If you’re drunk and get raped, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself, says NSW Police Commissioner

Oh look, the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, is a rape apologist: Girls’ drink pact:

YOUNG women planning a night out should tell their friends if they plan to have sex to avoid unwanted and potentially dangerous drunken encounters, the NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, has warned.

What’s a rape apologist? Well, I’m glad you asked. Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog has a wonderfully clear definition, that even people like Andrew Scipione should be able to understand:

The simple answer is that a rape apology is any argument that boils down to the myth that rapists can be provoked into raping by what the victim does or does not do.

Most people who make such arguments are not consciously intending to defend rapists. They are simply repeating arguments they have heard before and haven’t fully examined.

Clearly Scipione was sleeping through the several months of mainstream media coverage about SlutWalk. But it does go some way towards explaining why we still have police officers who believe rape myths.

While the non-drinking Police Commissioner is retreating from his earlier calls to raise the legal drinking age from 18, now he is calling on young women to “look out for your mates”.

Yes, telling people – not just young women – to look out for your mates is a good thing, but most people already do that. It’s a bit frightening to think that NSW Police’s anti-rape strategy is “hey women, don’t get drunk and you won’t get raped, but if you do get drunk and raped then you should take responsibility for your actions”. Not only is that offensive victim-blaming, but it’s telling women that they will be safe from sexual assault if they don’t get drunk, and that is simply bullshit. Scipione would know that.

Mr Scipione pointed The Sun-Herald to a soon-to-be-published study of 235 female university students, aged 18 to 25.

One-quarter drank twice a week and the same number drank heavily in a single session at least four times a month, the University of Wollongong study found.

Those who drank heavily were more likely to find themselves in dangerous sexual situations. And yet almost half said they never, rarely or only sometimes used a condom during sex.

I don’t know if Scipione doesn’t get it, or if the journalists – Nick Ralston, Saffron Howden – don’t get it, but unsafe consensual sex is not the same thing as sexual assault.

About 3000 people aged 15 to 24 are admitted to Australian hospitals each year for acute intoxication. Between the late 1990s and 2005-06, the rate of young women being admitted to hospital doubled.

That statistic is meaningless if you don’t give a figure. For all we know, there could have been only five women admitted to hospital for acute intoxication during the 90s, so for that to double in a decade is hardly cause for wringing of hands over young women not behaving like ladies anymore.

“In the past we always saw this overuse, the abuse, the drunken behaviour, the violent behaviour, the stupid behaviour … that was predominantly the domain of young men,” Mr Scipione said. “It’s not that way any more.

“It’s now unfortunately something that’s seen as cool: to be drunk as a young woman. For the life of me, I don’t know what’s that attractive about some young woman vomiting in the gutter at 3am after a big night.”

What’s attractive? Judgey Scipione, who gives a shit about what you find attractive? A woman’s purpose is not to be attractive at all times, just in case a man happens to look at her. If all you have to offer the public discussion around binge drinking is that you think it makes young women look unattractive, then we need a new Police Commissioner. One who thinks with his brain, not his penis.

Mr Scipione, the father of two sons and a daughter, said he wanted young women to take responsibility for their safety when drinking before they became victims of crime.

When you tell women that they are personally responsible for whether or not someone else commits a violent crime, you’re letting the criminal off the hook. You’re giving them an excuse for what they did. I wonder if he tells his son not to rape women?

Here’s the thing, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione. I’ll stop blogging and tweeting about you being a rape apologist if your rape prevention strategy starts to prominently involve the following:

“Hey guys, when you go out tonight, DON’T RAPE ANYONE”.

267 responses to “If you’re drunk and get raped, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself, says NSW Police Commissioner

  1. Oh, this is bringing on the stabbity. WTF is wrong with you, Andrew Scipione? Have you been asleep for the past 20 years of your career?

    • It’s frightening that he would have seen all the stats, all the research, yet he still persists with his rape myths.

      • Look after your friends…what is mythological about that?

      • What’s so mythological about the statistics? Women who drink more are more often victims of sexual assault. This is not a myth, just like it is not a myth that men who drink more are more often victims of violence. It is not sexist to suggest that women have prevention strategies in place and stay safe. Scipione does not say that rape victims are ‘responsible’ for their crimes, or ‘provoked’ the rapist. The fact is, rapists are out there and they will try to rape women (and sometimes men) no matter what they do. Suggesting that people minimise proven risk factors is not discrimination.

        • Ah, but when a man is bashed in the street late at night, the police don’t tell men to avoid being on the street late at night, especially after drinking. When a woman is attacked on the street late at night, the police tell women not to be on the street late at night, that they are being irresponsible if they are on the street. See the difference, Dick?

  2. I think it’s a cultural thing in the police force as it appears to be in the defense forces. There is in this day and age no excuse for this type of behavior. As nwn says, he would have seen all the stats and research.

  3. What about women who get raped when they’re sober?

  4. Some days it’s just exhausting reading the news.
    Here we go again. Seriously? When will people stop with the rape apology? I’m so tired of this issue and yet it never fails to incite my ire. (I know maintaining the rage and being all finger pointy and ranty about it is something we cannot stop doing until this crap is stamped out, but I really fucking wish we didn’t have to.)

    I really long for the days when women are not responsible for the crimes committed AGAINST them.

  5. Yep. I read this yesterday and almost blew a gasket. Okay I lied, I DID blow a fucking gasket. I can not conceive how when looking at ways to cut city spending domestic violence was the topic that came to mind? What kind of fucking world is this anyway? (Calming down now. I promise to stop foaming all over your blog.)
    http://feministing.com/2011/10/05/topeka-kansas-considers-decriminalizing-domestic-violence-to-avoid-prosecuting-cases/

    clusterfuck indeed.

  6. By the same token, does this also mean that if a guy gets absolutely plastered and I write ‘asshat’ all over his face in permanent marker, it’s his fault?

    Handy to know.

    • Likewise, if a guy gets drunk and I bash the shit out of him, it’s his fault for being drunk, right? Oh no, wait. The police find the attackers and arrest them and take them to court and they are found guilty and sent to jail. Guess we know where we stand.

      • I think the most irritating part for me was the whole ‘let your girlfriends know you plan to have sex’ – um what? “ok girls, who wants another wine? Do we need another bag of chips? Who has my mascara? Who is planning on having sex tonight?” Yeah I don’t think so. Plus what does consensual casual sex have to do with rape? Last time I checked absolutely nothing. He’s conflating a distaste for ‘loose women’ with sexual assault and it’s frickin annoying and senseless.

        But I will be letting my friends know I don’t want to be raped. Although I’m pretty sure they knew that already.

      • Years ago, when I was 18, my best friend and I went out to a bar. We met some young men, and chatted and drank with them all night. As the night progressed, my friend got increasingly more drunk and flirtatious. I took my friend aside and asked her if she was ok, and she just brushed me off. I should’ve been more forceful, intuitive or prescient, because she ended up choosing to go home with one of the men, where he raped her (as she was going in and out of consciousness due to her inebriation and didn’t know what she was doing). She then had the agonizing wait to see whether she was pregnant/ had contracted any STIs, not to mention the ensuing emotional trauma. This incident completely ruined my friend’s life.

        Unfortunately, asshole piece of shit rapists exist everywhere, and until we find a way to locate and castrate them all, all we can do is minimize the danger to ourselves and our friends. It’s an archaic and backwards sentiment, and I completely abhor and feel sickened that I have to be fearful because of my “weaker” gender… but in reality, I’d rather get off my feminist ideological soapbox and spend my energy making sure the people around me are safe.

        • Meow, what happened to your friend was terrible. But you’ll notice that we’re not saying that people should just do whatever they want. What we ARE saying is that instead of telling women what to do, the Police Commissioner should be telling criminals “we will catch you”. That in all his words about how to avoid being assaulted, he didn’t tell people not to assault others. The seatbelt example has been brought up before in the comments, but it’s worth mentioning again: when police are targeting people who break the law by not wearing seatbelts, they don’t tell others “hey, stay off the road in case someone isn’t wearing a seatbelt”. They say “if you don’t wear a seatbelt, we will catch you”.

  7. Snappy the Alligator

    I’d also like to know how telling your friends that you might want to have sex that night equates with them not having to be concerned if you go off with someone while extremely drunk, and possibly so drunk that you’re unable to legally give your consent (or, you know, why that person thinks it’s ok to have ‘sex’ with you while you’re that drunk in the first place)?? Sounds like he’s implying it’s only sexual assault or rape if you’ve told your friends earlier in the night that you don’t plan to have sex that night. Bizarre!

    Also, here’s some recent research supporting the idea that women already use their friends as a form of ‘protection’ against sexual assault/sexual advances: http://www.theage.com.au/national/sexual-harassment-in-clubs-seen-as-normal-20111007-1ldwa.html

    • Yes, the whole “tell your friends before you go out if you want to have sex” thing made me uncomfortable too. Something about it seemed either incredibly naive, or incredibly sneaky – if you get raped and decide to press charges, one of those friends would say “she said she wanted to have sex”, so therefore you can’t have been raped. Or maybe that’s just me being suspicious. After all, we’ve got a police commissioner who thinks women bring it on themselves.

    • I have often wondered where the onus sits if BOTH parties are too drunk to give their consent.
      After all, consent isn’t purely for women, sex isn’t something that is ‘done too us’ (sexual assault obviously not being the same thing).
      Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  8. I disagree. Scipione statements in the 09oct smh article seem common sense to me, albeit the comment on what constitutes attractiveness which was unnecessary. It sums up some reasonable tips on how to have a safe night. Rather i believe you jump to a false conclusion: stating the police ‘anti-rape strategy’ is “don’t get drunk and you won’t get raped”.

    As for your stance on the “myth that rapists can be provoked into raping by what the victim does or does not do”, i do not believe this is a myth at all. Of course a potential rapist will alter their behaviour based upon the behaviour of their potential victim. Cause and effect still exists regardless of any moral or ethical rebuttals one wishes to make. I.e. if a study did show that dressing less provocatively mitigates the probability of danger even slightly (which i suspect may be true), an individual can choose to take advantage of this information. I think this issue as akin to walking down a dark alleyway in this sense: even though one has the right to walk it, and one can completely blame their attacker, neither protected them in the first place.

    • Ah, but Rowan, nowhere in your comment have you said that the best way to prevent rape is to tell people not to rape. You have put the onus completely on the victim to avoid being raped. Which means that if she does get raped, then it’s her fault for not avoiding it. See why this is such a bad approach?

      • Hi. No, i wouldn’t say the onus is completely on the victim. The “her fault” is also a jump to a conclusion. My point was one can simply choose to take note of cause and effect in any situation regardless of ethics and whom is to blame. I agree that women should be able to dress as they want to, and an attacker is to blame, but the ascribing of blame does not help a rape victim at the time. In regards to preventing rape by simply telling people, i’m sceptical that that’s the best way in the short to mid term, in the same sense of telling assaulters in dark alleyways not to assault. Education on this issue would be a good thing for longer term change, but i think it’s more the domain of the fed govs than police (‘say no’ campaign etc.)

        • Sorry Rowan, but by your logic, for your wife to take steps to prevent harm would mean not being there in the first place.

          You will notice that nowhere in this post or in the comments have I said that women should defend themselves. And there are reasons why a woman wouldn’t fight back, such as being terrified, threatened witha weapon or harm to her family, and being unconscious.

          What I have said is that Scipione is not telling men not to rape. He’s telling women that if they get drunk and attacked, it’s their fault for being drunk. That’s what ‘take responsibility for your actions’ means.

          • That’s not what he is saying at all and you could be bordering on defamation by suggesting that is is.

            • Sorry kimsonof but as you’ve requested that others ‘inform themselves’ I’m going to request that you inform yourself of what defamation is before you wield it about.

              I think there was perhaps a mixup in identity? It was kimsonof with the ‘heartwarming’ wife story – and it’s true that if it’s a fair thing for women to be told not to be out at night, not to drink, not to walk alone etc etc rather than actually focus on catching rapists and preventing rape by changing the problem instead of making women responsible that that same logic says your wife ought not to be out at night to *be* dragged in to Hyde Park.

              So there’s nothing defamatory in saying ‘If your logic is that rapists will rape and women should be realistic and therefore made responsible for *avoiding* their rape by avoiding dangerous situations’ that it’s THAT logic, not what we’re saying that would blame your wife should her kick have missed/should the guy have been stronger/should there have been more than one guy/should she have been raped. There’s nothing defamatory in saying that that logic says she shouldn’t have been out alone and to point out that that logic is flawed.

              We here are saying that your wife *ought* to be allowed a life and hobbies and to travel from here to there without an armed guard. We’re saying that damned straight it’s awesome that she kicked him (though we’re concerned that often women can’t kick if they’re say knocked unconscious, or already unconscious when a man decides to rape them). We’re saying that the attempted rapists/the rapists/the would be rapists *should* be being addressed instead of simply blaming women for, say walking near Hyde Park.

              You are the one telling us that we would advocate women do nothing because the rapist should not exist (and yet strangely even by your definition of defamation *that’s* not a defamatory meaning to impute to our words) when that’s just so clearly not true that you come off as wilfully misinterpreting for your own convenience.

              • Yes, sorry, I meant kimsonof, not Rowan, with the story about his wife. I sent the comment from my phone, which is never a satisfying experience.

              • Can you please highlight where the commissioner has said verbatim ‘ if you get drunk and attacked, it’s your fault for being drunk.’ If he didn’t say it then you are defaming him by suggesting that he did.

                • Follow the logic through. If rape is something that women can avoid, it follows that all women would avoid it and so there would be no rape. Therefore, if a woman is raped, then it’s because she didn’t avoid it.

                  • Anyone can minimise their chances of becoming a victim of crime, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen of course.

                  • Janice the Menace

                    Do you honestly believe that the police commissioner is so callous as to suggest that blaming the victim is appropriate? If one of his own two daughters were raped do you honestly believe that the first thing he’d say to her is “You were walking home alone through an alleyway, you have no one to blame but yourself” or “You had HOW many drinks?!?! No wonder you were violated! I thought I expected better of you.”

                    Honestly, pull your head out of your arse. Do you even know the origin of Scipione’s comments? What he said was “look out for your mates” – an obvious piece of advice, not sexism or victim blaming. Victim-blaming and rape sympathising are real problems, but you fail to realise that Scipione isn’t guilty of either.

                    • Janice the Menace, welcome to the News with Nipples. Look out for your mates is good advice. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about how people who say these things don’t realise they are blaming the victim for someone else’s crime. That many people – yourself included – can’t see that by telling women to take responsibility for their own safety and their own actions, they are pretending that this a) will keep women safe, and b) says that if they don’t do the things on the Magical Take Responsibility list, then what happens is kinda their own fault.

  9. Sorry Kim no matter how much I abhor rape (which I do absolutely) I still think that the getting shit-faced in an unsafe public place is something that everyone should avoid for the sake their own personal safety and advising all and sundry of this pertinent fact should not bring any sort of denouncement from the PC crew.

    • But that’s a different issue to telling women that they should take steps to protect themselves from being attacked – which is complete bullshit because the vast majority of attackers are a former or current partner, and stranger rape is less than 1 per cent of reported rapes. Telling women they should take steps means that if they don’t take these steps – ie, they get drunk – then what happens to them is their own fault. It completely removes the criminal from their crime.

      This has nothing to do with being “PC”. (And by the way, I personally believe that people who say “oh, it’s just PC gone mad” or “it’s not PC to say this but…” are just annoyed that they can no longer use someone’s gender/race/religion/beliefs/disability as an insult.) This is simply saying very loudly, why should the onus be on women to prevent someone else from committing a crime? Why ON EARTH do rape prevention strategies NEVER focus on men? After all, they are the ones who commit the crime.

      • Putting the cart before the horse here. No matter how much we may wish it were not the case, rapists exist and will always exist. Simply ranting that they shouldn’t is no protection from a predator. When a wierdo tried to drag my wife off in Hyde Park one night she didn’t say well you shouldn’t exist so I am safe, she leg kicked him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH8jazIETBs – and she kicks harder than that) and ran away. In other words she took steps to protect herself from harm.

        • Kimsonof, where am I ranting that rapists shouldn’t exist? Exactly, where? What I am saying if that none of the rape prevention strategies involve telling people not to rape.

          • Exactly because it doesn’t work.

            • thefirstJanineonthisblog

              How would we know? I have never seen/ heard of a government rape prevention strategy that focused on men (happy to review links if they can be posted). That’s the point.

              • ‘Violence against women: Australia says no.’ Ironically, this campaign is actually targeted at men (despite the name), encouraging them to think twice before taking advantage of women or hitting them.

                And no, no ‘rape prevention strategies’ (per se) involve the perpetrators, simply because ‘crime prevention strategies’ are defined as things that potential victims can do to minimise risk. (This is not to say that victims are at fault if they do not use a prevention strategy, but that in an imperfect world where criminals exist they are less safe.) ‘Prevention strategies’ that involve perpetrators are called policing and yes, we do in fact have police and yes, they do catch rapists.

                Relying on the police and societal conventions to protect you and act as your prevention strategy is dumb. Calling common-sense safety advice sexism is dumb. But, most importantly, neither of these things mean you are at fault if you are raped and did not try to implement a prevention strategy. The criminal is always responsible and I’m sure you will find the police very helpful if you are ever raped, but prevention is better than cure.

                • Of course prevention is better, and if you’d read the comments, many different strategies have been suggested as to how we, as a society, change our attitudes towards sexual violence.

          • Remember those ads targeting domestic violence? Where some guy says “I push her around a little, but I’m not the kind of guy who beats up women” and then the text appears…Yes, yes you are.

            We need a campaign like that one addressing rape. Because obviously, there’s too much confusion out there about what is and isn’t consensual.
            (Just as there was obviously confusion about what constitutes Domestic Violence)

            A campaign like that would be a step in the right direction toward educating people what consent means. (And surprisingly, it can be done WITHOUT victim blaming and slut shaming.)

  10. Holy crapdogs – not *only* is about ‘not looking hot while chucking’ but about your future as a baby machine! “You can get a sexually transmitted disease that you are never going to get rid of; it potentially will affect your fertility”.

    And ‘sorry’ Iain but if alcohol and excess consumption were truly a concern (the concern) then there are ways of addressing *that*. The issue being raised is a/ unsafe sex (not a police concern), and b/ rape (police’s concern but addressed by telling women to be ‘responsible’ for the fact that there are rapists and they might target you if you go out and drink -ignoring the fact that so many rapes are committed by someone you know and trust, while you’re sober and frequently while you’re in your own home – yet again).

    If ‘getting shitfaced in a public place’ is really a concern then ban alcohol, shut down clubs, put on extra security – oh right – we don’t want to lose money or spend money or do anything. Much better to just shame women for drinking.

    • I know! I’d like to see some studies on the effect of STDs in the womb, so his point wasn’t just, you know, completely made up.

      Doubleantandre, welcome to the News with Nipples.

      • Thanks NwN!

        Even if there are sexually transmitted diseases which affect future pregnancies etc, the role of the Police Commissioner is not to offer fertility and procreation advice.

        If all these women are having sex without a condom this means that the men they’re sleeping with aren’t *wearing a condom* – where is the Police Officer’s concern for the fertility and the health of the future babies regarding all those naked and exposed-to-STD willies??

        The study appears to focus on sexual health and drinking – I am also a bit concerned about the possible biases in the research given the quote re Sex and the City and Gossip Girl and the ‘real life is not like that’. Sure real life Carrie couldn’t afford all those clothes but excuse me are you really saying you can’t wake up the next morning and go ‘Wow. Great sex! Off to work.’ It appears to move from ‘be careful with your sexual health’ to ‘Oh ladies, this will not do good things for your heart!’.

        Then the Police Commissioner wanders along and raises “sexual assault, liaisons they may regret, psychological trauma, sexually transmitted infections and even a threat to their fertility” and goes on to bang on more about all the shit that is NOT a crime, NOT his purview in order to say that women ought not to drink in order to prevent the crimes it is his job to solve and see are prosecuted.

        Also – is sex something you always PLAN on? Is it not reasonable to go out not planning on sex, meet someone you fancy, have sex, enjoy it, feel great about it and NOT regret it? Do you have to plan it like 24 hours in advance? What if you were planning to ‘pick up’ then went ‘Oh yuck – no options here’ and then you were assaulted? Is it okay because you planned sex, decided against it and got raped?

        Okay – I have essays to write, the ranting must come to an end! (Or a hiatus)

      • Chlamydia can scar fallopian tubes and cause infertility, but it’s easily cured by antibiotics and would hardly be my #1 concern if I was being violently sexually assaulted.

  11. A bit of feminist action before the school run…
    This morning on ABC 702 Deb Cameron said she would be talking about Scipione’s advice to women. I posted on FB (tell men to not rape) and she read it on air and discussed.

  12. That’s the way.. go after the best commissioner any state has ever had because of semantics. Good stuff, hey maybe we can get him fired for failure to bring politically correct speech to bear in a public place. then we can get Christine Nixon in (the polar opposite of Scippione as a police officer)
    What he is saying is nothing he hasn’t been banging on about to men for ages (albeit in terms of avoiding assault as opposed to sexual assault) but they never seem to get the message. So I can only assume he has shifted his focus to perhaps more intelligent people.
    Doubleentendre unfortunately licensing laws club/pub opening times are not set by the police commissioner so the most he can do to prevent crime is what he does.

    • Yes, God Forbid a Government Minister actually take the time to be informed before making public statements. What is wrong with telling men “Don’t Rape, don’t let your mates rape drunk people, teach your children what consent is?” Why would it be so bad for a Government Minister to give out that message?

      • Perhaps you could become informed as to what does and does not constitute a government minister (an error you made twice) My point is that most parent teach this message to their children and it still doesn’t prevent some of those children from becoming rapists. Ideally there would be some way of teaching this small percentage of men not to act in a predatory manner, however until that psychological discovery is made it is probably best to exist in the real world where arseholes do exist and take steps to avoid becoming their victims.
        That is not the same thing as saying women who get drunk and dress ‘provocatively’ are asking for it. If you think it is then you are too stupid for me to be bothered debating with you.

        • thefirstJanineonthisblog

          I am so shocked that you and others are avoiding the real issue/message. The point is that AGAIN women are being told to avoid being the victim. When will the official message of the police focus on the ones with the control and conducting this criminal act. If we change the angle, maybe we will see a shift in the numbers? Why is that so hard to imagine?

          • Thanks thefirstJanineonthisblog. Kimsonof has been told this many many times on different posts and he still comes back with the same myths.

            • The only myth is the one that goes: telling a bastard not to be a bastard will stop him being a bastard. Also janine I am positive that Scippione has done more practically to tackle this issue than just about anyone here has (you know investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting) The message as I have said before is that in any situation it is wise to take steps to minimise your chances of becoming a victim of crime. Whether that crime is rape, robbery, assault whatever it’s all the same. This doesn’t mean that you will never become a victim of a crime of course but it may.

              • telling a bastard not to be a bastard will stop him being a bastard.

                Who is saying that? Telling a bastard not to be a bastard lets others know that you’re not cool with bastardry, and that if someone is a bastard, we’re not going to look at the victim and say “People are bastards, Suck it up princess”.

  13. Hmm – just followed you back to your blog kimsonof where you suggest that people who use sarcasm in otherwise intelligent debate should be ‘slapped hard in the face’. No doubt you’re giving yourself a good slapping now. Though I’m sure the rules don’t apply to you and you’ll come back with a ‘Well…this isn’t intelligent debate’.

    Thanks for pointing out the bleedingly obvious – he’s not in charge of licensing laws, however commenting on them is more his purview than sexual health and the fertility of women as it has a connection to law and order which ‘fertility’ simply does not. My point was to Iain who shifted the discussion away from rape and the ways women are always held responsible and onto ‘well everyone is unsafe when shitfaced drunk’ to which I believe a reply that banning alcohol/adding security etc are surely more logical responses than ‘Hey ladies, protect your uterus and your emotions’ etc.

    As to your comment a little further above – let’s use the same logic. Drunk women (and men) have always existed. Saying they shouldn’t won’t make them go away either. So what really is your point?

    Alcohol is fun. And legal. As to your example do you honestly think anyone here is advocating not reacting should you be grabbed but simply saying ‘You shouldn’t exist’. We’re pointing out that it’s Scipione’s logic that would say your wife oughtn’t to be walking alone anywhere near Hyde Park, and that if she hadn’t got away she’d be subject to questions on what she was wearing, what she’d had to drink, why she was alone, whereas we’d say ‘Well done for kicking him hard – glad you were able to because sometimes it’s not possible’ and ‘Hey cops, let’s focus on the rapists/would be rapists here since this guys’ wife should be allowed to go about her day and night without being raped’.

    Yes, rapists exist. And the law should target *rape* as the problem, not women who drink and their possible hurt feelings or uterus problems. There should be more education around rape that focuses on discouraging predatory behaviour, there should be discussion around rapists and mens responsibility – to not rape, to not encourage rape jokes, to monitor their buddies and ensure they don’t do anything dodgy. And the police commissioner should talk about rapists when he talks about rape. Not drunk women and the possible damage to their possible future babies. Saying all of that in no way says ‘When a guy grabs you make believe he doesn’t exist’ and I’m pretty sure you’re smart enough to know that.

    • But the point he is making is that everyone should for their own sake take steps to prevent themselves from being victims of crime. NWN’s assumption that the ‘best way to prevent rape is to tell people not to rape’ is so obviously ineffective. Most boys are taught this from a young age. Indeed my son has been told in no uncertain terms by his mother that if he ever rapes a woman she will shoot him herself (and before we link back to the discussion on a woman’s capacity to kill she is different – she’s sicilian) Yet rapists continue to exist and will always continue to exist.
      Without trying to shift any blame whatsoever, I honestly think rapists/ paedophiles etc are mentally ill. I feel physically ill when I hear any sort of detail about their crimes, so for someone to actually commit them they must be fucked in the head. Again this does nothing to absolve them as they still know their actions are illegal.
      My point is though that telling such a person not to rape is about as effective as telling a depressed person not to be sad or a schizophrenic not to be delusional.
      As for his other comments re health and binge drinking, he is a known teetotaler and again has pushed similar messages on men in the past.

      • Kimsonof, that’s bulllshit and you know it. It is not illegal to have a mental illness. It is illegal to attack someone.

        Just because your wife tells your son not to attack women, does not mean that the rest of our culture says the same thing.

        • I would hope it isn’t illegal to have a mental illness. I am fairly sure I didn’t state that that was the case though. The point AGAIN is that telling men not to rape will not stop men from raping. It never has and it never will.
          Of course my wife and I are not the same as every other set of parents but I am very confident that most parents would teach their sons that sexual assault is wrong/evil etc. By inference you are suggesting that this doesn’t occur which is nonsense.

  14. To clarify above ‘their possible hurt feelings’ is in relation to the bits of the article that go to ‘you may have sex and regret it’ not re rape. I’m trying to make the point that it got into moralism about casual sex and other issues not relevant to rape.

  15. “What he is saying is nothing he hasn’t been banging on about to men for ages”… I’m sorry but I have never, ever once seen an article along the lines of…

    “Police are concerned with the number of young men raping women after a night out drinking. The Police Commissioner underlined the importance of receiving enthusiastic consent from a partner before engaging in sexual activity. He stated “Women have rights to their own body. If you are unsure whether your prospective sexual partner wants to do something, leave it.” Men concerned about their actions can contact the X helpline to receive information. Police have called for people to ‘monitor their mates’ when out drinking – “if you see your friend going home with a woman who looks far too drunk or upset, remind him it may be best to get her number and contact her at another time”.

    Also, kimsonof, you don’t seem to understand that the vast majority of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, in their own house. You mentioned of your wife, “in other words she took steps to protect herself from harm.” What would you suggest the vast majority of rape victims do? Not live in houses? Never engage in relationships with the opposite sex? Can you not see how trying to prevent rape by focusing on the victim is completely ridiculous?

    • No but there have been plenty of articles along the lines of ‘men don’t drink yourselves into a stupor and get into fist fights etc’ which is what I meant and what most readers would have picked up on. i guess you’re just argumentative.
      Bringing up rapes occurring in other sets of circumstances is a bit of a red herring don’t you think?

      • thefirstJanineonthisblog

        how is men and fist fights the same as advising men not to engage in opportunistic sex with drunken women? Fail to see the relevance.

        • Really, kimsonof? Plenty of articles. Links please.

        • No I wouldn’t expect you to Janine.

          • Kimsonof, grow up. Janine pointed out that your examples are not related to each other, and you had no response other than nark. You’ve been banned from here before under your other name and you are wearing out your welcome once again.

            • Hang about I have never had any other name (I wish I did Kim is a shit name for a man)
              The points relate as follows, assault is like rape a crime and like any crime it is wise to minimise your chances of becoming a victim. So the police have on numerous occasions cracked down on binge drinking and anti social behaviour which whilst women are not immune are predominantly male problems.

              • And the point, kimsonof, that we have made OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER, is that you don’t prevent crime by pretending there is no criminal.

                Frankly, I’ve had enough of this conversation with you. Your comments on this topic will no longer be published.

          • thefirstJanineonthisblog

            kimsonof, I really don’t care what you expect of me. I prefer to engage when evidence is shown with relevance to the matter; i blame my training in investigating, charging and prosecuting criminals.

    • thefirstJanineonthisblog

      C, thank you for your mock article. If only it was real…. See boys, not so hard to imagine after all.

  16. I ❤ C above, and I suspect kimsonof is just going to pick off the parts of people's arguments he has the convenient one liners for. Didn't you know he's an expert in 'what works' and 'what doesn't'.

    I believe that educating about rape goes further than 'Don't rape a woman or I'll shoot you myself' to a healthy attitude to sex and sex education, and bodies and masturbation (ie/ not allowing your kid to grow up thinking there's something perverted about sex) to discussions of all the times consent becomes a factor, and to the issue of 'consent' being a bare minimum threshold that should be 'enthusiastic participation', to discussions of the way some rapes are seen as 'sort of rapes', to a discussion of how it's unacceptable to disrespect women and tolerate rape jokes, and that there are other jokes (women as ball and chain in marriage, domestic violence jokes etc) which fuel hatred of women.

    I love how kimsonof keeps asserting himself as so superior – he can see C is right in that there's never been any discussion about men not raping while drinking, but about them avoiding fistfights – rape is no less real, and yet…no discussions about rape that focus on men and their behaviour. But kimsonof is an expert and he knows it doesn't work. Unlike making women responsible – which – wait doesn't 'work' since rapists keep raping.

    Also kimsonof is a mental health expert – because *he* finds it sickening ipso facto it means that anyone who rapes is 'fucked in the head' which automatically equals 'mentally ill', not violent, misogynist of just an aggressive turd who thinks that having sex with an unconcious woman is acceptable, or using a bit of force is acceptable…

    Basically ladies, give up – kimsonof is an expert. In everything. If he tells you you're stupid, you definitely are, so shut up please!

  17. Not only all of that, but he gets his internal rape apologist (il)logic wrong.

    Cos that (il)logic includes: you only get raped if you are attractive (ie rape as a compliment).

    So, based on that (il)logic, if you are “some young woman vomiting in the gutter at 3am after a big night” and therefore, according to Commissioner Scipione, who is obviously the person with the final say-so on what’s hot and what’s not, totally unattractive, you won’t be raped!

    But! At the same time! You will be raped, and it will all be your fault, because you are drunk!

    So as well as the total and utter logic fail of the entire position, he can’t even lay claim to any internal consistency in the (il)logic.

    (Just in case it’s at all unclear: nothing in this comment, nothing, should be taken to suggest that I in any way agree with any part of Commissioner Scipione’s position, or the rape apologist (il)logic. I’m just pointing out some of the internal problems with it all.)

    Oh, also, @Iain Hall, others have already pointed out the general problem with your comment, but keep this in mind, too: drunk young men are far more likely to be assaulted on the street than drunk young women.

    So, even accepting “more vulnerable when drunk” (which vulnerability I accept as a social fact, which can be done without ascribing responsibility for any harm to the vulnerable persons – put it this way, the vulnerability wouldn’t exist, or would be irrelevant, if people didn’t take advantage of it), if we are going to be warning any one particular group (as opposed to everyone) about the terrrrrrrrrible consequences of being in public whilst drunk, we should be targeting young men. But we don’t. For a whole host of reasons, including those already discussed/implied in comments above.

    • Jo
      I have obsoletely no moral objection to anyone enjoying any intoxicant of their choice I just want those who do so to do so in a safe manner. Once in my youth I was drunk enough to wake up in hospital, covered in my own vomit as a nurse said “He is only drunk” I spent the rest of the night in the drunk tank and on reflection I realised that I came so bloody close to carking it, because if I had been lying on my back when I passed out I would have choked on that vomit rather that wearing it. The point of my anecdote is that I learned just how vulnerable anyone man women or child, is when they are to far “out of it” first hand and I think that its something that can not be empathised enough to all of those who party hard.

  18. Of the public time and space devoted to talking about rape, the bigger the chunk spent on discussing what victims should and shouldn’t do, and the smaller the proportion spent talking about the value of consent, of recognising when it is absent, and the ways we can stop rapists from thinking that what they do is condoned by our society, the harder it is for rapists to be held accountable, and successfully prosecuted. What is a police commissioner doing making it his business to make it harder to convict violent criminals?

  19. Oh NWN… I got into a discussion about this with a male friend and linked back to this article. His verdict of it boiled down to “NWN promotes hate speech against men.”

    I just want to go and sit in a corner and cry now. 😦

    • Oh Jen, that’s awful. Also, what an idiot. Where is this hate speech against men? It would be there if I said “all men are rapists and should be castrated”, but I didn’t.

    • I keep saying, in response to all this “man-hating” crap: I’ve never felt hated, so it isn’t man-hating. I wonder if those who fling the “man-hater” comments ever stopped to think that it is personal.

    • Hate speech against men? Pshaw, you know what – I think this blog promotes healthy disdain for, and constructive responses to, rape apologist douchebags. Rape culture is perpetuated by both men and women. It harms all of us – male, female, trans, black or white, old and young, rich or poor. And I certainly hate that a senior civil servant and law enforcement officer responsible for policing over seven and a quarter million people (over half of them women) just doesn’t have a clue.

      Once more: It’s not rocket science.

    • Just adding my two cents to this point. I would arguably cop more flak on this blog than most but I never feel hated. Possibly some of my co-commenters would have felt anger towards me at some point but that is because of different opinions, NOT because I am a man.

  20. Just to add another salient fact, Andrew Scipione is an evangelical Christian who was responsible for handing out taxpayer-funded bibles to our supposedly secular police force. (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/whatever-happened-to-secular-democracy/story-e6frg6zo-1225813998714). He attends the Hillsong church and thinks homosexuality is a sin. So it’s probably not surprising that he’s a revolting sexist as well.

    The bible’s punishment for rape is for the rapist to marry the victim. Maybe he’s working on getting that into NSW law in the future.

  21. Pingback: Um…fuck you?? « Double Antandre

  22. Once again, we discuss how women can prevent rape rather than:
    – how to prevent men from raping women in the first instance (education)
    – how to prosecute rapists (because you know, an under-reported crime that when it against all odds actually results in a conviction, has spectacularly lenient sentencing)
    – how to prevent convicted rapists from reoffending (because due to lenient sentencing, sex offenders are out in record time to reoffend)
    These are the types of discussions that we as a society should be having. “Men, don’t rape” is only a part of the discussion.

    – Only 15% of women who identified an incident of sexual assault in the 12 months prior to the survey reported to police.

    The chances of a reported rape being prosecuted and then convicted are so slim it is a crying matter. The stats are on my other computer, but if anyone is interested

  23. what a load of shit, my 14 year old daughter was raped and killed in Sydney in 1989, I would have killed the guy if I had been able to get my hands on him and so would have all my mates. The majority of men cant stand the low lifes that do these things, I know if I found out anyone I knew was doing it they would suffer the consequences but you also have to remember that it is easier for these low lifes to spike a drunk persons drink or do you think we should not blame people that drive their cars drunk and have an accident. Rape is a crime, everyone knows that already, we can tell men/boys till we are blue in the face but some males are hardwired(mentally) for it and no amount of education will help them, these are the ones we need to warn females about. Hate men as much as you like but you really need to grow up and get your head out of your arse, all you are doing is telling women that rape cannot be prevented by them, you really need to try to think rationally and not with your feminist hate for all men, most of us will protect or help a female in trouble if we see something happening, sounds like you would rather we let it happen to make you feel good about yourself.

    • Dennis, what happened to your daughter is absolutely fucking disgusting.

      However, I would like to point out a few truths to you.

      Firstly, NOWHERE in my post have I said that I hate men.

      Secondly, NOWHERE in my post have I said that people shouldn’t go to the aid of someone who needs help.

      Thirdly, NOWHERE in my post have I said that women should just sit around waiting to be raped.

      What I did say, and I suggest you read it again, is that instead of telling women that they are to blame if they get attacked, we should be directing the message at the attackers.

      Your example of a drink driver who crashes their car is ridiculous. It is illegal to drive a car while drunk. It is NOT illegal to own a vagina while drunk.

      • he didnt tell womem they are to blame, he said get your mates to watch out for you, guys do it all the time so why not women. You are simply playing with semantics here to try to prove your point even though it is not right. No you didnt say you hate men but you also didnt say you did, that to me fits the same accusations you are pushing on the commisioner because he didnt say males. To be honest I think you are extremely childish and pathetic, the fact that that what happened to my daughter according to you is “fucking disgusting” shows you have no morals or care about anyone else. You are a joke, the only people that will agree with you are those in the same mould, someone with no life experience or having their own family. Maybe once you eventually grow up and even have your own family you will realize that when people are trying to help you it is not just a reason to try to belittle them. I wish that my daughters friend had kept an eye on her, instead she was the one that walked off and left her with someone she had introduced her to. This says a lot about how some women actually think of their friends, sounds a lot like you.

        • What? How does my comment show I have no morals? I said that what happened to her was fucking disgusting. The swear-free version is absolutely disgusting. Are you saying that it’s not disgusting or revolting or awful?

          And yes, he did say that women should take responsibility for their safety. Therefore if they don’t do the things on this mythical safety list, then they only have themselves to blame if something bad happens.

          Also, please check out my comments policy. Name calling is not allowed. Further comments involving name calling will not be published.

  24. You are kidding yourself if the basis of your strategy for removing the scourge of rape from society is to “educate” men. The simple fact is that there is a minority of men who will engage in such an appalling activity and telling them that rape is bad once, ten times or a million times will be completely ineffectual. In a perfect world, sure, anyone should be able to do anything at any time. But we don’t live in a perfect world. In the real world there are real things that you can do to reduce the likelihood you will fall victim to being hit by a car, being the victim of identity theft or being raped. This is all Mr Scipione is saying.

    • Robert, that’s not what we are saying at all. The point we are making is that rape prevention strategies are aimed solely at women and IT’S NOT WORKING. How do we know whether other approaches will work?

      • That is very far from all Mr Scipione is saying. He said a great deal more, largely to do with his idea of what behaviours in a woman he is uncomfortable with.

        Everybody gets that saying to a guy who rapes women, who thinks of himself as a rapist, who is aware of his compulsion to rape and not already inclined to do something about it “don’t rape”, is not going to be effective. What is likely to be effective is to stop encouraging such men to expect that they will be able to get away with it. Right now, they have every reason to expect that, given the stats. A police commissioner using his public platform to talk about how he likes women to behave, instead of how his officers will handle attacks on them, encourages rapists to think that no one will blame them if they take advantage of an opportunity. Everyone who is policing the legal behaviour of women, instead of the illegal behaviour of assailants is helping provide an atmosphere of support for assault.

        • THIS! “A police commissioner using his public platform to talk about how he likes women to behave, instead of how his officers will handle attacks on them, encourages rapists to think that no one will blame them if they take advantage of an opportunity. Everyone who is policing the legal behaviour of women, instead of the illegal behaviour of assailants is helping provide an atmosphere of support for assault.”

        • Applause – that was my precise and poorly worded point!

  25. Well I am a bloke in my mid twenties and believe you me, when I was in high school (at a boys high school no less) there was plenty of “rape is bad” talk going on. If your solution is to step it up than I am here to tell you that it has zero chance of reducing the rape rate, which, after all should be the goal. It seems to me that Mr Scipione is putting forward an alternate method of reducing the incidence of rape that actually may have some effect and you tear into him about being a “rape apologist”. Fair go here. You actually falsely quote him as saying “hey women, don’t get drunk and you won’t get raped, but if you do get drunk and raped then you should take responsibility for your actions”, when in reality the statistics say that “Those who drank heavily were more likely to find themselves in dangerous sexual situations”. Ergo, statistically, if you don’t drink so heavily you are not so likely to wind up in a dangerous sexual situation. Seems pretty simple to me.

    You say that “rape prevention strategies are aimed solely at women”. How else would you do it? Identity theft prevention, do we educate the Nigerians? or the victims? Car theft, do we educate car thieves about the pain of replacing your vehicle? or do we lock our cars?

    There are bad people in the world. FACT. You will never educate them away. All you can do is take sensible precautions and look out for yourself and your friends. Its’ not about blaming the victim, but the victim is the one who has to live with the consequences and therefore it is in their interests to minimise the likelihood of such a tragic encounter.

    • Robert, look at the definition of a rape apologist. And then go away and look up rape culture. Sure, you might have been told in school not to rape, but look around you. Our entire culture says if a woman is drunk and gets attacked, it’s because she was drunk. We have ads and movies that portray violence against women as something sexy. Scipione is most certainly not putting forward a new idea.

      And can we stop referring to cars all the time? Vaginas are not like cars. It is not illegal to be in possession of a vagina while drunk. Having a vagina does not force someone to attack me. They attack me because they have decided to attack me.

      The police should be focussing their efforts on firstly, ignoring rape myths, and secondly, pursuing criminals who have committed violence against women. If the police don’t take these cases seriously, why would the potential criminal?

      • Robert sent in another reply, in which he disagreed with the definition of a rape apologist. One can only assume he has a different definition, one that is wrong.

        I won’t publish his comments because of the name-calling. He called me names he thought would offend me. I now expect several comments whining about how I can’t hack it. Guess what buddy? My blog. I don’t have to publish your comments. If you want to have your say, start your own blog.

        • Hear hear. Or rather, heard it all before, don’t need to hear it again. It’s somewhat more rare that you hear people saying that that one should have thought of behaving in a more appropriate manner so as not to be murdered, for example.

  26. Dennis said: “…all you are doing is telling women that rape cannot be prevented by them”

    It can’t.

    Trying to reason with men about this depletes women’s energy, just sayin’.

    I too was really squicked out by the advice to tell our friends. I found that to be potentially very divisive and a strategy to encourage disunity among women, like we even need that. Planning to have some good consensual sex later on in the night doesn’t mean you can’t still be assaulted after making that plan. Not only that but it absolutely would be used against women. Rape victims who report rape are already asked if they went out with the intention of having sex; this would create witnesses to testify against victims. If he had any genuine concerns about rape culture he’d be calling for men to inform people that they are intending to rape someone. You know, something that would actually help women.

  27. NB I understand that this post will not be published and why, however as a message to NWN, having had plenty of time to think about the discussion while packing trucks at work it has occured to me that given I am fortunate enough to be in that group which is highly unlikely to become a victim of rape (AKA strong young(ish) men) it is pretty arrogant of me to have such strong opinions on the topic.
    With that in mind I a am sorry and hope to be able to continue to contribute to discussions (from which I learn more than I contribute generally speaking)on other topics in the future.

  28. Wow, NWN. If it was me having to construct replies to these argumentative, bonehead, idiot doodbros who just Don’t. Get. It., I would have blown a frontal lobe by now. I admire your patience, perseverance and your point of view. Solidarity, sister!

    • Thanks Clara_Sabell. I did get to the point of not publishing their comments, but dealing with them is not for their benefit. They’ll never try to see if from someone else’s point of view, but someone else reading the comments might.

  29. I also appreciate NWN allowing women to see just what we are up against here, by allowing men to demonstrate their true attitudes. It’s important.

    I think men have a different definition of rape and tend to argue based on the “stranger rape in a dark alley” type of rapist – the socially-approved rapist. They don’t think of the guy who goes out with the intention of picking up, of buying her alcohol, of presenting as interested in pursuing a serious relationship, of using flattery, of taking advantage of her neediness, insecurity or lonliness – as a rapist. But he is.

    Women are socially-conditioned to feel incomplete if they don’t find Mr Right or live up to impossible beauty standards, and this works as a type of life-long grooming process that really helps rapists. When they go out looking for that victim, most of the work has been done for them, thanks to advertising. I don’t buy that men are just too slow to understand all this. They understand it and they think it’s just fine. They even set up expensive schools for each other now, to educate each other on gaining a psychological advantage in The Game as they call it. They go out in teams for organised predation and they support each other in finding women who seem vulnerable.

    Explaining it to them carefully, over and over, as if we could just word it the right way and a light bulb will come on over their heads, wastes our time ergy.

    • I think there are some men out there who would respond well to a targeted campaign of what a rapist actually is.
      Much like that Domestic Violence campaign, that explained what DV actually was. Sure, there are probably plenty of men that learnt nothing from it. Or men who staunchly disagreed with it and we know there are because women continue to be victims of DV. But to say it was a waste of time and energy explaining this concept would be erroneous. We’ve never had a targeted campaign that attempts to explain sexual assault and rape.

      The problem is that all rape literature focuses on what women need to do to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. (And most of that literature focuses on the “stranger-rape” rather than the more common forms of rape for which there is nothing women can do to prevent it.)

      I think men can be educated, we just need to actually start educating them.
      Take the focus off the victim and put it where it should be, on the perpetrator.

    • Linda, just to clarify, by men you mean “some men”, right? Because there are many many men who are not like this. Who get it.

      You are spot on about the socially approved rapist. The one everyone can hate. It completely ignores the facts about who a rapist is most likely to be, but it’s a baddie.

      • Statistics from the NSW Rape Crisis Centre alone, suggest it’s more than some, and I’m sure the men who are not like that feel as strongly about those statistics as I do.

  30. Pirra -“I think men can be educated, we just need to actually start educating them”
    But that still puts the onus on us, the victims, the current victims, the past victims, the future victims, to do the work. It still makes us responsible for what men do. If we’re going to go with a reformist solution then educating girls makes more sense. There is a good program for girls called WEEOWISER which used to run through Liverpool Women’s Health Centre. Moira Carmody of UWS developed the Ethical Sex program for all young people. This could be part of school curriculums. Plus a targeted campaign to educate women to spot the signs of professional pick up artists, like the “negging” and the strategy of isolating women from their friends, would be great. Posters in the night club bathrooms, much like those that warn about binge drinking, would be great, as well as designated women-only spaces in night clubs, free transport for women to get home etc.

    • But Linda, with that you’re back all the way around to it being women’s job to avoid rapists. I think Pirra’s ‘we’ is not we, the victims, but we, the people who have a public voice and resources to communicate (like Scipione, if he was doing his job properly).

      Men like Robert, Dennis and Kimsonof have shown in this very thread that, in their minds, a rapist is an incurable psychopath whose behaviour has not been, and cannot be influenced by the culture that surrounds him. We know that this is not true and, indeed, that there are many different kinds of rapists, some of whom have as yet been given no reason to think that what they do is criminal, or unacceptable to their society. THAT is our pressure point; that is where the energy and the ad campaigns and the statements from public figures should go: into specifying exactly what actions are wrong (not just saying ‘rape’, because it’s too easy to claim that this or that wasn’t ‘real’ rape), and making it clear that those actions will not be given a pass in our world. Sadly, that is not the message being delivered by the people who should consider holding criminals accountable to be their job.

      • @Orlando, Thank you! Yes, that’s exactly what I was saying. ‘We’ was not a ‘we’ meaning us women folk educating the men folk, but a collective ‘We’, as in society as a whole.

        @Linda, I am sure those programs you named are wonderful but again, they are aimed at women and how we need to police our own behaviours and actions to avoid sexual assault and rape.

        What do those programs offer that teach young men which of their behaviours and actions are sexual assault and rape?
        I know in high school during health classes we have the whole, if she says no and you keep going, that’s rape spiel, but it doesn’t explain consent concisely. Sex education in schools is so ambiguous and not terribly good, and unfortunately, in a lot of cases, that’s all the instruction young men get on rape.
        It’s not nearly enough to have mothers say to their boys, “Don’t rape”. Dad’s need to be saying it too and they need to be emulating correct behaviours that back it up. All too often the words and the behaviours don’t gel, because the majority men (and even some women) have not been taught what sexual assault and rape really are.

        On a side note: There are plenty of men, indeed MOST men who understand this concept and whilst they do not rape or assault, some of them still do buy into this rape apology bullshit that somehow we could have done more to prevent becoming a victim. I think that is because we have been conditioned to accept that some men will just rape and assault, and what is consent isn’t always understood by some men.

        I’d love to see an ad campaign that addresses those things, because we have had NO ad campaigns at all that address rape thus far.

        Putting the onus on women to reduce the threat, has not worked.

    • urggh – unsure of what ‘negging’ meant I googled and found this:
      http://www.sosuave.com/articles/neghits.htm

      I now need to scrub that out of my brain. What an incredibly foul worldview

  31. Pirra, you’re just assuming that because they are not aimed at women policing each other and the ethical sex program spells out very clearly to young men and boys what behaviours are rapey. You’ll have to take my word on that or look it up yourself because I don’t have time to post an essay about it here. Lecturing women about their clothes or their drinking is in no way the same as teaching women what negging is.

    • The elephant in the room here is the casual sex culture that sees both men and women on a constant hunt for a quick shag rather than the formation of enduring pair bonds. Add to that a drinking culture and frankly the result is not good at any level.
      There is a lot to be said for both sobriety and abstaining from empty sex for its own sake when it comes to a healthy and safe society.

      • In your opinion that is the ‘elephant in the room’. Lasting pairs haven’t always been so great for society either. Casual sex is not rape. Casual sex is not even necessarily ’empty’ sex. There’s a lot more to be said for frank discussions around consent, consensual and enthusiastic sex and the ugly undercurrents of sexual conservatism, ‘sex is bad/dirty’, and gender relations in my opinion. I’m just a little fed up with the way so many men have decided to ‘explain’ that the women who are trying to discuss the problem carefully are ‘missing’ the ‘elephant in the room’ – for you it’s casual sex, for others it was ‘some men are just fucked in the head – DEAL WITH IT!’. For me, I refuse to explain it away in terms of something so simplistic and convenient. We’re failing as a society to take responsibility for sexual violence, to stop comparing it to car theft, to stop explaining it away with a wave of a hand, to stop insisting it comes back to ‘loose sexual morals’ rather than violence and rape.

      • Actually, the elephant in the room is that relationships with men are more dangerous for women than drinking in public and wearing short skirts.
        But no one is educating girls about this because our society has a bias in favour of heterosexual unions. They MUST be innately good, right?
        I think Linda Radfem is talking about that kind of education for girls: the kind that might lead to them proactively avoiding violence from men by considering the possibility of avoiding the type relationship that is the most common site of violence.

        • Like there is absolutely no domestic violence with in lesbian partnerships Eh HP? (sarcasom) 🙄

          • My personal opinion is that it is the “sexual partner is significant other and therefore you own them” meme that is the problem. Currently the heterosexual model is dominant. I would like to see the decline of the model in all its manifestiations. I think if all relationships involving affection could acquire the status of friendship there would be a lot less societally accepted violence. It’s not considered understandable in any circumstances to beat up a friend because they said the wrong thing or you’ve had a bad day at the office.

            • “if all relationships involving affection could acquire the status of friendship”
              I think you may have just produced something genuinely radical there.

          • There is, but it still remains statistically more likely for a woman to experience violence, and not only violence, but homelessness, poverty and death, iin a het domestic relationship.

      • My point is that the more often that anyone has to go through the “search for a shag” with new people the more often that they are at risk of being misunderstood, or even just suffering alcohol poisoning or worse like picking up a weirdo, Its rather like taking a chance by driving into oncoming traffic the more that you do it the more chance there is that you will crash.
        Kim I get what you are talking about but I am trying to suggest that the whole go out on the turps get shit faced and hope that there are no bad consequences is just not wise, add to that a lack of frankness when strangers negotiate for a shag, the difficulty to prove any rape allegation and feminist theory about who is responsible for the consequences becomes a rather moot point. In the end we all want every one having a good time to do so safely don’t we? Isn’t that the point of the copper’s suggestion that was the inspiration of this post?
        Have fun but play safe

        • YAY another car analogy. It’s not really like driving into oncoming traffic – that’s illegal, and jeopardizes the safety of all the other drivers around you. Even *if* you felt the need to strain the tired old car analogy wouldn’t it simply be more like taking your car out more frequently? The point you’d be trying to make that the more often you’re ‘on the road’ the more often you’re exposed to the negligent or reckless driving of others? But rape isn’t like that at all is it? Because when you don’t drive you get to be safe in your home from the negligent driving of others in all but the most surprising of cases whereas when you ‘stay home’ (or stay sober, or stay in your trakkie daks, or only hang out with guys you know and trust) you aren’t any safer from rape and the statistics tell us so – so why the ‘oncoming traffic’ b/s? The more often I open my mouth and start a conversation the more often it’s possible to ‘be misunderstood’. The more often I express an opinion online the more often it’s possible to ‘pick up a weirdo’ (the guys on Facebook/on [other] blogs who like to threaten rape because they don’t like my attitude/opinions). That doesn’t mean that a woman speaking or a woman expressing an opinion is engaging in the ‘sort of risky behaviour that just might get her raped’ and silence and lack of opinion aren’t the answer nor is talking or opinionatedness the problem – the problem is other people’s unwillingness/lack of ability to exercise decency, self control and respect for the rights of others.

    • Yes I will have to take your word for it (I don’t have time to google it myself right now, but hopefully I will have time later) . I was responding to the bit in your comment where you said There is a good programfor girls called WEEOWISER which used to run through Liverpool Women’s Health Centre.
      Nowhere in your comment does it say it’s for teens or youths. Just girls. Whatever the content, when you say a program is for girls… that is still targeting girls not boys.

      • Apologies….you did mention youths for the Moira Carmody one, I must google that one. We really do need more programs that focus on what sexual assault and rape is rather than on behaviour that may lead you to become a victim of sexual assault and rape. (Hoping this program fits the bill)

      • You must have missed this part: “Moira Carmody of UWS developed the Ethical Sex program for all young people.”
        The WEEOWISER program targets girls because it’s girls who are more likely to experience sexual violence from a partner or someone known to them. It’s informed by feminist theory and it’s run by women whose practice is informed by feminist theory. It’s women using their wisdom and resources to empower other women, which is about as far as it gets from the police commisioner’s approach. I’m speaking as a professional here and I do know what I’m talking about.

        • I never meant to imply you didn’t know what you were talking about!
          I was merely emphasising that whilst there is literature out there, it is targeted at women and seemingly women alone. (Though, I managed to go check out the WEE O WISER website and think it’s a fabulous resource for identifying violent relationships of all kinds and am very displeased to see it has been unable to gain the necessary funding to continue the program!)

          We know women are informed. We’ve been conditioned from birth to be hyper-aware of every situation that is potentially dangerous. (Even walking down the street alone, or going to the bathroom alone) What we also know is this strategy alone is not working. We know this because a lot of men still don’t see their behaviour as illegal, or that what they are doing is in fact rape.

          Just like giving girls only HPV vaccine won’t reduce HPV related cancers, (boys need to be immunised too for a radical downswing) education on rape and sexual assault needs to be targeted at BOTH sexes in equal measure. That is all I am saying.

          (And there has been a shift in how we deliver DV campaigns as is evident with those fantastic tv ads I already mentioned. We need a widespread and highly visible campaign along similar lines to really help the programs you’re talking about really hit home. )

          Also, I’d like to know what programs are being taught in single sex theologically affiliated schools. We had no sex education (at least for senior years, I wasn’t there for junior) at all at our single sex catholic school. If people are relying on schools and school programs to teach their kids about sexuality, sex and sexual violence there could be whole stacks of youths missing out on these vital and important messages.

          • Yeah sorry Pirra, that came over a bit snippier than I meant it to. What it initially sounded like to me was you saying that feminist-informed policy approaches to using stats and empirical research, were just as silly as the police commissioner’s personal value approach. But I get now that’s not what you meant. Damn internet.

            I’m sure, given the magnitude of the issue that there is room for all approaches.

            • And not only is there room for all approaches, but there’s a need for them too. A single approach won’t work when you’re talking about cultural change.

            • @Linda 🙂 Internet conversations have a nasty habit of not always being as clear and concise as they think they are being. (Well, mostly the posters of those conversations–usually me)

              I should have stated that I didn’t think the approaches you were discussing were silly, (because I don’t think they’re silly at all- I just feel we need to take a broader approach.) I am sorry for the frustration that caused you and for making you feel like I was devaluing your input. It wasn’t my intention, but that doesn’t change the fact that it made you feel devalued and I do apologise for that.

  32. Sorry Orlando, I missed your reply before. Yes I take your point, which is why I said “if we’re going to go with a reformist solution” because personally and politically, I’m radical not reformist. In the mean time though I would rather see women supporting each other and sharing what resources we do have to address this issue, between ourselves, rather than putting our valuable time and energy into gently coaxing men into listening to us.

  33. Women can stake a higher knowledge claim on this issue, Iain. You’d do well to just read and learn.

  34. Ian,
    I’m not sure if you are arguing that there is a ‘new’ casual sex culture here – but I will go with it (if not, apologies). I think the concept that today is an age of rampant sexytimes is incorrect. Aside from Victorian morales that introduced the idea that one didn’t speak of such things, there is solid historical evidence that ‘casual sex’ has been a staple of human societies. The main difference between now and the past is merely in acceptibility of such displays in cultural mediums. Further, while casual sex has long been a part of human behaviour, I am not all sure that it is necessarily as rampart as the media and other cultural mediums (tv, movies, etc) would have us believe. Rachel Hills has written quite intersetingly on the subject, if you are interested.
    I am not sure of how consensual ‘casual sex’ relates to rape.
    If you want to look at cultural attitudes and how they relate to rape incidence, as NWN has done, I think that that provides a much stronger basis for understanding the current situation. While you can argue that the advice of Scipione and others is merely common sense, such advice is a part of a wider culture, in which rape is constantly related to the actions of the victim. Indeed, during rape trials, the character and behaviour of the victim is regularly scrutinised. Further, we have an entire culture where men are taught that they have a right to sex, that women are of little comparative worth, and where sex is almost a conquestorial activity. Changing the focus of the conversation is certainly going to help change the culture, eventually.
    Finally, IMO, people like Scipione should be discussing how to arrest and prosecute rapists. According to victimisation surveys, only 14% of rapes are reported to the police (gee, I wonder why – drinking, short skirt wearing whores the lot of them – why didn’t you take more responsibility for yourself!). Of this 14%, only 30% even proceed to prosecution, and ultimately, only 6.5% are convicted of the original offense. Further, sentences are often incredibly lenient and reduced while being served.
    Reflecting on these statistics shows that the system ultimately does little to truly punish rapists. As rational creatures, we generally make risk-payoff judgements about our actions. At the end of the day, these type of statistics say to men that there is actually very little risk that they will be punished for rape. From a police commissioner, I would expect his response to rape to be similar to the warnings about speeding/drink driving in holiday seasons – ‘we will be out in force, we will get you, and you will be severely punished’. Instead he tells women to look after themselves and drink less.

    Statistics from:
    http://www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/statistics.html
    Daly, K & Bouhours, B. 2009 Rape and Attrition in the Legal Process: A Comparative Analysis of Five Countries. Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research, Vol. 39

    • Natalie

      I’m not sure if you are arguing that there is a ‘new’ casual sex culture here – but I will go with it (if not, apologies).

      Well I’m not actaully arguing that its anything new, but I would say that its a bit more open and blatant than it has been in the past,

      I think the concept that today is an age of rampant sexytimes is incorrect.

      Well as an adolescent in the late sixties and early seventies I am well aware of the difference between the propaganda and the reality when it comes to such things.

      Aside from Victorian morals that introduced the idea that one didn’t speak of such things, there is solid historical evidence that ‘casual sex’ has been a staple of human societies.

      Sure but we celebrate it and the media constantly suggests that unless you are scoring morning noon and night then you are socially deficient,

      The main difference between now and the past is merely in acceptability of such displays in cultural mediums. Further, while casual sex has long been a part of human behaviour, I am not all sure that it is necessarily as rampart as the media and other cultural mediums (tv, movies, etc) would have us believe. Rachel Hills has written quite interestingly on the subject, if you are interested.

      Yep I agree with that

      I am not sure of how consensual ‘casual sex’ relates to rape.

      It doesn’t except as I suggested above when you are constantly “on the pull” your chances of a bad experience has to increase exponentially the more times that you seek a new partner or get legless in public.

      If you want to look at cultural attitudes and how they relate to rape incidence, as NWN has done, I think that that provides a much stronger basis for understanding the current situation. While you can argue that the advice of Scipione and others is merely common sense, such advice is a part of a wider culture, in which rape is constantly related to the actions of the victim. Indeed, during rape trials, the character and behaviour of the victim is regularly scrutinised.

      The problem with all legal proceedings regarding rape is that the complainant, more often than not has no corroborating evidence for her complaint, which means that the accusation boils down to a “he said she said ” dichotomy which is very hard to adjudicate in the courts to provide justice for a victim and fair due process for the accused. Short of using mobile devices to record all of your lifeI can’t see how thsi can be significantly changed for the better.

      Further, we have an entire culture where men are taught that they have a right to sex, that women are of little comparative worth, and where sex is almost a conquestorial activity. Changing the focus of the conversation is certainly going to help change the culture, eventually.

      IMHO women are getting that message as well these days and the notches on the bed post thing is nothing new , that said its not the message that I am sharing with my children, who are growing up knowing that sex is a part of life but it is not a contact sport to be entered into lightly

      Finally, IMO, people like Scipione should be discussing how to arrest and prosecute rapists. According to victimisation surveys, only 14% of rapes are reported to the police (gee, I wonder why – drinking, short skirt wearing whores the lot of them – why didn’t you take more responsibility for yourself!). Of this 14%, only 30% even proceed to prosecution, and ultimately, only 6.5% are convicted of the original offense. Further, sentences are often incredibly lenient and reduced while being served.

      Getting to the conviction rates I go back to what I said before about the difficulty of proving a complaint, especially when both parties were in their cups at the time, the way to arrest and prosecute rapists is to have irrefutable evidence of the crime, like having video evidence that consent was not given or that “no” was ignored. With out something of that ilk I can’t see conviction rates going up.

      Reflecting on these statistics shows that the system ultimately does little to truly punish rapists. As rational creatures, we generally make risk-payoff judgements about our actions. At the end of the day, these type of statistics say to men that there is actually very little risk that they will be punished for rape.

      Maybe so, but how would you make things different?

      From a police commissioner, I would expect his response to rape to be similar to the warnings about speeding/drink driving in holiday seasons – ‘we will be out in force, we will get you, and you will be severely punished’. Instead he tells women to look after themselves and drink less.

      I’m sure that as a decent man He would love to do it as much as I would but you can only work within the frame work of the law

      • Iain, telling women what they should and should not do has NOTHING to do with the law. Of all the things he moralised about, none are illegal. Scipione’s job is to catch criminals. When talking about crimes, his job as a police officer, as someone who enforces the law, is to tell people to not do it OR WE WILL CATCH YOU AND PUNISH YOU. Just like they do with every other crime.

        • Kim
          I agree that a policeman’s job is to catch criminals, but unless he can get a successful prosecution catching them is not enough, and to get a successful prosecution for a rape allegation he needs evidence, not just that sex occurred but that there was no consent, work out a way to make that happen and the case will result in a conviction. Any practical suggestions from you about that are most welcome.
          Oh and I’m not trying to “tell” women as in “instruct or order” to do anything I’m just making some observations about the modern culture.

          • @IainHall, but this is exactly where an education program would be most useful – educating the pool of potential jurors. As the situation currently stands, a rapist can be fairly confident in the odds being in his favour regarding jurors buying into rape myths about what is “really” rape and what is not, because the general understanding of “consent” is still wrapped up in toxic ideas like women aren’t supposed to change their minds to no if they started saying yes or unconscious women aren’t saying no so of course he was confused.

            If we educate the juries that these “defences” are crap, then rapists are more likely to be convicted, and this is the one and only thing that will make most of them less likely to rape.

            • Yah Tigtog! Thank you for articulating the broader point on why we need to be educating people and eradicating rape apology culture.

              Every person of age is a potential juror. You are spot on.

      • Ian,
        How would I make things different? Ultimately, it is an incredibly complex issue – and although I am interested in the topic, I certainly have no formal experience or education in the area, but will have a shot.
        The response IMO would be multi-pronged. While a range of initiatives, from improving sex education (wouldn’t it be wonderful it we taught our children that sex can be a wonderful thing when both parties are joyously consenting?) to other initiatives such as the ones Linda outlined above.

        On the other hand, I also think that for cultural change to occur, the issue really does need to be reframed – as NWN has argued. It is so fucking tiring reading the same “ladies, don’t drink, don’t blah blah blah to protect yoursleves” meme that is a constant in the cultural conversation around rape. It seems like every article on rape in the mainstream news repeats the same line. And you know what, this approach obviously isn’t working.

        Additionally, I think that legal reform is also necessary – and ensuring that the legal culture changes/adapts to the desired reforms. The article (of which a draft is available) outlines some interesting ideas.

        Pretty much all of what I have said have been major points of the feminist arguement for around the issue for quite a while.

        Reflectively, in contrast to what you have stated above, I do think that the cultural narrative about rape being women’s fault (which is also connected to the notion that men are unable to control their sexual desire) is largely reflected in how the police and courts deal with victims and perpetrators. While I agree that it is an incredibly difficult crime to prosecute, in cases where the evidence is damning, the sentences are not, especially when there is a lack of physical (as opposed to sexual) violence. The same goes for child molestation – convicted paedophiles often serve only a couple of years – even when they are on their second/third conviction.

  35. P.S – NWN sorry for the long comment

    • Don’t apologise for long comments. Particularly articulate long comments with references!

    • Natalie

      The response IMO would be multi-pronged. While a range of initiatives, from improving sex education (wouldn’t it be wonderful it we taught our children that sex can
      be a wonderful thing when both parties are joyously consenting?).

      Well that is certainly the message that may children will be getting about sex

      On the other hand, I also think that for cultural change to occur, the issue really does need to be re framed – as NWN has argued. It is so fucking tiring reading the same “ladies, don’t drink, don’t blah blah blah to protect yoursleves” meme that is a constant in the cultural conversation around rape. It seems like every article on rape in the mainstream news repeats the same line. And you know what, this approach obviously isn’t working.

      Strangely enough I don’t think that suggesting that everyone should consider their personal safety when you want to get a bit out of it is such a bad idea , not just about the issue of rape, think of OD’s chocking on your own vomit, walking in front of a bus, the risks of harm just go up with every drink even if your knickers remain entirely undisturbed for the duration

      Additionally, I think that legal reform is also necessary – and ensuring that the legal culture changes/adapts to the desired reforms. The article (of which a draft is available) outlines some interesting ideas.

      As I said in my earlier comment its all about making the case and if the law is changed to make it too easy to get a conviction in a rape case then there is a high risk that the innocent may be convicted, and that would no more serve justice than for the guilty to be acquitted.

      Reflectively, in contrast to what you have stated above, I do think that the cultural narrative about rape being women’s fault (which is also connected to the notion that men are unable to control their sexual desire) is largely reflected in how the police and courts deal with victims and perpetrators.

      You know what I just don’t buy the argument that there is an underlying perception that rape is a woman’s fault or that men “can’t control themselves” But I do think that there is a certain lack of frankness (from both men and women) in the way that many people negotiate for a shag, which leads to “misunderstandings” and when you add grog or drugs into the mix it can certainly end badly.

      While I agree that it is an incredibly difficult crime to prosecute, in cases where the evidence is damning, the sentences are not, especially when there is a lack of physical (as opposed to sexual) violence.

      The problem here is simply that the evidence is seldom damning enough for it to be a clear cut case, especially when the victim knows or has been in a relationship with the accused (or they have been on a “date”) we are then back into the “she said /he said” territory aren’t we? That is always a legal minefield and sadly its hard to get to the truth of the matter.

      The same goes for child molestation – convicted paedophiles often serve only a couple of years – even when they are on their second/third conviction.

      There is one thing that you forget in terms of the severity of sentences for these sorts of offences and that is the requirement that offenders be put on a register of sex offenders for many years after they have served their sentence it quite rightly makes them social pariahs for the rest of their lives and that is in many way the most severe punishment.

      • Iain, your argument about the sex offenders register making people social pariahs is bullshit. The public is not informed about who is on that list.

        And just because someone was on a date, doesn’t mean they can’t be raped. Your arguments are weak and offensive.

        Also, I know that the idea that women falsely accuse men of rape simply because they change their mind in the morning is a pet topic of yours. And that you believe there is a low conviction rate because women make it up and that is proven in court. Don’t bring that shit here.

        • Kim
          I don’t believe that there is a low conviction rate for rape because “because women make it up” I believe there is a low conviction rate because it is just too difficult to decide between the competing claims of the victim and the accused, I certainly want to see more rapists caught and punished (probably more severely than you would advocate your self) but I appreciate the way that our legal system works and you have to realise that to get a conviction then we have to provide both the police and the prosecutors with enough evidence of the crime to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt.

          My concerns about false accusations is another topic and I have no desire to air that here as its not the issue at hand here.

          • Don’t you think that since there is a revoltingly high rate of violence against women in our community (57 per cent of Australian women have experienced at least one physical or sexual assault), the problem with conviction rates might be the police and the legal system?

            • There is a revoltingly rate of violence FULL STOP Kim and much of it is never reported or results in any sort of prosecution, But for the police and the legal system to be involved there firstly has to be a complaint, secondly there has to be enough evidence to secure a conviction, and then the crime has to be considered serious enough to warrant punishment rather than some sort of diversionary program to “reform” offenders.

              I want to see every rapist strung up by their balls if the truth be known but you have to prove the case first and THAT is the problem here not the willingness of the police to catch criminals but the difficulty of securing convictions.

              • So Iain, why do you think women don’t report it? Could it be, perhaps, that the police don’t take reports of sexual violence against women seriously? Could that be why they don’t investigate?

                Read this: https://newswithnipples.com/2010/12/09/police-and-rape-myths/

                Read the comments. Read about the shit that women have to put up with when they go to the police.

              • Yet again simply asserting in capitals what *you think* is “the” problem here doesn’t make it so thanks, doesn’t close the case, doesn’t mean that “the” problem is the one issue you’ve named. You believe the problem to be X (or Y, or Z depending on what happens to be most convenient to dismiss what women are talking about in any given situation). We are talking about examining the ways in which rape is discussed, and the myths around rape and the importance of debunking those myths – for the sake of the victims, for the sake of challenging the mindsets that lead to rape, for the sake of challenging the mindset of people who become jurists etc. And to do *that* it is legitimate to speak up when the Police Commissioner uses his position to further propogate rape myths (ie/ stranger rape is the most prevalent form, that women can ‘prevent rape’ by being good girls and being sober, that ‘sensible’ girls don’t get drunk, that ‘sensible girls’ tell their friends in advance if they are planning to have sex that night). I actually don’t give a fuck that *you* or Scipione thinks being sober is a virtue – being drunk is pretty fucking fun. Being tipsy is pretty fucking fun. Being drunk and dancing at a nightclub is pretty fucking fun. Being drunk, dressed up and flirting at a nightclub is fun – the problem is *not* that girls engage in such fun, but that rapists rape. There’s a lot more to it than ‘you have to prove the case’ and there’s a lot to why it is difficult to prove the case, a lot more than simply he said/she said stuff. Also I don’t care that you want to see rapists strung up by the balls – your violent wishes don’t give your words any further credibility – I want to work hard for a world in which women are seen as fully human, fully entitled to any legal fun they choose to pursue, respected and protected by the legal system. And it’s not going to happen if we just buy into the same old crap of ‘smart girls protect themselves by staying sober and walking in packs’ etc.

                • “There’s a lot more to it than ‘you have to prove the case’ and there’s a lot to why it is difficult to prove the case, a lot more than simply he said/she said stuff.”
                  This is spot on, and it’s where we need to go next in this discussion, because we need to examine the fact that what goes on in a rape trial is not a decision about what constitutes reasonable doubt, but about what constitutes a worthy victim. Evidence? Look at this case, in which a juror said afterwards that they all agreed the rapist had done it, but they weren’t comfortable that the victim had been trying to buy drugs:
                  http://sashasaid.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/when-rape-victims-lie/
                  Or this one, in which the accused actually got up on the stand an confessed, but his victim was a prostitute:
                  http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/sex-work-is-not-an-invitation-to-rape/
                  Or the NRL player earlier this year, who was acquitted, despite his defence not even bothering to contest that his victim was put to bed by her friend and the guy she had actually hooked up with, because she was sick and dizzy and needed to be quiet for a while, and then found by numerous witnesses balled up in the hallway sobbing shortly afterwards (cos that’s *just* what happens with consensual sex).
                  The juries on these cases didn’t think the women weren’t raped, or that there was too much doubt. They thought the women involved didn’t deserve the protection of the law.
                  Now, Iain, how do you think the Police Commissioner’s words help with this? Or yours, with your lauding of “sobriety”? Are you making it more or less likely that a jury will be composed of people who take seriously the harm done to a woman?

      • @IainHall

        But I do think that there is a certain lack of frankness (from both men and women) in the way that many people negotiate for a shag, which leads to “misunderstandings” and when you add grog or drugs into the mix it can certainly end badly.

        This study is rather confronting, I think, regarding how it shows that people, including men, in general are entirely capable of understanding a whole lot about how our social conventions generally position a direct “no” as unacceptably rude so this results many polite circumlocutions that avoid saying the word so long as the “no” is expressed in a non-sexual situation, and then some of them claim that this social understanding they exhibit elsewhere every single day suddenly deserts them when they manage to be in a room where someone they desire is isolated and vulnerable to being overpowered.

        Mythcommunication: It’s Not That They Don’t Understand, They Just Don’t Like The Answer

        People issue rejections in softened language, and people hear rejections in softened language, and the notion that anything but a clear “no” can’t be understood is just nonsense. First, the notion that rape results from miscommunication is just wrong. Rape results from a refusal to heed, rather than an inability to understand, a rejection.

        • Tig tog
          I did put “misunderstanding” in inverted comers for a reason, namely that if an encounter ends up going badly and it results in a woman being raped it will help her case no end if she can state categorically that she said “NO” in the most clear and concise way possible, it would help even more if she has audio or video evidence that she was not a consensual participant in sex rather than a victim of a crime.
          You see I do appreciate and I even agree with most of the feminist theory about what constitutes rape but once you get out of the world of theory and into the place where we actaully live you have to find a way through the he said / she said dichotomy that is in play in most rape allegations and what I am about is not the theory but the practical things that can be done, in the first instance I agree that teaching all of our children about respecting others, secondly teaching them that being frank and honest in your dealings with other people is better than being coy and “soft”, thirdly that sobriety is a strength and a virtue, and finally if you do become a victim do your best to make a conviction both likely and possible.

          • Ian,
            One of the issues that we are discussing here is the fact that in ‘he said/she said’ circumstances, ‘he said’ is automatically priveleged and what ‘she said’ is often analysed in terms of unrelated crap.

      • So the question becomes: why exactly is it that sexual negotiations are set apart as requiring this uncommon level of frankness compared to every other social negotiation, before an unwillingness expressed with the usual polite circumlocutions will be respected?

        Why can’t the common level of just-not-wanting-to-upset-people conventional unwillingness formulations be respected in sexual negotiations as they generally are otherwise?

  36. Not for the first time, I’ve got to wonder if Commissioner Scipione would be taking the same hard line with off-duty officers who get assaulted after *cough* perhaps getting a little over-lubricated on a night out. You know, aren’t they just asking for it, and have nobody but themselves to blame?

  37. Yeah that’s been bugging me with the assault/rape analogy – that no one ever says a guy who had the shit kicked out of him ‘must have been asking for it’ or might have had himself to blame because he had some beers or perhaps his shirt was a little ‘suggestive’

    • a bit of a tangent – but I just had a mental image of a bunch of ladies beating up a guy and the subsequent headline “Women on a drunken rampage, Police Commissioner announces crack down on female drunkeness”

    • Well, yes. I must admit I used to a flat with a (straight male) police officer, and it was no hardship looking at him over the breakfast table all freshly pressed and ready for action, so to speak. But I kept that to myself because, you know, domestic sexual harassment isn’t cool and nobody, ever “asks for it.” It’s really not rocket science.

  38. What perhaps astounds me most about this is that Scipione seems totally unaware of what happened when a mere constable – Michael Sanguinetti – said something very similar.

    I’d thought we’d done this discussion to death through all the Slutwalks.

    There is just so much ignorance over the whole issue. Some people think that, by taking this stand, we expect rape to magically and suddenly stop. That people will be free to leave their car doors unlocked (bleugh to the analogy). I often say that the stand being taken here, exactly like the Slutwalks, is that it is a point we will look back to in the future and say “This is where the social change started”.

    It is a small step.

    In one forum I talked about PSA advertisements here that got me really angry – but it was at a time before I had the voice to express it. The ads basically told women to stay together to keep themselves safe. As if they were gazelles or something.

    In terms of DV, I really liked the campaign we had here recently. http://www.areyouok.org.nz/

    The way it depicts everyone as cardboard cut-outs. You can’t reach out to them and they just don’t see you. And when the friend asks “Are you OK”, you can see the dam start to break, and it really brings me to tears. I feel good about this campaign because it follows on from the “It’s not OK” campaign that targeted the offenders.

    • Scipione’s police officers were at Sydney SlutWalk. They didn’t march with us, but like any protest, they were there.

      Those ads are really good. We saw them when we were in NZ and said ‘you’d never have an ad like that in Australia’.

      • Quite – and there are even some officers in Sydney who are at least trying to improve the NSW’s historically shithouse relationships with sex workers, the lesbian and trans communities, indigenous and immigrant women and so forth. Scipione might just want to stop undermining grassroots efforts in his own service. Or not.

  39. thefirstJanineonthisblog

    I am loving this post. Thank you.

    There is something I wonder about and I am sure there are many better theorists here than I so I am prepared to be enlightened/educated. What does the word ‘rape’ mean to the reasonable person? Does the use of this word limit our discussions in any way, and therefore our ability to deal with the behaviours at play?

    My concern is people may be socialised to associate the word ‘rape’ with only a very narrow set of conditioned criteria; the argument is potentially lost before we even start. Should there be considerations for the actual terminology used so to avoid the traps? It is evident (wilful or not) confusion (red herrings, elephants, etc) reigns on this issue.

    • ThefirstJanineonthisblog, this is a great point. I think there are lots of people who would consider rape to be a violent sexual assault, committed by a stranger. Anything else isn’t rape.

    • YES. This is part of the campaign we need to have. (Which is part of what I was trying to say in my other posts, that just weren’t as concise on here as they are in my head.)

      Just like we had to explain what domestic violence is (it’s more than just punching your partner in the face, but many don’t get that.) we need a campaign that explains what sexual violence is.

      Maybe we need to stop calling it “Rape” and just call it sexual violence. I think too many people think rape is stranger-rape and everything that falls outside of that is open to questioning- mostly the victim.
      Just look at the Roman Polansky case and how Whoopi Goldberg called it “not rape”. She wasn’t alone in her viewpoint. (And that is the main reason I refuse to watch The View. though there are others)

      How do we prevent men from committing sexual violence if they don’t realise their behaviour is actually criminal? We need to redefine the so called grey areas. (Logically we know there is no grey area, however, we only have to look at society, the way sexual violence is reported and discussed to see that too many people think there are grey areas, and that if something falls into a grey area then it’s not rape.)

      • I know journalists rarely use the r word and this is the only thing in the definition of rape culture that I think need a bit more explaining. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that not calling rape rape is part of the wider rape culture, but there are good and bad reasons why journalists don’t use this word that are worth mentioning. The first one is that the police don’t use it. So if they call it sexual assault, then we have to call it sexual assault. I’ve asked a few officers why they don’t use the word rape and all have said the same thing: that specific details of what happened are part of the evidence, so they use the umbrella term “sexual assault”. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know.

        The other reason journalists don’t use the word rape is definitely a part of rape culture: they prefer to call it a “sex attack”. This shits me to tears. To me, when I hear “sex attack”, I think “surprise! Sex attack!” Like it’s a fun thing to surprise someone with.

        • I had a reply to this, but I just can’t make the words play nice! I am making little sense today, but the reporting of sexual violence isn’t exactly what I was meaning, it was more the discussion generated after an incident is reported rather than the way it was initially reported and look at me not making sense AGAIN! (When it comes to reporting on crime one would assume it’s more prudent to use blanket terms and ambiguity in order to protect the “presumption of innocence until guilt is established”. )

          If I can manage to get my brain, my lexicon and my fingers to make nice with each other, I will attempt to make some sense…I promise!

          • That’s my bad. I was just adding some more stuff to your point about the way we (as in society) talk about sexual violence. Because the way it’s reported often influences the way it’s talked about.

        • You are right about the police, I asked my brother who is a ranked officer and he said it is purely for legal reasons. I may have come on pretty strong in my first few emails but after 20 years I still have a real thing about rape as I still feel the pain, anyone who commits this horrible crime deserves severe punishment as far as I am concerned. Even in my younger days I never dreamed of forcing anyone, I was pretty sexually active but always with willing partners only, as you say, no means no. I think a lot of it is also the fact that we were taught to have respect for others and their property, these days it isnt, also in school we were taught right and wrong with regards to the opposite sex. A lot of rape seems to be opportunistic(I dont mean any disrespect here), the male concerned takes advantage of the situation, the female should never be blamed, I dont know how we can stop this as it seems that those that do it have no morals so how do we give it to them without the respect that should be there for others. It is perplexing, those with a mental problem are a different kettle of fish but something needs to be done about the way everyone treats others these days, old fashioned respect is sadly missing a lot in everything we do and could help a lot, something needs to be done as it is happening with more frequency then it used to.

          • Dennis, since you mentioned respect, may I remind you of what you said earlier to me:

            To be honest I think you are extremely childish and pathetic, the fact that that what happened to my daughter according to you is “fucking disgusting” shows you have no morals or care about anyone else. You are a joke, the only people that will agree with you are those in the same mould, someone with no life experience or having their own family. Maybe once you eventually grow up and even have your own family you will realize that when people are trying to help you it is not just a reason to try to belittle them.

    • Rape or sexual assault as I understand it is any sexual act performed without the consent or with recklessness as to consent. For example slapping your dick on a sleeping persons face would be sexual assault as would having consensual sex one night then in the morning commencing sex again without reaffirming consent as would having sex which is consensual on certain conditions then removing those conditions and continuing to have sex with that person. Fondling someones genitals without consent, Masturbating over a sleeping person, coercing someone into a sexual act through fear etc.
      I think perhaps the word rape does limit peoples understanding of what constitutes sexual violence.
      As for Polanski, he drugged and forcibly sodomised a young girl. If that’s not rape to Whoopi Goldberg the god knows what is.

  40. thefirstJanineonthisblog

    Exactly NWN.

  41. This is one of the funniest lot of comments I’ve seen for a while. Its also a bit sad because its obvious a lot of you have no comprehension skills. Perhaps a few adult education classes might help.
    I’ll explain very simply:
    You need to understand there is a difference between how things should be and how things are. There is no justification for a bloke to take advantage of a woman because she’s off her face – its weak, pathetic and cowerdly but if a low life is looking for a victim then the drunk one with next to nothing on is going to get their attention. ITS A FACT – get over it.

    • Bill, you are the one who is lacking comprehension skills. And here, I shall explain it to you “very simply”:

      1. The Police Commissioner should focus on catching criminals, rather than moralising to young women.
      2. None of the things he whined about are illegal.
      3. Rape prevention continues to be directed at women, despite the fact that it does not work. THAT is A FACT, by the way.
      4. When talking about ways to prevent rape and sexual assault, the Police Commissioner failed to tell people NOT TO DO IT.

    • Oh Bill. You’re So Right. It’s all about our Inability to Comprehend Facts (Facts which are Facts only by virtue of being Opinions Belonging to Bill). The ‘fact’ is that no one gives a fuck what your dickswinging opinion is. We have our own opinions – it’s not that we can’t comprehend what is being said. We read it, we comprehend it, we disagree with it. To quote Toby from the West Wing: “I can do all three at once”. Another ‘fact’ is that statistics don’t bear out your ‘facts’. Rapists seek out victims in all kinds of places and scenarios – pretending to be a good bloke and gaining trust is one. So I’ll explain very simply to you: Not ONE woman here is weak enough to simper and smile and roll over because you’re arrogantly mansplaining.

    • Oh, I understand very well that we don’t we don’t live in Utopia, Bill. But I’m pretty happy to live in a country that long ago decided having a vagina did not render you incompetent to vote. That didn’t just happen.– it happened because a load of stroppy suffragettes kept banging on about it for DECADES, slowly chipping away at at the attitudes behind legislative misogyny until an all-male Parliament decided women’s suffrage was an idea whose time had come.

      Ditto for every other advance women have made in this flawed, frustrating world.

  42. I want to thank Pirra, Orlando, Linda Radfem, the firstJanineonthisblog, NWN, Craig Ranapia, Good Gravey, Double Antandre, Natalie and Hedgepig (I hope I haven’t missed anyone that I didn’t want to miss) for a really, really interesting and informative discussion. It has been a marvellous albeit depressing read, and I really appreciate hearing all your ideas and insights.

    • Thank you, rhiannondavis. I second your comment. It’s been a little frustrating at times, but certainly a good debate.

      • Yes, thank you all. Especially newswithnipples for providing us with such a fantastic to place to speak openly and frankly. I’ve enjoyed being a part of it (for the most part. The idea gathering and information swapping that is)

    • @rhiannondavis – yeah, I’d like to thank the same people (and you of course). Hard work but good to feel strength in numbers/ that we ‘have each others’ back’ so to speak.

      • 5thed! NWN – it has been a great discussion and very interesting – it is so wonderful to see an open and frank discussion about the problems and the issues. Thanks again NWN for creating a stimulating and safe space for discussion and reflection on rape

  43. Bill is very lucky I can’t get through this computer.

  44. At the risk of being angry-making, it looks like things have turned full-circle and gone back to Toronto: http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/2011/10/torontoschooluniforms/

      • I almost cried at reading that. Just so …. grrrrrrrr.

        I found one article saying “oh but he was taken out of context, and it makes sense to not let people identify you in terms of where you are going to be – same applies to workers who wear uniforms”.

        Well, Maccas workers – don’t ever let anyone see you in your uniform. Even when you are working. Schoolkids – never let anyone see you in the school grounds.

        Hope you don’t mind, but on a couple of blogs/stories about this I commented and gave a trackback to here. Easier than explaining the story.

  45. …and thanks to you all, too. I think the best part of this thread has been that the usual silencing and divisional tactics just didn’t work. and women stood their ground. I hope we’re all that bit stronger for it.

    Something that the guys need to be mindful of when they leap to opine on this subject is that, given the stats, any group of women they’re talking to is going to have several survivors in it, so best to avoid thinking of it as some abstract concept.

    • I think that is something that EVERY person who has not experienced sexual violence or rape should try to bear in mind! It’s certainly something of which I have to *remember* to be conscious. Very good point!

    • Linda:

      Fair point, but as a (male) sexual assault survivor – and one who kept silent about it for around twenty years – I’d say never assume a group of men is safe space for rape apologist bullshit. Just don’t do it, full stop and period.

      • Sorry Craig, that advice was for the benefit of the knobs who dare to come here and lecture and pontificate to women, and you are clearly not one of them.

        • Sorry, I didn’t mean to be jumping down your throat but a lot of the discussion of a certain epically triggering (and IMO rape apologetic/enabling) plot line on True Blood this season was a depressing reality check. The myth that “real men can’t be sexually assaulted” – and Alan Ball sniggering about how it was “comeuppance” for the character’s promiscuity – is alive and well.

          • I’d also like to point out that much of our discussion ignores other victims of rape and sexual assault. We are, on the whole, talking about male violence against women. So although I am not trying to silence other victims of sexual violence, it’s not an area I know about so I don’t want to offend by spouting some ill-informed shit.

            And, like all my posts, you guys know more about this than I do, which is why I learn so much from the comments.

  46. Bottom line no one deserves to be raped.
    It makes me and I’m sure alot of other people nervous that this idiot is incharge of our justice and safety system. One word: moron

  47. Iain Hall’s comments erasing the rapist’s intent to rape are so fucking stupid. Comparing rape to falling under a bus? Like women just fall under rapes, like it’s an accident?

    • Linda
      Pardon me but what part of my comments have led you to believe that I have any desire to “erasing the rapist’s intent to rape “. And despite my propensity to use motoring metaphors I have not mentioned buses at all.

      I see no reason why may bringing up the actual legal problems involved in successfully convicting a rapist are in any way excusing that which I consider a terribly vile crime, and one deserving the harshest punishment. However if you take that attitude that all men are the enemy then how can you ever expect to make things better for women and girls?

      Theory is great until you have to make it work in the real world so I’m asking you the same question that I asked Natalie Just how do you think that the problem can be solved without sacrificing fairness and justice?

      • Iain, fairness and justice have already been sacrificed. The police and the legal system are weighted against the victim.

      • Get this straight, Iain. Your only place in this discussion is to listen to the people who know this issue best and to do the mental work of comprehending what they are saying, ALL BY YOURSELF.

        When you keep arguing, and demanding things be explained to you over and over, you are being excessively controlling, and that’s what rape is about, power and control.

        And you think you’re disguising your misogyny with that careful, over-polite tone? It’s hanging out all over the place.

        • Linda

          Get this straight, Iain. Your only place in this discussion is to listen to the people who know this issue best and to do the mental work of comprehending what they are saying, ALL BY YOURSELF.

          Really? I was under the distinct impression that this is Kim”s blog and that is at her discretion that my comments are accepted here rather than yours, That said I think that you are confused if you think that one has to agree with your opinions to comprehend your arguments. That is not the case.

          When you keep arguing, and demanding things be explained to you over and over, you are being excessively controlling, and that’s what rape is about, power and control.

          I make no demands what so ever. I merely offer opinions and responses to the issues raised in this lively thread. In fact if anyone is trying to be “excessively controlling,” in this thread it is you.

          And you think you’re disguising your misogyny with that careful, over-polite tone? It’s hanging out all over the place.

          😆 Oh really?? 🙄 🙄

          What you are displaying is a text book case of unrestrained misandry and I suspect that you are one of those feminists who thinks that all men are rapists would that be a fair judgement ?

          • Ok, I’m breaking this up. Linda, I don’t believe that Iain is a misogynist and I don’t believe that we need to resort to name calling to silence each other.

            However, I will back Linda’s point about Iain spending more time listening to the discussion rather than always needing to challenge every point. As kimsonof pointed out, white straight guys are unlikely to ever be sexually assaulted. So Iain, this is necessarily a topic that you won’t have experienced yourself. So there does need to be a point where you listen to what we are saying and accept that since you don’t know what it’s like, you have to accept what we are saying.

            But again, calling Iain a misogynist is like calling Scipione a misogynist: neither is true.

            • Why else would a guy spend soooo much time painstakingly concern-trolling a thread about rape? Identifying misogyny is not name – calling any more than identifying any other kind of prejudice is name – calling.

              • Linda
                I spend time here at Kim’s Blog because she often hosts lively discussions of topical issues (a thread that is 240+ comemnts long is by definition lively. congrats on that Kim!) and I like to read and respond to the issues, further Rape is not just a women’s issue its a human issue and one that needs to be addressed by both men and women. Because we have to address society as a whole if we want to reduce the incidence of this vile crime.
                Your approach seems to be to see all men as an enemy that has to be bullied into submission when the vast majority of us will go through our entire lives never once being anything less than a gentleman in the way that we interact with women. So what I’m suggesting is that the majority of men are not “for” rape any more than they are “for” murder and If you act as if they are the enemy when they are really your allies in the fight against rape then you are clearly fighting the wrong foe.

                • “Rape is not just a women’s issue its a human issue”
                  Women ARE human, and this is a human rights issue, but to insist on gender neutral language is to disguise male violence and deny women’s experiences of sexual violence in all it’s many forms as a part of women’s oppression globally. So is demanding that women construct their discussion of it according to what is acceptable to men, because that right there is a part of this rape culture, as is concern trolling, and that’s why I’m challenging it – it’s part of the problem.

                  • I detest and oppose all kinds of violence Linda, especially when it comes to its pernicious effect upon a civil society. As someone who was bullied at school I am well aware of how horrible any abuse of power and strength can be. Now you seem to think that it is only women who can understand the true horror of rape but as feminists like Susan Brownmuiller pointed out in her excellent book “Against our will*” rape is not about sex its about power and bullying so I do have some comprehension of what the issue here is.
                    Now as much as I agree that women in many countries and cultures are living in some terrible circumstances perhaps you should consider giving credit where it is due to the fact that in our own society the situation is orders of magnitude better than it is in say Islamic countries of the middle east or anywhere in Africa and many parts of Asia. Its certainly far from perfect but I am glad my daughter is growing up here rather than anywhere else.
                    As I see it you are being rather wrong headed to think that Men in general are the enemy here with all your talk of “rape culture” and you won’t further your cause by thinking the answer lays in hating and blaming all men. That sort of misandry is just as pernicious as the vile scum-bags who do commit the crime of rape.

                    * read this book thirty years ago

                    • Iain, are you telling us that we don’t know what rape is? Because it does sound a little like that. Look back over the comments – no one has argued that rape is about sex. So you don’t need to impress us with your book reading.

                      Linda’s point about using gender neutral language is a good one. We don’t remove the gender of the victim or perpetrator in any other crime, so to do here makes rape and sexual assault just this thing that happens to people.

                      Now, rape culture. Iain, we have given numerous links and explanations of this – and not just in this post – and clearly you haven’t bothered to pay attention. Rape culture is not saying that all men are rapists. I suggest you start here, Rape culture 101. You might learn something.

                    • I think this might win some kind of prize for the most offensive comment yet:
                      “you won’t further your cause by thinking the answer lays [sic] in hating and blaming all men. That sort of misandry is just as pernicious as the vile scum-bags who do commit the crime of rape.”
                      Even if anyone had been blaming all men (which they haven’t), the idea that there could be an equivalence between that person and a rapist should make it obvious to anyone still in doubt that your claims, Iain, to comprehend the issue are not only laughable, but insulting.

                    • Surely Iain Hall has well and truly won anti-feminist bingo by telling us we should be grateful we’re not middle-eastern/African/Asian women because we have it so much better here??

                    • Yes, I rolled my eyes when I read that.

                    • Your commentary here and your consistent demonstrations of having pretty much no understanding of the issue, certainly do not reflect a reading of Brownmiller. Claiming to have read a book is meaningless unless you can actually incorporate the theory into your analyses.

                      Everything I’m saying here is based on my readings of feminist scholars, my research, my knowledge and my practice wisdom as a feminist social worker…

                      AS WELL AS
                      … my personal experiences of sexual violence and those of all my significant others across an entire lifespan, and of having been socialised from girlhood to not only accept those experiences as normal, not only to see them celebrated in media, the arts, pop culture etc. but to also be blamed for them, and to be condescended to by men about how to “be more careful” when my whole life has been structured around avoiding this violence.

                      Not the same experience as being bullied at school. Not even close.

                    • Not to mention the underlying racism of that comment.

                    • Kim

                      Iain, are you telling us that we don’t know what rape is? Because it does sound a little like that.

                      Well no that is not what I am trying to do at all, but I have been trying to make the point that I do understand the way that feminism defines rape and that I largely agree with that definition

                      Look back over the comments – no one has argued that rape is about sex. So you don’t need to impress us with your book reading.

                      Well maybe not your own good self, but others, like Linda assumes that I don’t know the first thing about the subject.

                      Linda’s point about using gender neutral language is a good one. We don’t remove the gender of the victim or perpetrator in any other crime, so to do here makes rape and sexual assault just this thing that happens to people.

                      No her criticism about “gender neutral language” is entirely misplaced because that is not my argument

                      Now, rape culture. Iain, we have given numerous links and explanations of this – and not just in this post – and clearly you haven’t bothered to pay attention. Rape culture is not saying that all men are rapists. I suggest you start here, Rape culture 101. You might learn something.

                      Yes I have read that before and to honest I don’t think that it is a valid way to look at society, and it is far to loaded with misandry and bile to be truly useful.
                      Orlando

                      Even if anyone had been blaming all men (which they haven’t), the idea that there could be an equivalence between that person and a rapist should make it obvious to anyone still in doubt that your claims, Iain, to comprehend the issue are not only laughable, but insulting.

                      Actually Orlando I think that Linda does hate all men.

                      Hedgepig

                      Surely Iain Hall has well and truly won anti-feminist bingo by telling us we should be grateful we’re not middle-eastern/African/Asian women because we have it so much better here??

                      My point was clearly to make clear that those who cite the worst examples of dysfunctional and misogynistic culture to suggest that women have it bad here are at the very least over playing their hand or engaging in hyperbole.
                      Linda Radfem

                      Your commentary here and your consistent demonstrations of having pretty much no understanding of the issue, certainly do not reflect a reading of Brownmiller. Claiming to have read a book is meaningless unless you can actually incorporate the theory into your analyses.

                      Oh what a nonsense argument! Look I read that book and I to heart its central thesis that Rape is about power and It changed the way that I understood the crime I need to take no more than that for this discussion. Further why is anyone obliged to incorporate any particular theory in their argument?

                      Everything I’m saying here is based on my readings of feminist scholars, my research, my knowledge and my practice wisdom as a feminist social worker…

                      An appeal to authority now ? 🙄
                      Well I have been studying life for more than fifty years, reading all types of scholars,from all sorts of political points of view and all sorts of disciplines, and my practice wisdom as a decent human being who cares about all people no matter what the content of their underpants happens to be.

                      AS WELL AS
                      … my personal experiences of sexual violence and those of all my significant others across an entire lifespan, and of having been socialised from girlhood to not only accept those experiences as normal, not only to see them celebrated in media, the arts, pop culture etc. but to also be blamed for them, and to be condescended to by men about how to “be more careful” when my whole life has been structured around avoiding this violence.

                      That is a mighty big chip you have there on your shoulder Linda it will give the most awful backache if you insist on letting it rule your life.

                      Not the same experience as being bullied at school. Not even close.

                      No of course not and If you look back to my comment where I mentioned being bullied you will see that I said that I had “some”(which means something that is limited)now while I can accept that bullying is of a lesser magnitude than rape the point of my citation is that both are about power and its abuse and both make their victims suffer for the rest of their lives and both are things that I want to see eliminated.

                    • Iain, firstly, your comments are getting way too long. Secondly, I don’t give a shit if you think we live in a rape culture or not. We do live in one. It’s as simple as that. And I don’t know what you’ve been reading, but the definition isn’t filled with bile. It’s filled with things like this:

                      Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish men to not rape.

                      You really want to say we don’t live in a culture that does this? Really?

                      Whether or not you think Linda Radfem hates men is irrelevant. And that women have different problems in different countries is irrelevant. What IS relevant is the culture that we live in.

                      And finally, as for this response to sexual violence – That is a mighty big chip you have there on your shoulder Linda it will give the most awful backache if you insist on letting it rule your life. – you can FUCK RIGHT OFF. HOW DARE YOU? HOW DARE YOU DISMISS SEXUAL VIOLENCE AS JUST A ‘CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER’. Your comments will no longer be published.

                      (Apologies to Linda for publishing his nasty comment. You were way ahead of me in seeing his true colours and this proves it.)

    • You really have to feel sorry for all those innocent rapists whose lives have been ruined by those stupid women who kept tripping and falling on their erections. Sometimes for hours on end. Tsk. (Sorry if that comes over as in poor taste, but I’ve got “sarcasm” or “head butting the laptop to make the throbbing stop”.

  48. Kim why are my comments moderated? Haven’t I always been polite and respectful here?
    Cheers
    Iain

    • Your comments are being moderated because I can’t be sure you won’t derail the discussion with your two pet topics: women shouldn’t drink, and women falsely accuse men of rape.

      • Kim
        I don’t consider that women “not drinking” to be a pet topic at all In fact I don’t think that I have ever written about it in particular , I am however a great fan of sobriety for all.
        And I have already said I won’t raise that other issue here so please take me out of moderation.
        Cheers

        • Iain, I have to make the moderation call based on what I expect people to say. This is first and foremost a place for respectful discussion. I know that some people behave better here than they do at other places, and that is a point of pride for me. But my second priority is to make this a place that women feel comfortable expressing opinions and talking about their experiences. We have surprisingly few opportunities to do this without a man telling us we are wrong.

          • Kim
            Its your blog and your call But if you look up this very long thread you will see that women hold the floor more than men of any sort do here and that my comemnts are a rather small percentile of the total.
            So please reconsider.

  49. Try reading this for a more objective view on this issue.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3495672.html

    I don’t condone rape, nor do I believe that it is a women’s fault. But I do dislike the explosive way that any debates about rape seem to focus on ripping law enforcement to shreds. The Commissioner, did not use derogatory terminology towards women, nor at any point did he state that rape is a women’s fault. He was discussing preventative measures that could be taken to reduce the risk of becoming a victim, that’s a part of his job. Admittedly his comments could have included something along the lines of “Rape is always the fault of the rapist”. However we all know rape is a crime, and a rapist is a criminal, so we could probably safely assume that the Police Commissioner would not condone rape. Particularly as he has a wife and daughter.

    I really wish that we could have a useful debate on this as a society. Because I want to know what I can do to prevent rape, I want to have a discussion about the sort of situations that lead to rape so that I can be informed enough to know when I need to act. I don’t believe you should rely on all rapists out there in Australia to suddenly give stop committing acts of rape simply because someone told them to stop, so using preventative measures should be encouraged. I’m worried that If we keep shooting down everyone who discusses this topic we’ll end up in a situation where no one is willing to tackle the problem of rape because it is too much of a risk to their career.

    • You’re kidding – you think that public blow job is objective? When an argument boils down to ‘he has a wife and daughters so he must respect women’, then you know you’ve lost.

      As for ripping law enforcement to shreds, you’ll notice that what we are ripping to shreds is the language that so many people use, including the police. There’s a difference. We like nuanced arguments here because clearly the solution is nuanced. Having a debate that is intelligent enough to included nuances is useful, and damn well better than what is called public debate in Australia these days.

      What sort of situation leads to rape? Check out the comments and the links provided by all the readers. More than half of the women in Australia will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Next time you’re in a room of people, look around you. Half of the women there will be attacked at some point. Does that make you comfortable? Also, the person most likely to be sexually violent is a woman’s ex. So, what sort of situation leads to rape? Having a relationship. Clearly telling women to avoid relationships is dumb, so instead of telling women what to do, we should be focussing our efforts on our society – our society that still asks what a woman was wearing or drinking when she was attacked. As tigtog pointed out above, everyone is a potential juror.

      As for shooting people down, the Police Commissioner deserves to have his message shot down because at no point did he mention criminals.

      • I did learn a few handy points from reading this blog, so I’ll thank you all for that. The argument regarding public perceptions and jurors etc is a new one for me and one I agree with. I also see that the second side of the public message pressing for more responsibility on the male side is lacking. That said there is still in my opinion nothing wrong with emphasising strategies that may reduce rape (or assault, robberies, theft, murder or any other crime), preferably along with a clear statement that makes it obvious that crime is always the fault of the criminal, not the victim.

        However in regards to NWN regarding the link I posted earlier as a “Public blow job” I still choose to disagree. I feel the quality of the argument put forward there is less explosive, more mature and more factual. Whereas this article seems to read between the lines. I would counter that when your argument centres around “creative paraphrasing” (i.e. your title and some parts of your article), you know you aren’t going to win. The nature of an article often influences a readers opinion, yours was more radical and radical comments followed, theirs more moderate and moderate comments followed. It is a trend that I find interesting.

        At any rate I have to get back to working on my university assignments. I did enjoy reading the responses here and did learn a few new things, so thanks for the debate!

    • @Mark, the problem remains that so long as folks are out there concentrating on a checklist of what women should be avoiding doing in order to not get raped, that this has a measurable effect on how sympathetic juries actually end up being to rape victims, which can be succinctly summed up as “hardly sympathetic at all” if they believe that the victim’s behaviour contributed to the rapist’s attack.

      Until juries really do believe that women are never to blame for ending up isolated by a rapist, then they simply will continue to give rapists too many benefits of too many doubts, and the rapists will continue to win “Not Guilty” verdicts.

      Until more rapists stand a very good chance of juries convicting them they are correct to assume that they will probably get away with it. Potential jurors need to be reeducated away from blaming victims, and statements like Scipione’s perpetuate the women-are-responsible myths rather than puncturing them as they need to be.

      • Thanks Tigtog, that makes sense. I appreciate how well you framed the response. The perpetrator is a fault message is lacking in the public discourse. But it should be accompanied with the “Take care of yourself as best you can” message. Because regardless of the type of crime we are discussing, a person should always try and minimise their risk of harm, whatever that harm may be. Whatever steps you choose to take, or chose not take, should not be judged after the fact and clearly shouldn’t be acceptable as a defence for the perpetrator of a crime. Hopefully that will be made clearer some day soon by a public figure like a politician or police officer.

    • Oh, you didn’t pull the “cop hater” card, did you?

      I’m going to take a very deep breath and try to stay polite.

      Commissioner Scipione is the most senior Police officer in New South Wales. That is a position that not gives him one hell of a bully pulpit, but considerable access to and influence over state and federal decision-makers. People who make policy that affects the lives of every man, woman and child.

      Commissioner Scipione is also responsible for setting the tone and culture of the NSW Police force — a force whose attitudes towards rape/domestic violence victims, GLBT people and indigenous/immigrant communities isn’t an unbroken line of gold stars.

      But most of all, Commissioner Scipione is not a monarch or a God. He’s a fucking civil servant – if he can’t handle criticism of his public statements, he’s welcome to hand in his resignation and retire from public life.

    • I’d also add that Commissioner Scipione has responsibilities towards every sworn and non-sworn woman who works for the NSW Police service. Many of them get up, go to work, and accept heightened risk of harm (including rape) as part of their public service.

      • Of course he is not a monarch or a god. Sheesh, I know its easy to assume the worst about people on the internet but I’m not an idiot.

        I won’t apologise for my willingness to defend those in the public service. Matter of fact I have several friends in the police force and I am currently completing a physics degree and secondary education degree, so I too will soon be working in the public service. I expect that everyone who works in the public service should be given as much respect as the rest of our society demands. This means that I do take offence to reading a blog which, in my opinion, puts words in the mouth of the police commissioner and the public service.

        Remember after all, he has presumably spent the better part of his life fighting crime. So surely we can have a debate that assumes he means the best and instead focuses on what he could do better and how he could do it. Rather than focussing on a negative viewpoint.

        • Mark, my brother is a cop. I have respect for the police. However I do not respect someone who tells me that if I get attacked, then it was my fault. Whatever Scipione has done before that is meaningless when he tells Australian women that we are somehow to blame. And that so many Australian women are cross about what he said should suggest to you that we know what we are talking about.

          In case you didn’t read orlando’s earlier comment, here it is again:

          A police commissioner using his public platform to talk about how he likes women to behave, instead of how his officers will handle attacks on them, encourages rapists to think that no one will blame them if they take advantage of an opportunity. Everyone who is policing the legal behaviour of women, instead of the illegal behaviour of assailants is helping provide an atmosphere of support for assault.

          As for putting words in his mouth, perhaps you can explain, exactly, how telling young women that they should take responsibility for their actions so they don’t become victims of crime – while never mentioning the criminal who commits those acts of crime – is NOT telling women they are to blame if they get attacked? Because I’d like to know.

          • Thanks, News. My foster brother and his wife were police officers, and after leaving the force due to injury are now teachers. I have enormous respect for them. They respect women, and are raising their son to be like them.

            I’ll repeat something I said up thread: If an off duty police officer was assaulted, I think Commissioner Scipione would take severe exception to anyone even implying the victim must somehow be responsible for what happened. Was he alone in a pub or club frequented by criminal elements? Was he drunk? Was he alone, or looking for someone to hook up with? Was he wearing a “provocative” t-shirt with a Police logo on it? You know, why the hell was he out at all!

  50. Ah, nwn – I see you repeated the potential juror aspect already. Sorry for the duplication.

  51. I saw this on facebook today and it made me happy. https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=140761299333346&set=a.140761266000016.36634.140757462667063&type=3&theater

    A small step, but a step in the right direction.

  52. “Apologies to Linda for publishing his nasty comment. You were way ahead of me in seeing his true colours and this proves it.)”

    As s’ok. Dealt with way worse than him – he’s a light weight.

  53. Prevention is always better than a cure. Yes it would be nice if women could walk down a dark alley, drunk and not be harmed but that is not the reality of our world. And as sad as that is, I would rather prevent women from getting harmed in the first place than have to prosecute her attacker later. And as for telling people not to rape, that’s kinda pointless. Rapists arn’t idiots they know what they are doing is wrong, they are preditors. And catching them is only possible once they have hurt people (which is still necessary but not the point of this particular address). He’s not blaming women, he’s not saying if you were drunk were not going to do anything, he’s not even saying don’t get drunk. He’s just saying that if you do get drunk watch out for your friends, just trying to help protect them before they get raped.

    • Alexandra, welcome to the News with Nipples. The point I was making in this post – and has been made repeatedly in the comments – is that when talking about how to prevent rape, the Police Commissioner didn’t say “hey, don’t rape, and if you are stupid enough to rape someone, then we will catch you”. He has never said this in a public forum. Yet when talking about people who don’t wear seatbelts, he says “break the law and we will catch you”. When a man is viciously ssaulted on the street, he says “we will catch the people who did this”. Yet when talking about violent crime against women, he says “women, don’t get attacked”. All this does is reinforce the idea in our society – the idea that you expressed in your comment – that it’s a woman’s responsibility not to get attacked.

      Sure, there’s the perfect world stuff of being able to walk down any dark street you like – which ignores the fact that stranger rape is rare, and the person most likely to attack you is an ex, and Scipione would know this, what with his being the Police Commissioner and having access to crime stats. But no one here is saying “hey ladies, walk down any street you like”. What we are saying is that the Police Commissioner should be saying “if you commit a crime, we will catch you”. Just like he does with every other crime.

  54. This guy should be immediately expel from the police corps. He is sexist.

  55. Pingback: 42nd Down Under Feminists’ Carnival « Pondering Postfeminism

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