Washington Post Blames Everyone But Rapists for Rape

Washington Post Blames Everyone But Rapists for Rape

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/washington-post-blames-everyone-but-rapists-for-rape.html#ixzz2dz5x78aD

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently bought the Washington Post. If  columns posted there over the last few days are any indication, he can’t take  over soon enough. In two editorials — one by a guest editorialist, another by a  veteran columnist — the Post went all-in to defend rapists from  committing rape, while blaming society for creating rapists in the first place.  In the process, the Post became, as This Week in Blackness editor Imani Gandy put it, a “pro-rape propaganda rag.”

The first of the two pieces of propaganda came from former lawyer Betsy Karasik, who argued  that sex between a 50-year-old teacher and his 14-year-old student shouldn’t be  prosecuted because hey, it isn’t “rape-rape.” Besides, she knows all kinds of  students who have slept with their teachers; it’s practically a trend!

Karasik wrote about the awful case of a girl who  committed suicide at 16, after having been raped by her teacher, Stacey Rambold.  As you may recall, Rambold was allowed to enter a diversionary program, which he  later flunked out of. Nevertheless, he was only sentenced to 30 days in jail by  Judge G. Todd Baugh, who blamed the victim of the crime as much as  Rambold. Rambold, in turn, blamed prosecutors for prosecuting Rambold in  the first place, saying the prosecution, not the rape itself, led to the  victim’s death.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I am not:

As protesters decry the leniency of Rambold’s  sentence — he will spend 30 days in prison after pleading guilty to raping [the  victim], who committed suicide at age 16 — I find myself troubled for the  opposite reason. I don’t believe that all sexual conduct between underage  students and teachers should necessarily be classified as rape, and I believe  that absent extenuating circumstances, consensual sexual activity between  teachers and students should not be criminalized. While I am not defending Judge  G. Todd Baughs comments about [the victim] being “as much in control of the  situation” — for which he has appropriately apologized — tarring and feathering  him for attempting to articulate the context that informed his sentence will not  advance this much-needed dialogue.

This leads to the obvious question: what much-needed dialogue? Is there  anyone out there strongly advocating for the right of teachers to sleep with their 14-year-old students? If so, can you please let me know, so I can  keep them away from everyone I know?

With limited exceptions, the lowest age of consent in the United States is  16. That means, simply, that there can’t be sex between a 50-year-old and a 14-year-old, because we recognize that a 14-year-old  is not old enough to meaningfully consent to someone who is significantly older  than them and has much more life experience to draw on — especially if that  older person is in a position of power over them, as a teacher unquestionably  is.

By definition, if you’re a mature adult having sex with a 14-year-old, you aren’t having sex. You’re a rapist. It doesn’t matter if  it’s “consensual.” It can’t be consensual, because those kids are simply too  young to consent in any meaningful way. It is no different than taking advantage  of someone who’s too drunk to know what they’re doing.

Speaking of which, you may recall the awful Steubenville rape case, in which  two high school football players were convicted of raping a girl who was too  drunk to resist. The case ended in convictions for Trent Mays and Ma’lik  Richardson, but not before the victim’s entire life was opened up to  scrutiny and shaming.

What caused the assault in Steubenville? Was it just a couple of kids gone  bad? Or was it a part of our culture, in which rape by men, especially star  athletes, is minimized, and indeed sometimes even condoned? Was this just one  incident, or did it throw the entirety of rape culture into relief? What,  ultimately, caused this?

Well, Post columnist, noted sexual harasser and pro-racial profiling advocate Richard  Cohen has gotten to the bottom of it at last. Remember Richard Cohen? Sure you  do! He’s the guy who’s upset that ladies are now attracted to  Daniel Craig, just because the guy works out. Remember when young ladies  were all atwitter over guys like Richard Cohen — I mean, Cary Grant? Alas, those  days are gone.

Anyhow, Cohen has finally answered the question of Steubenville, and the  answer is simple: Miley Cyrus twerked.

Now, you may be surprised to learn that Miley Cyrus traveled back in time and  twerked in Steubenville, thus setting off this whole chain of events, but Cohen  has never let logic get in the way of a good screed. First, he wants to make  sure you understand that, like 14-year-olds getting raped by 50-year-olds,  Steubenville wasn’t “rape-rape,” either:

The first thing you should know about the  so-called Steubenville Rape is that this was not a rape involving intercourse.  The next thing you should know is that there weren’t many young men involved —  just two were convicted. The next thing you should know is that just about  everything you do know about the case from TV and the Internet was wrong. One  medium fed the other, a vicious circle of rumor, innuendo and just plain lies.  It made for marvelous television.

Yes, only two men were convicted, which totally proves that all of the other  people who videotaped the event and helped to cover it up are innocent. They  weren’t involved at all! This leads Cohen to tut-tut that the internet had  “formed itself into a digital lynch mob that demanded the arrest of the innocent  for a crime — gang rape — that had not been committed.” Because, I guess, two  men is not enough to be a “gang.”

Now, Cohen is completely wrong about the conduct in the Steubenville case  falling short of rape — according to Ohio law, it most certainly was. Still, that’s not  even the worst part about Cohen’s rape apologism. That he saves for Miley  Cyrus.

So now back to Miley Cyrus and her twerking. I  run the risk of old-fogeyness for suggesting the girl’s a tasteless twit —  especially that bit with the foam finger. (Look it up, if you must.) But let me  also suggest that acts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them.  They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women’s movement back on its  heels. What is being celebrated is not sexuality but sexual exploitation, a mean  casualness that deprives intimacy of all intimacy.

Look, Miley Cyrus deserves a thorough razzing, primarily because her act was  chock full of cultural appropriation. However, is Cohen  really going to argue that it’s Cyrus and her ilk who caused at least two men in  Steubenville to rape? That allegedly caused their coach to cover it up? That  caused their peer group to pass around the video of the assault as if it was a  keepsake?

I have news for Richard Cohen. Rape predates the internet by thousands, if  not millions, of years. Indeed, as our culture has become more open about  sexuality, the incidence of rape has dropped. Now, that doesn’t mean that the  drop is caused by a more free-spirited and open sexuality. However, it does mean  that we shouldn’t blame Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe or Mae West for  rape existing.

You know who’s responsible for rape? Rapists. They’re the men (and yes,  sometimes women) who choose to ignore the fact that their partner is unable to  consent, who choose to find means, violent or otherwise, to make them incapable  of consent, or who violate others intimately, causing grievous harm. Whether  their victim is 14 or 40, whether their victim is a friend or stranger, whether  their victim is drunk, drugged or held at knifepoint, rapists are the ones  making the choice to rape.

Until we as a society stop making excuses for rapists, stop blaming their  crimes on others, they will continue to do so. Until the Post stops  posting rape apology masked as deep thinking, I will be ignoring them.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/washington-post-blames-everyone-but-rapists-for-rape.html#ixzz2dz5hqbDR

Hacker Who Exposed Steubenville Rape Case Could Spend More Time Behind Bars Than The Rapists

Hacker Who Exposed Steubenville Rape Case Could Spend More Time Behind Bars Than The Rapists.

By Tara Culp-Ressler on Jun 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

Deric Lostutter (Credit: Mother Jones)
The Steubenville rape case, in which two high school football players were convicted of sexually assaulting a young girl at a party, helped spark a national conversation about consent, victim-blaming, and rape culture. The case gained national attention after the “hacktivist” group Anonymous leaked significant social media evidence implicating the assailants — including tweets, Instagram photos, and a 12-minute video of Steubenville high schoolers joking about the rape. But it turns out that working to expose those rapists may land one Anonymous hacker more time in prison than the rapists themselves will serve.
As Mother Jones reports, 26-year-old Deric Lostutter — who has been known as “KYAnonymous” throughout his role in the Steubenville rape case — could face up to 10 years of jail time if he’s convicted of hacking-related crimes. The FBI raided Losuetter’s home in April. The internet hacker told Mother Jones that he believes the FBI investigation was motivated by Stebenville officials who want to send Lostutter a clear message: You shouldn’t have gotten involved.
“They want to make an example of me, saying, ‘You don’t fucking come after us. Don’t question us,’ ” Lostutter explained. Those type of power dynamics played out over the course of the sexual assault trial in the tiny Ohio town, where many leaders in the community — like the high school football coach — played some role in covering up the rapists’ crimes because that was easier than disrupting the status quo.
The two teens who were convicted of rape, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, face up to two years in a juvenile detention facility. Because they’re both minors, neither of them will spend as much time behind bars as Lostutter potentially faces. Lostutter is preparing for a costly legal fight, and crowdsourcing outside donations to help him fund it.
The site soliciting donations points out that “Deric had the courage to stand up against rape.” And he says he would do it again, despite the potential consequences.
Anonymous continues to involve itself in exposing sexual crimes. After the intense harassment leveled against a Canadian teenager following her alleged gang rape led her to take her own life, Anonymous stepped in to demand justice, claiming their hackers were quickly able to identify the assailants.

Men Step Up to Support Women’s Rights and Fight Violence … Stars and Regular Guys Say They Are Ready to Show Up

http://www.alternet.org/print/gender/men-step-support-womens-rights-and-fight-violence-stars-and-regular-guys-say-they-are-ready

May 13, 2013  | 
In the immediate aftermath of the Steubenville, Ohio rape trial, many men, both prominent and not, spoke out against sexism, misogyny and what has become known as “rape culture.”

“All men should be feminists,” Grammy-winning singer John Legend announced. “If men care about women’s rights, the world will be a better place.” Olympian sprinter Andrew Reyes, Virginia Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron also got into the act, pledging their allegiance to the movement to end rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse.

One of my favorite reactions came from a young man named Charles that went viral on Facebook. Charles was photographed holding a hand-lettered sign [3] that said, “I stand with Jane Doe because when I became a victim of a sex crime, no one asked me if I was drunk or what I was wearing or what I had done to make it happen.”

For at least some men, it seemed to be a click moment. Nonetheless, questions lurked in many women’s minds. Were these outspoken men truly embracing feminism or were they simply appalled by one horrendously awful incident? And, if they were claiming to be feminists, what exactly did that mean? Were they seeking to break down a rigid binary that positions men and women as gender opposites, or were they instead focusing more narrowly and working to end the behaviors that too often result in sexual assault?

Most women, whether part of the organized women’s movement or not, wanted to support this apparent groundswell of pro-feminist and anti-rape sentiment. At the same time, suspicion and distrust began to kick in. After all, the past four decades have seen overt anti-feminist backlash and the development of men’s groups that are hostile to the idea of women’s equality and the breakdown of ironclad gender categories. For example, Promise Keepers [4], an evangelical Christian men’s group, reinforces the notion of male dominance within (always heterosexual) marriage and family life. Secular groups such as the National Coalition for Men [5] are equally male supremacist and promote the idea of male victimhood, purporting that women batter men and boys as frequently as the reverse. Their response to the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) speaks volumes: “Boys, men and fathers increasingly will die at the hands of their violent mothers and wives as our worthless elected officials rush to issue press releases and pat themselves on the back, claiming victory for having ended ‘the War on Women.’”

Proof that women batter as frequently as men? It’s nowhere to be found [6].

In addition, a mythopoetic movement inspired by poet Robert Bly and Jungian psychologist Joseph Campbell encourages the cultivation of men’s “inner warrior” and masculine voice. While some mythopoets are apolitical, other mythopoetic strands posit men as sexism’s primary victims—yes, trumping women—because of socially imposed rules about gender roles and propriety. This ideology has led them to oppose the notion of gender as learned performance (a theory put forward by Judith Butler, Michel Foucault and others) and instead champion a worldview in which male and female are distinct species.

But let’s get back to the burgeoning movement of 21st-century male feminists, purportedly egalitarian individuals and groups that are taking aim at misogyny and the double standard that continues to limit who and what men and women—however they self-define–can be.

Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York City Chapter of the National Organization for Women [7], welcomes the spike in men’s involvement. “Just as in politics, you can’t get anything accomplished if you don’t work both sides of the aisle,” she says. What’s more, she says women’s attitudes toward men have shifted. “The Catholic Church abuse scandal ignited a change and people now realize that men can be victims, that abuse is as hurtful to men and boys as it is to women and girls.”

Recognizing this, writer and advocate Mandy Van Deven says, is an outgrowth of efforts to promote intersectionality, the linking of oppressions. “The idea of gender equity did not really permeate broad activist circles until the last decade or so,” she says. ”When intersectionality became more of an organizing principle among liberal and radical activists, when people began to talk more about social justice as a multi-issue movement, it opened the door for men to feel more comfortable in feminist spaces.” The downside, she says, is that movements are sometimes taken over by those who have traditionally held power, and money and attention can then get diverted from programs benefiting women and girls and given to programs run by and for men. Lastly, she says, some men who take on feminist issues “act as if they’re special and more deserving of accolades” than the women who’ve been working on these concerns for decades.

Still, for the most part, contemporary feminists are eager to include men in their organizing efforts. Choice USA [8], a national reproductive justice group, recently launched Bro-Choice, “to disrupt the dominant narrative that reproductive justice is a woman’s issue,” and groups including NOW and NARAL Pro-Choice America encourage male involvement and gender equity.

It’s an increasingly palatable message, according to New York artist Linda Stein. Stein has created a traveling exhibit/lecture that she calls “The Fluidity of Gender.” During the past three years she has taken the project to 16 colleges and museums across the US. “There are now men who are very much on the same page as feminists. They are trying to understand feminism and are open to listening and learning from women. I’ve seen a big change in attitude which I think comes from increased talk about bullying. My audiences are young, old, male, female, straight, gay and questioning, and they are getting the fact that masculinity and femininity are fluid categories. They get that it is not horrible for a man to be nurturing and raise a child. Obviously, we are nowhere near gender equity but each year I do this presentation I hear less hostility from men.”

Stein finds this development extremely encouraging. Nonetheless, she is acutely aware that it is essential for men to reach out to other men and boys. While numerous programs run by men, for men, exist, most are confined to stopping sexual violence, with only baby steps being taken to deconstruct mainstream ideas about gender or promote the fluidity Stein champions.

The exception is academia, where groups like the American Men’s Studies Association [9] are ostensibly working—at least on paper and on screen– to encourage the questioning of gender norms and theorize about how best to advance “the critical study of men and masculinity.”

But even this can be contested terrain. A.B., an untenured professor at a college affiliated with the City University of New York, reports that despite efforts to eradicate sexism and promote tolerance on campus, progress has been glacial—and not just in the classroom.

Unlike Linda Stein’s perception, A.B. says that male faculty “who claim to be feminists—and who write books and articles and deliver papers on the subject– are often the worst colleagues. At least at the colleges in which I have worked, it seems as if the more vocal they are about their feminism, the more willing they are to use gender discrepancies to their own advantage. They delegate more service work and more work-intensive teaching assignments to female colleagues, and simultaneously congratulate themselves (not to mention increase their own opportunities for promotion through increased time for research) for offering such ‘opportunities’ to them. In many cases, claiming feminism is just another way for them to see themselves as better than the average person on the street. Their sexism has moved underground, and is better cloaked, but it is still obvious.”

A.B. is not the only academic to be disgusted by the veiled sexism she has encountered. C.D., a psychology professor who asked that neither her name nor her college be revealed, says she has seen so-called feminist men pressure female colleagues to have sex, as if doing so will liberate them from the constraints of bourgeois convention. She says these encounters invariably result in awkward personal dynamics that hamper productivity and limit scholarly collaboration.

It’s the kind of stuff that makes you want to crawl into a hole or scream in despair, at least temporarily. But as the responses to Steubenville indicate, many men are beginning to ask themselves why so many of their brothers rape, batter their partners, and think themselves superior. The resources of several longstanding feminist men’s groups are helping them formulate answers and strategize about changing male behavior.

The National Organization of Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) is one of the oldest efforts. (It has changed its name from the National Organization for Men, to the National Organization for Changing Men, to the current name, NOMAS.)

Robert Brannon, a retired college professor and member of the NOMAS National Council, recalls that, “back in 1975, a professor named Sharon Lord taught a women’s studies class at a college in Knoxville, Tennessee. Male students attended the class and she gave them a project: to plan and carry out the first national conference on men and masculinity. The conference was a big success. The second conference, in 1976, was scheduled to take place at Penn State, but a week before it was supposed to begin Penn State kicked the event off campus because of a program stance supportive of gay rights. Everything moved to a Holiday Inn.”

By 1980, Brannon continues, it became clear to many conferees that an annual gathering organized by an ad hoc committee was insufficient and a call was issued to not only plan the next confab, but to create a men’s group that would be pro-gay, pro-feminist, anti-racist, and open to challenging prevalent gender stereotypes.

“Many of us who got involved early on had come through the civil rights movement and all of us had been influenced by it,” Brannon says. “We wanted to be on the side of justice and right. At the same time we realized that if we were just a men’s auxiliary to the women’s movement, we weren’t offering much. We began to see the average Joe as a victim of sex roles. The demands on men—to control our emotions, to focus on work, to not have intimate friendships with other men—impoverishes us and we can live happier and more fulfilled lives if we unlearn social roles regarding gender.”

Self-interest, as well as overarching support for women’s equality, became central organizing precepts for NOMAS and the many men’s groups that have formed over the past 35 years.

Ted Bunch is the co-founder of A Call to Men [10], a 10-year-old organization whose website says it, “works to create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful and all women and girls are valued and safe.” 

“We were born out of the battered women’s movement,” Bunch told AlterNet. “Myself and Call co-founder Tony Porter were working with domestic violence offenders. From that work it became clear to us that men who batter have a lot in common with men who don’t. Batterers use violence selectively and direct it at women. It seemed to us that these guys had good anger management skills—they did not hit their bosses or coworkers. They could control themselves but had been taught to see women as objects and as property. This idea is embedded in most men, even those who don’t assault women. Most hold a belief that they should have the final word, that females are there to serve them.”

During the 10 years of Call’s existence Bunch estimates they’ve spoken to 100,000 boys and men in 30 states and seven countries. “We were forced to learn how to package and translate the message in a way that men can receive it,” he says. “It can’t sound like an indictment.” One of the keys, he adds, is speaking openly and honestly. “I talk about times when I wanted to tell my son not to cry, but then realized that he needed to express his hurt and fear. We talk about the fact that men can show anger; that’s the one emotion that is safe for us, but we have not been given the okay to show other feelings.”

Call to Men asks why this is so and also questions the role of homophobia in keeping men from bonding. “Homophobia stops men from getting involved in work that is supportive of women,” he says. “It makes us afraid to embrace each other or give affection to our sons. In addition, when you address homophobia you always get into bullying and challenge it since the bullied are often boys who don’t present with hyper-masculinity.”

Maintaining good relationships with women’s groups, Bunch says, is central to all Call’s work. “When we first formed the women we reached out to were welcoming but a bit skeptical,” Bunch says. “Why would men do this work? Could they trust us? There was a fear that we’d do what men often do: Come in, take over, and say, ‘Thank you, little lady.’ Our board is majority women and we now have a good track record so this reaction has lessened.”

A Call to Men is presently working with coaches to discuss better ways to train athletes and model behavior that is less aggressive and rigid. CBS sportscaster James Brown and Baltimore Ravens’ defensive lineman Chris Canty are working with Bunch and other Call staff to reach this demographic.

Like A Call to Men, the Washington, DC-based Men Can Stop Rape [11] challenges male supremacist attitudes and develops strategies to support non-violence. Through Men of Strength (MOST) clubs, mentors work with middle- and high-school-aged boys to discuss healthy relationships, empathy, machismo and essentialist beliefs about gender. The year-long program brings football players, computer geeks and troublemakers together and gives them 45 to 60 minutes a week to think and talk about masculinity. According to Patrick McGann, director of strategy and planning, “The goal is to make these young guys become change-makers in their schools, families and communities.”

The group has also launched a poster campaign of attention-grabbing artwork that is visible at bus stops and train stations throughout the District of Columbia, to make men aware of what they can do to stop abuse and harassment. ”When Karl kept harassing girls on the street, I said: Stop being a jerk. I’m the kind of guy who takes a stand,” says one poster. Another depicts a crowded party: “When Nicole couldn’t lose that drunk guy, I called her cell to give her an out,” says another.

Schools need to pay for MOST’s 24-week curriculum — something cash-strapped programs often cannot do — but Men Can Stop Rape also promotes dialogue through social media and its website. In addition, a grant has enabled it to partner with youth-advocacy agencies across the US to create a Healthy Masculinity Action project. The project is hosting town hall meetings throughout the country and sponsoring campus conversations to explore gender roles and promote women’s equality and non-violence. “We are basing the project on the assumption that the majority of men can be made to care about these issues and will do something to change their behavior. It’s about persuading men to care and act,” McGann says.

These three organizations are far from alone. Over the past few years, an array of websites have sprouted up, making clear that men are eager to engage with women around gender, sex roles, feminism, patriarchy and sexism. They include: XYonline.net, malefeminists.com, voicemalemagazine.org, blackmasculinities.com, goodmenproject.com, everydayfeminism,com and the Five Minute Feminist on YouTube.