Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Perpetrator Friendly Sexual Violence Prevention: Part 1

Harriet at fugitivus sent me an email heads up about an article from June 2009 titled Phoenix Man Streamed Alleged Rape Video Online, Police Say.
A Phoenix man was arrested Monday after allegedly using a webcam to live-stream a video of himself raping his girlfriend of two weeks while she lay unconscious in her bed.

Johnathan Hock, 20, of Surprise, Ariz., faces charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and taking a surreptitious photo after the woman he is accused of raping reported the incident to authorities, according to a probable-cause statement filed Monday in Arizona's Maricopa County Superior Court and obtained by ABCNews.com.
Here's how Harriet opened her email (posted with permission):
It's about a man in Phoenix who live video-streamed the rape of his passed out girlfriend. She found out a few days later, when friends told her where to view the video online. Obviously the whole thing is disturbing, but there are two commentaries that I found especially interesting. The owner of the website where the video appeared defends his rationale in 1) not having taken the video down when it was uploaded initially, 2) leaving still images of the video up now that it's been verified as a rape, and 3) considering putting the full-length video back up, as many "fans" are requesting this. His rationale is fairly wishy-washy, mostly because I don't think he really has one beyond "I'll leave it up if I want to," but he does finally appropriate "rape-prevention" language to justify the ethics-shaped hole in his life, stating that it's a good deterrent to girls who might get too drunk or meet men from the internet. I guess drinking and MySpace were the problem here, not the rapist, and not the online community that supported (and apparently still supports) him and his actions, or at least considers them reasonable entertainment.
The reason given for a man to profit from a sex crime is unfortunately not surprising. The owner of stickydrama.com Chris Stone ignores his role in encouraging people like Hock to commit illegal behavior for the camera and he ignores his role in encouraging people to be fans of sex crimes by lumping rape in with "controversial things."

Stone admits to having posted many videos featuring Hock, as well as still images from the alleged rape that is now being investigated.

Stone said he had no objections to reposting such images. "I follow the letter of the law and I think it's a good thing over time for teenagers, in particular, to see what's happening and what the consequences are of meeting people and getting drunk with them off the Internet," Stone said.

This motive is not credible but it's a convenient one since it allows Stone to position himself as siding with those who are not sexually violent when he and his website are directly benefiting from the commission of a serious sex crime. If Stone is serious about showing people the consequences then he would not allow pictures of confirmed or suspected sex crimes to be used for anything but evidence in criminal and civil cases.

If the law allows someone to continue broadcasting an alleged sex crime even where the suspect has been charged then the law must change so that that there are criminal and civil sanctions for those who have any credible reason to suspect that what they are broadcasting might be a crime. A statement from 1 of the participants that there was no consent for the act and/or the recording of that act must be enough to make future broadcasts in violation of the law.

The implicit and explicit message would be that sex crimes are not welcome. Instead we get:
Stone said he is still deciding whether to post the full-length video on Stickydrama.com, adding that many of his users have been asking him to do so.

If your users are asking to see video of a rape and you are considering giving them what they want then you are definitely teaching people lessons, but those lessons are perpetrator-friendly. Some people enjoy rape and apparently they are among Stone's core audience who he seeks to please.

But Stone's idea that rebroadcasting rape is a genuine form of prevention goes back to many official messages and statements tagged as prevention when they are instead conflating shaming girls and women for sex crimes committed against them with actual prevention.

We don't prevent bank robberies by shaming bank employees. In many bank robberies there is a possibility that the attempt could be foiled, but we acknowledge that there are risks whenever money is being handled.

This shaming approach is nonsensical when we view the crime we are trying to prevent as being a serious crime. The biological component of sex crimes as nullification of perpetrator responsibility is just as nonsensical since some people who rob banks do so because they are hungry and need money to get food and shelter. Our societal message is that we don't care why you are considering robbing a bank.

The same must be true in sex crimes. "We don't care what you need. Sex crimes are wrong and won't be tolerated for any reason."

Instead when it comes to sex crimes committed by someone the victim knows or agreed to meet the person who must be deterred according to too many people is the victim. We must call out all who get sex crime deterrence backwards. Norms are more than what the majority of people believe, they are the dominant expressions.

There was more from the article and from Harriet's email but this post is long enough so I will continue this in part 2.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:58 AM   4 comments links to this post


At January 05, 2010 1:51 PM, Anonymous MariaS said...

I feel absolutely sick to think of the people (men) who are clamouring to see the video & the siteowner who has to all intents & purposes condoned, approved of even, the rapist's assault on the woman. Offered it as porn or entertainment.

When rape is discussed people often proclaim how abhorrent a crime it is & insist that this abhorrence is a widely-shared response to rape. But in reality there's always minimising of actual incidents, rationales as to why what happened to this or that victim didn't count as rape. And worse, how many people like those who watched the video are actually siding with rapists?

I think that bank robbery analogy is a really good one, very useful for exposing the fallacy of victim-blaming. One could ask people to imagine what they would do if they were caught up in a armed bank robbery: they would maybe freeze up in fear & shock, they would feel acutely that they did not know whether or not the robber will carry through threatened violence or not & so do everything they could to comply with the robber & to appease him. No one would tell you that because you gave him the money that you must have wanted to help him.

At January 05, 2010 3:26 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

'If your users (read male viewers) are asking to see videos of a rape and you ae considering giving them what they want then you are definitely teaching people (men) lessons.'

In fact what Stone is doing is not only condoning male sexual violence against women but actively promoting it by accepting and showing videos depicting males engaged in sexual violence against women. Stone himself stated he is 'giving what male viewers want.'

So, does this mean Stone would accept videos depicting a murder perhaps or some other criminal offence which had been recorded because the male viewers demanded it?

I do not think so but when it concerns male sexual violence against women then such violence becomes non-violence and non-rape because apparently women are always 24/7 in a state of 'sexual consent' irrespective of whether or not they are awake/asleep/not being subjected to male coercion/threats etc.

Attempting to 'shame' female rape survivors is a very old male-centered strategy and the only difference is technology is now used to record male sexual violence committed against women and is in fact another form of pornography because filming male sexual violence committed against females is actively desired and wanted by male consumers of pornography. Not satisfied with so-called 'fantasy porn' male viewers now want 'real porn' - ergo filmed acts of real male sexual violence against women - as though there is a difference between 'so-called fantasy porn' wherein women supposedly enact being subjected to male sexual violence and so-called 'real porn' wherein men record their sexual crimes committed against women and girls.

The ones who should be shamed are the male perpetrators of male sexual violence and also the males who whilst not actually committing rape actively condone it by demanding a ready supply of filmed male/males engaged in raping and/or sexually assaulting women/girls.

Given male sexual violence against women is increasingly dismissed as 'non-violence and the female victims are blamed for supposedly causing innocent men (sic) to commit rape, then clearly the message Stone and the male viewers are sending to women is 'you will be held accountable for males raping you - never the male perpetrators themselves.

Not forgetting that male viewers are also able to view actual filmed recordings of male sexual violence because it is 'entertainment!' Not misogyny or male contempt for women.

At January 06, 2010 8:08 PM, OpenID berryblade said...

I just shudder and think of how many sickos are probably watching the footage of me being raped and laughing.

My heart goes out to that young womyn.

At January 06, 2010 9:35 PM, Blogger Erica said...

The worst of it is that the claimed rationale is to show women "what the consequences are of meeting people and getting drunk with them off the Internet," and yet the woman in this video was not drunk, and was sleeping in the supposedly "safe" arms of her boyfriend. So this is what happens when your boyfriend decides to rape you, not what happens when you get drunk with someone you met on the Internet. About as far away as you can get, actually.


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