Smouldering: most Australians rape apologists

We’ve posted a bit about the mangy asshats who think that certain women and girls deserve to be raped – fat women, for example, or preteen girls who wear particular types of underwear.

And we’ve posted about Nice Guy(tm) sexual entitlement, and the femiblogosphere has discussed and been subjected to comments from men who think they oughtta get a special cookie because they could have raped someone once, but chose not to.

Now, research out of the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, as reported in the Age, found that nearly all of their participants felt that the mitigating factors for rape include:

– a woman being drunk
– a woman wearing “revealing” clothing
– the woman and the rapist having had sex in the past
– the rapist being a “nice guy”
– the rapist being “sexually frustrated”

Other recent research by ACSSA has found, for example, that 44% of men agree that “Rape results from men not being able to control their need for sex”.

I really wish this was news, but sadly, it isn’t, not by a long chalk. Outrage fatigue? I don’t know. I still feel a burning anger. But it’s more of an “I’ve been smouldering for years” underground-coal-fire anger than a blazing-petrol-tanker anger. What do we do next? How do we fight this global woman-hate?

Edited to add: now has this piece up complete with a repugnant photograph of a headless woman in a leather miniskirt, clutching a lamp-post. The comments section has a few feminist comments, heaps of “Oh, it doesn’t excuse rape exactly, but these women are clearly being irresponsible”, but an enormous number of vile misogynist remarks. A sampling (my comments in italics)

“ned from sydney” doesn’t think women are humans, and that women who are raped wanted it really: “Why would i or other men ask a women to come to my house after a few drinks at the club/bar/pub? to talk politics, to play the playstation, to do what? […] ladys dont play dumb and dont be ignorant, every adult or teenager in their late teens would no sex is on the guys mind and he expecting sex, and the fact you are there shows the guy are you thinkin the same.”

Michael T of Brisbane needs to get himself a blow-up doll: “Some of the messages about sexual assault that are targetted at young men quite frankly make me laugh at times. There was one youth targetted sight which I looked at once, and it basically implied that if a girl a) doesn’t say no, b) doesn’t put up any physical resistence, c) allows you to undress her, d) allows you to sit there and put on a condom, e) allows you space between her legs to do the deed, you can still be charged with rape because she never actually said: “Yes.””

Bitten can’t decide whether it’s not about gender at all, or whether women need to protect themselves: “Women should be able to control themselves and not get so drunk they make choices they regret when sober. But the fact it, people behave badly. Men and women. Protect yourselves people, don’t be naive.”

RK of Melbourne openly blames women: “If a girl has just met a guy on a night out and she decided to go back to his place after a few drinks – it doesnt mean that she wants to have sex with him. True. But come on, who would ever put themselves in that situation? […] If this happened to a girl obviously the guy will get the blame for it, but SHE initiates the trouble.”

Paul H of Adelaide has an uninspired rant. For some reason I’m having trouble believing his heart is really in it: “This is where trendy feminist politics comes into it. Women enjoy incredible freedoms in this society but none of the responsibilities.”

I think gumbi of an office came up with my favourite *headdesk*, just for the unalloyed blitheness of internal contradiction: “I agrre to the fact that unless the stats are in front of me, i would find this hard to believe. But i do agree that some women bring it upon them selves, i am in perth and i see girls (even in the middle of WINTER) wearing just a very very small dress and high heels. or very very small skirts/shorts with low cut tops. Women thrive on attention and they try really hard even though they dont show it.” And I adore his tagline: “If your sexually frustrated get a porno and have fun with yourself or mates.”

Garrett of Perth? You rock, just for this metaphor: “Gumbi….. A person can not possibly bring rape upon themselves. It’s not like swimming in a pool of shit hoping to get dysentery. It takes an intended act by another party to commit rape.”

Categories: gender & feminism, violence

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9 replies

  1. Yeah, I saw that too. Have only read the newspaper article as yet; going to read the full research later and then write a post about it. [sigh]
    It makes me feel angry. Sad and angry.
    And a bit helpless, too. I thought we were getting better? Clearly not.
    The realisation that most people are completely and utterly irrational always dumbfounds me.
    It makes me want to run and bang all their stupid heads together until they see sense. I know that even if I could do that (hehehe) it wouldn’t do any good.
    Certainly none of the institutional factors are working in our favour right now. Like, it would be nice to have media that wrote realistic rape/sexual assault stories. That’s not going to happen – dontchaknow they only write what people want to read?
    What about if we found a failed high-profile political candidate and set her (well, actually, statistically speaking it’d probably be a man 😦 ) up with a few powerpoint slides and made a video of it? 😉
    You know, something along the lines of:
    Picture of woman wearing, well, clothes.
    “She does not deserve to be raped.”
    Picture of woman wearing other clothes.
    “She does not deserve to be raped.”
    Picture of naked woman.
    “She does not deserve to be raped.”
    You get the idea 😉
    And maybe:
    Picture of man wearing, I don’t know, maybe a suit or something.
    “Don’t be fooled, this man could well be a rapist.”
    And so on.
    Hey, slightly more serious idea: you know that women’s political party that was in the news last week or so? What Women Want or something like that? Wonder if they’d care to let the community know what their stand is on this? At the moment, all their policies seem to equate “woman” with “mother”, and yeah, I sort of get why, but it would be very, very interesting to see if they’re willing to make a noise about this.

  2. The study had a small sample size, as I am sure someone will point out, however … I fear that the results are representative of opinion out there.
    For me, the striking thing about this report is that it shows the persistence of a rape-production, with script and actors and an attitude that rape is not rape unless the events and actors conform. That attitude is really at the core of so many problems, not just rape.

  3. “the rapist being a ‘nice guy’”
    Um, this one struck me as an oxymoron.
    Don’t feel that Australia is bad in particular though, I think that all countries have rape apologists. (I remember similar studies in the UK and one of the Scandinavian countries, Norway, I think?) Patriarchy is global.

  4. I suspect “the rapist being a ‘nice guy’” is one that’s pretty much reserved for “date rape” accusations.
    “He’s a nice guy, she went out with him, of course he thought she was up for sex, rape is far too harsh a term”
    That sort of thinking, betcha.

  5. I wrote a piece at LP on a rape trial I attended back in Dec 2005 (slightly off topic to the thread forgive me) and I could not understand why the accused was not found guilty.
    My point being that in a legal sense, with a jury, (of which there were 4 or 5 women on that occasion) erroneous perceptions of what constitutes rape may not necessarily be restricted to males.
    (In that case, the under aged girls were still virgo intacta, which must have been a salient point to many on that jury.)
    I don’t in any way make my comments to dilute or denigrate what Lauredhel’s post is about, and I qualify it by saying there are crucial factors for all in a jury’s decision making process, ie the “reasonable doubt” standard of proof and general principle of presumption of innocence.
    I just found it highly puzzling that I (legally trained notwithstanding) would have found the accused guilty but the women on that jury did not.
    One “theory” I can advance is that (and we’ll never be privy to a jury’s deliberations) the guys may have been persuasive to the extent that the women may have been swayed to a non-conviction).
    I rather suspect, a lot of potential cases of rape sink (before a complaint sees the light of day), for the same reasons I’ve theorised in my case above. I’d call it the latent effect of paternalistic conditioning, effecting perhaps a minority of women and FAR too many guys.
    Hope that makes some constructive sense.
    [I will say that my 2 pet hates for defence representation are rapists/paedophiles and corporations, otherwise I’m always for the defence 🙂 ]

  6. My point being that in a legal sense, with a jury, (of which there were 4 or 5 women on that occasion) erroneous perceptions of what constitutes rape may not necessarily be restricted to males.

    Peter, that’s been commented on more than once by feminist theorists as well. The habit of blaming the rape victim for being in the wrong place with the wrong man in our society is internalised by many many women, and it’s almost as if were female jurors to admit that the victim hadn’t done anything wrong then they would somehow be making themselves less safe. (This is supported by post-trial interviews with female jurors who have voted to acquit rapists, although I can’t remember who did the study – they blame the woman for not doing everything right, so of course the man felt entitled to sex).
    It’s mostly feminists who note that this idea that men are biologically incapable of controlling themselves sexually if a woman is in the vicinity is sexist stereotyping. Feminists assert that men are indeed capable of refraining from acting on sexual urges, especially violent sexual urges, yet feminists are the ones accused of being man-haters.

  7. Op-ed at the Hun. Keep reading past the beginning paragraphs – it’s not as bad as one might fear.

  8. All I can say in response to “Ned from Sydney” is the following: if he, or someone similar to him, ever invites me around to their house to look at their etchings, I *will* be expecting to see engravings rather than their dangly bits. I’ll admit, this is mainly because I come from a family where hints have to be delivered via sub-orbital anvil drop in order for them to be picked up, but the point remains. Unlike a lot of people (including, presumably, Ned from Sydney) I can’t read minds. I tend to rely on people’s words for an indication of what they’re wanting to do. If I’m being “invited in for coffee”, I will tend to expect them to fill up the kettle, rather than reach for the condom packet. Same runs contrariwise: if I invite you in for coffee, coffee is what you’ll be getting (unless you specify a preference for tea or hot chocolate).
    Now, whether this makes me more or less prone to be raped I have no idea.


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