Friday, April 10, 2015

Unfortunate truths

*Potential triggers.

I have just read an article and then a study on rape, the psychology of miscommunication even. It was moderately fascinating in a macabre and jaw dropping way.

The basic idea was a bunch of guys being asked about consent issues. It was interesting to watch the chain of thought process that went on - and how apparent it was that these young men had NEVER really thought about it before. It also clarifies the importance of the concept that 'no means no' needs to go. I'm not that convinced of the 'only yes means yes' line either - though only because a number of people seem to be unable to deal with the concept of consent withdrawn. Yes means probably, until there is a no. No overrides yes. Why can't this be simple?

Here is a list of the times it's acceptable to continue after you have an indicator that your partner does not want this to continue...

That's right. Never. It is never OK, because to continue without clear consent is rape. And the onus is on YOU not to do that. The person who just said no, is not committing a crime by doing so. If you continue, without consent, you are committing a crime. It's really quite simple.

If only various legal systems around the world would catch up with this basic truth. We keep get tied up in issues that shouldn't be issues. What the victim did 'wrong'. Whether the victim acted irresponsibly or not is actually irrelevant, and it is time we acknowledged this. By excusing rapists because 'she provoked him' or one of far too many other stupid justifications, we suggest that men are incapable of controlling themselves. We excuse the inexcusable.

There are of course many problems that lead to this environment where we excuse rape even in some of the worst cases.

This sort of hell bollocks thing for example. It might be best to give that link a miss. It's fairly rage inducing.

So many times, when a rape case hits the media, there are cries of 'women lie about rape' and attempts to find ways she was 'asking for it'. Why do we do this? The statistics don't really bear out the lying idea, the number of accusations that are dropped or thrown out as false is actually tiny. 2% tiny. About on par with other felonies.

A brief piece on that (American figures natural, and I'm too lazy to dig for anything else)

These figures are disputed, but the figures that are shown in those cases are fairly mad and often include such things as, all accusations that didn't go to trial as well as those thrown out of court for any reason. Now as anyone who has dealt with a rape case will tell you - a LOT of women drop their case because it's too bloody stressful to continue. Or because the unbelievably low success rate of rape trials is just so very fucking depressing. What's the point? But the problem both persists and goes further. Because those cases that do get to court, hardly any of them gain a conviction. Why? Because they invariably degenerate into a blame game where anything that might make the victim look bad is trotted out... see why we don't want to go to trial, fuck that shit. And we are not even dealing with things that SHOULD make the victim look bad in the majority of cases. How short was her skirt? Who the fuck cares? Is there a law against short skirts I don't know about - I don't even know why that one comes up so much, since the majority of rape victims weren't wearing anything you'd call skanky even if you are all uptight. Was she walking home alone at night? I'm sorry does some kind of sign only visible to rapists appear over our heads when we do that? "Free pass to rape me" Nope. Still not breaking any laws. Still putting the onus to prevent the crime on the victim, which is bullshit. BULL. SHIT. If my store is robbed late at night, no one tells me I should have closed earlier. Because that would be bullshit. Did she actually SAY no? Did she try to get away? Did she fight? Was she 'physically injured'. In other words, was it a 'real rape' or just one of those pretend ones where there wasn't any consent but sex was had anyway... if you can't sense the sarcasm dripping off that you need help.

I don't think society realises what a huge deal it is for a woman to report a rape AT ALL. Most rapes are perpetrated by someone known to the victim. Suddenly there is both a drop in the likelihood of getting a conviction... "you knew him" "you let him in" "you drank with him" BLAMING THE VICTIM AGAIN. And SO. MUCH. BULL. SHIT. On top of that if the agressor is known to you, he's probably known to your friends or your family or maybe he IS family. Suddenly reporting the rape gets even harder. Because your support people are involved, and you know there's a chance they will take the other side. Can you even imagine? You've had something unbelievably awful happen to you and your support crew are looking after your attacker. I don't even like to think about  it.

I understand the concept of innocent until proven guilty. I thoroughly approve of it. People's lives can be ruined by a false allegation, if people go around believing guilt before the trial has even begun. But it works the other way too. If you go around suggesting that the victim is 'making it all up' before the trial has even begun not only do you potentially endanger the trial proceedings, you also put the victim in a position where if the trial finishes without a guilty verdict she will likely be accused of lying about it for some time to come. Hell even with a guilty verdict this happens. If you label the victim as a tramp, as a fool, as whichever flavour of 'asking for it' is being served today, she has to wear that regardless of the outcome. We need to stop deciding these cases this way. We need to stop seeing excuses for the crime and only examine whether a crime was in fact commited. Maybe trials of this nature need to be explicitly broken into sections. Establish guilt. Establish culpability. Establish sentence. Because it seems that in many cases people will tend to assume that any even vaguely mitigating circumstance (even ones that are not actually mitigating circumstances goddamnit) give grace to see the attacker walk free.

I wasn't going to go into consent, but I think there is one big thing I want to say, that revolves around the idea. Sex is supposed to be GREAT. We are literally designed for sexual intercourse to be super amazing for both sexes. I mean seriously, it is supposed to be FUCKING AWESOME, for all participants. You are supposed to want your partner or partners to be having a good time as well as you. A fucking amazing time. The aim is for everyones bell to get rung. If you're not playing as a team, maybe it's time to look at what you are doing. If you are doing it for any reason other than mutual enjoyment, probably don't eh? (OK I MIGHT let you away with procreation - but seriously if you're trying to have a baby, with someone you love and you don't care about both of you taking pleasure in it, then maybe examine that decision too.) Not having sex won't actually kill you. Restraining yourself is also very cool and powerful. Do that instead. I'll have infinitely more respect for you.

Peace. Out.

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