July 29, 2007

Duke: A Cautionary Tale?

Since date rape has been defined, you would think that parents would warn their children of the danger of misunderstanding sexual situations. This should also be a part of sex education and college orientation, especially with sports teams. Come to think of it, the conversation should be a complete discussion about rape.

Every year I hear of several incidents with regard to college sports team. Some go to trial and some fade away. This should not be happening in our society now with so much knowledge available and easy communication. This year an incident has been reported at Villanova University and the alleged victim is refusing to bring charges. The men were not allowed to continue in the school, but there has not been any charges filed. Is it that the alleged victim doesn't want the notoriety, thinks that her reputation is going to trashed or the fact she knew the perpetrators and she would seem a willing participant; I can't say, but from the notoriety of the Duke Lacrosse Team case, I can see where one might be hesitant. If we say she is nothing like the accuser in that case, then we misunderstand what constitutes rape.

Even today a victim can be vilified and rapist go free, because the victim is blamed and no man can be held responsible for his actions if the woman has given him a hint; not even if he has held her at gun point. This morning I was reading The Field Negro post about Villanova and I received an email about an article about sex abuse and rape of women around the world. Both of them irritated me, because I don't understand why in this country things like this are still happening. The article,
Pummeling Mama first paragraph describes one victim's redress.

The police officer put a gun to the driver’s head and demanded that she orally copulate him. To avoid being murdered she complied, after which he provided the choice of victimized silence or fatal reprisal. The woman tempted fate by contacting the district attorney, who used DNA testing to contradict the officer’s denial that any sexual contact had occurred. During the prosecution’s case the accused was proven to have told one self-incriminating lie after another. The defense attorney then played a familiar trump card, labeling the victim a woman of easy virtue “with whom sex was always an implied option”. It took the jury of eleven males and a female less than two hours to acquit.

I would rather this had not been anecdotal, but we have all heard of such instances. My first, when I was a teenager and an acquaintance, 13 years old had been gang raped, and the effective defense was, that she wanted it.

The main irritant is what seems to be a backlash to feminism. Women can not own their sexually, for rape is the consequence. We are falling backward in the idea that women are morally responsible for men's behavior and men have to be the gatekeepers of their partner's and daughter's will and sexuality, as if they are property. The idea that women have no decision at all, leads to men creating the scenario in which women would want to have sex. She can't say no, because he has been given cues that means yes. He's not thinking, that the cues are the ones he has created. I think this is true of the predatory violent rapist. The construction in his mind makes him believe she deserves to be raped or this is every woman's fantasy. Women still are suppose to be careful how they dress, what they say, how they walk and not to show to much sensuality. We certainly have to careful about tempting men. We have to control their morally in subtle ways, even though we should have no control over our selves. This is more than a double standard, it sends very dangerous messages to young people. Then we fret, when there is the real possibility of prosecution of rape of someone we think has a real future. In the many discussions of the Duke rape case, not much discussion of the possibility of why a rape could have occurred, nor was it used as a cautionary tale. With a sigh of relief, young men went right on reveling in the victimhood of the Lacrosse Players.


Joe said...

You know it goes both ways. In today's world is very easy to claim rape when you were not and in turn destroy someone's life. Women need to be responsible for one thing only , their own actions. I as a male need to make sure I don't drink to much , I can get home safe , I am aware of my actions , then so to should women. If a woman wants to go out drinking and impare her ability to make choices and ends up going home with a man and having sex and consents to it that night , she shouldn't be able to the next day go file charges against them.

I do agree that more times than not there are legit cases of rape but there are two sides here and for the double standard you talk about , there is a double standard against men too .

Duke should have taught us that there should be checks in balance to stop false claims from going through. The girl in that case should have been brought up on charges after that because each case like this makes it harder for real rape cases to move foward.

Hathor said...

I was not speaking of the specifics of the Duke case. I was speaking of this case beginning the conversation. You would think after this incident that college sports teams would be super cautious.

In the beginning of the post, I didn't make this gender specific, but later I did describe and refered to incidents that were gender specific. In this instance I am speking of when men determine what consent it. Many women can attest to this, while being sober. I certainly can. You seem to think that what I have described can't occur, unless the woman is drunk and that men do not make assumptions. Wouldn't you think that when a woman say no, that men should err on the side of no instead of yes. What would be so terrible about a missed opportunity?

Personally I think even when a woman is drunk and she says "no," I think many guys just proceed, because they think that she wont remember or that she wont be believed, because she was drunk. If she has passed out, well that should be a no brainer for the guys. Is it?

You also speak as if men are falsely accused most of the time.