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Quite a debate has been raging within the TH community. The debate has been so complicated, powerful and emotional that a second thread was opened. It seems in some cases otherwise allies became adversaries, language deteriorated, context was lost. At the risk of muddying the waters further, I offer a sumation and an alternative to both threads. Here's hoping third time's a charm.
To get to the heart of all written, it seems that most agree that rape is a horror, and above all else it is a human tradgedy. Reguardless of race, gender, cast, age, anyone can become a victim, though realistically an individual's chances are greater or lesser depending on any number of variables. A rape culture may emerge within a variety of specific constucts or contexts, anytime, anywhere, and the motivation for the emergence of a rape culture and how it plays out may vary.
Rape is an act of domination, a form of violence, it is a subset of ALL violence. Violence is a symptom of an IMBALANCE of POWER. An imbalance of power can manifest in any number of ways- within an interpersonal relationship, within institutions, within cultures, within entire societies. Reguardless of any number of variables, children of either gender, or of indeterminate gender are universally recognized as the most vulnerable group. Broadly, and arguably, adult woman are the second most vulnerable group universally.
Rape, like war, has been around since the beginning of time. Like war, rape is unlikely to vanish anytime soon, which is not to say that we approve of, ignore, diminish or excuse either as fact, the fact that both are real and exist.
Rape is a global issue, it is a human issue, and at the macro and the micro we should all support and defend the rights and dignity of all human beings anywhere and everywhere, especially the most vulnerable among us all. The powerful must be held accountable for their moral obligation to the less powerful, and the less powerful should alway be supported in seeking empowerment.
At the risk of criticism, I believe the concept of a rape culture extends beyond the human experience, and includes nature, the planet itself. We are all, ALL suffering with the effects of global climate change, a direct result of the unrestrained actions by the powerful. The planet is vulnerable and we must expand our understanding of what is violation, what is violence, what is rape, to include all living things, not only our human brothers and sisters. Further still, we must defend the inanimate and the irreplaceable, our mointaintops, our water, our air, our survival.
We, ourselves, our planet it out of balance. Violence is everywhere and like a mythical shapeshifter it takes many forms. Rape of women by men is just one form. To stop that particular form of violence, we must be mindful of all forms of violence, aknowledge all forms of violence and denounce all forms of violence.
Feminist activists, civil-rights activists, gay rights activists, anti-war activists, environmental activists, animal rights activists, all of us, when become adversaries instead of allies, we lose the plot. We become like the five men and the elephant, one describing the tail, one descibing the ear, and so on but fail to recognize that they are all experiencing and describing the same creature, the elephant.
The ELEPHANT in our global room is IMBALANCE of POWER. Restore balance, restore peace, peace for ALL.