Conviction of Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper/rapist a victory for secular feminism

The conviction last week by a Utah jury of the man who kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in 2002, forced her … Continued

The conviction last week by a Utah jury of the man who kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart in 2002, forced her into a “celestial marriage” and raped her over a period of nine months has been depicted as a victory for one courageous young woman and for the federal justice system. It is both of those things, but it is also a victory for 40 years of secular feminism, which singlehandedly brought about a vast change in public and legal attitudes toward rape in the second half of the twentieth century. Four decades ago, it is highly unlikely that this case would ever have come to trial. Had Smart been found, and returned alive to her devout Mormon family, it is unlikely that she would ever have been heard from again in public. She would have been shrouded by the shame and silence that were the lot of nearly all rape victims not centuries ago, but in my lifetime.

“I hope that not only is this an example that justice can be served in America,” Smart, now 23, said after the verdict was rendered, “but that it is possible that people can move on after something terrible has happened. We can speak out and we will be heard.” I don’t know if Smart knows this, but she owes a debt to those feminists–who were more often than not scorned for being rabid man-haters–who made it possible for her to be heard and taken seriously. In order to do that, feminism had to undermine the millennia-old assumptions, promulgated by all western religions (including Smart’s Mormon faith) about unchaste women being responsible for the sexual violence inflicted on them.


Elizabeth Smart addresses the media outside the federal court house following the guilty verdict in the Brian David Mitchell trail Friday, Dec. 10 2010 in Salt Lake City. Mitchell was found guilty for the June 5, 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. AP Photo/Colin E Braley.

As Susan Brownmiller pointed out in her pioneering 1975 work, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, the standard jury instructions in rape cases in many states at that time were followed by the admonition, “…the law requires that you examine the testimony of the female person named in the information with caution.” Not the male person. Just the “female person.” These instructions were based on the famous comment by the 17th-century English jurist Matthew Hale that “rape is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho never so innocent.” (As Brownmiller notes, stranger rapes of white women by black men, particularly in the South, were the main exception to the “blame the victim” tenor of so many rape cases in the United States.)

My guess is, in the unlikely event that a young woman of Elizabeth Smart’s background would have been willing to testify to her own rapes 40 years ago, that she would have been questioned endlessly about why she didn’t try to get away from her captor. The trial would have been turned into an examination of why a 14-year-old girl–taken from her bed in the middle of the night, raped and chained on the first day, and told that if she tried to escape, she and her family would be killed–failed to “resist.”

As things are today, the defense had to resort to an insanity plea–which the jury didn’t buy. The jurors agreed with the prosecution’s view of the defendant, Brian David Mitchell, as a narcissist who used religious justifications for his acts. “The defendant’s professed beliefs are highly consistent with fundamental [sic] extremists on what we might call the Mormon fringe–the belief that polygamy needs to be restored,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Hagen said during her closing argument. “This is the environment in which Brian David Mitchell became immersed in the early 1990s.”

Those connected with the official Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, which abandoned polygamy in 1896 in return for the admission of Utah to the Union, were extremely anxious to see Mitchell convicted, because the mainstream Mormon church wants to do everything possible to distance its own polygamous heritage from the plural marriages practiced by breakaway sects today. It was somewhat ironic to hear a defense based on the assertion that the founding religious beliefs of the Mormons now amount to insanity.

Smart also testified that she felt “marked” because of what had been done to her. “I wasn’t the same, My personal value had dropped. I was nothing. Another person could never love me. I felt like I had a burden to carry around with me the rest of my life.” This sense of personal devaluation was recounted over and over again, by victims of all ages, at rape “speakouts” in the early 1970s. In some instances, the women I heard at these sessions had indeed carried a burden of shame for a lifetime; some were in their 70s and 80s.

Feminism originated as a secular movement because its view of women as human beings with human rights and human responsibilities commensurate with those of men was long denounced by established churches (and is still disputed in many religious communities). Religious feminists who have pushed their denominations for change were responding to the spirit of secular feminism, and that is the main reason why anti-feminism played such an important role in the rise of the religious right during the late 1970s and 1980s. What has always been the basis of the orthodox religious view of women–whether the specific issue is the role of women outside the home or the entrance of women into the clergy–is the conviction that females were put on this earth by a divine creator to serve the needs of and submit themselves to men. When the issue is rape, subordination to superior power is not a metaphorical but a literal reality.

It is, I think, a measure of the success of feminism–as well as the fleeting nature of historical memory–that no one has commented on the long-term role of the women’s movement in making it possible to convict Ellizabeth Smart’s assailant. Female federal prosecutors, a young woman telling her story in searing detail, and a jury of men and women who believed what the victim said are no longer startling. This is a good thing, but secularists, at least, should, pause to acknowledge a debt to the secular feminists of the 1970s who changed the climate of opinion about rape.

In the Smart case, of course, there was overwhelming evidence that the defendant did kidnap and rape Elizabeth Smart. All the defense could do was resort to the argument that the Mitchell’s religious insanity made him do it. If delusional religious belief is a legitimate basis for an insanity defense, a large share of the world’s criminals could never be convicted of any heinous act.

Susan Jacoby
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  • WmarkW

    “Four decades ago, it is highly unlikely that this case would ever have come to trial.”I don’t know. Religious weirdo with a ZZ Top beard kidnaps 14-yo white girl from devout middle-class family. A more interesting rape case is the conflicting versions of exactly what Julian Assange is charged with.

  • Jihadist

    ZZ Top? Those fellows from the seventies? With videos full of leggy girls? How pleasing for men into women as objects of their desires and fantasies. Women are objectified and objectify themselves voluntarily too in the mass media. So said some men still in the “secular” and “religious” world. Rape is rape. It does not take a “secular feminist” to be outraged of its occurences, be it statutory, marital, date rapes and other variations of rapes as now categorised. One should also be incensed of rapes committed by armies and insurgents/rebels during armed conflicts and wars. The perpetrators usually got away with it and are not charged in civil courts, nor are the victims’ testimony heard of in military courts. Is that permissible rape It does not take a “secular feminist” to realise that some men, regardless of religious belief or non-belief, still regard rape not to really be their problem but women’s.

  • Jihadist

    Pop quiz on cliched notions on rapes : -(a) Because women are asking for it by the way they dress, talk, walk.(b) God gave me more rights over women, including the right to rape them. (c) I want to teach them, get back at them for treating me wrong by raping their women.(d) I want to be one of the boys, prove my manhood by going forth to propogate my seeds as widely as possible to ensure the survival of my specie.(e) Because she is there for my taking.(f) I have a serious impulse control problem of my hormonal urges.

  • GabrielRockman

    The success of secular feminism is that we now make celebrities out of rape victims. We’ve gone from being ashamed of being raped (too far one direction) to rape victims being celebrities who cannot escape the public eye (too far the other direction).I do not view this as a triumph. It is an improvement, but it is still not a healthy reaction.

  • WmarkW

    We’ve gone from being ashamed of being raped (too far one direction) to rape victims being celebrities who cannot escape the public eye (too far the other direction).I do not view this as a triumph. It is an improvement, but it is still not a healthy reaction.

  • Susan_Jacoby

    Of course, I should have noted that the attitudes of those white men who believe that white men are the real victims in our society have not changed. This is an excellent reminder for me that some things never change. The Elizabeth Smart case would not have come to trial 40 years ago because a girl like Elizabeth Smart would have been too ashamed, and too shamed by society, to testify.

  • WmarkW

    The Elizabeth Smart case would not have come to trial 40 years ago because a girl like Elizabeth Smart would have been too ashamed, and too shamed by society, to testify.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Some things change. Some don’t. In order to be taken seriously as a minority group who wants majority out your face you have to be fashionable.Being Jewish has never been fashionable. Hence, when we protest the Marks of this world we are merely annoying. I should add that I had long been curious as to when Mark’s WCMV (white Christian male victim hood) would finally reach its lowest common denominator. I’d known he believed Jews control the economy (I missed the memo) from much earlier posts.His anti-black, anti-hispanic racist comments would, I suspected, ultimately devolve onto Jews. As I have said before, Christianity (colonialist, essentialist doctrine, with a built in alibi) is the inaugural racism of the West.Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.Mark’s putrid opinings on other ethnic groups did of course garner a reaction. Not the case for Jews. I, alone, reacted.Sincerely,FarnazBut not gentile, grazie Dio

  • WmarkW

    BTW, a lot of people think the primary cause of rape is the culture and societal attitudes towards it.Since non-Hispanic white men have a rape rate about one-quarter to one-sixth that of black and Hispanic men, it’s hard to justify the belief that rape is caused by the attitudes of a society allegedly dominated by the group with a low rape rate.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    iF YOU do the math you will find that white christian male victim are eighty-four per cent more likely to commit mass murder and genocide than their black and Hispanic counterparts (nonwhite, white, or other).

  • onofrio

    Farnaz,Thee:Though I would never gainsay your reactive alacrity in that good cause, Farnaz, I would remind you that I have managed at times to overcome my white devil’s inborn craving for rapine and bloody rites and reacted to said putridities of Mark, the Reasonable Racist. Par example:onofrio | October 25, 2010 7:10 PMA weak metoo, I know. You would fain hear stronger voices. I guess that all sounds from the hound-filled depths seem much alike to hounded J-folk…

  • GabrielRockman

    Farnazmansouri – another thing that never changes is your willingness to resort to vicious personal attacks when you cannot handle intelligent debate. Lucky for you, the Washington Post is too lazy to ban hatemongers like you.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Farnazmansouri – another thing that never changes is your willingness to resort to vicious personal attacks when you cannot handle intelligent debate. Lucky for you, the Washington Post is too lazy to ban hatemongers like you.Posted by: GabrielRockmanAccusing me of making vicious personal attacks ignores the possible significance of Mark’s claims (currently, “hypotheticals”) viz Jews are deceptive, thieving, etc., particularly when they follow comments revealings anti-black, anti-hispanic, sexist, and homophobic bias.Further, such remarks are highly “personal.” In sum, your vicious personal attack on me, consistent with the ad hominem “arguments” you so often wage when emotionally threatened, is rather pointless on a thread such as this where folks reason, think, and read.I’d stick to the music, were I you. Logic and decency don’t seem to be your strong points.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    A weak metoo, I know. You would fain hear stronger voices.I guess that all sounds from the hound-filled depths seem much alike to hounded J-folk…Posted by: onofrioI was referring to Mark’s bigoted missives on the previous thread, only. They called forth one of those many, famous Jewish-invisibility-following-Jew-hating periods, so oft mentioned (Rev: XY: Z).I did not recall that horrid thread you referenced. Thank you for your voice of moral sanity, Onofrio.Farnaz

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan writes:She would have been shrouded by the shame and silence that were the lot of nearly all rape victims not centuries ago, but in my lifetime. I owe my introduction to American feminism to my mother who attended college and graduate school here. As I was reading Susan’s article, I kept thinking of Against My Will. Previous to Brownmiller, women did not have a vocabulary with which to fully explain the nature of rape, although they had progressed into the period of demanding justice for victims. (CAN THE SUBALTERN SPEAK? HATH THE JEW EYES?)The notion that those who were raped were asking for it, somehow elided the question of what such an accusation said about the nature of men. It also nicely elided the matter of “seductive” three-year-old and “seductive” eighty-five-year-old rape victims. Only a few years back, a judge ruled that a raped little girl had been asking for it.The best account of male illogic on rape may well be that dramatized in A Case of Exploding Mangoes–Muhammad Hanif. Those who like to talk about Muslim uncles raping their nieces, honor killings, etc., as a purely Muslim phenomenon, might want to read this, attending the logic Hanif satirizes. It is not far removed from that which was current here only a few decades ago.In the period Susan recalls, America was in the grip of addressing such heady questions as–Is it, by definition possible for a man to rape his wife? Can a prostitute, by definition, be raped?Consider, further, that at that time, America was way, way ahead of the rest of the world in addressing women’s rights. In many ways, it still is.On the issue of antisemitism, no. Some subalterns cannot yet speak. And, I agree, Susan, the world has a short (historical) memory.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Meant to write “Against OUR Will.”

  • WmarkW

    Of course, I should have noted that the attitudes of those white men who believe that white men are the real victims in our society have not changed. This is an excellent reminder for me that some things never change. Like that case a couple of years ago involving athletes at a prestigious southern university; the punditocracy could hardly keep from leaping out of their seats at finding the long-elusive example of white male privilege.OOPS!

  • FarnazMansouri2

    White Male Christian Victims of Darkies, Women, Jews, Native Americans, Muslims, et alSlavery in America: The Struggle of the White Christian Male (Victim)Pimping the Paleface: Selling the WMCVGenocide: The Destruction of the White Male Christian VictimsThe Crusades and the WMCVThe Inquisition and the WMCVThe Rape of India and the Destruction of the WMCVColonialism, NeoColonialism, and the WMCVsGays Discrimination against the WMCVsThe WMCV’s and YOu: Sensitivity Training for Dealind with the OppressedInstilling Self-Confidence in the WMCVsGiving WMCVs a Chance: Leveling the Playing Field (or what is left of it)

  • FarnazMansouri2

    The Wretched EuroMale of the Earth

  • FarnazMansouri2

    There is no question that white Christian men have been victims, albeit primarily of one another, but to consider them history’s whipping boys is delusional.There will always be those who view the gains of the downtrodden as their loss. It is not a position one must maintain.Oppression includes racial, religious, ethnic, national, and class variables. That is a matter worth discussing, but not at the expense of the most abused among us.Some of us, it appears, are destined to be victims of everyone remotely different from themselves. That is unfortunate, given the world we live in.

  • Jihadist

    Oppression includes racial, religious, ethnic, national, and class variables. That is a matter worth discussing, but not at the expense of the most abused among us.*******************************************Violence against women, including and especially rape, cuts across racial, religious, ethnic, national and class. It is not the “fault” of white, red, yellow, beige, black, brown males that their women folks are abused and raped. All women must take personal responsibility for not being raped (dress and behave appropriately, don’t walk alone in dodgy places etc) personal responsibility during rapes (must fight off the rapists etc) and personal responsibility after being raped (must report to police, proof of rape, deal with the emotional scar and social stigma etc)What was that phrase in the seventies in America used by women against rape? Women, take back the night? Some fellows here blamed female factory workers working the graveyard shifts who were going to/from work got raped. They said women should not be walking alone or hanging out late at night or dawn. Men seem to ignore rapes until it happens to their wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters. Only then they react, and differently. Some men regretably consider more their “shame” and “honour” over the victims’ physical wounds and emotional scars. Do some men think they could possibly be rapists too if they follow their “basic desires” in their studied denial of rape as a violation? Or, to put it another way, an extreme form of physical intimidation and/or bullying of putting someone in their place to to exert some form of power over someone else apart from exercising sexual desires and rights over an unwilling, non-consenting or underaged partner?Most rapes are committed by someone women know and then blame themselves, questioning themselves if they gave the wrong “signals” and thus, “deserved it”, and consequently “let go” without reporting.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    It is not the “fault” of white, red, yellow, beige, black, brown males that their women folks are abused and raped. All women must take personal responsibility for not being raped (dress and behave appropriately, don’t walk alone in dodgy places etc).”Skin color” is not at issue on the matter of rape. Rapists are.MEN, ALONE, not women, must take responsibility for rape.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Take back the night….

  • edbyronadams

    “MEN, ALONE, not women, must take responsibility for rape.”Rapists must take responsibility for their acts. Spreading it around half of humanity dilutes the crime and taints those not involved.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Rapists must take responsibility for their acts. Spreading it around half of humanity dilutes the crime and taints those not involved.Women are not the issue here. Men are.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Decades ago, a group of Israeli officials were met to discuss a rapist lose in Jerusalem. What to do.Opinion seemed to be swaying in favor of warning women not to go out at night until the rapist was caught.Meir said, “Wait a minute. Since the rapist is a man, shouldn’t MEN be told not to go out at night?”

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Rapists are men. I am uninterested in male opinings on women’s bodies.White men, et al, would do well to heed the words of PRes. Obama and Jesse Jackson re black men: Take some responsibility for yourselves and your actions.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I am three years short of forty, never wear cosmetics, and have never gotten any complaints. That is the case unto this very day.I have neighbors on either side of me, teenaged boys, who wear earrings, dye their hair, and have their eyebrows waxed.They have not been raped by women, even when they go out alone at night.

  • edbyronadams

    Farnaz,You veer wildly from the over general to the very specific. Those enterprises I mentioned do billions in business whether you purchase or not. As for your neighbor boys, you live in a strange neighborhood.

  • Carstonio

    There will always be those who view the gains of the downtrodden as their loss. It is not a position one must maintain.Yes. Since we’re in the Chesapeake watershed, one might describe it as the blue-crabs-in-a-bucket mentality. Being a white man, which I am, doesn’t make me responsible for the history of discrimination against non-whites and non-males. It does mean, however, that I should recognize that people like me have had automatic advantages based on those traits and still do to some degree. When activists talk about “white privilege” or “male privilege,” they mean that people with those traits assume their circumstances or experiences are normative. Jacoby refers indirectly to the longstanding assumption that a female rape victim must have done something to provoke her assailant, such as wearing provocative clothes. The fact that rape victims have their character questioned during trials discourages many victims from even reporting the crimes. That’s an artificial disadvantage that women have. So how does this apply to “male privilege”? I’ve heard several men allege that women frequently cry rape when they change their minds at the last minute about sleeping with a man, even going so far as to claim that this is much more common than actual rape. Or else they argue that the “ability” to charge a man with rape puts women at an advantage.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Ed,The cave gets cold in winter. Step out. New York City is not a strange neighborhood. Neither is LA.You’re all over the map. I am uninterested in what men think women should do about rape. Just as cosmetics and beautification are, in your view, women’s issues, rape in my view are men’s. Take care of the problem.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    There will always be those who view the gains of the downtrodden as their loss. It is not a position one must maintain.Just my opinion.

  • edbyronadams

    Farnaz,I have raised two sons, neither of which, I believe, will ever be a rapist. I taught my daughter how to fight dirty.That is as much as I can do to deal with the problem of rape.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I have raised two sons, neither of which, I believe, will ever be a rapist. I taught my daughter how to fight dirty.That is as much as I can do to deal with the problem of rape.But that is something! I don’t have easy answers for the problem of rape, but how men should behave with women is something all boys should learn.Teaching your daughter to protect herself is great. The thing is that rapists attack little girls, the elderly and infirm, etc., people who cannot defend themselves. Boys need to be educated so that they do not grow up to be violent men.

  • Jihadist

    I have raised two sons, neither of which, That is as much as I can do to deal with the problem of rape.*******************************************My father is a fan of Burt Reynold’s movies. But he disliked that old movie with Burt Reynolds in it called “Deliverance”. I never cared for that old movie, thinking it was just about macho male bonding in the great outdoors going awry. Only as a adult did I realise it also has an element of male on male rape. He like “The Hangover” very much. A most enjoyable and funny movie on the effect of drug spiked drinks. It does makes me think of the darker effect of drug-spiked drinks and alcohol on people, blurring and blanking out what they did. Teaching your daugther to fight dirty may not be good enough in fending off gang rapes. Nor your sons not to be rapists if they are drunk. This is, of course, a worse case scenario of “normal” people sometimes behaving badly in groups, or when drunk or drugged. And there’s that old Hollywood movie “The Accused” if one is not into reading stats and reports on rapes. G’night.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    That thread has nothing to do with your obnoxious posting on this one. It may be that I was mistaken and you are not backspace1. That will be demonstrated soon enough and not by me; the issue is being managed.I’d say grow up, but yours is not a problem of maturity. It goes rather deeper.And, frankly, I’m profoundly uninterested in your view of my development. Remove the forest from your eye, and when you have done, get back to us.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Last posting was for Gabriel (not the angel).

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Ed,The problem of men raping children and one another did occur to me, and yes, there are women sexual abusers.The issue is sexual violence, a part of the larger issue of male violence–look at the world–which primarily effects women.If Jihadist is right, and I suspect she is, that many men when intoxicated commit rape, men who are not “rapists” in the sense commonly thought of, then the nature of the problem becomes clearer, does it not.Calling rape a problem, viewing “violence” as if it were a natural phenomenon floating in space has not proven helpful in addressing the problem.Something is amiss in the world with the male of the species. Sorry to say it but it is true, and, needless to say, not of all men. Needless to say, as well, that there are many ruthless, evil women in the world. Not the point.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    The social milieu that we live in is a product of human nature that we massage as best we can to fit a rational world view but condemning half of humanity to remake itself is a non starter.The problem becomes complicated by the fact that men control nations and the economy.The problem of what we deem social crime is merely a fraction of the unacceptable worldwide violence that men initiate and perpetrate.If I’m mistaken and it is squirrels who do it, let me know.As for the MOAO gene, X linked, that may be a starting point. But where do we go with it? Test all male babies to see if they have it?Further, what percentage of criminals has it? Of those convicted of rape?Did George Bush have it? Is that why we got into Iraq? I’m talking about violence.

  • GabrielRockman

    Farnazmansouri2 – Apparently you had this problem with someone named backspace1, and then decided without any reason to throw insults at a completely different person, without even telling that person why you responded so hatefully without provocation. I am not surprised that I was not the first person that you threw hateful insults towards, but I am surprised that you thought I was an impostor, and felt the need to throw insults at me upon this assumption, and felt no need to have any sort of proof or reason to believe that I was someone else, or even to inform me of that belief until now. That does explain why your insults at me were far more personal than anyone else’s, and why I took exceptional offense to them.I appreciate your honesty that the unprovoked insults you hurled at me were due to your paranoia and a misbelief that I was someone else.It was shameful of me to bring up the past. Giving attention to hate speech encourages it, rather than discouraging it. I don’t know the proper way to help remove hate speech from these boards, but calling someone out for their hateful insults is not productive. It was a selfish act to make myself feel better, but accomplished nothing.I would like you to move beyond your petty insults, but bringing up the past only makes it harder for you to escape your past. Whether or not you are consciously trying to be less hateful, I apologize for making your task harder.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Gabriel,I have no idea whatsoever of what you are talking about. Backspace1 said something hateful on another thread. I made a comment thinking you were he, and that is all. In the interim, you had already been taken to task by other bloggers for your conduct toward them, including one on that thread.My comments to Mark concern the most vile antisemitic remarks he had made, remarks he had made before, along with homophobic, anti-Islamic, sexist comments.They are what commonly fall under the category of hate speech.Your own defense of these remarks is telling. I would suggest you scroll all the way down on the last thread, since you are an archivist, and remind yourself of what I’m talking about. In the meantime, though I should be flattered by your sudden obsession with moi, I find it tiresome. But, carry on by all means, if it gives you something to do. I’m not interested.

  • timmy2

    “The problem becomes complicated by the fact that men control nations and the economy”Categorically untrue. “If I’m mistaken and it is squirrels who do it, let me know”You are not mistaken that only men rape. But you are most definitely mistaken if you think that rape is a problem that only men can end. Virtually every rapist was raised by a woman. Rape is society’s problem to deal with equally across the board.Most rape is due to mental illness. Bad upbringing also plays a roll. Hormones play a huge roll. And of course another big part of the underlying problem is the prevailing ideology in the religion of most people that the purpose of woman is to serve man. Some women kill their husbands because of the severe hormonal swings caused by their menstruation cycles. Only women do this. Some women kill their babies because of severe post natal depression. Only women do this. Would you categorize these problems as those that only women can end? Not if you are rational you wouldn’t. Rape is a problem for all of us to deal with. And we need to deal with it rationally.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I suspect that, yes, it would be better for us to deal with rape rationally rather than irrationally.So….squirrels control the economy? Who knew.

  • timmy2

    Calling rape a problem for men to deal with is irrational. And economies and nations are controlled by people. Not squirrels. Not men. But people.

  • Carstonio

    Were the women sober or drunk? It does makes a difference the morning after.I’m not sure how that is relevant to my point, which is about people who have advantages because of traits insisting that their traits put them at a disadvantage. I frequently hear the claim, “How come there’s a Black History Month but not a White History Month?” The answer is that whites already have the other 11 months. (Not literally but metaphorically.) The core problem is that whites who make the complaint are making the issue about them. Or when the topic is the effect of rape on women, men insisting on making it about how they imagine it affects men.In my neck of the woods, men do commit domestic violence and rapes when drunk. Both are crimes of power. Alcohol doesn’t turn a man into a rapist or an abuser. What alcohol can do is lower the inhibitions of men who already have the control issues that would lead them to commit those crime.

  • Carstonio

    Also, the idea that men are predisposed to violence sounds very much like a rationalization. “Men are dogs” is a very common excuse when men talk about their own infidelities or those of other men.

  • Jihadist

    “Were the women sober or drunk? It does makes a difference the morning after.”I’m not sure how that is relevant to my point, which is about people who have advantages because of traits insisting that their traits put them at a disadvantage.*******************************************I was going by this:”I’ve heard several men allege that women frequently cry rape when they change their minds at the last minute about sleeping with a man, even going so far as to claim that this is much more common than actual rape. Or else they argue that the “ability” to charge a man with rape puts women at an advantage.” I am focussing on women who alleged men rape them, then changed their minds and their state of mind when they do that as it matters in the courts on proof/disproof of rapes.Certainly there are women who consented to sex and then alleged rape for specific reasons, including blackmail/extortion. I don’t know what to call that – regret or remorse or anger over choice of sexual partner? I’ve come across cases as you stated. It is dismaying that some women would do that. The few instances of such distract from the larger issues of genuine rapes being unreported and/or under-reported, at least 80% more of actual reported cases by some estimates due to the shame felt by the victims. As for being drunk and committing rapes, the police can charge or book one for drinking under the influence, or for being drunk and incapable. However, in courts of law, for proof of rape, apart from semen and other DNA samples of the alleged rapist (and only if one goes to the hospital soon enough), the clear and consistent testimony of the victim as well as alleged rapist is pertinent. Being drunk or drugged, be it victim or rapist during the rape, is tricky, especially for the victim who may or may not say and do regretable things leading to her rape as may be misunderstood by the rapist to be consensual sex. It is easier to see rape for what it is in developing countries and conservative societies – an act of deliberate violence against women whether sober or drunk. It seems much more complicated in the west in these post-sixties’ so-called sexual liberation times in male-female interpersonal relationships, social norms and lifestyles.

  • Carstonio

    The few instances of such distract from the larger issues of genuine rapes being unreported and/or under-reported, at least 80% more of actual reported cases by some estimates due to the shame felt by the victims. I agree in principle. They also distract from the larger issues of women who do report rapes being put through the legal meat grinder. Very few women would take the issue of rape lightly.Being drunk or drugged, be it victim or rapist during the rape, is tricky, especially for the victim who may or may not say and do regretable things leading to her rape as may be misunderstood by the rapist to be consensual sex. wait a second – if the women is drunk or drugged, why is the sober man trying to have sex with her in the first place? Or if the man is intoxicated and the woman is not? That seems highly unethical at best, like the one is exploiting the other one’s impaired judgment.

  • Carstonio

    I find it interesting that both secular and religious males are seemingly of the same mind on rapes – i.e. not wholly all their fault, responsibility and accountability, that the acts of a few males cannot be tarred and feathered to all men.In this thread I’ve been arguing against the latter. In my experience, many men AND many women not only refuse to blame the man for the rape, but also put all or some of the blame on the woman. Legal experts have noticed that women on juries can often be more judgmental, not less, of the rape victim. They have theorized that for such women, blaming the victim is more comfortable than acknowledging the reality that any woman can be a victim of rape. When it comes to men, I’ve been criticizing the tendency among some to treat the effect of rape on men as worse than on women.Never mind the fact that when it comes to politics or religions, the acts of a few is deem to be by held by all of that nationality or race or religionThat does happen to people who belong to the dominant ethnicity or religion, but it happens most often to people who belong to other ones. I’ve known too many whites who seem to assume that being, say, black or Hispanic is like being in a club where the members have at least some familiarity each other. In principle, one should be accountable only for one’s own behavior.

  • jobandon

    Old man fought World War Two. He said nobody owed him anything, he served God and Country. Now for these people it’s debt and country. Business as usual. Everybody owes you a living or bail out for fraud. The hardest part, the final famous scene and we liquidate you.

  • jobandon

    We have the lawyers killing the lawyers around here. The SS English way was too time consuming, the OSS Irish way saves us lots of troubles. It gets Wild Bill. Same old tactics, different day.

  • Carstonio

    For clarification, I’ve also been arguing against the idea that “rape is not wholly all (men’s) fault, responsibility and accountability.”

  • onofrio

    There is a creepage, an under-your-guard seepage, always with us, that seeks ever-so-reasonably to mitigate male culpability for rape.It can adopt various ostensibly appealing guises: balanced candour, contrarian courage, common sense, gender savvy,… a knowing wink, an earnestly creased brow, a sobering nod.The best defence? No rape rationales.ZEROThat includes all attire-tirades, no-go-zoning, hormone-bemoaning, blame-blending, and sly insinuations of slu!tery.As a crude and bloodthirsty barbarian, I favour castration (non-chemical) as a mandatory penalty for convicted rapists. It’s only fair, the slight chance of encountering a “Potiphar’s wife” notwithstanding.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Perhaps this lecture by Steven Pinker, in which he asserts, I believe correctly, that the incidence of violence, examined on any time scale, has diminished. We are successfully massaging our propensity to violence. It is best not to let the myopia of the news of the day obscure that fact.First of all, if we are successfully massaging, it would seem unnecessary to unsuccessfully use personal attacks against those who question the global violence of our time.I don’t think the Iraqis, Sudanese, or Rwandans would agree with you–on our finally locating a good masseuse.Once we define “we” then the “we’s

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    JihadistThe name of the date rape drug is Rohypnol.I looked it up on Wikipedia which said that it is rarely used as a date rape drug, but it has gained notoriety because of a few sensational cases in which it was used that way.Medically, it is used as a powerful sedative in a hospital setting.

  • WmarkW

    I should have shared this earlier by Heather MacDonald, also a contributor at secularright.org:The Campus Rape Myth By: Heather Mac DonaldIt’s a lonely job, working the phones at a college rape crisis center. Day after day, you wait for the casualties to show up from the alleged campus rape epidemic—but no one calls. Could this mean that the crisis is overblown? No: it means, according to the campus sexual-assault industry, that the abuse of coeds is worse than anyone had ever imagined. None of this crisis response occurs, of course—because the crisis doesn’t exist. During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory had discovered that asking women directly if they had been raped yielded disappointing results—very few women said that they had been. So Ms. commissioned University of Arizona public health professor Mary Koss to develop a different way of measuring the prevalence of rape. Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had experienced actions that she then classified as rape. Exaggerating the incidence of rape, of course, presents political opportunities. There’s a political thought experiment that says one should favor the laws of a society as if one didn’t know what one’s place in it would be. We all pretty much know which side of any rape trial we’d be on 99% of the time. We shouldn’t expect gender feminist organizations to prioritize protection of the innocent.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Reported rapes per country: 2009 (continued)

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Reported rapes by country: 2009″DEFINITION: Total recorded rapes. Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.” # 1 United States: 95,136

  • WmarkW

    Reported rapes by country: 2009# 1 United States: 95,136Have you read about “corrective rape”? It’s a somewhat common belief among men there that a lesbian can have her sexuality “corrected” by being raped by a good man. Obviously, this is the ultimately fantasy of a self-centered brain.Apparently, though, some feminists believe in another version of it. In the opening scene of The Vagina Monologues, a teen girl is raped by an older woman who gives her alcohol and exposes her to the wonders of lesbianism.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    That does happen to people who belong to the dominant ethnicity or religion, but it happens most often to people who belong to other ones. I’ve known too many whites who seem to assume that being, say, black or Hispanic is like being in a club where the members have at least some familiarity each other. In principle, one should be accountable only for one’s own behavior.Posted by: Carstonio The Christians, however, are becoming way visible. Although I would agree that, in principle, it would be best for the rest of us to hold Christians, as individuals accountable for their actions, where does one begin? And given what the final tally would be, I wonder how much difference it would make, historically.Time for them to be accountable for their ideology; in fact, an accounting is long overdue.Sincerely,Farnaz

  • timmy2

    It is highly unlikely that we could ever eliminate rape from our world altogether. Our goal then, should be to reduce the number of rapes that occur as much as possible. There are two ways to combat rape. One is through punishment severe enough that it acts as a deterrent, and also removes rapists from the streets and locks them up where they can do no more harm. The other way to combat rape is through psychological and anthropological analysis that sheds light on all of the causes of rape which vary from case to case. This information can then be pragmatically used to create systems that work towards reducing the root causes of rape. One way to have zero effect on the problem of rape is to just be angry at men and say that it is up to them to just stop being such violent pigs. This is an emotional and irrational response that does nothing to help alleviate the problem.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    For clarification, I’ve also been arguing against the idea that “rape is not wholly all (men’s) fault, responsibility and accountability.”Posted by: CarstonioAlso, intuitively, to me, your statement about women on rape case juries sounds correct. HOwever, I’d imagine that if it is, it might be more accurate to say that their skepticism varies with the type of rape charge.I wonder if there have been any (valid) comparative studies on this, if there are any stats.

  • Jihadist

    In my experience, many men AND many women not only refuse to blame the man for the rape, but also put all or some of the blame on the woman. Legal experts have noticed that women on juries can often be more judgmental, not less, of the rape victim. They have theorized that for such women, blaming the victim is more comfortable than acknowledging the reality that any woman can be a victim of rape. When it comes to men, I’ve been criticizing the tendency among some to treat the effect of rape on men as worse than on women.*******************************************- I was not talking about you in the post you are refering to. Just jibing a wee bit some other posters in general terms on some of their posts. – Yes, some women do blame women in rape cases – for not behaving, acting, dressing appropriately; for imprudently trusting men who raped them; for going to and being in places they should not have been etc. The old “blaming the victim” for letting themself be victimised and not taking personal responsibilty leading to rapes. – Juries also based their judgements on how the accused and accuser (apart from witnesses if any in rape cases) dress, spoke and generally carry themself in court. There won’t be lawyerly advise to clients on how to dress in court, and coaching on how to respond to cross-examinations if juries don’t base their judgement on, for lack of better word, the personalities and behavior of the accused and accuser in court. – One don’t quite often see rapist’s remorse for what they did in courts here. Perhaps only regret at being caught, charged for their crime, and meted out punishment by law once determined to be guilty.

  • Jihadist

    The name of the date rape drug is Rohypnol.Medically, it is used as a powerful sedative in a hospital setting.*******************************************Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Thanks for the information and clarification. It’s simply called date- rape drugs here. In clubs here, the mix of certain drugs and alcoholic drinks have been cited as cause of women and girls of being impaired in their judgement and compromising their accusations of rapes – difficult to get a cohesive report of what happen, when and how. Sometimes who with.

  • Jihadist

    It is highly unlikely that we could ever eliminate rape from our world altogether. Our goal then, should be to reduce the number of rapes that occur as much as possible. *******************************************- As with the 7 deadly sins plus stealing, lying, cheating, killing, rapes will happen till the end of the human specie. No level of punishment detered murdering or stealing, nor of rape. – Rape, as a crime, unlike stealing or murdering, is a bit more complex for it involves an activity that is not “wrong” if consensual for pleasure or procreation but not if forced on. Herein lies the drawing of clear lines on what is consensual sex and what is rape. – The Elizabeth Smart case is very clear. But a man and a woman who met in bar, have sex afterwards, then woman accused the man of rape for various reasons is not quite all clear and clear-cut. – A close male friend once jockingly say to me that if a woman is raped, better for her not to fight it for her own safety, but to lay back and enjoy it. Makes me wonder what some men say in their locker rooms and all male golf games about rapes, men and women.

  • Jihadist

    South Africa is an instructive case. It’s population is one-sixth that of the USA, and combines the culture of the rest of the sub-Saharan African with the legal system of a Western democracy.*******************************************Yes, South Africa is an “instructive case”. And those are only the reported rape cases. We don’t want to get into here, cases of men with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, raping female babies under one year old because they believe it will cure them of HIV/AIDS. Sex for pleasure, sex for procreation, sex for power, and now sex for a cure.

  • timmy2

    Jihadist writes: “No level of punishment detered murdering or stealing, nor of rape”Nonsense. The punishment for stealing and rape have deterred and continue to deter both stealing and rape. If not for the laws and punishment for these crimes, they would be occurring more frequently. “Rape, as a crime, unlike stealing or murdering, is a bit more complex for it involves an activity that is not “wrong” if consensual for pleasure or procreation but not if forced on”Nonsense. If you consent to sex then it is not rape. If you consent to someone taking your things then it is not stealing. If you hire Dr. Kevorkian, to take your life, then it is not murder. Rape is no more complex than any other crime. “A close male friend once jockingly say to me that if a woman is raped, better for her not to fight it for her own safety, but to lay back and enjoy it. Makes me wonder what some men say in their locker rooms and all male golf games about rapes, men and women”Really? It makes me wonder why you have such a creepy close male friend.

  • Jihadist

    Ahh….sex, rapes, crimes, deterrences and denials. Rapes, murders, stealing is NOT happening right now and is actually are decreasing now the perpetrators are afraid of getting caught and the myriad punishments as deterrences. It would seem that assisted suicides is permissible because it is a humane act as requested by the dying from pain and diseases. It is a brave and practical decision. It would seem that non-assisted suicide is considered as a cowardly or desperate act is intended suiciders are to be prevented from taking such actions. It would seem that voluntary and by choice prostitution is permissible, but trafficking of women for prostitution is a form of forced and enforced rapes. It would seem that even if you consent to sex with an older man, it would be statutory rape if you are under-aged as deemed by law.Then there is the subjectivity, rationales and rationalisations of “just” wars, killings, suicides, assisted suicides etc.So, we have lawyers to argue in courts. Juries and judges to deliberate and decide. We may not be happy with the judgement. We may appeal against it until there is no more recource for appeals even at the Supreme Court level. It still leaves us to deal with our own ethics, morals and values, where we draw the lines, where we take personal responsibility and group responsibility, where we ascribe blame and accountability. Rape is rape. Murder is murder. Stealing is stealing.

  • timmy2

    “Rapes, murders, stealing is NOT happening right now and is actually are decreasing now the perpetrators are afraid of getting caught and the myriad punishments as deterrences”True. There are many many rapes murders and thefts that are not occurring right now due to the laws, deterrents, and punishments for such crimes. It’s not a perfect system. Some rapes, murders and thefts slip through the cracks, but most are prevented. “It would seem that non-assisted suicide is considered as a cowardly or desperate act is intended suiciders are to be prevented from taking such actions”Huh? It has nothing to do with whether or not the suicide is assisted but what the reason for the suicide is. If one is dying of a terminal illness that is very painful, suicide is considered reasonable whether it is assisted or not. But if one is just a depressed teenager or a jilted husband, then it is considered cowardly or desperate whether it is assisted or not. “It would seem that voluntary and by choice prostitution is permissible, but trafficking of women for prostitution is a form of forced and enforced rapes.”Wow, what a revelation. “It would seem that even if you consent to sex with an older man, it would be statutory rape if you are under-aged as deemed by law.”Wow, what a revelation.”Then there is the subjectivity, rationales and rationalisations of “just” wars, killings, suicides, assisted suicides etc.”Wow, what a revelation. “It still leaves us to deal with our own ethics, morals and values, where we draw the lines, where we take personal responsibility and group responsibility, where we ascribe blame and accountability”You say a lot of things that fall under the “well duh” category. “Rape is rape. Murder is murder. Stealing is stealing”Well duh.

  • Jihadist

    You say a lot of things that fall under the “well duh” category. *******************************************:)Obviously, in your case, yes – to start at zero base of basic comprehension to see where you are coming from, and where you are going. There is knowing everything and understanding nothing.There is the know nothings. There is the know it all. There is the “oh duh!”Donate to Ms. Anuradha Koirala’s organisation. She’s Nepalese. She saved some 12,000 Nepalese girls from being trafficked for forced prostitution. She’s CCN’s 2010 Hero of the Year among the 10 Heroes selected. But, of course, it is a choice to donate or otherwise, to this particular organisation compared to, say, donating to the Flat Earth Society or the Men Against Rapists (MAR). Pardon me. MAR does not exist.

  • joe_allen_doty

    Since atheists have faith in nothing, why does this woman even have a blog with “On Faith”?

  • timmy2

    “Donate to Ms. Anuradha Koirala’s organisation”Sounds like a good thing to do. “MAR does not exist”It doesn’t? Oh my goodness gracious! What does that say about men?You know what else doesn’t exist? WAI (Women against infanticide)Oh my goodness gracious, what does that say about women?You cracka me up.

  • timmy2

    Joe Allen Doty writes: “Since atheists have faith in nothing…”I am an atheist with faith in many many things. It is your mistake to assume that a lack of religious faith in the magic sky fairy = lack of faith. For example, most atheists have a strong faith in their assessment that your God is an invention of the human mind.

  • WmarkW

    Men Against Rape is a real organization with chapters on many college campuses.

  • onofrio

    joe_allen_doty, If you don’t like it, Joe Doty, you can always switch to your fave porn site, and look on in the company of fellow believers.Off you go…

  • Jihadist

    There we go…someone here actually knows and bothers to find out Men Against Rape (MAR) actually exist.Like unreported and under-reported rapes, MAR is underreported.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Anyway, what do you call fellow believers who worship porn sites’ well-endowed gods and goddesses? Pornisians? Pornites? Pornians? Pornists? Pornialogists?Ms. Jacoby has stated before that she’s writing on religion and politics. Perhaps to widen it to political, economic and social issues related to religions. There are other On Faith panelists who are atheists too.I don’t agree with all she has written, but then, I also disagree with what some of my fellow Muslim believers say, write and do too.

  • edbyronadams

    “Anyway, what do you call fellow believers who worship porn sites’ well-endowed gods and goddesses?”Lonely.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    “Anyway, what do you call fellow believers who worship porn sites’ well-endowed gods and goddesses?”Lonely.Posted by: edbyronadams

  • edbyronadams

    Ted Bundy: “If you want to keep people from becoming like me, don’t burn Catcher in the Rye, burn Hustler”I would hardly rely on Ted Bundy for advice on anything and certainly most consumers of Hustler do not go on to be serial murderers. I think that the debate between whether pron is an inciter or release is still in play.One of the most interesting court decisions of recent past is California v. Freeman, in which the California Supreme Court found a distinction between paying someone to have sex on camera and prostitution, a distinction I have trouble understanding. Nevertheless, that decision has led to the current explosion in porn and its many lamentable effects on society today.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Ed, I wouldn’t get too literal on Ted Bundy. However, the literature connecting pornography to rape is extensive.You raised questions. I provided answers and links. Use google for connections of pornography to sexual violence.A link to this essay should have been posted by OnFaith to WaPo’s main page. Strange country we live in.