Old Rape, New Rape, Borrowed Rape, Blue Rape

Reposted from Water Cooler Convos

So, I have been on hiatus for a bit. And, I am sure you have all missed me. But, I have rebuked my hermit-ness to come out and say it. Frankly, I am sick of this rape chit-chat. Rape talk has turned into tradition in this country. You know how women are told about marriage and all the traditional things they have got to do for good luck? “Have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue…” Well, when did rape become a ceremonial rite of passage? When did we start conforming to a culture where women are a sub-gender ever vulnerable to the pitfalls of potential rape-dom?

I must say, I am not overly surprised, but I am surprised a bit. In the past few months, women have risen in punching bag status from slipping off to super elite. And I am thoroughly done with it.

Old Rape

Back in 1985, a woman named Jacqueline Goodchilds commented in an article about the recent increase in discussion surrounding rape and rape culture. In discussing her recent study of adolescents ages 14 to 18 regarding forced sex, she commented simply:

“For one, we found that a large percentage of both boys and girls indicated that it was OK to use force at times with sex.”

How many young people thought this? Well, the results of Goodchilds’ 1978 study can be seen in the graphic below. Of those participating, there were never fewer than 36% of male respondents who found certain conditions okay for forced sex with a girl. Thirty-six percent!

Courtesy: Fearus.org

Courtesy: Fearus.org

What does that mean? Well, that means that back in the seventies and eighties when this stuff was first being studied and we were undoubtedly a less liberal nation, at least a third of adolescent boys (assuming this was a representative sample) found it ay-okay to force a girl to have sex if the conditions were right…

In two instances, when the girl changes her mind or has “led him on,” force was seen as justified 54% of the time. Because, you know, once you consider having sex with someone, they’ve got a free pass forever.

Several things about this are extremely disturbing. First, all these young male respondents are now in their early to mid-fifties. They have likely raised other young men doing us all the gracious favor of handing down their rape ideology to their naive and impressionable progeny. So, yay. That’s great to think about.

Second, this was over 35 years ago. Back then, before rape became a central theme in pretty much every single horror movie and action flick and before the world-wide web granted us access to every rape on every corner of the Earth, this was rape ideology in this country. So, just imagine where we are now…

Whether you question the methods of the analysis or if the kids were being truthful, the fact still remains that they had the courage to give affirmative responses to scenarios condoning forced sexual intercourse. That should be the main focus of this study.

New Rape

What’s new is Rapeland? The Steubenville rape case. In the small town of Steubenville, Ohio, two high school football players (Mays and Richmond – pictured right) were found guilty of the rape of a 16-year-old girl who was reportedly unconscious and non-consenting.

Trent Mays, 17 and Ma’lik Richmond, 16 (Courtesy: NY Daily News)

Trent Mays, 17 and Ma’lik Richmond, 16 (Courtesy: NY Daily News)

Fellow classmates watched as the girl was literally carried out of a house party – not walking willingly – by the young boys who would later rape her and record it. Some of the students even deemed it appropriate to post video of the ordeal on YouTube. Later, when the students were questioned about that night, many of them replied that the girl was obviously drunk and unaware of what was happening, yet none of them thought to help prevent her rape.

Now, as the mother of an 18-month-old girl, I find this story EXTREMELY disturbing. I would have found it disturbing anyway, but to know that a house full of people thought it okay to let this drunk girl get carried out of a party by two  – not one – but two boys who had the intent to have un-consenting sex with her limp body is truly disgusting. It is vile. It is horrible. And, it is debased.

Some people want to blame the other young girls in the room for not standing up for the victim. They have commented that girls often do not stand together, which I do not disagree with. But, what is more disconcerting is the role social media played in this girl’s victimization. Not only did these young people not stand up for her, call the police, or urge the rapists to stop what they were doing, they became voyeurs, cameramen, and commentators of rape.

I say charge all of them. All of them were complicit. None of them thought to report the crime. This is not a girl power conversation. This is not a parenting conversation. This is a culture conversation.

This culture not only condones rape, it supports rape and rapists. We tell men that women are asking for it. We over-sexualize young girls for sport. We say that Playboy magazine is actually a good read when you look at the articles (right). We make movies where rape is the side dish for violence and misogyny. And then we are shocked when two young boys rape an unconscious classmate and all her “friends” look on in wonderment? Puhleaze. Get real America.

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