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Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:37 PM

A Global Perspective on Rape and Culture (TRIGGER WARNING)

Last edited Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:33 AM - Edit history (1)

In the debate over the extent to which rape is a symptom of a culture, versus an act of individual sociopaths, I see a set of blinders that limits our understandings of rape to how it transpires in the United States at this particular point in time. The point is not that rape in other cultures is exactly like rape in the United States, nor that all women have a universal experience; rather, it is acknowledging that we are often blind to the cultural messages that surround us, just as fish are blind to the water in which they swim. I believe that placing rape in a global context illuminates the underlying factors that can increase or decrease the prevalence of rape.

What follows are very graphic descriptions and stories of rape from around the world. In each of these cases, it is clear that cultural and situational contexts (conflict, extreme poverty, rapid social change) are factors in the plights of these women--and as the article on India says, this is just "the tip of the iceberg" on the global oppression of women. I have not included stories or statistics on diminished access to education, medical care, political participation, economic opportunity, or basic resources, although they are available. I have not included information on abuse, child brides, AIDS transmission (which is very tied to norms which encourage married men to be promiscuous and discourage their wives from questioning their behavior, much less asking to use protection), or mortality and morbidity related to pregnancy and childbirth, although they are available.

I believe the three articles quoted below sufficiently make the case that rape is not and never has been the work of just a few isolated sociopaths. Rape is one symptom of a system of oppression. If it is obviously true in India, Cambodia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo that rape is a symptom of greater social problems, why should it be any less clear in the United States, where rape and other forms of sexual assault are still incredibly widespread, and very poorly prosecuted? You can argue the extent to which we have successfully combated the cultural message that feed rape, but is it really that outlandish to state that in the United States, where just a few weeks ago politicians were parsing the definitions of rape in ways that exclude a substantial proportion of its victims, this work is still far from done?

For India's women, rape and slavery are 'tip of the iceberg'

Suryatapa Bhattacharya
Jun 18, 2011


In a global survey of threats against women, which included factors such as culture, religion, economic discrimination and health, India ranked fourth from the bottom.

Crimes such as domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, incest, acid attacks and dowry deaths are "just the tip of the iceberg", the report claims.

(snip)

"There is a tradition of violence here where the women are treated as objects," said Bulbul Das, a lawyer who runs a state-subsidised 24-hour crisis hotline for women in Delhi. "It is accepted in society that a man has the right and the woman deserved it."

(snip)


"Many Indians value a buffalo more than a woman," said Ms Ahlawat. "Even though a woman works harder, they believe a buffalo brings more money."



http://www.thenational.ae/featured-content/latest/for-indias-women-rape-and-slavery-are-tip-of-the-iceberg

An Escape From Sex Slavery
Nov 26, 2012 1:00 AM EST
Enslaved as a child, a young woman gives voice to the horrors of human trafficking with a breakthrough radio show.


She remembers a home that looked fancy on the outside but ominous on the inside, a dark maze of bare chambers. She remembers the parade of men, one after the other, day by day, forcing her to have sex. She remembers contemplating death. She wasn’t yet 10 years old.

Her name is Sreypich Loch, and she was a slave in a Cambodian brothel. If she refused sex, she says, she would be beaten, shocked with an electric cord, denied food and water. “What else could I do?” she asks.

Loch’s story may sound extreme, but it is not some isolated incident. An estimated 27 million people are victims of slavery around the world, according to the U.S. State Department. The buying and selling of humans is a multibillion-dollar global business, ensnaring vulnerable people who are often kidnapped or tricked into the trade.

(snip)

Loch’s story mirrors that of many rescued Cambodian girls, who report being drugged, locked in coffins, whipped, even covered with biting insects in order to make them submit to sex. While their stories can be difficult to verify independently, the U.S. State Department confirms that the enslavement of girls in Cambodia is pervasive. “The sale of virgin girls continues to be a serious problem in Cambodia,” the State Department said in its annual Trafficking in Persons Report released this summer. “Cambodian men form the largest source of demand for child prostitution, though a significant number of men from the United States and Europe, as well as other Asian countries, travel to Cambodia to engage in child sex tourism.” Among local men, demand is often fueled by myths that sex with a virgin brings luck or good health.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/11/25/an-escape-from-cambodian-sex-slavery.html


Raped every day for nine monthsPublish Date: Nov 18, 2012

By Esther Namirimu

Gang raped by seven men


My name is Mado Nzigire, 33years old, from Bukavu district from Democratic Republic of Congo, one evening I was busy preparing supper for my family when armed men stormed my compound. They collected all my family members together, and then they started raping me one by one until the seventh rebel got his turn.

(snip)

They fought amongst themselves for me, and in the end the leader decided to have me. I would cook food for them, clean around and sometimes fetch water at gun point. To make it worse I was raped every day for nine months by the rebel leader. My private parts got torn and now I cannot manage to hold waste.

(snip)

My name is Yoles Kambele, 31 years from Bundibugyo. I was abducted by Allied Democratic Forces rebels at the age of 13 and I was still a virgin the rebels tattooed all virgins in the bush whom they believed it was a source of fortune to have sex with them.

I was gang raped by 9 men when I tried to refuse to have sex with the men then I was heavily beaten and forced into a tree trunk. I still feel scared.

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/637393-raped-every-day-for-nine-months.html

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Global Perspective on Rape and Culture (TRIGGER WARNING) (Original post)
antigone382 Dec 2012 OP
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #1
antigone382 Dec 2012 #5
Tsiyu Dec 2012 #13
niyad Dec 2012 #2
antigone382 Dec 2012 #7
Tsiyu Dec 2012 #3
antigone382 Dec 2012 #8
Tsiyu Dec 2012 #12
nadinbrzezinski Dec 2012 #4
antigone382 Dec 2012 #6
nadinbrzezinski Dec 2012 #9
antigone382 Dec 2012 #10
antigone382 Dec 2012 #11
WCLinolVir Dec 2012 #14
WCLinolVir Dec 2012 #16
antigone382 Dec 2012 #19
The Doctor. Dec 2012 #15
WCLinolVir Dec 2012 #17
The Doctor. Dec 2012 #18
antigone382 Dec 2012 #20
The Doctor. Dec 2012 #23
antigone382 Dec 2012 #21
Tsiyu Dec 2012 #22

Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:50 PM

1. There is a book called "Sold" which is about a 12yo Indian girl...

...who was sold by her desperately poor parents to sex traffickers and was treated much like that Cambodian girl mentioned in the OP.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:05 AM

5. When you really see the things that women in this world have to endure, it is vomit-inducing.

A documentary called "A Walk to Beautiful" highlights the many facets of this oppression through the stories of fistula patients in Ethiopia.

"Fistula" is the medical term for a tear in a woman's vaginal wall which allows the passage of either feces or urine (or both), leading to continual incontinence. It is often a completely preventable result of prolonged childbirth, made all but inevitable for these women from the earliest ages. In situations where there is not enough food for the whole family, it is often (though not always) the women and girls who are underfed; boys are fed first because they are seen as the eventual "social security" of their parents. These girls are also worked incredibly hard hauling water and fuel wood and attending to daily household chores. The combination of extremely hard work and lack of food means that their growth is severely stunted. They are then kidnapped and raped or married off at incredibly young ages (thirteen, fifteen, etc.), resulting of course in pregnancies for which their bodies would not be prepared even if they were healthy and at the right size for their age. Medical care is another thing that globally is more likely to go to men than women, so of course the idea of prenatal care or a birth attended by a professional is laughable. The result is often births that are incredibly prolonged--as much as a week or ten days--and that result in stillborn infants, and severe damage to these young women's bodies. The incontinence that results from these fistulas adds immeasurably to their suffering--they are stigmatized because of the smell, physically debilitated, and prone to frequent, painful infections and other problems.

There are so many ways that women are oppressed, in just this one example, from just this one part of the world. It is staggering.

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 01:16 AM

13. I saw part of that documentary and cried my eyes out

Much of it is due to the genital mutilations practiced in these cultures. They cut off a woman's clitoris and then sew the vagina nearly or all the way closed.

Hard to have non-painful sex or deliver a baby, and this also results in these very deblitating fistulas.

I wept for those women.

Also, The men and women who practice genital mutilation of girls are sick and ignorant and criminal IMO.

So much horror humans inflict on one another out of a desire for power, superstition, lack of education.

When do humans stop destroying each other for personal gratification?




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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:58 PM

2. k and r--thank you so much for posting this

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Response to niyad (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:09 AM

7. Thanks for your reply.

My sincere hope is that it will open some eyes.

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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:01 AM

3. We imagine we are more civilized than those "primitive cultures"


But 1000 bills submitted by men in Congress HELLBENT on controlling female reproductive organs, combined with .
our high prevalence of rape, tells me we have a long way to go to make things the way they should be.

No woman, man or child anywhere in the world should be used, painfully and violently, by anyone.

No woman, man or child should be afraid of being trafficked or raped.

Yet all over the world, this is the "way things are." And people turn their heads.

I applaud your thread, as painful as it is.

These threads are so necessary, and I hope that if we continue to try to educate others, this board wll see more and more people commit to the cause of fighting rape wherever it is perpetrated.


K & R

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Response to Tsiyu (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:14 AM

8. And this is the most scanty and hastily put-together treatment of the issue.

If I had the time I could add in so many statistics and illuminate so many dimensions of this problem on a global scale, and note how it is tied to our own experience in the United States--but unfortunately I just don't.

And for the men who feel defensive or guilty about this: you didn't create this problem, not anymore than I created the racism that results in horrific disparities in wealth, health, opportunity, and justice for the non-white, and not anymore than I created a global economic system that steals resources from the poorest of the poor to provide for virtually all of my needs and wants. I did not create those systems, I would not have chosen those systems if I had been given the choice. But I wasn't given that choice anymore than anyone else was. All I can do now is acknowledge my privilege and work to combat the injustices of this world, even those that benefit me. That is all any of us can do.

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 01:09 AM

12. You are a wise soul


And your second paragraph up there is one of the best things I've read on DU in a while.

I suspect we must continue to post threads about rape, until some get over their reluctance and denial and fear of the issue.

It's a longterm goal we should keep on working toward, no matter how many trolls try to scare, shame or insult us into silence.

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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:03 AM

4. Let me ask another layer of horror

In some cultures (Afghanistan among others) young boys are also used for sexual relief by men.

In fact, pederasty s widely practiced still.

Just wanted to point this out too

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:08 AM

6. Certainly...I don't at all mean to diminish the horror of sexual assault against boys or men.

But given that most of the perpetrators of this crime are also male (note I did not say that most men are perpetrators or even enablers), this still illuminates the depth and power of cultural ideologies that "some" men are here to dominate, and women, children, and "inferior" men are here to be dominated.

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:15 AM

9. I know. I just wanted to add a layer

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:16 AM

10. Thank you, it is an important point to make.

No victim should ever be invisible.

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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:36 AM

11. I will go ahead and kick this because I think it's an important point.

Limiting the discussion of rape to our own culture severely curtails our ability to understand and address it.

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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 01:49 AM

14. I think it is important to acknowledge rape of men and boys as well.

While I acknowledge the weighted statistics of women, as a survivor I would hate to keep reinforcing the invisibility of male survivors.

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Response to WCLinolVir (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:13 AM

16. That being said, it is important to have a reality check to the posters

who have been posting about rape. There seems to be a fantasy or misconception about violent, brutal rape vs a situation such as date rape. Both are perceived as life threatening.I believe that we need to address this together, male and female survivors. There are plenty of women who passively and not so passively, condone this abuse and violence. We need to start making people responsible for what they don't address, and not allow this denial that people keep propagating.

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Response to WCLinolVir (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 09:33 AM

19. I think that is absolutely right.

At the same time, the overwhelming preponderance of male perpetrators (even when the victim is also male) indicates that rape is connected to gender socialization, and more specifically, gender hierarchy.

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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:10 AM

15. 'Culture' does not 'cause rape'.

 


It allows it.

What parts of our 'culture' shall we do away with to eliminate rape?

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Response to The Doctor. (Reply #15)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:28 AM

17. Not sure how we correlated anyone stating cultures cause rape-

Let's start with a lack of respect for children as separate individuals, sexism, the preponderance of objectification and sexualization of women and children.

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Response to WCLinolVir (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 06:27 AM

18. Right, because men are never 'objectified'.

 





If you peruse this thread, you will find that, starting with the OP, there is a general agreement that rape is a product of 'culture'.

You'll even see the phrase 'rape culture' bandied about.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'lack of respect for children as separate individuals'. Is there some epidemic of 'child scorn' built into our culture? Do you mean in or of specific instances?

As for the rest, I generally agree. Malicious sexism should not be tolerated. Here's the question: 'What constitutes 'sexism' and is it ever acceptable?'

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Response to The Doctor. (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 09:39 AM

20. Note that all of those men are fully clothed, and their faces are highlighted, not their bodies.

Really, I don't know that this is worth pursuing. If I present my personal story you will say I am biased. If I present statistics you will say they are not valid. If I present the picture of global female oppression (note that does not mean that men are not oppressed, just that their oppressors are not generally women), you will not acknowledge it. I have highlighted three cases from three parts of the world that illustrate the many facets of global oppression against women. In another post I have described the plights of fistula patients in Ethiopia as just one example of the layers of oppression and diminished access to resources that women face.

None of that means that men don't suffer horrible things, and it doesn't mean that men aren't victimized by women, and it doesn't mean that most or all men victimize women. It means that on a structural, institutional, and cultural level, there are a plethora of systems that deny women access to resources, autonomy, and security.

Honestly, denial of this one key point, with the astounding amount of data available to support it, is more or less on the same plane as denial of climate change, as far as I'm concerned. You are free to put me on ignore if you wish. I would prefer if you did not privately message me, however.

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Response to antigone382 (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 03:25 AM

23. How is that not still 'objectification'?

 

Women look for different things in a man than men tend to look for in women. For a woman, a nice suit is 'sexy'. While for a man less clothes are 'sexy'. It's objectification when a 'package' is created for people to lust after for whatever reason. Just because men have a more limited scope of lust does not mean that catering to women's fantasies is somehow more legitimate.

That said, yes women objectify barely clad men as well.

I never said statistics weren't valid. I know how to break down methodology to know their value. Unfortunately, certain rage-clouded posters aren't too keen on understanding what is being said if they don't like what they think they hear. The reason I called those studies that make nearly all men out to be potential rapists is that they are not used constructively. They are used to fascinate society with the permanent victimhood status of women.

This does not 'equalize' the field, it tilts it horrbly against good men who have done nothing wrong but still wind up victims themselves. My personal story is of exactly that. It didn't bring me bias, it brought me clarity. You see, our society cannot see men as 'victims' of women except in extreme cases such as outright murder, and even then the first question we ask is: 'What did HE do to her?'. We assume that women are victims and treat them as such.

I'm fine with your personal story and your statistics. It's not that hard to tell whether they've made you biased or not. I'll show you a trick for finding prejudice in an account after you share, if you feel up to it. If yours is simply an anecdote (or several) with reasonable conclusions, then I suspect I will find nothing 'biased' about it.

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Response to WCLinolVir (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 01:58 PM

21. There is probably nothing you can do to change some folks' minds.

I do appreciate your trying, however, and I thank you for your contributions to the thread.

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Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 03:45 PM

22. Kick n/t

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