Monday, October 15, 2007

Re: On Rape and Power...

Jill's post about the horrible case of Jeffrey M. Marsalis is an amazing and important read. I'm sure that a lot of you have already read the post, but in case you haven't, you should definitely check it out here.

I think that this is an important conversation to have. An analysis of what rape even is sometimes seems ridiculous. It sometimes feels like we ought to already have passed that particular conversation, but then cases like the one she's discussing come up, and I realize that we're not all on the same page, and it really brings home the point that there are a lot of people who don't know or understand what actually constitutes rape, even within the feminist community.

I think that this is one of the reasons why education is so very important. In part, I suspect that at least some rapists don't realize that they're rapists. I wouldn't even feel comfotable speculating on numbers, but I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there are some people who really are surprised when their victims report the rape, because they don't even realize that they've done anything wrong.

Do I think that education is the magic bullet that will help end rape? Of course not- I think that there's a lot of work to be done, but I think that education makes a difference. I think that a clearer understanding of rape and what it looks like can only help. Even if I'm wrong, and there aren't any rapists who don't realize what they've done, it helps because it helps give voice to the victims. It helps people find the words to describe what happened to them, and it helps to remove the silence that surrounds many victims of rape.

Anyway, Jill's post is really powerful and moving, and it's a razor sharp analysis. Go. Read it.


Cara said...

I definitely think that many rapists don't realize that they're rapists. Marsalis isn't one of them, but I think there are probably a lot of men who think "well she said 'no,' but she didn't scream or try to throw me off so she must have changed her mind."

The Red Queen said...

I think that the idea of No means No got twisted so that anything less than a "No!No!Get the f*ck off me!" is viewed as a yes.

We need to change it to the idea that anything less than an enthusiastic yes is a no. That means maybe is a no and I don't know is a no and I'm not sure is a no.