“It wasn’t rape-rape.”

The above quote is from Whoopi Goldberg – made on the tv show ‘The View’ – in defense of Roman Polanski.

On 3 April 2011, the first ‘Slut Walk‘ was held.

As I understand it, this protest aims to draw attention to the fact that most rape has nothing to do with the way a woman is dressed, while further stating that rape is always a serious crime.

Here are two views of the ‘slut walk’.

Slut Walk is “demeaning”

“Why I will participate”

The judge in this case explained that the rapist / defendant was ““insensitive to the fact (she) was not a willing participant”, and he will not serve any time in jail.  (The details of this can be read on the wiki link.)

On 14 May 2011, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was taken into police custody on allegations of rape.  Here is the wiki on who he is and specifically, his history of “sexual misconduct“:

With Strauss-Kahn, it is being claimed that he is a “victim”, specifically, that he is being “set-up” (in the wiki link above, below the noted section).

Interestingly enough, Polanski too was viewed as a ‘victim’, specifically that the judge aimed to ‘make an example‘ of him.

So that Whoopi’s comments that this was not a case of “rape-rape”, actually mirrors the thoughts of his supporters.

What got me thinking about this is a headline I read this morning, where Ken Clarke, the British Justice Secretary, demarcates between ‘date rape’ and ‘serious rape’:

Frankly, I find this disturbing because all rape is serious.  Now, I understand that all crimes are circumstantial – as is clearly seen in murder for example:

But what I am seeing in the examples cited (and far more can be cited) is that rape should be perceived in degrees; or specifically, in ‘types’:

I understand this.  However, at no time should this detract from the fact that rape is a serious crime.

Which brings the topic to the notion of blaming the victim – an idea probably as old as rape itself:

And from the link above, victim blaming “concepts are at least partially accepted in many countries. In some countries, victim-blaming is more common, and women who have been raped are sometimes deemed to have behaved improperly.”

Which brings up the statistics on rape:

In the United States, 38% of rapes are committed by a “friend or acquaintance”, and a “current or former partner” shares the same percentage with a “stranger” .. 26%.  (See link above.)

So in regard to Polanski, who used drugs and alcohol on a 13 year old girl, he was an “acquaintance”.  In the case that triggered the ‘slut walk’, the victim was raped by an “acquaintance”.  In the Strauss-Kahn case, he is a “stranger”.  In every case, the victim resisted, which is what makes it rape.

I dont really know where I am going with this.  Maybe its triggered by the conversation several woman had last night after Yoga class – where we talked about ‘female liberation’ and what that meant for us then and what it means today.

Maybe its triggered by the series of recent events, which hinge on the idea that a woman ‘deserves’ to be raped, or somehow ‘asks’ to be raped, or ‘brings it on herself’ based on her clothing, when in truth, the true reason for rape is not only obscure, but multifaceted, and 99% initiated by men.

So I suppose what I am saying is, in reading these headlines, I don’t think it wise to lose sight of the very real fact that the definition of “rape” lies squarely on there being NO CONSENT.

Ahimsa!  Non-Injury!

Yogini Valarie Devi

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kris
    May 19, 2011 @ 08:23:07

    Rape is not about sex, but about power – one person’s power over another. All the reasons used around the world to justify the use of this weapon. And, all of the reasons for which it might be used do not make it any less rape – regardless of the circumstances under which it is perpetrated. People can justify murder under various circumstances, such as self-defense and others, but there is never such an excuse for rape that I have been able to find yet.

    Reply

  2. Kris
    May 19, 2011 @ 08:29:59

    I realize that’s a very loose argument but you can see what my train of thought is.

    Reply

  3. Katyayan Seraph
    May 19, 2011 @ 08:57:42

    I’d like to share something from the Indian shores. A prominent Hindu right-wing politician (LK Advani) has been a vocal advocate of death penalty for rapists. Most of the mainstream opinion hereabouts has never gotten around to his view.

    It’s not because rape is considered any less heinous in these parts. Just that the prosecution system is so decrepit that nine out of ten rapists go scot-free. Almost none with any substantial financial means has been convicted of rape. Under such circumstances, the demand is seen as impractical.

    My view is, let’s create social systems, judicial processes and modes of punishment that would never discriminate between rape of one kind from the other, and invariably convict a rapist. I think if the price for rape were known, inevitability of having to pay that price established, the counts of rape would come down.

    It doesn’t address the psychological and sociological factors that go into rape. But to address those is a long spiritual haul and the societal decay doesn’t inspire much confidence on that count, not in the near future any way.

    Reply

  4. lisa
    May 19, 2011 @ 13:56:14

    Well Said.

    Reply

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