27 October 2006

Common Sense Advice

From Angry for a Reason. She said if I agree with it, post it at my blog. If you agree, re-post it at yours. Men, this is something we can stop.

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Hell, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all. Instead of that bullshit, how about:
If a woman is drunk, don't rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her.If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her.
If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching TV, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her.
If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend.
If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and it's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist.
Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone.
Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x.
Don't imply that it's in any way her fault.
Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl.
Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.

If you agree, re-post it. It's that important.

-Author unknown.

14 comments:

C. LaRoche said...

Rich: the problem with this sort of thing is that anyone reading it has no intention of raping anyone. And if they do, no amount of "don't" reasoning will stop them.

Oh, and NO ONE should leave drinks unattended. You might as well leave your doors unlocked, too.

C. LaRoche said...

As second comment, this line is a bit odd:

"Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape."

Well, I encourage most of everyone I know NOT to walk alone in Halifax at night, particularly if they're diminutive in stature (I don't, for example). You simply never know. There are some things everyone should do when living in a city to protect themselves against street crime -- which includes rape. Don't walk alone in alleys or secluded areas late at night. Period. You could get mugged or worse. I gather that the writer doesn't mean to imply that we should walk wherever we want without any heed for our own personal safety -- but we lock our doors and install security devices in our homes, don't we? Doing otherwise would be stupid. It is not a woman's fault if she is raped much as it is not my fault if I am mugged -- but there are some common safety rules most people should abide by in any case that can decrease the chances of either of these things happening.

RGM said...

You know the former how? You know the latter how? Basically what your comment boils down to is "Don't bother posting things about why men shouldn't rape women because it's not going to achieve anything." That kind of fatalism doesn't work around these quarters.

And in that same vein, leaving advice about leaving drinks unattended would likely fall on the same deaf ears. If you've made it this far, you probably either don't leave your drink unattended or are so far gone that no amount of "don't" reasoning will convince you to not leave your drink unattended. Of course, if some men didn't have a rape mentality, we wouldn't need to worry about leaving drinks alone in the first place, which takes us back to square one in this discussion and highlights the need for this type of posting.

RGM said...

The purpose of the message is to tell men to stop raping. Period. Obviously there are precautions that we all need to take to ensure our safety, but isn't it a refreshing change to hear a message that's not directed at women that essentially tells them if they do out alone after dark they're "inviting" rapists to target them? Indeed, the problem is not women leaving their homes at night to go for a walk, it's men who rape them. Period.

A reflective story to pass the time: when I was a young lad living in a very small town, I used to play outside at night with some impunity. Left my bike unattended and unlocked for several hours while I was in school too. So did many other kids. Pretty much all with impunity. Around grade 4 or 5, there were some stories of gangs of young men going around harrassing people and beating them up at night. During the day, some bikes (including my own) were stolen.

Now, kids all have locks on their bikes and trick-or-treaters finish up around the same time that I used to start trick-or-treating. It bothers me to no end that kids don't have the freedom to be kids anymore, that they have to be boarded up once the sun disappears, and that someone who pops into a convenience store to get a bottle of Pepsi without locking his bike is likely to walk out of the store to discover that his bike is gone. This is a problem, and I think that ours is the generation that had the absolute last shreds of innocence and grew up to see them taken away. We never used to have to take such draconian precautions in order to give ourselves a sense of security. This is why I find Take Back the Night marches to be such a strong, positive message: it's a big fuck you to all the jerks that have ruined taking a walk after dark. Reflection over.

Anna Lou said...

The point of this, C. LaRoche, which you don't seem to get, is that it is not a woman's fault if she gets raped.

What you're supposed to understand after reading it is that women would not get raped if men did not do it.

It's supposed to take the blame off of women for getting raped (ie: she asked for it because of that short skirt or because she was stupid enough to leave her drink at the table while she went to freshen her make up), and make people think about WHO is actually carrying out the action.

He didn't post it to tell women that they shouldn't take preventative measures...like RGM stated in the first paragraph it's directed at men because it's something you guys can stop.

By the way, nice guys rape too. Don't be so quick to assume that anyone reading this has no intention to rape anyone, as that is really stupid and ignorant. This is in existance to stop you guys from thinking that. It's still rape if your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, and you keep bugging her until she says yes. It's here for all the men who agree that a woman was "asking for it" when she got drunk and wore something skimpy to a bar.

It's a shame that you didn't get the point out of this at all. It's not here to tell people not to be careful, it's here to tell men to smarten the hell up and stop raping women.

C. LaRoche said...

"The purpose of the message is to tell men to stop raping. Period. Obviously there are precautions that we all need to take to ensure our safety, but isn't it a refreshing change to hear a message that's not directed at women that essentially tells them if they do out alone after dark they're "inviting" rapists to target them? Indeed, the problem is not women leaving their homes at night to go for a walk, it's men who rape them. Period."

I understand the point, Rich, although I think the idea that women invite men to rape them is a dead fish in most intelligent company. Do scores of people you know honestly still believe this? Rape is something perpetrated by a rapist, period. We are in agreement.

In an attempt to inspire discussion, however, I was adding my thoughts -- that, despite the fact some rapists are "nice guys", telling them not to rape someone probably has limited usefulness, and if we limit ourselves to this approach, we're going to run into trouble.

Murders are perpretrated by murderers, but telling everyone on earth to stop killing each other isn't going to solve the problem.

Actions tend to speak louder than words. What should we do? Perhaps increase the jail time rapists spend locked up? I think we have to be pragmatic. My own uneducated view is that most of the body of the "four types" of rapists come about because these men feel the need to assert alpha male control, they have no morals or qualms about ruining someone else's life, and rape is seen as the ultimate expression of domination. Is this a pyschological problem, or a societal problem, or both? And what REAL solutions can we derive from asking these questions?

Simply asking men not to rape seems to avoid this discussion, IMHO, especially considering the reasons given in the post all pertain to what you or I might call a reasonable ethical or moral standard for interacting with other human beings -- something that rapists obviously do not share. This is why I spoke up.

"The point of this, C. LaRoche, which you don't seem to get, is that it is not a woman's fault if she gets raped."

I am really at a loss concerning how you arrived at this conclusion based on my comments, other than from spinning "we should be safe ANYWAY, regardless of fault" into "it is the victim's fault". It is not a female's fault if she is raped, obviously. Anyone saying otherwise is an idiot and deserves to be called as such. Regardless, in my opinion we should all be as safe and as responsible for our own saftey and others' safety as possible, from a purely pragmatic standpoint -- against rape, against murder, against mugging, etc. And I know lots of people, male and female, who are NOT, who do not think twice about walking alone at night, and who would benefit from such a message. This isn't a matter of "fault or no fault" so much as it is a matter of not realizing that ol' townish Halifax is still very dangerous after hours (something I did not know until I almost got into an altercation. Now I avoid such things).

C. LaRoche said...

On another note, Rich, most people have figured out by now that I'm basically a blog troll who plays devil's advocate. I find, by taking opposite stances against what someone writes, you can tease a lot more of the argument out of them, and this makes for better discussion than a bunch of "Oh I agree" posting. There's no point in getting upset :)

Hope that makes sense.

On a note a bit closer to things I actually have some knowledge of, you might enjoy the spending vs. security discussion Rob Elford and myself are having over on my page, Rich.

C. LaRoche said...

A final though (I promise!). Keep in mind I am exploring thoughts here, not attacking anyone.

"By the way, nice guys rape too. Don't be so quick to assume that anyone reading this has no intention to rape anyone, as that is really stupid and ignorant. This is in existance to stop you guys from thinking that. It's still rape if your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, and you keep bugging her until she says yes. It's here for all the men who agree that a woman was "asking for it" when she got drunk and wore something skimpy to a bar."

While I understand your point, I think it takes a complete absence of any morals to have sex with someone if they do not want to. Either I am idealist, and believe that most of my sex HAS morals, or the world is a lot worse off than I thought. Both could be entirely true, but I would like to think that the company I surround myself with thinks better.

I mean, let's be honest. "Nice guys" do not rape. If they do, they are not "nice guys." They are sick, need to be punished, and need to understand that they've essentially committed the worst violation of another human being's right to live that can be imagined.

On this:
"it's here to tell men to smarten the hell up and stop raping women."

One beef I've had with some feminism is that it paints all men as if we're a giant blockheaded organization intent on making the female gender submissive.

I am not going to rape anyone. Rape is horrible. The idea alone puts me VERY off. If I see someone getting raped, I will do something about it, even if this puts my life in jeopardy. And if I hear that someone has raped someone else, I will report them to the police. I am proactive in encouraging men to treat with women with respect, and I become angry with men who do not.

Given this, I hope you understand it is frustrating for me to be labelled as "a man who rapes," much as it is probably frustrating to be muslim and be labelled a terrorist. It presumes that my entire gender is subhuman, and that as a part of this gender, I am subhuman too. Often I find this line of tack extremely offensive to my person -- imagine if the tables were turned and I was saying "women need to smarten up and start having babies" as a solution to declining first world populations. Or, that the solution to stopping female-on-male rape is "for women to smarten up and stop raping men." Or that "muslims needs to smarten up and stop killing people."

The implication is that I am talking about ALL men, ALL women, ALL muslims. And this can be off-putting for many of us that share equality views but find that feminists often "blame us first," paint all women as victims, and then point to me as the "only person who can do anything about gender equality". Because saying that the only solution to rape, or feminism, is for men to stop X, Y and W, DOES simply paint all women as victims, hapless to contribute to their own equality unless men everywhere stop what they're doing. See the double standard, and why I said that "real feminists" wouldn't simply paint women as victims non de plus? This is supposed to be a two-way discourse. And, to be honest, it is hard for someone like me to contribute to any discourse when I am automatically accused of being part of a raping party.

Perhaps, because you both seem to be very invovled with this, you can enlighten me.

RGM said...

I knew that there was a hint of idealism underneath that realist exterior you like to show off. And don't you ever sleep? Seriously, these things are hitting my inbox before I get the NY Times.

These last couple posts bring up a couple of major, major themes in feminism today, and thus deserve some rather verbose attention.

The "nice guy" label is one that a lot of men who rape women attempt to use to describe themselves. How else do we account for such a high percentage of rapes being perpetrated by men that women consider "friends" or family members? Nobody likes to think of their husband as something other than a "nice guy," but 16% of all reported cases of abuse by wives involved sexual assaults by their spouse. 70% of all cases of men stalking women involve a person that the woman knows (this ranging from someone she can identify to an ex-spouse), and the closer the relationship is/was, the more likely the woman is to be assaulted and fear for her life. Nobody likes to think they hang out with assholes, or were married to an asshole, or dated an asshole, but it's these seemingly otherwise "nice guys" that are perpetrating a lot of harm on women. They certainly are not nice guys, but they make the claim and the people whom they assault would likely have stood up and said they were a nice guy prior to the assault. That's why I use the "nice guy" instead of just saying nice guys. (All figures come from the latest Status of Women Canada report, entitled "Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends")

On the broad brushstroke thing, it can be frustrating for men when we encounter it. I know this myself, being a man and all. The key thing for guys like you and I, who will never rape women and will do what is in our power to prevent rape against women, is to differentiate ourselves from those who will do harm to women. Of course not all men rape, but we don't walk around with little flashy things on our forehead indicating our thoughts or rapist potential, and the rape rate in this country is significant. Every year, 3% of women are raped/sexually assaulted, and that's just the reported figure. Those who wrote the study estimate that only 8% of those women who are sexually assaulted actually report the crime, so the actual figure could be a lot higher. Because feminists arms themselves with such knowledge, and can't read the thoughts of men, they are rightfully very self-protective. Yes, the important qualifier some men should be applied every time this issue is raised, but in day-to-day life it is ourresponsibility to differentiate ourselves from that segment of the population that does and would cause harm to women.

The differentiation thing is HUGE, and really cannot be underscored enough. When someone who would honest-to-God never rape a woman stares at a woman's ass/breasts for a few seconds, he gives off the same impression that a guy who might rape a woman does when he ogles her. That impression is: "This guy is making me very uncomfortable in my own body. Stop staring at me!" For women under 25, this problem is even more acute, since they are in the age category of women most likely to be raped. It doesn't help that 1-in-3 men in university say they would rape a woman if they believed they could get away with it scot-free (this figure comes from Diana Russell's Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm). That figure is one of the most shocking and terrifying things I have ever read, as you can well imagine. Having gone through 5 years of university studies now, it is incredibly disheartening to know that the famed Ring of Gyges story applies in cases of sexual assault amongst people who are my/our peers.

Bottom line: it's guys like you and I that have the power of persuasion to effect change. We're smart, we use big words, and we have a platform. You'd be amazed at what crap is available on the internet and the level of hatred against women out there. As an example of the senselessness that exists here in cyberland, one of the women from The View recently complained that a particularly violent segment on CSI involved a woman with a name very similar to hers. She felt that, because her name isn't all that common, someone had, wittingly or unwittingly, chosen that name and it made her pretty uncomfortable. She was treated rudely by the makers of the show, and the following gems appear in the comments of the YouTube post that captures the story:
What a conceited, self important c*** [censorship mine]. Very few people in this world gives two shits about you. Get over it!
Good for SVU, I hate this c***! [censorship mine] When you open your stupid bimbo mouth this is what happens, people don't liek you, it goes with the territory so shut the fuck up already!

There's a lot of comments like that. I didn't see anybody saying they would rape her themselves (something I have seen happen to feminists when they raise an opinion), but you get the jist of it. The responsibility for good, caring men is to speak out and take action against this kind of stuff. If you're not part of the solution, you're a part of the problem; all evil needs to win in this world is for good people to sit back and do nothing; all that stuff.

C. LaRoche said...

Thanks for the post, Rich. And actually, no I don't really sleep now that I have no work schedule or class. Well, I do sleep, but lately I've been a bit reversed since I tend to do work/blog/write/research much better at night. That means post-supper. And post-T.V. So I'm up till 5:00 am, then I sleep till about noon, stay up for a while, and take a "nap" afterwards.

I'd be better of in Spain, really.

"It doesn't help that 1-in-3 men in university say they would rape a woman if they believed they could get away with it scot-free (this figure comes from Diana Russell's Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm)."

That's a mind blowing statistic. I'd also like think that a lot of this might be more U.S.-centric (ever read anything about Duke University?), but I doubt that's the case. Although I did my undergrad at King's, where... to be blunt, most men aren't alpha-males and would rather talk about Descartes... I've met lots of random guys at house parties at Dal that, for sure, wouldn't rape someone in the 'traditional' sense, but probably would do all sorts of bad things in that grey alcohol-induced area where people can convinced to do things they wouldn't normally do while sober.

As for the "staring" phenomenon. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, or however we paint it, I have a feeling that humans will never be able to totally go beyond their biological wiring, not at least for another few thousand years. The innate desire to procreate with what appears to be an attractive mate is basically hardwired into our brains from puberty on.

(From what I understand, however, the biological desire to procreate with attractive mates does not have to do with rape, which has less to do with the raped and more to do with the rapists' own need for self-validification of some sort.)

Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I do appreciate another human being if their body is well-kept, they dress well, and they put themselves together well. There is a certain beauty to the female form -- and of course to the male form, though the "bioligcal attraction" does not kick in for me on that account.

Mind you, I'm very fashion-conscious most of the time, so things like hair style and dress can really put me off of someone, male or female, depending on who they are. Hah :)

RGM said...

The 1 in 3 stat is an American one, but even if our frat boys are only half as bad as their American counterparts, that's still a brutally bad figure.

The drunken taking advantage thing is another area that is highly problematic. There's at least two statements in the original post that are applicable in this situation: If a woman is drunk, don't rape her; if a women has repeatedly refused a particular activity, don't rape her. To my understanding there's a lot of pressuring and nagging when girls are drunk to "push the limits" of what they would otherwise do, and like Anna Lou said in her first comment, it is rape if a guy keeps bugging her until she says yes.

The "biological" thing has its own many controversies within it, which I'll seek to avoid for the time being, save for noting that we as humans are so far removed from the Hobbesian state of nature that it is possible, even likely, that almost every thought, expression, and action is based more on culture than nature. Food for thought, to be sure.

Last but certainly not least, what one man may consider to be "appreciating" the female form may well be the very thing that makes a woman's skin crawl if it is uninvited "appreciation." When a woman tells a guy to fuck off after he's whistled at her or made some comment that he felt was a "compliment," it's because she's offended that a guy feels he has the right to infringe upon her space and regard her only for her external appearance rather than the qualities by which she defines herself as a human being (thoughts, hopes, dreams, character, ambitions) and thus reduces her to something akin to a sexual object for his own gratification. It's all about perception, who you are (male/female), and the way in which you see yourself and see others. Truly a fine line to walk.

RGM said...

I knew I should have visited BB's place before coming to my own! LOL

Because I hate grey areas but love hammering points home, this little list does a pretty good job of making drunken (and other) scenarios much more black and white: The Rapist Checklist

C. LaRoche said...

"Last but certainly not least, what one man may consider to be "appreciating" the female form may well be the very thing that makes a woman's skin crawl if it is uninvited "appreciation." When a woman tells a guy to fuck off after he's whistled at her or made some comment that he felt was a "compliment," it's because she's offended that a guy feels he has the right to infringe upon her space and regard her only for her external appearance rather than the qualities by which she defines herself as a human being (thoughts, hopes, dreams, character, ambitions) and thus reduces her to something akin to a sexual object for his own gratification. It's all about perception, who you are (male/female), and the way in which you see yourself and see others. Truly a fine line to walk."

IMHO, I think you can 'appreciate' all you want so long as it stays in your head. Whistling and cat-calling and so on DOES make a girl uncomfortable more often that not, especially in regular day-to-day contexts.

But it is a fine line. I've talked to many women who like being complimented or flirted with at bars. But there's a difference between making a girl uncomfortable and complimenting her on how she looks or her poise and whatnot.

"The "biological" thing has its own many controversies within it, which I'll seek to avoid for the time being, save for noting that we as humans are so far removed from the Hobbesian state of nature that it is possible, even likely, that almost every thought, expression, and action is based more on culture than nature. Food for thought, to be sure."

Entirely true, though I think that culture shapes what are in essence fundamental biological drives -- that is, men are for the most part attracted to women, biologically, and the root of this is our reproductive programming. What sort of woman most attracts a man has to do with that individual's own development. Lump a lot of the same types together and you've got a societal bias toward one type over another. Look at how in the 1800s and before it was considered very attractive for both sexes to have pale skin. Furthermore, a heavier woman was idolized. Now it's almost the opposite --

-- although, thankfully, the super-skinny-to-the-point-of-it-being-unhealthy 'look' seems to have lost a lot its appeal in the last 5-10 years.

There's a nearly universally accepted theory in the developmental psychology side of linguistics that you can't train or educate anything -- perhaps not even a human -- to do something it wasn't originally wired to do. When you train a dog to do a complicated trick for example, you are not introducing any new to its brain aside from a reworking of what it can already do -- perform a pattern of movements for treats.

Following from this, the complete and absolute abjuration of overt, bioligically-driven sexual attraction between human sexes may require something more like an instinctual supression than a change in society. In other words, we might have to become Vulcans.

RGM said...

I didn't deal with this yesterday because I was in a bad mood and didn't have much time for guiding you through what isn't more than entry-level critical thinking. I'm short on time and even shorter on patience this morning.

LaRoche, that post has a lot in it that should be offensive to a lot of people because it denies them a lot of qualities that make them human: autonomy, ingenuity, critical thinking, etc., and instead treats us as little better than beasts. I'm offended by the notion that we're incapable of doing something new, and I'm sure that the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Guttenberg, and countless others that have pushed the frontiers of human possibility would go on the spin cycle (another human innovation that can't be found in nature) if they were to hear such a ludicrous statement.

We don't have to become fictional characters in Gene Rodenberry's mind, all we have to do is use the abilities that make us human. The excuse that "I'm doing what's biological" is an attempt to avoid responsibility and is far more of a "man-hating" comment than most feminists can cook up on their worst days. We can think, we can rationalize, we have a conception of what is right and what is wrong.

I'm done with this, because I'm really not interested in going through this process. This is stuff that I've dealt with too many times to count already, and so have many others. Plus I have to go to work.