Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rape has nothing to do with sex

**Note: This isn't a "what about the menz" post.**
**Disclaimer: strong language, 'nuff said"**
***Disclaimer #2, it's a long one***
****Updated with links****

I promised Sara just last night that if I cross-posted it would be much shorter and hopefully not as inflamitory as my previous posts. It is common though for me to start writing with a specific train of thought and before I know it, the choo-choo has left without me. This is a fascinating conversation for me though, it addresses so much of our social "because that's just the way it is"'.


This morning while in the shower I had an epiphany of sorts, which is disturbing on a few levels; 1. the things I think about in the shower and 2. that it was even an epiphany at all.

After my post last night I was having a conversation with the ex-husband about victims of sexual violence. He quite often likes to play the devil's advocate for only the sake of being contrary. He gave the standard thoughtless response of "you violate me any time", indicating that to him rape is seen as a function of a "supply and demand economy", you know a minor inconvenience; versus what it really is: the most invasive violation possible.

I recognize that a lot of men when forced to think about their wives, mothers, daughters, or sisters being assaulted strikes a chord.... yet they are still unattached because they do not see the possibility of it affecting them personally. In fact, most men believe that if they are not homosexual or do anything stupid to put themselves in prison, a possibility of being assaulted is none, zero, zilch.

Making it all too easy for them to look at the victim as someone who just made poor choices. Monday morning quarterbacking is part of the culture and men who are used to being trained with a critical eye, trivializing and criticizing the "opposing teams" choices that caused them to lose the game.

To some degree sex has been taught/drilled into men as a game. Both genders are guilty of this, sex as a game, opposing genders, opposing teams, playbooks, outwitting/outsmarting each other... that is another post for another time. There is one difference though, rape is not about sex, but since most men can't imagine it happening to them... they draw on their own experience.

When you think of a rape/sexual assault victim, what comes comes to mind? I wrote significantly in my last post about who society allows to be a victim and who it doesn't. Most likely you picture a woman or child(ambiguous by nature). If you are like me, as I did in my post yesterday, you completely left out men! Why is that a shock?

Because as a society we care about children, in fact we worship the snot-factories, they are allowed victimization without prejudice, for the sake of argument say until they are 12... then they begin the maturation process severing dependence. The distinction of gender for child abuse does not become important until we talk about adult survivors.

When was the last time you read about a gay on gay sexual assault or rape? Chances are not often, because there is an underlying current in our society making judgments on the credibility of homosexuals in addition a large number of "hetero" men who have that reflexive "ick" factor. Prison rape? Eh, it's used in popular culture as a very effective crime deterrent, don't cha think? Again, het-men are not forced to actualize it for themselves.

So let me ask the straight presumably somewhat law-abiding men, have you ever walked yourself through your own theoretical rape? I guarantee you if you ask any woman that she has to some degree in her life, it's impossible not to with all of the sexualized threats, with all of the rapes shown in movies and tv even if you have not been raped a woman knows the threat and a sense of the violation.

For definition sake the difference between sexual assault and rape. Rape is non-consensual sexual activities that include penetration; that means insertion of a penis, fingers or another object into one of your orifices, for a male either the mouth or anus. Sexual assault is sexual activities that do involve consent, this can include(but certainly not limited to) touching genitals or rubbing their own genitals on you.

So I assume if you are a hetero/non-criminal male, you are sitting there pretty arrogant that rape isn't likely to happen to you, right? Wrong, that's because you assume that rape is about sex, and it's either gay men or men who do not have access to women. Just ask Abner Louima, he was raped by presumably straight police officers.

Notice the masculinity of the writing when describing the "torture" vs. the technical term "rape", in his "rectum" and the "depravity" of the acts, which all are completely appropriate as it was a heinous crime. The article also offers more detail about the assault than you would ever see in regard to what was done to a woman or child, see here in this article. Seen as an effort to protect the privacy of the victim, and to some degree it is, but I believe it also has something to do with how common that assaults on children and women are.

As if imagining that because you are straight and not caught for crimes makes you less likely to be a victim of sexual assault, and those who are victims in that identified domain as more deserving, it's not all that different than victim-blaming/identifying as I described in my other post.

What about all of the adult survivors of sexual abuse, studies show that almost 20% of the male population is assaulted by the time they are 18. I have a hard time believing that victims of the "Catholic Pedophiles" were all gay and/or criminals. There are sites like this and this, which tells me there are a lot of men that we as a society are choosing not to hear, because it gives us that "unsafe" feeling.

There are a lot of male victims that we have silenced, men who past puberty are punished for identifying as a survivor, men who may have been involved with the law are denied victim-status, and men who are not heterosexual are denied survivor-status and/or automatically assumed to be a survivor. At this point, it's all still part of rape being about sex; and sex being a game and not affecting the traditional hegemonic- "masculine"-heterosexual man.

So to illustrate my point, if you still feel safe from being the victim of assault or rape because you could only imagine that it would be some rare/random sick fuck that of course you wouldn't know and there would be no way that it would be a fault of your own. Take this into consideration:

Since most rapes and assaults are committed by someone the victim knows in fact 1 in 4, yeah stranger-assault/rape is more likely to happen to me and even less-likely to happen to you only because the scales are tipped in your favor to be seen by an assailant as stronger and more likely to be armed. Sexual violence is a an assault on those perceived to be weaker and it has nothing to do with the supply and demand of sex. Surprised?

Think of this through as a smug "could never happen to me" person: imagine everyone you know could potentially be a rapist, women and men for the sake of argument. Since a rapist has no distinctive walk, or language code, you never know who it may be. In fact, sometimes you may very well feel incredibly safe with that person.

Imagine you never know who might slip a drug in your beer at the bar. Since rape is described as penetration without consent that means waking up and feeling sore in areas that you would rather not feel pain... you have blood that is present in your stools from the tearing of your rectum. Imagine being forced to taste bodily fluids that you never consented to swallowing. Imagine being drunk to the point of being unable to move or form coherent sentences and having your buddy rub his cock on your face before violating your mouth.

Imagine that you have a trusted female friend, and while "participating" in sex games she ties you up, even though you have made it clear that you want nothing to do with your anus being penetrated she proceeds against your consent and using an inanimate object to violate you. (i realize that some pornography and sexual fantasies include these kinds of activities, however that is different because it is agreed before hand that nothing happens without consent).

For more consideration, imagine that you do want to report this highly personal crime, already feeling ashamed before you even talk to others. When you do report it the men taunt you, the women snicker, and everyone doubts your story.

Your choices, previous partners, clothes, drug use, occupation, childhood, education, and just about everything that makes you: YOU is torn apart, all because you decided to stand up for yourself and say that you were violated in the most horrible way and that you want the perpetrator to be held accountable and hopefully you can regain some of your humanity that person took away from you.

Is it that hard to see that rape isn't about sex?

cross posted at Sassywho.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done. I wish I could recall the name of the person who wrote that 'Rape has as much to do with sex as hitting someone over the head with a rolling pin has to do with baking'