Monday, December 21, 2009

Jennifer Drew on the Maintenance of Rape and Radical Feminist Analysis Focused on Ending Violence Against Women

[image of poster is from here]

What follows was posted as a comment to the blog abyss2hope, linked to from this blog, but also here. Marcella's post links to a non-Indigenist Australian report on education's role in preventing sexual violence against women written by white feminism who misrepresents "second wave" feminism, but who offers many insights into what needs to change on an educational level to really stop the violence, not just attend to it as an on-going crisis.

Here is a link to that [non-Indigenist] ACSSA (Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault) report titled Conceptualising the Prevention of Sexual Assault and the Role of Education.

My questions are these:
When will governments consistently and adequately fund Social Services and Community Resource groups that are designed not just to help those women harmed by men, but to stop men from doing the harming in the first place!? In some societies, if a man rapes a woman, he is removed from the community and killed. How long would rape continue if that was standard practice?

Just below is Jennifer's response to Marcella's post on this important topic. (I corrected one typo.)

At December 21, 2009 5:01 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...
Very true this report when discussing what is commonly termed second wave feminism does make sweeping statements and once again castigates radical feminists for supposedly reducing female survivors of male violence as 'perpetual victims.' Similarily this report claims radical feminists claimed all men were potential perpetrators.

If the writer had cared to read Catharine McKinnon's work and other radical feminists work, she would have realised her claims were totally untrue. Elizabeth Stanko and Liz Kelly have also written extensively about male violence against women and girls.

What second wave feminists sought to discover is how and why male violence committed against women and girls (and to a lesser extent boys) is widespread, common and mundane. Answering these questions meant radical feminists went to the root of the problem and that is and still is how dominant masculinity is constructed, promoted and maintained as natural.

Likewise radical feminists have looked at how power operates and which dominant group continues to retain this power and define to subordinate groups, primarily women and girls, what does and does not come within the term 'sexual, physical and or pyschological violence.'

But of course we are in the midst of a huge backlash and individualism and 'diversity' means if taken to its logical conclusion that men as a group are not the ones with greater social and economic power and women as a group are supposedly able to negotiate and limit any male's decision to commit sexual/physical/pyschological violence against them. Oh so simple, but as radical feminists discovered or rather re-discovered, patriarchy is not that simple.

Second wave feminists listened to women's and girls' experiences of male violence committed against them and then publicly named such violence for what it is - male control and subordination of all women and girls.

If we cannot name the perpetrators then we cannot even begin to engage in primary prevention work. Naming the perpetrators means challenging the social construction of masculinity and femininity both of which serve to enforce and maintain male power and control over women and girls.

Interlinking this is racism, misogyny, homophobia and classism, none of which can be separated out from how gender is and continues to be constructed as 'natural and unchanging.'

As the backlash commenced so new terms were developed in order to hide the fact violence is predominantly committed by males against females, but since this truth had to be kept hidden, phrases such as family violence, interpersonal violence and even gender-based violence were coined. All of which serve to hide which biological sex is disproportionately committing such acts. 'Family violence' implies several members within a family are committing violence against other members - again too simplistic because it ignores power dynamics and how one or two family members have greater economic and social power than other family members.

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