99.9% Rape Free December 31, 2014Posted by FCM in feminisms, health, meta, rape.
Tags: activism, defining rape, rape, rape free cultures
there is a tumblr post going around that cites several “sources” for the social constructionist belief that there are “rape free” cultures somewhere, or there were at some time. women are apparently basing their entire activism (and therefore their entire lives or a significant part of their lives and female selves) on the belief that men raping, torturing and murdering women across time and place is culturally/socially constructed, and not innate to males themselves. and that makes me want to address it. because female health and energy are the only things *in life* with the potential to help women, and because female health and energy are resources that are not renewable or easily renewable under conditions of patriarchy, it is very, very, very important that women make decisions about how to spend their time and energy wisely.
i will not link to the post, or the sources, you can find these yourselves. but i would like to suggest some questions/issues we should all consider when evaluating “evidence” of these elusive rape free zones. we have discussed this before but i think having the issues parsed in one place for future (and present) reference might be helpful. so lets dig in.
first, 99.9% rape-free or some other percentage that is less than 100% does not mean rape-free. okay? i have seen these articles too, they were required reading in undergraduate-level gender studies courses in the 1990s (if that tells you anything — it should) and many of them do not say that any culture anyone knows of was ever 100% rape free. the evidence that some cultures have men raping women LESS than they do in some other cultures, or OUR culture, is not evidence that ANY culture is a rape-free culture. and it is definitely not evidence that rape is socially constructed mkay. if anything, the presence of cultures that are 99.9% (or some other relatively high percentage but less than 100) rape free is evidence that no matter how rape-unfriendly any culture is, culture cannot stop men from raping women. they still do it. they will rape us anyway, because they are men.
next, i would like to address the elusive 100% rape free culture. has this been documented? i have not seen anyone ever say that there are 100% rape free cultures (except when they are saying that something-less-than-100%-rape-free is the same thing as rape-free when its not) but some pointed questions about this hypothetical culture, and the studies that document this if there even are any, come to mind. and really, these questions apply to all the studies collecting/reporting on the issue at all, even if they end up discovering a culture somewhere that is mostly-rape-free.
firstly, how are they defining (framing) rape? are they only considering rape-rape? cause thats not very feminist. are they considering other kinds of rape, like underage rape, abuse of power rape, incest, sexualized child abuse, acquaintance rape, marital rape? are they counting consent that is coerced like in cases of economic, social or other dependence? what about boozy sex and alcohol-facilitated “hooking up” — this is also rape mkay. we know this. so what exactly do they mean when they say RAPE DOESNT HAPPEN HERE? this is a serious question, and radical feminists must, must demand answers to this. the situation is dire — as i said, activist women are basing their entire lives on this evidence/data, and what they think they are reading when they read it. and womens lives matter. so. in the case of the elusive rape-free culture, which reformist women believe we can create here and now based on the evidence that it has been done in other places sometime, does “rape-free” really mean what they think it means, and what it is being pushed/twisted/represented to mean? does it?
i would also ask, in the case of any culture where men rape women “less than they do here,” how much female time, energy and other resources are spent on achieving that ends? when men “rape less” including not at all, do men just decide out of the goodness of their hearts or dicks not to rape us anymore? or do women have to continuously surveil them, police them, punish them for rape/attempted rapes and for “rapey” behaviors/thoughts/values that are likely to lead to rape? if we are talking about “matriarchal” cultures where the women do everything important, and the men sit on the periphery trying not to get into trouble (including committing rape), is this evidence that mens desire to rape is socially, and not biologically/innately constructed? sorry, but no. no, it is not evidence of that. at all.
next, i would ask whether these studies considered normalized sexualized/eroticized intercourse, or intercourse for pleasures sake when a pregnancy is not wanted by the women, and considered “intercourse,” making love, and PIV to be totally different from rape? how different from rape-rape does it have to be, to be considered rape? this is a serious question. we know that intercourse for pleasures sake, removed from reproduction, is an act of hateful othering because it pathologizes female bodies in their natural, normal state — the state of impregnability and vulnerability to semen. in any other context this kind of brutal othering and deliberately causing disperate impacts/outcomes with social, political and physical consequences to a protected social class would be considered discrimination, if not an outright hate crime.
but in the case of fucking women, causing them reproductive stress and pain, as well as unwanted and undesirable political outcomes based on pregnancy, doesnt count as anything. right? and its definitely not rape, even though rape historically has been used by men specifically to cause unwanted pregnancies in women, and specifically to control women politically, physically, socially, sexually, spiritually, materially, and in every way. even though PIV and rape are so much the same, they arent the same at all. right? what do the “studies” alleging there are rape-free cultures think about intercourse removed from reproduction? this is a serious question, not because i feel like bashing PIV today, but because social constructionist womens lives depend on the answer. they themselves have said this — they continue to activate because they believe these rape-free cultures exist, and that it is possible for men to stop fucking raping women. so is it? hint: mens attitude toward “sex” and “othering” women, including politically oppressing women via pregnancy (and motherhood!) is relevant.
next, i would like to know whether the studies that collect/report on data indicating that there are rape-free cultures also consider men violently oppressing women generally, such as with torture and murder. because that is really what we are talking about isnt it? rape is a form of (female-specific) torture, and rape and murder of women by men frequently go hand in hand. i would want to know, if i was basing my entire life and lifes work on the existence of these cultures, how woman-friendly are they really? are women safe from men anywhere? have they ever been? of course, the answer to this question partially depends on how one defines torture. in general, people have a pretty
narrow biased misogynistic view of what torture is (if its done to women by men, its not torture).
now, same questions about mens seemingly global, timeless aptitude for necrophilia. is there anywhere on this (formerly) green earth women can go, or could we ever, where we were/are not constantly taunted and tormented by the male death wish and mens hideous love of death, dying, and killing? kind of an important question, if the answer means that we should (or should not) hold out hope for men and their ability to exist in a biophilic, non-misogynist culture.
and finally, i will say it again, even if men have been “socialized” to rape, torture and murder women based on our sex, who “socialized” or “taught” them how to do this to us? it was not women mkay. women did not teach men how to rape us, and women do not socialize men to rape us, and women do not reward men who rape and punish men who do not rape. if these things are happening to men, and this is a huge IF, they are being done to men, by men. it begins and ends with men, in other words. this is the very definition of innate.
please understand: i am not saying any of this to endlessly repeat myself, as i have grown weary of hearing myself (and others) talk. i am saying this here, now, because women have said in their own words that they are basing their entire lives and their entire activism on the assumption that men can and will stop raping us, and that its not innate to men to do this. activist women believe the data/evidence supports this conclusion — that rape is socially constructed — but it absolutely does not. the mistake, as ginormous (and fairly, but not entirely obvious) as it is, is not womens fault of course, because the data and conclusions have been so deliberately skewed in favor of endless, reformist activating, and holding out hope for men.
this is the world we live in, thanks to men. very little in mensworld means what you think it means, and what it is re/presented to mean, and we must endlessly interrogate it to get to the truth and the information we need to live and save our own lives. it is fucking exhausting, but if the answers are this important, it must be done. because there is evidence that endless pointless feminist activating can actually kill us, in the case of “rape-free cultures” and knowing whether the evidence supports the conclusion that male-on-female rape is socially, and not biologically constructed, activist womens health and lives depend on it.
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