Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rapists in our midst . . . .

There is an unfortunate strain of gender advocacy that reduces young men to caricature. With a sweeping broad-brush, this kind of advocacy paints an entire gender as rapists or potential rapists. Jessica Valenti, a once-prominent feminist blogger, is one of the purveyors of the maleness-is-broken crowd: "Rape is part of our culture," she once wrote. "It's normalized to the point where men who are otherwise decent guys will rape and not even think that it's wrong. And that's what terrifies me."  For people like Valenti, rape apparently is a male habit as common as playing video games and adjusting scrota. But Valenti's assertion doesn't ring true to most people because "otherwise decent guys" don't so easily forget their decency and do such a vile thing. That approach to the rape problem only hinders the effort to stop rape because it keeps us from focusing on the real problem.

And let's not kid ourselves, COTWA does no favors to the wrongly accused by pretending that rape isn't a problem. Every rape that is committed only makes the next false claim all the more plausible.

In contrast to the "even-decent-guys-rape" meme, feminist Amanda Marcotte, of all people, recently wrote about the Lisak/Miller study that chronicled narcissistic men who enjoy forcing themselves on women. The picture that study paints is about men who are anything but "decent guys"; they are outliers, and there is nothing "mormalized" about them. Ms. Marcotte writes: "Far from being ordinary men who get out of control from lust, the roughly five percent of men interviewed who are rapists are men who seek out opportunities to rape women.  . . . they pride themselves on their methods of identifying victims and separating them from potential help. They also eagerly explained how they avoided facing consequences, mainly by attacking drunk women. Rapists, it turns out, are acutely aware that if the victim was drinking, she’s much more unlikely to report it, and even if she does, the police are unlikely to do anything about it. As added protection against getting caught, most rapists attacked acquaintances, probably because they know that they can claim innocence, saying they thought she had consented."  http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-07-27/the-soapbox-rapists-know-the-answer-is-no/#more-2417712

And that is who we should be looking at with suspicion. And, guys, if we see a male acquaintance behaving in that manner, that is who we should be socially ostracizing, and chiding, and sternly lecturing.

"Decent" guys don't rape, and the vast majority of guys are decent. Perhaps if we all agree on that, we can all pitch in to attack the rape problem, which is real and is deserving of our attention.