piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
[livejournal.com profile] supergee linked to a blog entry and i read it, and its comments on rape, and i am gonna noodle some on it over here.

these are times when i feel completely out of the mainstream. there is no date rape within my circles, there are no men who talk about women as if they were asking for it, there is not a single man who doesn't understand that "no means no", and in fact just about all of them go for "only unequivocal yes while in full possession of one's capacities means yes" (which i think is a much better, if not as pithy, yardstick). rapist talk is not part of the male culture i see around me. maybe geeks needing the proverbial 2x4 over the head to even recognize an interest goes a ways towards that, but i also believe there are huge numbers of men who are thoughtful and considerate, and who are not potential rapists by the mere virtue of having a penis. i am tired of seeing them slagged by association; it's goddamn sexist to do so.

it's not like i haven't had my share of experiences, mind. however, women feature as overall more abusive in my personal history than men, and frankly, the sexual abuse when i was a prepubescent teen does not rank as the most heinous act against me, and my life wasn't ruined by it. the reaction to it, now that left bigger scars. and there is something about rape culture on the side of people who fight it that goes too far into creating and encouraging victimhood. rape is horrible, yes. but one can survive it hale and hearty, without casting all men into the same role as the arsehole who did it. and women need to own their own gender's abusiveness, some of which leaves damn big scars. i don't feel in "never-ending danger" of rape. i am, in fact, completely unafraid of date rape. [1] and i believe stranger rape gets blown way out of proportion. men are statistically in more danger of being mugged -- but there is no movement to take back that night.

sure, men ought to speak out against rapist-style talk when they come across it. women also ought to speak out when a woman perpetuates the "no means maybe" notion. but IMO everyone gets to fight the battles they choose to fight, and not getting into an argument with a stranger in a bar is a legitimate choice, as is not taking every drunken woman who dances on top of the bar under one's wing so she won't get raped. women who get so drunk that they no longer know what they're doing also bear responsibility for their actions, and i don't want to hear the brush-off that i am "blaming the victim" when i say that.

ergo, i don't think rape is an issue that only men need to become more thoughtful about. date rape is to me just one of the many nasty outgrowths of people not working half as hard on actual communication with others as they work on any number of other, less important things.

[1] here's why i am not afraid of date rape: i think the dating culture is moronic, and i don't go out with relative strangers for the purpose of romance and sex. i also don't care to go out and have fun "like men" (as if they all did the same thing!) -- i see no fun in going to bars and "bonding" with people while drinking. in fact, i stay away from activities that involve large amounts of alcohol, since my experience has resulted in this pithy saying: "instant idiot -- just add alcohol". i don't think emulating men in every stupid thing they do and then demanding that one be able to do so without danger (as if men are not in danger as well!) is smart or realistic.

Rape

on 2005-06-18 08:33 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ailbhe.livejournal.com
What about date-rape drugs? They're a common hazard over here.

on 2005-06-18 12:04 (UTC)
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] liv
I don't want to be awkward here, but how common, exactly? There's certainly a perception that rape drugs are common, but I am very suspicious that it goes under the same heading as the perception that women can't go out of the house on their own after dark or they "will" get raped. It's hard to get good statistics, as ever, but my guess would be that rape drugs are a lot less of a problem than the awful mess that arises out of terrible communication and inadequate models of sex.

A rapist putting a drug in someone's drink looks pretty much like same kind of crime and associated fear as a rapist jumping out of the bushes and dragging someone into a dark alley. I'm not denying that those horrific things happen, but I also don't think they're the root of the real problem.

on 2005-06-18 13:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ailbhe.livejournal.com
Common enough that I know half a dozen people who've found them in their drinks, and one who found them twice. And I don't go out drinking myself, so it's not because I frequent places where it's likely to happen.

rohypnol, GHB, et al

on 2005-06-18 20:58 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
how does one find a date rape drug in one's drink -- did those people suspect something and take the drinks to be chemically analysed?

nobody in my acquaintance has had that experience (that i know of), but please speak up if you have. my participation in the bar/pub scene predates date rape drugs, and i have no personal experience with them. from what i know, alcohol is still the preferred drug of choice, by a long shot. and people seem to not need additional drugs in their booze to act like idiots.

as to what i think about date rape drugs: dastardly stuff. i'd like to prescribe hard labour for people who use it on others. as it stands, it's a long prison term -- however, from what i could find out, there have been no convictions for using rohypnol in canada. is that because the incidence of its use is hyped? i wonder how much of that is due to lack of testing as a standard part of a rape kit, however.

Re: rohypnol, GHB, et al

on 2005-06-18 21:18 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ailbhe.livejournal.com
One can buy little testing kits in most chemists. They're pretty cheap.

My sister was lucky enough that her boyfriend suspected something and took her home safely - her symptoms were classic enough that we're pretty sure that's what happened, though no, she didn't take her drink to be tested - there was no way of knowing who had spiked it, anyway. It tasted funny, so she didn't finish it. Most people I know who know that their drinks were spiked with something were not subsequently attacked - but it's going into drinks.

Re: rohypnol, GHB, et al

on 2005-06-20 20:49 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
wow, y'all have little rape-drug testing kits at the chemists?

i'm floored. i've never seen anything like that here, but now i wonder whether it's something they keep behind the counter and one has to ask for it. if it is, then rape drugs are a lot more common here than i thought. i shall find out.

thanks for the information!

Re: rohypnol, GHB, et al

on 2005-06-18 23:30 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] the-siobhan.livejournal.com
I've known about a half-dozen people who've had their drinks spiked. None were raped, luckily. Friends figured out that they were behaving oddly and got them home safely.

None of these happened in Canada. I've heard of it happening here, but never in reference to specific incidents.

on 2005-06-18 14:07 (UTC)
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] liv
This is a really interesting piece, thank you. I don't think the standard feminist paradigms of talking about rape are helpful, and I agree that in many cases they are sexist.

I believe you when you say there is no date rape in your circles. The trouble is that pretty much nobody believes that their friends are capable of something as heinous as rape. So I'm sure that people who move in circles where there is date rape would deny it too, making that statement not very meaningful. (FWIW I also work and socialize in enlightened, egalitarian circles, and I know no men who behave like the feminist stereotypes of how men behave, or indeed the way men are portrayed in certain sections of the media.)

For the rest, I'm mostly an echo chamber, I think. Real consent rather than the absence of saying 'no' should absolutely be the standard, and that goes for a lot of things, not just sex! I certainly don't feel in constant danger of rape, the way "all women" are supposed to. I agree absolutely that totally random stranger rape is blown way out of proportion and is not the main problem, and I'd be very happy to join a movement to reduce the number of people who get mugged and violently assaulted in ways that are not sexual. And it's almost too obvious to bother saying that I agree that better communication is needed, in sexual relationships and other human interactions.

Not really a direct comment to you, but as a general point, I'm not sure that "date rape" is a useful term. Does it mean people going to clubs and bars and going home with someone they've never previously met, and then getting raped, or does it mean people getting raped by their partners? You seem to be talking about the former, which is fairly easily avoided, I agree. But I think there's a lot of the latter out there, and it's probably the least preventable form of rape. Because you can't get women to arm themselves against their own partners, and it's not recognized as domestic abuse unless the couple is pretty traditional, at the very least heterosexual monogamous pair living together, which really is by no means all couples.

Re: on rape

on 2005-06-18 21:12 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
i am not naive in this regard, btw, nor in denial. there were times when i would have thought acquaintances/pals of mine capable of date rape (though i also know that at least once somebody was falsely accused). the thing that has changed is that my circles are much smaller now, and i no longer count casual acquaintances among them -- i don't hang out in pubs anymore, my discoing days are long past, *little grin*, and overall the people in my circles are past their teens and tweens. i do think it's important to pick one's friends (and romantic partners) with care, and i believe that to be a central issue as regards date rape. that, and much better communication.

as to the definition -- i think my core impression of date rape is that of being raped by somebody who's not a shaggy-haired stranger in an alley, but falls short of a long-term partner. that does include chance encounters in bars where the acquaintance is only of a few hours, but i'm thinking mostly of people who've been already dating, or who've been members of the same group for a while. that's where the communication comes in -- i think traditional dating relationships are filled with dissembling instead of honesty.

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