Archive for April, 2015

My last blog entry, published nearly 3 weeks ago, dealt with the subject of rape. Previous to that, my last blog about rape had been September 2014. Rape has become something of a recurring subject in this blog so I was surprised when I realised it was about 6 months between articles on the subject. That doesn’t mean that rape has ceased to be a discussion point, in that time there’s been the UVA/Rolling stone fuckup, the mob killing of an innocent Indian Man and numerous more false rape allegations, among others.

So why the gap? Honestly, I don’t know. I think the Rolling Stone story had so much press and opinion that I really didn’t know where to start, similarly the Indian mob killing was something that exploded at the time so there was so much information out at the time that I simply couldn’t keep up. One of the things I always try and do with this blog is to retain as much integrity and honesty as possible. I try not to write a story unless I have absolute clarity on what I’m writing. I don’t’ want to be someone who has to retract something later on because of dodgy research.

But rape is still a big issue. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s everywhere. And I don’t mean that in a ‘women be raped simply stepping out of their house’, I simply mean that it’s a constant news story, often to the point that a site can make an entire story out of pretty much nothing.

In my last blog entry I called for discussions on rape to be frank, open and honest. The Rolling Stone/UVA rape story is a prime example of what happens when rape discussion is mired in mistruths, agendas and ideologues that only want their version of the truth to be heard.

Was ‘Jackie’ raped? That’s the problem, we simply don’t know. The level of ineptitude which lead to the publication of Rolling Stone’s story and the general shit-slinging that occurred afterwards shows that, actually, at the moment we are simply not capable of having these kinds of discussion without resorting to childish inanities. MRM groups claim this is an example of the prevalence of false accusations, feminists claim this is just another way of dismissing and silencing victims. Until both sides stop with their ridiculous agenda-driven ‘analysis’ this is the kind of story that will continue to fester.

That’s just one facet of rape though, in order for rape to be frank, open and honest they need to be completely inclusive. I know some people think rape discussions are all inclusive but, to be frank, no they are not. Why? Well, for the same reason I mentioned in my last blog – we still see rape, or more importantly are still told rape, is a woman’s problem.

‘It’s a woman’s problem because only women get raped, only women suffer from the trauma of rape and, ultimately, women are the only necessary focus when it comes to discussing and, hopefully, solving the scourge of rape as a crime.’

The problem with that is twofold:

  1. The statistics used to back up the aid given to women are false. If they aren’t false they are often misleading. The 1-in-4 statistic has now become so unreliable that any time someone uses it I automatically lose faith in their argument. That is a horrible mindset to have, statistics should be used to help people, not hinder them.
  2. As I said in my last blog, the inclusive nature of rape discussion at the moment is detrimental to men. The focus on rape as ‘something that only happens to women’ actively excludes male victims. At a time when more and more reports are coming out that finally focus on sexual assault of males it is imperative that we refocus the rape narrative. That isn’t to take away from female victims, it’s simply an acknowledgement that 30 year old statistics can no longer be the yardstick, it’s simply saying ‘well, we know men can be victims, too, let’s dedicate some time to that area.’

At the moment we have statistics working against each other, we have unreliable statistics being used as facts in the driving forward of female-victim rape discussions and, on the other side, we have barely any statistics to highlight the very real fact that men and boys are sexually assaulted by women, to a similar degree according to some studies. When a new study on the victimisation of men and boys does appear it often doesn’t make mainstream and, worse, is criticised by feminist groups. Tell me how that shows anything other than disdain for male victims?

So what can we do? Well, we need to include male victims in discussions about rape without it being seen as undermining women. See, the rape discourse has focused on women for so long, with shaky statistics to back up their claims, that any discussion about male victims is seen to be some sort of derailment. ‘How can you bring up male victims, males don’t really get raped, 25% of women get raped!’ That’s how statistics are used to fuck with people, men ignore their own suffering; women learn to fear every single man on the planet for no reason. What a fucked up situation.

So, you’d think one of the best antidotes to this societal disease would be feminism, yes? Well, that’s the problem. Despite feminism’s claims to be ‘for men as well’, it regularly demonstrates that it, actually, couldn’t give a flying fuck about men.

Today I want to look at an article from feminist website Bustle. Bustle claims that it is ‘insatiably curious about the world’, which is fine, that’s a good stance to have. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be ‘insatiably curious’ about seeing men as victims.

This is what I want to look at and explore how it only helps further distance men from the rape discourse:

Now, let’s start by being open, frank and honest – I don’t think ‘rape culture’ exists. Now, that doesn’t mean I think rape isn’t a problem. I do, it is a problem. But, as I’ve stated before, numerous times, my problem with ‘rape culture’ is that it’s entirely gynocentric to the point that most, if not all, discussions of ‘rape culture’ revolve around female victims. Not only that, those discussions are backed up with shaky statistics and lots of hyperbole. Sometimes, ‘rape culture’ is something that only feminists seem to see as rape. That’s the problem, the monopoly on rape discussion is in the hands of feminists and, unfortunately, feminists seem to be adamant that they, and only they, know what is and isn’t rape. This is to the point that even if a woman claims she wasn’t raped, a feminist will often swoop in and tell her she was. Rape culture is often predicated on the assumption by feminists that something definitely is rapey, even if there is some major disagreements on whether that assessment is true. Blurred Lines is a prime example – feminists decry it as evidence of ‘rape culture’ whereas an equally vocal side say it isn’t. Who’s right? Well, feminists are, according to feminists. See how ‘rape culture’ becomes so prevalent?

Having said that, I do believe this article is touching on something that does need to said – we have moved away from the idea that rape is something that happens when walking down a dark alley. Sure, that still makes up some cases but, more often than not, the ‘stranger raper’ makes up a small percentage of rape accusations. Most accusations are now made against people the victim knows.

But even that doesn’t really adequately cover the topic of coercion. I think the introduction to this article hits the nail on the head here:

Sexual coercion is when tactics like pressure, trickery, or emotional force are used to get someone to agree to sex. It can be as as simple as encouraging someone to have a few too many drinks, or it can hide inside threats like “I’ll leave you if you don’t sleep with me.” But no matter what form it takes, sexual coercion isn’t just “a part of life” — it’s manipulative at best, and at worst, it’s abuse. ‘

That’s a pretty good way of saying. Coercion is a dirty tactic, a way of playing on someone’s emotions in order to manipulate them to do something that only you want to do. It’s not a reciprocal thing, if you’ve coerced someone they have usually done something unwillingly.

I’ve heard some people say that coercion is simply a form of seduction. I quite disagree. Seduction usually has some kind of sexual energy existent in the first place. Someone can allow themselves to be seduced (seduced, literally, means ‘to lead astray’ in Latin), someone generally already has a desire to do whatever it is they are being seduced into. Seduction is temptation, playing on already existing desires in order to reduce inhibitions. Can it be seedy? Hell yes, and it’s not always the most pleasant thing in the world, but it’s quite different from coercion.

Let’s look at definitions.

First, seduction:

  1. the action of seducing someone.
  2. a tempting or attractive thing.

Next, coercion:

  1. the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

So you see there is a difference. It’s a fine line between the two but, generally, seduction plays on existing desires, coercion uses threats and force. We aren’t talking about seduction in this case, we’re talking solely about coercion.

So far the article has been pretty gender-neutral. That’s a pretty good thing, maybe feminism does care about male victims after all. I mean, you might not agree with this, but I think the main type of rape that would happen to a man would involve some kind of coercion or threat. That doesn’t mean women can’t forcibly rape men, there have been accounts of that happening, it’s just that most of the stories I read about men being raped seem to be from other tactics, not just brute force. Of course, with this article being about coercion this is what we will focus on. That doesn’t mean I’m discounting male victims of forcible rape, just that, in this instance, we aren’t dealing with that facet of rape.

Unfortunately, the real agenda of this article and, to a lesser though no less important degree, the agenda of feminism becomes evident soon after:

‘Sometimes, it even falls within the realm of rape; studies have documented that victims of sexual coercion can suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD at rates similar to to those who have experienced sexual violence. But because there is so little public knowledge about sexual coercion, many women who have been sexually coerced might not even be aware that what happened to them qualifies as sexual assault, and may instead blame themselves for their trauma.’

Notice how the focus has now become solely on women? This is where feminism gets it wrong. In its claims to be ‘for men as well’ it simply isn’t doing a good enough job of including them.

I’m sure this line applies to men as much as it does to women:

‘there is so little public knowledge about sexual coercion, many women who have been sexually coerced might not even be aware that what happened to them qualifies as sexual assault’

In fact, I can guarantee you that this applies to men as much as women. How can I be that confident? This:

The first answer on this list – ‘Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer’

See, this is on one of those ‘lists that other people do that annoy you.’ I’ve used that site before in a previous blog entry about rape culture and it’s still as relevant here. A flat out definition of coercive rape is listed as something ‘annoying’ that women do in bed. Yet Eden Strong (the author of this article) wants to write coercive sex as solely a women’s issue. Not even a cursory nod to male victims despite the fact that evidence is out there clear as day. Feminism is not for men.

Let’s get to the different types of coercive sex:

  • You’re Having Sex Because You’ve Been Told It’s Your Duty

“You’re my wife/girlfriend, you are supposed to be having sex with me.”

Many cultures teach us that sex is an inherent part of marriage. Many people take that a step further, and believe that being in a romantic relationship with someone makes you entitled to have sex with them. The problem with that skewed thinking is that it leads some people to act as if taking on the label of “wife,” “girlfriend,” or “partner” suddenly makes your body their property.

Notice how, again, this is solely about women. She’s actually doing exactly what she claims to hate: she’s not allowing men to realise they’ve been coerced into sex. By focusing solely on women she’s focusing the narrative onto one particular group. She’s effectively saying ‘this is a problem that only happens to women’. She is effectively telling men that this doesn’t apply to them, she is furthering the notion that men ‘might not even be aware that what happened to them qualifies as sexual assault’. Feminism is not for men.

How do I know this is not solely a women’s problem? Here:

In particular this bit:

‘So a girlfriend of mine had this awful husband. He was a nice enough guy but he didn’t pay attention to her and NEVER wanted to have sex. We knew things were bad but she was quiet about it. She’s a great girl who deserved better.’

There’s also this:

So yeah, when you’re a women it’s a disgusting piece of coercion to have sex when you don’t want to, when you’re a man you’re an ‘awful husband’ who deserves to get sued for not giving up the cock whenever your wife wants. Feminism is not for men.

And here’s the rest:

  • You’re Having Sex Because You Were Threatened

“If you don’t have sex with me, I’m breaking up with you.”

“If you don’t sleep with me, I’m going to sleep with someone else.”

“If you don’t sleep with me, I’m going to tell everyone you are a prude.”

  •  You’re Having Sex Out Of Guilt

“If you really loved me, you would have sex with me.”

“I wouldn’t have taken you out to dinner if I knew you were just leading me on. If you didn’t want to sleep with me, you shouldn’t have been flirting with me either.”

  •  You’re Being Pressured To Drink Before A Sexual Encounter

“Here, have a drink, have another, let me refill that glass for you. I want you to be relaxed.”

  •  You’re Having Sex To Avoid Angering Your Partner

(this one doesn’t have any examples).

The reason I’ve posted the remaining without any of my text is simply because these are all issues that men face as well as women. This is why I have such a problem when it comes to not only feminist discourse on rape but feminist claims of ‘rape culture’. How can you have a ‘culture’ when you only ever focus on one demographic?

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a whiney ‘what about teh menz’ type cry, it’s a serious, blunt force ‘what the fuck is feminism doing about male victims’ admonition. If feminism cares about men then why the fuck do these articles not actually include men?

Like, I get it, women get raped and feminism wants to talk about that. That’s completely understandable. But the problem is that the statistics it uses in order to justify these discussions are simply not reliable enough. Not only that but anytime someone tries to bring this fact to the attention of prominent feminists, anytime someone actually tries to open up the discussion on rape to be more frank and honest they are actively shot down amidst claims of misogyny and rape-apology. That is not the behaviour of a movement intent on social change, it is a movement intent on keeping their iron grip on rape discourse.

If anything, feminists should be thrilled that less women are getting raped than their statistics claims. It’s baffling why they hold on to statistics that show a problem to be much worse than it actually is.

I’ve said this time and time again, false and misleading statistics not only dismiss male victims they actively engender unnecessary fear in women. Women are worried because they’re told to fear men, they’re told that there are all these different situations where men might rape, then they’re told that no-one will believe them if they try to come forward. It’s so counter-productive.

At the same time there are men who are being abused, men who are suffering yet the narrative, time and time again, is that those problems pale in comparison to the problems of women. Misleading statistics hurt everyone, the fact that feminists hold on to outdated, decades old statistics that simply aren’t relevant anymore show that not only do they not care about men, at all, it’s debatable if they even care for women. Surely if they cared for women they wouldn’t keep up this culture of fear they’ve helped create.

Want to know the impact feminism has when it comes to the impact of rape? When a feminist like Christina Hoff Sommers, a feminist who actually tries to find relevant and truthful statistics, is booked to do a speech at a University in America the response is all out panic-stations amongst those who don’t like her stance:

Towards the start of this article, Strong writes this:

‘Sexual coercion is a tricky thing to define — so it scares me that we aren’t talking about it more. Because when it really comes down to it, we need more than just knowledge about what constitutes rape; we need a greater understanding of everything that can happen between “yes” and “no,” so that we can feel confident that we are only saying “yes” to sex because we truly want to. At the end of the day, it’s your body, your choice, and no one has a right to persuade you otherwise.’

The insidious thing about this particular paragraph is that there’s an attempt to be gender neutral and inclusive by saying ‘we’. Her attempts to align herself with the people she wants to help, to try and include everyone in her article, to demonstrate solidarity with victims of rape are noble but, ultimately, are completely futile. They’re futile because she only wants to help one demographic. She lets us think that she wants to help everyone, but she really doesn’t. The above paragraph comes directly after the paragraph where she reveals women as the target audience of this article. In this case, her solidarity with victims, her immersion in the discussions of what does and what does not constitute coercion is only limited to women. Male victims simply do not figure in her discussions on coercion.

You know what? That’s absolutely fine. If feminism wants to focus solely on women then I’ve absolutely no problem with that. If that’s what you want to do then continue doing it, but there are two things you must stop doing:

  1. Stop pretending you give a fuck about men.
  2. Release your iron grip on the rape discourse just a little, so that those of us who do care about men aren’t shamed into silence.

The more you claim to help men and then actively exclude them from rape discussions the more you show that, actually, when it comes down to it…feminism is not for men.