Friday, February 29, 2008

It Isn't Just Victims Of Date Rape Who Cope By Rape Denial

From KMBC out of Kansas City:

["] I hadn't had premarital sex. I felt like I was doing the right thing to get to where I wanted to go in life," said Carrie. Carrie told KMBC's Lara Moritz that one spring night after a study session her car broke down.

"I saw some men come across the street and I thought, 'They'll fix my car,'" Carrie said. "They took control of the situation, took me behind the building and sexually assaulted me." Carrie said she was raped by three different men. She said she felt her sense of self destroyed. [...]

It was that night Carrie said she made the decision not to tell anyone about the attack. "You feel like you are the dirtiest, the nastiest person in the whole world. And there must be something about you that that person saw that made them think this was available to them," Carrie said. [...]

"It was easy for me to say I'd never been raped. If there was talk about a rape on the news or in a book, I had it under control," Carrie said.

According to Heather Mac Donald's theories used in analyzing Mary Koss's study results, this woman's decision to cope with her trauma through denial of stranger gang rape -- for a decade until a news story about the Westport rapist caused her to break her silence -- should be viewed by everyone as proof that there was no rape.

To see this woman's denial as a coping method which allowed her to continue functioning despite her being the victim of gang rape is, according to Mac Donald's only theory, to disrespect this woman.

Further, either Mac Donald's theory is dead wrong or we must believe that this woman who is now speaking out and identifying herself as a rape survivor is a liar. For many people like Mac Donald this woman would seem unreliable because they deliberately confuse labels with reality.

Refusing to believe that someone you trust tried to kill you despite overwhelming evidence doesn't mean you weren't the target of a murder plot. That isn't a difficult concept to grasp yet supposed experts on the mythology of the rape crisis can't manage it when the crime is rape? Really?

An interesting facet in Mac Donald's theory is it turns rape into a completely self-inflicted crime. Don't want to be raped? If and when someone does something which meets the legal standard for rape then simply deny that you were raped and that violence committed against you -- by force of will alone -- becomes not worth prosecuting. No wonder Mac Donald and others like her give so little attention to rapists.

"Don't be a victim" takes on a new and very warped spin. So to does the "boys will be boys" response which makes the rapist's sexual actions literally no different from the non-rapist's. This should scare men who aren't rapists because they are classified by Mac Donald and her ilk as no different during sex than those who repeatedly force others to have sex.

Carrie is one of those supposedly mythical college students who was raped but who didn't call a crisis line while still in college. Unlike the mythology of non-reporting rape victims, this woman wasn't involved in the so-called hook up culture. She followed all of the victim-blaming rape prevention steps and she still got brutally raped.

Like all rapes this happened because she had the misfortune to cross paths with rapists when those rapists felt like they could launch an attack. This reality is uncomfortable for many people who want to believe that they can apply a rape repellent. This distorted thinking and denial of the reality of rape gives most rapists the protection they want. It also gives them an accountability repellent.

But all that victim blaming rape prevention did a number on this gang rape victim and even she felt that she had somehow caused those men to decide to rape her.

Mac Donald rejects efforts to reach women like Carrie when they are in college so they can quickly get the resources they need and have the option of reporting their rapes, Mac Donald and others like her want to dismantle existing college programs she maliciously dubbed as part of the rape industry.

Mac Donald clearly wants to go back to the good old days when there were no rape crisis hotlines. If I had known about a toll-free rape crisis line after I was raped, I would have called it and if I had received the type of support I was able to give as a volunteer advocate, I would have told my parents and it's possible that I would have reported my rape. No doubt about it, my rapist's life would have been disrupted by my disclosure with or without law enforcement involvement.

Yet according to Mac Donald those who run crisis hotlines are described as being part of a rape industry. I think some people protest too much.

For an excellent rebuttal of Mac Donald's LA Times op-ed which includes many informative links, please read the rebuttal op-ed written by SAFER board member Nora Niedzielski-Eichner.

Technorati tags:

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   2 comments links to this post

2 Comments:

At February 29, 2008 8:35 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

Marcella, you've been going great guns here for quite some time, and these last few months you've been applying an original perspective by comparing particular situations in order to highlight the absurdity of rape apologetica.

You are seriously doing an awesome job, and I am loving how your mind works. Most of the time I sputter and gurgle my words without ever reaching clarity, so I'm hoping you will think about a question and somehow or another integrate your response into the rest of your writing, or at least do one teeny wittle post on the subject.

Q: Why do so many people continually deny that rape happens? What fuels the constant motivation for minimizing the amount of misogyny?

Most feminists blogs take great care to delinate the "how" of rape apologetica but very little attention is ever given to the "why". What would it mean if society readily admitted that not only do men rape women, but also that men rape women in tragically large numbers?

Misogyny is an epidemic, but it's so common, so normal that most people don't notice. Our society is so numb to it, that each instance of it merely becomes regulated to background noise -- only annoying if it's right in one's own personal face. What does it mean that most people willfully make excuses for what is right in front of them?

You may of course be tempted to give me a five second answer, and that is not at all what I have in mind. The quick response is that people deny what makes them uncomfortable. So, why does the obvious make them so uncomfortable?

Is there anything else we would have to acknowlege, if we admitted the rampant misogyny? There is a reason people constantly deny what makes them uncomfortable, so what is the reason in this situation?

 
At February 29, 2008 9:05 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

m andrea,

To give you the type of response you are looking for I'll need to decicate an entire post to the subject. I'll give it the subject line of: What really fuels rape denial?

I should have something ready by this time next week.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home