Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rape, Religion, and Racism: BEWARE OF [a white heterosexual male] GOD

by Julian Real, copyrighted 2009. All Rights Reserved.

As I write this more than one woman in the sphere of women I know is suffering from post-traumatic stress due to being raped within the last few years. Another woman is dealing with incest memories distressingly moving towards the most conscious layers of her mind.

Given this, and completely regardless of this, I wish to link to a discussion about rape I found on one of the blogs on my blog roll.

Below I'm reposting one anonymous man's comment quoted and linked to on abyss2hope:

"Any man that is sick enough to rape is completely fruitloops and no more indicative of men than al-Qaeda is of Islam or the Inquisition is of Christianity."

To those who are not the anonymous man who are visitors here, I recommend reading that post linked to above if you haven't already done so.

To "The Anonymous Man":
Your statements equating being insane with being a rapist are fucked up for a variety of reasons.

"Being insane", if we take that to mean "being psychotic or deranged", is as much an indicator of whether or not that person is a rapist as is the color of a rapist's eyes. Some seriously mentally ill men rape. So to do some men rape who have hazel eyes. So to do some men rape who are in college, and some who are in high school, some who work in offices, some who work in factories, and some who are unemployed. What the population termed "rapists" has in common is not that they are "fruitloops". It is that they have physically violated at least one other human being, using methods and behaviors that are often also termed "seductive" or "sexual". The equation of being fruit-loopy with being an insane rapist reverberates with homophobia and reeks of male supremacist CRAP.

Most rape doesn't happen with great physical force, because the rapist has already arranged for his victim to be sufficiently available to him that he need not use extreme levels of physical force. While some rapists also batter or otherwise severely physically injure their victims during the act of rape, most rapes I'm aware of do not include that as a component of the raper's M.O. Pretending to be a friend of hers, or claiming to love her, scarily obsessing about her, or compulsively or habitually organising one's own presence to be near the person victimised, are far more emblematic characteristics of rapists.

A long time ago I was sexually assaulted by a heterosexual and married man who was known to me. He didn't use "physical force" to entrap me, nor was he insane. He was a skilled, practiced serial child molester. As noted elsewhere in the feminist blogosphere, the overwhelming attribute that rapists share is the fact that they are male and that they have found a way to have power over another human being, most often female. Sometimes rapists use their penises as a weapon of invasion, sometimes they use other things as weapons.

When you reiterate the harmful ableist lie that only clinically, demonstrably "insane" people rape, you promulgate an idea of "the rapist" that doesn't match social reality and further stigmatise mentally ill people as dangerous to society.

If only "insane" [whatever that means] people comprised the sole population out of which rapists emerged, it would be decidedly easier to avoid being raped, unless, of course, the "crazy-acting" people were seen as normal and unremarkable. If we, as a society, determined that "males objectifying females" was an "insane" thing to do, then most rapists would be crazy, as would most heterosexual men. If we understood men occasionally or chronically wanting power and control over women collectively or individually as "insane" then most rapists would be insane, as would most men, heterosexual or not. If we called "a man planning and executing a series of actions designed to put him in close proximity to another person over whom he then exerts some form of violative power and physical control" then all rapists would be "insane", and many other men would risk receiving the label as well. As it stands, none of those things is considered insane by our legal, educational, and religious institutions. All of those things are, in fact, glorified, romanticised, dramatised, advertised, and heterosexualised as natural, inevitable, and socially normal things for men to do when around a woman or women.

Sometimes an act of sexual force is termed rape by the unraped. Sometimes an act of subordinating another human being to one's careless will and self-centered wishes, if also physically invasive and called "sex" by many, is called rape. Most of the time such acts are defiantly called "only sex", by men, and tragically by women who do not wish to identify themselves as rape victims or survivors of rape.

Unless an act of physical violation is generally called sex-not-violence, it is not popularly determined to be rape; it is something else: perhaps it is physical abuse. And for heterosexual men, often, rape is only "a sexual act that has been misunderstood". Rape is called sex when named by the male perpetrator significantly more often than rape is named sex by the assaulted and violated woman. There appears to be a perception problem not among feminists, or women generally, but among men who practice sexual assault as a way to achieve satisfaction and bolster a form of masculinist self-empowerment that is too often valorised among men in patriarchal societies.

When Womanists, feminists, or women without political affiliations make these observations, they are called insane. When men make brag about these same realities, they are, among other men, generally regarded and treated as cool, not inhumane, not horrible, not "terrorists". One reason for this is the fact that men usually target women and girls for sexual violence and abuse, so the rapists are not, in fact, dangerous to the men they hang out with in the ways they are dangerous to women. One reason men brag about their sexual conquests, how they arranged to fuck a drunk woman, how they drugged and raped one or many women, how they enjoy tying women up before having sex with them, is because none of those actions are considered "insane". His male friends are not going to arrange for him to be carried off in a straight-jacket to the nearest psych ward.

Another reason rape happens is because men do not choose to learn what bodily cues mean and don't mean. Some men assume, for example, that a strange woman smiling at him warmly means "she wants me to fuck her now". Some men assume that women who wear short skirts "are begging to be raped". Some men assume that if a girl or woman is a street prostitute or a stripper that means "she will be less harmed by rape than women who are not in any form of prostitution". None of those assumptions are called "insane". Also, some men don't register that a woman being still or emotionally not present might be a clue that she is deeply distressed or dissociated and unable to act on her own behalf.

Drawing parallels, as you do, to what some religious people have done that exceeds the bounds of what a typical white Western male deems "acceptable" or "humane" portrays modern societies this way:

There is this large mass of men who behave appropriately (as defined by masses of men), and then there are the wackos, a group distinct from the masses because of the ridigity of their ideological beliefs and the calculated nature of the violence of their actions towards people who are termed "the enemy" by the wackos.

For rapists to be compared to members of al-Qaeda or the Inquisition is to not understand the social and political function of any of these groups. Every patriarchal religion has extremists, and sometimes those extremists come to be called holy men or saints. It is the trans-cultural patriarchal aspect of the Abrahamic religions, and the heterosexism and misogyny which inheres in societies organised around such religions, together with their perceived or actual vulnerability to a larger internal or external threat, that is the hallmark of such "religious" groups. Understanding members of al-Qaeda as "religious extremists" is less "indicative" of who they are than the fact that they are heterosexually-identified men who use gross violence when they experience being threatened. In this view, it is violent perpetrators of heterosexism and male supremacy, not the fact of someone being Jewish, Muslim, or Christian that identifies "the terrorist" as such. Many who identify with small violent, ideologically rigid minority factions of a larger oppressive religion or social group, think dominant society is fundamentally off-course and believe it may be corrected, or set straight, through the use of sustained acts of terrorism.

Rapists do not necessarily believe society is off-course, except when it comes to making rape a crime, a human rights violation, or when society is, in the view of masculinist men, being "feminised", which is to say, ruined. Society is off-course, according to the rapist, when its members understand the rapist to be a terrorist of women as a class of gender-oppressed people. The religion of non-militarised rapists is terroristic patriarchy.

For militarised terrorists armed against an alleged enemy state, the religion is also terroristic patriarchy; to believe it has more to do with Islamic, Jewish, or Christian gospel misses the point. The enemy of Muslim people of color is a particularly virulent form of Western white heterosexual male supremacist, corporate capitalism fused to governmental militarism, practiced and worshipped by secularists as well as Christians. Aspects of this is what the Rev. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was identifying and confronting more radically in the years just prior to his assassination. Deeper connections have been made in the following decades by Womanists and radical feminists of color.

Since its inception, the U.S. government has been waging war against women--white women and women of color. The United States of America is founded on white heterosexual male supremacy. That the Founding Fathers were puritanical Protestants is relevant only insofar as their religion was racist, heterosexist, and misogynistic, with a belief that being pale and male makes one closer to the God-of-social hierarchies.

The "enemy", in this view, is only regarded as fully human by white Westerners if he is white, heterosexual, male, and not disabled or poor. Followers of the descendants of Abraham are not so different as some say, if they follow the man-made patriarchal teachings posing as "the Word of God" in religious texts. In this country, patriarchal Christianity is normative and rape is commonplace. Christianity, like many other religions, is misused by its most political preachers and representatives to espouse heteropatriarchal doctrine and practice, both of which are decidedly secular and amoral.

In this view, "9/11" as that particular horror has come to be termed, is registered in the Western social psyche as undeniably horrible. This is because many white businessmen--heterosexual men with girlfriends, wives, and/or children were the majority demographic that died an atrocious death. White U.S. widows grieved real grief, and the young children of those fallen men have since grown up with memories of a daddy who only appears in a few fading photographs. Of those who died on "9/11", only those who were not "foreigners" were tallied as especially noteworthy deaths. And even among that population, working class employees of color were not seen as representative victims, to the extent they were spoken about at all in the dominant media.

The U.S. government then proceeded to kill even more U.S. men and women (those in the military), disproportionately poor or of color, and at least one hundred thousand Iraqis, most of them civilian women and children. These facts are not seen by white conservative Amerikkkans as a form of unGodly evil, the perpetration of a gross atrocity, or a form of terrorism-by-terrorists. Note at the "icasualties" site that those not from the U.S. or U.K.--both white heteromale supremacist countries, are termed "other".

When the governing members of a society determine that only actions of an extremely violent and unusually traumatic nature to men constitute terrorism, normal forms of terrorism disappear as such.

Normal heterosexual men rape women and girls, and also boys. When rape happens to boys it is newsworthy, as long as the boys are majority white and the men can be pegged as "probably not really heterosexual". When rape happens to women and girls it is one of three things: a) not rape, b) entertainment, or c) a non-event. It is disproportionately "c" when the victims are of color, whether an adult or a child.

Television media is utterly preoccupied with men's rape and murder of women as a form of entertainment for the masses. In primetime, rape and gynocide is entertainment, dehumanising the reality of female rape and murder victims. Meanwhile, U.S. militaristic racism and sexism, xenophobia and genocide, remain primarily off-camera, out of view of the popular media, and dissociated inside the dominant Western society's psyche.