Sunday, September 16, 2007

Misunderstanding Of Gender In Sexual Violence

I delete a variety of anonymous comments comparing me to a Nazi and even deleted one that implied that I was part of the feminist branch of the Klan. But I'm focusing on this comment because it clearly reveals the deep misunderstanding or distortion of the words and actions of those who rightly focus on the gendered nature of sexual and relationship violence and the gendered nature of the response to sexual and relationship violence.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Anonymous Tip Led To Rescue Of Woman":


Did you notice, Marcella, three of the abductors were WOMEN!!!!

Or, are you going to manifest your feminist chick hypocrisy and say what the women did is not really wrong because they are women?
What this man (or boy) is assuming is that I believe that women cannot be full participants in horrific acts of sexual violence. I've never believed this and that has been reflected in a variety of posts I've written. The fact that 3 of those arrested in this case were women is clearly included in my post and I make no excuses for them so his comment adds absolutely no new information and his attack has no foundation.

If he is a repeat visitor to my blog, he likely believes the foundation for his attack is the greater amount of time and effort I put into men's violence against women. If he is a new visitor, he is likely reacting to the fact that this is clearly a blog written by a female rape survivor who was raped by a man and he filled in the blanks with his chosen stereotypes.

If having a gender imbalance is inherently wrong then those who focus more on the interests of men must be seen by this person as being just as wrong. Yet I've never seen any of these types of comments include any criticism of imbalance which favors men and their comments frequently include overt support for imbalance which favors men and links to sites which focus exclusively on the interests of men.

The problems I address are gendered for two logical and practical reasons which have nothing to do with hypocrisy.

1) Women do commit these sorts of crimes, but they don't do it in anywhere near a 50/50 ratio. Neither is the rate of victimization even close to 50/50. This reality is the reason many people will try to twist data to make it seem that these numbers are 50/50 (or slanted to make women look like they are the majority of perps and the minority of victims) and it's why some people stretch so far for actions equivalent to rape such as rape of a name which they gender even though slander and libel and negative opinions about others are in fact gender neutral.

Since I don't believe the cause of the gender difference is biological, that means there is a clear social and developmental difference which allows more men to rationalize committing acts of sexual violence. Despite the calls for women to not be victims, too many men do whatever they can to make girls and women victims and then get excused as "boys being boys." Then too many people attack women who dare to tell the truth about being victims of sexual or domestic violence with greater fervency than they use when they talk about rapists.

Any call to change the social and developmental systems we have in place to reduce this gendered violence is assumed to be anti-male which oddly does more to associate all men with the label rapist than what's done by feminists.

2) When it comes to injustice within the criminal justice system, that too is gendered. Imagine if there were 1 book detailing each rape case which made the news and in which a female rape victim didn't get the justice she deserved after months, or more than a year, of turmoil or where she is called the real criminal. There wouldn't be enough bookshelves to hold them all.

Yet one high profile case goes bad, harming men, and there are not only multiple books, but there are calls to immediately revamp the entire criminal justice system, our media and our colleges so this travesty can never happen again. Where were these people when those being shafted by the legal system and large segments of the public are women who had the added burden of first being raped or abused? AWOL. Where were these people when girls and women are raped and murdered? AWOL.

From these people's perspective the ruining of a life due to injustice related to rape cases only counts when a man is accused of rape. The trauma of being raped followed by injustice within the criminal justice system is rarely worth mentioning and when it is mentioned by these people, it is dismissed as a fluke. According to them the ruining of a rape victim's life isn't a result of rape or the following injustice, that ruining is self-inflicted because she refused to, "Get over it already!"

Many people will come right out and say that the alleged rape victim should be the one being tried when a man is charged with rape yet they will openly deny that this person deserves any of the legal rights given to all those accused of a crime.

This gender bias is often disguised as gender neutral by talking of defendant rights, but their focus on male defendants and their almost complete overlooking of injustices against women prove this disguise to be just that.

Rather than seeking to gain parity through an increase of violence committed by girls and women, I'm seeking to address the largest segment of the problem. And that is boys and men who rape and abuse girls and women. I don't focus on exact statistics because so many men like this anonymous will waste my energy and theirs arguing about the exact rate of sexual violence. For anyone who wants to look at some of the stats, check out RAINN.

It's interesting, but not at all surprising, that the anonymous comments like this one attack first and ask questions (rhetorical of course) later.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:09 AM   3 comments links to this post

3 Comments:

At September 16, 2007 11:33 AM, Blogger isabella mori said...

very well said!

a book that talks about this quite intelligently is "the beast within: why men are violent", by neal boyd.

neal, btw, is a guy, and not "one of those crazy feminists."

 
At September 17, 2007 12:10 AM, Blogger Ginger said...

Awesome post.

 
At October 15, 2007 3:43 PM, Anonymous Z said...

"Any call to change the social and developmental systems we have in place to reduce this gendered violence is assumed to be anti-male which oddly does more to associate all men with the label rapist than what's done by feminists."

So True!! That has always made me shake my head in wonder. So, being anti-rapist is the same as being anti-male, is it? Why? Are all men rapists, then? I think perhaps it is just the men with this kind of attitude that are rapists. My husband certainly does not share this attitude with these men who think they speak for all men.

This is a brilliant post, thank you :-)

 

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