PLEASE NOTE - POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING.
Coercive sex or rape? More men will admit to using coercive sexual practices and aggression towards women when terminology other than rape is used. An excellent article by +Kimberly Chapman ( https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KimberlyChapman/posts/Botux1aTsAh ) discusses these issues and recent research on the topic. Worth a read but please note the trigger warning.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KimberlyChapman/posts/Botux1aTsAhPerception around the word rape is a complex issue. It took a long time for me to admit I had been raped because I didn't want to use that word. I was coerced. I was harmed. I didn't consent. I said no. But I still find using the word rape difficult. When I was dealing with some of the confusing emotions resulting from and after the events (it happened more than once so years apart) I hesitantly used the word rape when talking about them to my (male) partner at the time and was shouted down. Consent is everything. If you cannot get clear, unequivocal consent or if the individual is saying no or is not capable of giving consent then you should not be doing it.
BDSM plays with issues of Dominance and submission, either reflecting, reversing or twisting typical gender stereotypes that seem to be perpetuated across society about masculinity and femininity. But consent is always at the heart and there is a huge amount of emphasis on ensuring consent is in place, whether via the use of formalised M/s contracts at the extreme end or the use of safe words in play situations. Fictionalised forms of BDSM, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, do not place the emphasis on informed consent and that particular book demonstrates an abusive rather than empowered dynamic. Forcing and/or coercing someone into sexual situations they are not comfortable with is morally wrong. You do not have the right to chose what happens to another adult's body without their consent and your wants/needs do not supercede their right to a choice. It doesn't matter whether you call it rape or coercion, it is the same thing and if terminology is an issue, using a combination of terms might help to get the message across.
Such nonsense has been spouted over the past couple of weeks about rape and its consequences that I have actually had to wait until I have semi calmed down before posting. Firs we have Tod Akin, who seems to have doomed his political career with this particular interview.
The problem was the phrase "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
"Legitimate" rape? I will get back to the level of doubt that seems to persist in some peoples minds over what rape actually is and get onto the next bit. The "female body" has no ability to detect whether consent has been given for any sexual act and no ability to prevent pregnancy. In fact, the whole of the female reproductive system is geared to ensure pregnancy occurs at the highest frequency possible. There is no excuse for the apparent the lack of basic education into human reproduction. That any American male could have such a poor understanding of biology is appalling, let alone an individual contending to be a senator. Not only that, but this individual then has the audacity to work towards legislation that limits a woman's choice about her own body and whether she can have an abortion or not. The Renegade Raging Grannies put it quite well :)
In addition to all of the Tod Akin debate (he apologised and claimed he "used the wrong words"), there were other gems from public officials. The President of Ecuador defended Julian Assange against his rape allegations by making the claim that a man who share a bed with a woman cannot be accused of rape (news article link). Yet again, a woman's right to determine what happens to her body is undermined.
Individuals get to make decisions about their bodies, NO ONE ELSE. Whether we are talking about consensual sexual relationships, body modification, medical procedures, euthanasia etc., the person whose body is under discussion gets to make the decision. I think there may be some flexibility only if the individual is not mentally capable of making that decision, and where that line is drawn is another issue. But aside from that, our bodies are our own. Each of us gets to choose what we do with them, who may touch them and when. Politicians do not get that choice. Sexual partners do not get that choice (unless we have consented to it). Religious leaders do not get that choice. It is ours to make. NO ONE HAS MORE RIGHT TO OUR BODIES THAN WE DO. To all of those wanting to take these choices from us..... FUCK OFF.
Another blog entry, retweeted by skepchicks, along the lines of victim blaming and the problems facing rape victims today. But only when they are female. This really bothers me. The continual claims made that only women are victims or are victimized. I tried to comment on the blog post itself but was unable to do so and as such am making a blog postingof my own.
"The video is addressing victim blaming; a female experience. When over 90% of victims are female, it becomes such a statistical rarity (not impossibility, a rarity) that a man is victimized; male victims, who have not been brought up in a culture of being punished for their sexuality, are not within a society that shames them."
The video makes a good point of how people need to be aware of their surroundings and how some women feel about rape. But I disagree with the idea that women are afraid of being raped all the time and that men do not also take care of the situations they are in because of safety issues.
i take more issue with the blog posting itself. One of the problems about claims made like the one quoted above is that rape is not solely an issue for women, neither is the victimization of women following a rape. It may be that the author is restricting their claims to Western society, but such claims, unless qualified by statements of location, are not only misleading but they are harming individuals who badly need help. I would recommend this article, http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men recently linked to in an earlier post of mine (http://www.skepticrainbows.com/1/post/2011/07/women-are-not-the-only-victims-of-rape.html), about male rape in regions of the world with high levels on conflict and their subsequent victimization.
I take issue with these types of claims for a number of reasons, even though I am female and have also been a victim. One of the issues is not only that the generalized statements seem to be from a particular cultural perspective, but also fail to take into account men in Western societies who may have been abused as children, with some claims as high as 1 in 5 male children (lower than the 1 in 3 female children, yes, but far from the 90% claim made in this blog) http://www.hccac.org/abuse/myths.html. Or does this not count?
I am not saying that many of the issues cited in the article are not relevant to feminists. I am saying issues such as rape and sexual abuse are issues for humanity, regardless of gender, and the claims made that seem to suggest otherwise quite rightly deserve criticism.
While genders disparity and the debate about mysogyny continues, there are some concerning trends in the debate on both sides among the extremists. One of these is the perception that women are constantly in fear of being raped or being victimised and that our whole lives revolve around this and the male privalledge that cushions men against it. Except, it is not true. Women are not victims by nature of being female, not all of us live with this constant fear and men are not immune from being victims of rape or violence. There are battles to be fought for recognition in rape cases, especially with regard to the characterisation of individuals who have been raped and the influence of their sexual behaviour has on whether they can consent or not, but gender biases hurt both men and women. The first article highlights a shocking example about the conseqence of a young woman reporting her rape to the auhorities (http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/07/12/reception-of-rape-victims-silsbee-tx-edition/). This is a problem and the stigma about rape is NOT gender specific, although there may be different ways in which male and female rape is handled, as highlighted in the second artcle (this was linked to in today's Skepchicks quickies) about male rape in war and regions on conflict. It is a difficult read and a possible trigger.
Some of the non-graphic quotes from the male rape article that struck me follow.
"Part of the activism around women's rights is: 'Let's prove that women are as good as men.' But the other side is you should look at the fact that men can be weak and vulnerable."
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced $44m to implement this (The UN Security Council Resolution 1325) resolution. Because of its entirely exclusive focus on female victims, it seems unlikely that any of these new funds will reach the thousands of men and boys who suffer from this kind of abuse. Ignoring male rape not only neglects men, it also harms women by reinforcing a viewpoint that equates 'female' with 'victim', thus hampering our ability to see women as strong and empowered. In the same way, silence about male victims reinforces unhealthy expectations about men and their supposed invulnerability"
"As I leave Uganda, there's a detail of a story that I can't forget. Before receiving help from the RLP, one man went to see his local doctor. He told him he had been raped four times, that he was injured and depressed and his wife had threatened to leave him. The doctor gave him a Panadol."
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!