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India, Rape, & Covert Colonialism

December 31, 2012

Once again, I’d like to thank Mike and his blog round up for driving so much traffic to my little principality of Internetlandia.

It can be frustrating to realize that you’ve really failed to press your point. I think the primary correlation I was trying to make in the original post about the Indian rape cases was obscured by my choking rage. To be fair, that rage was totally justified. Also, it was 4AM at the time of writing. Still, the failure is mine. Please allow me to rectify it.

What happened in India was horrible. The fact that one of the other women who was recently raped died from her injuries is also horrible. The way that India generally deals with, or fails to deal with rape and rapists continues the horror. However, we need to stop pretending that the American system is anything to be proud of on this subject.

The thing we especially have to guard against is the idea that America’s treatment is inherently better because India is some sort of “backward, ignorant nation” which “just needs to learn from a real country,” or that the problems they are currently facing can be dismissed with “what can you expect from those people?” Finally, we need to not ever ask “what took the people of India so long to get angry about his,” because that’s just embarrassingly hypocritical. I can say with absolute certainty that rape victims and their allies and, you know, people with functioning souls, have been angry about this for a hell of a long time on both continents. Nobody gave a shit before. A better, more honest question would be why are the victims in India being blamed for their governments failure to do their bloody jobs? Oh right, we’re talking about rape and when it comes to rape, blaming the victim is what societies do.

(By the way, everything above in quotes? Those are actual quotes from various blogs, articles, and comments about this event. Really, really not acceptable at all. Stop doing that right the hell now.)

I can’t even find hard data on the numbers of rapes versus the numbers of convictions less than a decade old. For clarity, the National Crime Victimization Survey is not hard data. The decade old data states,

Approximately 85% of rape victims do not report their victimization to criminal justice authorities. Of the 15% who do report, it is estimated that perhaps 10% result in the filing of charges, and perhaps 40% of those cases result in some sort of conviction.

That’s about 15% better than the conviction rate in India. Fifteen percent is nothing to be proud of.

Over and over it is made clear that society views rape victims as either formerly women of worth who are now ruined or whores who were asking for it.

You were raped because you are a whore or you are a whore now that you’ve been raped.”

Sometimes we hear both, in Hindi or English. it doesn’t really matter the damage is the same.

Over and over we are told that the rapist matters. He matters because he plays a sport. He matters because wealthy. He matters because caring about women is just too much fucking effort. He matters because society put males in power position over females so they’re the ones who decide if our rapes can be prosecuted at all and generally they are the ones who decide what stems from that prosecution.

This is the world where rape victims live; where the football team matters more than their safety and the government that is supposed to represent them thinks that at least some of us don’t matter enough to be protected from violence.  Rapists tell their victims this. Friends and family often enforce the message. Oh, and guys, you should be pissed at the government too. totally aside from my expectation that you would be allies, the federal government didn’t think you could even be sexually assaulted until about a minute ago. This isn’t an India problem. It’s a global fucking problem and it requires a fundamental shift in male thinking. Why male? Because global society has to change in order for the problem to improve and the problem is male power and privilege expressed through sexual assault.

The people of India are in this fight. It’s happening in their front yards and on their bodies and against their friends and families. They need us to be with them in that fight. What they do not need, the very last thing they need, is westerners expressing our colonialist ignorance at them. Stand up or shut up because that shit? It isn’t helping. The question we need to be asking is why we aren’t out in the streets too.

India brave heart India Awake

The previous blog post led to a very interesting conversation about porn, because as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving porn or BDSM approaches 1. (Copyright, What a Witch with a nod to Mr. Godwin.)

Go read the comments and then come back.

The crux of the conversation was that media, specifically porn, shapes or at least influences our understanding. It does,but it is also influenced by culture. More than that, it is dictated by culture and you know this because Amos ‘N’ Andy isn’t considered funny anymore and Birth of a Nation isn’t show on television yearly because it’s a “classic.” (Don’t bring up Gone with the Wind. It’s an example that can be used for every bad -ism. Just don’t.) Media influences society but society controls the media. If we don’t buy it, they won’t use it to sell things to us anymore.The responsibility lies with us, not the media.

Here’s the fundamental flaw in the assertion that porn instructs boys and young men that women are only good for one thing. Women and young girls watch porn too and you know what? We’re far less likely to rape someone. And don’t anybody kid yourself that there isn’t a hell of a lot of rape and BDSM porn that involves women in the power position. Hell professional dominance is a legit career choice and one of the few that is primarily female.The genders become even less defined when you’re talking about porn marketed toward the LGBTQ community. Every demographic has rape fantasies. Yet males are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of rape.

Let’s review. Everyone has the same access to pornography. Everyone gets the same mixed messages from pornography. The less heterosexual and/or the more “hardcore BDSM” the pornography becomes, the more likely it is to be gender equal in terms of who is taking what role. Yet males are overwhelmingly more likely to commit rape. Pornography is in no way causal to rape. I would argue that in the 21st Century, it is not even corollary. It’s an excuse that many people use but so are short skirts and lipstick. None of those excuses are valid. The responsibility lies with the rapist, not with pornography.

My trans and gender fluid people, I have no data on you so I can’t speak to how this issue effects you. Please feel free to comment and educate me.

For those of you who have been asking, there were only two comments that didn’t make it to the public section of my previous post on this subject. One started out with “nigger bitch,” and the other contained “dyke whore,” and wandered around from there.  Read the rules boys.

Number of death/rape threats in those two comments? Nine. My response?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 9:26 PM

    Again, thank you. Rape needs to be looked at globally, not just country specific. And how each and every government continually fails to address, and don’t get me started on the legal sentences that are handed down for this violent crime.

  2. January 3, 2013 7:03 AM

    Inspired this:
    I think you may disagree, but that’s what’s exciting. Cheers for the impetus.


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