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Old 05-10-2011, 04:41 PM   #61
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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.)
Date rape may be a different issue.. or maybe not. I'm not entirely convinced one way or the other.

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I agree with this. But I would add that they get sexual gratification from the degradation
Yes, so the sexual gratification is from the degradation, not the external appearance.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:42 PM   #62
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Date rape may be a different issue.. or maybe not. I'm not entirely convinced one way or the other.
I hear you.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:04 PM   #63
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Yes, so the sexual gratification is from the degradation, not the external appearance.
Yes, we agree. But all dirtbags are not created equal
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:23 PM   #64
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i definitely think it helps to be street smart, although sadly that's not always enough...

i swear it's got me out of one or two sticky situations though... when i've been out and about on my own at night, i always walk really purposefully, head up, keeping an eye on what's going on around me... sounds silly but if i get worried, i get my mobile out and phone someone, talking while i'm walking, or even just pretend to be talking to someone if necessary lol

when i was a student i spent some time abroad working on a campsite, and one night i finished my shift late, at about midnight, legged it back across the campsite to my caravan, and then a few minutes later there was a knock at the door - two big intimidating looking guys claiming to be security guards and saying they wanted to come in and talk to me - i'd only been on the job a week, but didn't recognise them and felt a bit scared tbh, there was something about them, like they were wired up, electric, quite menacing, stony eyes, and i felt incredibly uncomfortable and quickly said "i'm sorry can't talk my husband's asleep bye" (i was actually alone, but it's the first thing that came into my head as there was no way i was going to let them in but didnt want them to know i was alone) and closed the door and locked it - heart was pounding and i didn't sleep that night, and then the next morning i went to start my shift, and the cops were at the reception when i arrived and it turned out a woman (a camper) had been raped on the site that night - i gave a description of the guys and everything, but jeesus it was horrible... was shaken up for a while after that with all the what ifs...

that incident had nothing to do with what anyone was wearing (i was in fugly baggy dungarees, a marcel marceau stripey top and doc marten boots fwiw - the epitomy of unsexy) - they were just opportunistic nasty people
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:04 PM   #65
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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.
Maybe some will disagree with this, but I tend to think most women find the whole concept of sexualized aggression very, very difficult to relate to and therefore to understand. I don't know why that should be really, since in role-playing (S/M) and/or fantasy scenarios many women do have and enjoy those kinds of feelings, i.e. dominating someone who's "asking for it," but in any even remotely possibly non-consensual scenario...the idea that that could ever be arousing, I think that's just extremely difficult for almost any woman to relate to. I don't think that's the main reason for whatever gender gap exists on questions like whether it's "good" safety advice not to "dress like a slut" in certain situations, but it does exacerbate the disconnect. It's also part of why any comment that smacks of the thinking that rape, groping, sexual harassment etc. are a straightforward result of intense sexual desire (just like you experience, ladies! only waaayy stronger!) tends to make women's blood boil.

I suppose, following up on what Lies said earlier about "susceptibility to tactless men cat-calling you," that I can somewhat see a non-offensive recommendation to dress modestly for safety reasons built on the premise of, Don't hand excuses to the kind of man who's already looking to make them for why you "asked for" sexual harassment or even assault. But especially when violation on the order of rape, i.e. "sex" against your will is the offense in question, that "safety advice" feels like such a kick in the head. Because the reality, and every woman knows it, is that the threat will always be there no matter how you present yourself. Like kafrun and mama cass, I've had the experience of being jumped "with only one thing in mind," and though I did manage to fight off the man, whom I didn't know (not without getting bones broken, I've told this story in here before), that brought home to me that at the end of the day there's absolutely nothing I can do to avoid being just a slut just a bitch just a whore WTF-ever the enabling conceit is in some man or another's eyes. It's that that feels debasing, not whether or not there might be some perception of sexiness mixed in there. And if anyone were to have asked at the time...I was wearing baggy jeans and an oversize sweatshirt, and BTW fuck you for even asking, you know? Any curiosity about that would've felt voyeuristic and humiliating all by itself.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:37 PM   #66
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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.
This times a million
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:42 PM   #67
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^ Thanks, Irvine. I was trying to think of a tactful way to put that. And it's not that I'm taking one side or another, just putting the idea out there. My example was that a good friend of mine left her gucci purse on the front seat of her car overnight. The car was parked on the road and when she returned to it the next morning, the window had been smashed and her purse was gone. My immediate reaction was "well, you were stupid to leave your purse in the car, in full view of anyone passing by." I don't think that was an unreasonable response. Would you agree?
No. If you really did say that out loud to your friend (I'm not clear if it is something you said to her, or if that was just your unspoken thought), I hope she called you out on it. Personally, I don't think friends should self-righteously lecture friends when they are already feeling down, especially since she's probably already blaming herself for leaving her purse in the car.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:46 PM   #68
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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.
Late to this discussion but I had to respond to this. I think you have absolutely touched on something here. When I was 18, I was followed from my apartment to a liquor store (on foot) and even though I knew he was there, I was too timid to either change my course or turn around and go back home. I know for a fact I looked scared and instead of taking on a more confident posture and letting him I know I was aware of his presence, I kept my head lowered and walked faster.

It was broad daylight and I thought I would be okay once I got to the liquor store so once I got there, I went to the payphone to make a phone call and didn't realize he was right behind me. I just heard his voice calling me "little slut" and "whore" and then felt his hand reach between my legs from behind. I was groped repeatedly and he pressed against me from behind, calling me names the entire time. And all I did was cry, I was too scared to even push him away. The only reason he stopped was because someone saw him and yelled. And then he just walked away casually, like nothing had happened.

I guess I should add that far from being dressed to attract attention, I was 8 months pregnant and wearing maternity jeans and a huge, long sleeved blouse. But I was the perfect, passive looking potential victim and he keyed right in on that. Who knows, had I shown some street smarts and been a little more confident, he may have left me alone. It was obvious his intention was humiliation and power and a more assertive woman wouldn't have fit his profile for a victim.

And although this is the most extreme example, this isn't the only incident that I experienced in my teens and early 20's. I spent an awful lot of time trying to blend into the background and not be noticed, but was constantly cat-called and harassed, and I fully believe it was passivity and vulnerability that made me a target. I know that might come across as blaming the victim but I don't know how else to express it.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:54 PM   #69
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Late to this discussion but I had to respond to this. I think you have absolutely touched on something here. When I was 18, I was followed from my apartment to a liquor store (on foot) and even though I knew he was there, I was too timid to either change my course or turn around and go back home. I know for a fact I looked scared and instead of taking on a more confident posture and letting him I know I was aware of his presence, I kept my head lowered and walked faster.

It was broad daylight and I thought I would be okay once I got to the liquor store so once I got there, I went to the payphone to make a phone call and didn't realize he was right behind me. I just heard his voice calling me "little slut" and "whore" and then felt his hand reach between my legs from behind. I was groped repeatedly and he pressed against me from behind, calling me names the entire time. And all I did was cry, I was too scared to even push him away. The only reason he stopped was because someone saw him and yelled. And then he just walked away casually, like nothing had happened.

I guess I should add that far from being dressed to attract attention, I was 8 months pregnant and wearing maternity jeans and a huge, long sleeved blouse. But I was the perfect, passive looking potential victim and he keyed right in on that. Who knows, had I shown some street smarts and been a little more confident, he may have left me alone. It was obvious his intention was humiliation and power and a more assertive woman wouldn't have fit his profile for a victim.

And although this is the most extreme example, this isn't the only incident that I experienced in my teens and early 20's. I spent an awful lot of time trying to blend into the background and not be noticed, but was constantly cat-called and harassed, and I fully believe it was passivity and vulnerability that made me a target. I know that might come across as blaming the victim but I don't know how else to express it.


I don't think you are to blame. The only reason you were assaulted is because you were unlucky enough to be in the presence of someone who choses to sexually assault women.
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:14 AM   #70
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No. If you really did say that out loud to your friend (I'm not clear if it is something you said to her, or if that was just your unspoken thought), I hope she called you out on it. Personally, I don't think friends should self-righteously lecture friends when they are already feeling down, especially since she's probably already blaming herself for leaving her purse in the car.
Self righteous? First of all, you don't know what sort of relationship I have with my friend, nor do you know the tone I would have used when I said it, so you're in no position to make that sort of judgement about me
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:19 AM   #71
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BAW, that's awful, I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

But that brings to mind another "you should have" or "why didn't you" that you hear in these situations. There are some people who might ask "Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you shout for help?" Or in a rape/date rape situation, someone might say "Well, didn't you keep fighting back? Did you keep yelling 'no'?"

Everyone reacts to being assaulted differently. Some people might be too frightened of being hurt. Some people might feel paralyzed. And for many people, while you might talk a good game about what you would do if it happened to you, you might react completely differently.

It's still assault or rape even if the woman isn't calling for help or fighting and screaming.
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:22 AM   #72
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Amazing in these situations, how the individual was dressed wasn't revealing.

Sorry to those that have been personally affected. It is a horrible thing to have to go through. I admire those that have the strength to tell their stories.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:26 AM   #73
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I don't think you are to blame. The only reason you were assaulted is because you were unlucky enough to be in the presence of someone who choses to sexually assault women.
Thank you The logical part of my brain realizes that but even 26 years later, I still question whether my lack of assertiveness played a role somehow. I couldn't blame it on the way I was dressed or when or where I was walking (3 in the afternoon, two minutes away from Disneyland) so that's what always comes to mind.


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BAW, that's awful, I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

But that brings to mind another "you should have" or "why didn't you" that you hear in these situations. There are some people who might ask "Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you shout for help?" Or in a rape/date rape situation, someone might say "Well, didn't you keep fighting back? Did you keep yelling 'no'?"

Everyone reacts to being assaulted differently. Some people might be too frightened of being hurt. Some people might feel paralyzed. And for many people, while you might talk a good game about what you would do if it happened to you, you might react completely differently.

It's still assault or rape even if the woman isn't calling for help or fighting and screaming.
I was one of the those people who talked a good game about what I would do and when it actually happened to me, I couldn't do a thing. I got a lot of "why didn't you kick him in the balls" or "why didn't you scream?" and truthfully, I wanted to but I was completely paralyzed. I think the only thing I can remember doing was yelling at him as he walked away, something like "I'm pregnant you sick bastard" I never even considered it an assault until I was much older and really realized what had happened to me.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:44 AM   #74
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I fully believe it was passivity and vulnerability that made me a target. I know that might come across as blaming the victim but I don't know how else to express it.
No, I think that's drawing a useful conclusion from an awful experience. Walking purposefully with your head up and effecting confidence and alertness when in public isn't a *guaranteed* defense--I was taught to do that from childhood, and it didn't help me in the aforementioned situation--but I absolutely do think it *reduces* your chances of becoming a victim, and will deter many would-be criminals all by itself. I also agree with the idea that a basic self-defense course would be beneficial in multiple ways for most women, even for the confidence-building alone. (The brief lecture-demo of self-defense tips I'd had in health class back in high school definitely helped me in that incident.) Maybe feeling more confident might even make one more inclined to fight back where feasible, to resist the implications of being targeted--rape is fundamentally a hate crime, it's not like being mugged, and the fear isn't just about physical injury.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:41 AM   #75
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It's perfectly natural for people to completely freeze in a situation like that, whatever it is, be it that kind of assault or just a robbery or something. I'm normally or naturally quite confident and a fairly fast and snappy talker (both in a 'give as good as I get' way, but also in a 'talk my way out of it' way) in person, but I scored a massive punch to the head once for being gay (although I'm not), which if not for a bit of luck might have continued to be much worse, and in the immediate lead up to this, I had just completely frozen in every way, verbal and physical, when one or the other of those working would probably have gotten me out of that situation quite quickly. It's just shock.

As an aside - I really hate it when I know I'm freaking a girl/woman out. Walking home late at night, no-one else around, turn a corner and suddenly I'm 'following' someone, but of course, we're just going in the same direction, and you can quite noticeably see the shift in everything about how she's walking/holding her bag/glancing around/general body language. That sucks.
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