T R I G G E R W A R N I N G: Rape
Richard Dawkins has once again pissed people off. He took to his Twitter page recently to say:
“Mild date rape is bad. Violent date rape is worse.” Is it really so hard to understand that that doesn’t constitute endorsement of either?
I suspect Dawkins is talking rape in a legal sense, but that’s not completely clear. He’s also misrepresenting the criticism against him. I haven’t seen anyone claim that he’s endorsing so-called ‘mild rape’. The criticism I’ve seen centers on the idea of ranking rape. He’s saying to rape victims:
“oh, you weren’t violently raped? It’s not that bad. That person over there had it far worse because they were violently raped.”
All non-consensual sex-i.e. rape-is horrible. People deal with it differently. On an individual level, some might feel that their experience wasn’t horrible. Some even say that what they experienced wasn’t rape. In the minds of far too many people, rape is this horrifically violent crime that results in a battered, bruised victim who was shouting to the top of her (yes, HER, because so many people refuse to entertain the idea that men can be raped-which they can be). When you view rape through that lens, then other situations where a victims says they’ve been raped, are viewed through that lens. “Oh, you don’t have any cuts and bruises. And you say you didn’t tell your attacker to stop. I don’t think you were raped. You just had sex that you now regret.” Just typing that disgusts me. If it was non-consensual, it was rape, no matter how violent or non-violent it was. The question should be “Did you want this?”, not “Do you have injuries? Did you put up a fight? Did you say no?” (the default in sexual interactions should not be “yes”. It should be no, until you get a confirmed yes-whether that is verbally or physically communicated).
This idea of ‘ranking rape’ has come into play, sadly, at a recent Keith Urban concert:
Country music singer Keith Urban’s Boston concert made news earlier this weekafter at least 46 fans were treated for alcohol-related illnesses, and 50 people were taken in to custody by police.
But on Monday, authorities disclosed that the booze-soaked fun turned violent in at least one case.
According to The Sun Chronicle, Mansfield police determined that 18-year-old Sean Murphy began kissing the 17-year-old girl after meeting her at the concert on Sunday, and then took her away from her friends to another part of the outdoor amphitheater. She said that she went with him because “she was afraid of what would happen” if she didn’t agree.
After removing the girl’s shorts and underwear, Murphy reportedly began having sex with her.
Police said that 15 or more concert-goers gathered around to watch, and even recorded the incident on their cell phones. Some of those photographs and videos had been recovered as evidence.
“My friend told me to look over there and there was a couple on the ground having intercourse. So we looked at it, and we took pictures and we thought it was consensual,” one witness told WFXT.
The attack only allegedly came to an end when a woman asked the victim if the act was consensual.
“Do you want this?” the woman was heard saying.
According to a police report, the girl said, “no,” and then a witness “saw the female break free and run.”
The girl’s friends later brought her to police, and gates to the venue were closed until the suspect was found.
The police report said that Murphy admitted that he had been intoxicated from drinking Jack Daniels, but “stressed that he did not force himself on her.” The report also said that he was overheard telling his parents on the phone that he “messed up.”
Murphy pleaded not guilty to charges of forcible rape at a court hearing on Monday.
In a statement on Tuesday, defense attorney Neil P. Crowley, who is representing Murphy, insisted that his client did not rape the girl.
“This was a consensual act, not a sexual assault. There are no allegations of force or violence put against him,” Crowley said. “This was a private act that regrettably occurred in a public place. Mr. Murphy deeply regrets this incident and I’m sure the young woman does as well.”
Murphy’s defense attorney is playing the “this sexual interaction wasn’t that bad because there was no force or violence”. Nevermind the fact that the victim said she did not want to have sex with the guy. Nevermind that she didn’t consent. Nevermind the fact that force or violence do not have to be in evidence for someone to be raped. This is what Richard Dawkins’ ‘rape ranking’ results in. I dearly wish he’d STFU, as he doesn’t appear to listen and think about what his critics are telling him.