What’s the matter with (the term) “rape culture?”

MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2014

Valenti opines in the Post: Jessica Valenti is often featured in the Washington Post’s Sunday Outlook section.

Yesterday, she extended a fascinating recent discussion about either 1) the term “rape culture” or 2) the concepts behind the term “rape culture.” The fact that no one seems to know what is actually being discussed shows us something less than great about our emerging “progressive” culture.

The current discussion (or non-discussion) started with a cryptic remark by RAINN, which describes itself as “the country’s largest anti-sexual-violence organization.” Midway through a five-page letter to a White House task force, two RAINN officials said this:
RAINN (2/28/14): In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards 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.
The letter goes on at some length. That short remark has produced a lot of pushback, part of a very confused and confusing discussion.

What exactly did the RAINN officials mean by that remark? Constructively, Valenti asked them! This is part of her piece in the Post:
VALENTI (3/30/14): RAINN President Scott Berkowitz told me that the memo to the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault wasn’t meant as a thorough critique of sexual violence in America. He agreed there are systemic issues: from untested rape kits to justice system treatment of survivors. But he stood by the passage about rape culture, arguing that the term “muddies” the conversation about how to help survivors and risks alienating allies. “Many people interpret it—men in particular—as accusatory,” he said. “We need to encourage their good instincts rather than pointing a finger.”

Yet Tracey Vitchers of Students Active for Ending Rape says talking about rape culture has been instrumental to her work. “The concept of rape culture provides students with the language to contextualize what is happening and how they can talk to administrators and peers,” Vitchers says. “Rape culture speaks to the larger systemic problem of why bystanders don’t intervene, why victims don’t feel safe going to campus police and why you see such levels of PTSD among college survivors.”
Do men interpret the term “rape culture” as accusatory? We don’t know, but we’ll guess that it does “muddy” some conservations, as is true whenever a group starts adopting a private language that the wider population finds unfamiliar and perhaps a bit strange-sounding.

Yesterday, we looked through the comments to Valenti’s piece and to this earlier piece by Amanda Marcotte at Slate. We were struck by the total confusion—the sense that nobody seemed to agree on what was being debated.

Private language can defeat efforts at wider persuasion. That is especially true of private language which may sound jargonized, with perhaps a whiff of the academy attached to it.

More powerfully, unfamiliar locutions may tend to drive people away if they seem to carry a not-too-secret animus against the people being approached. As in the street-fighting 1960s, so too now: we will guess that many people may see an animus against “Amerikan culture” in some of the banners under which the emerging progressive world may be choosing to march.

It’s hard to approach the wider population, all 315 million strong, if you sound like you may not like them much, or if you sound like you have an animus against their “culture.” Progressives are allowed to have such an animus, of course. It's just that some such animus may make it hard to win approval for progressive causes from the wider public, even where the overall goals should be widely held.

Based on Valenti’s report, Berkowitz seemed to say that many people find the term “rape culture” off-putting in some way or other. If that problem actually exists, one solution would be obvious—people could look for a way to present the ideas in question in a more persuasive way.

That said, progressives and liberals sometimes seem to have a cultural preference for the name-calling of The Others. The examples are endless; we'll offer one below.

With that is mind, we’ll make one final point, and we’ll flirt with being a tiny bit snarky. Valenti quotes Kitchens saying this:

“The concept of rape culture provides students with the language to contextualize what is happening and how they can talk to administrators and peers.”

We don’t know how people react to the term “rape culture.” But if you want to approach the public and win them over to a cause, we’ll even suggest that you stay away from terms like “contextualize.”

People won’t know what you’re talking about. They may find themselves strangely inclined to turn away from your cause.

What’s the matter with Iowa farmers: In what ways do liberals sometimes signal that they may not fully respect average people?

Sadly, hopelessly, let Candidate Braley show you!

96 comments:

  1. IMHO the term 'rape culture' is being used by a certain group of activists as a means of gaining power on campus. Despite the fact that there's no particular reality behind the phrase, it has been useful to these activists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still fighting the good YAF battle for campus power, eh Davey?

      Delete
    2. There is no power on campus.

      Delete


    3. How To Get Your husband Back & Avoid Divorce,Love Spells That Really Work Fast


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      Delete
  2. Excellent. Taking a little of the contextual wind from the sails of the
    S bombers will help keep all the air from seeping out of our intellectual culture as it collapses out of sight from most.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't define "rape culture". The term users do not agree as to what it means.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You inability does not surprise. A thread or so back you couldn't recognize the presence or meaning of "and."

      Vocabulary. It's so sucky.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous troll fails to explain what "rape culture" is. :-)
      My guess as to why: You don't know what it is supposed to mean either.

      Delete
    3. "Anonymous troll ... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz.

      Delete
    4. You didn't ask. Two days ago I did. My guess is the air pressure in their is constant, not erratic. Plenty of space for the molecules to bounce about freely regardless of the emotional levels.

      Delete
  4. Let me offer you an example of rape culture, Bob.

    Back in 1988, in reference to a basketball game in which he thought the refs were making bad calls, Indiana Coach Bob Knight told Connie Chung on TV: "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."

    Knight would remain coach at Indiana for another 12 years. When he was finally fired (not over the rape comment), he would take the head coaching job at Texas Tech, coaching there until he retired in 2008.

    Then he got TV gigs, as well as induction into various halls of fame and the recipient of the Naismith Award for "outstanding contributions to basketball."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, How many people do you know who agree with Bob Knights 1988 comment? If the number is very high, will you continue to say that rape culture is a thing?

      Delete
    2. A Perez. How many people do you know who ever saw a Bob Knight Texas Tech basketball team who agree he should be be given the Nepotisim Award and be placed in the Deck Chair Rearrangement on the TyrantTantric Hall of Fame?

      Delete
    3. Yes, A Perez. I have no doubt that you personally expressed your outrage in 1988, and even two years later when the GOP candidate for Texas governor thought the remark was so cute he repeated it.

      I am also certain that you are outraged every time a woman has to prove that she is as pure as the driven snow to get a jury to believe that she was raped. Or that she didn't have it coming because of the provocative way she dressed. Or that she didn't say "No" forcefully enough nor physically fight hard enough, which would mean the sex was "consensual."

      Perhaps if Somerby would care to examine the "rape culture" language a bit more rather than dismiss it out of hand because it makes him uncomfortable, he would look into how universities all over the country, driven by the outrage of women, are fighting against "date rape" -- another term I am certain Bob would find fuzzy and ill-defined.

      After all, if a co-ed is at a frat party and has a few too many, she had it coming, right?

      The rape culture at work.

      And we won't even go to sexual misconduct in the military.

      Delete
    4. Somerby isn't saying there is no problem. He suggests talking about it differently -- in a way more people can hear.

      Delete
    5. Bob Knight told Connie Chung on TV: "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."

      Hello? This is a very old saying, one that's been around all my life. Here, it's being used as a metaphor. Knight was implying that the ref's calls were terrible, but there was nothing he could do about it. BTW he said this 26 years ago!

      Delete
    6. Hello? A very famous coach thought it was perfectly OK to make a crude, sexist joke about rape.

      And you, on March 31, 2014, thinks there was nothing wrong with it!

      I can't come up with a better example of "rape culture" than that.

      Delete
    7. Jokes about anything can be funny and there is nothing wrong with a ny funny joke regardless of subject

      Delete
    8. I can come up with better examples of "rape culture". That would be cultures that truly encourage rape. E.g., see this link to see what a real rape culture looks like.

      Delete
    9. "Jokes about anything can be funny and there is nothing wrong with a ny funny joke regardless of subject"

      Does that include Earl Butz's famous "joke" about "ni----s" wanting loose shoes, good sex and a warm place to defecate? That was sure a knee-slapper.

      Delete
    10. If the best some of you pea brains can come up with is a 26-year-old stray quote where rape is used metaphorically to describe how to react to a bad call in a basketball game, I think you've pretty much proved that "rape culture" is rancid horse crap.

      Delete
    11. In regards to the politician who made the stupid comment in '88. His comment was so popular that it was the primary reason he got thumped in the Governors race, in Texas, by a liberal no less.

      Delete
  5. Please progressives! Heed Bob's advice. Don't go around saying murky things like "I took the initiative to create the Internet." It has the whiff of preposterous pomposity to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahahahha!

      We see what you did there you clever wag.
      [/irony]

      No, but really -- you're a douchebag, pretending you don't get Somerby's point (you do), and that you have a better one to make (you don't).

      Delete
    2. Oh, I get Somerby's point. The guy hasn't had a date in 40 years, and is a charter member of the He-Man Women Haters Club.

      He won't even entertain the possibility that there might be something to this "rape culture" thing. It's just these bossy broads being obnoxious to he-men like himself.


      Delete
    3. Douchebag is an excellent choice of name calling for this topic. So is flirting with a little snark. Because rape does invite vaginal references in anger and a jocular tone to calm the otherwise off putting discussion.

      Delete
    4. There is nothing to "this rape culture thing" except some unstable women with free floating anger at men, probably their fathers in particular.

      Delete
    5. And thank you once again for defining "rape culture."

      Delete
  6. Bob stop mansplaining. Stop it now. Rape culture exists, just because you're too dim to understand it, just means that you're old.

    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt Bob can remember all the way back to 2012. That's when Todd Aiken lost a slam-dunk Senate seat when he proclaimed that women claim rape just to get an abortion, because as he well knew, no woman can get pregnant from a "legitimate rape."

      Tell me again that "rape culture" is a fuzzy concept that needs more explaining, old timer.

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure what a "rape culture" is either. It sounds like a blanket indictment-- but of what?

      Also ... since the definition of "rape" has been expanded to automatically include any and all kinds of genital contact (except-- interestingly enough -- female touching male), doesn't this kind of cook the books when it comes to having an intelligent discussion?

      Delete
    3. Nice try. But "rape" has never been defined as "any and all kinds of genital contact."

      It has been defined as forced genital contact against an unwilling victim.

      But you go ahead with your "slut shaming". After all, rape isn't really rape any more is it? It's just simple genital contact, consensual or otherwise, and all a woman has to do is cry "rape" and she will be believed.

      Delete
    4. Wrong. Rape used to be intromission, and usually violent. Not just touching the genitals. That was sexual assault.

      I love the "slut shaming" accusation. Who's talking about the victims here?

      Delete
    5. P.S.

      I should add too that this new definition of "rape" actively discriminates against men. If a man touches a woman's genitals and she doesn't want it, that's a rape charge.

      But the vice versa isn't true. If a woman grab's a man's crotch and feels around, that's not rape. But why not?

      And if it is rape -- where are all the court cases? The new, expanded definition of "rape" creates a serious double standard in how the law's applied. It's also intellectually dishonest.

      No one's defending these actions. Just the labels.

      Delete
    6. The fact that Alien was badly beaten in a "slam dunk" Senate race, in huge part due to his widely ridiculed comment would suggest to me exactly the opposite of the point Anon above is trying make. He, by way of his remark was rejected and I doubt it gained him a single vote.

      Delete
    7. Sharon, you sound like an ageist.

      Delete
  7. Hey Bob. Contextualize this.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/03/31/dupont_heir_roberts_h_richards_iv_gets_probation_for_raping_his_daughter.html

    It was only a click away from Marcotte.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In your twisted mind do you think Somerby approves of rape? Go somewhere else with this garbage.

      Delete
  8. "What’s the matter with Iowa farmers: In what ways do liberals sometimes signal that they may not fully respect average people? Sadly, hopelessly, let Candidate Braley show you!"

    Right, Bob. Take the right-wing spin on Braley's clumsy comment and use it to attack all "liberals." We would expect nothing less of the Daily Howler, or Breitbart.com or Sean Hannity.

    Just fair warning, though. I would bet the mortgage that Braley knows a lot more about farms and Iowa than Somerby does.

    And I would also bet that Braley has far more contact with "average people" than Somerby has, locked up in his basement typing whatever brilliant thought crosses his mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liberals "fully respect average people" who are victims in our rape culture.

      Delete
  9. Rape culture? Mind your sentence construction. Provocative linguistic choices always invite trouble in our collapsing intellectual culture.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Is there a drunken driving culture? Let's discuss it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There used to be. In Texas they would not ban open containers of alcohol in cars until federal law threatened the state's highway funding. People arrested for DWI could be released without being booked into jail.

      Delete
  11. "In what ways do liberals sometimes signal that they may [sic] not fully respect average people?"

    In what ways does Somerby often signal that he might not fully respect average people?

    Try this as just the latest way Somerby calls people so dumb they need to be talked down to:

    ***

    We don’t know how people react to the term “rape culture.” But if you want to approach the public and win them over to a cause, we’ll even suggest that you stay away from terms like “contextualize.”

    People won’t know what you’re talking about. They may find themselves strangely inclined to turn away from your cause.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "contextualize" is not an accusatory term. Somerby takes issue with "rape culture" not because it's a long complicated word, but because it's accusatory.

      Delete
    2. Since the point either flew over your head, or your are desperately trying to change the subject, I'll try one more time.

      Bob thinks people are so dumb, they are turned off by big words like "contextualize."

      It's just more of Somerby's anti-intellectualism: Don't use big words and new terms. It makes the rabble angry.


      Delete
    3. It's not anti-intellectualism. It's calling out Baffle Them With Bullshit nonsense.

      Delete
  12. I feel microagressed against when I hear the term "rape culture." Progressives get more ridiculous by the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a leftie, I don't get this new definition of "rape," either.

      Apparently, any kind of genital contact is now considered to be rape under both the law and modern usage-- which not only opens up the accusation to almost all males of the species, but also cheapens the plight of those victims who have been truly attacked.

      Of course, if you suggest that there might be a big difference between "feeling out" and what they used to call violent "intromission," the Maddow Crowd goes nuts. Which they probably will here.

      Delete
    2. I get it. So all those kids whom Uncle Ernie merely fondled weren't really attacked. And for them to carry around that burden and seek help later, well that merely cheapens the plights of those victims who have been "truly attacked."

      Thank you, Todd Aiken.

      Delete
    3. So fondling's now rape? Exactly when did that happen?

      Delete
    4. "So fondling's now rape? Exactly when did that happen?”

      Fondling? C’mon… wolf whistles are rape now.

      Delete
    5. Rape is not rape culture.

      Delete
  13. Rape Culture is what white males call "love". Because the white male is incapable of love, he must rape.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is a stupid lie by the blogger that only liberals make fun of dirt-farmers. George HW Bush characterized Reagan's followers as "blockheads and dummies".

    Republicans may be somewhat more circumspect about their dumb, ignorant constituents and may even celebrate their dumbness and ignorance, but its just Kabuki theater - Iowa farmers know what cultured sophisticated people, liberals or conservatives, think of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Cultured sophisticated people." Who says that? The douchbaggery on the left has reached epic proportions.

      Delete
    2. AnonymousApril 1, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      You are only expressing your rage at your betters. The right panders to the likes of you and says NASCAR, Gilligan's Island, Hee Haw etc. are as much culture as Mozart, Shakespeare etc.

      Delete
    3. It's certainly encouraging to know liberals have reached the same level of cultured sophistication as elitist country club Republicans. Congratulations liberals! You've come so far.

      Delete
    4. "are as much culture"

      Delete
    5. As a left winger I have no problem with NASCAR. Used to like it much better when it was more or less regional before it became completely corporatized. Been to a couple of races. An interesting spectacle and pretty great party atmosphere. I suspect one has to be a Gearhead, or at least be able to appreciate the technology involved to enjoy it.

      Not a fan of Hee Haw's cornpone humor and didn't watch much, but they did feature a fair number of outstanding, genuine country artists of the era. For that matter, the two hosts, Roy Clark was one of the finest guitar pickers ever, and Buck Owens is a American music icon in large part responsible for "the Bakersfield sound" in country music. Hell, even the Beatles covered his music. Don't be afraid to expand your horizons.

      Delete
  15. The intent of pushing the term is to change the culture so that prospective jurors will convict men accused of rape when it's just one person's word against the other's. What gets in the way of these verdicts is jurors considering the manner of dress of the woman and behavior, and witnesses who testify to her character.

    Fortunately these factors will always be considered and accusers will not be permitted to send another person to prison simply by pointing a finger at them. Not infrequently a scorned or buyer's remorseful finger.

    Progressives want one group of people to be able to convict another based on a mere accusation with no questions asked. We've seen this before in history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bullshit! This isn't about getting convictions of poor, innocent men, the victims of "buyer's remorse." (Gawd, can you possibly get more demeaning to women?)

      This is about raising awareness, so that perhaps young men will realize that when a young woman says no, she means no. and without this bullshit "she had it coming to her" and "well, boys will be boys" attitude.

      Delete
    2. Good Gawd,10:48. I hope you never have a daughter who is a victim or rape. I'm sure you will be quite consoling with your "It's just your word against his" crap,

      Delete
    3. If I have a daughter she will be informed of the realities of accusing someone of a serious crime, and that people should not convict others based on mere accusations, and that this is the context in which any allegation she might make would (and should) be considered. Therefore, she should be circumspect about her behavior and appearance because we are not yet at a point in this country where an allegation is the only requirement for a conviction. Hopefully any daughter I would have would be intelligent enough to agree, and not an angry maladjusted perpetual victim.

      Delete
    4. But Anon 11:06, I would be interested to know what you think the alternative to jurors presuming the accused to be innocent, and seeking other information in order to determine how much credibility to assign the accuser and accused, should be. Surely you don't believe one accused of a serious crime shouldn't be presumed innocent and all facts surrounding the events in question considered? You probably do, as do most "progressives." We sane liberals disagree.

      Delete
    5. Being a "rape culture" activist, I told my son he should be careful of associating with any female. Always have an alibi because with a jury filled with people like me, we will take her word for it. He will be disowned and forever referred to as my rapist son if ever accused, especially by a drunken scantily dressed woman witnessed hanging all over him at the bar before going to his apartment and who was angered she was never called. The existence of a possibility that she was raped alone is enough to justify his losing many years of life in prison.

      Delete
    6. Yes, and a big part of the "rape culture" is blame the victim, which you have done nicely.

      Obviously, there is no such thing as rape. There are only drunken scantily clad women hanging all over men in bars before they go to his apartment then get angry later because he never called.

      Sure. Happens all the time. And there must be thousands and thousands of poor, innocent boys spending years in prison because of these scheming women.

      Delete
    7. Actually, there often is an inconsistency. Women are often confused about their signals, and sometimes don't mean "no" when they say "no."

      That's not license to attack, but it does complicate the issue. Not all young men are hateful, yet this 'rape culture' label paints them all with the same brush.

      And I still don't get non-intromission abuse getting called "rape" now. It means that almost anything sexual but unwanted now (or later) will fit the accusation!

      Delete
    8. Sure. Happens all the time. And there must be thousands and thousands of poor, innocent boys spending years in prison because of these scheming women.

      You obviously believe that because there aren't "thousands" but only some, that justifies putting them all away on an allegation. That's the difference between people who understand that isn't the character of a legitimate justice system, and people like you.

      Delete
    9. That's not license to attack, but it does complicate the issue.

      One should not complicate issues when arguing with today's brand of "progressive." They're (dangerously) simple minded folk.

      Delete
    10. Anon 1:09, do you believe women are incapable of lying under any circumstance or does the question itself "blame the victim"?

      Delete
    11. Anon 4:06, what a stupid strawman you thrash.

      Delete
    12. Quite the contrary, it wasn't a strawman, it was a question. I just don't believe that an accuser is necessarily always a victim. Overwhelming men in this culture do not condone nor participate in rape. Why pretend that they do?

      Delete
    13. Overwhelmingly

      Delete
  16. There's way more proof than an accusatory figure about the elites who crashed the world's economy through fraud. This progressive wants to see those people convicted and imprisoned.
    Why doesn't everyone else?

    Berto

    ReplyDelete
  17. Significantly more destructive to rape victims than "rape culture" is the victim culture that forces women who are victims of rape to view that event as more defining and destructive than it has to be. A subtle form of slut-shaming more insidious than the overt type, veiled in "rights" and "compassion."

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fuzzy emotional responses by all the pushers of "rape culture" meme.

    Not a single defense of their argument that "accusers should be believed, no questions asked including relevant ones, and none are relevant." Or "defendants should be presumed guilty."

    I wouldn't admit it either if those were my positions.

    ReplyDelete
  19. .I really don’t understand why is this why does people need to do this? Women are deserved to be respected and since we cannot predict what will happen next we must be alert and secure bring safety with you at http://bit.ly/1nctEuL.this is a protection that can be install to your cell phone ten it can re easily routed to the nearest 911 if needed hope this will be a big help.

    ReplyDelete


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    ReplyDelete
  21. Look at the cuckoos come out of the woodwork. I actually like them, Bill Maher mentioned the need for a Democratic Tea Party (Donner Party he called them), they push the conversation back toward the middle. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have actually had to make arguments that make sense in the last year, it forces conservatives to act sane because they're confronted with an insane person. Sure all men are rapists and we live in a rape culture that celebrates rape and will rape whoever you are reading this all too soon. Keep spewing it out, and write Dan Snyder a few more letters about Indians being offended while you're at it. It's all part of a bigger plan.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Interestingly he also tested quite a few electric skateboardmotors whilst trying to determine the ideal wattage to use for his boards and what he found was that quite a few of them actually rated quite a bit under what they were labeled as (one of the leading brand's 500 watt motors only rated at 220 watts).

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