Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reducing Acquaintance Rape To A Disagreement

From Benedict Brogan's blog on the Daily Mail:

Labour have spotted something John Redwood posted on his blog over the weekend. The passage in question says: "Again, none of us want men to rape women, but there is a difference between a man using unreasonable force to assault a woman on the street, and a disagreement between two lovers over whether there was consent on one particular occasion when the two were spending an evening or night together." (emphasis added) [...]

Would they feel so strongly if they read the whole thing? The extract above is part of a far longer pro-police post about the hierarchy of crime. He goes on to say: "Labour’s doctrine of equivalence has led to jury scepticism about many rape claims, in situations where it is the man’s word against the woman’s and where they had agreed to spend the evening or night together. Young men do not want to have to take a consent form and a lawyer on a date, just as young women have every right to go on a date and to say “No”, having it respected." I'm not sure. Context is seldom an effective hiding place for politicians.

This context doesn't make anything about the quoted statement any better except to show that many people view rape of those the rapists knows to be automatically less traumatic than stranger rape and to show that juries are more likely to ignore credible evidence of rape when the alleged rapist isn't a stranger.

Context may seldom be an effective hiding place for politicians, but many politicians want context to be an effective hiding place for rapists.

This hierarchy of rape demands an inflexibly excuse-filled view of all non-stranger rapists. This hierarchy is based not on facts, but on propaganda. Nobody would believe that a stranger rapist was guilty of nothing more than a "mistake" or an "error in judgment" or a "misunderstanding" but these excuses get thrown about as easily as confetti when the rapists know their victims.

Smart rapists who want to avoid a criminal conviction notice helpful comments like these and use them ruthlessly to help them deny their crimes or minimize them into nothingness.

These rapists are likely smirking inside at the knowledge that they aren't expected to secure full, legal consent and have plenty of supporters who agree that they shouldn't be punished like the rapists they are if they rape their dates, their friends or their significant others.

All these rapists need to say is, "He said, she said" to get their get out of jail free pass. Until some feminist or politician tries to muck things up by disrupting this patter with the truth that this hierarchy is nonsense. If you rape, you are rapist no matter who you decide to rape.

Let these politicians sell this hierarchy to 14-year-old Ebony Dorsey who was raped and murdered. The man the police believe did it was her mother's boyfriend. Do these people really believe that her trauma would have been less more if her attacker had been a stranger? Do they really believe that the crimes committed against her before she died were less severe because the defendant is someone she knew? Do they really believe that the punishment for this crime should be less if the defendant claims it was a mistake or an error in judgment or a momentary lapse?

If this hierarchy is nonsense in rape/murders then it must be nonsense in rapes where the victim isn't murdered.

This hierarchy exists solely for the benefit of rapists and their pals who would never dare to rape a stranger and who would never openly approve of raping a stranger, but who can rationalize the committing of rape against someone they know.

The focus on young men also brings in the unfounded claims that women routinely lie about being raped by people they know or that young men can't be expected to wait until they know sexual contact is fully mutual and legal without a written document.

When "I didn't consent" comes up against, "How was I to know she wasn't consenting?" the claim of rape is valid.

The message behind this hierarchy is this: "Girls and women, if you don't want to be raped by someone you know never be alone with those you know." How this would be accomplished to prevent marital rape, I'll leave up to politicians like Redwood to explain.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:09 AM   3 comments links to this post


At December 20, 2007 4:12 AM, Anonymous Mortality said...

In many cases rape by someone you know can be MORE traumatic, cos it's not just rape, it's having your trust broken....

At December 20, 2007 3:18 PM, Anonymous StarWatcher said...

Agree with all you said. But here -- Do these people really believe that her trauma would have been less if her attacker had been a stranger?

I think you mean, Do these people really believe that her trauma would have been MORE if her attacker had been a stranger?

At December 20, 2007 4:22 PM, Anonymous Pizza Diavola said...

That comment just makes me sick. How'd Mr. Redwood like to have his body violated, his authority over his body broken, and his will ignored? It says a lot about his attitude toward women that he thinks it's just 'a disagreement' when one person thinks s/he/it's entitled to another person's body, against that other person's will.

Also, people who say it's just 'a disagreement over consent' make me wonder if they've ever had sex, if they've thought seriously about the kind of situation 'a disagreement over consent' implies, and if they routinely abuse their partners. If one person is willing to press rape charges against her/his/its partner, to me that indicates it's not a situation of "Honey, I don't feel like having sex now. Okay, fine, stop whining," but far more serious, dangerous, and abusive, mentally or physically.

I don't know why people consider acquaintance rape less traumatic than stranger rape. They're both traumatic beyond the telling and the relative degree of trauma is less important than the fact that the rapist raped that person. I also don't know why people consider the idea of being raped by someone you know and trust more palatable than being raped by a complete stranger--to me, the betrayal of trust would be additional trauma on top of the rape.


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