All rape is hate rape

bloodheartSome additional thoughts relative to the issue I addressed in yesterday’s Hollywood: Go Polanski Yourself.

The most often heard argument in the defense of a rapist is that the victim of the rape “wanted it.” And the “proof” most often offered in support of that vile contention is the rape victim’s history of sexual promiscuity.

So let’s be real clear about this: Just because in the past you’ve shared your money doesn’t mean it’s now okay for anyone to rob you. That’s why in a rape case the victim’s sexual history is not admissible as evidence. The law recognizes that nothing you’ve ever done of your own free will excuses another person robbing you of that will. The fact that in the past a person ate fast foods doesn’t give anyone the right to force-feed that person fast foods.

And never ever forget: Rape is not about sex. Rape is about one thing, and one thing only: the sustained, conscious and purposeful execution of profound violence. It’s about the purely evil need of one person to control and humiliate a weaker person.

Ultimately a rapist doesn’t get off on sex. He gets off on making his victim beg, cry, and scream in pain. Rape is to sex what waterboarding is to going swimming.

Don’t ever equate rape and sex, even in jest.

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  • I think that second point is what this whole debate consistently misses. Once it's understood that it has nothing to do with sex, every argument in defense of Polanski turns into farce, in my opinion.

  • Diana L. Avery

    “Just because you’re generous with your money doesn’t mean that you want to be robbed.” Thank you for this metaphor. So true. I just wish more people would see how this connects with “Just because you like sex doesn’t mean you want to be raped.”

  • mark

    Societies are composed of entities which share common bonds. In human societies, we adhere to social contracts which we create to strengthen the bonds we share. One of the most basic social contracts we have is one that deals with sexual behaviors. Specifically, since sex is one of the most personal activities that we can experience, we have established the very basic unwritten law that each adult person, male or female, but especially females, given that they are the ones who can get pregnant, have the absolute RIGHT to choose their partner(s) if any, the act(s) they will engage in, and the frequency of said act(s) in each and every instance.

    RAPE is committed when a sociopath ignores that most basic of agreements and imposes his (or her) will on another regardless of the others choice OR desire. That is a violent act, not only to the victim, but also to society, in and of itself.

    Polanski drugged his victim, implying that he knew that she would NOT give her consent. In any case, it did not matter, since as a minor, a fact he freely admitted knowing, she was not capable (under the law) of giving her consent. He deliberately chose to break both written and unwritten laws, knowing beforehand the consequences he would face. He deserves his prison time, in spite of what may or may not occur to him while incarcerated. HE made that choice 33 years ago, in giving his victim NO choice.

    And, IF the girl’s mother assisted him in the commission of that crime, she deserves, at the very least, to do the same amount of time as he owes!

  • I’ve felt for a long time that the punishment for rape and sexual molestation doesn’t come close to fitting the damage for the crime.. These monsters should get a lot worse, but nobody seems to take rape as seriously as it is or worse, they blame the victim, like you talked about, or says they’re lying! There is NO such thing as asking for rape. Saying “Oh, she’s had a lot of partners or dresses sexy so she was asking for it” is like saying that because I put on makeup before I go places I want some pig to grope me. Society needs to STOP blaming the victims for getting raped and start telling men to stop raping! Only the rapist is responsible for rape. I could rant on and on about this but I’ll just end up getting furious so I’m done now >.< Thanks for all of your articles John Shore, I love them.

  • Amy Ramsey via Facebook

    Thank you, John.

  • Well said.

  • Jolie Hale via Facebook

    John, I agree with this, but with some caveats and addenda. Not all rape happens the way you’ve characterized it. There is not always begging and screaming. Sometimes the victim doesn’t feel entitled to protest. And sometimes it IS about the rapist’s sexual desires. This is often how relationship rape, date rape, and acquaintance rape (i.e. the most common forms of rape) happen: the rapist is horny and wants sex, and he convinces himself that his victim wants it, too, so it’s okay to force her. Sometimes she fights back tooth and nail; other times she gives up fighting because she believes she deserves what’s happening, or that resistance is futile. Sometimes rape happens not because a man is ignoring a women’s pleas for mercy, but because he isn’t thinking about what it means to have consent.

  • And there is the rape where the victim was slipped a knock-out drug & doesn’t even remember the rape.

  • Josie

    Thank you, John…just…thank you.

    Jolie–I’ve got to disagree with “And sometimes it IS about the rapist’s sexual desires.” It is about power, control, and obliterating the sovereign free will of another person. SEX=consensual and pleasurable, RAPE=violence, power and control.

  • Eliot Parulidae via Facebook

    Paul Akin believes that any coitus with conception is fundamentally good – the ends (baby) morally outweigh the means (rape). That is why the line is so blurred for him: propagation is all that matters.

  • Lee

    I have to agree with Jolie. Too often both men and women feel that being married gives a man the right to have sex with his wife any time he wants to. The lack of communication is horrible and a barrier to intimacy. In addition, Jolie is right that not all rape victims fight. And their lack of fighting does not mean they asked for it either.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, this is a somewhat dangerous generalization. I agree completely that it is always wrong to blame the victim. But to portray someone who rapes as wanting the victim to be in pain is not always correct, and can actually make it difficult for women to acknowledge that what happened to them is rape.

    Portraying rapists as monsters who want to destroy women is dangerous, because then, in court, when you can show that the guy has a good job, or looks decent, or has ever rescued a kitten from a tree, he goes free. When a woman is accusing your buddy, you think “but he couldn’t do that”, and she gets silenced, or never speaks up about it in the first place (like most rape victims). Because he wasn’t the monster everyone thought a rapist must be – he was just the guy next door. That’s why people blame women – “Why did you go home with him?” as if it’s possible to tell by appearance and behavior who is safe and who isn’t.

    The core of rape is not respecting women. It’s what happens when you don’t respect their autonomy over their own body, and their right to decide what happens to it. It’s what happens when you selfishly think your desires are the most important, or that a woman owes something to you.

    Not all rape is violent. Rape is usually committed by someone the victim knows and trusts, often someone they have an intimate relationship with. All it takes to rape someone is for them to say “no” or “not like that; that hurts” and to not respect it, and shush them and keep going.

    Saying rape is always about degrading someone and making them scream is why a friend of mine, whose boyfriend asked if they could do anal, and in response to her “no” did it anyway, and then claimed he “didn’t hear her” and only stopped when she screamed, isn’t being held accountable for what that was – rape. Because he seemed concerned, and wasn’t otherwise violent. And because once it hurt enough to make her scream, he stopped.

    Rape is what happens when you say “no, I just want to sleep” but they keep pushing and pushing and you’re drunk anyway and you can’t fight them off because you just want to go to sleep. Maybe you only get the chills of horror when you wake up and realize what happened to you.

    Just thought I would add that, and that you would understand my worries. I’m involved with a group of feminist activists who have been very active in dealing with rape culture, and I just thought I would add this to the conversation.

  • Anonymous

    This is basically the consensus among the feminists I know. I am really glad you posted it.

    I think people are objecting because they see sex as consensual and loving, and anything sexual which is not consensual and loving is about power. But I think sex is neutral. There is consensual sex, which is all that should ever happen, and in which the core is love and respect. And there is unconsensual sex, where the core is disrespect of women and disrespect of consent.

    It’s hard to argue it’s never about sex, because it flies in the face of women’s lived experiences, being raped and assaulted by the men in their lives. I think many couples often walk the edge, where they need to cultivate an atmosphere of excited, happy consent, where no one ever feels a “duty” where they “have to have sex” with the other, and where neither spouse pressures the other into sex. The awareness that consent can be difficult to negotiate for everyone is just an awareness that both partners deserve respect and autonomy, and the more extreme example where one person says “no” and the other partner doesn’t respect it is still rape – but it would be foolish to argue that the motive is domination.

  • Anonymous

    This is a great analysis of consent and ‘rape culture’ (a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape, ie our culture)

  • Heather

    Absolutely, beyond all certainty what you say is true. When I was raped, I was coerced and intimidated. I was silent and immobile. After trying to tell a couple of friends, I realized very quickly that no one cared or believed me, and I was alone. I remained that way for many years. Alone. Rape isn’t always ugly and violent. Sometimes it’s quiet. Sometimes, it’s deafening; And it’s so hard to swallow you can actually choke on it. But I’m grateful everyday for those of you who speak up to shame the perpetrators and NOT the victims. There is power in the voice of what is good and true. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    I’m so sorry that that happened to you. You didn’t deserve to be harmed or disrespected, and you deserved to be believed, supported and cared about. Also, that prick deserves to be in jail.

    I hope that if anyone is reading this and is feeling isolated with what happened to them, that they know they can contact rape crisis hotlines in their area (I can’t put them all up for an international readership, just google one in your area, but for the USA, the national number is 1-800-656-HOPE ). Even if you haven’t gone to the police, you can talk to someone who will provide free crisis counselling and who will believe you.

  • Anonymous

    (oops, I don’t mean to imply there’s something wrong with not going to the police – that’s obviously the survivor’s own choice)