Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Why do I even have to deal with this bullshit?

Ok, so in the last post I had comments from people I like, and generally respect. Snide comments about how I’m taking a “really controversial” stance by saying that rape is wrong. And also stating that there’s no “pro-rape lobby.”

I’m glad that you’re both intelligent and informed enough to realize that rape is wrong. However, the way rape victims are treated by the police, by the courts and the press demonstrates over and over and over, that not everyone realizes this.

Many people believe that when women are raped, they must have done something to deserve it, including the women themselves. Men who rape evolve amazing mental defenses to be able to deny the reality that they are indeed rapists.

Women who try to press rape charges are still frequently asked by the police if they’re sure they “want to ruin this young man’s life like that.” If that isn’t pro-rape, I don’t know what is.

Women are interrogated about where they were, if they knew their attacker, what they were wearing, what they were doing… Any time a woman tries to report the rape by someone of a “higher” social status she is immediately accused of being a gold-digger, of trying to ruin a “good man,” of having an agenda. When a woman accuses any man, her entire life is turned upside down, every part of it is scrutinized as if she were the accused rather than her rapist.

And if anyone says a damn thing about false rape reporting after reading my post on it, I will personally skin you and then give you your own ass as a hat.

And you know, this is one thing that really pisses me off. People consistently, when blaming women for their own rapes, make the analogy of a guy walking down a bad street wearing expensive clothes with money hanging out of his pockets. There are two ways that analogy breaks down:
1. Someone violating a woman’s body with rape is not the same as having something external to your being like money or a watch stolen.
2. Even if the guy was drunk and walking down a bad street, no one is going to ask him if he’s sure he wants to ruin the mugger’s life by pressing charges. Charges will be pressed in far better than half of all reported muggings. And no one is going to try to defend the mugger by saying the guy asked for it. No one. They may think he’s been a fool, but everyone knows that stealing is a crime and that the guy who ripped him off broke the law. It doesn’t work that way with rape. Ever. Not even with children.

That is why suggesting that rapists be held accountable and that rapists be charged IS controversial. It’s why demanding that rapists DO jail time is controversial. And further, if you’re so bothered by these posts, don’t fucking read them.

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23 comments on “Why do I even have to deal with this bullshit?

  1. lisatheriveter
    August 18, 2008

    Amen, sister!
    I have long held the opinion that rape and sexual assault charges should be done away with. I would like to see rape prosecuted simply as assault. I think that making the distinction that the manner of the assault was sexual allows for treating rape, and thus rape victims, as a lesser sort of crime, and leads to the kind of stigmatizing we see so often. The existence of sexual predator laws and identification rolls complicates the issue of prosecuting these crimes to the extent that even those victims who are willing to go to the police face enormous pressure to drop the charges. And seriously? Has there ever been a case where a perpetrator’s appearance on a sexual predator roster actually prevented a crime?
    I’m glad you’re writing these posts, and that reading and commenting on them has made me think about my own experience with rape and how it has affected me. It’s been hard – I’ve had some unexpectedly emotional reactions to my lovers, and had to have the always uncomfortable conversation of disclosing my history with rape. But I think that’s been good for me, and good for my lovers. Thanks for reminding me to think about this, and to talk about it. One of the nicest things about revisiting the past is realizing how far I’ve come, and that’s a good feeling.

    Like

    • mojrim
      August 18, 2008

      I think it would have exactly the opposite effect of what you want to see. While I understand that many women have had these kinds of experiences with rape reporting, I would be very surprised to see that the majority do. Under WA law, rape in the 1st and 2nd degree is a class A felony, the same as 1st degree assault and homicide. Additionally, the law prohibits those convicted of rape/1st from being parolled. Further, the physical harm required to meet a assault/1st charge is far less than required to meet either class of rape.
      Turn the comparison a little for a masculine analogy. Instead of comparing rape the mugging, compare it to an assault. Imagine two guys get into a fight outside a bar at about midnight, and one ends up in the ER. The police are going to grill the living shit out of him about his words and actions leading up to the fight, not because they want to get the other guy freed, but because it will be hotly contested. They are grilling the other guy just as hard. That’s how the system works, and the court will not give the prosecution any breaks because the victim was too distraught to answer from her bed in the ER.
      While I understand that many women have felt stigmatized in rape reporting, I would bet that there are far more who have not. The kinds of questions are the same kind the police ask anyone who is going into a contentious field of prosecution. The police ask these questions because the prosecutor has to know what the ground looks like because the defense attorney is going to use whatever they can get their hands on because that’s what we pay lawyers to do.

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      • kaligrrrl
        August 18, 2008

        have you done any research about rape victim’s experiences reporting rapes or did you just pull that out of your ass?
        have you been raped and reported it? have you talked to rape victims?
        have you had any experience as a victim in the criminal justice system?
        I have and what you’ve said here is bullshit.
        and your analogy is false. a fight between two people involves two potential or actual perpatrators, hence the need to interogate both parties.
        a rape involves a perpatrator and a victim and therefore there’s no need to interogate the victim like a suspect.
        your very attitude here–rape is a contentious crime, the victim should be grilled while distraught in her hospital bed etc.–are a prefect example of what is talking about.

        Like

      • mojrim
        August 18, 2008

        1. Rape victims are not interrogated anything like suspects. This I can say with a large degree of assurance.
        2. It is contentious because it will be hotly contested in any available gray area. This is a fact, not ameniable to anyone’s preferences in the matter.
        3. The adversarial legal system, combined with western principles of justice, guarentees that the defense is granted a great deal of liberty in court.
        4. Couda, shouda, and woulda are the most worthless words in English. Interviewing a victim in the ER is not nice, but it’s what we have without a thorough overhall of the Western justice system.
        5. With the basic tree jumper the crime resembles mugging; but that’s, what, 30% of cases? With the other 70% there is plenty of room for the defense to maneuver. Let’s start with “was anyone drinking?”
        6. Every crime report involves re-living the event; we have a specific interview techniqe to make it more so. The further the case is taken the more times the event must be re-lived. Stopping this bit of ugliness requiress, again, re-wiring the Western system of justice.
        Yes, it’s ugly. No, that ugliness is not soley the product of prejudice. And no, there’s almost nothing for it.

        Like

      • polimicks
        August 18, 2008

        Drinking is not an excuse for bad behavior.
        And no, actually, you can’t say that with any degree of assurance, because neither have you been a cop or a rape victim, to the best of my knowledge.

        Like

      • mojrim
        August 18, 2008

        1. It’s not an excuse, but right or wrong, altered mental state alters the game. And that’s just the start.
        2. No, but I’ve had a few in my ambulance, and I’ve guided more than my share to the reporting process.

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      • sheyeblaze
        August 18, 2008

        While I understand that many women have felt stigmatized in rape reporting, I would bet that there are far more who have not.
        Um, no. I really and truly doubt that. I am just about the only person I know that wasn’t stigmatized by the process and that only because I was prepared for it, mentally prepared myself *AND* I had a truly awesome support system through it. But, I doubt that anyone else would not have been traumatized by it. It was brutal and it was vicious and it proved to me that “well-meaning” pro-rape sentiment is still alive and well.

        Like

  2. kurosau
    August 18, 2008

    Thanks again for your post. I really enjoy reading what you write.
    I did want to say though, for sake of readability, I think your second paragraph has a couple of problems. There’s a typo in your first sentence that made me re-read it, and the second sentence uses ‘as the’ in a way that I found hard to follow without really intently thinking about it. I just wanted to point those out because I thought they interfered with the flow of your post’s intro.
    The content of your post makes me wonder about something. Where do you feel the burden of evidence lies when it comes to an accusation of rape? What should be required beyond the accusation?
    The reason I say this is because I’m suddenly struck by the idea that our system, being one of innocent until proven guilty, inherently does not accept the report of rape as fact until it has been proven. So, in essence, if I go to the police and report that I have been raped, I’ve made an accusation, some people will believe me and others will not, and yet regardless of the actual truth of the matter, the perceived truth is that it is undecided until such a time as a court decides to instantiate the truth of my rape.
    I suppose I’m not really asking a good question, so feel free to ignore that, I think I’m just posting out loud here.

    Like

    • polimicks
      August 18, 2008

      Ok, will make corrections. You’re right on the typo, (oops) and the as thing.
      The thing is, there has to be a way of proving guilt without re-victimizing the rape victim. Most rape victims report feeling raped all over again, repeatedly, by the investigation. This is a factor in why so few rapes get reported.
      I mean, think about it. People’s whose homes are broken into report feeling violated. Now just picture how much worse that is when it’s your BODY that’s been broken into, pushed into… I can’t come up with a good analogy for it. I don’t know if there is one.
      But then imagine you not only have to tell complete strangers what happened, you have to do it repeatedly, and you have to deal with the people who are supposed to help you telling you that you shouldn’t “do this” to the person who violated you so horribly. You have to submit to a rape kit that echoes the violent act committed upon your body. Your assailant’s lawyers are going to tell you and everyone else, repeatedly, that you’re just a loose whore who was asking for it, who wanted it and just experienced “buyer’s remorse.”
      There has to be a way to prosecute without doing re-raping the victims.

      Like

      • polimicks
        August 18, 2008

        Second sentence, third paragraph, should be “People whose”

        Like

      • kurosau
        August 18, 2008

        ::nod:: I know precisely what you mean. Exactly what you mean, actually.
        And my apologies on the typo stuff. Sometimes I don’t know when to turn off my editing.
        My concern is that I believe in evidence over argument. Like you said before, it’s total bullshit when a rape victim gets accused of being a ‘loose whore’, given how absurdly emotional and non-factual that argument is. So as a result, we go to the evidence, the most obvious of which is the physical examination.
        And boy howdy. I’ve never had to deal with one of those myself, and I never will. But past experiences allow me to empathize with someone running roughshod over a very painful memory like that.
        I’m not sure I can imagine a way to collect physical evidence of the crime, and even then the evidence can’t always prove rape.

        Like

      • javagoth
        August 18, 2008

        I think maybe it would be easier to submit to the evidence gathering if there wasn’t all the other stuff to deal with – if it was handled as compassionately as possible…

        Like

  3. rocza
    August 18, 2008

    And if anyone says a damn thing about false rape reporting after reading my post on it, I will personally skin you and then give you your own ass as a hat.
    Well, I could use a new hat…
    No, actually, all I was going to say is that unfortunately, I think the occasional high profile false accusation tends to leave a very lasting impression on the public mind. The Duke lacrosse case from 2006 is a very good example; people went for blood against those players and their coaches, threatening them, vandalizing their homes, etc. And yet in the end, they were completely cleared of all charges, and the woman recanted her accusation.
    I recall cases, off and on prior to that, where similar happened – one every few years, and generally more local. They seem to happen just enough, though, that it leeches into the collective memory. And because of the way media works to influence memory and belief, it’s a lot more insidious than the raw numbers make it out to be.
    That’s the primary reason I would like to see people who are accused of rape given at least one of the same media courtesies given to victims: blank their faces and black out their names until they have been convicted of a crime. While our legal system might rest on a notion of innocent until proven guilty, our media works on a more sensationalist guilty when accused model.
    I think if we took that simple step, the cultural fear of being falsely accused of rape would dramatically drop. As is, though, just the accusation can be enough to do lasting damage to someone’s name/reputation – and I think that this inculcates a greater fear than there should be of something that is, in fact (and as you point out) incredibly rare.
    …hopefully that makes sense. It’s late, but I wanted to comment while remembering.

    Like

    • polimicks
      August 18, 2008

      You know, I’d be ok with both the name and face of the victim and accused being screened until the evidence could be looked at. I think that’s a brilliant idea.

      Like

      • rocza
        August 18, 2008

        Thanks, I occasionally have them. Some year I might even start advocating for it. (It’s one of those tricky things to advocate for, though, since it looks like you’re trying to defend scum when no, that’s not actually the point.)

        Like

      • mojrim
        August 20, 2008

        I like that idea a great deal, but I’m wondering about practical application. SInce these names are a matter of public record from day one, how would youapply this idea in law?

        Like

      • polimicks
        August 20, 2008

        Honestly, given the problems with “fair trials” in high profile cases… Maybe there should be media blackouts until cases are settled.

        Like

      • rocza
        August 20, 2008

        I never said anything about it being a law.

        Like

  4. trauma_hound
    August 18, 2008

    Fuck em, I think rapist should get life, I think child rapist should be put to death. I’ve always felt this way, and if anyone is going to come down on me for the stance can fuck off. I have my reason for feeling this way, and I will leave it at that. I’d like to put together an Initiative to do exactly what I’m suggesting since we have politicians with the lack of courage to actually do it.

    Like

  5. darrius26
    August 18, 2008

    It would be very nice if there was some way to proscecute crimes without putting the victim on trial.
    There really isn’t, the reason for this is not really the system so much as it is the society we live in, so long as juries are willing to let some rapist dick head off because “She was asking for it” then defebse attys will continue to try and proe that she was “asking for it” in ab effort to secure aquitals for their clients. Therefore police and procecutors must ask such horrid questions.
    Also in many cases the reason the women are asked things like “Are you sure you want to ruin this man’s life?” is because the police and DAs want to know that the women in question is willing to go as far as is needed to secure a conviction. It is a device to test her, because what is done at that point is nothing compared to what the defense atty will do later.
    Also keep in mind that the circumstance of the crime is important as one of the things the DA must prove is the state of mind of the purp, the way that the penal system works is that it matters very little what the victim thought was happeneing, what matters is what the purp was thinking. Therefore the DA must prove to a jury that there is no way that the purp could have thought that the sex was consentual, this is why rape is so contentious and why the statement from the victim is so important.
    So yes the way these cases are handled is brutal and seems very unfair, and in many ways is, to the victim, but the procedure is designed to maximize the chances of getting a conviction which one would hope is what the rape victim wants to happen when she reports the crime

    Like

  6. javagoth
    August 18, 2008

    I’m so mad reading some of the comments I’m just going to have to take myself away for a bit.
    Thanks for posting these.

    Like

  7. euterpe35
    August 18, 2008

    argh, I can’t say anything much on this subject today, too close to home for me and some loved ones.
    I’d like to see assault charges filed *on top of* rape charges. Don’t know if that’s constitutional or whatever, but I’d like to see that happen.

    Like

    • mojrim
      August 18, 2008

      It’s already included in terms of sentencing. You can’t use the same facts to demonstrate two differnt charges, but prosecutors often add it if the crime included an especially brutal beating.

      Like

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