Wednesday, November 05, 2008


How Conservatives Justify Rape

I will not pretend that it is all conservatives. However,

-Many people who advocate for "family values" use this as an excuse to belittle experiences of incest and domestic violence, telling victims to hold their speech and often to continue living in danger "for the good of the family". When you tell someone that the family unit is more important than the bodily integrity it has violated, you are justifying rape.

-Conservative religious leaders have consistently advocated for positions that entail a complete non-value on a woman's right to choose anything about her body. This includes many subjects including how to present and express sexuality, abortion, and the teachings of subservience and submission--up to and including outright insistence on the non-possibility of marital rape. Having abstinence and chastity pounded into your head, like being molested as a child, is usually one more way of learning that your body does not belong to you. This is a particularly potent message when the clergy in question also offers God's forgiveness to the perpetrators of sexual violence. It is not meaningful to tell people that you object to the fact that what is theirs has been violated, if you also maintain it was never theirs in the first place.

-There is a strong trend in conservative culture to do something which appears to be, but is not, about protecting women against the threat of rape. Women are not to walk alone at night, live alone, or do any of a million other things without a man to protect them. Often times, the same men who "protect" them are believed over them when they are raped. . . not by the mythical stranger in the night, but, as happens with a much greater statistical frequency, by their "protectors." To participate in this charade* is to ignore and accept the reality.

-In a related issue, it's worth taking note that such justifications as "she shouldn't have dressed like that/been there/done those drugs/had sex with him before/prostituted herself" do not come from the left. No matter how true they may be, to bring them up at all implicitly negates the fact that every rape represents a choice made by a human being who should be held responsible, not a social virus that one catches by being "slutty" or not wearing enough clothes.

This is a world where parents who won't let their young teenage daughters walk two blocks alone stand by and do nothing when they learn the same children have been molested by a family member. Anyone who idealizes this culture or thinks it is something to aim for (in a non-ballistic sense) is tacitly joining in its justifications of rape.

*See future entries for "how leftists justify theft". ;)

**I don't refer to all cases of prevention, or of looking after women's safety.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I couldn't agree with you more that rape is rape. No matter what she was wearing or doing or how she was acting, without consent--it is rape and it is wrong. I've never considered the issue from a "left" verses "right" perspective, but feel you shared valid points. The more I learn about men and their views on intimacy (not necessarily all men), the more I want to empower my daughters to draw confidence in who they are from the many aspects that define them and recognize that sex is much more than just an act. I also want my sons to grasp this concept for themselves and what they look for in those they date. It is difficult, even for toddler age girls, to find toys and/or clothes that are not highly sexualized--provocative attire, compromising vulnerable poses... they even sell nightgowns for young girls that one might call lingerie. As a parent, a woman, a mother of girls and boys; it is key for me to stay current on what's going on and have the courage to have these discussions with my children about topics that might be a bit uncomfortable. I think you are right that often conservative Christians emphasize that sex is wrong and bad. I believe that at the right time and place, sex is a good and important part of a relationship. btw--for me, that time and place is in a married relationship :) Read a few of your other posts. Good stuff!! Love the tips for fathers.