Savage Love Mar 16, 2016 at 4:00 am

Safe Wording


The Jian Ghomeshi is an instructive example. His overt discourse was very feminist, very progressive. He was a terrible boss, pitted his staff against eachother, told one he wanted to hate-fuck her and at least once humped one in public.

Nobody else spoke up about the humping because if she wasn't saying anything she must be okay with it, right? She spoke to someone in her union who advised her against laying a formal complaint because that would end up causing her problems, so someone passed on the message informally and there was nothing in his file. Rape culture.

When he was fired for assaulting a woman, everyone was shocked. He's a good, progressive guy. How could this be? Rape culture.

Except the people in his social circle who knew he was creepy, who had heard stories and had been informally warning young women about him for years. So some of them spoke up and talked to reporters. Several women - some anonymous, some publicly - said that they'd gone on dates with him, gone home with him and he'd suddenly and without warning punched and choked them. There was a good deal of backlash from people who thought that women had no business making accusations of criminal behaviour if they had never taken it to the police. Rape culture.

So the police opened a file and invited women to lay complaints. There were four women with the naïveté to take their complaints to court. He hired an expensive lawyer, but since the four women who had been assaulted were just witnesses and not accused of any crime, they were not entitled to a lawyer. They were shredded in court. One of the main arguments of the defense was that clearly they hadn't thought they were being assaulted at the time because otherwise they would have gone to the cops immediately, therefore they hadn't been assaulted. There was no opportunity for the crown to shred Ghomeshi in court because an accused is not required to testify against themselves so he never took the stand. Rape culture.

All these people who defend the right of someone not to have his life ruined by gossip and unsubstantiated allegations will also claim to oppose rape. They nevertheless support a system where assault victims cannot seek and obtain redress.
Oh, and also what Alison said @226.
Sean @206: "Of course, if you're the sort who sees any rape prevention effort that focuses on what victims can do to protect themselves to be a form a victim blaming, then you're going to see "rape culture" everywhere you go."

For the record, I do not, and I have argued the other side against women who've jumped up and said "OMG victim blamey adverts, we shouldn't be warning women about dangers of rape, we should be telling men not to rape." Because some men simply won't listen, we need to do both. Warning and blaming are not the same thing.

Hunter @207: "Why is that rape culture? The speaker is not encouraging rape, He is opposed to it." It is rape culture because the speaker believes it was the victim's fault she got raped.
"you have a poor understanding of the male psyche." That's not "the male psyche." That's "the rapist's psyche." The overwhelming majority of men can see a woman in a skimpy outfit and not rape her.
"The woman was never raped. Some men made boorish attempts to engage her-- nothing further happened. The poor woman had to walk 10hr to get 2 minutes of clips."
You don't seem to understand what "rape culture" means. "Rape culture" does not mean "rape." "Rape culture" means a climate where women are objectified and consent is not respected. A woman should be able to walk for 10 hours and get zero seconds of harassment. These men believe they were entitled to comment on her body, and to punish her for not giving them the response they wanted. This is the same mindset that believes men are entitled to women's bodies, even if they say no. (I am getting gender-specific here, apologies. Rape culture also encompasses the mindset that men are always up for sex, so if a man says "no" to a woman, he really means "yes.")

Erica @214: I'm so sorry you were raped. Solidarity.
"Believing that rapists are different from other people -- that's part of rape culture."
And the flip side -- believing that all men are capable of rape if given the right motivation. See Hunter's conflation of "the male psyche" with "the rapist's psyche." If a "normal guy" is pushed to rape by a woman's actions, well, what do you expect from a guy? Any guy would behave that way. No, he wouldn't, and we shouldn't accept that as an excuse. And what Marcelina said. If he's a normal guy, not a rapist monster, then it can't have been rape.

Sean @220: Well done for understanding what is, indeed, a slippery concept. "Get along." That is what I am trying to do, and what I see you and (to a somewhat lesser extent) Hunter trying to do. But your daughter denying that her friends could ever be rapists is also part of rape culture. It's the part that, should (gods forbid) anyone ever accuse one of these boys of rape, will prompt their friends to say "Oh no, they would never do that."
Teenagers don't listen to anything when it comes from an adult, but we have to hope the messages are sinking in anyway.
Marcelina @224: "Hint: Your own daughter took a "victim-blaming self-defense class." THAT is fuckin' rape culture." That is sarcasm.
@Macelina: Hint: Your own daughter took a "victim-blaming self-defense class." THAT is fuckin' rape culture.

Irony isn't one of your strong suits, is it?

20 other aspects of rape culture

Right. Like I said impossibly vague, means different thing to different people.

By your definition, kinksters are part of rape culture because they reinforce regressive ideas about male/female sexuality. So is porn, of course. And the presumption of innocence. And self defense classes. And the joke in which someone misreads "therapists" as "the rapists". And presumably everyone who incites your anger and hate, which makes this a pretty wide net you're casting.

You're being so obtuse ... trolling ... you males are too blind, sexist, set in your outdated beliefs

And you're being toxic.
FWIW, thanks to the comments delay problem, I had not read comments 226 onwards before I posted, and some of them made my points better than I did. Thanks, Alison and ciods.
@BiDanFan: You have lifted me from the pits of darkness and despair. To show my gratitude, I will follow you wherever you go as your loyal servant and sidekick, doing whatever you ask, until death takes me.

Ok, so mind if I put my stuff here? Where am I gonna sleep? You feeling hungry? Cause I sure am. Oh boy, this is gonna be fun!
I just watched Sixteen Candles again a few weeks back: classic John Hughes, and an old favorite of mine. Haven't seen it in years, though. And I was slightly distressed to realize that one of the side story lines (drunken and inconsiderate girlfriend of popular guy gets handed off to geek and is too drunk to know the difference) feels a little rape-y now. Of course I'm glad that as a society we're now all aware that that's not okay, etc., but I have to admit I'm a little sad for my unfettered enjoyment of John Hughes movies.

Oh well, things have temporal context, and that's okay too.
Ditto what BiDanFan said @233. Joking aside, it means a lot to me that some of you have responded without scorching me.

Although I guess there's still time...
"@160 Robby. I think what is called for here, is to ask the woman. ...
Some women, they just don't know how to use words correctly, right?"
When someone inexperienced in BDSM play asks for a rape scene without specifying certain very clearly, bad things can happen. In a rape scene, "no" does not mean "no". If there is no prearranged way to stop the scene, if people jst expect to be able to feel it out, that is asking for trouble. So NO, when the scene is underway you cannot just ask, because NOT ASKING IS PART OF THE SCENE.
Also, lots of people don't get this: clear unambiguous communication IS HARD. Not just for women, it's hard for everybody. All human languages are inherently ambiguous language, and English is especially so. If you add in certain peoples reluctance to talk about their sexual needs due to embarrassment or simply the feeling that spelling everything out in great detail can kill the mood, well ... there is a high possibility for miscommunication ALWAYS.
In general I think discussions around consent are missing the fact that consent must be communicated & can frequently be miscommunicated and misunderstood.
seandr @220 "your comments seem to be directed at something I said, but I don't know what."

My comments were directed at this comment of yours @206: "For all I know, some of the men I've encountered are rapists - a few of them seemed sufficiently psychopathic to be capable of it."

People who seem nice, who believe themselves to be nice, and whom their friends see as nice -- they can hold a friend down and force sex on that friend. If you think only people who "seem sufficiently psychopathic" can force sex on someone, then you're wrong.

Also, I believe that if my high school friend said to you: "Erica was at my house over the weekend; we had a great time hanging out, and then one thing led to another, I started tickling her, and then I went down on her. Maybe next time we'll have sex" -- it would not occur to you to say, "hey, I didn't think the two of you were intimate. Did she enjoy the tickling? Did she want the sex?" So you would have heard about my assault, but not been given the relevant information to know that it was an assault.

And even if somehow you got all the information, I think many men (not necessarily you) would think it was not a big deal to be tickled. And then not a big deal to have a friend stick his face in your cunt. It's not like my friend punched me. Stuff happens in life, not all of it fun. Why make a big deal about one afternoon that turned out not to be fun?

That's rape culture: it doesn't say that jumping on a strange woman in an alley is okay. It says: ignoring a friend's reluctance is okay if your intention is just to have some fun and not hurt anyone.
And rape culture says to women: "if someone ignored your reluctance, that's probably your own fault; you sent flirty signals at some point and then you weren't firm enough later, and then you froze and didn't resist in the right way, and no one will think badly of him if you talk about it; they will just think badly of you, so keep it to yourself and move on with your life.
CMD, I sure hope not. Only so many times the same thing can be said a few million different ways.
Thanks for sharing your stories Erica.
And Sandiai . If anyone else has, I'll thank them in advance and have to read them later.
Final word on this.

The "disconnect" (between anti-rape attitudes and the actual frequency of rape and sexual assault) that ciods describes is, I think, best explained by two factors:

1. We as a society still don't consider MANY situations that meet the legal definition of sexual assault to be sexual assault. (Erica gives a perfect example of this. The guy who sexually assaulted her does not think of himself as someone who sexually assaulted another person and, sadly, few other people would view it that way either. Or my ex-boyfriend who grabbed my breasts and tried to force me to kiss him multiple times after I said I wasn't in the mood, or my date who continued to fondle my ass and breasts as we were making out, even after I pulled his hand off multiple times: neither of them think of themselves as having committed sexual assault, and few people would see it as sexual assault, although it most certainly was).

2. Most certainly not all rape/SA victims in our society are viewed as deserving of making the allegation of rape/SA. I described in a previous post our strict division of what we consider acceptable and unacceptable (worthy and unworthy) rape victims. A raped prostitute, stripper, or porn star will be laughed out of the police station.

In a nutshell, the disconnect lies here: We as a society SAY we're against rape. But, in reality, we're only against rape on OUR terms, rape that meets the definition WE deem acceptable, and rape that happens to the victim WE deem worthy.
I love you Alison Cummins
Marcelina, nothing is going to fundamentally change until the culture stops expecting males to have not much more self control than the family dog.
A culture that holds men accountable fully for their actions. From the breast grope to rape to abandoning their offspring to murdering their partner.
This isn't an issue of men being bad.

Women are just as capable of treating other people like they are not entitled to decide what happens to their own body, their labor, their time.

I think to change rape culture we have to start by really re-thinking childhood, giving children more autonomy, and listening to what they say. That's the moment when people learn that other people face no consequences for ignoring your preferences about what to do with your body and your life.
I don't know if I can improve on anything that's been said, but I want to give seandr the benefit of the doubt and suggest that there is a difference in the lived experience of women and (at least straight) men and if you've lived that female life, you know what is meant by "rape culture." I'm a white woman who tries as hard as possible to not be deliberately racist. I have black friends and have had black lovers. I have black colleagues and black students (many of my students), and I think of myself as an ally to black people; I certainly don't like to think of myself as racist and a few years ago I might have said I wasn't. But just as living in America means I live a privileged existence, and I've had to face some really uncomfortable truths. One of those is that my life is substantially different from the life I would live if I were black, in myriad small ways I don't even notice as a general rule. For but one small example, I never worry that a cab won't stop for me. I have been made to understand that black people face limits and obstacles faced in hundreds of tiny ways daily that I never even see, never consider, that "white privilege" is in the details, not the gross acts of egregious racially-based discrimination. I think it is possible for good men, the #notallmen-kinds of men, the ones who not only would never rape but would distance themselves from known rapists, to be able to face the uncomfortable truth that our culture is a rape culture and the fact that they don't feel it or experience it themselves doesn't mean it isn't real.

Here's my personal examples: I have been raped twice. The first was an acquaintance-rape by a "friend" of mine when I was a teenager. I didn't even know what to call it. I couldn't call it rape in those days, because I only heard of rape as something violent done by a stranger in a dark alley--not by a friend who was walking me to my car in an act of chivalry. I blamed myself, because I wasn't wearing a bra. The second time I was raped, I had left a bar with someone, intending to have (and having) sex with him. And then, just like EricaP, he raped me anally, roughly, drily, and over my objections and then my begging and finally my sobbing. He told me didn't "give a shit what I wanted." This wasn't a BDSM scene--this was 32 years ago, and I was a 21-year-old who had never heard of doms or subs or BDSM or kink. It never occurred to me to go to the police because after all, I had agreed to go to his hotel with him and to have sex with him, right? I knew that my complaint wouldn't have been taken seriously, that I would have faced so much humiliation at the hands of the police and the legal system that it just wasn't worth it. That's rape culture.
My sixteen-year-old daughter was the victim of a horrible, near-deadly, violent rape by a stranger who broke into our house and choked her to consciousness. When we were at the county hospital where the rape kits are performed, I noticed a difference between the way the doctors, nurses, and police officers treated her and they way they treated the other rape victim who was there: the one who was black and had been drunk and had known her rapist, even just casually. No one was offering to get that young woman cocoa or tea and soup; no one was bringing her warm towels to wrap up in; no one was crying, as the nurse who was with my daughter was. My daughter was assigned an advocate from a rape-victims advocacy/support group; the other woman may have ended up with a personal advocate, but she was clearly going to have to go about the business of finding her--even of realizing that she was entitled to having her--on her own. That's rape culture.

I don't understand the lying. There are serious issues with how rape is handled in our culture, but so many of the people pushing the rape culture narrative insist on standing by blatant falsehoods.

There are police departments that simply don't bother with sex crimes, at all.

...But burglary is far less likely to result in prosecution. And victims are always asked about their security measures. That's victims of every type of crime. Why lie about that?

It's like making up a story about Hitler being a pedo. Why?

Or when the defence accuses the victim of lying. That isn't victim blaming, and it isn't unique to rape cases. It's criminal defense strategy number one for all cases. Accuse any witness against you of lying. That's exactly how OJ got off.

Saying that culture effects behavior is a tautology; saying our culture promotes rape is a value judgement. Both statements are useless.

OTOH, saying our culture is less tolerant of rape than ever before is accurate. As is saying that more can yet be done. I bet that pointing out actual problems along with practical solutions would get better responses from people like Hunter.
I agree Erica. Childhood is when these attitudes are developed.
Of course women can act out, I just see cultural responses to them are far more punitive. Like when a woman abandons her children. And not a whole lot of women kill their partners.
@248. The culture defines and reflects. Hence in my country, our footballers committ a sexual crime. Everyone jumps up and down for a while. Soon enough though, he's back on the field or in the commentary box.
Nocute. I am so sorry this has happened to your daughter. What a horrible experience for her. For you. How terrifying to have this happen in your own home. Your own sanctuary.
Thank you, LavaGirl. Yes, it was the utmost violation. And the feeling that I failed to keep my child safe is the worst thing.
Jesus, nocute. I'm so sorry. Big hugs to you and your daughter.
@Nocute: No words to describe how sorry I am that this happened to you and your daughter. I can only say that stories like yours give me more ammunition to fight every day to punish these monster motherfuckers (I work in criminal justice).

@mage: The difference is that, in robbery cases, the police don't ask the robbery victim if their house looks attractive from the outside and if the homeowner said "no, don't rob me" forcefully enough.
Nocute. I can't stop thinking of her of having to go thru such an experience at such a tender age. Was this recently? How is she going? You can't in any way blame yourself.
How do these animals live with themselves? What sort of creatures are they. Not human ones.
Thank you all. My point was really that the cops were so relieved to have a "legitimate" rape victim: she was a virgin, she didn't know her rapist, had spent the preceding evening at home (the break-in and rape happened at 5:00 in the morning); was sober and sleeping and in ever way a "model" victim--unlike so many others. Not two months later, a student of mine was raped, but she had been drinking, and had gone into the parking lot to kiss her rapist, so she was harassed by the police. And not like another student of mine who was raped and told by her parents that she had only herself to blame because of the way she dressed and the fact that she went to a club to go dancing.

LavaGirl, that was 5 years ago. I think it's having repercussions but she doesn't want to talk about it with anyone--including a therapist--at least for now, and I have to respect her decision to control her own life.
@246: "Women are just as capable of treating other people like they are not entitled to decide what happens to their own body, their labor, their time."

Thank you. This is the first comment here that isn't pretending that the most prevalent aspects of rape culture don't exist.

Rape culture is when you say "He's a man, so he wants it. No need to ask."

Rape culture is when you say "He's a man, so he wanted it. It doesn't matter what she did."

Rape culture is when you say "I'm a woman, so consent is something for other people to ask for."

Rape culture is when you say "That guy must be a whiny crybaby. A real man wouldn't complain about getting laid. A real man would've fought off his rapist, with violence. Which we'd gleefully prosecute him for using."

Rape culture is when you say "Men don't experience rape culture" while subjecting men to rape culture.

Rape culture is when you say "Rape is something that happens to women, so only women need protection."

And then go rape someone. 'Cause as long as he's male, it doesn't count, amirite?
@248: "I don't understand the lying. There are serious issues with how rape is handled in our culture, but so many of the people pushing the rape culture narrative insist on standing by blatant falsehoods.

There are police departments that simply don't bother with sex crimes, at all.

...But burglary is far less likely to result in prosecution. And victims are always asked about their security measures. That's victims of every type of crime. Why lie about that?

It's like making up a story about Hitler being a pedo. Why?

This was the first red flag for me, before it became a general practice (pro tip: people who are on the right side have no need to lie). People who seem to be on the right side, but who are lying their asses off, aren't actually on the side they're pretending to be.

It's some kind of basic defect in human psychology that makes it so hard for us to realize that we shouldn't trust liars, even if they claim to be on our side.
@256: You are misunderstanding a very key element of the phrase "rape culture" as used by feminists. Feminists do NOT argue that rape is a problem only for women. In fact, when feminists denounce the patriarchy and talk about rape culture, they decry EXACTLY the myths that you provided, i.e., that men can't get raped by women, that men should always want sex, that men should be able to always fight off their attackers, etc. These are myths perpetuated precisely because we live in a patriarchal society that insists that real men are violent and sex-crazed beasts with no self control who must be reined in. Yes, THAT is rape culture.

As for your point about lying, I have yet to find one ACTUAL falsehood about rape culture that was uttered by me, Erica, Allison, BiDanFan, LavaGirl, ciods, or any other person on here who acknowledged that rape culture exists. Where was the lie? Who was lying, and about what, pray tell?
Marcelina, this guy is nuts. I'm surprised he showed up so late to the discussion. Though it was merciful he wasn't around.
1) There is nothing wrong with being afraid that someone is going to regret a sexual experience and accuse you of rape. Duh.

2) "excuse me, that's crude." ...and this is where I leave you.
@258: "Where was the lie?"

In post 258, someone says "Feminists do NOT argue that rape is a problem only for women." In post 163, that same someone says "Yes, yes, men can be raped and many men are victims too. But I'm talking about vast majority here." Those two statements directly contradict each other.

The original reason I looked up post 163 was that I remembered that someone had said that the vast majority of victims of rape were women, and I wanted to demonstrate to the poster of 258 that not all feminists are on the same page. I find it hilarious that the poster of 163 turned out to be the poster of 258.
@Alison 228: Ghomeshi was not fired because he assaulted anyone. Ghomeshi was fired because his employer did not want him anywhere, ANYWHERE, near their brand, irrespective of whether his actions amounted to crimes.
@253: "in robbery cases, the police don't ask the robbery victim if their house looks attractive from the outside"

Either you've never been robbed or your experience was different from mine. When my house was robbed and the police showed up, they told me my house had looked attractive and gave me advice on steps I should take to make it look less attractive. They also told me that the case was not worth investigating.
Old Crow,

Ghomeshi thought that an unpleasant incident involving an ex was about to be made public in a newspaper,* so he went to his bosses so they wouldn’t be taken by surprise. As part of his approach he wanted to educate them about BDSM so he showed them a video he’d made of a (presumably consensual?) encounter with a girlfriend. They were so horrified seeing him injure a woman that they fired him.

Court cases came along much later. The firing had nothing to do with someone seeking redress or with a court case. Did you think I’d said it did?

* Ironically, he was completely mistaken about the nature of the scandalous story being written.
@Old Crow: While men do get raped, the vast majority of rape victims are women.

How the hell do these statements contradict each other? Troll.
@Alison: Yes, I thought that's what you meant by "When he was fired for assaulting a woman": I read assault as implying a court case. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

@Marcelina: The contradiction is between what you wrote in 163 and what you wrote in 258. What you wrote in 163 does not contract itself, and I did not claim it did. But you're clearly not honest with yourself, let alone anyone else. Remember, you're never wrong about anything, and anyone who says you are is a troll.
Since it apparently needs to be spelt out in detail, if you think "the vast majority of rape victims are women", it's disingenuous at best to claim you also think being raped is a serious problem for men.

@Old Crow: Are you nuts? The vast majority of rape victims ARE women. That doesn't mean that rape isn't a problem for men, but it is GENERALLY NOT AS MUCH OF A PROBLEM AS IT IS FOR WOMEN. Because women are at more risk of being raped than men are.

And I don't *think* that the vast majority of rape victims are women. I *know* that the vast majority of rape victims are women, and so does anyone with half a brain.

Which again doesn't mean that men don't get raped.

I'm done responding to your trolling. Bye bye.

Old Crow is not a troll.
I heartily recommend the CSPC, POWER but evaluate as carefully there as you would on Tinder. I was abused and my safeword ignored by one of the regular teachers there. There are fantastic people but teaching/presenting doesn't equal safe.

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