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eight myths about rape

I figure this is a good time to publicize this list, which comes from Helen Benedict's Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes.

These myth are especially relevant today, and they appear to be almost completely unknown.

"Whether any one victim is labeled a 'virgin' or a 'vamp' and which myths are brought into play, depends both on the characteristics of those who are discussing the case and on the circumstances of the crime itself. Going over the vast amount of sociological literature on this subject---studies of how people react to rape scenarios---I have identified eight factors that lead the public, and the press, to blame the victim for the rape, and to push her into the role of 'vamp'.

1. If she knows the assailant. (Victims recieve more sympthy in the assailant is a stranger.)

2. If no weapon is used. (Studies show that the public is more inclined to believe a rape happened if a weapon was used.)

3. If she is of the same race as the assailant. (Victims traditionally attract the most attention if they are white and their assailants are black. Blacks raped by whites tend to recieve more attention than black-on-black crime, which recieves the least attention of all.)

4. If she is of the same class as the assailant. (She will be blamed less if the assailant is of a lower class than she.)

5. If she is of the same ethnic group as the assailant. (If prejudices to do with ethnicity or nationality can be called in to slur the assailant the victim will benefit.)

6. If she is young. (Older women tend to be seen as less provacative.)

7. If she is 'pretty.' (Studies have found that although people tend to be biased against attractive rape victims, they are biased in favor of attractive assailants. The idea is that an attractive man does not need to rape because he can get all the women he wants, a relfection of the 'assailants are motivated by lust' myth. This finding applied tellingly in the Chambers/Levin case.)

8. If she in any way deviated from the traditional female sex role of being at home with family or children. (People blame the victim more if she was in a bar, hitchhiking, at a party, or out on her own anywhere 'good girls' are not supposed to be preceeding the attack.)

Copyright 1992 Helen Benedict.

I think a ninth one needs to be added to this list, as well: if the assailant is of a higher social class than the victim, she will be regarded as a cynical gold digger.

In any event, if you wish the see the foundation myths for these myths, I have a category called 'Myths about rape" to which I will be adding this list as a reference. I urge you all to go out and buy this book.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC)
If they had sex before. Once you've had sex with a guy, the onus is that you can never say no again to him no matter what your current relationship is.

If the person is your spouse. Marital rape doesn't happen because the laws of marriage require consumation of said.
Apr. 11th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
Washington State is one of few states that grants that one time consent does not equal total consent. Rape charges will be filed even if the woman has given prior consent.

However, that is rape charges will be filed. That doesn't gauruntee conviction.
Apr. 11th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC)
law be damned. We're talking popular opinion here more than law.

Anyone watch Law and Order CSI last week? They had a former CSI detective who had been "fired" say that the rape wasn't a rape, but a date where she changed her mind.

That is so true!
Apr. 11th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well, all of dick wolf's shows are pretty sexist. I hate the guy and I pretty much hate his shows, too.
Apr. 11th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
Sorry.. Law and Order SVU not CSI.

That's the only one of those shows I like. And I'll be damned if they don't parallel history.
Apr. 11th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
I've studied some of the cases that he claims the shows 'aren't' based on, and in every case, if there's a chance to make a woman the bad guy, he does it. He's taken famous cases and made female victims into offenders. Women don't get raped or battered on his shows: they ask for it or they fake it.
Apr. 11th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
This is when I get revolted by all those claims by men that I'm Not Like That.

Oh no, there's just SO FUCKING MANY of you goddamend princes around that there are how many states out there with this sort of law? Hm?

Because we all know that there's so MANY fucking fabulous, wonderful, fantastic men out there that ALL FIVE of the asshole-men are the ones who manage to make the vast majority of the country a legal nightmare for women. Because there's only five bastards out there, and the rest of you all, this mythic majority of Wonderful Guys, are ... what? Sitting on their fucking asses doing nothing because it ain't their goddamned problem?

When I hear about shit like this -- LAWS, LAWS that say that once we agree to let one penis into us that we've lost ownership over our bodies forever more and have agreed to become the psychological toilet for any male who chooses to use us thusly -- this is why I feel no compunction anymore about saying that I hate men.

Because if there really were so many of these like, oh-so-wonderful, like fabulous guys that everynoe talks about, hateful shit like this wouldn't even get off the fucking ground much less get codified into the legal system to the point where we have to work ourselves to the fucking bone to get rid of it.
Apr. 11th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
I sometimes think there's only one myth, if you are female it didn't happen to you, all the other myths are sub-categories.
Apr. 11th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
A woman wants to be raped -- so if she is -- it's her fault.
Apr. 11th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
I think I might be losing it.
I swear, somewhere in a comment thread in one of your entries, I came across a link to an article explaining just how reliable DNA evidence actually is. I was going to post it in my journal. I'm at work, and I had some stuff come up. I'd copied the link, but when I went to post it, I wound up pasting some client's address instead. I went back through your comments and I just can't fucking find it now. Am I going crazy? Did I imagine I found it in one of your threads? Do you know what article I'm talking about?

Apr. 11th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
Re: I think I might be losing it.
yeah. it was ablut three threads ago. Veddy interestink...

Which, of course, tells me that OJ did do it.
Apr. 11th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: I think I might be losing it.
I just posted it as a separate entry. :P
Apr. 11th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: I think I might be losing it.
Apr. 11th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
Oh good grief. Now the Mothering dot Com mamas are saying that race was the reason behind the entire Duke rape.

My view? She was a woman hired to perform a service who was raped at her job site by multiple assailants and that by continuing to play the race card, you devalue her humanity. Race has nothing to do with her being raped, it just compounds it.
Apr. 11th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, I disagree. I think they targeted her because they didn't expect anyone to believe her. I've seen people bashing her on other sites because she's a single mother, a stripper---and they assume she's a ho, too, with a certain amount of sadistic glee. So I think race had everything to do with it, and these guys picked her because they thought no one would believe them. After all, they're nice rich white boys.
Apr. 11th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)

Links please. This I have got to see.

(and just because you're a single mother doesn't mean you're a ho no matter what your job is, even prostitution!)
Apr. 11th, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC)
Go to alas. There's a number of Duke U threads there, and one guy has been calling her a prostitute.
Oct. 8th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
Prositutes still have the right to refuse, even if they're job is to have sex with someone, she doesn't have to except if she doesn't want to. Prostitutes are not rape vending machines, that's what disgusting men, who think being male makes the world theirs, think.
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
Try explaining that to some of the dipshits I have to deal with, who don't seem to understand that if a prostitute needs the money to pay the rent or eat, yes, she's being coerced.
Oct. 11th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
Yes. Or if she's dopesick (jonesing for her next fix). Or if she really needs the money to get through college. Or if she's doing it because you're dangling a promotion or threat of demotion/firing over her head. Or...well, you get the idea.
Apr. 11th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
I'd have thought her race and her sex played a part in the crime or rather the racism and sexism of her attackers was what was driving them, it doesn't have to be one or the other.
Apr. 12th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
I've been reading that thread and it annoys me.

Apr. 11th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
"7. If she is 'pretty.' "

Or also if she is not pretty - she must be making it up because of course, if she's unattractive, why would a guy want to have sex with her? ::rolleyes::

Apr. 11th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
oh, that reminds me:

my friend is a rape baby. her mother is mentally disabled (significantly lower cognitive and motor ability, etc). she found out herself a couple of years ago that the reason she didn't have a father was that her mom was raped. i told a friend of mine about all this and she said, 'well, was her mom pretty?'

'...um, why?'

'well, i mean, if she's disabled and whatever, i would think she'd be pretty then, if someone were to rape her.'


same case: her grandparents decided against filing a rape suit because they were afraid that if they proved paternity, he would end up getting some sort of joint custody.

no-one should have to be afraid of that...
Apr. 11th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
unfortunately, as soon as paternity is proven, or if the man in the woman's life at the time wants to continue to fuck with her, he can file for joint visitation and force her and her family into it. And his parents can file for it to.

Look up "grandparent's rights" on google. You'll be horrified.
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
you would think in the case of rape that the guy is not a suitable father figure to raise a kid...digusting.
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Some states have passed laws exatly to that effect. Nevertheless, the fact that's it's not just automatic tells you something. Shows you how men actually regard rape, doesn't it?
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, completely. There's still a lot of people brainwashed and powerless to the effect that male dominion is natural and good, and you must submit to it where ever it is.

I'm so sick of seeing evidence of men acting like they are the only humans and everything around them are they're rightful playthings. That gets me so freaking angry, sometimes I scare myself.

Thank goodness some states pass these things. Anything to make it harder for people to fuck with the system,
Oct. 8th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
I would've slapped them. simply out of disgust.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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