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<i>Rape: From Lucretia to #MeToo</i> by <i>Mithu Sanyal</i> (2019) (read in 2019)
<abstract>Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I've pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I've failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I'm happy for you.</abstract> I read this after having read Abdulali's <i>What We Talk about When We Talk about Rape</i> and it is, by far, the superior book. First of all, it is much better-researched and has a more cohesive approach that doesn't rely as much on repeated anecdotes. Second of all, she's just a better writer who's also very sharp-witted and sarcastic, drawing interesting parallels. In describing the history of male and female relationships, especially as related by the philosophers of the day, she writes, <bq><b>Driven to genius or crime by his overwhelming phallic energy</b>, man was no longer suited for his accustomed role as representative of the moral order. Who better to fill this vacancy than woman, who, due to her lack of passion, was rarely tempted anyway? (Emphasis added.)</bq> She's lampooning Hegel and Rousseau here, but others get their due, as well. She notes that, though the world (read: wealthy, land-owning men or peerage) accepted the stories told about male and female roles, they never made sense or were at-all internally coherent. On the one hand, women were powerless and weak and, on the other, men had to be ever-vigilant against their insidious wiles. Or, as Sanyal puts it, <bq>These almost telekinetic powers by which women caused men to become criminals are even more surprising given that, at the same time, women’s supposed lack of sexual energy was translated into a lack of criminal energy.</bq> From this history of philosophy and gender relationships, she turns to the theme of the book: how people who are raped are treated by society and, in particular, how the modern attitude toward rape is that it is a mind-altering and shattering experience after which nothing is the same, ever again. But Sanyal writes, <bq>Nobody in their right mind would treat a person who has been in a car crash as if the accident had changed their personality, but that is exactly what happens to rape victims.</bq> Is that really so crazy, though? Accident survivors do change due to trauma. I read this book as I was recovering from a fractured neck suffered in a bike accident (not of my doing). I didn't feel traumatized after my bike accident—I haven’t changed how I ride—but I am at least <i>somewhat</i> different because of it. It’s also very possible that I would have changed even more had it turned out worse. Perhaps part of my devil-may-care personality would have been cauterized away. She hones her idea, though, noting that the problem is with assuming that the person who was raped is now defined as "a raped thing". That having been the victim of rape becomes their defining characteristic so that others may protect them as such. But this is damaging, especially for victims of rape who then think they're "doing it wrong" when their feelings don't match the standard narrative. Sanyal lives and works in Germany, but has spent a lot of time in the States. She draws a lot of examples from German and European cases and law, focusing especially on the nearly completely fictitious stories of "New Years Eve" rapes by immigrants and refugees a few years ago. To be sure, she takes time with the special attitude that American society brings to the discussion, especially with the deep-seated racism that gets all mixed up with it. <bq>Much of the anti-rape movement assumed that most rapes were committed by black men, because it was black men who were mostly being convicted for rape. Tragically the (predominantly white) women’s movement wasn’t able to look at their own position in the tangled web of power relations, and certainly not at their own entitlement.</bq> With racism on both sides of the pond, there is also more than a little colonial superiority. Though exceedingly rare, honor killings in Southeast Asia are regularly a topic of hand-wringing and concern---and people are worried about how immigrants from those countries will "import" these backward notions and "impose" them on their overly generous adoptive country. But almost nobody discusses the absolutely prehistoric attitudes of the people of the United States. Official policy in the U.S. couldn't be more backwards, but nobody worries about American immigrants promulgating their backwards notions on their host countries when they go abroad. <bq>[...] terms like “honor” and “culture” didn’t crop up once in the media coverage of George Bush’s 2001 decision to scrap funding for all NGOs that provided abortion counseling or referrals. This “global gag rule” was introduced by Ronald Reagan, repealed by Bill Clinton, reinstated by Bush, re-repealed by Obama, and re-reinstated by Donald Trump.</bq> This is an exceedingly important point because it points up the basic racism of even those who purport to care about women's rights. That is, they only chastise certain targets for improper attitudes. One could wonder whether they truly care about the purported danger they warn of when they can only see the danger looming when it matches their racist fairy tales. <bq>Narayan has calculated that death by domestic violence in the United States is numerically as significant a social problem as dowry murders in India. But only one is used as a signifier of cultural backwardness: “They burn their women there.” As opposed to: “We shoot our women here.”</bq> One can't even conceive of anyone making this comparison in mainstream European media, but <i>it's true</i>. It's a huge blind spot. Sanyal continues with a discussion of "Rape Culture", Title IX in the United States higher-education system and the myth of the hyper-sexualized rapist who doesn't even know or think they're doing anything wrong. (She writes that <iq>[o]nly a quarter of the rapists reported no physiological dysfunction during their rape.</iq>) Sanyal crushes one myth after another: next, taking down the myth that women are the primary victims of rape or that a man cannot be raped. She is careful to note that the <i>fear</i> engendered by the potentiality of rape belongs primarily to women, citing, <bq>Sharon Marcus writes: Even though women in fact are neither the sole objects of sexual violence nor the most likely targets of violent crimes, women constitute the majority of fearful subjects; even in situations where men are empirically more likely to suffer from violent crimes, they express less fear then women do [...]</bq> She goes on to discuss gender roles, the role of masculinity and the sheer and nearly unknown prevalence of women raping men. That is, the definitions in most countries are skewed very hard to defining rape as vaginal penetration with a penis. Therefore, no man can be raped. Even when the definition was expanded, and expanded again, the most common form---where a women penetrated herself with part of the man---was not legally considered rape until very, very recently and only in certain countries. She doesn't shy away from any tough issue, including what to do with people that have been convicted of rape. Just as we shouldn't define a rape victim solely by the fact that they were raped (i.e. redefining their personality in terms of an act that was imposed on them or as Marcus writes, to <iq>make the identities of rapist and raped preexist the rape itself.</iq>), then we also can't define the perpetrator solely by that act. Or we can, but it's not conducive to reintegration nor is it particularly productive or useful. Not only that, but such relegation can radicalize the more damaged of them. <bq>If we make it impossible for them to return to normal life, eventually they will drift toward extremist viewpoints—because far right men’s rights activists are the ones who will welcome them with open arms.</bq> This tack ends up being an indictment in general of Western justice systems and their (recent) preference for retribution rather than rehabilitation. She notes (as have so many others before her) that <iq>no one has proven a direct link between increased penalties and convictions for a crime and a decreased incidence of that crime.</iq> Most people are aware of the difference between right and wrong, but increasing punishment assumes a calculus that is completely lacking when an act is considered. Do you personally even know what the minimum sentence if for various crimes? I do not. I would wager that most people likely to commit those crimes do not. If they don't know, then <i>how can it be a deterrent?</i> It's not. It's just vindictiveness from a basically immoral and mean-spirited society. Sanyal cites many interesting authors like Sharon Marcus and Laurie Penny and bell hooks<fn> and has produced a book well worth reading. She ends on a cautionary note for the more aggressive proponents of #metoo as a way of "getting back" for decades or centuries of discrimination: do not become that which you despise. <bq>[...] it is still worrying that people are punished before an investigation, and even more so that the public should applaud this jettisoning of democratic rights. <b>After all, there is only a gradual difference between treating victims without empathy and treating potential perpetrators without empathy.</b> (Emphasis added.)</bq> <hr> <ft>Yes their name is written <i>just like that</i>. I can't tell you how many times I had to re-read a sentence with this person's name in it. The name is infuriating, like an eyelash in the eye. We have capitalization for a reason. Compounding a bizarre and narcissistic predilection for small letters with a name composed of two common words is only more obnoxious. And the ostensible last name is a <i>verb</i>, to boot. You might as well call yourself "leather sofa". It would be less confusing.</ft> <h>Citations</h> <bq caption="Position 137-141">This answer is as plausible as it is wrong. It doesn’t explain why we care so much less for our sons—after all, all violence is horrible even when it doesn’t involve sex—nor why we measure rape with a different scale from those we use for almost anything else. When we look at the murder statistics, for example, we find that two-thirds to four-fifths of the victims are male13—yet no one jumps to the conclusion that only men can be murdered.</bq> <bq caption="Position 238-239">This lead [sic] to the paradoxical view that the less desire a woman felt, the more desirable she herself was, whereas a lusty woman was seen as degenerate and therefore desexualized (that is, defeminized).</bq> Only officially. Actual behavior is considerably different. <bq caption="Position 262-266"><b>Driven to genius or crime by his overwhelming phallic energy</b>, man was no longer suited for his accustomed role as representative of the moral order. Who better to fill this vacancy than woman, who, due to her lack of passion, was rarely tempted anyway? As guardian of the divine order (according to Hegel) or the moral order (Rousseau), she also carried the responsibility of controlling male sexuality by modifying her clothes and behavior so as not to ignite men’s highly inflammable libidos. (Emphasis added.)</bq> <bq caption="Position 347-349">These almost telekinetic powers by which women caused men to become criminals are even more surprising given that, at the same time, women’s supposed lack of sexual energy was translated into a lack of criminal energy.</bq> <bq caption="Position 360-363">It’s easy to sneer at out-of-date gender norms, but as soon as rape comes into play, all these outdated norms still reverberate through our present discourse. The bulk of our “rape knowledge” is based on ideas about masculinity and femininity that most of us would dismiss as plucked out of thin air if we knew what we were referring to. But, being invisible, these ideas take on the mantle of natural laws.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1063-1068">Foucault dates the “birth” of the “homosexual” to 1870, thirteen years before the “birth” of the “rapist.” Men who had until then done and loved lots of different things—painting, riding, playing an instrument, reading books, and the “crime of sodomy”—suddenly became “homosexuals,” people whose whole being was defined by having sexual intercourse with people of the same gender. The rapist “became a personage, a past, a case history, and a childhood in addition to being a type of life, a life-form, and a morphology … Nothing that went into his total composition was unaffected by his sexuality.”</bq> <bq caption="Position 1189-1190">Nobody in their right mind would treat a person who has been in a car crash as if the accident had changed their personality, but that is exactly what happens to rape victims.</bq> Is that really so crazy, though? accident survivors could change due to trauma. I don't feel traumatized after my bike accident---I haven't changed how I ride---but I am different because of it. It's also very possible that I would have changed even more. <bq caption="Position 1219-1223">It is only through narratives that we communicate our inner world to the outer world. The alchemistic way we turn experiences into memories is necessarily a creative and complex process. We tell most stories again and again, looking at them each time from a slightly different perspective. As soon as the story is one about rape, however, all these different perspectives become condensed into one hard truth about the victim’s life.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1275-1279">Of course, this doesn’t mean that victims should just pull themselves together and everything will be puppies and kittens—rather, that the price for recognition, for empathy, and perhaps even redress can’t be that every victim’s life has to become proof of the wrong done to them, that they have to preserve their psyche as a crime scene that can be inspected at any time. “With all the media coverage and attention paid to rape victims in recent years, we still lack models that praise women for getting on with their lives rather than just getting through them,” observes Veselka.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1294-1296">By invoking the figure of “a woman who has been raped and felt paralyzed with fear,”—i.e., a real rape victim, Neustatter doesn’t have to speak for herself but can “protect” an imagined victim.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1349-1351">A participant in one of my workshops confessed: “For a long time I didn’t think I had really been raped because I didn’t show the appropriate symptoms.” Another added, “Oh, I do think I am traumatized, but I am not just traumatized by the rape—and I’m not allowed to talk about anything else.”</bq> <bq caption="Position 1353-1355">But perhaps the most moving was the young woman who had been raped only a few days before. She came to my talk and said that my book had been important to her because “I don’t want to give the perpetrator the right to change who I am.”</bq> <bq caption="Position 1416-1419">Nearly four decades later, when sociologists Cheryl Benard and Edit Schlaffer interviewed teenagers who wanted to get on with their lives after the crime, the zeitgeist had changed for the better and worse. Victims could expect a lot more empathy, but mainly for psychological problems resulting from the rape; if they didn’t display these problems, that was seen as problematic itself.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1577-1583">Indeed, the anti-rape movement of the ’70s had often neglected to challenge—and sometimes outright endorsed—racist portrayals of black rapists lusting after the flesh of white women. Much of the anti-rape movement assumed that most rapes were committed by black men, because it was black men who were mostly being convicted for rape. Tragically the (predominantly white) women’s movement wasn’t able to look at their own position in the tangled web of power relations, and certainly not at their own entitlement. If the men and heroes of the traditionally left-wing student and civil rights movement treated discrimination on gender grounds as a “distraction,” so too did the women’s movement treat class and race as distractions, and gender as the root and cause of all discrimination.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1764-1767">In the context of the refugee crisis, it’s as if the “defiled” body of the rape victim was the body of the country, penetrated by a dark threat. The difference between before and after “New Year’s Eve” is that it became normal in mainstream Germany—not just in AfD and other right-wing circles—to discuss whether people from “the Muslim world” pose a threat to equal rights for men and women (though, of course, not all refugees are Muslims and not all Muslims refugees).</bq> <bq caption="Position 1782-1786">Middle Ages—this does not refer to the actual Middle Ages, though, during which Islamic cultures were much more developed and innovative than Christian ones, but to a fictional Middle Ages halfway back along a fictional arrow of history. This linear model of the development of cultures—with a patriarchal primordial horde at the beginning that develops into women’s-rights-loving modern men and women the further they advance—has its roots in colonialism. Colonial nations could best justify themselves by claiming that they brought the colonized not just culture but women’s rights.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1799-1804">Obviously these are very serious crimes, but Rattansi warns: If “honor crimes” are treated as separate from other forms of domestic violence, there is a danger of stereotyping minority communities as more accepting of domestic violence, and an unhelpful distinction can become entrenched between crimes of “honor” characteristic of the East and crimes of passion associated with the West, with the added overlay of regarding minority individuals as more determined by “culture” and those from the majority as subjects to individual aberrations.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1804-1811">Accordingly, terms like “honor” and “culture” didn’t crop up once in the media coverage of George Bush’s 2001 decision to scrap funding for all NGOs that provided abortion counseling or referrals.52 This “global gag rule” was introduced by Ronald Reagan, repealed by Bill Clinton, reinstated by Bush, re-repealed by Obama, and re-reinstated by Donald Trump. Likewise, after Trump had been voted into office, nobody was afraid that American tourists might import their misogynistic attitude toward women, after all they had a president that boasted he’d “grab them by the pussy” “without waiting for their consent.”53 If we talk about misogyny in the context of Western countries, we do it as a kind of litmus test for general attitudes toward women, and not as a marker for their “specific culture.”</bq> <bq caption="Position 1823-1826">Narayan has calculated that death by domestic violence in the United States is numerically as significant a social problem as dowry murders in India. But only one is used as a signifier of cultural backwardness: “They burn their women there.” As opposed to: “We shoot our women here.” In Narayan’s words, “When ‘cultural explanations’ are given for fatal forms of violence only in the Third World, the effect is to suggest that Third World women suffer ‘death by culture.’</bq> <bq caption="Position 1893-1897">In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend toward blaming “rape culture” for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.</bq> <bq caption="Position 1952-1954">But why is a fair process for the accused equated to an unfair process for the accuser? And is the opposite necessarily true? Does handling Title IX complaints this way benefit survivors?</bq> <bq caption="Position 2024-2027">Kipnis fears that with Title IX, “what’s being lost, along with job security, is the ability to publish ideas that go against the grain or take unpopular positions.” Having been subjected to two Title IX investigations on the basis of her written work, it’s hard to argue with her. “Factor in the accusatory mania and the intellectual incursions of the Title IX troops, and self-censorship rules the land.”</bq> <bq caption="Position 2028-2030">The higher education regulator in the UK decided in October 2017 to fine universities for “no-platforming” speakers with unpopular opinions, or refusing to allow them to speak. This is a controversial policy, and my citing it here should not be read as a wholesale endorsement</bq> Jesus, you really have to be clear as a bell these days. it doesn't matter, though: if they want to smear you, they'll smear you. <bq caption="Position 2031-2035">Vice Chancellor Louise Richardson at Oxford University argues, in favor of the new policy, <bq>We need to expose students to ideas that make them uncomfortable so that they can think about why it is that they feel uncomfortable and what it is about those ideas that they object to. And then to have the practice of framing a response and using reason to counter these objectionable ideas and to try and change the other person’s mind and to be open to having their own minds changed.</bq></bq> I mean, duh. <bq caption="Position 2036-2037">In a move that may surprise the disgruntled reader, I now want to make the case for the concept of rape culture.</bq> How far off the script am I, that I was temporarily surprised that anyone could have been offended by the preceding chapter? <bq caption="Position 2127-2132">For instance, over one-third of men convicted for sexual assault and sent to the Massachusetts Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sexually Dangerous Persons suffered some kind of sexual dysfunction during the attack. Impotence (16 percent of these criminals) and retarded ejaculation (15 percent) were particularly common. This is likely to be a conservative estimate since dysfunction was inapplicable in one-fifth of these cases (because the victim successfully resisted, penetration was not attempted, or the assault was interrupted). Only a quarter of the rapists reported no physiological dysfunction during their rape. None of the offenders reported similar dysfunction in their consensual sexual relationships</bq> <bq caption="Position 2224-2230">Sharon Marcus writes: Even though women in fact are neither the sole objects of sexual violence nor the most likely targets of violent crimes, women constitute the majority of fearful subjects; even in situations where men are empirically more likely to suffer from violent crimes, they express less fear then women do and tend to displace this fear into concern for their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters. She calls the rules and regularities that assign each of us our position in these narratives the “gendered grammar of violence,” noting that “to take male violence or female vulnerability as the first and last instances in any explanation of rape is to make the identities of rapist and raped preexist the rape itself.”</bq> <bq caption="Position 2309-2312">What they do show though is that we can’t treat male victims as the exception that proves the rule any longer. It might be hard to get our heads around the fact that “being made to penetrate” is a kind of rape, but it has only been twenty years since marital rape was recognized as a crime in Germany and discounting rape by a husband already seems absurd, so it seems likely we can expand our definitions again.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2317-2320">Among male-rape myths she lists the assumptions: that female-perpetrated abuse is rare or non-existent; that male victims experience less harm (as an example Stemple cites the 2009 CBS News report about a rapist who raped four men; the report finished: “no one has been seriously hurt”); that for men all sex is welcome anyway; and that “real men” can protect themselves.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2340-2343">Although TM had told a witness after the act that SF’s blackout had “saved her a trip to the sperm bank,” a doctor had to be called in to convince the court that it was indeed possible for a man to have an erection and ejaculate while unconscious.</bq> Wet dream anyone? <bq caption="Position 2364-2367">They were referring to operations performed at the nearby hospital (and countless others worldwide) on babies whose genitals are not clearly “male” or “female”—a process that is unethical but also surprisingly arbitrary: surgery is considered necessary if a newborn’s clitoris is longer than a centimeter or if the penis was less than 2.5 centimeters (when stretched).</bq> <bq caption="Position 2449-2451">Biologically determined definitions of sexuality purport that “real men” always have agency over their sexuality and are invulnerable: male victims aren’t such a discursive minefield because they compete with female victims, but because they endanger the concept of masculinity.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2499-2501">This silence, I think, stems in large parts from fear: our culture tells us that being a “real” man means not being feminine, not being gay, and not being weak. They warn us that anyone who dares to stand up to these ideas becomes a sitting target to have his manhood shot down in flames.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2496-2501">Gender trainer Jason Schultz explains, It’s up to straight men to change these assumptions. Gay men and lesbians have engaged in a cultural dialogue around sexuality over the last twenty-five years, straight women are becoming more and more vocal. But straight men have been almost completely silent. This silence, I think, stems in large parts from fear: our culture tells us that being a “real” man means not being feminine, not being gay, and not being weak. They warn us that anyone who dares to stand up to these ideas becomes a sitting target to have his manhood shot down in flames.</bq> Not sure. Or maybe we define ourselves by completely different characteristics? why is defining yourself sexually first and foremost of paramount importance? Is sexuality so much more important than ideas or intellect? <bq caption="Position 2516-2519">This is the other side of the if-a-woman-doesn’t-say-no-he-thinks-she-is-easy-to-get coin; it’s the message that men have to “wear her down,” to pursue and to “pull,” because without the extra effort who’d want them (a woman that is easy to get, that’s who). Men aren’t supposed to be honest about their desires or emotions any more than women are.</bq> But don't we do this with everything? Shopping? Stupid movie? Don't we wheedle for more than sex? <bq caption="Position 2552-2555">“The cliché about men not being in touch with their emotions says nothing about inherent markers of maleness. It instead identifies behavioral outcomes that have been rigorously taught, often by well-meaning parents and society at large,”84 establishes writer Kati Holloway.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2647-2651">Study after study show that our sex offender registries are utterly ineffective at reducing sexual violence, and that public notification about sex offenders may actually increase recidivism by making reintegration into society nearly impossible … Rather than narrowly target a very few dangerous offenders and allow them to be monitored by law enforcement, we have morphed our registry into a massive instrument of public censure and marginalization, while utterly failing to advance the purpose for which it was created.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2718-2724">What is also alarming is that most victims don’t know that in most Western countries they are entitled by United Nations law to restorative justice, which is basically what Elva and Stranger did: settling the matter out of court.29 Had they done so officially, a mediator would have helped them with the process. This is possible in all criminal cases, even with rape. “In Germany the police have to inform you about the possibility of restorative justice when you report a crime, but hardly any police service does so,” explains Theresa Bullmann, editor of TOA Magazin, the journal for victim-offender mediation in Germany. “They still don’t trust this instrument.”30</bq> <bq caption="Position 2725-2730">Until the Middle Ages, there were sophisticated regulations around Europe to restore the social balance after a crime. These were superseded by modern legal systems based on retribution rather than reparations, which changed the perception of law and social order fundamentally. Now it was the law, represented by the state, that was violated, not the rights of an individual person. So it is no longer the person that is paid back in material goods—or by the perpetrator’s labor—but the state, either by fines or imprisonment (which usually involves labor). The result is that even when the guilty party is convicted, there is no compensation for the injured party.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2737-2738">It often seems that we are asking the judicial system to serve an emotional and social purpose it was not created for, and seems unlikely to be able to satisfy.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2752-2753">If we make it impossible for them to return to normal life, eventually they will drift toward extremist viewpoints—because far right men’s rights activists are the ones who will welcome them with open arms.</bq> And, just like a victim isn't the crime perpetrated against them, neither is the rapist necessarily - or even likely - a career one. This applies for most other crime: burglary doesn't have an apprenticeship program. <bq caption="Position 2769-2771">One revelation to be gleaned from Stranger’s story is that the rape massively impacted his life as well as hers. After the rape Stranger started having panic attacks and couldn’t stay in a relationship for longer than two months before he had to flee from himself.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2771">We have been trained not to humanize criminals.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2819-2820">It’s fine to insult a woman for getting on a full bus with a pram, but not to wolf-whistle at her.</bq> Its actually fine regardless of the gender of the parent. It's a fineable offense in Switzerland to travel during rush hour with a bicycle, but not a pram. <bq caption="Position 2822-2826">“There is an awful, pervasive myth out there that people who abuse others do so simply because they are bad people—because they are sadistic, or because they enjoy other people’s pain,” Thom posits. “In my experience as a therapist and community support worker, when people are abusive, it’s usually because they have a reason based in desperation or suffering.”44 This is no excuse; people still have free will and agency over their actions. But it is at least an explanation that considers rape as a crime and not an identity.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2841-2844">Although much of our discourse suggests it, rape isn’t only committed by one gender against another, and being female doesn’t mean one is more rapeable. We should try to reflect this in our thinking and speaking. Some people severely lack empathy and humiliate other human beings using sexual acts; some people misunderstand sexual communication and some perform their sexual gender roles to the detriment of other people and themselves.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2862-2865">as Laurie Penny notes: The truly telling part of this perennial non-controversy is not just that it is entertained as a serious prospect, but that sexuality is assumed to destroy any possibility of friendship. Thus, any person who you might want to see naked is on fundamentally hostile territory, to be conquered rather than understood.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2872-2873">[...] no one has proven a direct link between increased penalties and convictions for a crime and a decreased incidence of that crime.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2870-2873">[...] as Sharon Marcus reminds us: Quite literally, the rape has already occured by the time a case comes to court; a verdict of guilty can in no way avert the rape itself, and no one has proven a direct link between increased penalties and convictions for a crime and a decreased incidence of that crime.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2945-2945">bell hooks</bq> This person's name is infuriating, like an eyelash in the eye. We have capitalization for a reason. Compounding a bizarre and narcissistic predilection for small letters with a name composed of two common words is only more obnoxious. And the ostensible last name is a verb, to boot. You.might as well call yourself leather sofa. It would be less confusing. <bq caption="Position 2949-2953">In this framework, self-loathing, neglect, shame, emotional blackmail, and gaslighting59 are also constituents of rape culture—according to hooks—not as items on the list of potential future (criminal) offenses, but in the sense that we should stop seeing them as inevitable parts of the adventure of romantic love, and instead view them as forms of harm and self-harm that we need to replace and heal with more cooperative interactions.</bq> <bq caption="Position 2963-2966">The problem is that most people who are struggling with consent aren’t eight years old, and that conversation isn’t always all that unambiguous, for various reasons: because people don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, because these other people are their bosses, because people aren’t sure what they want themselves, and the list goes on.</bq> <bq caption="Position 3236-3239">The words “witch hunt” soon crept into the conversation. While nobody doubts that serious misconduct has been perpetrated, it is still worrying that people are punished before an investigation, and even more so that the public should applaud this jettisoning of democratic rights. After all, there is only a gradual difference between treating victims without empathy and treating potential perpetrators without empathy.</bq>