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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.


( 30 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.
(no subject) - mamid - Apr. 11th, 2006 09:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginmar - Apr. 11th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mamid - Apr. 11th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginmar - Apr. 11th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Apr. 11th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
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
Re: I think I might be losing it. - idemandjustice - Apr. 11th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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.
(no subject) - mamid - Apr. 11th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginmar - Apr. 11th, 2006 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dianamcqueen - Oct. 8th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginmar - Oct. 8th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - demonista - Oct. 11th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC) - Expand
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.
(no subject) - dianamcqueen - Oct. 8th, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ginmar - Oct. 8th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dianamcqueen - Oct. 8th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dianamcqueen - Oct. 8th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )