Friday, June 19, 2009

Real men don't rape

I read this article about a rather scary research study conducted by the MRC regarding rape and HIV/Aids. Do read the comments section too.

I responded to the article (and the commenters):

"Firstly, in the context of polygamy, virginity testing, women being violently abused for wearing trousers or short skirts, dry sex, jackrolling, female genital mutilation, and voting against the UN declaring rape an act of war, I am going to be so bold as to say that Africa has some serious problems when it comes to the issue of women's rights, and men's sense of entitlement. This does not mean that Africa is the only place where this is true, but many of these sexist practices are socially sactioned. If you do not oppose the practices I've listed, in my opinion you do hold that problematic ideal of masculinity Prof Jewkes refers to.

Secondly, my studies tell me that rape (by and large) is not a problem of "sick people". It is a problem of a society with skewed beliefs about women and sexuality. Be honest, how many of the men (even women) on here truly believe that an incident was rape if the woman did not physically resist and scream? Even if there was a weapon involved. How many people would say that a drunk woman in a bar was "asking for it"? All cultures have been subjected to pathological ideas about women's rights and about rape for centuries. As Gareth said, marital rape, "corrective" rape, date rape etc are not seen as rape. I agree with Delia that a more in-depth study of the motivating behaviour and the thinking behind rape would be beneficial, but such studies have been conducted on convicted rapists and the results are not particularly surprising. Entitlement and sexual myths play a huge role.

Thirdly, do remember that the study (if not the newspaper article) is peer-reviewed and the raw data, workings etc must be published and *will* be ripped to shreds if not rigourous. I am not sure about the provinces and the age group apparently used, but the sample size seems reasonable. The stats don't literally imply that if I'm on a bus with 4 men that one of them *is* a rapist.

Has any of the commenters actually read the report? And why do some of the men here seem so precious about this? Kind of like that ad with Charlize Theron. Can anyone deny the seriousness of the problem?

Oh and finally this is not a race issue. It's a gender rights issue."

Mysogyny should never be confused with traditionalism.

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