Presentation on Sexual Assault
For a Mixed Gender Group

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Presentation on Sexual Assault
For a Mixed Gender Group

Jack C. Straton
7505 S.E. Madison St.
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 252-1483 H, 725-4227

October 10, 1989
Please note that this presentation has not been significantly updated in a decade, so some of the sections will seem dated. Updates are indicated by blue text. JCS 1999

Foreword

My process of becoming a speaker on male violence and sexism has been one of perceiving what others have to share from their experiences as targets of violence and sexism, actors of violence and sexism, both, and neither and then folding these into my own experience of life. Although outlines of presentations are often available to new speakers, and one can often photocopy another speaker's notes, I think it is important for those of us who speak on male violence to make transcripts available to new speakers because of the fullness of a thought (on a subject that is difficult for men to approach and embrace) cannot be conveyed in an outline entry such as "IV.Rape Culture, A) pornography, B) music." Each of us can be helped to find our own voice through experimenting with the voices of our sisters and brothers.

Contents

Preface 1
Foreword 1
1 Introduction 1
2 Causes of Rape 1
3 Culture 2

Myth #1, Denial 2
Myth #2, Rapists Are Not Like Me 2
Myth #3, Rape Is An Impulsive Act 3
Myth #4, Only "Pretty" Women Get Raped 3
Myth #5, Women Ask For It 3
Myth #6, Women Enjoy Rape 4
Myth #7, Rape Is Just Unwanted Sex 4
Myth #8, Black Men Rape White Women 4
Myth #9, Women Falsely Accuse Men Of Rape 4
Myth #10, A Women Owes A Man Sex If ... 4
Movie 5
The Rape Continuum 6
Entertainment 6

4 Superstructural Causes of Rape 6

5 Norms of human interaction in support of rape 8

Socialization 8

6 Situational Causes of Rape 8

7 Personal Causes of Rape 8

7.1 Prevention for Women 8

7.1.1 Strangers 9

7.1.2 Acquaintances 9

7.1.3 General Strategies 10

7.2 Prevention for Men 10

Communication 11

Insecurity. 11

Power 11

The Support Continuum 12

8 Rousing Conclusion 12

Appendix 12

A How to Help Someone Who Has Been Raped 12

B Beauty as a Weapon 14

C Stolen Views 14

D Authorized Stolen Views 14

E Street Harassment 15

F Parallels between racism and sexism 15

 

Foreword

My process of becoming a speaker on male violence and sexism has been one of perceiving what others have to share from their experiences as targets of violence and sexism, actors of violence and sexism, both, and neither and then folding these into my own experience of life. Although outlines of presentations are often available to new speakers, and one can often photocopy another speaker's notes, I think it is important for those of us who speak on male violence to make transcripts available to new speakers because of the fullness of a thought (on a subject that is difficult for men to approach and embrace) cannot be conveyed in an outline entry such as "IV.Rape Culture, A) pornography, B) music." Each of us can be helped to find our own voice through experimenting with the voices of our sisters and brothers.

I have taken (often without attribution because of the difficulty of sorting out the source) ideas and ways of phrasing the ideas from Timothy Beneke, Alida Black, Judy Davis, Martin Dufresne, Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin, Crystal Hurndon, Dr. Mary P. Koss, Lauren Nile, JD, George Marx, Bill Sabol, Helena See, Starhawk, Mark Stevens, John Stoltenberg, myself, Gerry Sütter, Nadia Telsey, Nkenge Toure, and Yvonne Vowels (who deserves a special note of thanks for helping me to see the need for activism) and have passed them through the filter of my own understanding and experience to decide what I think is important for this man to share with students and community members on rape and sexual socialization. In the process of massaging what I would like to say into the shorter time frame generally available in a presentation I have come up with the following 40 minute presentation. Additional or substitute materials appear at the end. 

1 Introduction

I've been involved in community education on sexual assault for about 5 years, first with Men Against Rape in Eugene, Oregon, then as a member of the Speaker's Bureau of DC Rape Crisis Center and DC Men Against Rape, and most recently as a member of Manhattan (Kansas) Women and Men Against Rape. You will probably notice that I tend to be direct in talking about the violence that men do to women because I don't believe that coddling men is very compassionate. Helping men to confront reality is a much more loving act. I have found that men hearing presentations on rape (or sexism in general) often feel guilty about the pain we cause women, and tend to reject this information so that they don't need to feel bad. You will know that you are reacting this way if you sense yourself about to say something like "But women do that too!" You have several options when this happens and all are welcome. You can recognize that you are reacting and let the impulse to cry out pass. You can express what you are feeling or you can write it down and bring it up later after you have heard more. We have more options than repressing reality or feeling guilty. I suggest that you throw away your guilt if it incapacitates you and get to work on this problem at whatever level you can; from simply refusing to laugh at rape-jokes to joining Men Against Rape. Some the women here may have memories restimulated as you listen to this presentation. I have written the hot line number of the Crisis Center on the board. They are there to help you through crisis whether it was a rape that happened yesterday or 20 years ago. I am going to talk first about statistics and rape myths. Next we will (see a movie and) examine the social background of the rape-culture we live in. We will then talk about prevention and discuss ways to mend society.

2 Causes of Rape

It is important that we all understand the realities of rape. In a study of 95 tribal societies Peggy Reeves Sanday found that 47 were rape-free and only 18 rape-prone. Clearly then, rape is not "natural." We live in a rape-prone society and if men are to stop rape, we must learn the ways in which we foster and support rape. A critical examination of our society reveals five supporting conditions for rape: 1. Our society supports rape through its cultural ideology.

2. Our society supports rape through its structure and superstructure.

3. Our society supports rape through its norms of human interaction.

4. Our society supports rape through the situations it creates.

5. Our society supports rape through the people it breeds.

I will not examine all of these in detail, but the first deserves a lot of attention.

 

3 Culture

The most insidious way in which our culture fosters and supports rape is through perpetuation of rape myths. Men can have a MAJOR effect in stopping rape by talking about these myths with their peers.

Myth #1, Denial Men in our culture teach each other that rape is not their problem even though every relationship they will have with a woman is effected by rape and fear of rape.

One of three to one of four women will experience a rape or attempt in her lifetime. Consider your mother , your daughter, your sister, your lover,. . . .

About 84% of these are committed by acquaintances.

A rape occurs every 8 to 60 seconds in this country, though only 9.5% are reported to the police.

Diana Russell's survey of 930 women shows that the incidence of rape is actually increasing. Of women born in 1918 or earlier, 21.5% had suffered a rape or attempt; of women born in the 1920’s, 33.9% ; of women born in the 1930’s, 46.2% ; of the women born in the 1940’s, 58.7% ; and of those born in the 50’s the majority, 53.2%, had already experienced a rape or attempt by the time they had reached their teens and twenties in 1978.

Myth #2, Rapists Are Not Like Me Men teach each both men and women that rapists are not "normal." Studies show that rapists are average physically, sexually, and psychologically. 

Investigators attempting to identify differences between convicted rapists and control groups, using the full range of standard psychological tests, from Inkblots to Hostility Inventories, have failed to show reliable differences between rapists and non rapists. In a 1985 survey of 7000 students on 35 campuses, 1 in 4 women reported that they had been raped. And 89% of the women knew the rapist. In the same study 1 in 13 men admitted to forcing (or attempting to force) a women to have sex against her will, but virtually none of these men considered themselves to be rapists. These men who rape, in other words, consider themselves normal compared to their peers. They see their behavior as excusable, expected, acceptable. So 1 in 13 men view their rape behavior as normal. Do the other 12 agree with them? In another series of studies Malamuth found that 1 in 3 men indicated some likelihood of raping if they thought they could get away with it. Furthermore, Giarusso et al. report that over half of the male high school students they interviewed believe that it is acceptable "...for a guy to hold a girl down and force her to have sexual intercourse" in various situations such as "when she gets him excited" or when "she says she's going to have sex with him and then changes her mind." For those of you who find these reports incredible, remember that these are statements by the men about their own attitudes. Such a statement is not even subject to the perceptual bias of an eye witness of an event; the statement is the event itself. Let me summarize : 1 in 13 men have raped; 1 in 3 men would rape; and 1 in 2 men approve of rape.

Is there any man here who now believes that there is nothing he can do to stop rape? We must learn to challenge rape-jokes, tales of sexual bravado, and sexism in our peer groups.

We will never rid society of those who rape our friends and loved-ones without banishing rape-supporting attitudes from our own hearts and minds.

Myth #3, Rape Is An Impulsive Act A closely related myth that men teach each other is that rape is an impulsive act for sexual gratification.

It is important to understand that rape is violence, degradation, and humiliation.

• 58% are planned in advance

• 60% of rapists have sexual partners

• A large percentage of rapists don't ejaculate

• Some states have laws against "rape with a foreign object." Clearly such rapes are not physically gratifying.

• Men CAN control themselves.

Myth #4, Only "Pretty" Women Get Raped Men in our culture teach each other that only young, "pretty" women get raped. Rape crosses all social, economic, and racial categories. Nationally females between the ages of 4 months and 96 years have been raped.

Myth #5, Women Ask For It Men in our culture teach each other that women "ask for it" by the way the dress or behave. 

No one asks to be humiliated and violated in such a deeply personal way. 

Fear of death is very common. Rape seriously changes women's lives, including a sense that they have lost control over their lives; a feeling of powerlessness; and a loss of trust in men. Within 2 years of a rape 2 out of 3 marriages will end in divorce. A woman may act unwisely but that does not mean that she causes a rape. A man may interpret anything a woman does as "asking for it." A baby does not "ask for it."

Myth #6, Women Enjoy Rape Men in our culture teach each other that women secretly enjoy being raped. 

Imagine yourself stepping into your prison cell for the first time and encountering a man who is half a foot taller than you and 50 pounds heavier who is interested in controlling you and humiliating you using your body. Would you enjoy this? No, you would fear for your life, just as women fear for theirs. Victims of rape suffer not only physical violence, but humiliation, degradation, and a loss of control over their lives and bodies.

Myth #7, Rape Is Just Unwanted Sex Men teach each other that rape is just a little unwanted sex. ("I mean, you've had sex before. So you had sex with someone who wasn't so nice.").

Fear of death is the most common experience of victims of rape. And rape by dates is the most psychologically damaging. Here is someone who you trusted acting crazy; he could do ANYTHING. A woman raped by a date may begin to doubt her ability to trust and her judgment of people. Date rape is also the most under-reported because of fear of blame, fear of not being believed, confusion because of myths, and denial.

Myth #8, Black Men Rape White Women Men in our culture teach each other that most rapes are interracial, black men raping white women. In fact, today 8% of rapes are white men raping black women and only 5% are black men raping white women. This myth has been used to support racism in our society, with black men being lynched for rape if they got "uppity." Of course historically the rape of black women by the white men who held them in bondage was so commonplace that it is much more likely for a random black American to literally be my cousin than a random white American.

Myth #9, Women Falsely Accuse Men Of Rape Men teach each other that women often falsely accuse men of rape.

The FBI indicates that the rate of false accusations in rape is the same as for every other violent crime, about 5%. When you consider that only 1 in 10 are reported, and 1 in 8 of those that go to court end in conviction, the chances of being thrown in jail on a false charge of rape are very slim.

Myth #10, A Women Owes A Man Sex If ...

One of the most pervasive and damaging myths that men in our culture teach each other is the belief that a woman owes a man sex if...

• ...if he spends money on her • ...if they are married

The first of these is a common attitude of men in our society. It express the idea that a woman is a commodity to be bought at the price of anything from a hamburger to a dinner and concert. Even if one accepts this flawed premise, the reasoning contains a major flaw; the price was not agreed upon by the woman, only assumed by the man. The second attitude is supported, as of 1985, by laws in 22 states that exempt prosecuting a man for raping a wife with whom he is currently living. In two states a man may legally rape his wife even if they are separated. Clearly this barbaric situation has to be changed. Women are not property.

This myth also extends to "A woman owes a man sex...

• ...if he is sexually excited • ...if they are kissing or touching each other • ...if they are in the middle of intercourse."

The idea here is that if a woman gives a man pleasure then she owes him more pleasure.

This is nonsense. In no other human interaction does a gift obligate the giver. Men may defend this myth by saying that men can't control their behavior past a certain point of sexual excitation. This is false. There are men who will not control themselves, but few who can not control themselves. Finally, some men claim that a man needs release if he is excited (Blue Balls). Stopping intercourse prior to orgasm is neither painful nor is it damaging. If a man wants an orgasm he has the option of masturbating. A woman has a fundamental right to terminate sexual behavior at any point of her choosing, just as a man has this right.

These 10 myths that men teach each other are just one way in which our culture fosters and supports rape. A look at the ways men are taught to treat women shows that rape is only the most extreme of a whole range of behaviors that must stop.

Movie

Preparation: As you watch this film be aware of your own reactions and the reactions of the people around you. (Suggested films are Someone You Know and Rethinking Rape. )

Integration:

• What are your first impressions?

• How are you feeling?

—–What is going on in you?

—Where in the film did you see the most pain?

—Which part caused you the most discomfort?

—How about for the group?

• What did this movie say to you?

• Where, if at all, would you point to evidence of healing in the movie?

• Where have you experienced healing on gender/sex issues in your own life?

Lets turn now to an examination of the societal background for rape, beginning with

The Rape Continuum There are many forms of sexual assault that are tolerated in our society and a few that are not. This is the rape continuum beginning on the left with media portrayals of women and ending on the right with the most violent rapes and murders. What else fits on the continuum? (Media portrayals of women, sexist jokes, guiding a women with your hand on her back, excluding women from the language and other forms of imagery, god=male theologies, stares, whistles and catcalls , aggressive and intrusive yells, flashers, pornography/sexual- objectification, obscene phone calls, peepers, grabbers, psychological pressure, domination/humiliation/control, sexual harassment on the job, threats, rape, murder.)

One of the most interesting remark men often make about street harassment ("Hey, Baby, nice tits!") is that this is a compliment to the women. Women tell me that if they jog alone or with other women, they are always harassed. But I have a good friend who rents Doberman pinschers to women who want to jog alone. Shelley Reecher says that in 7000 rentals a woman has been harassed only once! Why do men always "compliment" women when they jog alone but never "compliment" women when they jog with a Doberman? What do all of these have in common? Where do we draw the line? If men are raping without realizing it, where do they draw the line? Should we be surprised if men rape when we continually teach each other to degrade women in every other way?

Entertainment Our cultural entertainment also fosters and supports rape in our society. Consider Hustler magazine with its cover showing a woman being fed into a meat grinder. Consider Penthouse showing women bound and hung from trees. Consider the Playboy cartoon showing a man and a girl emerging from a bedroom with her saying "You call THAT child abuse?" Consider the bookstore shelves filled with Gothic Romances in which rape is the norm and "no" is taken to mean "yes." Consider [update these!] • Rick Springfield in Affairs of the Heart; I want to control you/ I want to seize you/ I want to rape you/ I want to kill you. • Bruce Springstein; You say no/ you say you don't want it/ but I know you're a liar.

• Pink Floyd The Wall; I need you babe to put thru the shredder in front of my friends. Don't leave me now when you know how I need you to beat to a pulp on a Saturday night.

• So that you don't get the impression that Rock is the only source of objectionable material, consider "The World's Longest Running Musical," The Fantastics with a song beginning with "Rape, such a lovely word...."

Finally, I would love to have a (woman) volunteer to read the part of the prosecuting attorney cross examining me, the victim of a robbery (Harper's role play).

Recently, [c. 1985] Harper’s Weekly carried an item from the American Bar Association Journal declaring that few rapists are punished for their crime: only one in five rapes is reported and only one out of eight reported rapes ends in conviction. In a dialogue to demonstrate why most rape victims prefer not to press charges, the article asks us to imagine a robbery victim undergoing the same sort of cross-examination that a rape victim does:

"Mr. Smith, you were held up at gunpoint on the corner of First and Main?" "Yes." "Did you struggle with the robber?’ "No." "Why not?" "He was armed." "Then you made a conscious decicion to comply with his demands rather than resist?" "Yes." "Did you scream? Cry out?" "No. I was afraid." "I see. Have you ever bean held up before?" "No." "Have you ever given money away?" "Yes, of course." "And you did so willingly?" "What are you getting at?" "Well, let’s put it like this, Mr. Smith. You’ve given money away in the past. In fact you have quite a reputation for philanthropy. How can we be sure you weren’t contriving to have your money taken by force?" "Listen, if I wanted —" "Never mind. What time did this holdup take place?" "About 11 P.M." "You were out on the street at 11 P.M? Doing What?" "Just walking." "Just walking? You know that it’s dangerous being out on the street that late at night. Weren’t you aware that you could have been held up?" "I hadn’t thought about it." "What were you wearing?" "Let’s see — a suit. Yes, a suit." "An expensive suit?" "Well — yes. I’m a successful lawyer, you know." "In other words, Mr. Smith, you were walking around the streets late at night in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you might be a good target for some easy money, isn’t that so? I mean, if we didn’t know better, Mr. Smith, we might even think that you were asking for this to happen, mighten we?"

I don't think I need to comment. These are the major ways in which our culture fosters and supports rape. Clearly there is much here that men can do to stop rape. I won't go into as much detail on the other four elements of our society that support rape, but the structural, superstructural, situational, and personal causes need some examination.

 

4 Superstructural Causes of Rape

I want to turn now to the second supporting condition for rape in our society, the social superstructure that is made up of our legal system, our religious systems, our family system, and our educational systems. One example of an educational system (made up of students, community boosters, and staff) fostering and supporting rape is the response of Indiana University to Coach Bobby Knight when he made his famous remark "that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it." This statement is a classic example of what is called a rape sign. Rape signs are lessons about rape in which neither the teacher nor the student acknowledges what is being taught. Mr. Knight's remark on national television teaches the national audience how to view rape: • Mr. Knight is teaching us that rape IS inevitable.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us that rape is no big deal.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us that rape is enJOYable.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us to avert our eyes from the physical brutilization of the woman being raped.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us to disidentify with the experience of the woman being raped.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us not to experience WITH the woman the humiliation of having a man violate your body.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us not to experience WITH the woman the degradation of having a man violate your body.

• Mr. Knight is teaching us not to experience WITH the woman the loss of control felt at having a man violate your body.

This is what a rape sign is all about. Perhaps Mr. Knight would like to volunteer to spend a week in prison to have a chance to enjoy rape. Now that we know what Bobby Knight was teaching his national audience, what would have been an appropriate response from a university community that did not want these lessons taught? Two options come to mind; the university community could have gone on national television to counter the lessons Mr. Knight taught us; or the president might have fired Mr. Knight. I remember a photograph of 300 men and women at a rally at IU protesting Mr. Knights remarks. What about the latter response? Mr. Knight still has his job. Which response do you think has carried more weight?

The single unifying element of women's experience of rape is fear of death, yet had Mr. Knight said "if a lynching is inevitable, relax and enjoy it" would he have a job today? Had he said "if the gas chamber is inevitable, relax and enjoy it" would he have a job today? I think not. Another example of our social superstructure fostering and supporting rape may be found in our legal system. In Washington, D.C., Dr. Elizabeth Morgan has been in jail since August, 1987, for refusing to turn over her 5 year old daughter Hillary to the man Hillary says raped her, her father who has been awarded custody by D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon. In Massachusetts, Virginia Lalonde spent six months in jail for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of her daughter who says she was molested; the girl was eventually turned over to authorities in Durham, N.C. In Oregon, Valerie Marcus has been in jail since July for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of her daughter who says she was sexually abused. In California, Janice Wilhite went into hiding with her daughter two years ago. In Mississippi, Karen Newsom and Dorrie Singley went to court to request supervised visitation of their daughters with their divorced husbands because the girls said that their fathers had been sexually abusing them. Instead Judge Sebe Dale Jr. gave custody of the children to the fathers claiming Ms. Singly was an unfit mother because she had been on welfare and because she had a child before she was married and that Ms. Newsom had abused her daughter by taking her to too many doctors. Judge Dale ignored medical evidence that showed that 6-year-old Chrissy Foxworth and 3-year-old Katie Newsom had vaginal scarring that, according to the medical report, "could only have been caused by molestation." Both women hid their children. After Ms. Newsom was jailed, Ms. Singley went into hiding. Ms. Singly died of a brain aneurysm that she refused to have treated for fear of being discovered. Ms. Newsom broke down after 43 days in jail and revealed the whereabouts of the girls. Judge Dale ordered these girls to live with the men they say raped them. The support of rape given by cultural ideology and by society's superstructure are played out in the social structure, particularly socialization.

 

5 Norms of human interaction in support of rape;

Socialization Burt has shown that rape myths are just part of an attitude structure in our society that includes acceptance of interpersonal violence (primarily against women), the belief that sexual relationships are adversarial in nature, and sex role stereotyping. Consider the latter.

What are some characteristics of an ideal woman/girl? (Passive, pretty, intuitive, nurturing, homemaker, obeying, non-aggressive, emotional, doesn't get angry, submissive, dresses to please men). How about men/boys? (In control, rational, aggressive, strong, firm, not emotional, angry, powerful). Now looking at these two lists, who makes a better victim? You can see that women are socialized to be excellent victims. How about the men? You can see that these are all characteristics of rapists, differing only in degree, perhaps.

 

6 Situational Causes of Rape

Some other elements that enter into rape in our society are power imbalances. What are a few of these?(whites over blacks, young over old, adults over children, men over women, rich over poor, straight society over gay men and lesbians, employers over employees, educated over uneducated) The monetary imbalance, part of our society's superstructure, in which men make 50% more money than women is also an example of situational support for rape in our culture. Women are less likely to be able to pay for the expenses of dating, leading to situations in which men expect sex because they paid. And women are less likely to have reliable cars for transportation through unfriendly times and places. The last way in which our society fosters and supports rape is through the people it breeds.

 

7 Personal Causes of Rape

7.1 Prevention for Women As a male I have to be cautious in presuming to talk to women about prevention. The strategies I will share with you have come from female co-presenters and from a study of women who were attacked and either avoided rape or did not. Furthermore, to those of you who are survivors of rape, please be assured that I am not trying to second-guess your choices. In a situation with a possibility of death, anything you did or did not do in order to survive, was the correct thing to do.

First note that women attacked in public spaces are more likely to escape than those attacked at home or in other closed spaces.

7.1.1 Strangers Closed Spaces: For your home check window and door locks. Ask strangers, such as "policemen" and "repairmen", to slip their ID under the door. You can consider phoning the company to verify their status. Ask yourself now whether you have the right to refuse admission to your home. Consider putting fake additional or male names on your mailbox (initials may advertise that a woman lives here). Vary your schedule and route home. Have your keys out before you get to your door. Consider getting your mail in the morning.

Lock your car when you are in it and when you get out of it. Get one of those window shades with a "Call Police" message on it. If your car breaks down, only open your window a crack to tell strangers they can help by calling the police.

If an elevator arrives with a lone man on it consider waiting for the next one. Trust you judgment. Does all this sound paranoid? It is on the same level as "Look both ways before crossing the street."

Open Spaces: When you walk down the street look assertive to avoid being chosen as a target. Take up your physical and visual space. When you pass someone consider gazing at them briefly with a look that says "I see you" and the look left, right, or up rather than down.Label harassment. Prompt action at the first suspicion of danger is important. Be aware. Trust your intuition. disregard fear of embarrassment and fear of drawing attention to yourself. Even if you feel guilty you can still say "no" (since society has programmed you to meet men's needs).

7.1.2 Acquaintances Dating: Moving now to a dating situation let me guide you through a story. You go to a party with your women-friends and meet a guy with beautiful eyes. He smiles a lot and gets you drinks and gives you a lot of attention. He offers you a ride home and since you think he looks OK you accept. But instead of taking you home he takes you to and tells you that you have a choice of submitting to sex with him or taking your chances with a dangerous area. You may choose to get out or to use one of the strategies we will talk about, but let's back up and talk about what you could have done to avoid this at the party? Any ideas? (Tell him that you came with your women-friends and if he will take all of you to one house, you will get home from there. In his hearing tell your friends that you will call in 20 minutes when you get home. Have your friend conspicuously write down his license number as you get into the car. Get his phone number and call him to meet in a public place.)

Psychological Assaults: You can easily recognize the false assumption in a statement like "But I'm so turned on I can't stand it!" and respond with "That excitement is a gift. Are you demanding more gifts from me?" or "I'm sure you know how to masturbate." But it is harder to recognize verbal attacks that take the form of a presupposition. Watch out for statements containing the words "really," "never," "even," and "always" as well as unusual stresses in a sentence. The sentence "If you really loved me you would have sex with me" is toxic because the attack is hidden. If you take the bait "have sex" and ignore the presupposition "you don't love me, " he will try to make you feel guilty. Instead go into computer-mode (Mr. Spock on Star Trek) and say something like "You know it's interesting how many men think their women-friends don't love them."

Consider the statement "You know I'd never tell you what to do, love, but celibacy isn't healthy." This "loving" sentence contains the following presuppositions; "I would tell you what to do;" "I am telling you what to do;" "I have the right to tell you what to do;" "I'm a very nice person and very polite, and I expect you to notice that and behave accordingly;" "Don't be celibate." All that in one loving sentence. Again go into computer-mode and say "You know, love, it's interesting how many presuppositions a person can cram into one sentence."

7.1.3 General Strategies The specific survival strategies recommended for dealing with an attack are:

• Fleeing (or attempting flight).

• Screaming , yelling, or talking loudly to attract attention.

• "Affective" verbal _ begging, pleading, trying to gain his sympathy.

• "Cognitive" verbal _ reasoning, conning (my Father is a cop and is expecting me home in 10 minutes), stalling.

• Taking advantage of environmental intervention _ someone or something intruding on the scene.

• Physical force ranging from pushing him back to self-defense techniques (consider taking a self-defense class).

The findings of the study were:

• All of the women who used no strategies were raped.

• The more strategies used, the better were a woman's chances of avoiding rape.

• Fleeing was the single most effective strategy, and the least used. • Early recognition of danger was highly associated with avoiding rape.

• When a woman used physical force in combination with another technique, her chances were highest for avoiding rape.

• Pleading, etc., was the only strategy highly associated with being raped.

• Women who had fought back were less likely to have symptoms of depression 6 months after the incident, whether they were raped or not.

• Many who avoided rape first thought "I'm not going to be raped" and remember being angry and enraged because of the attack.

Although women have been told that if they fight back the will pay the price of severe injury or death, this finding was not supported by this survey or by 4 other recent surveys. There was no relationship between the women's use of violence and the rapists use of force. Again the individual experience of some woman in this room may contradict this conclusion. Each situation will require individual evaluation and response. It is useful to examine and transform socialized attitudes. You can transform passivity ("What will he do to me?") into action ("What will I do to him?"). Transform denial ("He's OK" or "He didn't mean to touch me that way") into trusting your intuition ("I am uncomfortable because of what he is doing."). Transform self-blame ("It's my fault" or "I shouldn't have") into anger ("How dare he!", "I have the right to..."). Transform self-deprecation into self-worth ("I am (we are) worth defending").

 

7.2 Prevention for Men I will touch on the issues of communication, insecurity, and power, which are central issues for eliminating personal causes of rape.

Communication The next time you are in a group of men and women talking, listen to how statements made by women are treated by the men. Often a woman will be given the same treatment as a child. She will be condescended to, ignored or her statement may be translated — "What she really means is..." This pattern carries over into situations where a woman says "No" to sex and the man thinks "What she really means is...."

What are the consequences of hearing "no" when a woman says "no"? You might not get what you wanted. What are the consequences of not hearing "no" when a woman says "no"? You are committing a class A felony. You are subjecting a woman to a horrible experience that will remain with her for the rest of her life. You may spend 20 years in jail.

Men must learn to take a woman's words at face value. If she changes her mind she can tell you.

Human beings are considered to be unique in our ability to use language. Yet people talk about abstractions and trivialities like the weather but not about important things like thoughts, needs, and feelings. We have a gift in the possibility of sharing minds — a wasted gift if never used. It is really possible to tell someone that you are sexually attracted to them or that you are feeling too rushed — the sky doesn't fall in. We use body language to say these things without embarrassment, but often there are mixed messages. To those who worry that talking about sex destroys spontaneity, I say that the freedom and peace of mind that comes with a sharing of minds, together with creativity and passion, go far to unleash the possibilities of a sexual relationship. I have come to the understanding that if I am not comfortable sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings with a woman as a friend, then I have no business PRETENDING to be intimate with her sexually. Another issue we need to examine in stopping rape is

Insecurity. When I was in High School, I was at my girl-friend's house one evening. She and her sister went into another room to talk about what she thought of me the previous year. I suspected that the image was not a positive one, and in my insecurity I went outside and put my ear to the window of the room they were in as a statement of pride and intrusion. I knew that she was terrified of having men looking in the window at her, yet my embarrassment and insecurity overrode my better judgment and I caused her a lot of pain. I tell you this story to show that I am not too different from men who rape, only in degree. My behavior was part of the rape spectrum. Insecurities in men are common. The more we swagger, the more insecure we really are. Many of us are also taught that violence is an acceptable outlet for emotion, and it is insecurity coupled to a violent predisposition that leads many men to rape. Power So if insecurities are a root of rape then an important way to stop rape is, paradoxically, by empowering men. Rapists are men, programmed for violence, who need to act out domination and humiliation to gain a sense of being powerful. This is seen in High School peer groups where we learn that the way to elevate your own standing is to put others down. Men are socialized to strive for "the top," but if you notice the shape of a pyramid, there can be only one man at the top of a given hierarchy. Men frustrated in their prime directive may seek other ways to feel powerful, such as dominating, abusing, or raping their wives and children. What we see here is that a display of "power" is really a display of "weakness."

What men need, and what this Rambophilic society as whole needs, is to understand that a sense of strength comes not from "power" over others, but as a result of power from within. Oppressive, exploitative power may provide things but it will not fill one's life nor fulfill one's dreams. One cannot take real power, nor is it granted by authority. Each of us has power unless we give it away. True power is rooted in centeredness, compassion, and in a loving self-image. It includes the grace to accept the right of others to work their will, to accept that we sometimes lose, and to know that we become more powerful as we help to empower others. Let us focus the traditional definition, "power over...," to powerfully take charge of our lives. Let us enlarge the traditional definition to include "the power to..."-to embrace personal integrity, courage and wholeness. We can see the workings of the expanded definition, "power in the interests of...," in the men and women marching with Dr. Martin Luther King who succeeded in moving our society closer in line with our ideal of equality.

The Support Continuum So what are some other specific actions men can take to end rape? When you hear a sexist joke, and are feeling uncomfortable about confrontation, you can at least refrain from laughing...the speaker will notice. As you become more courageous you can tell the speaker how you feel when he degrades women. One of the most effective responses is to state "That's unacceptable." When he comes back with another line directed at women or at you say, "That's unacceptable." If you keep on like a stuck record you will eventually wear him down. If it is a person that you want to invest some time in you can respond with "That's a very interesting statement. Tell me more" and calmly let the speaker talk himself into ridiculousness.

As you walk down the street at night and become aware that you may pass a woman, consider crossing to the other side of the street. She will silently thank you. Likewise, on an elevator move away from the control panel. When you want to buy a woman dinner, consider phrasing it as "I would like to treat you to dinner if you would be comfortable with that." This acknowledges that you are aware of and are rejecting the unspoken rule that a woman owes a man sex if he spends money on her. The support continuum of concrete actions men can take to end rape includes; speak out against rape jokes and sexist beliefs; listen to women; no means no, play, respect, communication, feeling, listening, yielding, supporting, affirming women's power, sexuality as a celebration in which communicating partners have a common interest, for otherwise you are just masturbating with someone else's body.

Conclusion

As if the above weren't enough!

Appendix

Note that if a movie is shown the material on socialization may be abbreviated. The following topics may be inserted for more extended presentations than 1 1/2 hours.

A How to Help Someone Who Has Been Raped

Rape Trauma Syndrome Reactions to rape may include fear, quietness, shame, anger, feeling crazy, sleeplessness, physical pain, and denial. Acquaintance rape is often the most psychologically damaging. The woman may doubt her ability to judge character and may lose her trust of men. She may be fear blame by her peers, may deny that it was rape, and may have difficulty integrating her experience with the rape myths she has been taught.

Women do heal from the trauma of a rape, but it may take months or years. The response of loved ones is very important.

 

• Listen to her. She may need to talk about her experience many times. Encourage her to do so in any way she needs to. Don't tell her not to think about it. Don't tell her that it's time she got over it.

• Believe her. Don't be judgmental. Counteract any self-blame statements. Anything she did or did not do in order to survive was the right thing to do. It is very important that you take notes about what she first tells you about her experience. There is an important place for corroborative testimony, which is not the same as hearsay, if she decides to prosecute.

 

• Let her make all decisions. Men pride themselves on the ability to "take charge" in emergencies. In the case of sexual assault, don't. A rape survivor has lost control of her life. She needs her power back. Ask what she would like to do. Ask how you can help. Give her the following information and options;

 

– Let her know that a medical exam is extremely important because any lesions in her vagina increase her chances of vaginal cancer by 2000%. If she washes before the exam she will probably wash away evidence that may be used if she later decides that she wants to prosecute. –The exam may be painful because of swelling, and may seem psychologically intrusive. You can insist on being with her throughout the exam or a companion from the (Rape) Crisis Center can accompany her. –Hospitals routinely test for syphilis and gonorrhea but if they offer an AIDS test it is not recommended because the antibodies usually do not show up for months and the last thing she needs is to worry about is dying from AIDS after surviving a rape.

 

• Have patience. After a week or so the woman may try to resume her normal routines. On the surface she may seem to be coping but the inner state may be in turmoil. Headaches, nightmares, insomnia, paranoia, and depression may take a long time to subside. She may feel certain that her life will never be the same. She may never feel as secure as she felt prior to the assault, but women can, and do, regain control over their lives.

 

• Continue to listen. Then listen some more. Encouraging trauma victims to relive their experience is central to all forms of crisis intervention and healing. The extent to which a victim recovers, and the time scale of recovery depend on how much they process their experience and their feelings. Most people would gladly forget the experience if they could. As the months pass, victims incorporate the assault into their lives much the way people come to terms with the death of a loved one.

 

• If you are her partner, let her choose when to engage in sexual behavior, and in what form. She may not want to make love for long after the assault, particularly if it happened in her own bed, or she may want to make love right away to reassure herself that you don't consider her "soiled." Many victims yearn for tenderness and affection in the form of kissing, caring, and massage but do not feel comfortable with genital sexuality for some time. You have the choice of constructing your reality. You can view this as a period of deprivation or as a chance to cultivate your sensuality.

 

• Take care of yourself. You will be of little help to the victim if you are off-center yourself. Men, in particular, may feel shame, outrage, hurt, and a sense of powerlessness. Your first reaction may be to go out and "get" the rapist. Although talk of revenge may make you feel better it may increase the victims turmoil through fear for your safety.

 

B Beauty as a Weapon

 

Lets look at some of the ways men describe women that they find beautiful. What are some of the words used? (Fox, Babe, ...) (Stunning, Ravishing, Bombshell, Dressed to Kill, Femme Fetale, Knockout,...) The first list trivializes women's power and objectifies them. The second list is less obvious. What do these terms have in common? They seem to be saying that a woman's beauty is a weapon. The connection with rape is found in the statements by men who are feeling insecure, in effect that "she is using her weapon on me so I can rightfully use my weapon on her." This would be a classic case of reversal, portraying women as powerful when in fact they are not, if it were not for the fact that many men do not feel powerful. Teaching men to find a source of power within themselves is essential for stopping rape.

 

C Stolen Views

 

Lets go back to the first list. How do men learn to objectify women? I remember being very curious about the differences between boys and girls when I was young. I think such curiosity is healthy. Likewise, an adult male's awareness of a woman whom he finds attractive need not be pornographizing, objectifying, or denying of her humanity. But glancing that is disrespectful, intrusive, or secretive is part of the rape spectrum.

 

Once socialization sets in, males learn to view women as less than human. In a society that treats women as possessions of men, one also finds that views of women are treated as the property of men. In fact visual property has a primacy in male's relationships to females; the first time a boy learns to think of women as property is in the act of stealing views. The breadth and depth of this teaching may be seen in that each of us probably knows what a man says if he and a woman are sitting in a bar and another man comes in and glances up and down at the woman's body. (The first man says "What are you looking at?") The second man has "stolen" a glance at the first man's visual property. There is a psychic parallel between a man scanning his environment for visual property to steal and a rapist scanning his environment for a woman to dominate.

 

D Authorized Stolen Views

 

This society also authorizes stolen views. Consider pornography in which men literally sell views of women's bodies to other men. More subtle are the institutions of cheer leading, Miss America, and the bulk of all advertising. The fashion industry is the ultimate authority on which, and to what extent, "parts" of women's bodies are to be on public display, although resistance by consumers to the present incarnation of the miniskirt may be seen as a guiding light. One of the strangest aspects of fashion is the sale of clothing that have the sole purpose of becoming fetishes when a man views his partner wearing them over her breasts or genitals, to excite him with near-views. Entire departments of stores are devoted to these items. While fascination with panties may be an appropriate activity for a child, sexual excitation through objects associated with a woman has moved an adult male's sexuality even further into the realm of objectification than even excitation over views of the woman herself. One would hope , instead of sexual response to objects on a woman's skin or to her skin itself, for a response to the woman as a complete human being. Rape will stop when men learn to find their inner source of power. It is inconceivable that such a radical objectification as fetishism, establishing an object apart from the human woman as the instigator of sexual behavior with the woman, could lead to the wholeness of a self-empowered way of being alive. Men are authorized to treat views of their partner's genitals as property. What is most disturbing about this is that this society also authorizes men to rape their partners, either through the statutes in 27 states prohibiting the prosecution of men who rape their wives, or through juries that refuse to convict men for raping women who they drink with, women who wear clothes that don't hide their bodies, women who they have dated or women who have had been sexual in the past.

 

E.  Street Harassment

 

What is street harassment? Street harassment is a whole set of actions men take against women that are intrusive and disrespectful of women as human beings. Some examples include remarks about women's bodies, sucking and kissing noises, questions such as "Hey, baby, where you going...can I come too?", "Can I have a lick/bite?", and intrusive stares.

 

Who harasses women? Men of all classes harass women; professors, doctors, construction workers, students, and homeless men. White men harass women as do Black, Hispanic and Oriental men.

Who gets harassed?

Where to women get harassed?

Don't women dress provocatively to get attention?

Why do men harass women? One of the most interesting remark men often make about street harassment ("Hey, Baby, nice tits!") is that this is a compliment to the women. Women tell me that if they jog alone or with other women, they are always harassed. But I have a good friend who rents Doberman pinschers to women who want to jog alone. Shelley Reecher says that in 7000 rentals a woman has been harassed only once! Why do men always "compliment" women when they jog alone but never "compliment" women when they jog with a Doberman?

What can women do about harassment?
What can men do to stop harassment?

F.  Parallels between racism and sexism

I want to turn in detail to the parallel oppressions of sexism, racism and homophobia and how all three foster and support rape. We have come to understand that oppression can be maintained only through a process of disidentification — the oppressor denying all commonalty with the oppressed. You hear the term "racial purity" from white supremacists. "Some Whites may have be poor but at least they are white." This idea has been so strong, the fear of contamination so great that, the ownership of women so strong that the ritualized murder (a.k.a. lynching) of American males of direct African descent on a pretext or rumor was common place until recently. Its as if Americans of direct European descent (and indirect or temporally extended African descent) needed their murderous rage in order to be "White," in order to still their fears that their racial identity would dissolve.

 

Look at Hitler and his attempt to "purify the Aryan race." He and his brothers went to the great extreme of trying to wipe a class of people off the face of the Earth, and succeeding in murdering 6 million Jews. But even if we accept his flawed premise that Jews constituted a separate race (or more accurately, that there is such a thing as an Aryan race, as an Anthropologist means by the term) he was still way off base from reality. Recent studies based on the genetic code of mitochondria in our cells (which, being originally parasitic though now symbiotic, we get only from our mothers) shows that every one of us in this room, every human being on this planet, had a common ancestor a women who lived 200,000 years ago. So how does all this relate to sexism? Look at the lessons you learned in childhood. Boys were constantly being taunted with being a sissy. (Note that being a buddy is OK for both sexes.) Men have had to go to the great extreme of unlearning half of the creative behavior possible in a human being in order to disidentify with females.

 

"But," you may say, "nothing like the vengeance of a Hitler has been committed by men against women." Wrong. Between the years 1400 and 1800 c.e., nine million women in Europe were murdered in a ritualized manner because men called them witches. (Note that some of these women were suspected because they were able to heal using herbs, whereas the unwitch-doctors (male) "healed" people by draining out a few quarts of blood.) The FBI notes that in the U.S. there are 73 rapes reported per 100,000 women and that 1 in 10 to 1 in 25 of all rapes are reported. What do you call the rape of 180 million to 45 million women per year on this planet? Consider that last year 31% of all female murder victims were slain by their husbands or boyfriends, and overall 9 of every 10 female victims were murdered by males.

 

Consider the following monologue from Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: :.:

Now why did those white men rape the mother of the story teller? (To humiliate the father.) Why would they want to humiliate the father? (He was a better farmer than they were but "less of a person" so their murderous rage, and fear of contamination, got stimulated.) But why did they attack the mother if it was the father they wanted to humiliate? (He may be a better farmer, but they can "defile his conjugal property." Cowardice.) Was the mother dismissed as an object to be used against the father? Why did the rape stop when the boy was injured? Why didn't they degrade the boy to humiliate the father?

What similarities do you see between the attitudes these men displayed and the attitudes of the men you know?(Kick the dog pattern. Women as objects. Women as property.) Is rape an impulsive act for sexual gratification? Lets go back to the myth that most rapes are interracial, black men raping white women. In fact, today 8% of rapes are white men raping black women and only 5% are black men raping white women. The function of this myth historically has been for the purpose of oppressing Blacks. Any Black an seen as "uppity" would be accused of rape and lynched. My great grandmother was from a wealthy family in Virginia, the Carters. How did they get their wealth? By exploiting the work of the Africans that they held in bondage. Rape of women of women of direct African descent by the men of direct European descent who held them in bondage was so commonplace that it is much more likely for a random darker skinned American to literally be my cousin than a random lighter skinned American. But we can learn more about rape from this example. If I ask "Did these slave owners consider their sexual activities with their slaves rape?" what would you guess? Why do you think that they performed these acts? (It felt good and the women were considered theirs to use. They wanted to show how powerful they were. They wanted to humiliate the women. They wanted to punish the men.) Remember some of the things the rapists in the movie Someone you know said (: :):. Are there any similarities to the attitudes of slave holders? Are there any similarities to the attitudes you hear your male peers expressing?

Let's go back to the question I asked a few minutes ago, but rephrased somewhat. If I ask, "Did the European-American who forced sexual activity on the African-American they held in bondage believe it was rape?" what would you guess. I think these men knew what they were doing, and I think that modern men who rape know that it is rape. If we condemn those men who held women in bondage, must we not apply the same judgment to modern men who bind women through psychological pressure and physical force (or drugs). (Consider the "Blue Balls myth.) How much bondage is there in a typical, consenual relationship between men and women?   

 

Jack Straton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the University of Oregon in 1977, worked as a professional jazz drummer for three years, and then returned to the U of O in the 1980s to earn a doctorate in quantum theory. Both as a volunteer and professional diversity trainer over the past 18 years, he has presented several hundred workshops on ending sexual assault and racism. Jack founded Men Against Rape groups in Eugene, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Manhattan, Kansas. He has published extensively in professional journals from his research in Quantum Scattering Theory, Gender Equity, and Diversity Training Methods. He has served as co-chair of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) and, as coordinator of the NOMAS Task Group on Child Custody Issues, is recognized as one of the leading writers and speakers in the country with expertise on ethical and public policy issues related to the overlap between child custody, child abuse, and woman abuse.

http://web.pdx.edu/~straton/ 

 

 

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