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Old 05-10-2011, 03:24 PM   #46
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I wonder if in, a culture where flesh is used to sell cars, makeup, and food, if there is a casualness that creates an atmosphere for certain men to feel like "it's no big deal" to harass a woman on the street, or worse. One wonders if this atmosphere ennobles men who are already prone to harassment to go to the next level -- because hey, what's the big deal? There's an inherent narcissism to unchecked sexual gratification that is more than a little troubling. Much good has come from the sexual revolution, but the negative underbelly is a belief that gratification is a valuable end unto itself that, without some restraint, can become abusive.


my addition to this would be that it's the more culturally conservative countries where harassment like this is more of an issue. you're more likely to encounter the leering, the whistling, the groping, in a country like Italy or Greece or Mexico than you are in Sweden or Canada. i'd argue it's more cultural attitudes towards woman -- that they're property -- than the amount of skin in advertising, though i'm sure hyper-sexual advertising doesn't help.

still, read any Lonely Planet and they have special advice for female travelers (just like the do for gay/lesbian travelers, incidentally ... i certainly have had to watch myself in certain areas, i'd probably never vacation as a couple to some of the more conservative Caribbean nations, and i'm fully prepared to say that Memphis and i are brothers and/or ask for separate beds), and i remember the women who studied abroad in Italy when i was in college would purchase very cheap imitation wedding rings so if they heard a catcall, they'd simply raise their hands and point to their wedding rings and the idiots would back off.

i shouldn't have to modify my behavior as a gay man, but even in Washington DC, i just wouldn't hold hands with Memphis walking down the street. i'm sure it would be fine, but one never knows -- people are bashed every year, even in highly gay places like the West Village in NYC. we all need street smarts.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:26 PM   #47
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I don't understand the direction of the thread. Robbery is robbery. Apples and oranges to sexual assault. If you don't want something to get robbed, then you hide that thing. So how does that carry over....chastity belts? Besides the fact that rape and sexual assault are usually driven by power and rage, not sexual desires. I can concede that if you dress a certain way in certain areas of town you might be more susceptible to tactless men cat-calling you, but again, that's not the same as sexual assault or rape...


i guess the question that's being posed, and it could be wrong, is whether or not there are steps that one can take to reduce one's chances of being a victim of sexual assault in the way that one can take steps to reduce one's chances of being the victim of a robbery.

i think the entitlement mentality of one making a cat-call isn't so far away from the same entitlement mentality of one reaching out and groping a woman.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:26 PM   #48
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i'd argue it's more cultural attitudes towards woman -- that they're property -- than the amount of skin in advertising, though i'm sure hyper-sexual advertising doesn't help.
Agreed.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:33 PM   #49
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i guess the question that's being posed, and it could be wrong, is whether or not there are steps that one can take to reduce one's chances of being a victim of sexual assault in the way that one can take steps to reduce one's chances of being the victim of a robbery.
I think there are, but it's not about clothing and how much you reveal. I think that some men are truly predators. They can "sense" weakness and vulnerability like lions watch a herd and pick out the one that is sick. I've read and heard that women who take classes like self-defense are less likely to be victimized, not because they can fight back, but because the training gives them more confidence and effects the way they carry themselves, making them less vulnerable. I've actually noticed this carry over a bit in dog training. The club I belong to is rather unique in that we are almost exclusively young women and most people training at a high level and doing more advanced protection work are men and/or law enforcement. Many join because they get a cute German Shepherd puppy and 10 months later are in over their heads, but end up hooked and learn how to take control of that dog and channel his genetics. A lot of my girlfriends truly carry themselves differently now than when we started, and it's not because we are relying on the dogs for protection, but going through that process is empowering in and of itself. I'll admit I watch a ton of "true crime" type TV (like the ID channel) and fairly consistently the young women who are victimized fit a certain type, not based on what they were wearing or where they were at that specific time, but the overall picture of their lives illustrates a person that is vulnerable.

Now I may be just blowing smoke, and I certainly do not feel that women who are victims of assault or attempted assault "could have done" this this and this to prevent it, but I do think on a certain level, whether or not you are vulnerable starts with what's inside.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #50
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The only way a woman can truly avoid being raped is to avoid being around a rapist.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:40 PM   #51
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One can check the PSORs. We used to check every month or so in college. Now that I have the dogs, I don't check often but checked when we were looking at houses.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:13 PM   #52
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I don't understand the direction of the thread.
Simply because the idea of blaming the victim keeps popping up. We blame the victims of other crimes all the time
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #53
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I don't understand the direction of the thread. Robbery is robbery. Apples and oranges to sexual assault. If you don't want something to get robbed, then you hide that thing. So how does that carry over....chastity belts? Besides the fact that rape and sexual assault are usually driven by power and rage, not sexual desires. I can concede that if you dress a certain way in certain areas of town you might be more susceptible to tactless men cat-calling you, but again, that's not the same as sexual assault or rape...
This.

The underlying motivation for robbery is to aquire the item that you have. We should all have enough sense not to leave our valuables out in plain sight where they may be stolen so as not to entice a thief.

The underlying motivation for sexual assault is not the sex itself, but the violence against and the power over another human being. The point is, hiding all of your skin, curves, and other sexually enticing bits(even your hair in some cultures) will not deter a rapist and is irrelevant to them, imho.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:16 PM   #54
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But you could say that about robbery too. People break into houses all the time without knowing what's inside. I know what you're saying and I don't disagree with you. Just playing devil's advocate to maybe tease out the reasons why it's ok to blame the victim for some things and not others.

That said, I think it's a little naive to think that there isn't any (or very little) sexual element to rape. There are other ways to assert your power over another human being. And the fact is, Male on Female rape happens with much greater frequency than any other
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:20 PM   #55
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This.

The underlying motivation for robbery is to aquire the item that you have. We should all have enough sense not to leave our valuables out in plain sight where they may be stolen so as not to entice a thief.

The underlying motivation for sexual assault is not the sex itself, but the violence against and the power over another human being. The point is, hiding all of your skin, curves, and other sexually enticing bits(even your hair in some cultures) will not deter a rapist and is irrelevant to them, imho.


are we talking about rape? or sexual assault, which can include unwanted touching, groping, etc., as well as verbal harassment? both?

likewise, if someone wants to shoot me on the street, whether or not i have money on me is irrelevant to them. if someone just wants my money, they are going to look for signs that i have some on me.

if someone wants to shoot me on the street, whether i'm gay or not, whether i'm holding hands with a man is irrelevant. if someone wants to bash me because i'm gay, holding hands with a man is quite relevant.

and, again, as i've said before, these are all different things with different motivations ... i think the question, at least as i understand it, is what, if any, so-called "street smarts" can help someone avoid becoming the victim of a crime.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:26 PM   #56
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I'm not sure this is an either/or situation. I don't want my house to be broken into, so I lock my door -- not because I ask for my house to be broken into by leaving it unlocked, but because, to a certain extent, my personal safety is my responsibility, in addition to the responsibility of the thief to stay out. This is the point that I was trying to make, however ineptly.

And I am very sorry for what happened to you.
It really is an either/or situation, though I don't disagree that girls should still be taught to take care of themselves. Lies made a point earlier about taking self-defense classes and carrying yourself with a certain confidence. That still has nothing to do with external appearances, though.


And thank you.

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The only way a woman can truly avoid being raped is to avoid being around a rapist.
100%, this.

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But you could say that about robbery too. People break into houses all the time without knowing what's inside. I know what you're saying and I don't disagree with you. Just playing devil's advocate to maybe tease out the reasons why it's ok to blame the victim for some things and not others
I do understand what you're trying to say, but in those cases, the motivation is still material gain. They may not know exactly what's inside, but they're after valuable goods.

A rapist still could not care less what's under your clothes, just that they will degrade you and reduce you to a helpless victim in that moment. Why else would someone rape an elderly woman?
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:31 PM   #57
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A rapist still could not care less what's under your clothes, just that they will degrade you and reduce you to a helpless victim in that moment. Why else would someone rape an elderly woman?

in the example above, i totally agree.

however, are there different motivations for rape? is all rape motivated solely by power? are there other motivations?

this is not to delve into horrid, Republican discussions about "forcible" rape (and abortion funding) and whatnot -- i think we all agree that rape is unwanted sexual intercourse. what i am curious about are the motivations that lead one to rape. i have to think that it has to be more complex for some than just "power" alone.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:31 PM   #58
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I could see the line of thinking that non-violent rape (i.e., date rape, for instance) could be seen as being more sexual than pure power/violence, although that's not to say it couldn't also be about both, if the man's enough of a jerkhole to keep going even though the woman says "stop."

(Ha, cross-posted with Irvine.)
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:31 PM   #59
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A rapist still could not care less what's under your clothes, just that they will degrade you and reduce you to a helpless victim in that moment. Why else would someone rape an elderly woman?
I agree with this. But I would add that they get sexual gratification from the degradation
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:39 PM   #60
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are we talking about rape? or sexual assault, which can include unwanted touching, groping, etc., as well as verbal harassment? both?

likewise, if someone wants to shoot me on the street, whether or not i have money on me is irrelevant to them. if someone just wants my money, they are going to look for signs that i have some on me.

if someone wants to shoot me on the street, whether i'm gay or not, whether i'm holding hands with a man is irrelevant. if someone wants to bash me because i'm gay, holding hands with a man is quite relevant.

and, again, as i've said before, these are all different things with different motivations ... i think the question, at least as i understand it, is what, if any, so-called "street smarts" can help someone avoid becoming the victim of a crime.
All of the above - rape, sexual assualt, harassment. The point is always to degrade the victim, imo.

Referring to my point above in replying to Nathan, we should absolutely all learn street-smarts to avoid being victims. Street smarts would imply that what you need comes from inside, not your choice of clothing. Sociopaths zero in on weakness and vulnerability. They are frighteningly gifted at this. I'd venture to say that a perpetrator would go after the conservatively dressed woman who keeps her head down or is otherwise distracted over a sensually dressed woman with her head up, who walks with a purpose.
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