Tuesday, May 13, 2008

If People Don't Understand The Difference Between Consent And Compliance When ...

... they are talking about a victim who was kidnapped at the age of 10 and who made a run for freedom at age 18 when her captor left her outside his house briefly to talk on the phone while she was vacuuming his van.

Austrian police are facing justifiable outrage over the leaking of details about Natascha Kampusch's kidnapping which support the rationalizations of her kidnapper and others who use any cooperation as proof that their criminal activity is at most only technically a crime and that the kidnapped child became a willing victim.

This cooperation fallacy impacts many cases and not just long-term kidnapping cases. But this fallacy isn't based in logic because most people have been taught that the safest way to get through many crimes is to cooperate. This means that they know that cooperation does not equal true consent. Handing a robber a couple hundred dollars is not the same as giving that person a couple hundred dollar gift. Anyone who suggests this equivalency would be viewed as stupid or dangerous.

At most convenience stores supervisors train new employees to cooperate with their robbers. An employee who tries to fight off a robber is likely to be fired. Losing cash or merchandise is considered more acceptable than the risk of losing a clerk's life.

This isn't a difficult concept for most people to understand unless the crime is kidnapping or rape. Then too many people seem to suffer from brain freeze and any cooperation becomes consent. Then fear of death or physical injury or pain suddenly becomes nothing more than excuses which allow that person to play the victim.

I believe this brain freeze comes in because it directly supports widely accepted strategies and rationalizations of those who are trying to have sex or sexual contact with someone who has not consented to that sex contact. Under this rationalization if they can get an unwilling person to cooperate then they will have gotten legal consent. Committing sex crimes in this way is in no way an accident or a misunderstanding as it gets called when the reality of rape from the victim's perspective is undeniable.

Too often the criminal justice system seems to suffer from similar brain freeze. This can cause a real rape victim to be viewed as a false reporter when the same investigator would never think of applying this label to a convenience store clerk who was equally cooperative.

When someone is under such a constant threat of death that the threat no longer needs to be spoken, complying to unspoken threats is not consenting. Looking happy when your captor allows a friend to see you is not the same thing as being happy about having been kidnapped. If Kampusch hadn't looked happy, it's possible she wouldn't have been left alone the day she escaped.

Trying to find something positive to cling to during 8 years of captivity is not the same thing as being a happy and a willing captive. Working to not be destroyed by trauma does not cancel out the existence or severity of that trauma.

Excusing certain horrific crimes because the victim cooperated communicates people's opinion about the acceptability of those crimes.

Hat tip: The Curvature

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:34 AM   2 comments links to this post


At May 13, 2008 2:31 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Another question we need to ask is who benefits when we read that Natasha Kampusch supposedly gave free and informed consent to her male abuser raping her. The answer is the male abuser and those who refuse to accept that rape is predominantly committed by men against women. Natasha Kampush survived and this was despite having to endure her male rapist abusing her. So, next time I hear or read about a male who co-operates with his captor I must remember the captive male is no longer a captive but instead has freely consented to do whatever his captor demanded. Ergo no crime was committed. This includes a male who is held up at gun point and told to hand over his money/cars/or other possession and once he agrees no crime occurs.

Men who commit rape routinely deny they have committed rape because if they can coerce/threaten a woman or girl into submitting to their demands, then in the male rapist's mind no rape has occurred. Such is the case with Ms. Kampusch because she valued her life more than not being raped by her male captor she supposedly 'consented.' This is another aspect of embedded rape myths wherein unless a woman or girl can 100% prove she resisted and is able to provide male witnesses, then the presumption will primarily be 'well of course it wasn't rape look the b.... consented.' It is called viewing rape from the male-perspective and obliterating all women's and girls' rights of sexual ownership of their bodies. It also supports misogynstic view that all women and girls are sexually insatiable and only need a 'little male persusasion in order to comply with male demands and male beliefs in right of sexual access to any woman or girl.'

Similar views are held concerning men who abuse their intimate partners, because unless the woman leaves her male abuser she supposedly consented to him commiting violence against her.

At May 20, 2008 11:39 AM, Blogger Kaethe said...

Clearly, "a fate worse than death" is taken literally by many people. The woman who fought valiantly and was killed for it will be remembered fondly, but the survivor who permitted herself to be raped, is clearly a slut who asked for it, and/or a liar.

I think to some people, Judge Atherton for example, the only real rape victims are the dead ones.


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