve seen made in support of the concept. Trouble is, even if I were an expert, there is no agreed definition. As for data, I didn’t base my article on wiki-quotes, but I can see how you’d think so given the quote at the top.

  13. CandidCutie says:

    2. More men are raped than women – if you go by the now outdated definition of forcible rape (thank goodness they expanded it) forcible penetration by a stranger statistically this form of rape is primarily committed by men. The elephant in the room – men on average are stronger than women, thus the type of rapes that require force to subdue a victim tend to be male. Local, state and FBI statistics support that data. So even with the expansion of the definition of rape, like for example a penis being for lack of a better word encasing a penis the numbers would still skew towards more men being more likely to commit a rape than a woman.

    • John Sctoll says:

      OK, CandidCute: You just typed something that switch two different things OR I misread it. You mixed up who is being raped and who is doing the raping. He said more men are raped than women, And your response was that more men rape than women. those two thing are not opposites, in fact both are probably true. When it comes to rape a very common type of rape is virtually ignored, those of men raping men (in prison for example). Perhaps that is what he meant.

      • Where do you guys find Peter asserting more men are raped than women? The only quote I see is: “We simply cannot know how sexual violence breaks down by gender”.

        Also CandidCutie, you say “if you go by the now outdated definition of forcible rape…’forcible penetration by a stranger’, statistically this form of rape is primarily committed by men.” The outdated definition of rape was actually “forcible penetration by a man”. Therefore, it’s quite easy to see why the statistics heavily implicated men, PER DEFINITION the only people who could commit rape in a legal sense.

        Point is, these statistics have been fucked since jump street, we cannot rely upon. Bigger point is, why should the statistics matter? We know that both men and women are raped by both men and women. How many, by whom, when, where, with what implement, for how long, and questions of this nature detract from the basic necessity for all of us to work together to prevent ALL rape of EVERYONE by ANYONE.

    • Are you sure you want to say that because you believe more men rape, that it somehow negates the number of men being raped?

      Do you not see this as blame shifting and invalidating the experiences of men who have been raped?

      I’ve seen this argument used far too many times and, speaking from personal experience, it does nothing but keep victims of crime silent and suffering alone.

    • “2. More men are raped than women – if you go by the now outdated definition of forcible rape (thank goodness they expanded it) forcible penetration by a stranger statistically this form of rape is primarily committed by men.”

      You have an archaic and anti-feminist meaning of rape if that’s what you think. Rape is unwanted sex inflcited on someone. The victiim is the prson who is forced into sex, male or feale. So if a female forces a male to penetrate her against his will – and it can be done and if you don’t believe that’s yor fault – then that is rape. Period. And it happens a lot. Deal with it instead of denying it.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Thewhatnow? I don’t think I claimed that more men are being raped than women, I claimed its impossible to know what proportion of men and women are being raped on the basis that cultural stigma and restrictive legal definitions hide male victims. The main point I was trying to get across is that it shouldn’t matter. Rape is a human issue based on individuals that can’t be solved by gender specific methods.

    • CandidCutie: Page 24 of the NISVS 2010 Report by CDC states:
      “a majority of male victims reported only female perpetrators: being made to penetrate (79.2%), sexual coercion (83.6%), and unwanted sexual contact (53.1%). For non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, approximately half of male victims (49.0%) reported only male perpe-trators and more than one-third (37.7%) reported only female perpetrators.”

      Initiating oral or vaginal sex with a sleeping or very drunk (stupor, incapacitated) man requires little physical force. Drugging a mans drink and then have oral or vaginal sex with him requires little physical strength. Threatening with blackmail (I’ll yell rape if you don’t fuck me) or with a weapon requires little physical strength. All real examples which have been related by someone (me included) in comments on this site.

      Making assumptions about perpetrators just based on average strength differences between genders is a too simplistic model. The NISVS 2010 results and several anecdotes strongly suggestst so.

  14. CandidCutie says:

    3. “If a commentator were to focus on statistics claiming that black people commit more violent crime in the US than any other group and subsequently use these facts to imply that all black people and black culture were fundamentally violent and criminal by nature, their commentary would be quite correctly labeled as a hate speech” That argument is not one to one and unfortunately people in the USA use the shame of slavery to make exceptions.

    • Obviously the analogy is not perfect. Lets say a commenter focused on statistics claiming jews committed more embezzlement than other groups and implied that all jews steal, that would also be an imperfect analogy. However the structural arguments in either scenario are sound. Generalizing from a statistic (limited incidents perpetrated by individuals) to a stereotype (negative categorical judgements of a group that happens to contain said individuals) is a logical fallacy. The stereotype cannot be true, or more importantly, useful. No one benefits, and members of the stereotyped group suffer.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      Do you mean that some black criminals use their blackness to get away with it? Sorry, I found that a bit hard to read.

      As for it not being one to one, did you mean its not an accurate analogy? I think it is. Some commentators are using the fact that all perpetrators of rape are male to imply that all males are rapists. You can see the logical problem there, right? If we agree that the first statement obviously doesn’t mean the second, then we’re left wondering why on earth someone would make such an argument. A likely answer is to justify a dodgy political ideology.

      And that’s not even getting into the fact that rape is often defined as something only men can do, its virtually guaranteed to ensure that all convicted rapists are men.

  15. CandidCutie says:

    4. Unfortunately, the policy of believing the victim is enshrined in some laws such as the rape shield laws that have in the past prevented innocent men from introducing relevant evidence. As an ex prosecutor I am not sure where you are drawing your information from, but depending on the state only small fraction of rape cases get publicized to the point where it could impact there social and professional lives. The majority of rapes reported to the police never make it to trial, thus are never reported to the public as described by the author. I implore those who are committed to ending rape to refer to the local law enforcement for stats of the FBI. Rape shield laws in place to prevent prejudicial behavior being entered as evidence. As the definition of rape expands to include more male rape victims the shield laws will benefit them as well.

    • John Sctoll says:

      Are you actually trying to say a false rape claim doesn’t impact the accused.

      A question for you as an ex-prosector. How many times did you prosecute a false rape claim and what kind of sentence did you ask for.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I’m not arguing against the rape shield laws because they currently benefit women and discriminate against men, even if the reverse were true, and as you say, this may come to pass in the near future, they’d still be very wrong.

      I’m arguing that until guilt is proven the accused should have exactly the same rights and protections as the accuser. For instance: if its inappropriate for an accuser of rape to have their name published, then the same should be true of the accused. Its not like they face less of a media circus. The fact that this isn’t so suggests to me that they don’t really enjoy the presumption of innocence that their accuser does. This is only one aspect of how rape shield laws are tilted in favour of the accuser.

      I don’t have time to type up all my sources right now, but The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell is a pretty good start. Also this is worth a read: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-will-be-concerned-about-sluts-who-are.html The language is highly inflammatory and unusually derogatory of genuine rape victims for that group (they usually have a very strict policy on that as far as I’ve seen) but the rule it refers to is worth reading about.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        * In case I wasn’t clear enough: I really don’t stand over the language used in that article. I just wasn’t able to find anything more neutrally worded on that particular issue.

Speak Your Mind