Things that Cause Rape:

• Flirting?

• The way women dress?

• Women having too much to drink?

• Rapists?

And the answer is...RAPISTS!!!

Another question is this: Should women and girls be required to take self-defense classes (or does that put the onus on them, again?), and should men and boys be required to take consciousness-raising classes regarding rape and attitudes toward women?


leighmf's picture
leighmf 8 years 20 weeks ago

Since we can't control our likelihood to contact unpredictable or predatory people as the population continues to explode, I have found it best to just avoid rape (and mugging) altogether by appearing as inconspicuous as possible in public, never going to nightclubs or evening events (except when I star in the first act of Nutcracker), by avoiding deserted areas and rough neighborhoods, and generally being safe at home in my pajamas by sundown, flanked by guard dogs.

As for alcohol, it ruins your skin and organs and destroys brain cells, so not drinking has better enabled me to work out a rape-avoiding plan, while maintaining a more youthful look with Simply Meaningless Beauty Cream, a special formula for older girls who need more time for brushing their teeth.

"No wonder they get raped, " Mrs. Dane remarked about the group of teens we saw walking down the street with the top of their thongs showing out of their Daisy Mae's. Mrs. Dane, in those years was legally blind. Luckily she couldn't see the tatoos. I would have had to give her a nitro tab.

If I were more exposed as part of my daily routine, I would become expert in martial arts and give up ballet. As it is, it's pretty safe in the studio, though I can still deliver a heck of a battement to vital areas of the body.

My opinion is that men and boys should take more classes in everything, especially romance.

Zenzoe 8 years 20 weeks ago

A seemingly normal guy once told me that a woman, unconscious from drink or drugs, gives her permission for "sex," for being too drunk to say No. For some strange reason, I didn't like him after that and kept my distance. But you'd be surprised how many regular guys would agree with his rather criminal take on the subject. (Romance was clearly not a high priority for that one.)

I don't like that you and I have had to cramp our lives to accommodate the fear imposed by the mere possibility of rape. Sure, it's only sensible to take precautions, but damn. Susan Griffin writes, "We begin to look on the violence of men toward women as a kind of natural phenomenon...If we are women, we grow up with a fear which we come to believe is as common as hunger, or thirst, or anger. This fear becomes so much a part of us that it forms a background to all our movements, and we begin to believe this fear is a part of ourselves, born at the same moment as our souls. If we are men, acts of violence toward women become part of a range of behavior which we think of as human."

We also learn it's not necessarily teens in thongs and Daisy Mae's who become targets. Apparently, what you wear, or how old you are, is not important to the rapist. And that's why I think that all girls and women should take the closest thing possible to Girl-With-the-Dragon-Tatoo Martial Arts training ASAP.

When I took a self-defense class many years ago, I learned some moves. I always liked the "grab balls, twist, and yank violently downward" one. Seems like that might make an impression. Fortunately, I've never had to test it.

doh1304's picture
doh1304 8 years 20 weeks ago

Absolutely. Americans of both sexes are relentlessly bombarded with messages that are limiting, unattainable, and contradictory.

I would suggest, however, a different approach. I would recommend joint communication.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 8 years 20 weeks ago

Asking your rapist to use a condom and for an after sex smoke?

I still believe modesty is a virtue, and how a woman dresses sends distinct cro-magnon signals to a man's brain.

nimblecivet 8 years 20 weeks ago

This article mentions Dilma Roussef, Brazil's female president, who also is a former Marxist rebel.

I think the sexes should not be seperated when teaching about these subjects, at least in a (public) school setting. While there are women-only self-defence/martial arts classes which is good, most venues are mixed. As for consciousness-raising and attitudes towards women, each person can take away what they need from the information while maintaining a gender-integrated environment. That is, the information can be presented without isolating each gender from the other. This would increase the perception of rape as an abnormal phenomenon and the attitudes that enable it as unacceptable.

Zenzoe 8 years 20 weeks ago

It feels like I missed something. What is doh responding to, and what does he mean by "joint communication"— “Let’s talk while smoking dope?” Leigh's question asks for clarification too, yes? Perhaps he's talking about how the media influences behavior too? Seems like not enough said there, doh.

The article NC posted brings to mind the complex cultural issues surrounding the subject of rape, not least of which is the “Madonna/Whore" double-bind imposed on the female sex; or, the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t look sexy” conflicting messages sent to women and girls; plus advertising which encourages girls’ identification with sexy as being “liberation,” so that they buy into sex-object status, as if it’s a good thing. But then along come the forces that would have woman submissive, subordinate and under control, to say, “By flaunting your sexuality, you are asking to be raped, Slut!” as if the male of our species lacks the power to control himself, as if it’s all up to women.

Misogyny speaks up one side, down the other.

I have always been a modest dresser too, Leigh, except perhaps when I was a teen and loved to wear short shorts and bikinis, go to the beach with my girl friends and flirt with the boys. (slut!) Somehow, though, the boys managed to control themselves, despite my behavior. The question is, what gives rapists the entitlement to rape? Consider, perhaps, the possibility of myths surrounding female and male sexuality, such as, "Women enjoy being brutalized; women dream of rape; men cannot control their sexuality; men are animals" as being part of the problem.

I’m not sure co-ed consciousness-raising would be best. I don’t see non-coed classes as being unable to communicate the abnormal character of rape. Anyway, girls tend to be shy and unwilling to tell the truth (complain), when boys are present; and vice versa. And how would you keep such classes from becoming flirtation fests?

leighmf's picture
leighmf 8 years 20 weeks ago

Ooo la la -Madonna/Whore is so descriptive! I am so weary of seeing her old whatch-a-callit in fishnets grinding its way across the stage.

My voice teacher Mr. Dane, trained by the Conductor of the Boston Symphony, said, "She's not my style."

Don't leave out the Klaus Barbie Doll, the rich man's non-inflatable companion. Barbie has the legs men crave and two hard plastic torpedoes, something which has crossed over into real life goals for girls.

I'll never forget one boy who attacked me on the way home from Karen Rosenthal's Sweet 16 Party. I had used my own money from working in the hospital kitchen to buy a dress suitable enough for Karen's Yacht Club, and to buy her a Sweet Sixteen 14k gold charm for her bracelet. He, on the other hand, mortified me by having a fake piece of handkerchief stapled to cardboard peeping out of his jacket pocket.

We were in the backseat of the car - he tore the zipper out of my dress AND shredded my shiny wet-look panythose, There were grimy fingerprints all over the eggshell crepe fabric. My friend in the front seat kept telling her date to drive faster, to get me home. We didn't know what to do. It was really embarassing, and a hellish end to what I had hoped was to have been an enchanted evening.

Mother was not pleased. Katherine had a talent for throwing powerful curses when provoked, so I would be surprised if that boy has lived his life unscathed.

Then there was the exhibitionist, age 18, who followed my friend and I as we walked home from school. We were only about 13, but too smart for him. We got his license plate. We believed it was our civil duty to testify in court, eventhough we had to individually and alone stand up in front of a judge and say, "He pulled out his penis, and wagged it at us, and asked us if we'd ever seen one like his before."

We even testified to things he said that we didn't understand at the time.

Being thirteen year-olds, we made a scrapbook out of our case. I still have it.

Oh, such memories long dormant you have stirred in me, Zenzoe. But to answer the question with a question, rapists tend to have a background of experiencing or witnessing abuse as children. What can be done about that?

Zenzoe 8 years 20 weeks ago

You do know I didn't mean Madonna, the entertainer? I shouldn't have capitalized madonna, since I meant to reference the age old, "madonna-whore complex." Or, was that another droll Leigh offering?

Yeah, torpedos, inflatables, the whole weird world of wacky desires. And men in relationships with inflatable dolls: As my grandmother used to say, "'There's no accounting for taste,' said the lady as she kissed the cow."

I'm so sorry about your encounter with the zipper rapist. Thank God for Katherine.

Don't get me started on exhibitionists. In my day, we girls inevitably learned to cope with such abominations, since often enough some pale, pathetic-looking guy in a car would pull up alongside us on our way to school to ask for "directions," hoping, apparently, we'd be amazed and dazzled by the action going on in his lap. We weren't.

After reading your question re most rapists having had a background of abuse, I did some searching and found an interesting article on the subject: Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence, by David Lisak, Ph.D. He says that an inherent problem with studying the subject is that most rapes go unreported, so that historically studies have not included these non-incarcerated rapists (and they don't think of themselves as rapists). However, apparently this has been corrected, in part. He writes, validating your point, "...among those developmental antecedents, one of the most prominent is a history of childhood abuse. Sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect are all significantly more prevalent in the backgrounds of rapists than in the backgrounds of non-offending men. "

Also this:

Many of the motivational factors that were identified in incarcerated rapists have been shown to apply equally to undetected rapists. When compared to men who do not rape, these undetected rapists are measurably more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.

In the course of 20 years of interviewing these undetected rapists, in both research and forensic settings, it has been possible for me to distill some of the common characteristics of the modus operandi of these sex offenders. These undetected rapists:

• are extremely adept at identifying “likely” victims, and testing prospective victims’ boundaries;

• plan and premeditate their attacks, using sophisticated strategies to groom their victims for attack, and to isolate them physically;

• use “instrumental” not gratuitous violence; they exhibit strong impulse control and use only as much violence as is needed to terrify and coerce their victims into submission;

• use psychological weapons – power, control, manipulation, and threats – backed up by physical force, and almost never resort to weapons such as knives or guns;

• use alcohol deliberately to render victims more vulnerable to attack, or completely unconscious.

Good ol' Google.

So, yes. Child abuse=damage, ongoing. I think the problem is known as a vicious cycle? Still, is it the only thing? I don't think so.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 8 years 20 weeks ago

Actually, I truly thought you were referring to Madonna the Entertaining whore.

I do know of one violent and very disturbed convicted rapist who I attended elementary school with. He and another boy were referred to as "retarded" because they failed everything and wouldn't do schoolwork. This boy was several years older than his classmates from having been held back three times since first grade. The third grade teacher used to have me sit outside the classroom with him to help him with reading. He would just stare at me the whole time- a steely stare which made me afraid. When he was in third grade with me, he had the look of a grown man filled with hate.

Years later he finally assaulted some girls working at MacDonalds in a horrible way. Oddly, I was friends with his sister for a while when I was a teen and she told me their father beat him and their mother. This became common knowledge, though domestic violence was not such a big deal in the 1960's. A divorced woman was considered a failure, and generally ostracized, so many just kept quiet. There were no fair settlements to support women then either. This made divorce especially difficult for educated women who had devoted their marketable years to raising children and housekeeping. It meant taking menial jobs to survive.

Zenzoe 8 years 20 weeks ago

Tragedy heaped upon tragedy. How utterly sad, Leigh. And we don't know exactly what caused the father's violence, except we know that many people still believe in the old "spare the rod, spoil the child," Biblical mantra. Recently, a child was spanked to death by her parents:

I knew a woman at work, a fundamentalist Lutheran, who believed wholeheartedly in corporal punishment for children. I asked her one day, "Anita, do you believe children are born good or bad?" ( I asked, because I had read Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant, and I wanted to see if she fit the profile of a conservative.) She answered, "Oh, bad!" (Lakoff characterizes this answer as part of the conservative mind-set, as you may know.) She even believed infants should be spanked for trying to manipulate their parents!

Still, childhood abuse —and rape, or any other crime— has to be understood within its context, a society based on competition, where inequality creates pressures and sends messages of entitlement to one group or another to abuse "lesser" others. Your poor boy got the message loud and clear: Males abuse women (his father probably raped his mother too); I am a male, so I will abuse women. (This is a message sent by society in many ways too.) The violence he experienced no doubt lowered his I.Q. too, as I've heard such violence does to children. Not all children who are violated become violators (Derrick Jensen's father raped and beat him and his mother, but he became an activist and a writer.); but not all children are the same: Some children are weeds, and no matter what you do to them, they come back; other children are orchids and need special conditions to grow.

k. allen's picture
k. allen 5 years 21 weeks ago

I'd like to invite people to continue the conversation about _'rape culture'_ in the context of this thread about _'things that cause rape...'_. Since Zenzoe started this thread, I hope she won't object if I open this part of the exchange with her most recent post at the thread about 'rape culture' related to Rehtaeh Parsons (may she rest in peace):

ZenZoe: "Why do otherwise good people work so hard to deny the concept of rape culture? I’ve seen opinions by several of the RC deniers expressing absolute shock and dismay over violence against women, for example over Ray Rice’s violent behavior toward his then fiancé, and so I’m sure they’re as sickened by rape as anyone should be. So, what’s the hang-up over “rape culture?” Why the incessant perpetuation of the myths surrounding rape, the clinging to all the old clichés about rape that have themselves become an aspect of rape culture?

Okay, here it comes— the term “rape culture” was originally coined by feminists. Oh no! Feminists! “Rape culture's" gotta be toxic and wrong wrong wrong!

The seething hatred of feminism as an irrational, wildly wrongheaded response to a movement simply devoted to equality and the emancipation of women. What’s toxic is patriarchy and a system of double-standards and inequality that oppresses half the population.

How about one of the rape-culture deniers admit to rejecting the whole idea of social and economic equality for women as a human right, as opposed to throwing out smoke screens and various red-herrings in an attempt to invalidate feminist thinking— let’s hear it."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 21 weeks ago

Hi Zenzoe! I’m back! Thanks for starting a new thread on this topic. I think that was a brilliant idea. I’m hoping certain people on that old thread (whose names I’ll not mention) will stay there, although I’m not holding my breath.

Leigh, with due respect, the recommendations offered in your first post sound tantamount to a prison sentence for women. And now in post #4, you’re perpetuating the myth that rape is more about a woman’s attire than about the rapist. The unspoken, implied half of that myth is men who “can’t" control themselves. It’s not that they can’t, Leigh; it’s that they won’t. And putting the focus on women’s attire is telling us that we are responsible for men’s behavior because they “just can’t control themselves”. It is a premise I reject. These men need to keep their hands to themselves. I get really tired of people putting the focus on the victim instead of the perpetrator. You ask what can be done about men who experienced or witnessed abuse as children. How about good old-fashioned therapy?

I’m sorry to read of your own run-in with a sexual assailant as a teen. Wow what a drag, having a dress you worked so hard to get, ruined by that pig. Thank goodness for Katherine, indeed.

I’ve my own little anecdote to tell about encountering an exhibitionist. Back in my old Berkeley days (1972), I was walking up the street from my house early one evening when I saw this sick clown standing in a driveway, waving his dick at me. I had a knee-jerk reaction. “Fuck you!” I said, to which he replied: “I wish you would.”

If there was ever a time I should have thought first before speaking, that would have to be it. I couldn’t have come up with a dumber response, under those circumstances. I should have told him to go fuck himself instead. - AIW

P.S. K. Allen, good to see ya here!

k. allen's picture
k. allen 5 years 21 weeks ago

Thank you A/W. If I tell _my_ story you probably won't hear from me again - though, many stories I can tell - and may well, in time ... right now, I need to wash/steam some greens, and get off my feet.

...carry on ... may we find our way in peace!

k. allen

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 21 weeks ago

YO, Allen! You’re most welcome, of course. But that’s a mighty cryptic response following your note of thanks. Can’t resist being a little curious about what it means. But I’ll leave that to your discretion. - AIW

Zenzoe 5 years 21 weeks ago

Hi guys - - I did not re-start this thread (look at the dates). Stay if you like, but I'm not going to abandon the other thread. Right now I only have time for one, and, I'm not willing to let them get away with silencing us on rape culture.

No time right now...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 5 years 21 weeks ago

Oh pooh! I didn't notice the date. Oh well...

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