Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Thoughts on "Rape Culture" in the United States

There has been a whole lot of talk about how this country (the United States) is ruled over by a "rape culture," and that because of it, no woman is safe.

Just so we're clear, let me quote Wikipedia:

"Rape Culture is a term which originated in women’s studies and feminist theory, describing a culture in which rape and sexual violence against women are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or tolerate sexual violence against women. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification and rape-apologism."

The problem with the "rape culture" myth in this country is that it is just that:  a myth.  And the primary facet of the myth is that every single woman or girl in this country is in danger from every single man or boy in this country.  And that is just nonsense.

Now, I will openly admit to not reading every single news item that floats down the stream, and I don't watch every single talking head on cable news.  But I do try to pay attention, and I honestly cannot remember ever hearing anyone try to seriously excuse rape in this country.  Not once have I ever heard anyone try to claim that the victim of a rape deserved it.  Not ever.  Not even when the victim was a man.

On the contrary, our society portrays rape as one of the most horrific crimes that can be visited on a woman or on a girl by men and boys.  When people make light if it, they are publicly shamed for their insensitivity and thoughtlessness.

And yes, I specified women and girls as the victims and men and boys as the victimizers specifically and on purpose.  Why was I gender specific?   For a very simple reason.  The myth of "rape culture" in this country ignores the existence of male rape victims.  Completely ignores it.  Of course, male victims of rape not only actually exist despite no one talking about them, they exist in greater numbers than female rape victims.  The people who talk about rape culture as if every female human in the country is an inch away from being raped never ever mention the male victims.

Except when they're making jokes about prison, that is.

But there is a definite double-standard at play here in this country.  Think about this for a moment:  a teen-aged girl is raped by an adult man, society goes ape-shit.  We cannot get that man convicted and in prison (or better yet, executed) fast enough.  But when a teen-aged boy is raped by an adult woman, a lot of people, including people who ought to know better, start snickering to themselves and each other about how the male victim just won the lottery.  I heard one woman actually say that one teenaged male rape victim should "stop complaining" because he obviously "wanted it."

He wanted to get raped by an adult woman?  Really?  And why did he want this?  Apparently because he was male and was a teenager and no man ever turns down sex!  Didn't you know that?

It has been argued that "rape culture" produces the idea that a male victim of a female rapist "got lucky", in the same manner that it produces the idea that a female victim was "asking for it."  I don't think either attitude is systematic of the culture, because the overwhelming majority of people of either gender would consider such attitudes unacceptable if one were to ask for opinions on them.  I think, instead, what is happening is that once again a small number of assholes (again, of both genders) are being used to paint the overwhelming majority of people with a very broad brush.

The majority agrees with neither the attitude that the woman was asking for it, nor that the man was just getting lucky.  The overwhelming majority holds that rape is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can visit on another.  No one with any sort of moral sense or credibility even attempts to excuse away a rape.

That's not a "culture".  That's a logical fallacy.

Though it is interesting that the majority of the assholes who do agree with either of those sentences more often tend to agree with "the man was getting lucky" than "the woman was asking for it."  Just saying.

I mentioned jokes about prison earlier.  Here's the truth.  The number of men raped each year in prison is higher than the number of women who are raped regardless of their circumstances.

Yes, you read that right.  More men are raped in prison than women are raped anywhere.

In 2012, there were approximately 300,000 reported rapes of men in federal and state prisons across the country.  Also in 2012, there were 240,000 rapes of women, either in or out of prison, across the country.  Now, it is true that there are no hard and fast numbers regarding the number of men who were raped outside of prison, but even if it were just one man a year raped outside of prison, 300,001 male rape victims still outnumber 240,000 rape victims.  And no one ever mentions this.

And notable among the people who never mention this are the people who keep talking about "Rape Culture" as something set up to persecute and endanger women.

What's more, when a woman is proven to have made false rape allegations, our culture is quick to make excuses and protect her.  The same people who rant and rave about "rape culture" go to war to defend the woman who made the false report.  Aren't we supposed to protect victims of crime and not the perpetuators of crime?

I know this is going to come as a shock to you, but when a false rape allegation occurs, the victim is the man who was falsely accused, not the liar who destroyed that man's life.  Punishing false accusers will not discourage future rape victims from coming forward, it will discourage future liars from lying.

We don't live in a rape culture.  What we live in is a culture that says that men and boys are criminals because they are men and boys.  It says that violence against men and boys is common and acceptable.  Our culture is one in which the prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or tolerate all forms of violence against men and boys.  Examples of behavior commonly associated with anti-male violent culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, rape=apologism, and false rape allegation-appologism.

The reality is, men have much more to fear from women in our culture than women have to fear from men.

No one would ever think of laughing at acts of domestic violence against a woman or a girl in a movie or television show if they want to keep their jobs, their friends, and their family.  But commercial after commercial after commercial, television show after television show after television show, movie after movie after movie all show men and boys as the proper object of cultural ridicule.  Violence and abuse against men in commercials, television, and movies is so common no one even notices it anymore, and when it is noticed and complained about, apologists leap from the woodwork to defend it.

When was the last time a man murdered his wife and children and then had his crimes excused and explained away by someone because the man in question had been abused as a child or because he suffered domestic abuse at the hands of his wife?

Never, that's when.

Remember the so-called "burning bed" defense?  A woman was acquitted of first degree murder because she said she had been so horribly abused by her husband that the only way she saw to escape the hell she was living in was by setting him on fire while he was asleep?  Lifetime Movie Network made a film about this woman.  She was played by Farrah Fawcett in what many people believed to be that actresses' greatest performance of her life.

Well about that same time that the woman was setting her husband on fire, a man was on trial for first degree murder.  He, too claimed that he was such a victim of abuse that the only way out was to murder his wife.  So he waited for his wife to fall asleep, took her gun (note, it was her gun), and shot her in the head.

The woman who set her husband on fire was found not guilty due to circumstances.  The man who shot his wife was sentenced to the electric chair.

Yeah, sounds like a culture women need to live in fear of to me... 

The pervasive fear of men in our culture is based on nothing.  It is utterly unfounded.  Its bullshit.  It is an intentionally generated product of calculated political theater and feminism, which has become an ideology of hate.  And because there are certain individuals and groups that have profited greatly from perpetuating the myth that men are evil, the myth will, unfortunately, continue.

So now comes the hard part.  Now that we have identified the problem, what do we do about it?

I think the first step is for people (all people, men and women) to realize that life is not a race to see who the biggest victim is.  This is not a "male vs. female" situation where there's only so much care and support to go around.  This is a human thing.  So understanding that neither gender has the high ground (which is a horrible way to put it, but I hope you get what I'm meaning) is the right place to start.

The second step is for people to realize that the "common assumptions" regarding gender relations in this country are, for the most part, cooked up by people who have a seriously financial state in keeping men and women at each other's throats.  I call them the "Professional Women Are Victims Industry,"  because that's basically how they make their money:  convincing women that they are victims, always will be victims, and cannot ever be independent strong human beings, while simultaneously telling men that they are monsters who should be ashamed to exist because they were unlucky enough to not be born female.

This is why I think some of the loudest and most effective voices in the Men's Rights Movement are women, despite the "feminist party line" that all MRAs are hairy-knuckled rapists and misogynists.  These women have taken a look around and seen that the "official party line" of feminism has gone from being a fight for gender equality (a goal for which me must all strive) to a fight to protect and enlarge female entitlement and privilege no matter how much doing so hurts men.

Which brings me to the third thing.

Modern feminist thought must become open to criticism without the critic being immediately lambasted with the misogynist brush.  That's a shaming tactic that needs to stop immediately.  As Carl Sagan once said, "When you are no longer allowed to ask questions, freedom of thought stops."  The idea that the only people who would question the actions and intentions of the modern feminist movement are misogynists denies the existence of women who gladly describe themselves as "anti-feminist" simply because they believe that there is no such thing as an improper question.

We need to stop living in a culture of overblown fear and artificial hysteria.

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