Don't Rape, Part I — Society teaches 'Don’t get raped' rather than 'Don’t rape'

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writer writer's picture
Don't Rape, Part I — Society teaches 'Don’t get raped' rather than 'Don’t rape'

Quote:

When Stevens reads articles about drunk driving, the police are quoted telling people to stop drinking and driving. But when she reads articles about sexual assault, there is no warning telling would-be attackers not to rape. Instead, the authorities tell potential victims to take precautions.

... In a Metro News article from March 19, 2010, Dalhousie University spokesperson Billy Comeau told students to “be aware of their surroundings and to take all precautions when they are out travelling” in response to a man grabbing a 19-year-old female student from behind in Halifax’s South End. In a Chronicle Herald article from May 14, 2010, a prosecutor told parents to “watch what their children are doing, both online and within the proximity of their house and outside the house,” in response to a Halifax woman allegedly luring a girl over the Internet and sexually assaulting her.

“Rather than always putting out the messages of ‘don’t walk alone’ or ‘don’t drink’ or ‘don’t talk to strangers’—all of those things—we need to say ‘don’t sexually assault,’” Stevens declares.

As a result of these misplaced messages, we say, "She shouldn’t have been walking home alone late at night," or, "She shouldn’t have worn a short skirt," rather than, "He shouldn’t have raped her."

... Eighty-four per cent of people over the age of 15 who are sexually assaulted are women, according to the 2009 Status of Women Canada report. More than 90 per cent of those accused are men.

Sexual assault is a social problem, Stevens says, with lingering patriarchal structures at the root of offenses by men toward women.

[url=http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/3497]Don't Rape, Part I— Society teaches 'Don’t get raped' rather than 'Don’t rape'[/url]

Issues Pages: 
Bacchus

I think it should be both, with a heavier emphasis on 'dont rape'.

 

There will always be scum and situations in which you can find yourself vulnerable and you should be cognizant of that, whether it be for a mugger, a con artist, identity theft or sexual assault. This telling people things to avoid (real examples like walking down the middle of a dark street and walk confidently etc) or to act to not look like a victim as well as signs to recognize in someone who may be dangerous for you.

 

Aside from that there has to be a extensive pervasive campaign to work on changing the views of women commonly given to biys growing up and to men in the world in which they live. There was none of that for me growing up. A smattering of dont date rape when I was in university but nothing before that and not much even at York (where I went) even tho I was there during a series of rapes at the university and while the university had a good womans studies degree (I went to a lot of the courses, they were well done, Prof Johanna Stuckey was interesting)

cruisin_turtle

Yes! Should teach people not to murder as well.

Bacchus

*rolls eyes* We actually do that already. Society teaches the sanctity of life and not killing from a early age and does it all the time, even through shows like CSI.

We do NOT when it comes to things like sexual assault which is almost always depicted as violent sex from a stranger or crazy SO or relative and never addresses all the nuances of actual sexual assault

writer writer's picture

A polite reminder: this is in the feminism forum.

500_Apples

writer wrote:

When Stevens reads articles about drunk driving, the police are quoted telling people to stop drinking and driving. But when she reads articles about sexual assault, there is no warning telling would-be attackers not to rape. Instead, the authorities tell potential victims to take precautions.

That's because society holds the belief that drunk drivers might listen to reason. Is there reason to think that the same kind of adverts, "don't rape because someone will get hurt" would be effective in decreasing the rate of this crime?

Bacchus

Dont warn turtle off Writer, they could learn something here

Maysie Maysie's picture

The point that the author, and writer, are trying to make, is that in no other crime is the focus on the victim or target of the attacker/ perpetrator. In no other crime, or in police advisories to prevent a crime (such as drunk driving), is there NO attention paid to the behaviour of the person who is actually doing the illegal behaviour.

Only for rape and sexual assault.

I'd ask why that is, but it's rhetorical, and this thread is already not going in the greatest direction.

And with my mod hat on I will repeat what writer said and advise all men to remember that this is the feminism forum.

 

writer writer's picture
remind remind's picture

How about adverts 500_apples, stating rapists are sick fucks

milo204

I agree we should be getting the message out that rape is unacceptable, but it's obviously a larger message that encompasses a more humanitarian form of living.  When every day we are raping each other for money, raping animals for their body parts to eat and wear and use, raping the earth for her "resources" etc, raping other humans around the world for their land and labour etc., it is not at all surprising that men and women rape each other here at home as well.  The problem will never be solved until we deal with the general level of humanity in our society.

That being said i think anyone who is sick enough to rape someone may be immune to messages of "don't rape", so in that case it makes sense to tell people to stay out of, or leave potentially abusive relationships and stay away from creepy family members.  Seems to make sense to me.

 

remind remind's picture

milo you ever met a man who thinks he never rapes, as it is his right to fuck whomever he wants whenever ants, and that nobody ever told him it was wrong to do so?

I have

Polunatic2

Why broaden the definition of rape to mean something other than the intent of the thread? 

People would only be as immune to the message as they are ignorant. Directing the message at the perpetrator seems to make eminent sense. Stephens was not suggesting that all messaging to the targets of sexual assault be stopped but that the main focus be on the perpetrators. Since that's not being done, there's a lot of catch up to do. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I cannot stress enough that this thread is in the feminism forum, so any more men who want to wax philosophically about rape should refrain. You'd do well to listen to writer, remind and other babbler women who choose to post here.

milo204 wrote:
That being said i think anyone who is sick enough to rape someone may be immune to messages of "don't rape", so in that case it makes sense to tell people to stay out of, or leave potentially abusive relationships and stay away from creepy family members.  Seems to make sense to me.

milo, the point is that rape and rape culture is normalized in Canada--it's not done by "sickos," it's done by "normal" men everyday--by fathers, bosses, boyfriends, husbands, associates, college buddies and co-workers. We should change that culture by focussing on the rapists, not the victims.

milo204

i agree, the culture of rape is normalized here and very much a defining character of our society, i.e raping first nations of their land and rights for hundreds of years.  But the crime is normalized precisely because we can't talk about how we rape the earth, most of it's population etc.  I think the people least likely to ever sexually assault someone are people who are aware of things like that.  

except we live in a society that says take what you can get away with, screw everyone else, men are this, women are that, etc.  The less humanistic the society, the higher incidence of rape.  

With that in mind, what i mean is are the kind of men that would actually force themselves on someone even going to pay attention to a message of "don't rape"?  they're oblivious or don't care about the harm it will cause to another person, which is why they can do it in the first place.  Anyone who has a drop of compassion would never do that.  I have no idea (beyond making the society more humanistic) what to do to prevent rape from happening, and by all means it's worth a shot-it certainly can't hurt!- i just dont how effective it would be in actually preventing rape from happening.

 

 

 

 

 

writer writer's picture

The kinds of men who would do this often don't really know what they are doing, because our society has normalized the behaviour and dehumanized and objectified women. These kinds of men are anarchist activists who work for the liberation of East Timor, for example. These kinds of men are not some kind of special, easy-to-identify monster. They are pretty regular. And they get their cues that what they are doing is okay from everywhere. Especially other men.

Quote:
Anyone who has a drop of compassion would never do that.

This is just romantic, ignorant bullshit mythology. One way to make the world more humane would be to give humans the possibilility of a full spectrum of emotions and contradictions. Including abusers and rapists.

Tommy_Paine

except we live in a society that says take what you can get away with, screw everyone else, men are this, women are that, etc.  The less humanistic the society, the higher incidence of rape.

 

I suspect that's true.   Perhaps there are studies done, I don't know.   But, as this society travels further along the path of normalizing the exploitation of the weak, whether it's in terms of physicality, political connections or economic or social status, it would be surprising if we didn't also see this reflected in the physical abuse of women.

 

I think shifting the focus of education on this is to stay away from "rape is wrong", which is clear to non rapists and lost on rapists, to a focus on what exactly constitutes consent, and putting a very high premium on it.  

I think a lot of offenders trick themselves into thinking that what they have done or are doing is "consensual" when it is not.  The more we clearly define what is consent, and the higher the bar is set both in terms of the law, and in terms of societal norms, the less abuse there will be.

 

 

 

 

writer writer's picture

Quote:

Men Can Stop Rape mobilizes male youth to prevent men's violence against women. We build young men's capacity to challenge harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their vital role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.

http://www.mencanstoprape.org/

our strength is not for hurting

Show your strength. Stand up. Speak up.

My strength is not for hurting. So when I wanted to and she didn't, WE DIDN'T.

milo204

nice posters, good message!  and i agree that when men start standing up to each other about their abusive attitudes towards women, especially when women aren't around, things will (and i think to some degree have) begin to change.

 

and writer, while i agree that sometimes men who seem to be more enlightened politically might still be found to be responsible for raping someone, i hardly think it is "just romantic, ignorant bullshit mythology" that people who enlighten themselves of struggles for justice and rights (including equality of the sexes) are less likely to force people to have sex with them against their will.  Anyone with a genuine respect for human, non human and environmental rights would be by definition a feminist.  I don't know any feminists who would rape someone.  

And while the above posters are great, and will hopefully influence people, i just can't see the average joe canadian jock/ the power hungry business man  , or the violent muscle bound masculine to the max, love to beat the shit out of people and abuse women types seeing this poster and going..."yeah, i should really stop acting like this"...i just think it's a question of actually knowing your target audience: i.e. men who are still raping women

writer writer's picture

Again, you lean on stereotypes. Disappointing.

I was sexually assaulted by a politically engaged anarchist in 1999. Some in the anarchist community didn't take too kindly to my response to that attack. So I feel confident in regards to my position about how these things are normalized. Sometimes in the most surprising places. Despite your use of the whole guy voice-of-authority thing.

You don't need to agree with me. I know what I've lived. I know what other women have lived. I know what 25+ years of research has shown me.

KenS

Drunk driving wasnt turned into someting socially unacceptable overnight. Twenty years ago it looked just as much like, "what are you suppossed to do?"

Half the population smoked when it was first decided to fundamentally attck its acceptability, period. Those were hard slogs beat in little steps, but with a unifying determination.

There are some good ad campaigns and good efforts around abuse of women. But not the kind of determination that existed around drunk driving 20 years ago. With drunk driving we had to both make the penalties stiffer, AND build on that by essentially villifying drunk drivers. With both difficult things to do, the job still got done.

With rape we already have enough on the penalties [on the books] side, and we still cant manage to get the job done... or even started, of making rape flat out unacceptable.

Keep in mind that while everyone might SAY that sexual assault is unacceptable, pick any community you want and when a man people know and like is charged with sexual assault, the rationalization begins. And not just or mostly whether or not he did it... that even when people accept the assault happened, they'll rationalize it one way or another so that the guy 'isnt that bad,' or 'shouldn't be punished'. ... leaving aside even the vile rationalizations that are attacks on the victim.

milo204

I can respect the fact you've lived it, and studied it for 25+ years, which i have not. I'll take your word for it that the research shows this is the proper course of action.  

But what am i saying that is stereotypical?  You mean that i'm saying that generally people who are more enlightened in terms of social justice would be less likely to rape someone?  I don't know of any research in this area, i doubt there is any, but i would say the attitudes of most men towards women at your local vegan coffee house and book store are going to be less likely to lead to a sexual assault than those at, say,  a football game.  maybe i'm just unclear as to who this campaign is targeted to?  I'm thinking the majority of men with mainstream views on women?

I'm not trying to be confrontational or be some voice of authority, i just think that by discussing it and challenging each other our strategies for fighting these things will get better and be more effective in the long run.  

wouldn't you agree?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I wouldn't agree.  I'm a football fan and my artsy cousin raped my sister.  You can't label these people.  Men from every walk of life rape and try to control women.  I won't go into more detail about what I know.  I've almost lost my capability to interact with women because I'm scared of my sub-consciousness.

milo204

point taken, anyone anywhere man or woman from any walk of life is certainly capable of raping someone.  All i'm saying is that by taking the normalcy of rape out of our culture, meaning sexual rape as well as labour, environmental, economic etc.  we can't help but increase our opportunity to live in a society that either elimates it completely or at least vastly reduces it.  

 

Sort of like how in a society that puts a monetary value on everything and lets people sell their bodies for physical labour, to get killed in wars for a cheque, do horrible things to people and the environment all over the world, it's not at all surprising that people will also sell sex.  Not saying that it would NEVER  happen in a non capitalist world, but it would certainly happen less.

Tommy_Paine

 

Milo, this is a "left wing" board and we see a wide divergence of opinion on all topics.  No one on the left marches in lock step, so I'm surprised at your surprise about "left wing" men and rape.

 

I'm reminded of H.G. Wells.  H.G. was a great feminist ally in the battle of sufferage.   But when you examine just how he treated women in his life, I think it's a fair take that what  drove his feminism was really to promote-- by breaking down the social norms of "Victorian" society-- a society where there was a larger potential pool of bedable women.   I don't think what drove Wells' feminism was feminism.

 

I've almost lost my capability to interact with women because I'm scared of my sub-consciousness.

 

I think if your thought processes have gone that far, then you have nothing to worry about.   Our "sub-conscious"  may be the repository of our archatypal fears or instinctive behaviours, but it can't make you do something your conscious doesn't want you to do.

 

That's the kind of thinking, actually, that has to be rooted out, a rationalization that somehow, you're just not in control.   

 

Oh, but we are.

 

 

 

 

remind remind's picture

In the "women under attack thread", I noted that sexual assaults have gone up 21% in the last year in the GVA.

 

So I thought I would link that thread to this one, as it is clear from these stats that a No Raping  push  is of upmost necessity.

milo204

i never said anything about "left win" just that people with a respect for others and a general aversion to both sexual and non sexual rape would be less likely to do it.  I never said these people would NEVER rape, although that seems to be how people keep interpreting it.  I just think people who truly care about others are less likely to rape someone, as they would be probably less likely to go to war and kill people or beat people up for fun.  I'm sure they can and do do it, just less likely to than people who totally ascribe to mainstream values.

remind remind's picture

Nope milo, did you ever stop and think passive aggressive behaviour by way of; cold sholder, aloofness, pouting, if you don't 'get it when you want it' and overt and sublimal threats "of getting it elsewhere" are all a part of rape?

And seriously, most here are not into 101ing it with you, I would bet, as I am most certainly sick of it, and really it is not OUR duty to educate YOU.

writer writer's picture

Agreed.

Michelle

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I think shifting the focus of education on this is to stay away from "rape is wrong", which is clear to non rapists and lost on rapists, to a focus on what exactly constitutes consent, and putting a very high premium on it.  

I think a lot of offenders trick themselves into thinking that what they have done or are doing is "consensual" when it is not.  The more we clearly define what is consent, and the higher the bar is set both in terms of the law, and in terms of societal norms, the less abuse there will be.

I completely agree with this.  In fact, I would say that "rapists" and "non-rapists" as labels are probably not overly helpful either (although I see where you're coming from, Tommy), because we live in a culture that promotes sexual coercion and assault as normal dating or cohabiting behaviour.  Which is why so many women experience rape not from scary "sick fuck" types who attack them out of nowhere, but from average guys, many of whom probably think they're nice people (and who might even BE nice people in many ways) and have no clue that what they think is within "normal" bounds is actually out of bounds.

Michelle

BTW, I think the first step in promoting "don't rape" campaigns is to educate the people around us.  So yes, unfortunately, it probably IS our job - and everyone else's job - to educate the people around us who don't "get it" when it comes to how pervasive rape is.

To me, the whole point of shifting from publicity campaigns that teach men not to rape instead of teaching women to repel rape, is to educate people on just what rape IS. We just got finished saying that men (and women!) from all walks of life, progressive or not, sometimes even feminist or not, often don't understand how pervasive rape culture is, and how much women experience sexual assault and sexual coercion even from progressive guys.

Well, the first step is education.  And it's too bad that it's like this, but yes, for those of us who understand, it IS our job to educate those who don't. 

Even here.  Maybe especially here.

writer writer's picture

I will try to be clear and even about this. It's a challenge as a survivor to raise issues around rape and rape culture, but I do it. Because, otherwise, I don't often see it done. And/or done intelligently. But I also have to be respectful of myself, and that includes my triggers.

I don't come to the feminism forum to be triggered by sloppy ignorance and dominating male behaviour minimizing and otherizing violent dominating male behaviour. It took me a couple of years of hard work to get my last attacker to face the fact that he attacked me. And I accepted that work. In many ways, I got a lot out of that work. But in the feminism forum, I'm looking for something more. Something safer.

Michelle

Triple post, I'm sorry!

Thinking about it, I think probably the biggest strides in feminist fightback against rape, and shifts in public consciousness about it, have come from telling men to stop raping, rather than telling women how to repel it.

Think about it.

It used to be legal to rape your wife.  There used to be no such thing legally as raping your wife.  It was assumed that men had the right to have sex with their wives whenever they wanted to.  Rape used to be a property crime, basically.  It was when women stood up and demanded that men stop raping their wives, and pushing for it to be made illegal, that there was a legal change, and also a shift in public consciousness around marital rape.  I'm not saying it doesn't happen now.  But I'll bet it happens less than it used to.  And certainly most people in our society recognize that forced sex between spouses is actually rape, whereas there was a time when no one realized that.

Think about "date rape".  Heck, there has been advice out there for decades directed towards women about how they can avoid being pressured into sex with guys they're dating, how they can avoid guys having sex with them while they're drunk or passed out, how they can avoid guys overriding their objections or simply going ahead even when they say no.  The advice given to women was things like, don't dress too "slutty", don't go to someone's house with a guy, don't let him buy you supper because then he'll think you owe him, don't get drunk, don't flirt, don't go "halfway" and change your mind.

Most of that advice just reinforced the idea that if you did any of this stuff, then you were putting YOURSELF in danger.  And nothing changed.  Women were blamed, and boys will be boys, you know? 

Then the "no means no" campaign came along.  It was mocked and derided by frat boys, and for good reason.  Because it was way more threatening to rape culture than advising women not to wear short skirts.  The No Means No campaign put the emphasis directly where it belonged -- on men.  Instead of telling women that men are helpless penises who can't resist a short skirt or stop when excited, it instead told men that no means NO, and that sex after "no" is rape.

And while, yes, women are still attacked by men they date, I would argue that the No Means No campaign really did shift public consciousness.  The term "date rape" became very familiar, and now I think a lot more people recognize that women have the right to refuse sex, even if she dresses sexy, even if she flirts, even if her date pays for supper, even if she invites him upstairs and necks with him for a little while.

It is the campaigns that focus on the behaviour of men who rape, rather than on the behaviour of their female victims, that have the most impact, and raise consciousness about what constitutes rape and whose behaviour has to change, among men and women.

Michelle

Fair enough, writer.  The problem is, the progressive men AND women who don't get it when it comes to sexual assault are all over the place.  Including here.  Which to me means the "don't rape" and "this is what rape is" and "nice guys sometimes do it too without even recognizing it" statements have to be made everywhere. 

I agree with you about wanting safe space.  I think educating people is the way to get them and to broaden them.  But defending already created spaces like this is also important, so I respect your point here.

Yiwah

remind wrote:
Nope milo, did you ever stop and think passive aggressive behaviour by way of; cold sholder, aloofness, pouting, if you don't 'get it when you want it' and overt and sublimal threats "of getting it elsewhere" are all a part of rape? And seriously, most here are not into 101ing it with you, I would bet, as I am most certainly sick of it, and really it is not OUR duty to educate YOU.

I think these are important points because these behaviours are so pervasive, regardless of political affiliation, and I'd wager that most people DON'T see them as having anything to do with rape.

remind remind's picture

writer wrote:
It's a challenge as a survivor to raise issues around rape and rape culture, but I do it. Because, otherwise, I don't often see it done. And/or done intelligently.

Agree absolutely.

 

Quote:
But I also have to be respectful of myself, and that includes my triggers.

 

Am learning how to do this, as I have found I bury, or rather do not realize all the triggers, and then get overly 'assertive' here when it happens. ;)

 

The Mormon thread was a huge one, took me completely by surprise, and really, sometimes it is surprising and it isn't until you later reflect, on just what happened there, you realize it for the trigger it was, or at least I do not realize it very well. Then you do not want to address it, as that is a trigger, and you just want to decompress from the trigger.

 

 

Quote:
I don't come to the feminism forum to be triggered't by sloppy ignorance and dominating male behaviour minimizing and otherizing violent dominating male behaviour...But in the feminism forum, I'm looking for something more. Something safer.

Exactly, when I post things to the women under attack thread, it is me placing my anger of this recent action against a woman or women somewhere safe, not to be debated nor diminished, by men who want to take exception or who are in denial about their own actions.
They want to discuss their views on it, then they can take it to a general thread, while remembering it has to be from a feminist viewpoint still

Michelle

They are extremely important points, I agree, Yiwah, and I'm glad remind brought them up.  This is why it annoys me when some guys get so defensive when women talk about rape culture, and talking about men sexually assaulting women without putting in the obligatory reassurances like "some very few men and of course never ever you or any man you've ever known and felt respect for, of course."

If one in four women (or is it one in three?) has been sexually assaulted, then unless there are a handful of men out there committing thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of assaults each, then it's probably a lot more widespread a behaviour among men than many men would feel comfortable with believing. 

Unless you've experienced "giving in" to wheedling, whining, begging, silent treatment, etc., and you've experienced the feelings of resentment, shame, anger, sadness, and even the pressure to pretend you're getting something out of it that accompanies the sex you've been pressured into having when you don't really feel like it, you probably don't realize how pervasive it is, and just how many men engage in such tactics.  Or you might realize how many men engage in it, but not think it's all that bad.  My guess would be that most men who pull those kind of pressure tactics on their partners have no clue whatsoever that what they're doing victimizes women.  They just think it's a normal relationship dynamic.

Michelle

This is such an amazing ad.  radiorahim just told me it - it's Scottish, and the campaign is called "Not Ever".  It's aimed at men and it's excellent.  Exactly the sort of thing I'd like to see here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h95-IL3C-Z8

 

remind remind's picture

Michelle wrote:
...most men who pull those kind of pressure tactics on their partners have no clue whatsoever that what they're doing victimizes women.  They just think it's a normal relationship dynamic.

This too is important, very important, as it compounds the older you get.

And I believe that is why many relationships break up after years of being together, and even in companionship for the most part.

It is like there is a final straw, and that is it.

Of course it is my anecdotal observations only, but it is one of my several questions that I have asked women over the course of my life. 100's of women, perhaps 1000's.

KenS

Michelle wrote:

My guess would be that most men who pull those kind of pressure tactics on their partners have no clue whatsoever that what they're doing victimizes women.  They just think it's a normal relationship dynamic.

From what I've seen, I'm afraid this is very right.

Two avenues that might be useful for another discussion:

** I've known men who 'unlearned' this, and when it come down to it I don't think for many its hard at all. Its very hard getting through the sexist culture to men in general, but maybe not to most men as individuals. [That it hasn't happened being an indictment of lack of 'macro level' real attempts.]

** I'm getting near 60, and I never in my life was exposed to direct [interpersonal] socialization that pressuring women for sex was OK. There is of course the whole culture still, but I'm inclined to think the direct personal relationships are the most important. And I'm thnking that while this isnt the norm, neither is it rare. Is there something practical to be learned that this already happens at least some of  the time?

Michelle

It's true.  I've heard the same thing from many women.  All with guys who are varying degrees of nice and respectable who have no clue that their behaviour is anything but normal.

Because that behaviour IS normal, unfortunately. 

I think it's also important, as we women get older, to name the behaviour and call our intimate partners out on it if we are able (and I say that knowing fully well that there are a lot of women out there in abusive relationships and facing very uneven power dynamics who cannot do so, so when I say "if we are able" I really mean that), and also to share with our younger sisters our techniques and conversation starters and our talking points to use with our intimate partners.  Because it can be really hard to do.

"No, I don't feel like it, and pressuring me will make me feel like it less.  The more you pressure me, the less sex you will get, because I will feel more resentful and less like having sex."

"I am feeling pressured right now.  You may not mean to pressure me, but that is how I'm feeling."

"I'm sorry, but I don't give in when I don't feel like it.  I don't do pity fucks.  Be happy that I don't, because when I fuck you, you'll know it's because I really want to."

"No, I don't want to do that particular thing. I don't enjoy it, and no matter how much you like it, that will not make me enjoy it more.  You cannot convince me to do it by telling me that I'll enjoy it if you do it because you know how to do it right.  I will not give in just to make you feel better, because I will resent you for it every second we're doing it, and probably afterwards as well."

Here's another technique I've used when in the situation where I'm throwing off perfectly obvious "I'm not in the mood" signals and body language (and don't tell me guys don't recognize it, when they have no problem recognizing the very slightest "in the mood" signals immediately) but the guy does the octopus wandering hands routine, hoping that you will find it easier to just give in and put out than to go through the awkwardness of coming right out and saying, "I don't want to have sex with you right now". 

If I've been being obvious, like pulling away somewhat, gently pushing hands into "safe" zones when they wander, turning my head away, etc., and the guy plays dumb and keeps going because I haven't specifically vocalized the words "No, I don't want to have sex," then I have occasionally turned, looked the guy directly in the eyes, and said nicely, "I'm not sure why, but you don't appear to be able to read my body language.  It would be nice if I didn't have to tell you bluntly that I don't want to have sex with you right now, and instead you would actually pay attention and respect my boundaries when I pull away. Pretending that you are unable to read basic non-verbal signals like pushing your hands away from my genitals and breasts, or turning away from you does not make me want to have sex with you more.  It makes me feel pressured, and it's a turnoff."

It's a wake up call, let me tell you.  The clinical language is a douse of cold water.  The recognition is automatic, especially if the guy is a decent sort otherwise.  And even if there is some face-saving or a bit of defensiveness on the guy's part due to the awkward and direct nature of such an action, it can actually turn into a productive discussion, and a starting point for sexual respect.

Michelle

Are you sure you've never experienced direct socialization that says pressuring intimate partners for sex is okay, KenS?  I would like to gently challenge you on that.

Ever heard men make derisive jokes about how they're not getting enough sex from their wives?

Ever seen a sitcom where a husband tries to get his wife to have sex when she's clearly uninterested?  (Yes, I've seen the reverse, like Mrs. Roper on Three's Company, or Peg Bundy on Married with Children - and the reason that was a comic gag, I would argue, is because the usual roles are reversed and what's considered a normal relationship dynamic when the pressure comes from the guy, is comic when it comes from the woman.)

Ever seen a movie where it's portrayed as normal for a guy to beg his girlfriend for sex?

Ever heard the song, "I want your sex"?  (The whole song is George Michael begging his partner (and it's a woman in the video even though he's gay) to have sex, coming up with a million arguments to support his argument that "don't you think it's time you had sex with me?")

Ever heard a joke about getting someone drunk so they'll say yes?

Ever heard, "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker"?

Ever read a Harlequin romance, or many other novels where women are coerced?

Ever heard the phrase, "Lie back and think of England"?  Ever heard that phrase used as a joke in other contexts?

Ever see the movie "Grease"?

We are ALL directly socialized with the message that pressuring women to have sex is okay.  All of us.  Men and women.  All the time.

writer writer's picture

Psst, Michelle: I linked to that campaign @ #8.

Michelle

Oh sorry!  I missed it - not sure how since I read the whole thread tonight! :)

P.S. Full circle: rr told me that he saw it because you had posted it.

writer writer's picture

It happens!

Another movie to add to your list normalizing coercion: Gone With The Wind.

Might be worthwhile to compile a bunch. I was watching 17 Again, starring Zak Efron. It had been picked out by two teenagers who were over for a long weekend of fun. All the sudden, I felt obliged to talk with them about stalking and how it really, really is not romantic or okay or funny in any way. And about what to do when being stalked. Creepy.

Michelle

Oh lord, yes.  Stalking as romance - a theme in so much of pop culture!

When Michael Jackson died, my son got really interested in him - he found a few of his songs really catchy (which of course they are).  So rr got him a video with a bunch of MJ's music videos on it.

We got to this one, and boy did we have a lot of deconstructing to do afterwards!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzZ_urpj4As

writer writer's picture

OMG, Being John Malkovich! It came back to me just now in a flood. All the cool kids were going on and on about how great it was. Made me want to hurl. Oh yes, stick your wife in an animal cage! How hilarious!

The Honeymooners

She's Gotta Have It

KenS

I did say we are surrounded by the whole culture, but was making the point that primary [direct interpersonal] socialization is the most decisive as to what you will do, with some of us not getting any of our formative direct socialization where pressuring women for sex is OK.

Except that I didnt say that.

Even before coming back here I realized I mangled things saying I've never been exposed to the direct socialization that pressuring women for sex is OK. What I meant was that even 40 plus years ago my formative direct socialization didnt have that. And hopefully thats more common now, even if all these years later it is still sadly the opposite of the norm.

I dont think its naive to think that certainly by the time you are 30, and well before that really, if you've been socialized that pressuring women is not acceptable... thats it.

I'm not saying all the further direct socialization is not corrosive on us, ditto all the messages we get constantly from the indirect means of the culture at large. But we're ultimately talking about the nuts and bolts of getting men to stop. And its both necessary and quite feasible to get them to stop from where we are now- before we get the 'deeper' causes turned around.

Now, I have no idea whether there is anything much to be learned from the fact that despite all those socialy dominant influences, by dumb luck some of us never got the idea that pressuring women is OK. Especially since the work to be done is with the vast majority of men who have heard the words, but never seriously considered that you dont pressure women.

KenS

And maybe thats the lesson: that despite the sick sexist culture, and that males are exposed to tons of ongoing corrosive direct socialization, it doesnt take a sledgehammer to counter that. Counter socialization can be very effective, even swimming against the massive tide.

But it cant be left to chance and hopes. Nor can getting the work done depend entirely on being able to to effect direct socialization.

b star

We can all overcome gender conditioning, sexual conditioning, the tendency to be in denial, rationalise, etc. The bottom line is accountability.  Women must stop "giving in" stop enabling men, stop being pressured, speak up, speak out, walk and run out, take self defense courses, become more discerning and demanding.  Men must get it: NO MEANS NO MEANS NO.  STOP means STOP.  Don't means DON'T.  Men have to learn there is more to life than their penis and more to women than boobs, butts and genitals.  When men and women get over gender conditioning and oppressor/oppressed roles we will find intimacy-- into me see. Mutual respect and self respect demand that  WE CALL THE WHOLE ROTTEN SEX GAME OFF.  To all those who have been raped, accept only compassion, support and understanding.  It is not your job to educate the rapists.  Let the therapists do that and jail the bastards who rape, assault, harrass.  Rape is a criminal act and let us not further burden the victims and protect the victimizers.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

You're reopening the "Don't get raped" thing b star. 

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