miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Some people will find this entire entry triggery. I apologise for that in advance, but I think what I am putting here needs saying. I've put the worst bits behind a cut.

Sometimes a person fails through lack of empathy; this is not their fault, necessarily, although it can be if they do it wilfully. But mostly, it's just that they haven't really thought about what it would be like to be another person. There has been a lot of vilification of Ken Clarke today for comments he has made about rape, and I find the revulsion that he has triggered in many people entirely understandable. But then, I have been raped. I suspect Ken Clarke hasn't. And I further suspect that most of the people who think the way that he seems to on the matter of rape have not been raped either. It seems to me that most of the people who think that way have only considered the physical ramifications of a rape: if you are forced to have sex against your will by someone you have never met, there is much more likely to be the use of a weapon and much more likely to be serious physical injury, therefore that is worse than so-called "date rape".

This takes no consideration of the psychological effects of rape whatsoever.

I'd like to put forward four scenarios for your consideration, dear reader, and then there will be a poll. I'd like you to answer for yourself in the poll because obviously, none of us can know how another person will react. As always, if you don't have a Dreamwidth account you can log in with openID (any google, blogger, yahoo, myspace, wordpress, flickr, or lots of other accounts can function as an openID) here.

Scenario 1 You are on your third date with someone you have known for a while. At the end of the evening, which has been a pleasant one, you are tired and just want to go home. Your date wants to have sex. Despite your unwillingness, your date presses the matter, and forces you to have sex against your will. You know that nobody will believe that you didn't do this willingly, because your date is seen as a good person by your social group - otherwise you wouldn't be dating them in the first place.

Scenario 2 You are sitting in your living room watching TV. Suddenly, the door flies open, and a masked person with a weapon bursts in. This person threatens you with the weapon and forces you to have sex with them against your will. You have no idea who they are, and they leave immediately afterwards.

Scenario 3 You are walking home from work. You get dragged into a secluded area by someone you have never met before and forced to have sex against your will.

Scenario 4 You are in an abusive relationship. Your spouse regularly forces you to have sex against your will, and today is no different. You have lost count of the number of times your spouse has raped you.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 26


Which scenario do you think would have the worst PHYSICAL effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
1 (3.8%)

2
17 (65.4%)

3
15 (57.7%)

4
15 (57.7%)

Which scenario do you think would have the worst PSYCHOLOGICAL effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
11 (42.3%)

2
9 (34.6%)

3
3 (11.5%)

4
22 (84.6%)

Which scenario do you think would have the MOST LONG-LASTING effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
5 (19.2%)

2
5 (19.2%)

3
1 (3.8%)

4
25 (96.2%)

Which scenario do you think would have the worst OVERALL effect on you (tick all that apply)

View Answers

1
2 (7.7%)

2
3 (11.5%)

3
2 (7.7%)

4
26 (100.0%)


For me, scenario 4 is the worst by far. Each individual occurrence is at least as bad as scenario 1, and it keeps happening, and you have no way of knowing when or if it will end. If you tell anyone what is happening, it is extremely likely they will say to you why don't you just leave? ignoring the fact that countless statistics say that leaving an abusive relationship is the most risky thing you can do, in terms of your survival. You can't rely on anyone for support, and the situation is ongoing.

Scenarios 1 and 2 are both equally bad to me. In both you are having your world shaken. In 1, your judgement is called into question. You trusted this person enough to go on several dates with them, and they have shown they cannot be trusted. How many other people you trust can't be trusted? How many people whom you think you know and love will not believe you when you tell them your date has raped you, because your date would never do a thing like that, and it's not rape-rape if you didn't fight back hard, and anyway, it was the third date, shouldn't you have been giving up by then anyway?

At least in 2 people will believe you have been raped, but the sanctity of your home has been breached. Your safe place no longer feels safe. Is ANYWHERE safe?

Scenario 3 is still bloody awful, but for me it's the least awful. The physical damage to my person is likely to be more, but in my mind, I can depersonalise the attacker and rationalise it. I don't have to look my attacker in the face every day and pretend everything is normal. Nobody is going to disbelieve me (unless I was wearing revealing clothing, or had had a drink), and the police will investigate the matter thoroughly. There is the prospect of closure, of seeing my attacker punished, which is just not there in scenarios 1 and (to an extent) 4.

I can understand what people are saying when they say that you can't classify rapes; that each rape must be considered on a case by case basis, and that ranking types of rape is wrong. I can understand it, but I don't fully share that view. I do rank types of rape. I classify them and I rank them. The problem is that I give far more importance to the psychological damage caused by rape, and therefore my rankings are radically different from the rankings of those who only consider the physical damage caused by rape.

For me, I can conceive of cases of date rape that would be less awful than some forms of stranger rape, for example if if a stranger rape happens in a place where you previously felt safe, like your home. But if all other elements of the crime are equal (level of force applied, etc.) date rape is a lot worse than stranger rape. Where I do agree with those who say you can't categorise rape is that each case should be considered on its own facts, and no case of rape should automatically fall into one sentencing bracket or another.

But then, I think that about ALL crimes.
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Re: Another scenario

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I would posit that the "drunkenly given actual consent" is a myth

Really? I've definitely slept with someone that I wouldn't have slept with while sober, and had several discussions at university with other people who at least claimed to have done likewise.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
haggis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] haggis
That's a pretty widespread idea and an additional burden of shame that gets put on people who have been abused. This post pretty thoroughly debunks that idea. (I'm posting this because I thought there was a stronger causal link and this post educated me out of that idea, not to attack you for your comment.)

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
haggis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] haggis
One aspect of 1 compared to 2 and 3 that hasn't been mentioned is that Example 1 will probably cause you to lose a significant proportion of your friends, including some who will verbally attack and smear you for suggesting that the lovely trustworthy person assaulted you.

I find it difficult to rank these scenarios without feeling I am suggesting certain victims suffer less. I have never been assaulted but I have friends who have. One of the common, heartbreaking features I have noticed is that the victim often feels that the term rape doesn't apply to their experience, it only applies to other, more 'serious' rapes.

Re: Another scenario

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Aaah, sorry, yes. If you mean "We were both drunk, and after the fact I decided that you raped me." then I suspect that that is very rare.

A quick google finds a variety of different sets of stats, but the most reputable ones seem to put it somewhere within 2% and 8%, which is apparently in line with most falsely reported crimes.

Re: Another scenario

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Absolutely. I mean, personally I don't want to be having sex with anyone who isn't entirely enthusiastic and encouraging about the prospect of sex with me. A failure to be solidly sure that someone wants to have sex with you before you start indicates a fairly massive empathy failure to me.

(Sadly I've known too many people who are terribly low in empathy. I like to think that none of them fell _that_ low on the chart though).

And yes, if at least 92% of rape allegations are true then the risks of false allegation are low enough that we shouldn't be overly worried about them.

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
bagpuss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bagpuss
It is horrifying that people still have such misconceptions about rape be it stranger rape or rape committed by a friend or acquaintance. In my mind the second would seem worse because it seems like it would be easier to rationalise someone who you never knew committing such a horrific act that someone who you actually knew doing it even if it wasn't very well but thankfully I have never experienced sexual abuse and I hope I never do

I am annoyed that the press is hounding Clarke about this but not hounding Dorres about her argubly worse positions with respect to sex education and sex abuse

Date: Thursday, May 19th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
bagpuss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bagpuss
I can only hope that her constituency can see how politically hatstand she really is and gets rid of her next time

The madness is on her so called ten minute bill is that no one who encourages good sex education says that teaching about abstention isn't part of the plan its just not the only part and its also to both genders but I guess I am preaching to the converted here

Re: another aspect to this

Date: Friday, May 20th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neohippie.livejournal.com
That's a good point. It might just be that 2 and 3 finished off by the murder of the victim is just so much more common in the media. People never talk about 1 or 4.

I think 4 is the worst one because of the long-term-ness of it.

Re: Another scenario

Date: Friday, May 20th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
innerbrat: (go baby go)
From: [personal profile] innerbrat
This is a perfect example of classical derailing. Observe:

Jennie (OP): "When people talk about and classify rapes, they often don't consider the psychological effects on the victim. By offering four different examples of situations involving rape, I will show that some rapes may be considered 'worse' than others."

Douglas: "Even though you didn't claim to be listing all possible scenarios for rape that ever were, I shall imply that you did so that I can suggest you missed one. But the one I'm introducing might not even be rape. Discuss!

(To make it easier, I shall acknowledge that the scenarios you listed, every single one of which included the sentence 'forced to have sex against your will', were indeed rape. Because apparently even though every scenario includes being forced to have unwilling sex, it needs my blessing).

What ensues is a conversation, not about the subject of the post, nor about the circumstances surrounding the post, but about the pet topic of the derailer, who appears to have posted in for no other reason than to persuade the poster that not all rapes are in fact, rape.

Date: Friday, May 20th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
Your point about a breach of trust - that date rape is intrinsically a breach of trust, where stranger rape isn't necessarily a breach of trust is an important one.

Breach of trust is already recognised as an aggravating factor in sentencing - for instance a shoplifter is given a lesser sentence than someone stealing goods from a shop they work in - so why not in rape cases?

There are already aggravating factors that apply to a lot of date rapes and abusive relationships:

Background of intimidation or coercion
Use of drugs, alcohol or other substance to facilitate the offence

Though I do note that "rape accompanied by ... abuse of trust" is a recommended 8 years custody if the victim is 16 or over (against 5 without an abuse of trust) but I don't think they regard a date as a trust in that sense. Perhaps the CPS should review their guidance on that point?

Date: Friday, May 20th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
chess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] chess
I think the 'walking home from work' case would affect me worse than the 'in my own home' case, because in the latter case it is very clear that _nowhere_ is safe and I have to just get on with my life regardless, whereas in the former case it is just that the things everyone keeps telling me about not walking around on my own would be validated and I would be very likely to stop doing that, curtailing my enjoyment of life in a long-term fashion.

Date: Friday, May 20th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh come on, the real tricky scenario is surely you are lying in bed with your partner, your partner keeps trying to initiate sex, you don't want it and keep pushing your partner away, but eventually you just give in thinking "let's just get this over with so I can get some sleep". At what point does the giving in become so forced that it counts as "rape"? If your partner comes back with a knife and threatens you if you don't? Certainly "yes". If your partner pulls that cute little face and you feel a bit sorry for him/her and that makes you give in?
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