Teaching Rape

Trigger Warning

Via abyss2hope comes this disturbing and nauseating story about a wedding disc jokey who has been arrested for allegedly sharing an instructional video on how to sexually abuse children.

A New York disc jockey has been accused of sharing an instructional video showing how to sexually abuse children.

The case was referred to the Queens district attorney’s office by police in Illinois who said they found two child porn videos in an Internet file-sharing program the DJ was using in February.

Police say one video shows a 4-year-old girl having sex with a man and the other gives advice and examples on how to sexually abuse minors.

Sigh. Everybody say it with me: a 4-year-old cannot have sex. This called rape. This other article describes the video slightly differently as showing “4-year-old girl performing a sex act on a man.” While desperately trying to avoid an image in my mind’s eye, I can make an educated guess as to what that “sex act” was in order for them to describe it as the 4-year-old girl performing it on the man. But I can assure you that he was indeed the one raping her. As a 4-year-old, she was not doing the “performing,” assholes. For fuck’s sake.

This is all a tangent, but Theologian said here that feminists need to work on a way to hold the media accountable for the language they use, and I couldn’t agree more. Especially since (as a general rule) when I do google news searches, more stories about rape come up under the keyword “sex” than under the keyword “rape”. Often, media outlets will excuse this language on the basis of “he’s only alleged to have raped her! To say ‘rape’ would be misleading!” First of all, that’s generally bull. Secondly, it doesn’t fly in this case, as under absolutely no circumstances can a 4-year-old consent to sex act.

Anyway, back to the story at hand.

This is one of those ones that leaves me kind of speechless; luckily, Marcella had something highly intelligent to say:

These offenders commit these crimes because they want to and have managed to rationalize away both their responsibility and the harm they are doing to their victims. They get help doing both from the dismissive attitudes so many people have related to accusations of rape made by teenage girls and women.

Each time someone denies that rape through coercion is real rape that person is helping child rapists who use coercion to commit their crimes decide that what they are doing isn’t real rape. Each time someone says it isn’t rape if the victim doesn’t scream they are helping child rapists who scare children into remaining silent.

I couldn’t agree more.

Coincidentally, I also found this article in the news today about a new Baltimore “rape prevention” program taking place in schools. A forensic nurse who does evidence collection on rape kits is brought in to talk to students. I kind of scratched my head at this, not being able to see immediately how anything she would have to say would work to prevent rape, but I thought that providing encouragement for victims to come forward for rape kit collection would be the idea and a good one. The article starts by detailing a presentation by the nurse, Linda Kelley, which involved showing students the photograph of a “nerdy” and “smart” looking guy who was sentenced to life in prison for raping a woman and beating her to death. The lesson was apparently that the dangerous men don’t often look super scary and dangerous . . . and that’s one I can absolutely get behind.

But then things start to go horrifyingly wrong. Compare these two statements. First:

Joyce Dantzler, deputy director of the state’s Center for Health Promotion, which includes a rape-prevention education program, said she knows of no other initiative that brings forensic nurses to students to talk about sexual assault.

“Anything that puts rape and sexual assault on the minds of young people … is very valuable,” she said. “For so long, the issue was something that was hidden and shameful and an embarrassment, and part of the reason why victims are so reluctant to talk and come forward. But if we move these conversations into our classrooms and church groups and neighborhoods and begin to have a dialogue about it, that’s incredibly valuable.”

Okay. So far so good. Now from the woman who is actually teaching the classes:

“What became very frustrating to me was to hear the same story over and over – that young people were getting into situations that they don’t have the skills or the maturity to deal with, and they were making poor decisions,” Kelly said. “Things get out of hand very quickly, and those little girls end up here getting a SAFE exam.”

Um . . . I somehow get the distinct impression that the “young people” she feels are “getting into situations” they can’t handle and who are “making poor decisions” aren’t the young men who are getting into situations where they might think that rape is okay and make the poor decision to commit sexual assault. Instead, I’m pretty sure that she’s referring to young women getting themselves into situations where they might be raped, and then be unable to handle preventing the rape. Because grown women can prevent rape at the snap of their fingers, I suppose.

Reading on, things keep going from bad to worse.

She refers to the teenage victims she meets at the hospital as “little girls” and self-deprecatingly jokes during her school presentations about how times have changed since she was the students’ age.

“We did have phones, but they were not mobile and they were usually affixed to the wall. When we got the 13-foot coil cord, that was a big deal,” she told one class.

“Now, in cyberspace, the world is open to all of you,” she added. “Mine was limited to my street, my alley, my little neighborhood.”

Yeah, I can see how that’d be totally relevant, because it’s not like the vast majority of rape victims know their attacker or like rape was around before the internet. Thanks a lot, Al Gore! As we know, the internet is very, very dangerous. From the sidebar of the Baltimore Sun article, here’s a tip:

• Be cautious of anyone you meet over the Internet. “This person is nothing but the ‘electronic persona’ that they’ve created for you. You don’t know anything about them.

Sigh (again). Look, do sexual predators hang out online? Um, yes. Do sexual predators use the internet as a tool to find victims? Yes. I don’t deny this. But is the internet causing rape? No. Do women have a higher chance of being sexually assaulted on a date with someone they met online? I looked and couldn’t find any studies, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess a big fat no.

This sort thing also always bothers me on a personal level. I don’t talk about it much, because people tend to give you funny looks, but I met my husband online. We met through a personal blogging site while neither of us was looking for romance. I’ve also mentioned here many times that I have sexual assault in my history. And you want to know who the rapist was? Not my scary, lying internet husband, but the nice boy I dated from my high school. I don’t deny that online communication gives rapists yet another advantage, but focusing on it like this just gives kids a seriously false sense of security. You know, I used to think that online dating was dumb and that meeting someone from online would end in rape. At the time, I was being sexually assaulted on a regular basis by my boyfriend.

From the same sidebar, here’s another gem:

• Stay sober. Don’t “go wild” as if you’re in a spring break video: “Advocates say that a girl doesn’t deserve to get raped no matter howdrunk [sic] she is. Dowe [sic] agree with that? Sure. But would you walk down the middle of [Interstate] 695 and expect not to get hit by a car? Why would I put myself in that vulnerable of a situation?”

Oh gee, sure? That’s generous. Sure she doesn’t deserve to get raped . . . but she should expect it, so I guess she kind of does. I mean, if you know that stoves get hot, and hot things burn, someone who purposely touches a switched on stove kind of deserves to get burned, don’t they? It’s a little like that — if a hot stove came flying across the room at you when you didn’t expect it and certainly didn’t want it to.

Returning to a theme; as I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been drunk many times, and was not raped during any of them. I can say that I actually used to be very adamantly and kind of ridiculously opposed to alcohol, even if it wasn’t such a bad stance to have at that age. When was that? If you guessed when I was being sexually assaulted on a regular basis by my boyfriend, you catch on fast. Alcohol doesn’t cause rape. Rapists do.

As I’ve noted on many occasions, sexual assault is actually much more likely to occur when the rapist is the one who is intoxicated. But it doesn’t seem like students through this “rape prevention program” are getting that message. In fact, it doesn’t seem like the male students are being taught anything worthwhile. Sure, the Baltimore Sun could just have done some really shitty reporting and left that part out. But seeing the rest of the stuff they’re teaching, I’m fairly confident in my original assertion that it doesn’t seem like the male students are gaining anything from this kind of “education”.

By now, you might be wondering how the hell these two stories are related. A man distributing information about how to rape children, and a story about (significantly older, but still) children being taught how to prevent rape in a really shitty way don’t seem to have a lot in common on the surface.

But this is where I go back to Marcella’s comments — and where I point out what the male students are actually learning in these classrooms. It doesn’t seem like they’re learning about consent, or why rape is wrong and how there’s absolutely no excuse for it. They’re being taught which girls they can rape — the ones “getting into situations” where even anti-rape educators will kind of blame them a little bit. They’re being taught that rapists come from the internet, beat women to death, and that rape only happens to stupid girls who meet men online or drink and act like sluts. And therefore, they are being taught, as Marcella said, to rationalize away the violence and hurt that is the nature of the vast majority of rape that does not end in murder. They are not being taught that they are responsible for ensuring they aren’t rapists. They’re being taught that rape sucks, but it’s the woman’s job to prevent it.

That’s social indoctrination, folks. Taken from the school hallways, the media and other rape apologists, and put right into the classroom, explicitly spelled out in words from the mouth of a person who is supposed to be an advocate for rape survivors. I have to admit that as far as these ruses go, it’s pretty fucking good. But somehow, that doesn’t make me feel any better.

0 thoughts on “Teaching Rape

  1. Jen

    Utterly fantastic post. You really have a gift with the keyboard/pen! I am definitely saving this as ammo for when I have to defend my “don’t blame the victim” stance; which is sadly, completely contrary to common sense apparently.

  2. Jessica

    I honestly think that in addition to getting people to see women, children and victims of rape and sexual assault as real, live human beings with the right to bodily integrity, strangely enough, we have to get people to see that “rapists” as a group, are ALSO real, live human beings, with rational decision-making capabilities. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people sputter off some variant of “there will always be evil rapists and there’s nothing we can do about that, so the only option left is to keep our kids safely guarded and teach women how to protect themselves/avoid assault.”

    Okay, so maybe there always will be some rapists. But these rapists aren’t some strange, evil, *other*, they are living, breathing, decision-making men just like all of the non-rapists! And I don’t think people really put a lot of stock into that last part, which is why they tend to focus so much on what the victims should do/should have done(it’s a lot easier to try and control the victims of crime than it is to try and control some strange, evil, *other* entity that perpetrates the crime).

    I mean, if you truly see rapists (or men in general, as related to all things involving sex) as rational, human beings, capable of making excellent, good, bad or horrendous decisions, then it becomes a lot easier to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the actual perpetrator. But as soon as they become some evil *other*, or some group that has no rational decision-making powers when it comes to sex, then all of a sudden the blame is magically lifted from their sorry ass, rapist shoulders, and people try to place the blame somewhere else.

    Yes, only rapists can stop rape. And that is exactly why young men are so desperately in need of being educated about rape. But all of these people who think in binary don’t believe that their nice, young, live human being of a boy could someday turn into that strange, evil, *other* they hear about sometimes on the news, so they ignore men in the prevention part of the equation, which is a travesty…because that’s the only thing that really has the potential to end rape (or make it so rare and reprehensible as to be quickly, swiftly and harshly punished).

  3. sabrina

    Great point, Jessica. Thats true…everyone only sees rapists as these menacing, lurking, crazed figures hiding in dark alleys. Thats why the white middle class frat boy who gets drunk and rapes freshmen girls doesn’t think he’s a rapist. And thats why people don’t take the girl seriously; “she got drunk”, “mistakes happen”, “put herself in that situation”, etc. If everyman would realize that he has the potential to rape, and to stop rape, then maybe we could get something done. Or we could just lock our women in their homes and only let them out when they get married; that way only their lawful husbands can rape them.

  4. Paul

    I (and other students) was the victim of sexual ab*se by a teacher in primary school in the mid-’80s

    I didn’t tell my parents until many years after it happened

    male sexual abuse and male r*pe are still treated as subjects for comedy on television and film – there’s a long way to go

  5. Cara Post author

    Agreed, Paul — the molestation of male children is a huge problem, and prison rape jokes are not even remotely near the realm of funny. The fact that the video showed the rape of a little girl in no way convinces me that the video would not also be used by pedophiles who target male children. Apologies, but can I ask why you’re censoring the words abuse and rape?

  6. Pingback: Say It: “Sex-u-al A-ssault!” « The Other Side of Madness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s