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Response to seabeyond (Reply #219)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 10:55 PM

220. I think in some cases -- maybe here, maybe not -- it's fear

Most guys aren't "rapists" and never will be. They don't lurk in parking garages and around bus stops waiting for vulnerable women. And it's probably very comforting for most guys to believe "rapists" are "deviants", and since those guys aren't "deviants," they don't have to worry about ever being seen as a rapist.

It's scary, I think, for some guys to accept the fact that guys just like them -- guys who aren't "deviants" in the classic scary monster mode -- are out there perpetrating rapes. Then it becomes a "there but for the grace of whatever" concept, and guys, being human, get defensive.

They shouldn't be. No one that I know of is accusing them individually of doing anything wrong. Certainly I'm not.

But what the Ebony article posits is that it's not enough just to tell women how to minimize their risks, especially what that strategy doesn't cover a lot of the situations women find themselves in. It's not JUST about going to bars or frat parties and drinking yourself to oblivion. It's ALSO about focusing on the guys, the non-deviant guys who are behaving badly.

The fact that so little focus has been on the guys over the past, say, 40 years ought to be a good indication of how non-deviant their behavior is. It really doesn't deviate all that much from what's considered normal and acceptable, at least according to the images of women in the media. How on earth, we wonder, could the families of the rapists in Cleveland, Texas even begin to defend gang-raping an 11-year-old? It's because they don't see their fathers and brothers and cousins as "rapists," and if they don't seem them as "rapists," then what they did can't be rape and therefore there has to be another explanation, like it was her fault. I know that's kind of bizarre logic, but that's the way people's minds work.

Look at it this way: At the other end of the socio-economic spectrum from Cleveland, Texas, Roman Polanski is still defended. He's a great director, he's created magnificent works of film art. "Deviant" people don't create great art, therefore Roman Polanski cannot be "deviant." Since only "deviant" people commit real "rape," Roman Polanski must be innocent and there's another explanation for what he did.

I think that's why the whole issue with "all men are potential rapists" hit a nerve. No one wants to think of himself as "deviant," and since only "deviants" commit "rape," normal, non-deviant men can't be rapists.

Unless and until there's an admission made that it's the CULTURE that makes NORMAL men do things that are defined as rape, we're not going to get anywhere.

Once we're able to get beyond that point and can begin discussing the power imbalance that sets the stage for the flowering of a rape culture and subsequently so many rapes, we can start to make progress.

Maybe.

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