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Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

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Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:37 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/sports/high-school-football-rape-case-unfolds-online-and-divides-steubenville-ohio.html


Now, the first thing I want to say is that no one has been convicted of rape in this case. In fact, it doesn't even seem certain that the young lady in the story was raped at all. There are too many different stories and no hard proof, from what I can tell. The case involves a large party, lots of teen drinking, and allegations that the victim "may have been" raped, and possibly urinated on by members of the town's star football team. Some say she was unconsious. Others say she just was too drunk to walk. Now the story is pitting the community against one another. From the article (bold emphasis mine):

Some residents and others on social media blamed the girl, saying she put the football team in a bad light and put herself in a position to be violated. Others supported the girl, saying she was a victim of what they believed was a hero-worshiping culture built around football players who think they can do no wrong.

Regardless of the specifics in this case, why do some people wish to insist that a woman effectively "deserves" to be raped just because she has too much to drink, or perhaps dresses a bit too provacatively?


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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:31 pm

Moonbeam

Really want to respond to this very emotive thread.

The issues are complex, and I suspect relate back to the thread there was a little while back about female human rights in Moslem cultures.

The process seems to be - men feel they should be 'in charge' (male hegemony) - all the paradigms of masculinity seem to require the input of a submissive, available female - women are daily experienced as not fitting this mould (don't make themselves available, aren't submissive, display themselves as sexual beings in their own right) - this leads to cultural dissonance (guys feel less masculine) - opportunity arises to assault, insult, or otherwise harm an individual woman, thus helping guys reassert the way they feel things ought to be, and relieving fear of not being 'masculine'.

Obviously, the woman in these situations ought to have either made herself available in the required submissive manner, or to have made herself invisible by adopting 'modest' dress or behaviour.

As long as we have male hegemony, there will be incidents of rape and assault against women who happen to get in the way of guys who are not really secure in their masculine identity.

That was what all us femionists were talking about back in the '70's.

That's what I think, anyway.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:09 pm

Even a rapist may have vestiges of a conscience, but may assuage that guilt by saying, "she was asking for it!" That very attitude can be found in some surprising places - among other women for example, who may find themselves quite ready to blame the victim for some real or imaginary contributory cause. I can remember my own mother, a passenger in our car, commenting on a girl sitting at the roadside with her blouse undone because of the summer heat, so showing her bra, using those precise words. "She's asking for it."

Whilst almost every popular magazine reproduces pictures of scantily-clad ladies as routine, the criticism may be misdirected.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:12 pm

boatlady, I understand the point you're making, but this is in the US. Not in a Muslim dominated culture. I don't think that mentality ever really existed here, or at least not to the extent it does there.

And, as oftenwrong pointed out, there are even women who will blame the victim. I really cannot get behind this at all. No one deserves to be raped. The blame rests on the perpetrators who have no moral compass.


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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:06 pm

I really think the difference is one of degree rather than of type. Moonbeam.
In any society that subscribes to a world view that expects men to be in positions of power (and that still includes USA), many men will feel threatened by women who don't conform to expectations, and many women will condemn other women who attract male disapproval and/or abuse.
Powerless individuals will seek to ingratiate themselves with members of the powerful group.
In USA and in England, it's rare for this to be acted out with the degree of violence that we have seen in some other situations, but I so sincerely believe that it's essentially the same process - the difference being that our legal system punishes men who act out these types of hostility, whereas in some other societies punishment is not so certain.
The eqation seems to be - men are told they ought to be powerful - their circumstances make them feel less powerful; - they look around for someone less powerful still and kick the crap out of them - self esteem renewed.
Men and women are not equal in society, despite many positive role models - until they are, I believe we will continue to see these appalling acts
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:41 pm

Unfortunately correct. Rape has almost always been rather more of a Power-game than a sexual act, and any Psychologist can fill a substantial book with motivational analysis. The act of Human reproduction carries a lot of baggage including jealousy, fear and territorial claims, as well as Love.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:49 am

Talking of male hegemony and power relations between the sexes(well I was, anyway) I can't help but be struck by the number of erotoc novels written by woment that are on the market these days, especially it seems dealing with bondage at the hands of rich powerful men. (Obviously 20 shades of grey, but there are spin-offs seemingly without number on Kindle and no doubt elsewhere)
As a feminist, I wonder where this sits in the debate about rape and womens human rights.
I haven't personally read any of this kind of fiction as I really don't like erotic fiction, finding it repetitive and usually rather bland, but I do wonder about women choosing to read and write this kind of fiction when there are more interesting things to say, and wonder what it says about women's understanding of where we are in what used to be called the 'sex war'.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:37 pm

The lesson of History is that Power is more often seized than it is conceded.

Over to you, Ladies!

You could perhaps do worse than begin with the two and a half-thousand-year-old Play written by Aristophanes which has the title Lysistrata.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:45 pm

Not going that far back, but have been immersing myself in some Victorian fiction lately, which sort of illustrates how women were seen at that time - helpless victims of men's villainy, or pure and equally helpless idols to be cherished and worshipped by the other kind of men.
Also read with interest some time back The Crimson Petal and the White, which illustrates the 'dark' side of that in the way women seen as not virtuous, or working class or too 'masculine' (i.e. independent) were treated and regarded.
The current trend of sado-erotic fantasy by and for women doesn't seem too far from that world view, and I wonder how much that kind of fantasy feeds in to the punitive and hostile response we sometimes see to female victims of rape?
Anything that pictures women as powerless, subordinate or lesser than men does seem to sort of feed in to that rape fantasy, so, maybe, as women, we ought to have some regard to how we present ourselves in what is an essentially hostile male dominated world? Maybe hobbling around in high heels (recently back in fashion with a vengeance) tight clothes etc really is an inducement to rape?
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:01 pm

I don't feel that most of the world is hostile towards women though. Nor do I believe that what a woman wears is (or should be) viewed as a "reason" to be raped.

Women should be able to dress in a manner where they feel beautiful (within reason), without having to worry about how it's perceived by others. Even so, if a woman were to walk down the street naked, I still don't feel that that gives a man (or a group of them) a free pass to assault her.

As for the erotica, I enjoyed 50 Shades of Grey. I don't have fantasies of rape, or even necessarily being subdued, but yet.. I still like being dominated to a certain level, as well as some of the other things that were discussed in that book. Why? Because I spend all day long being the alpha female at work! I am the one that seems to lead my shift, so sometimes it's nice to give control over to someone else.

That in no way gives anyone the RIGHT to do something I've said no to. That goes for all women.

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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:02 pm

Moonbeam - sorry if I've given offence - just thinking aloud about themes from literature.

There is a level of hostility out there towards women who don't fit the mould, I feel, by which I mean women who seem not to subscribe to the male hegemony, and I believe this is where the impulse to abuse and to rape comes from (i.e. the same place as any attack from within a group on an individual from outside the group), and also some of the hostility from other women towards victims which we both find so incomprehensible.

Reading fiction is I believe mostly about fantasy (personally, as a rather squeamish and very non violent person in real life, my chosen reading matter is often gruesome murder mysteries - go figure). We read fiction, I believe, as a way of finding expression in a safe way of parts of our personality that aren't comfortable or even legal in the real world.

Trends in fiction (what people are writing and choosing to read) are, I believe, an indicator of what is going on below the surface in a society, and I find it interesting in this post feminist era that so many women are choosing to read and write fiction that celebrates bondage and helplessness, and doing it in the name of sexual liberation. It just seems odd to me.

As to the issue of how we dress, I make no judgement, but I did wonder, with such a lot of evidence about that many men, and some women, do have feelings of hostility towards some forms of expression of female sexuality, whether it might be practical and sensible to be aware, as women, of what non-verbal messages we are giving to others when we go out into the world. Some styles of dress, for example, clearly signal sexual availability, and I'm all for that, but in some company and in some circumstances I wouldn't want to be sexually available.

Personally, I've little problem with giving offence or challenging expectations in a good cause, but I'm not always sure girls and woment think it through.

You're right, of course, we all have a right to walk naked down the main road any time we want and should never have to fear any harm(except arrest) - but I don't really think we live in that kind of world yet.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:34 pm

"Some styles of dress, for example, clearly signal sexual availability, and I'm all for that, but in some company and in some circumstances I wouldn't want to be sexually available."

I'd like to retail a true tale from my mis-spent youth. I know, obviously, how I felt about the incident, but wonder about the reaction of unbiassed observers, if anyone would like to express an opinion.

I was then working as an accounts clerk in a fair-sized company employing close to a thousand staff. It was September, and one of the Directors' Secretaries had evidently returned from a holiday in the sun. She chose to advertise that detail by wearing an unusually low-cut dress to the office which displayed her perfectly bronzed boobies to advantage. The lady concerned chose further to display her magnificence beyond the rarified air of the Directors' floor, into the more plebeian areas of the building including our less salubrious quarter.

I am not one to spurn the opportunity of ogling bare female flesh when it is so happily displayed, and took full advantage of the occasion.

But clearly the woman concerned had dressed herself for the delectation of the Board Room, with no intention of including riff-raff such as a humble accounts clerk. Her expression left no doubt of that.

My question is, how are we mere males supposed to know whether the "message" is particular or general?
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:41 pm

Lookin' ain't touchin'...
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:58 pm

I vowed never to wash my hands again.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:16 pm

Well, maybe I would want to say - in non verbal communication it's difficult to whisper - and any other time I'm communicating I expect anyone who can hear to feel entitled to respond
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:22 pm

Just between ourselves, boatlady - have you ever been a Director's Secretary anywhere ( say, in a fair-sized company...?) Shocked
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by skwalker1964 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:23 pm

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/09/delhi-gang-rape-lawyer-respectable-woman-sharma_n_2440619.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

"No respectable woman is raped in India, according to the lawyer for three of the men charged with the brutal gang rape and murder of a medical student in Delhi.

Lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma said in an interview with Bloomberg he was “confident that the men will be proved innocent because there are a number of problems with the police investigation.”

Sharma said he believed that the male friend of the murdered 23-year-old was “wholly responsible” for the incident, for not protecting his friend.

“Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady. Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.” "

God help us.
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:15 pm

PH - no, I've never held such a glamorous post - I suspect you may want to suggest that dressing in a way that signals sexual availability may be part of that role - I wouldn't know - if it does, maybe it bears out my comments about male hegemony and the lack of sexual equality in society - after all,when I've had men working under me, there's never been any expectation that they should dress or behave in a way that mekes them sexually attractive to me.

SK - I'm horrified to read those comments from a presumably educated man - but weren't we quiote recently hearing similar comments from the Right wing in USA? A hotbed of sexual and social inequality
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:44 pm

Some fell on stony ground..... Very Happy
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by skwalker1964 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:55 pm

boatlady wrote:PH - no, I've never held such a glamorous post - I suspect you may want to suggest that dressing in a way that signals sexual availability may be part of that role - I wouldn't know - if it does, maybe it bears out my comments about male hegemony and the lack of sexual equality in society - after all,when I've had men working under me, there's never been any expectation that they should dress or behave in a way that mekes them sexually attractive to me.

SK - I'm horrified to read those comments from a presumably educated man - but weren't we quiote recently hearing similar comments from the Right wing in USA? A hotbed of sexual and social inequality

We were, unfortunately. It's 'Steve', btw. Smile
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:22 pm

@ boatlady- No offense was taken. I just don't feel the same as you on some points. Smile In regards to non-verbal messages that may be given as a result of how a woman dresses, I have to agree that we need to think about what image it is we're trying to project at any given time. Certain attire, while acceptable for a night out dancing, is not okay within the workplace. And women who do "dress to impress" while out socializing shouldn't be surprised when they get that attention.

This speaks to oftenwrong's story as well, as he mentioned the woman who allowed her newly tanned "assets" to be seen. She intended that only the executives would leer, and then was upset when others she considered beneath her did so also. Well, that's too bad for her. In this case, she doesn't get to pick her audience. Show one, show all, and no complaining when you get looked at.

Of course, that still doesn't mean she should expect to be raped because of it.



The statement of "No respectable woman is raped in India" just makes my blood boil. If a so-called respectable woman saw a man that she felt or otherwise knew was not respectable, and cut off his penis as a result, would that be ok? Because he wasn't respectable? Of course not! It's an utterly ridiculous statement to make, saying that women who aren't respectable effectively deserve the abuse.


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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:32 pm

Shakespeare wasn't wrong:

Dick:
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
Cade:
Nay, that I mean to do.


Henry The Sixth, Part 2 Act 4, scene 2, 71–78
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:06 pm

Moon beam
I don't really feel we're that far apart.
It just sometimes worries me with the 'war between the sexes' still not 'won' that women are choosing to write and read stories of bondage and present themselves in public wearing clothing that speaks of bondage (high heels, that you can't run or walk properly in, tight clothing that similarly restricts movement).
It may well be only a matter of taste, but I think women, like men, appear to best advantage when they can indulge the full scope of their body movement (and, incidentally, defend themselves,and escape predators)
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:45 pm

I agree that dressing in that manner makes it hard to escape a situation if need be. But I doubt that any of those women think of heels and tight clothes as being related to bondage. I know I don't.

I also don't wear clothing like that, because though it may make me look attractive, I find it uncomfortable. I feel like other women wear those things because they feel sexy in them, and that's probably all they care about.


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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:51 pm

Which just sort of says it all about where the balance of power lies
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:36 pm

I think that depends on your perspective. Men certainly have the physical power, but women can be powerful in their own right. I have a partner who tells me all the time that I control things because I have a _______ .

Sexual power is still power.


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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:49 am

See, I've heard that argument about women's power being located in their sexual organs, and it so utterly fails to convince me. That's a form of power, to be sure, but a passive form of power, and gives no credit to the intellectual, physical; and emotional power that women as well as men are able to weild.
How I wonder would your partner feel if told that he has power only because he has a penis and his penis is the only method he has of being in control?
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:06 pm

Why do you think supercars exist, with those very long bonnets?
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by moonbeam on Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:42 pm

boatlady wrote:See, I've heard that argument about women's power being located in their sexual organs, and it so utterly fails to convince me. That's a form of power, to be sure, but a passive form of power, and gives no credit to the intellectual, physical; and emotional power that women as well as men are able to weild.
How I wonder would your partner feel if told that he has power only because he has a penis and his penis is the only method he has of being in control?
Oh I'm totally with you on this one. He knows I don't agree with his philosophy too. He seems to feel a woman can get whatever she wants by using that sexual power. Maybe some can. I wouldn't ever try because I think it's wrong to do so. Whatever I earn, I want to have earned it legitimately through hard work and intelligence.

If he were told his power was in his penis, who knows what he'd think. I'd like to think he'd be offended by it, but you can never tell with men. Wink

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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by boatlady on Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:52 pm

lol! True
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Re: Why do women get blamed when they're raped?

Post by Phil Hornby on Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:01 pm

This is clearly no place for a easily-embarrassed young chap like me... Very Happy
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