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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » another rapist walks

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Author Topic: another rapist walks
Heather
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"His parents hugged each other in the Bridgeview courtroom as 20-year-old Adrian Missbrenner was acquitted Friday of charges he raped a Naperville girl in an assault captured on videotape during a 2002 party in the family's Burr Ridge home.

But his parents had to wait five hours to share their joy with their son, who late Friday was processed out of Cook County Jail, where he has been detained since last May.

"I want to hug him. I haven't hugged him for nine months,'' his mother, Dobrila Missbrenner, said after leaving the courtroom Friday evening.

She got her wish about 10:30 p.m. when the young Missbrenner walked out of the jail wearing a black leather jacket, jeans and a big smile."

Read more here.

So: a 16-year-old girl in the Chicago suburbs is raped by more than one rapist, shown to clearly be completely incapacitated by drinking (and possibly date rape drugs, but this was never investigated), and then her body -- after she has blacked out -- is spit upon and scrawled upon with insults about her in pen by her attackers.

A VIDEOTAPE was made of this, with another male "directing" the rapist, documents all of this -- of a minor, no less -- she was threatened with contempt of court for refusing to WATCH this videotape in court.

For the record, people are jailed or fined for explicit sexual photos or tapes of minors, daily. (Heck, a woman once had her children taken away from her because, for a photography class, she took benign photos of her children in the bathtub and the photo developer called the feds.) This falls under child pornography law. People are jailed or fined for doing same with conseting adults if they did not get legal releases from them. Even if this young woman had signed a release to be filmed CONSENSUALLY having any sort of sex, given she was a minor, that would still not make filming her legal. The videotape alone, even if she HAD consented, is illegal via child pornography laws: the videotape alone is a clear crime committed by her assailants. The videotape alone is one more crime they got away with.

And a jury comes to the conclusion that she CONSENTED to all of this, despite her stating she very much did not. Despite the fact that it is a serious mental stretch to imagine ANYONE consenting to all or any of this.

And these guys walk, full-stop.

And some news articles make this about the hazards of teen drinking: a morality tale about why not to drink, NOT a story about rape. Not a story about absolute brutality. Not a story about violence and very clear hatred of women.

And don't even get me started about parts of this piece, in which the defense attorney, viewing the tape, defines what is and is not consent.

Usually, when I do a post like this, I have questions to toss out, and obviously, there are many to ask here. But waking up to this this morning, I can't think of a one. Instead, I am just filled with so much disgust and sadness over cases like this, especially because sadly, this is NOT an anomoly. Statistically, the vast majority of rapists always walk. This -- this terrible story -- is typical.

And people wonder why rape victims don't report.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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And another: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L07729679.htm

"A U.S. soldier who raped a Nigerian woman in Italy was given a lighter sentence because the court deemed his tour of duty in Iraq had made him less sensitive to the suffering of others."

"Brown beat and handcuffed the woman, a Nigerian resident in the town of Vicenza. He raped her vaginally and anally and left her to wander the streets naked in search of help."

Okay, so, even if I buy that participating in any sort of war might have a detrimental effect on one's empathy -- and I do -- why should women be LESS protected from someone who is FOUND to have problems with empathy, who is known to be a violent rapist?

Why should a woman raped by this man essentially have to pay that price, one she's already paid by being raped, no less?

And, to be filed under sad and ironic:
"In a detailed explanation of the reasons for the sentence, the judges said U.S. soldiers in Iraq faced "a guerrilla war against an invisible enemy, conducted using all means, to which there is still no end in sight, which is extremely wearing for the occupation troops. For about a year, the professional role of parachutist Brown was... to avoid unpredictable ambushes set using all kinds of methods."

Interesting how we could use that exact same wording to describe how women, with no choice in the matter, live like this due to the threat of rape EVERY DAY.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ikeren
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Usually I try to make an effort to see both sides of an issue.

But honestly, what the hell? There is no second side. This is appalling, there is a clearly demonstrated lack of consent in the first situation (the fact, that 1) She is 16. She can't legally give consent in that state. Her parents have to.
2) She was drunk. It should be assumed that drunk people can't give consent, rather then drunk people are always consenting, and 3) She said she wasn't consenting!)

The second case: His sentence was going to be 8 years? Pardon? That is off the wall. I am going to look up Canadian law for the minimum sentence on class 3 sexual harrassment, but 8 years seems way too low. Shouldn't it be 25ish?

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Beppie
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Both of these stories are sickening. There really isn't too much more to say.

Regarding the second story, I wonder if the judge considered that a Nigerian woman may well be shunned, if not killed in her home country for the "crime" of having been raped. While I certainly do believe that going to war does break down many boundaries that people have against doing horrible things, and that this needs far more serious attention than it gets, this is NO REASON to say that rape is any less of a crime.

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Heather
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Actually, 8 years -- in the rare cases when rape results in any sort of sentence at all, and it is seriously rare -- is pretty average. And even then, it's very rarely served time of that length.

And yes: that is completely off the wall. But then, people who are victims of rape, or even at risk of rape tend not to be the same people who a) make laws and/or b) make decisions on how and when law is applied.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Just did a new check on this, since sometimes these things change, and I haven't looked at the stats in a few months.

Per the U.S. right now, the average sentence, when one is given at all is 9.8 years, and the average time of that served a mere 5.4 years (though it should be noted that serving about half the time given is common for all crimes). And the US BoJ reports that more than half of convicted rapists rape again just three years after their release.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Irm
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1st case: "Rape" isn't JUST the stereotypical type we see in movies where the woman is clearly screaming her protest and the man is forcing her down with brute strength. Having sexual interaction with someone who is UNABLE to give consent is rape just as much as having sexual interaction with someone who has clearly REJECTED giving their consent. That is why sexual relations with any living being who does NOT HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY to make an informed decision about what they are doing is looked down upon: sex with children, sex with animals, sex with people who are unconscious, etc. I don't know how open for interpretation that video is, but it seems pretty clear that the fellows in question were taking unfair advantage of the girl's drunk/drugged state. The fact that, when she was in a conscious enough place to do so, she SAID that the sex was not desired... that should say it all. Unfortunately, it's so complicated to prove what was going on INSIDE PEOPLE'S HEADS at a point in time just by trying to read their body language and their later reactions. (Though between trying to interpret the body language of a DRUNK and potentially drugged girl, versus the body language of spitting on someone and writing insults on them... I mean, COME ON. That is NOT the mark of consensual sex.)

2nd case: Ok, so terrible happenings in Iraq have impacted his psychology SO much that he is brought to the point of being able to commit RAPE... so he gets to walk? I thought that the function of the justice system was to take POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS people OFF THE STREETS. It doesn't matter HOW he got that way--perhaps they might even determine that he needs criminal hospitalization more than regular jail--but the point is, he IS a danger... this is PROVEN by the fact that he is able and willing to commit RAPE... so what SENSE does it make to just dismiss him?

I don't know... I just don't understand these things. I think that the justice system needs a little revamping. Rape is such a unique and sensitive crime--it just CAN'T be handled by the same rules as all the other cases out there. (Such as trying to force the girl to watch that video?! "Innocent until proven guilty" should not mean doing things that could potentially be psychologically harmful to the defendant IF guilt is the reality. Come to think of it, that doesn't just apply to rape cases. But courtrooms, set up to be adversarial, can become a dirty business.)

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Karybu
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Gah. I don't even have words to describe how upset and angry this makes me. What is wrong with our society that people get away with doing such horrible things to other people? I wish I had something more constructive to add to the conversation, but I am just so disgusted and sad reading these two stories that I'm pretty much speechless.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Gwaihir
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I second that, karybu. I don't really know what to say. . except for a question. How does one change a law? Or take the steps that may help the changing of a law? Because someone that goes in for rape for only five years and rapes again when he gets out. . something is seriously wrong with this picture. Obviously there's no lesson being learned, and I wish the penalties for rape were much harsher. (frankly, I think all rapists should be castrated, but nobody's going to go for anything that harsh and I know it won't help anyone psychologically) I want to be able to at least attempt to change a law, but I don't know where to start.
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Heather
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I hate to sound like a buzzkill, but good luck with that.

Victim advocacy groups, feminist groups, and scores of women in general have been working for an AGE to strengthen protections for women against rape and to have rape taken more seriously in the criminal justice system.

Thing is, that just isn't the world we live in. Crimes in which the victims are primarily -- and in the case of sexual violence, overwhelmingly -- women, inequities which are about women in this culture tend to be treated far more lightly than they should be. And all of this is part of the goal of feminism.

So, what could you do? Go to law school, train to be a lawyer for rape victims. Or, work to enter the police, to better treat rape cases which are reported. Or, work to increase visiblity about rape. Take up gender studies to understand more of WHY things are as they are. Get involved with feminist issues as a whole.

But understand it's a VERY long process, changing the system in this regard is loooooooong going, and even if the majority of people in this country (or any other) wanted to change these procedures and laws -- and most could give a crap -- even if you devoted the rest of your life to nothing but this, you'd likely see very little change, if any, in your lifetime.

I don't support, personally, chemical castration for sex offenders, for a whole lot of reasons. But the biggest is that rape isn't about penises, even if it's primarily about men. Rape is about violence and anger and power abuses and sexual violation, none of which require a penis or are repaired by the removal of anyone's penis. Castration still doesn't really hold anyone accountable for their behaviour, nor does it address the fact that the problem is far, far larger than that. And per the bigger picture, en masse castrations, much like capital punishment, are just more violence to address violence, which doesn't strike me as a very productive response.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Gwaihir
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Yeah. . .I had a feeling it wouldn't be easy. I really don't know what I can do, but I figure the best thing to do is try to stop forms of rape or sexual harrassment that I see around me in my everyday life to start with.

"But the biggest is that rape isn't about penises, even if it's primarily about men. Rape is about violence and anger and power abuses and sexual violation,"

That's true, I just remembered that rape can also be employed by either gender with foreign objects, soooo. .castration wouldn't work. I knew it was more about anger and violence and dominance more than anything, that was mainly just the anger talking when I wrote that. [Frown]

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-Jill
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Gwaihir, there are some simple things you can do on a day to day basis. For example, I hear about people having sex with people who are drunk all the time. There's no need to let things like that slide -- pointing out an intoxicated person cannot give consent is actually something a lot of people have never given thought to.

You can also educate people about women's realities. If you hear a joke about rape you can come back with statistics about just how many women are raped. If someone starts talking about how a rape victim deserved it, should have seen it coming, shouldn't have done xyz, etc that's a fine time to point out that it really isn't a woman's responsibility to not get raped: people are simply obligated to NOT rape others.

Sadly, obligation or not people are still being raped, so educating yourself and your friends about how to stay safe at parties and elsewhere is a great idea. If you want to go even further you could look into volunteering at a local women's shelter or a crisis hotline.

There's a lot of work to be done in this arena. While it can be very frustrating not to see large-scale change, the little things I mentioned here never hurt.

[ 03-08-2006, 09:10 PM: Message edited by: ookuotoe ]

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Gwaihir
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Those little things are very good ideas. I've been looking for ways to help more and those are good places to start. Thank you!
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Bobolink
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Not all rapists walk. My boss'e daughter was sexualy assaulted. One of her attackers has been convicted, will serve jail time and will be on the Canadian national registry of sex offenders for the rest of his life. He is 13 years old. He will find it very hard to get jobs or student loans. Basically, his life is ruined. His partner in crime, also 13, who co-operated with the police received a lesser jail sentence and will not be on the sex offender registry.

[ 03-09-2006, 10:07 AM: Message edited by: Bobolink ]

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I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

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Heather
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No, they don't always.

But more times than not, they do. And ultimately, NO rapist should ever. Lord knows no victim does.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kitka
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The army's position on rape makes me worried. In the vast majority of rape cases, leadership has been content to ignore the problem or tell women that they're taking the risk by being posted to combat zones where they are a small minority among men.

I'll be an army officer in a year. If something awful like an assault happens to me, I would not have much recourse. Access to EC, assault kits, retroviral drugs, &c is almost nonexistent in military theaters, and on military installations, there is little support for victims. The military claims to have created a good watchdog/response system, but I wouldn't trust it.

Congressional hearings on the subject are too few and far between, and largely unnoticed by the public, imo.

On the "Girls Gone Wild" phenomenon -
today in our campus paper, they published a short article about the dangers of being uninhibited on spring break. The article ended with a quote by a girl who felt "liberated" to have been videoed. Regardless of one's views on personal expression, that's not much of a warning to partying college students.

There are a whole host of pornographic websites whose reps go from campus to campus, pay to host parties, and then start taping when enough people get drunk. This, I think, should be outlawed by all campuses. Free enterprise? What b.s.

Of course, the expected response to this is - if girls don't want to risk being videotaped/put in compromising situations when they're drunk, they should avoid these types of parties.

But the sheer amount of explotation belies the fact that a sizable amount of young women will think that they'll be safe if they watch how much they drink- and we've already seen that such is the case.

[ 03-09-2006, 09:46 PM: Message edited by: kitka ]

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lizenny
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quote:
And some news articles make this about the hazards of teen drinking: a morality tale about why not to drink, NOT a story about rape. Not a story about absolute brutality. Not a story about violence and very clear hatred of women.
Turning this story into a morality tale only serves to support the idea that women are to blame for being sexually assaulted and the idea that avoiding activities X, Y and Z will ensure that it won't happen. This probably only adds to the confusion and guilt that a rape victim might already feel. I don't see how punishing victims this way is going to make things any better or prevent future rapes.

...and in regards to the second post does anyone else think it seems as if men are given an insanity defense as their birthright? I don't know if I buy the war zone defense either but aside from that it reminds me of the notion that even the most normal man with no serious issues has absolutely no control over himself when "provoked". Perhaps I missed something but to be honest that's what that case looks like to me.

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kitka
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The war zone defense is tripe. When my brother got back from 18 months in Iraq, he was in a perpetually bad mood. Totally understandable.
But using that as the justification for hurting people undermines the military. A shame that they don't see that.

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i_love_sex
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has any 1 got the details like a rape story so i can read it and know if they feel the same as me ive been raped. [Frown] [Smile]

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k.foy

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Heather
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We have more than one support group thread here at the boards for rape survivors, i_love_sex.

Here's some for you:

• http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000980
• http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000973
• http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000902
• http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=9;t=000644

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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likewhoa19
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I would like a URL to some reliable rape statistics. Preferably an unbiased source, like the gov. There is this friend I keep getting into arguments with, b/c he thinks feminist sources are biased.
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Heather
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Well, I know, actually, of very few sources of rape stats FROM feminist organizations, so I'm not sure what your friend is even referring to.

Chances are he's just assuming rape stats are FROM feminist sources because they're laregly about women, or if he's assuming any org which addresses rape must be feminist because most rapists are male.

I can send you some things, but it'd be helpful to know if there's a specific country or region you're looking for, and a specific time period.

To get you started though, RAINN has one nice, succinct page of rape stats, and it's a mixed-gender org, addressing rape survivors/victims of all genders.

http://www.rainn.org/statistics/index.html?PHPSESSID=f5b8aaa6a40cb1ff3bf0ec25876420df

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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likewhoa19
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I'm looking for stats from the US. well, I guess the complaint isn't feminist sources, per se. It's that there are also a lot of sources reporting lower statistics -like sociologists and orgs -and how do you know one is more reliable than the other? He at least likes to debate logically -we actually look at study methodologies and everything when they're available, so I try to debate him in a logical way. There apparently is a professor at Purdue university who said something like 40% of reported rapes in one midwestern city were false accusations -and that's a really dangerous stat to have floating around if it's false -so I'm trying to figure out what could be wrong with the study. Here, maybe you can help: http://www.anandaanswers.com/pages/naaFalse.html

[ 04-16-2006, 03:11 PM: Message edited by: likewhoa19 ]

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likewhoa19
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Also, do you know anything about IFeminist? It's this other site that seems to have some very unfeminist-type articles. Like saying 40% of women would lie about birth control to get a man to get her pregnant. I feel like it's a fraud

[ 04-16-2006, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: likewhoa19 ]

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Heather
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Well, it's pretty obviously biased right from the start: feminists didn't do this study, and victim's rights orgs are not, by virtue of being such, feminist in identification, yet right at the bat, this guy makes it pretty obvious he's got a beef with feminism, which isn't relevant to this issue at all.

Also, the idea that in NINE years, in a town of 70,000 there were only 100 cases of rape stands pretty counter to any general data on rape, compiled by nonpartisan sources like the DoJ.

You also have to factor in, with anything on "false" charges that it is fairly common for rape survivors to recent charges because they suffer further harassment and such by making them: they will say they have lied to try to end more trauma for themselves.

And this one man's study stands in pretty sharp relief to the majority of studies done like this, in far more than one small town.

Most importantly, though, I see NO footnotes of any kind to show us where this study IS and who did it. Not a one.

I don't know about that other site, btw.

(Sorry to be so brief today, but in the midst of yet more unpacking and setting up house here post big-move.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Before falling asleep last night, likewhoa, I had another thought on your post I figured I might share.

I don't know when, but at some point, I simply patently refused to argue about rape with anyone, especially anyone male who has not survived rape himself.

I'm not sure it CAN be "argued logically," and I'm not sure at this point i time it should be. The whole notion of "objectivity" in that way is ALREADY so patriarchal, that putting that one top of what is ALREADY a crime and tool of patriarchy just is too damn much, you know?

And in general, I find people who want to "arge rape logically," however good people they may be, usually just don't get what rape is, what it does, any of it, at all. And logic is not going to sway them to get there, IMO: empathy and compassion is.

So, when someone is more interested in vague studies on rape, on numbers and figures, and some old white guy's analysis, than they are first-person narratives on dealing with and surviving rape -- and there are SO many of them out there -- it's filed under waste of my time in my book, and I'm usually pretty forthright about that.

(Much in the same way I'd be forthright about someone arguing for war based on figures, rather than the narratives and stories of both civilians and veterans of wars. Some things are just too damn ugly to be cleaned up or presented as if they could be tidy and dispassionate.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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likewhoa19
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I appreciate how you feel on that issue. As an individual I agree with you. However, I was trained to explore many possibilities and use research in arguments at a wonky math and science hs (probably patriarchal, you're probably right -but a very progressive place overall). Also I almost majored in Public Policy. I think statistics are important if you want to fix things on a nationwide scale (are we doing better, are we seeing reductions in crime?, for instance, is I think a very good question to be able to answer, as is ''how can we make laws more effective?'').

I'll agree my guy friend can't seem to understand the mindset of victims at all, and neither can the other men I've tried talking to (my dad, my cousin). I'm never one to chalk it up to inherent differences in men and women, so I'd really like to figure out how to explain to men what sexual disempowerment feels like. (suggestions from anyone welcome)

[ 04-17-2006, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: likewhoa19 ]

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Heather
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I'm off to paint more of my wall (And LilBlueSmurf knows this, so if she catchs me posting, she's gonna be all, "Snap!"), but I don't think you can make someone understand, in any visceral way, how something feels they haven't experienced.

For instance, I grew up around a TON of civil rights activism. I grew up in a totally mixed area in which sometimes *I*, as a Caucasian, was the racial minority. I didn't even really realize, in a solid, real way, there were whole towns of nothing but white people until high school. My friends and partners have always been from all races, and I come from immigrant families. I have read a ton of work on racial issues, I am sensitive as hell to racial issues.

But.

I'd be a big 'ol liar if I positied that I could understand what racism feels like. I can't. I can compare, perhaps, what it feels like with my experiences with sexism or classism or homophobia, but even then, at best, I am empathetic. I still cannot understand what racism feels like because due to my racial class, in the whole world, it can never be applied to me with the weight it can to someone of color.

At best, men who have also been raped certainly get what rape feels like (though in many ways, male victims and female victims have different issues and effects). Men who have served prison time, actually, often tend to understand a LOT about male violence and rape, even if they managed to get through it safely. Men who have been victims of other violence can get some of it. Men who have dealt with other forms of oppression can get some of it. Men who have talked to and been close to women who have been raped can get some of it.

But again, even then, we're talking empathy at best. (And, just to be clear, that's also the case with women who have never been raped or sexually victimized, though the fact that women are as a class makes some difference sometimes.)

Someone wanting to argue numbers though? Especially by digging up ONE study that stands out like a sore thumb from scores of others? Probably doesn't WANT to get it.

(And one more book suggestion for you, likewhoa. Carol Gilligan's "In a Different Voice." Pretty groundbreaking work on the whole objectivity/subjectivity schtick, and you might like it.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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