Friends don’t let friends rape

datePosted on 06:00, January 31st, 2009 by Anita

Over the last week or so there’s been a lot of talk about the “It’s not ok” campaign (I recommend Luddite Journo and Russell Brown, I do not recommend Bill Ralston), at the same time I’ve been commuting past huge signs saying “Safe in the City – Stick with your mates” with a picture of young women out on the town.

With drink driving we have, over the last few years, learnt that the person drink driving is 100% to blame and that we can and should step up and help our friends and families not drink drive.

More recently we have at least started to learn that the person who is violent towards their partner, children, elderly parent or other family member is 100% to blame and that we can and should step up and help our friends and families not hurt the ones they love.

Yet when it comes to rape we hold the victim, at least partly, responsible and believe that women have a responsibility to stop their friends and family being raped.

The reality is that we all know people who rape, just as we all know people who have been raped. I’m talking about the fact some of the people we know have raped people they know, and they way they’ve talked about sex and dates and partners so we’ve had every opportunity to hear that true consent isn’t an issue for them.

This isn’t a women vs men issue – both men and women are raped, both women and men rape, and every single one of us is able to stop our friends and family raping.

Why don’t the ads say that?

[Hat tip to Queen of Thorns and her magical sexual assault pixies]

103 Responses to “Friends don’t let friends rape”

  1. Thomas Beagle on January 31st, 2009 at 07:29

    Interesting that you assume that the posters are about rape. It’s a reasonable assumption to make – but I can’t help thinking that the message is slightly different.

    The posters seem to be assuming that women never go into town with the purpose of having a good time, drinking, picking up some guy and getting laid. I can’t help thinking that the posters really show that the establishment is struggling with the idea that modern young women might want to do this.

    You can see this in the slightly retro fashions exhibited in the posters. They’re harking back to a time when women were “nice” and “decent” and wanted to “preserve themselves” for marriage with a decent young man.

    Are the posters about rape or are they about the fear of women being in control of their own sexuality and using it in ways that make conservatives uncomfortable?

  2. Lee - MWT on January 31st, 2009 at 07:43

    A good post – it gets the fingers twitching ….

    and every single one of us is able to stop our friends and family raping.

    Surely we can all display the attitudes which might deter but rape often is a sneaky, devious and secretive act, you may as well suggest that friends don’t let friends abuse children – that is a given. My point being that few rapists or abusers brag about their activities to their friends, and so most often as you suggested the crime is 100% the fault of the perpetrator, not the victim, nor indeed those other victims, the frienda dn families of both the victimm and the perp.

  3. poneke on January 31st, 2009 at 09:52

    when it comes to rape we hold the victim, at least partly, responsible

    Speak for yourself. I don’t, and nor do I believe does anyone I know.

    The reality is that we all know people who rape,

    Again, you speak only for yourself. Are you just setting out to be offensive? Or are you with those who say that any act of heterosexual sex is rape by the man involved?

  4. rainman on January 31st, 2009 at 10:02

    The reality is that we all know people who rape, just as we all know people who have been raped.

    Sorry, but no, we don’t. I honestly don’t know any rapists. Not saying it’s impossible for someone I know to lead a secret life or have a dodgy past, but most people I know would do something about it if we became aware of someone we know committing rape or any other major crime. Your reality may allow you to know “people who rape” without dealing to the issue, mine doesn’t.

    Are the posters about rape or are they about the fear of women being in control of their own sexuality and using it in ways that make conservatives uncomfortable?

    A very good point, Thomas.

    I haven’t seen the poster but I’d think it’s just offering good advice, not holding the friends responsible. In an ideal world, we would not have to take risk mitigation measures against our fellow humans, but here on Planet Earth…

  5. Lew on January 31st, 2009 at 10:11

    Somewhat tangential, but spare a thought for this woman: http://www.stuff.co.nz/4821089a6479.html

    L

  6. David Farrar on January 31st, 2009 at 14:19

    You may know some or many men who rape, but I don’t. I mean obviously I don’t know if secretly they have raped someone just as I don’t know if secretly they have murdered someone. But if I read you post as indicating we all have friends who boast about how they scored non-consensual sex, well them we live in different worlds.

  7. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 15:05

    poneke, rainman, David Farrar,

    If no-one you know has raped, then where are the people who have raped your friends, because odds are they were raped by people they knew?

    I can’t find great stats for lifetime rates of rape in NZ, I can find “up to one third” of Australian women, 17.1% of US women. There are annual sats of 4% of NZ women a year and 2% of NZ men a year in the MoJ survey. All the stats have additional confusion because different forms of sexual assault all get rolled together, and under-reporting is rife and … bah!

    Anyhow, many NZ men and women are raped during their lifetime, and the “who rapes them” stats are much clearer, MoJ again:

    Over a third of the offences were committed by current partners. Slightly more than one in ten involved a boyfriend, and a quarter a friend. A work colleague was involved in about one in twenty incidents.

    That fits my experience, almost all the people (women and men) who I know who were raped were raped by someone they knew, and in a number of those cases I knew the person who raped them.

    Much rape is just like other forms of domestic violence; it happens behind closed doors, but the echoes reach out to friends and family.

    People don’t “brag” about raping a partner/date/friend any more than they brag about punching their partner. But one can still pick up in conversations and time spent together that there’s something wrong. One can hear in someone’s stories that their attitude to sex-with-the-very-drunk is wrong or the sense of entitlement they have when they talk about sex with their partner is wrong.

    The drink driving ads are trying to hone our listening and observing so we notice a mate about to drink home pissed and do something about it. Similarly ads about domestic violence are trying to raise our awareness so we’ll recognise that there’s something bad going on without having to see the punch or the black eye.

    Shouldn’t we also be learning to listen for the tell tale signs of someone who doesn’t think real consent is required?

  8. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 15:13

    Thomas Beagle writes,

    Interesting that you assume that the posters are about rape. It’s a reasonable assumption to make – but I can’t help thinking that the message is slightly different.

    The posters seem to be assuming that women never go into town with the purpose of having a good time, drinking, picking up some guy and getting laid. I can’t help thinking that the posters really show that the establishment is struggling with the idea that modern young women might want to do this.

    I kinda agree :) WCC hasn’t put any publicity out about this round of advertising but their press release for the pre-Christmas advertising sheds some light, and I’ll borrow this quote:

    “Police are still concerned about the level of violent crime, particularly assaults, intimidation, threats and robbery. We’re working with the Council and other private businesses to improve security, lighting and cameras in busy areas. However, we don’t have all the answers, which is why this campaign is so important. People need to be a bit smarter and take more responsibility for the choices they make when they are in the city.”

    So they’re clearly bring a “you need to take (at least some) responsibility for keeping you (and your friends) safe” message to it.

    But I totally agree that it does seem to have an underpinning assumption that women will want to stick with the female friends they went out with. I’m not sure if this is blindness to social change, or an implicit judgement that choosing to go our drinking, pick someone up and get laid is a risky and bad thing and you deserve that higher risk.

  9. Giovanni on January 31st, 2009 at 15:14

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure I don’t know anybody who’s raped anyone either. And the advice to stick with your mates seems a good one to be perfectly honest – I fail to see the implication that you or your friends would then be partly to blame if things went wrong. (Although the phrase “What was she doing in that part of town at that hour?” is alive and well and was recently used by Rome’s mayor.)

    That said: there are subcultures and groups where, as you put it, consent is not an issue, or less of an issue. Like most Italian males my age I came in contact with army life and that’d be one of them. So yes, if you’re saying we ought to combat that culture or those attitudes whenever we happent to encounter them, I’d say it’s a very valid point.

  10. Luddite Journo on January 31st, 2009 at 15:22

    Last comment well said Anita – and I must admit to being slightly surprised at the defensiveness from the people you’re responding to.

    Stopping rape does mean challenging comments we hear from friends, family members, ex-partners whatever that show consent did not really matter to them.
    “She’s up for it tonight” – when someone is drunk and clearly incapable. “Well, she did go into the hotel room with all of them” etc etc etc.
    And of course that won’t stop some people raping – but it will move the boundary of what is acceptable sexual behaviour, little by little, bit by bit.
    Expectations around sex change all the time – I personally cannot IMAGINE accepting sex that was not mutual, lustful or great fun – because I’m a woman in her thirties. If I was a woman in my eighties, I’d probably have vivid memories of lying there and thinking of England – cos that’s what girls did back then.

    Agree too with you Thomas – but I think the two issues are combined. If only women would be better behaved, drink less, wait to have sex with that one special man, well, they’d be less inflamed men about, and probably less rape.

    Yeah, right.

  11. QoT on January 31st, 2009 at 16:00

    Here’s the thing, for everyone who’s claiming they don’t know rapists, they don’t know men who would do that or have done that, how dare Anita imply that their mates brag about rape and they don’t do anything about it.

    Have you ever joked about rape? Have you ever laughed at a joke about rape? Have you ever used or heard the phrase “she just needs a good dicking”, or “man, she’d be less uptight if she just got laid”? Have you used the phrase, “I’d tap that”?

    No, it’s not the same as someone walking up to you and saying, “Hey, man, last night I dropped some Rohypnol in this chick’s drink and screwed her unconscious body”. But it’s part and parcel of a culture that does not treat rape like the horrific crime it is, and does not talk about rape as being more than “scary unshaven man in a dark alley preying on stupid girls”.

    And please, guys, think about how quickly you went straight to the defensive – “*I* don’t know guys who rape!!! *I* don’t know any women who have been raped!” and just ask yourselves – with those kinds of instant reactions, do you think the women in your life are likely to confide in you?

    When the vast majority of rapes are committed by men known to the victim, do the women in your lives feel comfortable saying, “Hey, you know your mate from Saturday rugby? We had a few drinks and then he didn’t stop when I said “no”.”?

  12. Thomas Beagle on January 31st, 2009 at 16:00

    I don’t know of any cases with my friends behaving that way (referring to the acceptability of having sex with the comatose, or forcing it on people). I don’t want to deny rape, nor do I want to say that everything is just hunky-dory in society’s attitudes to it, but I just don’t experience that kind of behaviour in my social circles.

    I do know people who have been raped, but I honestly don’t know of any rapists. And if I did I’d stop knowing them pretty fast.

    I’m starting to think that Anita needs to hang around with a better class of people!

    The one thing I do hear is the sniggering about prison rape (“Ha, he’ll be put in a cell with Bubba!”) – but they’ve kind of stopped making jokes about that around me.

  13. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 16:07

    Luddite Journo writes,

    I must admit to being slightly surprised at the defensiveness from the people you’re responding to.

    It makes me wonder if I’d said “We all know people who commit acts of domestic violence” I would have got the same answers. Perhaps despite all the effort at education there’s still a widespread belief that domestic violence happens in other people’s homes, not my home, not my family’s, not my friends’.

    Or was it the word “rape” that was a bridge to far?

  14. Stranger danger is strange | The Hand Mirror on January 31st, 2009 at 16:09

    Stranger danger is strange…

    Anita has a great post up about stopping rape, which has already turned into an interesting discussion at Kiwipolitico. You may wish to mowsie on over and add your 2c 5c 10c….

  15. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 16:13

    Thomas writes,

    I’m starting to think that Anita needs to hang around with a better class of people!

    Wow, this is the most offended I’ve been in ages.

    Are you saying
    1) That I shouldn’t hang around with the kind of people who get themselves raped?

    or

    2) That I shouldn’t hang around with the kind of people who talk about having been raped?

    I’m sure it was meant as a throwaway funny, but I’m not sure it struck quite the note you intended it to.

  16. Giovanni on January 31st, 2009 at 16:16

    Have you ever joked about rape? Have you ever laughed at a joke about rape?

    Oh dear Lord, not again!

    Have you ever used or heard the phrase “she just needs a good dicking”, or “man, she’d be less uptight if she just got laid”? Have you used the phrase, “I’d tap that”?

    No. Have you or anybody you know?

  17. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 16:19

    Giovanni writes,

    And the advice to stick with your mates seems a good one to be perfectly honest – I fail to see the implication that you or your friends would then be partly to blame if things went wrong. (Although the phrase “What was she doing in that part of town at that hour?” is alive and well and was recently used by Rome’s mayor.)

    I was talking to a 17 year old about the posters recently, and both of us pointed out that every single woman we know is aware that they “should” walk in well lit popular streets not too late or too drunk with friends while wearing conservative clothes.

    We all know the “rules”, it’s not clear what the ads are trying to do other than increase our sense of responsibility.

    To cheer my day up I realise I now have an excuse to post song lyrics in a comment :)

    Good girls walk fast
    In groups of three
    Fast girls walk slow
    On side streets
    Sometimes the girls who walk alone
    Aren´t found for days or weeks

    3,000 miles – Tracy Chapman

  18. QoT on January 31st, 2009 at 16:25

    No. Have you or anybody you know?

    Yes, Giovanni. A long time ago. Nobody’s perfect. But interesting how your immediate reaction was to make this about my standards of behaviour, in a discussion about whether we hold rape victims accountable for their rape.

    Oh dear Lord, not again!

    Yes, Giovanni, it’s so annoying the way humorless feminists want to take all the fun out of life! Why, without blonde jokes and “how do Maoris [sic] say the alphabet” and “black man’s cock” punchlines our society will be just SO drab and boring! PC gone mad! It’s just a joke, Jeez (if you’re not the person being marginalized by it, natch).

  19. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 16:52

    Racist jokes legitimise racism
    Sexist jokes legitimise sexism
    Homophobic jokes legitimise homophobia

    In my grandparents’ day there were plenty of anti-catholic jokes and anti-catholic violence and bullying. Fortunately that is no longer true, and (as far as I can tell) our society hasn’t become more humourless and boring.

  20. Lew on January 31st, 2009 at 16:59

    Anyway, to address the question itself: I think it’s a matter of prudence (and I mean this in the responsibility sense, not in the related-but-loaded prudishness sense). The danger posed to normal drivers by drink-drivers is largely random – that is, one can’t do very much to mitigate against it. Nevertheless, drivers are frequently admonished to stay clear of erratic drivers, to ensure that their car is safe, that they themselves are alert and capable of driving defensively, and so on – all good advice, things one might prudently do in order to keep safe. I see the Stay Safe in the City campaign as being similar to that. Staying with the girls – or more generally, with people you trust – is a fairly straightforward and prudent advice. We might like our public spaces to be safe, and by world standards they are – but that’s no reason to be imprudent.

    I see wider awareness about community responsibility for rape and similar crimes as an (underused) tool, but until levels of safety are near-perfect, prudence is the first line of defence. I think it’s important as a society to not simply put up the posters and think `well, that’s that problem taken care of’ and cease other actions in service of the same aim, but it’s sound advice which will serve people – women, men, everyone – well until things get better. If they ever do.

    L

  21. Lew on January 31st, 2009 at 17:04

    Hey lads,

    If you know more than six women (according to the most conservative credible figures), then, mathematically, you know someone who has been a victim of sexual violence. I think the number for men is eight. Since most of us know many more than that, it’s practically a dead certainty that you do. Knowing perpetrators of sexual violence is somewhat harder to quantify, but as Anita says, chances are that they’re close to the victim. So the better you know their social group (and especially if you are part of their social group), the higher the chance that you do.

    Just because you don’t know they have doesn’t mean they haven’t.

    L

  22. Luddite Journo on January 31st, 2009 at 17:20

    Lew – well said.
    All of this “not in my social group” stuff we’re hearing from some in this thread is just a way of pretending rapists are the strange, mad, evil man lurking in the shadows by the park.

    As opposed to people we know, like, drink with, love.

    Come on boys (though I’m sure there are women out there who would say similar things) – let’s be a bit braver about this.

  23. Giovanni on January 31st, 2009 at 17:35

    But interesting how your immediate reaction was to make this about my standards of behaviour, in a discussion about whether we hold rape victims accountable for their rape.

    Is that what this discussion is about?

    Yes, Giovanni, it’s so annoying the way humorless feminists want to take all the fun out of life! Why, without blonde jokes and “how do Maoris [sic] say the alphabet” and “black man’s cock” punchlines our society will be just SO drab and boring! PC gone mad! It’s just a joke, Jeez (if you’re not the person being marginalized by it, natch).

    My reaction refers to the fact that myself and others have been discussing “bad jokes” on THM for ten days or so. Turns out I have stronger feelings about this issue than I thought I would… And yes, you’re right, I’m a victim of nothing. I wish New Zealanders would cooperate by displaying the prejudice versus Italians I’ve been hearing so much about and is so valiantly displayed in other countries, but if anything’s it’s been reverse discrimination thus far. Bastards.

    Trying to stay on topic, I think that Anita’s following equations

    Racist jokes legitimise racism
    Sexist jokes legitimise sexism
    Homophobic jokes legitimise homophobia

    make perfect sense. *BUT* I disagree that a joke involving rape (call it a “rape joke” if you will) is necessarily a sexist joke. (And I refer you to the linked discussion if you really want to know the particulars of that position – I’m neither interested in explaining myself again nor in derailing this thread in that direction).

    More generally, and perhaps appositely, when political correctness fails IMO is in those instances where it imposes wholesale bans. There is nothing we shouldn’t be allowed to discuss – it’s how we discuss it that matters. But again, I’ve said my peace there. Relief all round.

    As opposed to people we know, like, drink with, love

    Sorry, I still don’t (knowingly) know any rapists. I’m not making judgments about people who do, but neither am I going to feel bad for that particular gap in my socialisation. The claim that “we all know rapists” is simply rubbish.

    (Aside: the five minute editing feature is brilliant!)

  24. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 17:42

    Giovanni writes,

    Trying to stay on topic, I think that Anita’s following equations

    Racist jokes legitimise racism
    Sexist jokes legitimise sexism
    Homophobic jokes legitimise homophobia

    make perfect sense. *BUT* I disagree that a joke involving rape (call it a “rape joke” if you will) is necessarily a sexist joke.

    My equation gives

    Rape jokes legitimise rape.

    I wasn’t arguing that rape jokes are sexist here (although I am now tempted :), I was arguing that by joking about rape we imply that it is something that is a normal part of our society.

    Sorry, I still don’t (knowingly) know any rapists. I’m not making judgments about people who do, but neither am I going to feel bad for that particular gap in my socialisation. The claim that “we all know rapists” is simply rubbish.

    I believe you know rapists (unless you tell me you know almost no people), but I agree that you may not know they are rapists. In the same way many years ago you will have known people who beat their partners or drove drunk but you may have been unaware of it.

    I think society will be better when we are better at recognising rapists amongst our family and friends and addressing their behaviour.

  25. poneke on January 31st, 2009 at 18:24

    Racist jokes legitimise racism
    Sexist jokes legitimise sexism
    Homophobic jokes legitimise homophobia

    I agree and I never have and never would utter such “jokes” and on the few occasions people have in my presence, I have objected strongly.

    Rape is not a matter to “joke” about either, but this does not mean I believe that all men are rapists and that many of my male friends are rapists and my female friends are rape victims. One of my female friends was raped at the age of 14. Others I have discussed the issue with have stated they have never been raped.

    The statistics you talk about are the kind that treats an unpleasant and uninvited teenage kiss in the back of a cinema as a sexual assault. An unwanted teenage kiss doubtless is unpleasant but it is a long way from a rape in all but the minds of those who generate such statistics to paint all men as rapists.

    “No” means “no” to me, even in the loving long-term relationship I am blessed with being in. Any sexual act should be consensual on the part of those involved. But I do not regard consenting heterosexual acts as rape, however the statistics generators might feel about them.

  26. Giovanni on January 31st, 2009 at 18:25

    I wasn’t arguing that rape jokes are sexist here (although I am now tempted :), I was arguing that by joking about rape we imply that it is something that is a normal part of our society.

    So comedy cannot joke about anything on the way to rejecting it? That’s funny, because it means that feminists or otherwise progressive comedians cannot joke about sexism. They’ll be somewhat shocked to hear that I expect.

    I believe you know rapists (unless you tell me you know almost no people), but I agree that you may not know they are rapists.

    What are we talking about here? Because if we’re talking about friends, the people I could possibly influence in conversation and over whom I have some influence (and that have influence over me), I cannot absolutely guarantee you that I don’t know any rapists. Could I possibly have a passing acquaintance with somebody who went on to be a rapist – say a schoolmate? That’s entirely possible. But presumably your point is limited to the people we can influence. The people I “know, like, drink with, love”. And if you tell me that there’s a rapist amongst that lot, I’d say that it’s the most patronising and insulting thing I’ve heard in a while. You don’t know my friends. I do. And come to me with statistics, I’ll still say “it’s rubbish”.

    Do I know women that have been raped? Yes. But people I knew/had influence over? No. So you’re drawing a blank there too, sorry.

  27. QoT on January 31st, 2009 at 18:31

    So comedy cannot joke about anything on the way to rejecting it? That’s funny, because it means that feminists or otherwise progressive comedians cannot joke about sexism. They’ll be somewhat shocked to hear that I expect.

    There is a world of difference between a joke whose punchline relies on finding an assumption funny (that women are sluts, that blondes are stupid) and a joke which specifically highlights the stupidity of that assumption.

    Trying to draw the conclusion that a topic is totally taboo and unable to be discussed or satirized under any circumstances from Anita’s statement is hilariously disingenuous at best.

  28. Giovanni on January 31st, 2009 at 18:34

    Trying to draw the conclusion that a topic is totally taboo and unable to be discussed or satirized under any circumstances from Anita’s statement is hilariously disingenuous at best.

    And yet – lo and behold, it’s exactly what she wrote:

    Rape jokes legitimise rape.

  29. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 18:41

    Giovanni,

    I will now try to draw a line between “rape jokes” and “jokes about the issue of rape” :)

    One can tell a joke about racism which does not legitimise racism, but a racist joke necessarily legitimises racism.

    I perhaps should post this on THM, but the line (to me) is between a joke that a rapist (or a racist, or a sexist, or a homophobe) would tell and a joke that a rape survivor (or …) would tell. It is about who has the power and which world view is being legitimised.

  30. QoT on January 31st, 2009 at 18:43

    Any real argument with that premise, Giovanni, or just more derailing? Any examples of a joke that could be termed a “rape joke” that doesn’t legitimize rape?

    A rape joke is a joke about rape. A feminist comedian dealing with issues around rape, like rape myths, like society’s unwillingness to confront it as an issue, doesn’t treat rape lightly and doesn’t use rape as a punchline. To pretend that Anita’s statement could ever have been inclusive of such material is just ridiculous.

  31. Giovanni on January 31st, 2009 at 18:52

    Any real argument with that premise, Giovanni, or just more derailing? Any examples of a joke that could be termed a “rape joke” that doesn’t legitimize rape?

    Absolutely, and you’re right about the derailing. So go to the THM thread referenced above, I make two specific examples – one of which (the Maher joke) is regarded by others as sexist, whereas I’d strongly argue otherwise. Cancel the “I’d”: I did.

    That said…

    but the line (to me) is between a joke that a rapist (or a racist, or a sexist, or a homophobe) would tell and a joke that a rape survivor (or …) would tell. It is about who has the power and which world view is being legitimised.

    …we may disagree on individual examples, but obviously we agree on the general principle, so I’m going to sleep easy in that knowledge.

  32. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 18:55

    poneke writes,

    Or are you with those who say that any act of heterosexual sex is rape by the man involved?

    But I do not regard consenting heterosexual acts as rape, however the statistics generators might feel about them.

    That’s twice. Did you read that in anything (or any of the commenters) wrote? I was very clear in my post that both men and women are raped, and both women and men rape, and I thought I made it clear that consent is exactly the line.

    The MoJ stats also don’t count the way you suggest (unsurprisingly).

    I feel like you’ve walked into this conversation with half another conversation already played out for you that the rest of us haven’t heard. Care to summarise for the rest of us? Or, of course, point out where I said that men who have only consensual sex are rapists?

  33. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 18:56

    Giovanni,

    …we may disagree on individual examples, but obviously we agree on the general principle, so I’m going to sleep easy in that knowledge.

    :)

    So to go back to Luddite Journo’s point. Have you ever heard the kind of joke about rape that a rapist might tell but which a rape survivor probably wouldn’t? And, if so, what did you do? Or what would you do if you did?

  34. poneke on January 31st, 2009 at 19:00

    That’s twice. Did you read that in anything (or any of the commenters) wrote? I was very clear in my post that both men and women are raped, and both women and men rape, and I thought I made it clear that consent is exactly the line.

    Women are incapable of committing rape, but your continued claim that they apparently do is something I find bewildering.

    While men can be raped, they cannot be raped by a woman.

  35. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 19:02

    poneke writes,

    Women are incapable of committing rape, but your continued claim that they apparently do is something I find bewildering.

    ?! In what sense are women incapable of committing rape?

    Or, perhaps more sensibly phrased, how are you defining rape so that it is impossible for a woman to do it?

  36. Anita on January 31st, 2009 at 19:09

    Actually, to short cut this slightly…

    A woman can (amongst other things)

    1) Penetrate another person without their consent with (amongst other things) her fingers or an object.

    2) Point a gun at someone and threaten to kill them if they don’t perform oral sex on her.

    3) Drug someone to the point they are incapable of genuine consent and then have sex with them.

    (Yes, I have avoided vagina-around-a-penis rape to see if we avoid waving medical texts around :)

    [Oops, I had missed your update to say you were only talking about a woman raping a man, my examples all still stand though]

  37. Lew on January 31st, 2009 at 20:01

    Poneke:

    While men can be raped, they cannot be raped by a woman.

    This is an absurd and ill-considered statement. For values of “rape” defined as “non-consensual sex” a woman most certainly can perform rape.

    Anita: (Yes, I have avoided vagina-around-a-penis rape to see if we avoid waving medical texts around :)

    I haven’t, and I don’t need to.

    Physical arousal (required in the man for the, err, `classical’ rape by a woman) is independent of consent; which is to say, one can have an erection and yet not consent to sex. Folk who are are married or otherwise party to a relationship requiring fidelity may have experienced this. Also, arousal is not tacit consent; it is perfectly possible to experience arousal or even pleasure and yet not give consent. This has a bunch of legal precedent (victim agreed to go so far, but not that far) as well as the obvious physiological and moral rationales.

    Women are (occasionally, but it does happen) charged with rape of underage boys. The victims of child sexual abuse often report experiencing arousal or physical pleasure during the abuse. This doesn’t make it right, and the charges brought are still (often) rape – and none but a fool would argue that some form of physical pleasure somehow prevents an act from being a rape. You hear this argument from time to time, mostly in jest: “oh, yeah, but she liked it.”

    L

  38. Monkey Boy is a Racist, Sexist Homophobe- and Possibly a Rapist…

    . . . opines Anita at kiwipolitico (click on Title for link). All of this on the back of a post claiming that “Friends don’t let friends rape”. Does it follow that by poking fun at this Monkey Boy legitimises rape?…

  39. Lucy on February 1st, 2009 at 10:02

    The statistics you talk about are the kind that treats an unpleasant and uninvited teenage kiss in the back of a cinema as a sexual assault. An unwanted teenage kiss doubtless is unpleasant but it is a long way from a rape in all but the minds of those who generate such statistics to paint all men as rapists.

    I don’t know if I’m missing something here, but an “uninvited and unpleasant” kiss *can be* a form of sexual assault. The seriousness might vary with time and place, but that doesn’t make it any less real. I would never equate someone who planted an unwanted kiss on someone else with a rapist, but I would say they probably had things to learn about assuming consent and personal space. And that someone should talk to them about these things.

    As far as I can see, no-one on this thread has tried to say that all men are rapists. You brought that accusation up. The fact is, however, that given the statistical occurence of rape vs. the prosecution of it (let alone conviction), most rapists are never caught, or even charged. You may never know that you know someone who’s been raped or committed rape, but statistically, you almost certainly do. The majority of people are not rapists. But some are. And they are not rapists out of nowhere; they commit rape because they grew up in a society which minimises the severity of rape and sexual assault, and ignores the harm done to the victims. So it’s all of our job to take rape and sexual assault seriously, and to speak up when we hear people making light of it. Otherwise, it will continue.

    And I rather think that includes speaking up when people assume that sitting in the back of the cinema with someone is an invitation to a sexual advance, which the recipient should just put up with and not feel violated by, whether they want it or not, or have in any way invited it.

  40. maggywelly on February 1st, 2009 at 10:15

    What I think the initial post was about was stories like mine.

    The day after my boyfriend raped me I went to work. I told my work colleague what had happened. She consoled me. She told me what had happened to her when she was a child. My boyfriend turned up with roses to see how I was. I went to get changed so I could go home because I was in no state to work. When I came out of the toilet my colleague was consoling him, hugging him, telling him it would be all right. I went home with him. He moved into the spare room in our flat. Our flatmates said nothing. We eventually moved into the same room again. I stayed with him a year. When we broke up I finally had the courage to tell some of my friends what had happened. They would console me. Tell me what a bastard he was. A few days later I would see them sitting next to him in a group chatting to him as if nothing was wrong.

    All those times a friend decided that it was just too awkward to shun him made me feel like i was being raped all over again. I see him around. I moved to a different city for a few years but now I’m back. Every time he looks at me my soul dies just a little.

    Those people who were my friends. They wern’t bad people. They just didn’t know how to act. After all he’s such a nice guy isn’t he?

  41. rainman on February 1st, 2009 at 10:53

    I’ve read this entire thread of comments and spent a bit of time thinking about the issues, and conclude the following:
    - I’m not being “defensive” or not “brave”, Anita’s implicit assumption about me and my social circle is deeply offensive, statistically inconsistent, and in general shows a lack of joined-up thinking.
    - I have a zero tolerance for rape or other crimes of violence, which is based on real-world experience.
    - I do not hear or utter bullshit like “she’s up for it tonight”, or “she just needs a good dicking” etc. – I don’t even hear jokes about rape. Sex jokes, sure, but rape? Does anyone know any funny rape jokes? Takes some imagining.
    - I’m not sure what “I’d tap that” is specifically meant to convey. Does Tap=Rape? Or is Tap=To have Sex with, and you can’t tell the difference?

    Specific replies:

    and just ask yourselves – with those kinds of instant reactions, do you think the women in your life are likely to confide in you?

    Stop talking out of your arse. An ex of mine was raped, and another ex or hers and I took the appropriate steps to get at least some of the people involved to justice. So, yes, I do think the women in my life are likely to confide in me, and I’m quite happy with my attitude.

    If you know more than six women (according to the most conservative credible figures)..

    I call bullshit. Which studies, which methodologies, which definitions of abuse? I know some people who were abused by fathers or uncles, and few who were raped by opportunistic external criminals. I probably know some people who have been raped and don’t talk about it. But I do know lots of people. 1/6? Nah, not in my world.

    The statistics you talk about are the kind that treats an unpleasant and uninvited teenage kiss in the back of a cinema as a sexual assault. An unwanted teenage kiss doubtless is unpleasant but it is a long way from a rape in all but the minds of those who generate such statistics to paint all men as rapists.

    The claim that “we all know rapists” is simply rubbish.

    And offensive. If I knew a rapist I would make sure that I soon knew a jailed crim.

    The people I “know, like, drink with, love”. And if you tell me that there’s a rapist amongst that lot, I’d say that it’s the most patronising and insulting thing I’ve heard in a while. You don’t know my friends. I do. And come to me with statistics, I’ll still say “it’s rubbish”.

    Absolutely.

    I have been enjoying Kiwipolitico so far but if it’s going to turn into a timewarp to tired old 60s “all men are rapists” feminism, y’know, there’s better things to have on my RSS feed list. Yes the gender problem is still here, but old thinking didn’t solve it then and won’t now. Clue up.

  42. Lucy on February 1st, 2009 at 11:24

    And offensive. If I knew a rapist I would make sure that I soon knew a jailed crim.

    I can’t believe I’m rising to the bait here, but – how? With your magic powers of mind control over the jury?

  43. rainman on February 1st, 2009 at 11:41

    I can’t believe I’m rising to the bait here, but – how? With your magic powers of mind control over the jury?

    Yeah OK, a reported crim then, oh pedantic one. I am assuming a functioning justice system that results in the guilty being punished….

  44. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 11:41

    rainman:

    I call bullshit. Which studies, which methodologies, which definitions of abuse? I know some people who were abused by fathers or uncles, and few who were raped by opportunistic external criminals. I probably know some people who have been raped and don’t talk about it. But I do know lots of people. 1/6? Nah, not in my world.

    Then I suppose you live in a different world to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, who in 1996 when surveying a range of research into rates of prevalence of sexual violence, found the following figures (among others):


    * A national probability sample of 1,835 women at 95 colleges and universities in Canada found that 23.3 per cent of the women had been victims of rape or attempted rape


    * A survey of 2,270 adult women in Seoul found that approximately 22 per cent of adult women had been the victim of either attempted rape or rape

    * In the United Kingdom, a sample survey of 1,476 women at universities and polytechnics found that 19.4 per cent had been the victim of sexual violence

    * According to one study of 6,000 university students in the United States, one out of six female students reported that they had been a victim of rape or attempted rape during the previous year. In the same sampling, reportedly 1 out of 15 male students stated that they had committed rape or attempted to commit rape in that year

    Those proportions are roughly one in five, one in five, one in five and one in six. You can read the entire report here.
    The figures I quoted are from para 23, and I haven’t quoted selectively (the other figures deal in absolute numbers, not proportions of a population, or measure something else). I recommend doing so if you hope to sound credible on this subject. There’s plenty more recent research on the subject which hasn’t come to wildly different conclusions.

    I have been enjoying Kiwipolitico so far but if it’s going to turn into a timewarp to tired old 60s “all men are rapists” feminism, y’know, there’s better things to have on my RSS feed list. Yes the gender problem is still here, but old thinking didn’t solve it then and won’t now. Clue up.

    There’s no implication that “all men are rapists” whatsoever; Anita has been at pains to point out that women can perpetrate sexual violence also. The point is that sexual violence is more prevalent than people think and affects more people than they realise, and that leads to it being minimised and marginalised. This thread unfortunately provides evidence to support that argument. I agree that the points in the initial post are somewhat strongly made and perhaps overbroad, but there’s no use in taking offence.

    L

  45. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 11:52

    Reflecting on the responses somewhat, it seems people are taking umbrage because they think Anita is calling for people to suspect their friends, co-workers or family members of being rapists, and to interact with them on the basis that they might be. My read is that she’s saying that some of these people statistically are, we don’t know who they are and it’s not reasonable to treat them all as if they are, but we should make it crystal clear in our choices of behaviour and language and jokes and such that we know some of them probably are, and don’t accept or condone it.

    L

  46. Deborah on February 1st, 2009 at 11:59

    I put up a comment, anonymously, but decided to delete it and put it in with my name, because I hope that over the last year or two I have built up as least some credibility among NZ bloggers.

    I have been pressured into having sex. It wasn’t a terrible event, and usually I don’t conceptualise it as rape, because it’s not worth the emotional effort (for me), and because it wasn’t a violent or shocking event, and because I don’t want to put my experience in the same category as other women’s experiences. Nevertheless, it was rape, because it was sex without consent.

    Nevertheless, a boyfriend pressured me into sex that I really did not and had said that I did not want. I was young and inexperienced, he was older, but I had quite clearly said that I did not want to have sex. The reason was quite straightforward – I wasn’t on the pill. So the next day, the only time I have ever had to do this, I had to go and get the emergency contraceptive pill from my doctor. I am reporting these details so that you know that I really did not want to have sex. You will have to take my word for it that I told him that I did not want to have sex.

    My boyfriend felt able to pressure me into having sex because he didn’t respect what I said, and he didn’t respect my right to control my own body. I think that we still don’t live in a society where women can control their own bodies. I think we live in a society where men think it’s okay to pressure a woman for sex, even after she has clearly said no.

    I suspect that my experience is very, very common indeed, and that it will continue to common in a society where people accept rape as commonplace and ordinary and not worth commenting on.

  47. David Farrar on February 1st, 2009 at 12:04

    Sadly some of my female friends have been raped. But with just one exception it was strangers, not people I know. In one case the person responsible was someone I knew vaguely, but I have not had any contact with him since it happened apart from telling him he’s a scumbag predator in a cafe.

    So again I am mystified where Anita gets the impression we all have loads of friends who go around raping, and there is a culture of tolerance around it.

  48. Lucy on February 1st, 2009 at 12:11

    Yeah OK, a reported crim then, oh pedantic one. I am assuming a functioning justice system that results in the guilty being punished….

    Yeah, well, in the real world, where sex offences have one of the lowest rates of conviction of any crime (for instance, just 5% of people charged with rape in Britain are convicted) that’s a not particularly useful assumption, and one that demonstrates you don’t have a good grasp on the realities of reporting rape.

    Reflecting on the responses somewhat, it seems people are taking umbrage because they think Anita is calling for people to suspect their friends, co-workers or family members of being rapists, and to interact with them on the basis that they might be. My read is that she’s saying that some of these people statistically are, we don’t know who they are and it’s not reasonable to treat them all as if they are, but we should make it crystal clear in our choices of behaviour and language and jokes and such that we know some of them probably are, and don’t accept or condone it.

    That was my take too.

  49. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 12:36

    So again I am mystified where Anita gets the impression we all have loads of friends who go around raping, and there is a culture of tolerance around it.

    Quite the mischaracterisation, David.

    L

  50. Anita on February 1st, 2009 at 12:38

    maggywelly & Deborah,

    You make the point beautifully.

    Thank-you.

  51. Anita on February 1st, 2009 at 12:43

    rainman writes.

    And offensive. If I knew a rapist I would make sure that I soon knew a jailed crim.

    If someone was raped by their partner/date/friend/colleague and told you would you go to the Police even if the victim didn’t want you to?

    I ask because it’s a really hard line to walk, on the one hand one has to respect the victim’s wishes, on the other we have a justice system for a reason. Once one factors in the imperfections of the justice system we do have it’s not an easy call.

    I have been enjoying Kiwipolitico so far but if it’s going to turn into a timewarp to tired old 60s “all men are rapists” feminism, y’know, there’s better things to have on my RSS feed list. Yes the gender problem is still here, but old thinking didn’t solve it then and won’t now. Clue up.

    Where did you read “all men are rapists” in my post or the comments in the thread?

  52. annonymous on February 1st, 2009 at 12:45

    My group of friends were actually discussing this over the holidays – every one of us (about 11 people) had at some time been pressured to have sex or do something sexual that we did not want to do. this was from partners or strangers and in most people said they ended up “giving in” out of expediency – it was the quickest way to make the situation end.
    Now I personally didn’t equate my experiences of this with rape and I’m sure all the people involved would be horrified to hear in hindsight how their behaviour effected people.
    So while I dont think everyone will know a “rapist” my experience is that in the heat of the moment lots of people can act in ways that they would never normally, and by not speaking out the behaviour doesn’t change.

    I also feel I have some personal responsibility in my own experiences – I should have been more forceful saying no, and the next day I should brought it up with my partner so he knew exactly how i felt.

  53. Anita on February 1st, 2009 at 12:58

    David Farrar writes,

    Sadly some of my female friends have been raped. But with just one exception it was strangers, not people I know. In one case the person responsible was someone I knew vaguely, but I have not had any contact with him since it happened apart from telling him he’s a scumbag predator in a cafe.

    I think you have perfectly made my point.

    All of us, including both you and me, know people who rape, and all of us can stand up and make it very clear that their behaviour is unacceptable. If everyone did what you just described it would make a huge difference.

    So again I am mystified where Anita gets the impression we all have loads of friends who go around raping, and there is a culture of tolerance around it.

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that.

    Although I did say there is still a culture of victim blaming – which I would argue does have a flavour or either tolerating or excusing rapists’ actions.

  54. Tom Semmens on February 1st, 2009 at 13:30

    It is indeed possible to imagine scenarios where a woman rapes a man, or more plausibly perhaps rapes another woman. But the number of occasions this occurs is so insignificantly small that when they do occur it usually entails a media sensation.

    Government agencies are charged with spending public money to combat specific widespread problems. The reality is by far the most common form of rape is the one depicted in the TV ads and implied by the billboards.

    This post makes sense at a beret-wearing intellectual level, but most people who actually go out to bars, pubs and clubs instantly recognise the message as a common sense one aimed at keeping women safe.

    As for your we all know men who rape that is completely offensive tosh, unless you have decided to apply some sort of radical feminist interpretation of what constitutes rape that is so broad as to demean the offence and render any sort of sensible discussion impossible.

    As you often do Anita, you’ve had dogma brain explosion and taken your starting point to far. Better to try and make a reasoned and common sense post and rely on the intelligence of your readers to agree or otherwise.

  55. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 14:12

    Tom:

    Government agencies are charged with spending public money to combat specific widespread problems. The reality is by far the most common form of rape is the one depicted in the TV ads and implied by the billboards.

    Bullshit. The most common form of rape is that committed by a someone known to the victim – a friend or partner, a relative or family friend, or a colleague or associate – during or as a continuation of an existing relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. The billboards, and some other matter on the subject (such as the ALAC ad) depict rape as something committed by `the strange, mad, evil man lurking in the shadows by the park’, as Luddite Journo put it.

    You’re half-right – it’s important that government programmes target the low-hanging fruit, so to speak, and public behaviour is a whole lot easier to target than private behaviour.

    As for your we all know men who rape that is completely offensive tosh, unless you have decided to apply some sort of radical feminist interpretation of what constitutes rape that is so broad as to demean the offence and render any sort of sensible discussion impossible.

    Have you actually read this comment thread? To assert this you’ll need to explain which parts of the rationale in my posts from 17:04 yesterday and 11:41 today are flawed, lest you stand accused of having your own dogma brain explosion.

    L

  56. Tom Semmens on February 1st, 2009 at 14:25

    Bullshit. The most common form of rape is that committed by a someone known to the victim – a friend or partner, a relative or family friend, or a colleague or associate.

    Which i believe is the point of the television ads, of which I presume the billboards are an adjunct. So unless i am missing something, you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

  57. Anita on February 1st, 2009 at 14:27

    Tom Semmens writes,

    Which i believe is the point of the television ads, of which I presume the billboards are an adjunct. So unless i am missing something, you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

    Which television ads?

  58. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 14:34

    Tom:

    Which i believe is the point of the television ads, of which I presume the billboards are an adjunct. So unless i am missing something, you’ve shot yourself in the foot.

    You seem to have missed the bit where the ALAC ads are ALAC’s, whereas the Stay Safe In The City campaign is a joint initiative between Wellington City Council, the NZ Police and ACC. That sort of thing happens when you presume, rather than just finding out. Since they’re not obviously related, I’d be interested to know if you have any evidence of co-ordination.

    I presume you’re still working on an argument against the statistical validity of the statement `we all know rapists’. But, since that’s only a presumption, it’s probably wrong.

    L

  59. maggywelly on February 1st, 2009 at 14:46

    I can only speak from my own experience.

    Out of my many friends who have told me about their own cases of rape/sexual abuse not a single one was by a stranger except for one who got grabbed on the way home. She thankfully managed to get away before anything happened.

    One new years we decided not to go into town. We would just have an open house as we were quite close to town and our friends could drop by on their way in. At one point we started talking about this subject. Every single person in the room had suffered some sort of sexual abuse that had deeply traumatised them except for the one canadian. We were all shocked.

    I’m a normal average person. My friends are normal average people. We just don’t always tell you guys whats happened to us. It’s not exactly the easiest thing to drop into a conversation you know?

  60. Ari on February 1st, 2009 at 16:08

    As for your we all know men who rape that is completely offensive tosh, unless you have decided to apply some sort of radical feminist interpretation of what constitutes rape that is so broad as to demean the offence and render any sort of sensible discussion impossible.

    Read upwards. I suggest you take some time to clarify the difference between “knowing someone who is a rapist” and “knowing someone and knowing they’re a rapist”. What Anita seems to be getting at is not “every man is a rapist”, but “you probably talk to a rapist without knowing it every day, and many of the ways men talk – and billboards are designed – make rapists think we’re on their side.”

    By the by, radical feminists aren’t the crackpots you seem to think they are.

  61. rainman on February 1st, 2009 at 18:10

    This is the problem paragraph:

    The reality is that we all know people who rape, just as we all know people who have been raped. I’m talking about the fact some of the people we know have raped people they know, and they way they’ve talked about sex and dates and partners so we’ve had every opportunity to hear that true consent isn’t an issue for them.

    Your phrasing is too absolute. If you had said “according to statistics, it is highly likely that some of the people that we know may have committed rape against people close to them, for meaning of rape. Therefore we should be alert for friends who might have a shitty attitude to sex and dates and partners and clearly tell them when we don’t approve of their attitude, lest they in fact be closet rapists”, you would have been in a better place to have a reasonable discussion.

    It is quite simply not a “fact” that some of the people I know have raped some of the people they know, and it’s offensive to assert this.

    As you often do Anita, you’ve had dogma brain explosion and taken your starting point to far. Better to try and make a reasoned and common sense post and rely on the intelligence of your readers to agree or otherwise.

    Or, what he said.

    Where did you read “all men are rapists” in my post or the comments in the thread?

    I did not assert you had said that, merely that the argumentation here was heading back towards that kind of poor reasoning.

    If someone was raped by their partner/date/friend/colleague and told you would you go to the Police even if the victim didn’t want you to?

    Good question, and the answer is “it depends” on many factors – the mental state of the victim, the evidence available, the victim’s reason for not taking it further, etc, but in general terms, I would prefer to. I agree it’s not an easy call, but wasn’t your point that we should not be tolerant of people with a crappy attitude to sex that may indicate they could possibly be rapists? Surely actual allegations are a step further?

    Then I suppose you live in a different world to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

    Lew, I do. I live in NZ, not in the places that report mentions. Rape is a huge worldwide problem, particularly in Africa and Asia where sexual attitudes are quite different. It is a problem here too, no question. But that isn’t what was asserted.

    Deborah, anon, maggywelly – I hear you. But there is some considerable complexity with this issue that does not come across in your posts. I will respond separately once I can articulate my thinking without undue risk of causing offence.

  62. rainman on February 1st, 2009 at 18:21

    Ah bollocks. The para below should have had bits in angle brackets to be understandable, but they apparently get parsed as tags. I’ll try [] instead…

    Your phrasing is too absolute. If you had said “according to [insert ref here] statistics, it is highly likely that some of the people that we know may have committed rape against people close to them, for [insert definition here] meaning of rape. Therefore we should be alert for friends who might have a shitty attitude to sex and dates and partners and clearly tell them when we don’t approve of their attitude, lest they in fact be closet rapists”, you would have been in a better place to have a reasonable discussion.

  63. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 19:01

    rainman: You’ve gone from tragedy to farce. Didn’t I advise you to read the report if you wanted to avoid seeming like a damned fool?

    Lew, I do. I live in NZ, not in the places that report mentions.

    Really, New Zealand is a different world to the UK, Canada, the USA and the Republic of Korea? I guess that makes me a space traveller.

    Rape is a huge worldwide problem, particularly in Africa and Asia where sexual attitudes are quite different.

    What parts of Africa or Asia are the UK, Canada and the USA in?

    Do you have any grounds to believe rates of sexual violence might be significantly lower in NZ, given that we have comparatively high rates of child abuse and domestic violence?

    I chose worldwide figures because you said `not in my world’. I chose figures from developed countries with democratic governments, stable economies and firm rule of law in order to scotch any idiotic ramblings about the third world – in which you’ve indulged nevertheless.

    Since you think NZ is its own wonderful place where the magical sexual assault pixies don’t come so often, how about these numbers, published in the NZ Journal of Medicine:

    * 14.1% of 1,309 Auckland women surveyed had been victim of sexual violence by an intimate partner
    * 19.9% of Waikato women surveyed had been victim of sexual violence by an intimate partner
    * 9.2% of 1,436 Auckland women surveyed had been victim of sexual violence by a non-partner
    * 11.7% of 1,419 Waikato women women surveyed had been victim of sexual violence by a non-partner

    Those numbers are roughly one in seven, one in five, one in eleven, and one in eight – but bear in mind two things which deflate these numbers a little: 1. the figures are the mid-point of the 95% confidence interval, not the high point; 2. that the partner and non-partner violence numbers are non-exclusive; that is, an unspecified proportion of women will appear in both categories. Read the whole thing here.

    As much as you might like to think the numbers are all part of a conspiracy to make good men feel guilty, they’re not. At least, according to the UN, and the NZMA, and literally hundreds of other reputable agencies the world over.

    L

  64. Lew on February 1st, 2009 at 19:11

    Err, should read:

    * 19.9% of 1,360 Waikato women surveyed had been victim of sexual violence by an intimate partner

    L

  65. maggywelly on February 1st, 2009 at 19:27

    I think that instead of getting too hung up on the statistics (they’ll never be accurate because of the sheer majority of us who don’t report) we need to concentrate on preventing it from happening in the first place.

    I think the previous government made a good start on it with the anti-smacking bill. When you teach a child that their pain matters it teaches them that everybodys pain matters. My rapist had an alcoholic mother who used to throw him against the wall as a child. He had been raped on two occasions in his late teens. By both a male and a female.

    We need to protect our children more. We need to love and care for them so that they in turn learn how to love and care.

    I have a son. I’m raising him to be as empathic as hell. The only thing he’s allowed to hit is the couch or the bed. But no-ones allowed to hit him either.

  66. Al on February 1st, 2009 at 20:13

    Yeah OK, a reported crim then, oh pedantic one. I am assuming a functioning justice system that results in the guilty being punished….

    What do they say about assumption? Brother, mother, any other sucker…

    Rape Prevention estimates that, in NZ, of

    100 incidents of rape

    10 get reported

    3 get to court

    1 gets convicted

    Not that pedantic, really.
    Where the hell are those other 99 rapists?

  67. Al on February 1st, 2009 at 20:29

    I suspect that my experience is very, very common indeed, and that it will continue to common in a society where people accept rape as commonplace and ordinary and not worth commenting on.

    True that. I have found this phenomenon to be singularly unphenomenal.
    I absolutely agree, and I think this is an example of kind of the ‘ground floor’ level on the spectrum of the issue we’re discussing. I think to rationalise pressuring someone for sex is to put your own ‘needs’ (cos we all know that men’s heads explode if they don’t get it) before the rights of someone else, which means inferiorising them. Then obscuring the fact with excuses around common practice and the old ‘she was gagging for it’ chestnut. The sense of entitlement and contempt that is handed down to our men generation after generation is what makes this, and all forms of sexual misconduct, across the spectrum, possible.
    Dehumanise, intimidate (be that physically or ideologically), minimise, deny and blame. Come on, it’s been thousands of years, don’t people get these simple textbook dynamics of power and control yet???
    We need to redefine the boundaries of consent.
    Makes my flesh creep to think about it.

  68. Annonymous on February 1st, 2009 at 21:15

    Al “We need to redefine the boudaries of consent”
    Yes – I was going to mention this in my post (but I didn’t think it fit)
    the current “no means no” standard has always seemed off to me – surely the standard should for consent should be more along the lines of “yes means yes”.
    you should only be having sex with people who really want to be doing it.

    although, my friends were dicussing this and there is a lot of guilt tied up in being forward about and taking responsibility for your own sexuality and the current social norms make it easier for women to be passive in this regard. The group I was with was all female but I imagine there will be men with issues around this also.

  69. rainman on February 1st, 2009 at 21:56

    Really, New Zealand is a different world to the UK, Canada, the USA and the Republic of Korea? I guess that makes me a space traveller.

    Dear Literal Lew, I hope you’re sitting down, because what I’m about to say may come as a shock to you. Sometimes the same word or phrase in English can have two different meanings! Hard to imagine, I know, and it leads to all sorts of confusion. For example, I might describe something as being “not in my world”, meaning “outside of the ambit of my routine experience”, or “not in the social context I travel in” and you might understand that I meant “not on planet earth”… Confusing, eh?

    Let me spell it out for the hard of thinking. That 71 Kenyan teenagers were raped and 19 died is a monstrosity. So are all of the quoted examples. Rape is Very Bad, no-one is arguing that. However, I don’t know people in Kenya, so Anita’s original statement is not validated by the tragic example in the UN report.

    Do you have any grounds to believe rates of sexual violence might be significantly lower in NZ, given that we have comparatively high rates of child abuse and domestic violence?

    Undoubtedly NZ has incidences of rape. Too many, by definition, as even one is too many. But try this in your thinking gear – perhaps they are distributed unevenly? Perhaps there are social causes and reinforcing factors that aren’t evenly distributed either? Perhaps it is possible to have whole groups of people who can easily go through life without raping their partners and friends, beating their kids, robbing banks, and committing acts of high seas piracy. Perhaps they can organise themselves into social groups where relatively moral behaviour is practised, decent value systems are supported, and deviant behaviour is identified and addressed.

    Note I’m not saying this always happens – that’s a different proposition and logically equivalent to Anita’s initial falsehood. But it can, and does, more often than you might expect.

    I sometimes think the rad fem side of this particular debate has been fighting the war for so long it doesn’t remember what success looks like anymore.

    Got it now?

    I think that instead of getting too hung up on the statistics (they’ll never be accurate because of the sheer majority of us who don’t report) we need to concentrate on preventing it from happening in the first place.

    About the first bit of sense I’ve seen in this thread so far.

    Not that pedantic, really.
    Where the hell are those other 99 rapists?

    Apparently, making disgusting jokes at all of our barbecues.

    As soon as you frame your outlook on this issue in terms of “we all know rapists” and “disgusting behaviour is so commonplace as to be near-universal” you are no longer part of the solution. You’re part of the problem.

    Infuriatingly, there is a real issue to debate here, as touched on in the last few posts, and concerning the boundaries of consent. I’m not sure it’s worth discussing though, given the caliber of logic employed here to date.

  70. Anita on February 1st, 2009 at 23:09

    Annonymous writes,

    Al “We need to redefine the boudaries of consent”
    Yes – I was going to mention this in my post (but I didn’t think it fit)
    the current “no means no” standard has always seemed off to me – surely the standard should for consent should be more along the lines of “yes means yes”.
    you should only be having sex with people who really want to be doing it.

    MoJ is leading a project looking at why so few rape complaints end up with convictions – although sadly they seem to be ignoring Al’s question of why so many rapes don’t ever make it Police complaints.

    As one part of their process they put out a discussion document last year which invited submissions on legislating a positive definition of consent.

    It’s worth a squizz if you have time. For example it says

    It can be argued that the current statute, by being framed in the negative, supports the assumption and reinforces the attitude that consent always exists unless particular circumstances are present. This approach potentially undermines beliefs about the right to choose on each occasion.

  71. Deborah on February 2nd, 2009 at 01:10

    We put together a submission on the discussion document at The Hand Mirror. It’s here . Scroll down a little to see the section on consent, where we argued that:

    Consent must not be just the absence on non-consenting behaviour, but the actual and unequivocal presence of consenting behaviour.

  72. maggywelly on February 2nd, 2009 at 02:43

    Al “the current “no means no” standard has always seemed off to me – surely the standard should for consent should be more along the lines of “yes means yes”.
    you should only be having sex with people who really want to be doing it.

    A few years ago I sat down with my teenage brother and discussed this with him. Instead of telling him ‘no means no’ I gave him all the various reasons why girls are afraid to say no. We talked about how if you are not confident doing something sober, then you shouldn’t be doing it drunk. I told him that if he’s not completely sure that this is absolutely completely what she wants that he shouldn’t be doing it. That he dose not want to be ‘that guy’ that she can’t look at the next day. He didnt become sexual active till he was seventeen and with a long term girlfriend that he now lives with. There were no drunken one night stands for him. He was someone I had an influence over and I made sure it was a good one. Because unlike some people I can see the potential for harm even in loved ones.

    Undoubtedly NZ has incidences of rape. Too many, by definition, as even one is too many. But try this in your thinking gear – perhaps they are distributed unevenly? Perhaps there are social causes and reinforcing factors that aren’t evenly distributed either? Perhaps it is possible to have whole groups of people who can easily go through life without raping their partners and friends, beating their kids, robbing banks, and committing acts of high seas piracy. Perhaps they can organise themselves into social groups where relatively moral behaviour is practised, decent value systems are supported, and deviant behaviour is identified and addressed.

    Exscuse me? Social groups like middle class, well educated, mainly white (to be frank, not that I think that has anything to do with it) professionals? Most of my friends are on what many consider to be very decent pay. They are in charge of things and people. We have what I consider a very high level of moral behavior . We don’t just have decent value systems, we have high value systems.

    Rapists and their victims come from every group and category. NONE are exempt. Being a lawyer, doctor, christian, great friend or one of your best mates ever does not make them less likely to be a rapist.

  73. Othering Rapists | The Hand Mirror on February 2nd, 2009 at 06:34

    Othering Rapists…

    Wellington City Council are up with the mid 1990s and currently running a campaign called “Safe in The City.” Anita wrote about this campaign at Kiwipolitico. I’d seen the comment thread referred to as interesting – although I didn’t realise until …

  74. Othering rapists | Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty on February 2nd, 2009 at 06:45

    Othering rapists…

    Wellington City Council are up with the mid 1990s and currently running a campaign called “Safe in The City.” Anita wrote about this campaign at Kiwipolitico. I’d seen the comment thread referred to as interesting – although I didn’t realise until …

  75. rainman on February 2nd, 2009 at 08:17

    Rapists and their victims come from every group and category. NONE are exempt. Being a lawyer, doctor, christian, great friend or one of your best mates ever does not make them less likely to be a rapist.

    So, let’s turn this around. What do you expect to achieve? No-one is beyond suspicion!, they’re everywhere!, even someone who isn’t a rapist could be a rapist!, be vigilant!… do you know how paranoid you sound?

    What’s the message for people who hate rape and other similar crimes from a moral and philosophical perspective? Who already would not stand for the comments listed elsewhere in this thread? Who would act if they encountered them?

    How is your cause furthered by branding people like me “denialists”? Or by indulging in the intellectual laziness of the original post and glibly saying “we all know rapists”?

    What does success look like?

    You do nothing to address the underlying causes by following this path. Clue up.

  76. Quote of the Day « The Dim-Post on February 2nd, 2009 at 08:41

    [...] Anita at Kiwipolitico Well, we psychiatrist have found that over 8% of the population will always be mice, I mean, after all, there’s something of the mouse in all of us. I mean, how many of us can honestly say that at one time or another he hasn’t felt sexually attracted to mice. I know I have. I mean, most normal adolescents go through a stage of squeaking two or three times a day. Some youngsters on the other hand, are attracted to it by its very illegality. It’s like murder – make a thing illegal and it acquires a mystique. Look at arson – I mean, how many of us can honestly say that at one time or another he hasn’t set fire to some great public building. I know I have. [...]

  77. Anita on February 2nd, 2009 at 08:47

    rainman writes,

    What’s the message for people who hate rape and other similar crimes from a moral and philosophical perspective? Who already would not stand for the comments listed elsewhere in this thread? Who would act if they encountered them?

    One of the way we’ve addressed NZ’s drink driving problem is by recognising that we all know people who drive after drinking and that we can (and should) act to alter the worst of their behaviour.

    We’re addressing domestic violence the same way. Domestic violence isn’t “someone else’s problem” it happens throughout our communities. We can reduce it by recognising it and its warning signs, and by acting. If everyone recognises domestic violence and its preconditions within our immediate circle, and then unambiguously addresses it, we will massively reduce domestic violence.

    Rape is the same. It happens in all parts of society, it happens to our friends and family and is done by people we know. We can reduce it by recognising rape in all its forms, as well as the warnings signs and enabling cultural signals, then acting.

    There are examples all through this thread of people doing exactly that, people who’ve done something to actually make that change – it takes courage but it’s worth it.

    You do nothing to address the underlying causes by following this path.

    What do you think the underlying causes of rape are, and how would you address them?

  78. Ari on February 2nd, 2009 at 09:05

    Rapists and their victims come from every group and category. NONE are exempt. Being a lawyer, doctor, christian, great friend or one of your best mates ever does not make them less likely to be a rapist.

    I’ll go even further than that: there’s been a relatively recent case of sexual assault in the USA where the offender was a feminist man and anti-rape advocate. (Incidently he issued the most spineless “what about me?” apology I could’ve dreamt of.) No matter what moral circle you live in, it is still part of a culture that overwhelmingly ignores the meaningful consent of women and excuses rape and sexual assault by inaction and by normalisation of rape. Even those who are aware of the problem and have done things to fight it don’t have some mystical get out of jail card.

    So, let’s turn this around. What do you expect to achieve? No-one is beyond suspicion!, they’re everywhere!, even someone who isn’t a rapist could be a rapist!, be vigilant!… do you know how paranoid you sound?

    I think you missed the first few paragraphs of Anita’s original post where she criticised the billboards for promoting just that attitude :)

  79. Mike on February 2nd, 2009 at 09:15

    I find those bus shelter ads confusing, if the message is meant to appeal to ‘girls’ from Wellington, why are the models in the ad dressed as if they are from Christchurch?

  80. Lew on February 2nd, 2009 at 09:31

    Dear head-in-the-sand-to-avoid-the-rainman:

    Dear Literal Lew, I hope you’re sitting down, because what I’m about to say may come as a shock to you. Sometimes the same word or phrase in English can have two different meanings!

    I’ve taught the bloody language so I know the horrible minutiae of how non-specific it can be. I also write for a living, though I concede that sometimes it might not show. But I explained my rationale for choosing worldwide figures above, and I apologise for the sarcastic sideshow.

    I don’t know people in Kenya, so Anita’s original statement is not validated by the tragic example in the UN report.

    Do you know people in Auckland or the Waikato? You’ve remained curiously quiet on the second set of numbers. The point is that it doesn’t really matter what social group, country, or culture you belong to – the figures hold. That’s really my only point here.

    perhaps they are distributed unevenly? Perhaps there are social causes and reinforcing factors that aren’t evenly distributed either?

    Oh, sexual violence certainly is distributed unevenly, though possibly not as unevenly as you might think. Once again, there’s research been done on this sort of thing too.

    It’s fallacious to pick an individual person at random and say `it is a certainty that one sixth of the people you (personally) know are victims of rape’. It might be mathematically true, but it’s not necessarily true of that person. But since most people know dozens of other people, there’s a very high likelihood that they do know several or many such people, even if they don’t realise that they do. This was the point of the word `mathematically’ in my 17:04 rationale above, and the implication in the initial post, which was addressed to an unspecified `gentle reader’. In taking offence as you have, your counter-argument boils down to `you don’t know me’, which is true; but then, the post wasn’t addressed to you, personally. Step back from the perceived accusation and look at the wider social picture. As a part of society, you do bear some responsibility for the fact that one in six women (as a lower bound) are the victims of rape. This doesn’t imply that you are personally responsible.

    Fundamentally, this is Anita’s point: some people who have not themselves been victims of sexual violence tend to minimise both the prevalence of sexual violence in society and its impact on victims. That is a serious impediment to the full seriousness of the problem from becoming common knowledge, which is an important step toward fixing it.

    [not getting hung up on statistics is] About the first bit of sense I’ve seen in this thread so far.

    Hold on, it was you who called bullshit on the initial proportion of one-in-six which I cited, requesting more information. Now that the numbers don’t suit your position, you want to ignore them?

    Once again: this is the sort of minimisation which prevented drink-driving and domestic violence from being meaningfully addressed for decades. I also don’t see what you have to gain (in terms of your own understanding of the problem) by denying the veracity of these figures. Do you really think they’re part of a RadFem conspiracy to make good men feel guilty? I’m not baiting you (any more :), I really want to understand this, because I really can’t figure it out.

    As soon as you frame your outlook on this issue in terms of “we all know rapists” and “disgusting behaviour is so commonplace as to be near-universal” you are no longer part of the solution. You’re part of the problem.

    I half-agree. I think it’s counter-productive to alienate the good people in society by making them defensive and personally guilty. I think that’s implicit in the It’s Not Ok campaign, as well: this message probably doesn’t apply to you, but….

    What does success look like?

    Good question. I think that’s reasonably clear from the post as well: when the full social and legal and reputational responsibility for sexual violence is borne by the perpetrator, not the victim, and when society is reasonably unanimous in generally treating victims as victims rather than people who are complicit in their own victimhood.

    L

  81. Moz on February 2nd, 2009 at 12:14

    I think the key thing here is the picture of the rapist as “other”. You’re right, the rapist is quite probably the nice lady next door with the little dog, or the man across the road who’s always ready for a chat, or the kid with the slutty reputation down the road. Let’s face it, when you broaden rape to include any kind of less-than-perfectly-consensual sex, it’s tricky to find someone who has had sex and never failed the consent test. But that’s ok, because rape is really just another type of normal human behaviour, which I think is Anita’s main point.

    The question is where we draw the line between “ok” rape, and “not ok” rape. To return to the stereotypes, if a woman is too drunk to consent, is that not ok? What about a woman who intentionally gets too drunk to consent, because dutch courage is the only way she can approach a guy? At what point does her dutch courage become dutch cowardice and her experience become rape?

    I ask because this is a real experience for me – a nice british girl who was perilously close to the stereotype until she started drinking, at which point she transitioned from flirty right up the scale to drunkenly whining into her phone at me that she really, really wanted to get laid. By the time she physically found me she’d changed her mind and drunkenly wanted to accuse me of trying to rape her. Fortunately for all concerned a slightly more sober friend had been with her the whole time and was (still) trying to persuade her that “no means no” and she should go home and sleep it off. Of course, the legacy of text messages stored in her phone means she hasn’t been able to face me since :)

    But to me that is one of the classic “rape awareness” stituations – if I had agreed to have sex with her, to many woman that would absolutely and unconditionally have been rape – and she would be the victim. Of course, if I had given in and had sex just to get rid of her, that too would have been “rape”.

    Further along that continuum we have what happens in every relationship. You go shopping because your partner really, really wants to. Or you see a movie that you’re not really into because it’s their turn to choose. Or you have sex now, because otherwise they’ll be even more horny in the morning when you have to go to work. Which is where the lovely Ms Dworkin comes in with her ideas about the difficulty of obtaining free consent. Much of her work on this can be gender-flipped without much trouble, and like much of the over-broad “rape” analysis makes it simple to find cases of mutual rape – neither partner was technically capable of consent.

    So, like the US with “terrorism”, rape is carefully defined such that only the desired class of people can commit it. Otherwise it is all too obviously silly.

    (as an aside, one of my arguments against intelligent design is women being extra horny one week in four while men are extra horny every morning is just DUMB)

  82. maggywelly on February 2nd, 2009 at 17:05

    Rainman said:

    You do nothing to address the underlying causes by following this path. Clue up.

    (quoting thing isn’t working for me)

    Did you not read my previous post about the conversation I had with my brother? I had that conversation with him because no matter how much I love him, and no matter how great a kid he is I was aware that there was a chance that one day he might make the wrong choice.

    I’m raising my son to be a considerate empathic young lad. Because I know that even if he’s my son that dosn’t make him exempt from one day commiting rape.

    Thats my child I’m talking about.

    Thats what I’m doing rainman.

    I’m doing it because I’m brave enough to recognise the ability of every single person (including myself) to make the wrong choices.

  83. Moz on February 2nd, 2009 at 17:35

    Oh, and can someone explain how I access this “justice system” you’re talking about. My experiences with the legal system and some reading about it suggest that any justice that results from interacting with it is at best aspirational rather than intentional. The “criminal justice system” in NZ, for instance, is at least as much about making criminals as it is about producing justice, even if you accept their weird definition of justice (viz, no laws broken).

    maggywelly, hitting people is not the be-all and end-all of coercion. Refraining from actually hitting a child is just the bare beginnings of providing a decent upbringing (I suspect you know this). But bringing up a child without coercion means accepting a high mortality rate. So we use non-violent coercion. Which is fine, sometimes.

    But this means that you’re bringing up a child to believe that coercion is a normal part of a loving relationship. ooops. Because to antirape activists, coercion around sex is always unconditionally wrong. Doesn’t matter how trivial it is, coercion is wrong. Coercing someone into having sex makes it rape. Even the implicit coercion of “I might be grumpy later if you don’t have sex with me now, but I’m not going to say that”. Still rape. Still wrong.

  84. Anita on February 2nd, 2009 at 17:44

    Let’s face it, when you broaden rape to include any kind of less-than-perfectly-consensual sex, it’s tricky to find someone who has had sex and never failed the consent test. But that’s ok, because rape is really just another type of normal human behaviour, which I think is Anita’s main point.

    I’m not sure that was my main point.

    Yes rape is a pretty common event in our society, and yes and some level it is perhaps “normal”, but… . My point is that we can (and should) act to denormalise it and make it less common.

    If “less-than-perfectly-consensual sex” was not the definition of rape, what would it be?

  85. Moz on February 2nd, 2009 at 18:12

    If “less-than-perfectly-consensual sex” was not the definition of rape, what would it be?

    Rape is when the victim thinks it’s rape?

    I think any definition that lets you argue that someone has been raped regardless of what they think happened is dodgy. It’s my objection to Dworkin, it’s my objection to the studies you quote. This is not identity politics or postmodernism, it’s attempting to let people tell their own stories.

    It’s all very well you saying we have to listen to women, but when you turn round and say “unless she says it wasn’t rape”…

    I’m also quite keen on a distinction between legal rape (because that requires clear guidelines that a disinterested observer can recognise in advance of the event[1]) and colloquial rape (which is up to the people involved). Partly because I still have no idea how to tell whether my partner is actually consenting to sex according to your definition. In that respect you seem to be quite clear that I can’t believe what she says, or accept what she does. A higher standard of consent is required to ensure that she’s not being coerced into giving false “consent”. In fact, one thing that would amuse me a lot is seeing you discuss exactly this topic with her. You see, she has quite definite ideas about sex, consent and the stupidity of these discussions so she won’t join in.

    [1] in other words, to be usable law it must be possible for the sex participants to know that what they’re doing is not rape.

  86. Deborah on February 2nd, 2009 at 18:38

    to be usable law it must be possible for the sex participants to know that what they’re doing is not rape

    Wrong way around. To be usable law, it must be possible for the participants to know that what they are doing has been consented to. That is, there must be a positive act of consent, not just the absence of dissent.

  87. Anita on February 2nd, 2009 at 19:50

    Moz writes,

    I think any definition that lets you argue that someone has been raped regardless of what they think happened is dodgy.

    While I agree with you in many cases, there are some individuals where it is rape even if they believe otherwise. The easy examples are children and some people with severe intellectual handicaps. In both cases it is held that the individuals simply do not have the capacity to consent (or withhold consent).

    As a complete aside… there is some fascinating research and discussion going on within the intellectually handicapped community about sex and consent. Many advocate moving from the traditional no-sex approach to attempting to give intellectually handicapped individuals the information, education and skills they need to have consensual sexual relationships. Part of the challenge is how to assess someone’s capacity to consent.

    It’s my objection to Dworkin, it’s my objection to the studies you quote. This is not identity politics or postmodernism, it’s attempting to let people tell their own stories.

    I think we touched on this further up thread (and then got distracted by the louder arguments) when there was a brief discussion about what to do when someone tells us they’ve been raped but doesn’t want to go to the Police.

  88. Anita on February 2nd, 2009 at 19:58

    Moz writes,

    Because to antirape activists, coercion around sex is always unconditionally wrong. Doesn’t matter how trivial it is, coercion is wrong. Coercing someone into having sex makes it rape. Even the implicit coercion of “I might be grumpy later if you don’t have sex with me now, but I’m not going to say that”. Still rape. Still wrong.

    I’m struggling with your definition of “coercion” as you seem to be straying a long way beyond compulsion or manipulation.

    To me there is a huge difference between giving your partner, who had a shitty day, head when they ask for it because you know will cheer them up and you will enjoy making them happy, and giving your partner, who had a shitty day, head when they ask for it because you know that if you don’t they’ll hit your (or the children).

    How are you defining coercion?

  89. Moz on February 2nd, 2009 at 20:10

    I’m struggling with your definition of “coercion” as you seem to be straying a long way beyond compulsion or manipulation… How are you defining coercion?

    I keep asking that of you lot, but all I get is “coercion is wrong”, so I give options varying from the above “clear lack of consent” that Deborah objects to (she prefers some form of active consent but has not clarified what is acceptable to her) to the Dworkin one (“women can’t”). Since the studies given allowed everything up to the Dworkin one and you haven’t clarified, I’ve been tending towards that.

    My personal definition is IMO irrelevant – what matters is the definition I reach with my partners. I have dealt with everything from “I will never admit to liking sex, because nice girls don’t” through “I’m a horny drunk” to “if I want to say no, you’ll know about it, now quit pissing round and…”. So when people like you say “if you don’t get consent that meets my standards I call it rape”, I want to know what you mean and in some detail. I’d also like you to explain how your ideas relate to my relationships, because I don’t think you’re working in a reality-based framework.

  90. Anita on February 2nd, 2009 at 20:19

    Moz,

    You were the first person in this thread to mention coercion (at least that I can find) and the only other person was me in my comment just above asking what you meant by coercion :)

    I agree about reaching agreement on the definition of consent with ones partner, but the point is that it’s a mutual agreement. IME with a new lover one starts off relatively careful about explicit consent, and as both people get used to the other consent becomes more understood and implicit. I don’t think anyone in this thread (although someone might be about to correct me) believes that the people involved must explicitly check for mutual consent every time they have sex.

  91. maggywelly on February 2nd, 2009 at 22:07

    Sorry Moz, I wasn’t too clear on what I meant in the way I raising my son.

    It’s not so much about violence and coercion as empathy. I don’t understand how anybody can be abusive to someone violently/verbally/sexually without first dehumanizing them.

    It’s easy to hurt someone if you don’t think their pain matters. You won’t think their pain matters if you don’t think anybodies pain matters. You wont think anybodies pain matters if you don’t think your own pain matters. You won’t think your pain matters if people don’t act as if your pain matters.

    His pain matters. Everybodies pain matters in our household. I try to use as little coercing and bribing as I can (but still some, I need the occasional sleep in) and instead try to make him understand why I want him to do whatever it is I want him to do.

    I always try to make sure he has a choice (or at his age the illusion of a choice) to give him a sense of empowerment. I never want him to decide to do things because its what I want. He does them because he knows its the better choice. He understands why he can’t have too many treats (saw the promo for an obesity documentry, when I explained what had happened to the person he was horrified) he has great road safety (we’ve discussed the squashed hedgehogs and decomposition) and he’s even started getting upset at fast drivers because of the danger they are putting everybody in (he’s seen the alac ads too).

    I’m not just raising him to be non-violent I’m raising him to have good decision making skills.

    Anyone whos interested in how we can raise our children not to be criminals should read Nigel Latta’s books especially ‘Into the Darklands’. He’s worked with those criminal ‘monsters’ we prefer to think about when we talk about rape as well as children.

  92. Moz on February 2nd, 2009 at 22:57

    Deborah, I am not sure that that is how the law works. Requiring an active act of consent is common in contract law, but I believe it’s unusual in many other situations. For instance, the implied consent to be photographed that you give by venturing out in public. With soliciting there’s a presumption of consent that must be explicitly withdrawn before soliciting becomes harassment. And so on. Similarly, the recent proposed changes to rape legislation were to make defendants show what steps they’d taken to ensure consent… http://www.stuff.co.nz/4662060a11.html

    Given that that is a change, the situation now is what?

  93. Moz on February 2nd, 2009 at 23:23

    I’m not just raising him to be non-violent I’m raising him to have good decision making skills.

    Thanks, that sounds challenging. And hopefully rewarding.

    You were the first person in this thread to mention coercion

    You’re right. I was trying to work out what exactly you meant. You seem quite comfortable to live with vague generalisations leading to very specific but unprovable allegations. We’re back to “we all know rapists, and people who’ve been raped”, for uncertain senses of the terms involved. Which is a bit meaningless.

    To me, knowing someone well enough to know that they have raped/been raped means knowing them quite well indeed, and once you bring science into a discussion my understanding of “know” rises significantly. I know it’s been hot in Nelson this week, casually speaking, but if you said “compared to Nelson’s normal climate how has the weather been” I’d say “uh, I dunno, maybe hotter?” because that’s a very different question.

    So, I know famous people, in the sense that I’ve met Jimmy Barnes once but he would very likely not remember me or recognise my name. Do I know Jimmy Barnes in the sense that I would be surprised if my opinion of his rapist-ness was wrong? Not even close.

    So when you say “Moz knows a rapist” I have a very short list of names. No more than ten. Now, which one of these people is a rapist? Well, now that I think about it, there’s a lot I don’t know about my mother, best cross her off the list of “know well enough” since the standards for rape have changed so dramatically since she was young and wild. Would I be surprised if she qualified under the “have you had sex with someone who didn’t perfectly consent”… no. OK, she’s out. And so on.

    So basically you’re accusing either my partner or myself of rape. I find the suggestion offensive.

    If you said “everyone has met someone who has committed rape by failing to get explicit consent every time”, that I’d agree with. No question. I’ve almost certainly also met pedophiles, former prisoners of war, people who are now dead and millionaires.

    If that’s what you meant, then I’m sorry for assuming you were trying to do more than generate vague alarm.

  94. rainman on February 2nd, 2009 at 23:34

    You’re right, the rapist is quite probably the nice lady next door with the little dog, or the man across the road who’s always ready for a chat, or the kid with the slutty reputation down the road…. But that’s ok, because rape is really just another type of normal human behaviour…. The question is where we draw the line between “ok” rape, and “not ok” rape.

    This is satire, right? Because otherwise it’s a weirdness too far. Way, way, way, too far.

    Best of luck with your approach folks. I genuinely wish that propagating the view that anyone, even the “feminist man and anti-rape activist” or the “nice lady next door with the little dog” is “quite probably” a rapist would serve to reduce the incidence of rape in the world (that’s Earth this time, Lew), but y’know, I kinda don’t think so.

  95. Deborah on February 3rd, 2009 at 00:56

    knowing someone well enough to know that they have raped/been raped means knowing them quite well

    You’re reading ‘know” in a different sense from the way Anita used it. Think of it this way:

    You know say, 150 people. Not necesarily well. Just people you work with, friends and acquaintances. Of those 150 or so, statistically, some will have been raped, and some will have raped. You probably don’t know which ones they are. But given the stats, you will know someone who has raped, and someone who has been raped. You don’t know that some particular person has raped, or been raped, for certain, but of the 150 or so people that you know, will be some who have raped, some who have been raped.

  96. What kind of feminist is ok? « LudditeJourno on February 4th, 2009 at 20:22

    [...] original post can be summarised with this [...]

  97. [...] February 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm (Feminism, My body My Choice, Respect me, Sexuality) Tags: Feminism, feminist, radical feminism, rape, rape culture I was tag surfing and came across Luddite Journo’s Post which was commenting on the comments on a post by Kiwi Politico. [...]

  98. Some further thoughts on othering and a break…

    There was a suggestion on kiwipolitico that arguing that rapists are not strange scary other people, means accepting and normalising rape. Quite the opposite, the only way to fight rape is to face it as it exists, not as we construct it. The first step…

  99. On rape and consent « In a strange land on March 5th, 2009 at 16:38

    [...] month or so ago, Anita wrote a fantastic post at Kiwipolitico: Friends don’t let friends rape, calling on men, and all of us, to call out rapists. She made what was to me an unremarkable [...]

  100. On rape and consent | The Hand Mirror on March 5th, 2009 at 20:47

    On rape and consent…

    A month or so ago, Anita wrote a fantastic post at Kiwipolitico: Friends don’t let friends rape, calling on men, and all of us, to call out rapists. She made what was to me an unremarkable statement:…

  101. [...] Inspired by some of the insanely privileged comments to this pretty marvelous post. [...]

  102. [...] not entirely the young victim’s fault, it’s also the responsibility of her friends and (yay) the rapist’s friends, oh and pretty much everyone except the rapist (whose behaviour is [...]

  103. Lee on November 7th, 2010 at 08:39

    We may think we know people, but we may not have known they committed an act of violence, or rape.

    To me rape and abuse is a hidden crime, because the person doing the crime is often lying, or describing it in a consensual way, so that the audience they are talking to doesn’t see it as rape, or will blame the victim.

    I think I have experienced this. One of my abusers has always seen themselves as completely innocent, and they seemed readily convinced themselves they had done nothing wrong, even when they were violent.

    Denial is a powerful thing. I am not saying people know people who commit horrible acts, and just negate holding them accountable. It’s the fact that accusing someone of such a crime holds a heavy weight, and is a difficult to do without having the full evidence.

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