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[personal profile] flewellyn
Through [livejournal.com profile] pope_guilty, I found this blog entry, in which the author writes about his past arguments against enacting hate-crime legislation, and how he has now found convincing counterarguments which have put him squarely in the "yes, enact these laws" camp. It's a great read, and heartening to see: it's not every day someone will publically admit that they were wrong, and change their minds, AND provide the reasoning behind doing so. Good stuff.

One thing he wrote (which I agreed with) was that, under the definition of hate crime that he was using, rape was thus a hate crime. This is a good realization.

But...one of his commenters did not understand it, and replied thus:

I disagree with your construction of rape as a hate crime, because it happens regardless of gender (male-male, female-female, female-male.) It's a crime of power and domination, not hate. Perhaps self-hate... but I kind of get your point.

Umm...yeah. Where to start with this? The "it's a crime of power and domination, not hate" bit? Or the "it happens" bit, as if rape were some sort of natural event that just...oh...happens, like the weather? I had to respond.

So, in the interest of A) preserving my writings on the subject where I'll be able to find them, and B) sharing my wisdom and brilliance (yeah right) with you all, I have reproduced my response below, under the horizontal rule.




I disagree with your construction of rape as a hate crime, because it happens regardless of gender (male-male, female-female, female-male.) It's a crime of power and domination, not hate. Perhaps self-hate... but I kind of get your point.

Ah, but, since 95% of rapes reported are male perpetrator, female victim, AND rape constitutes an attack on the woman because she is a woman, I would say it definitely qualifies as a hate crime.

Men who are raped are almost always raped by other men, such as in prison settings. The lingo for this is "making him my bitch", which is a term that misogynists also use to refer to women. So...the rape of the male serves to devalue him by making him "play the woman". The viewpoint here is that women are less important, less valuable, and thus things to be used.

It is true that men can be raped outside of prison, and sometimes even by women. I myself know two men who were raped by women. However, I know hundreds of women who were raped by men. This is anecdotal, but it is borne out by the actual crime statistics: men can be raped, but they need not fear it the way women are forced to. Rape is thus a crime overwhelmingly directed at women, as a group, and qualifies as a hate crime.

Historically, and today, women have been the group of people most hated, most reviled, most oppressed, and most devalued in the world. This occurs across cultures, religions, and ethnic groups. Even minorities who have been oppressed themselves often oppress the women in their group (ask Sandra Cisneros, for instance, about how Latina women are treated by Latino men). If this doesn't make violence against women a hate crime...there is no meaning to the term.

Date: 2006-02-05 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spooke.livejournal.com
Well said.

Date: 2006-02-06 08:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azzy23.livejournal.com
Hot damn. I've got to say... why can't more men GET IT the way you do...??? You're completely non-self-defensive about this subject. And you shouldn't have to be defensive, because you aren't a rapist. So many men jump immediately to self-defense, which (in my mind) tacitly labels them.

Anyway, bravo.

Date: 2006-02-07 12:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gruuk.livejournal.com
In other words, should one man disagree with what flew is saying in the text above, he's being defensive, therefore should be labeled a rapist (or at least a potential rapist). As it happens, I find the text's argumentation valid although I do have my own opinion on the subject, especially with regards to what the definition of "hate crime" should be. But that is a difference of opinion on how one would define a particular legal expression, not a difference on how horrible a crime rape is.

But I'm more than uneasy about your generalization; should any man have a position that was the least bit defensive, you would label him a rapist (or a potential rapist), guilty only because an individual defends his opinions on a very serious matter. A preemptive and damaging accusation without any actual knowledge of a person is unwarranted and more than unfair; true, these things are commonplace in the political arena, but have no place in real discussion about things that matter.

Date: 2006-02-07 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azzy23.livejournal.com
Fantastic! You've completely missed what I said, read something entirely unrelated into the words, and kind of proven my point, in one fell swoop!

The point of the statement was that so many men join into a discussion of rape statistics by playing the "you're just labeling all men rapists." The train of thought following that is that a) Not even a MAN should defend a rapist, and b) WHY does a man who is NOT a rapist feel compelled to stand up for "his boys" under the context that they may be rapists? Is he afraid of, himself, being labeled a rapist?

Again, to restate: You don't have to defend a rapist, especially statistically, because some guy being a rapist doesn't mean that EVERY guy is a rapist. Ergo, why not admit that rapists are evil, and leave it at that? Why argue a completely moot point, which is thusly stated:

Not all men are rapists, but most rapists are men.

oh, and also...

Date: 2006-02-07 04:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azzy23.livejournal.com
In other words, should one man disagree with what flew is saying in the text above, he's being defensive, therefore should be labeled a rapist (or at least a potential rapist).

This is, perhaps, a contextual argument that Flew and I have both been a part of in several other blogs, and not literal in this context. I was not saying that disagreeing with flew makes someone a rapist. I was referring to men who argue with factual statistics because they're afraid of being labeled a rapist. So many men feel compelled to defend "mankind" in these discussions, when all they're really doing is defending men who rape. So in this literal context, the only thing they're labeling themselves as are men who disagree with the idea that rape is a hate crime. In the other context, they're clearly labeling themselves as a man who defends the horrendous rape statistics we currently operate with. In my mind, to defend those statistics is too similar to saying it's not a big deal, which again makes women less human than men. That's the point I commend flew for consistently getting, and it is a rarity in most of the men I've met. Not all, mind you, but an alarmingly high number.

Re: oh, and also...

Date: 2006-02-07 04:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gruuk.livejournal.com
Ah, I owe you an apology, then. I thought your comment was more about the "hate crime" part of the above text than about the statistics behind it; read your reply again, it isn't specific to any point, so I sort of defaulted to the one that was most evident to *me* (the rest of the text was sort of familiar, having read similar things before). Since the part of the text that was the cause of a difference of opinion in *me* concerned that expression, I wrongly assumed that's what you were replying to, which led me to believe your reaction was too strong.

Please bear in mind that I do *not* know of any earlier discussions you would have been part of on the subject, so without that context I cannot guess your point from a fairly general reply; however, your additional explanations clarify your point; had I known it was your position, then my own reply would have been completely off the mark and I wouldn't have made it.

Lack of context and my choice of a different premise from yours explains my error, but does not excuse it. Again, I apologize for misinterpreting your intent.

Re: oh, and also...

Date: 2006-02-07 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azzy23.livejournal.com
No problem at all!

A side note, I'm still in the against penalty enhancement for hate crimes boat, although the argument of intent is compelling (to me, anyway). I just think that if we're supposed to all be equal, then all crimes should be equal. Nobody is less murdered because they were killed by a white supremacist or a gay-basher.

I guess I just feel that by adding special punishment to a race or "hate" crime, we're separating out that section, making them something different than human, when the only real crimes are what one human perpetrates upon another...?

Re: oh, and also...

Date: 2006-02-07 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
I think that proper hate crime legislation would punish a group of, say, lesbian women who singled out a heterosexual man and beat him up because of it. That would be a hate crime, since they were targeting him because of the group he was born into.

The fact that this scenario doesn't happen often (or, as far as I know, at all) doesn't mean that, should it happen, it would not be eligible for hate crime prosecution. It's just that certain groups happen to be tartgeted a lot more than others...so we declare that targeting by "group" is off-limits no matter what, we get all those by default.

Re: oh, and also...

Date: 2006-02-07 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cherrypep.livejournal.com
Then we should also declare that identifying oneself or others primarily by group identity is off-limits.

If I believe in anything, it's human rights, but the logical end-point of human tradition is not supportive of human rights. We as a species have a nasty tendancy toward tribalism. And it is a difficult beast to kill, this tendancy, because it is at least half way up Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Social needs, belonging, acceptance.

It is of course wrong to target by group, but it is resultant from the human tendancy to clump into groups wherever possible. Find a way in which humans can get the same benefit from being nodes ephemerally connected into a dynamic network, and the problem goes away.

Politics would be a whole lot more fun in that world, I do know that. Righteous indignation would become a thing of the past. Everything would become a whole lot more personal. It'll never happen, of course. We'll just treat the symptoms of our own inadequacy until Yellowstone goes off and we all choke to death :-)

Date: 2006-02-06 02:20 pm (UTC)
minkrose: (profile2)
From: [personal profile] minkrose
nifty. I saw the link in pope's blog but actually read it after you linked it as well (a girl can only read so much LJ in a day).

this was worth reading. I also like your response (but I'm not going to bother reading the other comments).

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