Posts Tagged ‘rape

14
Jan
14

Swedish Man Acquited of Raping Woman Who Screamed “No!”, or “I don’t speak Swedish, but I’m pretty sure “No” doesn’t mean “Yes” in that language either.”

Judge defends dominant-sex rape acquittal – The Local.

This one, folks….this one was just too insane and terrifying to not blog about.

Last week in Sweden, a man was acquitted of rape charges after he claimed the woman’s insistent screams on “No!” didn’t actually mean she didn’t want to engage is sex with him. Let me repeat, just so the sheer, disgusting insanity can sink in for you. A man was acquitted of rape for forcing himself on a woman who he admits was screaming “No!” until she actually went hoarse from the effort.  From the article:

“”I recognized the way she said no as a part of the sex; I recognized it from other girls,” the man said during questioning, the Metro newspaper reported.”

These two people had never met before the night in question. There wasn’t a pre-negotiated BDSM encounter with appropriate safe words. He simply claimed that she didn’t say “No.” in the right way, and that he knew this from “other girls”. He also admittedly “covered her nose and mouth so she couldn’t breathe and slapped her in the face”. Also from the article:

“But the man told the court that he was convinced the woman was into rough sex, saying he received “very clear signals” that she enjoyed what he was doing.”

Doesn’t that make you wonder how many other women this man might have raped under the guise of “well, I was convinced that she liked rough sex.”?

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m all in favor of whatever manner of kinky shit two (or three or four or a baker’s dozen) consenting adults decide they’d like to get up to in order to get their jollies, even if that includes pre-arranged and negotiated consensual non-consensuality. Your sexuality is your sexuality, and I’m in no place to judge what gets you off…so long as all the other parties involved are actually WILLING. But there’s zero indication that that is what’s going on here. Apparently in Sweden, you just need to “seem to like it”, even if you’re screaming “No!” loudly enough for the neighbors to hear (which is yet another disturbing fact from this case). That’s a pretty terrifyingly low standard for “consent.” The fact that the woman ran crying and barely clothed from the apartment as soon as she was able didn’t appear to mean much either.

In the end the judge in this case ruled that “it had not been proven that the 27-year-old had acted with intent to act against the woman’s wishes.” I’m really not sure how else this poor woman could have possibly expressed the notion that she did not want to engage in sex with this man. Do we need neon signs, a marching band, skywriter, and a national ad campaign to simply express our non-consent to sex? Is it really that difficult to grasp that a screamed “No!” actually means “No”, even in Swedish?

25
Jul
13

Serious Allegations about Handling of Rape Cases at USC, or “Once again, it appears that colleges think rape isn’t a big deal.”

USC Student: Police Said I Wasn’t Raped Because He Didn’t Orgasm.

It looks like even major universities can’t get over that antiquated idea that rape is little more than “boys being boys,” and continue to patently ignore the safety of women n their campuses. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is currently investigating the University of Southern California after 13 women made complaints about how the university failed to appropriately address reported sexual assaults. The allegations include a woman who had her complaint dismissed by officials, even with recording audio of the assailants confession, because they desired an “educational” over a punitive process. Because clearly, this young man was just wayward and misguided and wasn’t aware that it was inappropriate to rape women. Another woman reports that a detective with USC’s police force declined to turn her case over to LAPD, and campus officials dismissed administrative proceedings because her rapist did not have an orgasm during the attack. It appears to these officials that it’s a-okay to forcibly penetrate a woman, just so long as you don’t inseminate her. A quick check of the California Penal Code seems to contradict this, though. And in an oh-so-classic example of victim-blaming and slut-shaming, one official advised a young woman reporting an assault at a fraternity part that she shouldn’t “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.” So in the mind’s of USC, all women who drink alcohol deserve to get raped.

I’m well-aware that there’s a long history of covering up sexual violence on college campuses throughout the US, and that the lengths to which these cover-ups go only increases with the prestige of the institution. After all, images need to be maintained, and being known as the home of dozens of campus rapes isn’t very good for marketing. Despite the stereotypes of universities as these bastions of progressive values and liberal ideals, clearly many of them harbor a culture with beliefs about sexual assault and women’s sexuality that resembled the 1920’s. Not shockingly, USC is far from the only school under investigation. UNC-Chapel Hill, UC-Boulder, Swarthmore, and Occidental are all also currently being investigate by the OCR. When you realize how important a college degree has become to succeed in the job market, particularly for women, it’s terrifying to wonder just how many young women have had their lives and futures destroyed because not only are universities not taking their safety seriously, but they can’t even be bothered to appropriately handle a rape after it’s happened. Rape trauma and the associated PTSD are real consequences of sexual assault, and they have very negative effects on your ability to function- you know, like going to class and passing exams. And who would want to continue schooling in a place that’s unconcerned about the fact that you were raped? I think I’d run screaming.

I can only hope that the OCR’s investigations shakes these schools into some major changes and maybe catalyze a closer look at sexual assaults on campus throughout our country. But if history tells me anything, these women’s cries will continue to fall on deaf ears.

18
Jun
13

Patton Oswalt’s Moment of Clarity on Rape Jokes or “How one comedian made my day by publically pulling his head out of his ass and admitting his own mistakes.”

Patton Oswalt | A CLOSED LETTER TO MYSELF ABOUT THIEVERY, HECKLING AND RAPE JOKES.

Let me start out by explaining that I’m a pretty ardent first amendment advocate. I believe it IS absolutely your right to publicly spout whatever vile bullshit you so choose (so long as it isn’t slanderous, etc). But I also believe just as strongly that it’s ABSOLUTELY my right (and responsibility, and perhaps even privilege at times) to call you out for your horseshit, dissect it for lies, half-truths, and failures in reason, and then hold you up for as much ridicule and public shaming as I can muster. Freedom of speech always has two edges. Rape jokes are very much the same for me. I will never argue that it should be illegal to make a rape joke, but you better believe I’ll be watching you like a hawk for a reason to verbally eviscerate you if the joke falls into sad, tired misogynist tropes of victim-blame and rapist-apologizing. Unfortunately, the stand-up community seems to heartily misunderstand a distaste of victim-blaming “humor” invoking rape topics as a desire to censor…and that’s just simply not the case. We’re just looking for a little congnizance, a glimmer of recognition of the problem at hand.

Cue today’s reblog from Patton Oswalt. I happen to think that Patton is a very funny and intelligent guy, and I believe we see eye-to-eye on lots of things. So when I stubbled across a lengthy blog post from him with “rape jokes” in the title, I was more than a little concerned that I’d be reading yet another length defense of rape humor, and more indictments of feminists as a bunch of folks out to push censorship onto humor. Happily, I was rather taken aback at what I read, and completely impressed by Patton’s very public missive about the realization he had made, and the enormous shift in his views on the matter. Even more impressive was level of responsibility he takes for his actions, and his admission of the mistakes he had made. While it’s a lengthy posting (Mr Oswalt makes my writing look concise by comparison), it’s absolutely worth a read. But I’d like to share the one bit that stood out to me, and absolutely made my day:

Let’s go backwards through those bullshit conclusions, shall we?  First off: no one is trying to make rape, as a subject, off-limits.  No one is talking about censorship.  In this past week of re-reading the blogs, going through the comment threads, and re-scrolling the Twitter arguments, I haven’t once found a single statement, feminist or otherwise, saying that rape shouldn’t be joked under any circumstance, regardless of context.  Not one example of this.

In fact, every viewpoint I’ve read on this, especially from feminists, is simply asking to kick upward, to think twice about who is the target of the punchline, and make sure it isn’t the victim.

Why, after all of my years of striving to write original material (and, at times, becoming annoyingly self-righteous about it) and struggling find new viewpoints or untried approaches to any subject, did I suddenly balk and protest when an articulate, intelligent and, at times, angry contingent of people were asking my to apply the same principles to the subject of rape?  Any edgy or taboo subject can become just as hackneyed as an acceptable or non-controversial one if the exact same approach is made every time.  But I wasn’t willing to hear that.

Thank you, Mr Oswalt. Your introspection and willingness to admit your mistakes in such a public manner have earned you a huge measure of my respect. I hope the rest of the stand-up community takes a cue from you.




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