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Unread 08-04-2012, 01:34 AM   #361
Sinvael
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I think in my last post I failed to contextualize the point I was trying to make. It was not my intent to present the position I outlined as a counter to the idea that there may, perhaps, be value in the kind of discussion Relm wants to have. Rather, I think the position I described is not entirely dissimilar to the frame from which some of the posters here enter this discussion, and I wanted to point out where that frame leads them to become hostile when Relm has insisted on the importance of distinguishing between and categorizing various acts and behaviors related to the issue of rape culture.

To iterate the point here; from a position in which one is predisposed to think of such distinctions in terms of their reinforcement of rape culture, the insistence that they are important is one which they are likely to immediately respond to with hostility, as it signals that the other person perhaps doesn't understand or agree with the reality and/or severity of the problem. You've stated, and I believe you, that you agree it is a problem and it requires attention. However, this:

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Of course, I have full reason to believe that merely talking about the morality complexities behind all the issues involving sexism has been highly offensive in some fashion to people as evidenced by the highly emotionally charged responses and implications of thinking that I am morally bankrupt for merely thinking deeply about the morality of these issues. Otherwise shiney wouldn't have gotten any reports. I really am curious why this is offensive to people.
suggests that you have not grasped where the offense to your attempts to generate discussion is originating. Perhaps in clearly laying out an explanation that may be at least partially true I have clarified that somewhat?

To build on that, while it's not my place to tell anyone how to post I'd like to reiterate this:

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Regardless of what Relm's intent is or what Snake's intent is, or Prem's, or any other individual member, there isn't going to be meaningful discussion if, in the process of trying to gather information or form consensus, you are, wittingly or unwittingly, presenting your case in a way that is, by its nature, likely to provoke a hostile reaction, rather than responses to your actual queries.
and this:

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Where I think Relm could benefit from stepping back and gaining some perspective, is in considering why his arguments are receiving the kind and amount of negative response that they are, and attempting to present his concerns in regard to the larger issue in a way that avoids those anxieties.
and invite you to consider whether, having broached this topic and encountered resistance, it might not have been more productive to have thoroughly clarified your reasons for inquiring as they relate to the topic at hand, as opposed to repeating a distrust of statistics,

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spooky statistics
drawing abstract comparisons to indirectly related topics,

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Let me draw a fictional corollary to explain why it matters.

There has been an outbreak of prostate cancer in males, by straight up tenfold. This is a massive health concern. Still, I don't see why it matters in the slightest whether it's true of all males, some males, males located in the state of Florida, males located on a particular college campus, or males located in any place where they'd happen to have the opportunity to interact with females in any way, shape or form. I just don't see how that would be relevant to solving the problem.
and making offhand remarks that appear to seek to derail/diminish the present discussion.

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So what would you prefer to talk about?
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... I wonder how long it'll be until the social subforum returns to its usual self.
Note that in the first two of these examples, I'm not suggesting that those are poor tools in discussions generally, but that in discussing an issue with individuals who have a clear emotional investment in said issue, it may be to the better to be specific and thorough in describing your reasons for inquiry, and to avoid seeming to attack a piece of evidence that is supportive of their position when you do not disagree with their basic position.

Finally, I'm going to have to admit that I'm not personally all that well versed in the kind of hard data you seem to be looking for, and while I'll leave it to someone who is to confirm or deny if they wish, I'm inclined to be skeptical as to whether a significant volume of such information exists presently - specifically because so little meaningful progress has been made in gaining general acceptance of the reality and import of these issues - and that what information does exist may be tainted by the very modes of thought that we've established as contributing to the existence of rape culture in the first place - and that this may contribute to the apparent opinion of those who've looked into the matter deeply that we are not ready to have the discussion you're asking to have.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 03:56 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by Relm Zephyrous View Post


(This will answer Premmy too, because Premmy 'asks' the same question, but unlike Sin Premmy assumes an answer and doesn't want and/or care if I respond to it.)
Tell me more about what I think, please.
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One of the reasons I insist on us keeping in mind the distinction is because if we treat all of these crimes as equally horrible, then how do we go about punishing these crimes?
Punishment is the least important issue here.
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If we go by the amount of suffering caused and the severity, then we are indeed making distinctions between which ones are more severe.
Physical damage can be quantified. There's a measurable difference between a scratch on the arm, and being shot in the head. You can literally say "x inches of flesh removed x amount of psi applied to the skull, x amount of blood lost" and on and on. This doesn't really factor in to this discussion this same information should be used in determining the severity of non-sexual violence. Issues of physical trauma(even if connected to sexual assault) can and should be judged based on damage done and can be compared to a standard.

Emotional damage is so complicated and varied and hard to even discern, trying to quantify it is most likely only going to make it worse, and really can't be compared to any meaningful standard.This kind of nebulously defined, vague stuff is not the sort of thing that laws should be based on.

In order to create a standard by which we can form a basis for legislation we'd need to do something like, create a nationwide survey of Sexual assault victims in which we decide
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Originally Posted by Marelo View Post
the relative importance of their suffering as listed in a table of sexual crimes.
After which we'd make a judgement in which we rank them all, and then, of course, form legislation on that. Which would tell said victims(and anyone who might victimize them and others) exactly how much we as a society value them and their suffering, and who we value more. Which is:
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Originally Posted by premmy View Post
so very horrible I don't know how to respond.
Which our society already kind of does, but whatever.
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Which if people have it in their minds that they are all equal, will lead to outcries almost universally of the criminals getting off easy because they did not get life in prison or the death sentence.
I'm really not interested in our culture "doing it's part" to indulge desires for revenge. No matter how strong they may be or to what they are in response to.
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However, if we decide to weight them all equally as crimes, then if we do not weight to the farthest end of the scale we are allowing some crimes to go underpunished.
Not important.
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And if we put everything, even the lightest groping or fondling, with a life sentence, as much as some feminists might want that to be the case,
Irrelevant to this discussion,more than a bit insulting and unnecessary to your point, which is:
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greater punishments are not always the best way to stop violence.
Punishments in general are not the best way to stop unwanted behavior. Mostly because people have to be doing shit in order to punish it.
Punishments can only be used as a societal deterrent after people display an ability(and a way) to break the rules. You can't eliminate(not that I believe it's actually possible, but you say you do) something from society by establishing "yes you have the ability to do this, but there will be a response that you won't like" You do it by creating a cultural mindset of "This thing is completely off limits to even approach, anything like this is absolutely the worst thing ever. You are a lesser human being for even harboring thoughts of doing this thing"

Like murder. People who won't murder might still commit acts of sexual assault. Most people won't commit murder because of a wide variety of aversions to violence and suffering, with punishment being among them, yes, but most likely not the primary reason.These people, which is the vast majority of people, are only able to commit the act by accident(which the "worst" of these offenses is impossible to do) or under an altered mental state.

In fact most people don't do bad things for reasons far beyond "I might get in trouble" such as "I don't want to hurt anyone" "This goes against my religion" "I just plain old can't" or "it's just not my thing" The biggest issue is, lots of the people doing the hurting and "lesser offenses" legitimately don't realize they are hurting someone. These are the types of people who would not outright hold another human being down and force themselves on them. Making them realize(via cultural enforcement of of the idea) that what they are doing is exactly the same will stop them before they perform a "lesser offense" and prevent any sort of "Gateway" pathology that could lead to them doing worse.

A person who would never touch someone else inappropriately out of a sense of compassion,personal conviction, or disgust is extremely unlikely to go so far as commit an act of "full on" rape.

As a personal example(yes yes value of anecdotal evidence in debate, moving on)

In sixth grade there was a girl in my class that I and several other boys in glass had grabbed on the ass. Mostly to annoy her and be dicks but also to be hormonal teens. She never cried or did anything more than act annoyed, but I have no idea the effect we had by creating such a fucked up school environment for her.

I legitimately view this as the worst thing I have ever done to another human being. More than any fight I have been in or horrible thing I have said.
As it stands I consider what I did to be as bad as breaking into her house and attacking her. I really wish I could find this girl and apologize to her and try to make it up to her. Because of my mindset I am never going to do something like that to anyone again.

Even then I didn't have any kind of inkling to become a horrifying nightstalking teen rapist or a roofie slipping creep. I had(and have) my problems but I just can't wrap my head around doing something like that.

I honestly just thought I was maybe getting on her nerves at the time. "People touch me all the time when I don't want them to, what's the big deal?" Even now I'm very "touchy feely" with people of all kinds. I slap them on the shoulders and hug and shove and such. But I try to be very conscious of boundaries people set because of what I've realized.

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Because if you're getting life in prison for a accidental ass grab, and she's gonna call the police, there is technically nothing worse legal wise that can happen to you if you rape and kill her right after that. Technically you still have the chance to get off free.
Anybody who, accidentally brushes someone's ass, get's in trouble, and then says "whelp, might as well rape away, they can only hang ya once"
Is probably the most horrible/depraved/disturbed human being in the entire world and very likely would have done the horrible crime unprovoked.

Seriously, what the actual fuck?

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So making all the punishments equivalent provides incentives for sexist acts by way of "if I already did this, there's no worse punishment for going all the way to 11".
The logic here:
  1. A person exists who possesses within them an urge to violently rape people.
  2. The primary deterrent to them indulging this urge is the threat of extreme punishment.
  3. They intentionally or unintentionally perform a "lesser" crime
  4. Due to a "nothing to lose" emotional state, indulge their worst urges.
Somewhat reasonable except for the fact that it needs the original urge to do the act in the first place. This type of person has the potential to perform the act under any circumstances. Their primary impetus to not do so is the threat of punishment.Threat of punishment as their major deterrent for anything they might want to do to sate that urge would probably prevent this scenario from occurring to begin with, and if it didn't, it probably wouldn't stop them under any circumstances.

Further, creating a hierarchy of things will add to more "lesser offenses" occurring, due to many people who might perform "higher" offenses but don't find "lesser" offenses satisfying will rationalize that they can "afford" the lesser punishment for the "lesser" crime and so convince themselves to do such. as well as people who might only perform "lesser" offenses having the same mindset. If they find this to be unsatisfying over time, they likely will "graduate" to "higher" offenses at some later point.

So now we have more people having "lesser" things done to them. At best we've shifted the problem around, at worst we've created ticking time-bombs.

If the cultural landscape prevents many such people from even existing(as in, they don't become the kind of person who has these urges) then we've actually lowered the amounts of potential perpetrators of any of the "Lower" and "higher" offenses.
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Last edited by Premmy; 08-04-2012 at 04:02 AM.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 08:11 AM   #363
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Default I already asked Sinvael about this, but I thought I'd toss it out.

Y'know, instead of PMing multiple people in this discussion about the same topic and getting all different answers that aren't conveniently in one place. I want to do this in the same style I was talking to Pocheros almost 10 pages ago. As in, I want to present my question and my viewpoint, but I also want to hear the other side of this and learn more. I don't know if I'll be derailing or changing(or is that the same?) the current topic. Now, on with my post.

A thought occurred to me the other day. Rape Culture is certainly not only defined by sexism, right? In a way, I thought both racism and religion fit as subcategories towards it. As much as I hate to say, I've found that religion is a big contender for feeding into sexism. I will say that I realize that not all of the things in their books are enforced nowadays, but I think it still feeds the mindset.

And Sinvael, I figured out how racism can factor into sexism as a subcategory. By pointing out how women from a certain country act a certain way, also fed by stereotyping. Saying that a woman from one ethnic minority is 'submissive' while a woman from another ethnic minority acts more 'dominant'. As to change the ways men treat them.

I've been trying to figure out how to word the part on racism a little better as to clarify what I mean, but words fail me right now.

tl;dr Are religion and racism also factors in Rape Culture?

Last edited by Red Mage Black; 08-04-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 01:49 PM   #364
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I am on my phone right now so I can't type a big thing, but yes lots of other issues relate to rape culture as well. Try googling intersectionality and kyriarchy for more information. Not really gonna address religion here but basically various forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism, homophobia all intersect in various ways since they basically stem from the same kind of thinking. A white woman will experience sexism and a black woman will experience sexism but they will experien,e them in different ways. The different ways in which they experience them will also affect how seriously they're taken when facing sexual assault (google madonna/whore complex). Sorry this is such a brief answer, would go into more detail but I'm busy right now.

Edit: organized religion is a factor inasmuch as it promotes patriarchal ideals that can be used as excuses for oppression.For example condemning homosexuality feeds into sexism and rape culture because it puts restrictions on people's sexuality and then "corrective rape" (raping a non-heteronormative person to "cure" them) is excused. This is just one example as you could write thousands and thousands of words on this topic. Organized religion is not the only institution that reinforces a patriarchal society, however. Also note that women are not the only group affected by rape culture; it affects every sex and gender in some way or another, though notably it affects women greatly.

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Unread 08-04-2012, 05:56 PM   #365
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I would add too that the way in which religious ideas are expressed in terms of sexism hinge on preexisting ideas about women, gender, etc. so it's all rather cyclical.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #366
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Basically:Our culture as a whole is affected,or even based in in many case, by racism, sexism, e.t.c. Rape Culture is a specific aspect of said culture.
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Unread 08-05-2012, 12:10 PM   #367
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Rape Culture is certainly not only defined by sexism, right? In a way, I thought both racism and religion fit as subcategories towards it. As much as I hate to say, I've found that religion is a big contender for feeding into sexism. I will say that I realize that not all of the things in their books are enforced nowadays, but I think it still feeds the mindset.
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Basically:Our culture as a whole is affected,or even based in in many case, by racism, sexism, e.t.c. Rape Culture is a specific aspect of said culture.
This is a good point, and it's good to realize and keep in mind that these are complicated, interrelated issues. Without attempting to detract from that, I'd like to make a point that it may be worth being careful in drawing attention to these relationships when someone's made an insensitive comment.

For example, if someone makes a comment that is specifically sexist, obviously it's not productive to call them or their comment racist. Less obviously, it may also be unwise to immediately call them or their comment bigoted; it is, and they are, but if they personally (incorrectly) rank sexism as less bad than racism, indirectly comparing what they've said and don't acknowledge as problematic to something they do acknowledge as problematic is likely to put them on the defensive. It may be more productive to focus on specifically clarifying that what they've said is problematic, and why, and once they've acknowledged that (if they don't that's probably where the moderators should step in), maybe drawing the comparison to bigotry in general (though at that point it may make them defensive because they feel they're being attacked after they've admitted that they were in the wrong). On the other hand, bringing up bigotry earlier can clarify that you really do find their statement problematic, so...yeah, it's tricky.

More complexly, and related to this,

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And Sinvael, I figured out how racism can factor into sexism as a subcategory. By pointing out how women from a certain country act a certain way, also fed by stereotyping. Saying that a woman from one ethnic minority is 'submissive' while a woman from another ethnic minority acts more 'dominant'. As to change the ways men treat them.
when someone makes a comment that is both racist and sexist/promoting rape culture/etc., things only become more difficult. For example, say someone says something like, "Well she's Japanese; she wasn't saying no because she doesn't want sex, she's just embarrassed". In this case it can be tempting to attempt to address all of the issues at once, but it may be worth focusing on one aspect at time; in this example, maybe you start with 'she still said no - it doesn't matter why, that means her partner should stop', and wait till there's been some indication whether you're going to be able to convince the individual of anything before addressing 'her being Japanese shouldn't be causing you to interpret her words differently'. Again, though, it's hard to know beforehand what the most effective course is going to be (or what other posters might focus on), and by mentioning all of the issues you might more quickly find one they're more likely to 'give' on, so it's still difficult to make the 'right' call.

Last edited by Sinvael; 08-05-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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