Posts Tagged ‘rape’

A Woman in Berlin

Friday, May 5th, 2017 | Books

Let it never be said that I do not listen to my wife. Elina said I should read A Woman in Berlin and I did. And I’m glad because it is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.

It reads like a novel, but it is, in fact, a real-life memoir of a woman who lived in Berlin during the Second World War. It tells the story of the Soviet invasion and the rape of an estimated two million German women.

It’s not something you hear about a lot. We did the world wars extensively in school. But most of it focuses on the fighting, or on the British side of things. This is only to be expected when you are in Britain. And we did cover All Quiet on the Western Front, which gives a German perspective of things.

Two million is a lot of rapes, though. It seems like that deserves mention. But even in Germany, it was rarely talked about, and it was only the re-publication of this book that brought it into the spotlight.

There is not a great deal of graphic detail. It is just the story of one woman getting on with life. A life that involves having your property stolen, being taken by two soldiers on the stairs, and being forced to prostitute yourself to a Soviet officer to get protection from the rest of them.

Certainly worth a read. I even based a chunk of my 2017 public speaking world championship speech on it.

Futurama is funny…

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 | Video

…until you realise it is actually about Kif being repeatedly raped. Then it’s less funny.

Intoxication and consensual sex

Monday, December 24th, 2012 | Religion & Politics

Last week, I was showering, while thinking about how silly it would be for someone to mount the argument that any level of intoxication removed a person’s ability to consent to sexual activity. Then, by coincidence, the next day I saw some tweet that exact argument.

Of course it wasn’t a very good argument, because you only have 144 characters, and therefore no space to actually make an argument to back up the claim you have stated. But even with more space, it would seem difficult to make such an argument.

Before we dive into the politics here, let us first remember that under British law, any gender can rape any other gender (or indeed the same gender), so there is no split down gender lines here.

Under British law, you are still responsible for your actions, if you get drunk. it’s called voluntary intoxication, and it is no defence to a crime. If you knew that you would become intoxicated when you took the substance, and with alcohol you do know, then the law deems it your own fault if you do something stupid.

Presuming we want to live in a fair society with only a single standard that applies to everyone, you would therefore assume the opposite was true – if you get drunk and do something you later reget, but did it all voluntarily, you can’t then blame someone else for what you did. We all have to take responsibility for our actions.

But some advocates would have you believe that once someone has consumed so much of a drop of alcohol, they are no longer responsible for their own actions, and can later change their mind, and decide they were raped instead.

This is nonsense. What we’re talking about here is completely consensual sex – ie, a boy gets drunk, explicitly agrees to come back to my place and have sex, then wakes up next morning, changes his mind and says he was raped because he was unable to consent due to intoxication.

This brings up a whole new round of rational dilemmas – most notably, if we’re not going to hold people responsible for their own actions while intoxicated, then surely if the alleged rapist is also intoxicated, how can you hold them responsible, given you have taken up a position that states people are not responsible for such behaviour?

To differentiate between them creates a double standard.

Rape conviction rates

Thursday, August 16th, 2012 | Religion & Politics

I’m currently reading “The Sex Myth: Why Everything We’re Told is Wrong” by Brooke Magnanti, also known as Belle de Jour. So far it’s a fascinating reading, including a section on how the idea that strip clubs in Camden have increased the rape rate is complete nonsense.

In general, rape is an area of law that suffers a lot of misconceptions.

For example, the conviction rate for rape is 58%. As Amanda Bancroft points out in The Guardian, the conviction rate across all crimes is only 57%. That means not only is the idea that rape convictions are low a myth, but that rape convictions are actually slightly higher than you would expect. That’s good news.

But the perpetuation of the stereotype that rape conviction rates are low is a real problem. As Bancroft also points out, 68% of women are concerned by the low conviction rates (that don’t really exist), potentially putting off victims from coming forward. This disinformation is something we really need to crack down on, to ensure victims aren’t afraid to report incidents.

Leeds Slutwalk

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 | Events, Religion & Politics

Last Saturday, the Leeds Slutwalk took place. Slutwalks are protest marches which assert a woman’s right to dress how she wants without being blamed for getting raped because she was somehow asking for it. Unfortunately, the Leeds event suffered from a somewhat poor turn out but was a worthwhile event in any case.

As usual, the red flags of Revolution also turned up to cloud the message too. Still, at least it added to the numbers.

From one troll to another

Friday, June 3rd, 2011 | Thoughts

Last week, Emma posted a link on her Facebook stream, linking to a blog post by The Honest Courtesan. While it’s interesting to see Emma’s reading choices ;), the point of the blog post was to rebut a post by someone calling themselves Eve’s Daughter who made a post entitled “A Man is a Rape-Supporter If.”

In this list, Eve’s Daughter sets out a list of things which, if apply to you, make you a rape supporter. However, it’s written in a way in which every adult man falls into the category, making every man alive a rape supporter.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, once or twice in the past I have been known to troll a little. A was particularly pleased with my pre-election night throw away comment “oh no! I’ve lost my polling card, now I can’t vote :(“, as dozens of people rushed to tell me I could still vote 😀 .

So when I read the post by Eve’s Daughter, the first thought that went through my mind wasn’t, “what a load of nonsense this is”, it was simple one word – troll.

Of course, I could be wrong. There are a lot of radical extremist feminists out there and some of them probably do believe this. But here is why I believe it could well be a troll:

1. It’s clearly designed to get people really angry. It makes the bold claim that every man ever is a rape supporter in a bold and uncompromising way, stereotyping an entire gender. And it’s works. Check out The Amazing Atheist going mental on YouTube.

Strip out the WordPress header and insert a logo for The Daily Mail and it suddenly seems a lot more in context. To me, it almost seems like a job application for The Mail Online.

2. It is designed to draw in as many people as possible. Everyone checks boxes on this list so everyone who reads the list can’t help but been drawn in to the debate.

Again, it works really well. Not only are people commenting on the subject matter across the internet, but even I am here blogging about whether it is a troll or not.

3. It’s obviously not true, but is written in a way to make it almost plausible. The author could have just written “all men are rape supporters” and everyone would have ignored it as obviously nonsense. Instead the piece leads you through a series of leading questions to slowly heat your blood, without setting it straight to boil. That way, you don’t switch off straight away, you begin reading and get hooked before the fire is really stoked.

4. The author shows some signs of intelligence and satirical humour. On May 25th of this year, they made a post entitled “Life, the Universe, and Everything”. While this could be a coincidence, it is almost certainly a reference to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a fantastically clever piece of fiction that people like myself and you, my well educated yet probably bitterly sarcastic audience, enjoy.

Of course, I could be reading far too much into this, but if you accept the premise that the author of this blog is a Douglas Adams fan, and then ask the question “if a Douglas Adams fan published such a piece, is it serious or satirical trolling” the last option is suddenly a very appealing one.

5. There is no author information on the blog. If you were seriously campaigning on these kind of issues, surely you would put your name to it? Meanwhile if you were just doing it to get a rise out of people, you might as well publish anonymously, especially if you were a troll and people knew the real you didn’t actually believe any of this.

There was some mention of death threats somewhere on the blog, which could be a reason to publish anonymously, but I don’t think this is the case because who would actually make them? Surely anyone smart enough to rebut such arguments isn’t the kind of person that makes death threats so who would be so angry about this kind of writing to do that? Not to mention that if you believe in a cause strongly enough, which we’re supposed to believe the author does, that kind of thing won’t stop you.

As I said however, I could well be wrong. One of my points was going to be that it is simply too OTT, that reading the comments showed that this was clearly a comically absurd character created by the author and that clearly it was impossible to create a worldview so shielded from reality that truth was so utterly unable to penetrate. But I’ve been working in atheism for five years now, and from my experience, I know that this just isn’t true.

Still, so many of the techniques used in the article just seem to ring a little bit too true of the tried and tested strategy for a good troll post.