Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Torchship » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:47 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:I can't speak for Azrael, but I pretty much agree with the post you quoted. First of all, the topic of the thread is Rape Culture, not Rape Avoidance Strategies. How the victim should behave isn't really relevant to a discussion on those attitudes, ideas, and actions that motivate and perpetuate rape.

I've been here for over three years, and literally every single discussion about rape eventually gets derailed at one point or another by a discussion on how the victim bears some responsibility. It's almost never on topic and it's always brought up by people who obviously haven't bothered to read any of the other topics it has come up in.

It would be great if there were easy ways that women could drastically reduce their chance of being raped that were not also incredibly prohibitive, socially. But nobody ever presents any. It's always hypothetical, with maybe a few insultingly obvious (and, usually, mostly useless) tips off the top of their head, and that's when it isn't downright misogynistic. Surely you can understand how having every discussion derailed by what amounts to "hold on guys, lets brainstorm about what women are doing wrong here" wears on your patience?


Oh, I agree that those criticisms of the "victim blamers" plans are perfectly legitimate; I was referring to the criticisms both in the last couple of pages and way back in this thread that essentially said "yes, victim education will do some good, but not as much as perpetrator education, hence you're a bad person for supporting it over perpetrator education" (strawmanning more than a little). These are the statements that I feel conflict with the post I quoted, not any of the many statements of irrelevancy or repetitiveness or whatever.

Azrael wrote:Well, I probably should have stated a "do no harm" clause in there somehow. Addressing the rape culture, even if you think it's merely a wholly-owned subsidiary of a culture of violence does no harm. Attempting to blame any individual for not being vigilant enough when faced with the inestimably determination of another individual to perpetrate an immoral act can (and this thread has repeated the modes several times) certainly cause harm.


What do you mean by 'do no harm'? Are you implying that a victim-focused education programme (which, to the best of my knowledge is what the "victim blamers" are proposing) is actively harmful in and of itself, or only harmful to the extent that it removes resources from a perpetrator-focused education programme? The latter I can see and agree with (to an extent), while I don't see how the former is true at all (depending on implementation. I am assuming that the "victim blamers" are proposing something along the lines of "avoid dangerous situations. Travel in groups when at all possible. Don't get blind drunk". You know; solid, useful information for someone who doesn't know how the (small) subset of rapists who rape strangers operate).

If it is the latter, then I have another question: how is the paragraph that I quoted (with the 'no harm' clause inserted) internally consistent? Every effort to combat one problem detracts from the solutions to other problems, harming them. Is there some minimum level of 'no harm' that must be exceeded?

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:07 pm UTC

Torchship wrote:What do you mean by 'do no harm'? Are you implying that a victim-focused education programme (which, to the best of my knowledge is what the "victim blamers" are proposing) is actively harmful in and of itself, or only harmful to the extent that it removes resources from a perpetrator-focused education programme?
...
If it is the latter, then I have another question: how is the paragraph that I quoted (with the 'no harm' clause inserted) internally consistent? Every effort to combat one problem detracts from the solutions to other problems, harming them. Is there some minimum level of 'no harm' that must be exceeded?

The former.

While public or collective resources are certainly better used in the most effectual manner, people will/should/do chose to focus their own resources according to their own value metrics. And public resources can, very frequently, follow opinion rather than effectiveness.

Any approach or program that puts any portion of responsibility for avoiding violent sexual crime onto the victims is part and parcel of the larger problem of rape culture. It can create the atmosphere where the victim is blamed for not being vigilant enough (as said earlier; vigilant against an inestimable determination of another person to perform violent, immoral acts); it can reduce the sympathy felt towards the victims by society (and thus the publicly available resources); it can lead to an attitude that reduces the pressure on potential perpetrators via normalization of an inverted blame-structure; that inverted blame structure (and all the justice-system issues that go with it) is in and of itself a problem.

Specifically, it can remove emotional and health-care related support structures -- not because those resources are expended elsewhere, but because people don't believe they need to exist. That's rape culture.

Now, is this harm inherent to a victim-education system? No -- in that I'm sure you could conceive (imagine?) a victim-education structure where none of the listed side effects (mine or the dozen others that have been brought up) come to pass. But practice has indicated that such an ideal system isn't the norm.

Practicing safe habits, and informing others of safe habits isn't inherently problematic either. It's like locking the doors on your car -- it's a good idea, but it's still wrong that I have to. The problem is when so many people, institutions, behavioral norms forget that the person who didn't lock their doors hasn't done anything wrong. That the criminal perpetrator is the one that's done something wrong. My insurance company still pays the claim when my car gets stolen, even if I forgot to lock the doors.

Or people forget that the analogy must be continued -- what if someone smashes out your car window? Is that your fault too? No, or course not! There are no methods of completely insulating yourself, and a structure that expects ever-more escalating levels of self-protection always breaks down or becomes unsustainable (i.e. fortification of your home and staying inside forever).

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:15 pm UTC

But are people really saying that the perpetrator is any less at fault because the victim didn't take precautions.
Any approach or program that puts any portion responsibility for avoiding violent sexual crime onto the victims is part and parcel of the larger problem of rape culture.


So when the Yorkshire Ripper was at large the police were wrong to warn women not to walk home alone at night?

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:17 pm UTC

I've edited quite a bit, so you might have missed it, but I think I've covered your question.

Were the police or society to deny the victims that did walk alone at night justice, health care, an investigation or the resources they would have been given had they be victimized under other circumstances, than society was wrong. If the denial was because they ignored the warning, or treated the women as if they did something wrong too, than even more so -- that's just vindictive.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

Yet you said any program that puts any responsibility on the victim is part of rape culture. Of course it would be wrong to deny medical attention and the like but I can see nobody claiming such a thing should happen. Yes of course prosecution is going to be harder if all the public acts are in line with someone consenting and yes of course you should be able to invite some back to your place even undress in front of them without any fear of being sexually assaulted, even after having said to your friends that you intend to go to the bar to find some boy to take back to sleep with, to think that such as situation is as realistically prosecutable as other cases where clearer actions are taken is however living in a dream world.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:37 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:Yet you said any program that puts any responsibility on the victim is part of rape culture.
Yes. Again, taking reasonable preventative measures is good, but you shouldn't have to. Nor should there be a cultural escalation where despite all the measures you did take, people think there's one more you should have taken. Lastly, there should never be the attitude that you did something wrong by not taking preventative measures. The person wholly and entirely is the wrong in the person perpetrating a violent sexual crime.

There is a massive difference in the words and attitudes behind:
"It may increase your personal safety if you ..."
and
"It is your responsibility to ensure your personal safety by ..."

That latter pushes the burden to the victim, and if attitudes follow the words (the contention of rape culture is that they do) then you end up pushing the burden of long-term consequences back onto the victims as well. This. Is. Bad.

sigsfried wrote:Of course it would be wrong to deny medical attention and the like but I can see nobody claiming such a thing should happen.
No one claims it should and yet it does happen -- don't forget that mental health care is still medical attention. It happens because people don't put the emphasis on treating the victim, partially because our culture repeatedly blames the victims for having put themselves in the position of being victimized. As I pointed out, it's the disconnect between how we treat victims of rape and victims of other crimes that tells of a problem.

sigsfried wrote:Yes of course prosecution is going to be harder if all the public acts are in line with someone consenting and yes of course you should be able to invite some back to your place even undress in front of them without any fear of being sexually assaulted, even after having said to your friends that you intend to go to the bar to find some boy to take back to sleep with, to think that such as situation is as realistically prosecutable as other cases where clearer actions are taken is however living in a dream world.

Holy mother run on sentence. What are you trying to get at here? The ability to prosecute is it's own concern and should be wholly based on evidence, not on pre-existing prejudices regarding where the victim was, what they was wearing or how much they were drinking. There are plenty of criminal circumstances (rape or otherwise) where insufficient evidence exists, and that's (an unfortunate) reality. However, if you think such prejudices don't come into play, I'll point you to various recent N&A threads on the topic -- like how skinny a victim's jeans happened to be was brought into a determination of consent.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby omgryebread » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:Yet you said any program that puts any responsibility on the victim is part of rape culture. Of course it would be wrong to deny medical attention and the like but I can see nobody claiming such a thing should happen. Yes of course prosecution is going to be harder if all the public acts are in line with someone consenting and yes of course you should be able to invite some back to your place even undress in front of them without any fear of being sexually assaulted, even after having said to your friends that you intend to go to the bar to find some boy to take back to sleep with, to think that such as situation is as realistically prosecutable as other cases where clearer actions are taken is however living in a dream world.

Kind of a false comparision there. Telling my friends I intend to have sex with someone and undressing in front of them are things that imply consent (they may not be consent, of course.) So, yes, they would make it harder to prove there wasn't consent.

Wearing short skirts alone in a sketchy part of town in no way implies consent to sex. (It's messed up that we'd fault women for walking alone in the neighborhood around one of the best universities in the world, but that's another topic). It doesn't imply consent at all if I get drunk at a party and am in no shape to refuse.

Yet both of those commonly seem to imply consent!
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

Firstly, your right that sentence is horrendous. I'll try to rephrase it. Actually no, rather than trying to dress it up as an example I'll try to get the idea I was after.
We can realistically advise people not to act in ways that make rape both more likely and harder to convict without saying this makes the offence any less, even when it happens to people who ignore this advice. For example one shouldn't have to physically resist but if one fails to make any attempt to resist then it may be only one persons word against another. I doubt any court is then in a position to convict. The inability to convict in many cases though is a key thing towards why rape is so common (as earlier was quoted 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men claim to have been raped, one would imagine the real figure would be significantly higher as well as rape reporting is famously poor) after all the ability to act with little fear of legal consequences certainly makes it more likely.

taking reasonable preventative measures is good, but you shouldn't have to


One shouldn't have to but one does have to. I suppose I don't see blame as zero sum. When I took a short cut through an area of Bradford that I knew wasn't safe for me because I am white I was responsible for my actions that put me in danger. My parents were absolutely right to be angry with me for doing it. And the police were to tell me not to be so stupid again. That doesn't mean the attack on me was any less of a criminal offence that should be treated less harshly.

It doesn't imply consent at all if I get drunk at a party and am in no shape to refuse.



No of course not, but if when drunk (and I'm not talking passing out level of drunkness but drunk enough to no longer be in a normal state of mind) you consent that consent in an ideal world would not in and of itself be considered enough but probably we can't realistically consider sex with someone else similarly drunk to be rape.

Though I'll be honest I really can't see in any of my six years of uni I came across the attitude that sex with someone too drunk to refuse was acceptable.

That all said I would not be overly adverse to removing the assumption of innocence when the defence against rape is that they consented. I suppose there is a risk of false accusations but seriously what are people thinking if they decide to sleep with someone they think might accuse them of rape. On top of that false accusations probably make up less than one in ten thousand rape cases but are the defence in the majority of cases.

It's messed up that we'd fault women for walking alone in the neighborhood around one of the best universities in the world, but that's another topic


If there was a situation like the Yorkshire Ripper in Oxford then I would be furious with my sister if I found out she was walking around alone at night in Oxford (I have no desire to get sidetracked as I have elsewhere if you aren't willing to call Oxford a good university then we can substitute any other university that would please you). I don't see how it makes any difference that there is a good university there.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:That doesn't mean the attack on me was any less of a criminal offense that should be treated less harshly.

That is exactly what I'm saying. However, this isn't always (or even frequently?) the case. People flat out don't remember that this is true. The contention is that part of the reason why they don't remember that statement is true is because they've been socialized to also place blame on the victim. We don't even have to conserve blame here, we can tap an infinite well of it -- but by pointing some of that at the victim, you cause harm. You teach people the wrong thing, and lo and behold, they then go and do the wrong thing.

sigsfried wrote:If there was a situation like the Yorkshire Ripper in Oxford then I would be furious with my sister if I found out she was walking around alone at night in Oxford...

So you'd be furious with here for putting herself at risk. But what if she had been (non-fatally) attacked?

I'm curious about the torturous logical route one would have to tread to move away from that immediate sense of anger, and towards providing the support for the victim of a terrible crime that they need. Is there some switch? Or do you stay angry -- and how on earth is that reaction helpful?

I doubt there is a switch, per se, but instead (for the 'you' in the example, i.e. the victim's immediate circle) a realization (perhaps unconscious and by no means certain to happen) that their empathy circuit was all messed up -- that anger is the wrong response. What would be really awesome is for everyone to avoid having that empathy circuit miswired via cultural institutions. All of our hypothetical sisters shouldn't have to be victimized so that we are provided with the immediate example of the problem.

There also the regret angle, and regret is really, really easy. How many times have you done something, had an unintended consequence crop up and then regretted the initial decision -- taking responsibility for your own actions and then internalized the blame? It's a very common and quick reaction, but it's not addressing the problem since the cause is absolutely not internal. That internalization is false, and can be incredibly damaging. Now make the internalization of blame become an external assignment and watch the problem snowball.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Aaeriele » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:45 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:I've been here for over three years, and literally every single discussion about rape eventually gets derailed at one point or another by a discussion on how the victim bears some responsibility. It's almost never on topic and it's always brought up by people who obviously haven't bothered to read any of the other topics it has come up in.


More like "repeatedly, at many points" - considering this is at least the 3rd or 4th such derailment in this thread alone.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:07 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
sigsfried wrote:That doesn't mean the attack on me was any less of a criminal offense that should be treated less harshly.

That is exactly what I'm saying. However, this isn't always (or even frequently?) the case. People flat out don't remember that this is true. The contention is that part of the reason why they don't remember that statement is true is because they've been socialized to also place blame on the victim. We don't even have to conserve blame here, we can tap an infinite well of it -- but by pointing some of that at the victim, you cause harm. You teach people the wrong thing, and lo and behold, they then go and do the wrong thing.

sigsfried wrote:If there was a situation like the Yorkshire Ripper in Oxford then I would be furious with my sister if I found out she was walking around alone at night in Oxford...

So you'd be furious with here for putting herself at risk. But what if she had been (non-fatally) attacked?


It would depend on the nature of the attack. If she had had her purse stolen then I'd be angry that she was stupid enough to be there and grateful that it hadn't be a serious attack. The anger is there because of the danger and what worse could have happened. The worse the thing that happened the less worse there is that could happen. Certainly in anything remotely serious I would solely be sympathetic. When she had recovered I would, if she seemed likely to do the same thing, suggest she did something else.

My parents were right to be angry with me when I was mugged. The police were right to tell me I had been stupid. It meant the next time I thought a little be more carefully and had the longer walk. With cases like this I don't see why the attitude is broadly right (telling people not to do something that puts themselves in danger) but yes of course we should always be sympathetic to victims of serious crime.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Aaeriele » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:09 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:It would depend on the nature of the attack. If she had had her purse stolen then I'd be angry that she was stupid enough to be there and grateful that it hadn't be a serious attack.


Hi, I don't know about you, but we're talking about rape here.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Cathy » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:21 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
sigsfried wrote:It would depend on the nature of the attack. If she had had her purse stolen then I'd be angry that she was stupid enough to be there and grateful that it hadn't be a serious attack.


Hi, I don't know about you, but we're talking about rape here.


Pretty much. Rape isn't something that only happens when the ripper is about, or whatever. This is about being in places that should be SAFE. In your own house, with family, in the neighbor's house, in your relative's house. In the park near your house. Walking across a college campus in the morning, afternoon, evening, and night. These are the majority of rapes.

When I went to my parents and told them of being raped, gods only know why, but my father's first reaction was anger and disbelief. Those two emotions are what we need to treat, what we need to prevent.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:22 pm UTC

Hi, I don't know about you, but we're talking about rape here.

My apologies I thought I had gone on to say about how I would react if it was a serious crime. Mea Culpa. I had intended to go on to say that if the attack was anything serious, and rape certainly would be included, I would be nothing other than sympathetic.


Pretty much. Rape isn't something that only happens when the ripper is about, or whatever. This is about being in places that should be SAFE. In your own house, with family, in the neighbor's house, in your relative's house. In the park near your house. Walking across a college campus in the morning, afternoon, evening, and night. These are the majority of rapes.


All I was trying to say is that there are some circumstances when it is apropriate for the police (and others) to give advice to minimize risk. Don't walk down dark alleways at night in a strange place is not advice we should stop giving. No matter how desirable it is that people should be able to do so without fear.

Those two emotions are what we need to treat, what we need to prevent.


We really want to stop parents being angry when their child is attacked? Well I have a strong suspicion that it is a somewhat innate reaction.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Aaeriele » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:30 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:All I was trying to say is that there are some circumstances when it is apropriate for the police (and others) to give advice to minimize risk. Don't walk down dark alleways at night in a strange place is not advice we should stop giving. No matter how desirable it is that people should be able to do so without fear.

But the police will do that regardless, and whether or not they do that has very little to do with rape specifically, so it's somewhat off-topic for this thread - especially considering how often it has already been brought up as a sidetrack on previous pages.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:Don't walk down dark alleways at night in a strange place is not advice we should stop giving.
But it is advice that should stop taking center stage in every single discussion of how to stop rape. Because it's fairly obvious, for one, but also because it's not relevant to the vast majority of rapes.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Cathy » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:
When I went to my parents and told them of being raped, gods only know why, but my father's first reaction was anger and disbelief. Those two emotions are what we need to treat, what we need to prevent.


We really want to stop parents being angry when their child is attacked? Well I have a strong suspicion that it is a somewhat innate reaction.

Anger at me. Anger at the fact that I was broken. Disbelief that I had actually been raped. The idea that somehow I had made up some story that would make my depression and anxiety make more sense.

These are the things I am talking about. These are the reasons it is so hard to report being raped.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:51 pm UTC

But it is advice that should stop taking center stage in every single discussion of how to stop rape. Because it's fairly obvious, for one, but also because it's not relevant to the vast majority of rapes


But isn't that saying that the victim is responsible, to some degree, for the action? Which was being simply condemned as wrong in all circumstances. That is exactly what I was trying to say. There are times, not all, that giving advice to avoid being a victim of rape is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I wasn't trying to say that was all that should happen. I did not raise the example of it in a vacuum it was in response to a specific point.

Any approach or program that puts any portion responsibility for avoiding violent sexual crime onto the victims is part and parcel of the larger problem of rape culture.


I think this is an overly harsh position to take, I gave the example of the Yorkshire Ripper. I think that while the investigation was not done well the advice given to the public was generally good and exactly the right thing to do.

I mistakenly thought this was an appropriate point to debate but I take your point that it is only a distraction. Again I am sorry clearly I was wrong to argue the point.


Anger at me. Anger at the fact that I was broken. Disbelief that I had actually been raped. The idea that somehow I had made up some story that would make my depression and anxiety make more sense.

These are the things I am talking about. These are the reasons it is so hard to report being raped.


The problem is that the anger is so natural and you were, obviously, the only one there. Anger isn't rational but short of extreme solutions (such as hormonal treatment from an early age) you can't take away that anger. Similarly the disbelief is pretty common. How often do we hear parents of someone who has been murdered saying that they keep thinking she will walk in any day now. We don't want to believe things that hurt to believe.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

sigsfried, the advice to "protect yourself" shouldn't be stopped from being given out.

We already really, really, really know this advice. It's given out fucking everywhere. It takes center stage. It's brought up all the damn time. We know it already. And more importantly, this advice is commonly used to derail and supplant any discussion on stopping rape. Instead of focusing on the very much needed discussion on how to educate people on what rape is and what they can do to not rape, we get "don't walk down dark alleys" as an extremely poor substitute for discussion.

Do you know what this phenomenon is part of? Yes, it is a part of rape culture.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:57 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:The problem is that the anger is so natural and you were, obviously, the only one there.
Sorry, I'm afraid you'll have to come up with another apologetic excuse for his reaction. Because I can think of plenty of parents whose first reaction upon hearing their child was attacked would *not* be to get angry at the child and assume the child was lying.

Feeling anger may not be rational, but the decisions over how to express it damn well can be. Sure, anger might be natural. But directing that anger and disbelief at your just-attacked child is no more justifiable because of its naturalness than beating a child who did something wrong, where anger is likewise a very common and natural first gut response.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Aaeriele » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:02 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:But isn't that saying that the victim is responsible, to some degree, for the action?


No, it isn't. Responsibility isn't determined from "if you did something different, it wouldn't have happened". If it were then we could blame everyone that was ever a victim of a crime outside for walking through their front door. Obviously, that is not the case. Yes, walking through your front door enabled the crime to occur, but that does not make it your responsibility. The committing of the crime is still something that is entirely on the shoulders of the perpetrator - one does not "accidentally" rape a woman in a short skirt.


Now stop derailing this thread with yet another pointless attempt to focus on victim blaming.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:07 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:My parents were right to be angry with me when I was mugged. The police were right to tell me I had been stupid. It meant the next time I thought a little be more carefully and had the longer walk. With cases like this I don't see why the attitude is broadly right (telling people not to do something that puts themselves in danger) but yes of course we should always be sympathetic to victims of serious crime.
No, they were not in the right.

Perhaps you took a valuable lesson (advice) to heart despite their approach.

Your inability or disinclination to explain any reasoning or logic behind how and why things suddenly change when some threshold of seriousness has been crossed strongly indicates that your position is not well thought out or consistent. You've entirely avoided the question and just repeated your initial stance on the situation. Although it's clear that you can roughly conceptualize when (for you) you believe this magic transition takes place, that isn't a universal delineation either. So again: When, why and by what consistent mechanism does the switch get flipped?

To save you the trouble of the intervening line of questioning; once we've painfully but thoroughly established that such a mechanism doesn't actually exist, I'm going to point out that the appropriate reaction is empathy and support from the beginning rather than relying on an immediate tragedy to alter our world view so that we get there only after shit has gone majorly wrong. Fewer hoops to jump though, and all that.

sigsfried wrote:All I was trying to say is that there are some circumstances when it is appropriate for the police (and others) to give advice to minimize risk.

Yes. This. It is appropriate to give advice to minimize risk – I’ve said that a half dozen times. Calling you stupid? Being angry at you for not minimizing those risks? No. That is wrong.

sigsfried wrote:
Azrael wrote:Any approach or program that puts any portion responsibility for avoiding violent sexual crime onto the victims is part and parcel of the larger problem of rape culture.
I think this is an overly harsh position to take, I gave the example of the Yorkshire Ripper.
Yeah, and I tore it apart already. Repetition of your initial position is not a refutation of anything. But if all you want to say is a broad generalization of:
the advice given to the public was generally good and exactly the right thing to do.
Then just say that. And then stop, ‘cause when you keep going, you’re making a mess of everything. I (we) aren’t disagreeing that giving advice is good. It’s the rest of that crap – i.e. anger or blame if the advice is not heeded – that’s the problematic attitude.

Again, the vast difference between giving advice and assigning responsibility. Explain how to differentiate successfully between the goal of the former and the practical reality of the latter and you've solved the problem inherent with victim-education systems. Well, except for the part that despite consistent and thorough levels of victim education, the method hasn't been shown to cause a significant reduction in incidents. It's a standard practice side issue by now, and it's no longer "enough" to stop the problem -- like teaching kids not to talk to strangers -- because it doesn't address the causes.

Now, re-read this very, very thoroughly:
Aaeriele wrote:
sigsfried wrote:But isn't that saying that the victim is responsible, to some degree, for the action?


No, it isn't. Responsibility isn't determined from "if you did something different, it wouldn't have happened". If it were then we could blame everyone that was ever a victim of a crime outside for walking through their front door*. Obviously, that is not the case. Yes, walking through your front door enabled the crime to occur, but that does not make it your responsibility. The committing of the crime is still something that is entirely on the shoulders of the perpetrator - one does not "accidentally" rape a woman in a short skirt.

* Az's addition: Or not walking through their front door, if the crime happens at home. Nice, tidy contradiction, isn't it?

Because while I'm trying to slog you through the detailed mechanics, that's the big picture. All of it, nicely bundled up.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

Being angry at you for not minimizing those risks? No. That is wrong.



Is this only for rape or were my parents wrong to be angry when I was mugged walking through somewhere I knew wasn't safe (at the time I was 14 if it makes any difference).
The thing is after then when I made the decision which way to go my parents anger made a difference. A huge once. Once I was late and run through there and I was terrified. Not that I would be mugged but that my parents would find out. The result, I was safer because of their anger. Just as the only time I have seen my Auntie angry was when my cousin ran out into a busy road.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:37 pm UTC

I'm really not sure if I'm being consistently unclear or if you're not really reading.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

I do want to continue this but I don't want to annoy too many people in this thread. So I'm a bit stuck. Aaeriele was quite clear that this is derailing the thread, and I believe it is Aaeriele's thread so unless they say otherwise I would prefer to keep further responses to PM. That said I don't want to just PM you without your permission so would you like me to reply by PM or not?

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Aaeriele » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:18 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:I believe it is Aaeriele's thread

Er, no, it's not, as a very quick check of the OP would have informed you.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Threads don't belong to anyone, and I'm the one who is responsible for keeping things running smoothly as best I can here in SB.

This occasionally puts me in a delicate position -- I'm rather disinclined to purple-text myself on a sub-set of a discussion (victim blaming) that I consider to be a major part of the topic (rape culture) rather than a tangent. Furthermore I'm pretty much never motivated to take things to PMs and 'solve' one problem when it's relevant to a larger audience. Especially not when you do seem to be discussing in good faith and the larger audience has made their presence repeatedly known.

So:

About all I can add here is to suggest looking at this from positive vs negative reinforcement. Both methods can be effective at getting people to do what you want. (Plus everyone would laugh if I suggested negative reinforcement is ineffectual. And my brain would melt from a short circuit.)

Typically negative reinforcement (traffic tickets, punishments, loss of dessert) are used as a disincentive to prevent further behavior that is coupled with a negative consequence of your own cause. You are punished to prevent you from speeding to prevent you from causing a destructive action.

But is negative reinforcement (i.e. calling you stupid for walking alone at night) used as a disincentive logically consistent when the consequence imposed on you by someone else? Can deriding you prevent someone else from hurting you? No, of course not. Furthermore, you cannot estimate the level of intent to cause you harm, nor overcome all efforts that someone else makes against you. So you are punished to prevent you from taking an action that "makes it easier" for someone else to take a destructive action -- even if you couldn't have actually prevented it. Even if you didn't actually make it "easier". Even if they would have done it no matter how hard you could have possibly made it.

This is the essence of victim-blaming -- I've punished you, regardless of what I also do (or not) to them. If that punishment is more severe than just calling you stupid (and in reality it frequently is) than I can damage the victim further. That's "us" hurting "you" because of "his" actions. That's bullshit.

And there's still the "switch" or "threshold" problem with negative reinforcement. If we (you and I -- as you indicated earlier) know that the victims of serious crimes deserve sympathy, why the change in attitude only after they're both a) victimized and b) seriously victimized? Why have to change at all? When is that change merited? How do we deal with people who forget to make that change? Why not take the logically consistent position of treating all victims in the same fashion -- and in the fashion that helps them, rather than the one prone to hurt them.

Lastly, there's an implication in the 'switch-when-serious' position, coupled with the reality that rape victims don't always get the sympathy they need, that somehow rape isn't a serious enough crime for the switch to have been thrown. And fuck that.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Ulc » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:02 pm UTC

In addition to what Azreal just said

The claim "it's a good idea to give advice about "don't walk alone after dark", because stranger-rape is by far the least common type of rape. If you want to give warning that will actually significantly decrease the odd of a woman being raped, it should look something along these lines:

Do not under any circumstances have a male significant other.
Do not under any circumstances allow yourself to be alone with a male person, even your family.
Avoid being in a room with males that have drunk alcohol, no matter the number of them, or fellow women present.

These of course, wont protect her from being raped - woman-on-woman rape do happen (not in numbers anywhere as high as male-on-woman though), and there is always the danger of being in a room with *two* males. But these rules do reduce the risk quite a bit.

Can we just agree that these rules are utterly unreasonable? Good, because these are things that will address the most common types of perpetrators. "Avoid dark alleys"? So far down the list that following it doesn't actually significantly reduce the risk.

"Psychopath-jumping-from-bushes"-rape is the recognised types of rape, in that society relatively rarely doubts their word that they have been raped - and it's the only type of rape where no-one will come trolling from under the bridge with a "but she did 'x action' " (where 'x' is often "kissed me" "showed skin" "ingested alcohol" or so many others excuses) and parts of society* actually accept that it implies consent. The problem here? It's also very uncommon compared to SO-rape, friend-rape, family-rape, date-rape or co-worker rape**

So can we please drop the notion that "avoid dark allays" are useful, and stop derailing the thread with that brand of "I don't like what I see, so excuse me while I cover my eyes"?


*The more recognised the action is "snuggling with me", the higher a potion of society said "that was consent, not rape"
** I could probably go on listing types of rape more common than stranger rape - but for brevity's (right) sake, I wont.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:56 pm UTC

To an extent yes, but that does not mean that when there is known to be a serial rapist in the area then such advice shouldn't be given.
And other advice can be given. Not being so drunk that you can't remember wether you consented or not, which is of course important on both sides if you are too drunk to know wether you consented you were probably too drunk to know or care wether the other person consented.
Other advice that should generally be given on the other side for example, Make sure you are sober enough to know if the other person is meaningfully consenting, consent when their judgement is impared might be consent legally but certainly isn't morally (well sort of I suppose being in love impares judgement but we can't call all sex had by people in love rape).

This is the essence of victim-blaming -- I've punished you, regardless of what I also do (or not) to them. If that punishment is more severe than just calling you stupid (and in reality it frequently is) than I can damage the victim further. That's "us" hurting "you" because of "his" actions. That's bullshit.


On the other hand the shock value of it being the first time I heard my Dad swear and the like meant that it stuck in my mind. I think that anything that was mild would have had no effect on me. It was after all a short cut I had taken a few times cutting 45 minutes off a walk home is significant and I would have taken in the next day (taking the attitude that the best thing to do when you fall off a horse is get back on immediately).

I think your reply should be the final word on this diversion. Azrael it is all very well you saying this is an interesting and relevant discussion but looking back neglecting posts from you and myself I think in the last eight posts six have been a criticism of this line of discussion. If this thread belongs to nobody that clear will from basically everyone else should be respected and as such I can do little more than make my apologies to those who I have clearly disrupted.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:34 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:About all I can add here is to suggest looking at this from positive vs negative reinforcement. Both methods can be effective at getting people to do what you want. (Plus everyone would laugh if I suggested negative reinforcement is ineffectual. And my brain would melt from a short circuit.)

Typically negative reinforcement (traffic tickets, punishments, loss of dessert) are used as a disincentive to prevent further behavior that is coupled with a negative consequence of your own cause. You are punished to prevent you from speeding to prevent you from causing a destructive action.

But is negative reinforcement (i.e. calling you stupid for walking alone at night) used as a disincentive logically consistent when the consequence imposed on you by someone else?


Not to detract from my full and utter agreement, but technically speaking, negative reinforcement is not the same as punishment. Negative reinforcement is taking away something bad, while punishment is administering something good. Negative reinforcement is saying "OK, you don't have to eat that broccoli you hate" while punishment is "You have to eat triple the normal amount of broccoli you hate."
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Nordic Einar » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
Azrael wrote:About all I can add here is to suggest looking at this from positive vs negative reinforcement. Both methods can be effective at getting people to do what you want. (Plus everyone would laugh if I suggested negative reinforcement is ineffectual. And my brain would melt from a short circuit.)

Typically negative reinforcement (traffic tickets, punishments, loss of dessert) are used as a disincentive to prevent further behavior that is coupled with a negative consequence of your own cause. You are punished to prevent you from speeding to prevent you from causing a destructive action.

But is negative reinforcement (i.e. calling you stupid for walking alone at night) used as a disincentive logically consistent when the consequence imposed on you by someone else?


Not to detract from my full and utter agreement, but technically speaking, negative reinforcement is not the same as punishment. Negative reinforcement is taking away something bad, while punishment is administering something good. Negative reinforcement is saying "OK, you don't have to eat that broccoli you hate" while punishment is "You have to eat triple the normal amount of broccoli you hate."


Not really. The bolded is the error. Negative Reinforcement is supposed to reinforce behavior by providing a negative consequence that is alleviated by the behavior. Withdrawal is good example of negative reinforcement - the behavior (consuming a drug) is reinforced by a negative consequence (withdrawal) that is only alleviated by partaking in the behavior (consuming the drug).

Punishment is designed to stop a behavior from occurring - by arresting you for using a drug, I am punishing you in the hope of discouraging the behavior (drug taking).

Reinforcement, both positive AND negative, are designed to encourage a behavior. Punishment is designed to discourage a behavior. This distinction is the bane of many Psych 101 students.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby dedalus » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:25 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:Not being so drunk that you can't remember wether you consented or not,

Haven't we already had the discussion in this thread where being that drunk means you *can't* give consent?
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Cathy » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:28 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:To an extent yes, but that does not mean that when there is known to be a serial rapist in the area then such advice shouldn't be given.


There's really no such thing as "known serial rapist in the area." If there's a serial rapist KNOWN to be in the area then they've probably already been arrested -- most people don't just say things like "oh yeah there's a serial rapist a few blocks down, don't walk that way at night."

I'd also like to note that Gmal expressed my feelings on the below perfectly.
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sigsfried wrote:The problem is that the anger is so natural and you were, obviously, the only one there.
Sorry, I'm afraid you'll have to come up with another apologetic excuse for his reaction. Because I can think of plenty of parents whose first reaction upon hearing their child was attacked would *not* be to get angry at the child and assume the child was lying.

Feeling anger may not be rational, but the decisions over how to express it damn well can be. Sure, anger might be natural. But directing that anger and disbelief at your just-attacked child is no more justifiable because of its naturalness than beating a child who did something wrong, where anger is likewise a very common and natural first gut response.
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:37 pm UTC

Haven't we already had the discussion in this thread where being that drunk means you *can't* give consent?



Firstly I thought I covered that by saying "consent when judgement is impared might be consent legally but certainly isn't morally ", though admittedly it was a couple of sentances later. Secondly I still don't like the consequence that you can end up calling something that neither party is unhappy with rape, and could even end up prosecuting both for rape (unless a similar standard is held to that which the last British government considered where Ministers said that a woman could not consent if drunk, not that it elimenates all such cases but it does reduce them).
Also I would suggest there is a huge difference between that and any other hard limits with alcohol in that if I drink drive I am punished but if I have drunken sex my partner would be punished. This frees me from the responsibility to worry about the amount I drink, but gives me the burden of worrying about how much my partner has drunk. A strange situation.

There's really no such thing as "known serial rapist in the area." If there's a serial rapist KNOWN to be in the area then they've probably already been arrested -- most people don't just say things like "oh yeah there's a serial rapist a few blocks down, don't walk that way at night."


Yes it is going back to before I was born but for about five years the police were issuing warnings to women not to walk alone at night because of the Yorkshire ripper. Yes the area was larger than a few blocks but still pretty much the same. What is more most thing the preventative measures taken (men would basically ferry women home to prevent them walking alone amongst others) were attributed by the West Yorkshire Police as having saved many lives.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby MrConor » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:41 am UTC

sigsfried wrote:
Haven't we already had the discussion in this thread where being that drunk means you *can't* give consent?


Firstly I thought I covered that by saying "consent when judgement is impared might be consent legally but certainly isn't morally ", though admittedly it was a couple of sentances later. Secondly I still don't like the consequence that you can end up calling something that neither party is unhappy with rape, and could even end up prosecuting both for rape (unless a similar standard is held to that which the last British government considered where Ministers said that a woman could not consent if drunk, not that it elimenates all such cases but it does reduce them).



Why is this a problem? It's illegal for my friends to punch me. That's battery, and it's illegal. This means that, if I am not happy with their action, I can choose to prosecute. However, my friends and I have an understanding that in some situations it's okay to punch one another (on the arm on birthdays for example, in hallowed tradition, and they certainly have intent to cause harm because if you can still feel your arm after your birthday bumps, they're not considered to have been done properly). They are still committing battery, and I have the right to prosecute if I choose. However, I don't choose to and they similarly do not prosecute me if I punch them for their birthday bumps. Neither party is unhappy with it, and thus neither prosecutes.

Now, should it be legal to punch people just because sometimes my friends and I like to punch each other in this manner? No, it should not. Should we thus revoke battery laws? No, we should not. If a stranger decides to punch me, or my friend punches me too hard in an aggressive manner, I want to be able to prosecute them. I have every right to do this; I choose to waive that right when I consider the punching acceptable to me. But nobody should be able to take that right away from me.

Now, let's consider drunken sex. I am okay with having sex with my girlfriend if I've given consent, even when I'm really too drunk to give informed consent at that time. I trust her, and I'm comfortable around her, and I'm happy to do it with her. I still can't give informed consent at the time, so that act may be considered a rape act. But I'm okay with it, so I choose not to prosecute. It's just like with my friends, I waive my right to prosecute in that instance because I'm comfortable with what happened. Having the ability to prosecute doesn't mean that I have to use it, and no court is seriously going to try and prosecute on my behalf in such a scenario.

sigsfried wrote:Also I would suggest there is a huge difference between that and any other hard limits with alcohol in that if I drink drive I am punished but if I have drunken sex my partner would be punished. This frees me from the responsibility to worry about the amount I drink, but gives me the burden of worrying about how much my partner has drunk. A strange situation.


I like the implication in this sentence that when you have sex, it's something that you do to a neutral party (like when you drive a car) rather than something that two people do co-operatively and simultaneously (which is itself suggested by the term 'partner'). But seriously, if you're too drunk to give consent you can't really be considered to be in complete control of your actions, so how can you really say it's something you are doing to your partner and not something your partner is doing to you?
As for 'the burden of worrying about how much your partner has drunk'... you mean you don't already? I would have thought that anybody in a committed relationship would care about their partner's wellbeing, which includes considering how much their partner has drunk.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Azrael » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:11 am UTC

Nordic Einar wrote:Reinforcement, both positive AND negative, are designed to encourage a behavior. Punishment is designed to discourage a behavior. This distinction is the bane of many Psych 101 students.
And that pretty much tops the list of 'things that I am not'. I am assuming that since there are no complaints regarding the content (other than my mistaken nomenclature) than my overall point was nonetheless understandable?

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby sigsfried » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:14 am UTC

Yes of course there is concern for welfare but realistically ones judgement is impaired within a couple of drinks. So any limit for being legally able to consent based on impaired judgement is going to kick in well before there is any risk of harm. That is to say I am not going to count how many glasses of wine either of us has out of a bottle if we share one over a meal. Given that is about the upper limit of how much we drink these days I don't see a need to worry very much over welfare.

Clearly if we reach the so drunk they can't stand then consent isn't meaningful but if we talk about a point where judgement is heavily impaired then it is less clear. After all while these days I can tell within a minute how much my partner has drunk I couldn't in the first couple of years. What if I believed she had only drunk one glass of wine but had in fact drunk 3 or 4. Would I really have committed rape if we had then had sex. I can not be entirely sure that such a thing never happened, certainly if not rape sexual assault (assuming we have the same standard of sexual touching when the other person's judgement is impaired is sexual assault because they cannot meaningfully consent) of some sort almost certainly did. Even if it was "just" kissing. Maybe I am being totally unreasonable and selfish in thinking that what I did wasn't morally wrong, certainly I am not brave enough to hand myself into the police.

Actually thinking about it though I was using partner to mean sexual partner, in that a one night stand while something I wouldn't do isn't rape but that doesn't necessarily mean either is in it for anything other than the sex. Nor do such things generally happen when both parties are sober.

But let's say we accept that we can just rely on the other not to prosecute. Well maybe we can but relationships do end and some end very badly. Do we really want an action that at the time neither party had any problems with becoming rape because two years later they had a particularly nasty divorce.

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:28 am UTC

Hey everyone, I have a fantastic idea that just occurred to me!

How about we don't spend another page talking about how drunk someone can be before it's wrong to have sex with them?
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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby Torchship » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:21 am UTC

Man, how things change. I went to sleep at 2am last night pretty satisfied with the answers that Azrael had given me (thanks for your patience, by the way) and I wake up to find a whole new page.

podbaydoor wrote:We already really, really, really know this advice. It's given out fucking everywhere. It takes center stage. It's brought up all the damn time. We know it already. And more importantly, this advice is commonly used to derail and supplant any discussion on stopping rape. Instead of focusing on the very much needed discussion on how to educate people on what rape is and what they can do to not rape, we get "don't walk down dark alleys" as an extremely poor substitute for discussion.


gmalivuk wrote:But it is advice that should stop taking center stage in every single discussion of how to stop rape. Because it's fairly obvious, for one, but also because it's not relevant to the vast majority of rapes.


Spoiler:
Azrael wrote:We, as individuals, have every right to focus on fixing the problems that we want to fix, and doing so in the way we want to go about it. There are always bigger fish to fry, and there's always someone who will disagree with any tactic used to address any specific issue. The "haven't you got better things to worry about" line is so frequently used it's now very little more than a well-known derailing tactic.


The two I quoted: do you or do you not agree with Azrael's statement from last page that I quoted in the spoiler? As far as I can tell, most old-timers on this forum do, so this is more of a formality.

If so, how do you console the statements that I quoted with Azrael's quote? You are plainly claiming that the "victim blamers" solution is problematic because it detracts from other solutions to the rape problem (namely the "rapist blamers"'s (to coin an equally terrible name for those who favour perpetrator-focused education) solution). But then, as I said last page, as do all solutions to all problems. So, how do these statements fit together?

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Re: Rape Culture (Obvious Trigger Warning)

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:42 am UTC

Sure, we can pretend that it isn't additionally harmful to focus on the victim-blaming side. And then, after ignoring that really fucking important point, you're right that the two situations look rather similar.

Also, feel free to ignore what Azrael said about this isn't the thread for that. Remember: you're welcome to focus on whatever you want, but at the same time are *not* welcome to derail every existing discussion to turn it into whatever you want.
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