Monday, June 7, 2010

Rape, sex and power - and possibly some discussion of porn...(updated)

I am going to give this conversation a rest now (unless someone comes along wanting to discuss the porn). I really don't have an interest in saying things that are offensive to others and I am not sure exactly how to have this conversation without doing so. I come at it from a particular direction, where the terms being argued have very specific definitions. The distinctions being argued however, aren't important except in a very specific context. It is just not important enough to cause others distress and gets very creepy when I come off the way I am coming off in this discussion.

I am sorry for causing any discomfort.

Over at a blog that is rather new to me, The Thoughtful Animal, Jason Goldman wrote an interesting post, questioning the impact of porn on the people who watch it. Unfortunately, the discussion that followed in comments became a battle about whether porn is inherently bad, or whether it might be rather more complicated than that. This stemmed from some serious condemnation of Jason for asking the wrong question, that instead the important question would be along the lines of; "Should something like porn, that is inherently exploitative towards women and is always an act of violence against women?"

Chaos ensued, unfortunately, with me contributing rather a lot to it. Jason was really rather keen on talking about the topic he had actually written about, but of a very long comment thread, there were very few comments that addressed that topic. And Zuska joined the fray, with a post of her own, the comments again turning to chaos and unfortunately causing Zuska rather a lot of distress. When she mentioned this and her plan to close the comments in a few hours, a number of assholes took it upon themselves to, of course, be assholes about it. In particular, Joshua Zelinsky was asshole enough to explain to Zuska that she should really do her homework on the topic of pornography - feeling that her emotional and mental health are just silly little concerns. Since I couldn't say it there:

Fuck You Joshua!

What Joshua did was not a whole lot different than telling someone who suffers pathological depression, that they should just stop thinking so negatively. I think most of the half dozen or so who are reading this are probably aware of how I feel about that kind of bullshit. That is the sort of shit that pressures people to be ashamed of their own brains, to feel like their feelings aren't valid. While I am pretty sure that Zuska is unlikely to feel that sort of shame - especially over something said by an asshole on her blog, it is really fucking obnoxious, asshole.

So - that out of the way, I am not going to actually delve into the discussion about porn anymore - you have the links and if you were actually a part of the discussion, you are aware anyways. I am however, opening the comments on this post to discuss the porn issue further. If you choose to engage in that discussion here though, I will warn you ahead of time that I am not likely to play nice about it here.

What I am going to address, are a couple of comments that came up on Jason's blog, shortly before he closed comments. I said that I would address those comments here and so I shall. The comments were from Luna_the_cat & Max - with Max basically reiterating what Luna had to say. They were a response to my inference that rape is more often about sex, than it is about power. Luna wrote;
DuWayne, the one thing that I'll take issue with you on is that. Studies done with rapists have indicated it isn't really about sex; it is sexualised power, and what I recall from research I did on this a few years ago, over 60% of convicted rapists are quite overt about motivations to "get back at women" or "put a woman in her place" or similar, as well as gaining perceived status from the rape from a peer group. And from surveys done of incarcerated populations, as well as NCVS studies, most rapists are actually in sexual relationships with people other than their victim at the time the crime is committed, which knocks the whole "it's because they can't get access to sex" thing on the head. It's also borne out by how many assaults involve additional acts to humiliate the victim, like pissing on her or forcing her to thank the attacker. (yeah. seriously.) It is multifactorial, and different individuals have different mixes of motivations, but to say it's "mostly sex" isn't justified. The "it's a power play" position is justified by evidence, even though it is overtly and explicitly sexual in nature.

Date rapes or rapes of drunk/drugged victims who are unable to express nonconsent effectively, might be "more about the sex", but it is impossible to state that as a universal. There is too much variation in both the nature of the assaults and the nature of the assailants.
Ok, so if we're talking about rape defined as "random stranger assault" then yes, rape is often mostly about power. But the rape as defined by the second paragraph is by far the most common form of rape and there is no question that that is most often, mostly about the sex, not the power aspect. I am not saying that power never plays a role, just that sex plays a more prevalent and stronger role. The same is true of incestuous molestation. While it is more complicated, because power differentials so often play a role - it is also generally about the sex. This is not a controversial claim I am making either. See here, here, here, here and here. That was less than a minute of searching.

Acquaintance rape is not only by far the most common, it is also the least reported - in part because victims are either ashamed, not sure it wasn't really their fault or both. Some women are simply not aware that what happened was rape, an attitude that is common with women who were raped while partying - even if they had been drugged. A lot of the studies (data collection by the Department of Justice has been ongoing for decades now) utilize questionnaires given to both men and women. Instead of asking women if they were victims of rape, and asking men if they are rapists (yes, males get raped too and there are probably studies going on), they describe scenarios and ask women and men if they have been on either side of such scenarios. Many of these studies also ask both men and women what they believe the motivation for that scenario was - assuming they responded positively. When it comes to acquaintance/date rape, both men and women who had responded affirmatively felt that sex was the primary motivation.

I will admit that this is not an area that I have spent as much time exploring, as I have other aspects of human sexuality. More than most anything else, rape is just really hard for me to look into very much. Far too many women I know were either raped as an adult, or were raped as a child - almost always by a family member. I can't sit down and explore this issue, without thinking about so many people that I care about and what their experience with rape did to them. But I am very aware of the statistics and I am also very aware of the way these studies are conducted. Figures range from ten percent of college age women, to one in four college age women having been raped at some point in their lives. The figures for men having participated in a rape - or "act of sexual aggression," is in some studies as high as ten percent, though roughly five percent is a reasonable aggregate of the data I have seen.

So Luna & Max, that is why I made the assertion I did. I understand where you are coming from and agree that in the context of stranger rape, it probably is most often about power. There is a lot of data that would indicate that at the very least it plays a significant role. But when it comes to all rape, the data simply doesn't fit your assertion. Oh, there was another bit to address...
...It's also kind of another slap in the face for victims. "It's just sex" has been a way of telling people they're blowing the whole thing out of proportion and they just need to get over it ("besides, they want it, really") for a long time. The people who have been on the receiving end of this know that it isn't sex. It is sexualised violence.
I very strongly disagree about this being a slap in anybody's face - it is certainly not how I intend it. The motivation of the fucking bastard who perpetrated that crime has nothing to do with how horrifying the crime is. I am sorry that some women who have been raped feel this way and I do not want to seem to be invalidating anyone's feelings - that is not what I am all about. But I don't begin to see how the motivation of a sex offender, changes the proportional damage the crime causes. Whether the fucker was doing it for power, doing it for sex or doing it because voices in his head told him to, it is still fucking rape.

Seriously, I comprehend and respect the feelings of people who have been victimized by rapists. I cannot understand them, because I have not had the experience - but I also know way too many women who have been raped and definitely comprehend how terrible it is. I am not denying that power can play a role and is probably the primary role when it comes to stranger rape. But when it comes to acquaintance rape, sex plays a primary role in motivating the men who commit the crime. That does nothing to change what has been done to the woman, doesn't detract one bit from the validity of her feelings after. The reason I think this is important, is because I think that understanding the motivations behind sex crimes is an important aspect of learning how to prevent them. I may write some about that in the future, but that is a whole post, in and of itself.

25 comments:

Ambivalent Academic said...

If I may posit a third possibility:

Perhaps acquaintance rape "motivated by sex" and Stranger rape "motivated by power" is a false dichotomy. Acquaintance rape need not be motivated only by sex.

I would argue that acquaintance rape when the victim is drugged on unconscious (to use your example) is an exercise in privilege for the perpetrator. Privilege, as you know, is power. So while the perpetrator is consciously choosing to commit the crime, justifying to himself that he just hasn't gotten any lovin' in a while and she's too out of it to notice anyway, so why not help himself to her body? That's privileged. That's power.

And also, not all acquaintance rape is of the victim-is-unconscious variety. Plenty of it is partner abuse, reproductive coercion, just plain ol' coercion, and manipulation. That is in fact about exercising power over the victim. (I know that you know this, and I'm not trying to be combative here, but it is an important perspective that was not represented in your original post, and I think it should be there lest other readers jump on the acquaintance rape only happens to drunk girls so they were asking for it train.) Carry on.

Donna B. said...

Yes, let's muddy the waters further by substituting "privilege" for "power". How does that help?

Using "privilege" in that context is actually minimizing what happened which was a felony.

I can't, off the top of my head, think of a crime that is not an abuse of some kind of power and it's simply silly to call criminals "privileged".

It is also a mistake to confuse someone consciously making a decision to become less powerful with the old "she was asking for it" defense. It's an even worse mistake to confuse someone drugged without their knowledge with someone who knowingly consumed a drug that causes loss of control and power.

In trying to make sure that the rapist is always held responsible for a criminal abuse of power, it's not necessary to make the victim weak or to give her a false and ultimately useless "power".

What amazed me was that no one seemed to consider the actual results of the study that Goldman originally posted which had a fairly obvious conclusion: some men have a problem with sexual aggression and porn amplifies that problem. (At least that's the way I read it.)

He didn't post something saying porn was great and wonderful, did he?

But, perhaps because of muddied thinking that confuses issues so easily, he was castigated for "asking the wrong question". It's like saying that crime must be eliminated before any questions can be asked about it's effects.

I was really quite astounded by the puritanesque attitude of several of the female commenters. If women are sexually equal to men and it's accepted that men can be sexually aggressive and/or deviant, then it is taking power away from women to suggest that every woman involved in porn or sex work is, by definition, powerless.

I sort of wish DuWayne had chosen exhibitionism rather than BDSM to expound upon. It's one of the DSM paraphilias that women seem to be encouraged to engage in (by other women as well as men) as long as they don't use it for actual monetary gain, like acting in a porn movie. It's also at the core of the "she was asking for it" defense.

Sadly, the take away message for me is that a certain subset of feminists are not willing to talk honestly about female sexuality.

DuWayne Brayton said...

AA -

The problem is that I wasn't terribly clear. There is no question that not only rape, but all too often consensual sex is about both the sex and the power. In the case of predatory rape, it leans towards power, while with acquaintance rape it leans towards sex.

As far as the types of acquaintance rape go, there are actually a lot of different ways that can happen. One of the most common is the scenario in which a couple goes someplace for privacy to make out and the guy doesn't stop when the girl wants him to. In that scenario, it is very common for both to walk away from it believing that no rape took place. The assumption is that going somewhere private to make out is somehow consent.

Donna -

I chose BDSM for a couple of reasons. First, it was relevant to the discussion, in that several people were talking about rape fantasies. While I understand they intended that to mean all porn, what it actually refers to, is BDSM.

Another reason was because there is just so much that qualifies as BDSM. It's a blanket term that covers a whole fuckton of fetishes. BDSM can be anything from straight up pain, to foot worship, to diaper play.

Third, BDSM offers a remarkable diverse and remarkably complex spectrum of power differentials. I am not even going to try to go into that in a comment, but there is a lot of interesting psychology related to BDSM.

And of course BDSM, which is the paraphilia that includes rape fantasies, is rarely overt rape fantasy.

Finally, I chose BDSM because it is far more common for men to be subs, than for women. Even if you take gay BDSM out of the equation, the numbers weigh towards more female doms.

As for women being pressured into BDSM, I don't buy it. Sure, it happens, but that is true of any multiperson fetish. And it is generally not pressure to live that lifestyle, it is pressure to just try it. Not to mention that it is also common for women who are into it to pressure their male partners. Finally, the pressure to try it is just as often based on the desire of the partner who is putting on the pressure to be dominated, as it is for them to be a sub.

lunathecat said...

I don't have time to respond in-depth to this right at the moment -- will have to come back to this in the evening. But what I wanted to say was, first, I don't in any way, shape or form confine "rape" to stranger rape, nor am I under any illusion about the prevalence of stranger vs. acquaintance rape. I'd like to reiterate -- it was close to 10 years ago that I was researching this topic, but I did 2 years of real serious research into it. I will see if I can find my bibliography from then, and will post it up. In the mean time, please don't read into my statements something I would emphatically not say. Stranger rape happens, but the vast majority of rape is by someone the victim knows.

The next point I would like to make is that acquaintance rape=/= date rape. "Date rape" is often unfortunately defined as "Rape of a woman by a man with whom she is acquainted" -- but the general implication of it is rape by a "date", or by someone she was with at a party or other type of social engagement where sex might be "expected." I think that does a great disservice to understanding. Acquaintance rape actually most often happens in the home, according to NCVS. And AA is absolutely spot-on with "partner abuse/coercion/manipulation." Spousal rape certainly falls into this category, but there is frequently rape by more-or-less distant relatives.

To add to this, there is a wide range of rape by 'friends', relatives, etc. where simply having access to the victim is definitely an issue, but it was never normally going to be a sexual relationship, and indeed, the assailant is IN a sexual relationship with someone else, exactly as I said. Much of this seems to be based around power dynamics and bullying; and if it were just about sex, well, they HAVE consensual sex available. Also, these rapes as well often involve specific humiliations, just as stranger rapes do, although the humiliations involved are less likely to leave open physical damage and are more likely to involve long-term blackmail to prevent discovery of the abuse. (Another aspect of rape is that far from being spontaneous, the vast majority of rapes involve planning and premeditation.)

I'm serious about digging out my bibliography. In the mean time, I hope you understand what I'm talking about.

Ambivalent Academic said...

DuWayne, I see your point but I still disagree. The perpetrator may *think* he's doing it because he wants sex, and he may *believe* or *convince* himself that this is his primary motivation, but he would not be doing it at all if he did not have power over the victim, and he would not be doing it at all if he didn't know that.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Also, you make a distinction here between "predatory rape" and...some other kind? I strongly take issue with that distinction. All rape is predatory. Full stop.

lunathecat said...

AA said:

Also, you make a distinction here between "predatory rape" and...some other kind? I strongly take issue with that distinction. All rape is predatory. Full stop.


Yes. ^^THAT.^^

Something I didn't actually touch on yet, but think I should: in studies of convicted rapists (and other sexual assaulters), one of the things which frequently came out was that they found the whole control aspect to BE a major turn-on; they got off on being able to force their victim to do something. This gave them sexual gratification, obviously, but to say that is "mostly about sex" is problematic at best, and to ignore the most vital aspect of this interaction, really.

lunathecat said...

assaulters-->ASSAILANTS

Me have bad brain day.

Donna B. said...

DuWayne - I said "sort of" because I do get why BDSM was a good example.

AA & Luna - again I think that statements such as "all rape is predatory" are less than useful in that the equalizing dilutes the horror of some acts. I know that the intent is to increase the awareness that rape also includes acts that were accepted as "not rape" in the past.

I think the intent is good, but I fear the method is ineffective at best. It's basically exaggeration and that leads to it not being taken seriously by those who most need to hear it. And again - it denies that women are sexual beings also.

Ambivalent Academic said...

DonnaB - Rape is, by definition, impinging one's sexual desires on someone who does not consent. By force, by coercion, however, it is impinged. The fact remains that it is done to people *against their will and desire*. How can that *not* be predatory?

DuWayne Brayton said...

Ok - I have a shitton of homework, so I am going to be brief. I am also going to wait until I have a little more time to post links to evidence...

I just wanted to explain what I meant by predatory and why I am pretty adamant about a lot of rape being primarily about sex.

Not all rape is predatory, because a lot of rapes happen when a "couple," usually young, are having an intimate moment. The guy tries to take it further than the girl is willing to go and ends up forcing her to have sex. That is not premeditated, unless there was already a discussion and the groundrules were laid out ahead of time.

The DOJ has been gathering statistics on this for decades now and the survey they use doesn't actually mention rape. It just lays out scenarios and both men and women say whether or not they have been involved in such a scenario. Some form of a young couple going off somewhere private and the guy not stopping, gets the largest positive response.

If you follow up that survey, with one that asks those same people whether or not they have been raped/raped someone, they will usually say no. This form of rape is almost never reported and it is even rarer that the rapist gets punished if it is.

In that scenario, sex is the primary motivation most of the time. I will provide evidence for that, when I have more time to address it. But it ultimately comes down to the guys expectation before they even went off somewhere private. It generally isn't "gosh I want to dominate this girl and rape her." He wants what a lot of young guys want when they go off somewhere private with a girl - sex.

Please understand that I am not trying to detract from what happens to girls in these cases. I truly wish that more got reported and the motherfuckers went to jail for it. They were raped, pure and simple. Doesn't matter what teh motivation was (except for academic and research purposes, especially in psychology), rape is fucking horrific and horribly damaging.

I also really, really wish that pop-media wouldn't normalize rape so much. While it has gotten somewhat better (I think, though I don't watch tee vee and take the word of others for that) since the eighties, it is still common enough for an act that constitutes rape to be broadcast as though it is supposed to be funny, or because there is a perception that "The bitch deserved it." Juniper reminded me of a very overt scene in Sixteen Candles, where the popular chick is raped.

I will try to get back with evidence tomorrow, until then I have a fucking huge load of homework.

DuWayne Brayton said...

By force, by coercion, however, it is impinged. The fact remains that it is done to people *against their will and desire*. How can that *not* be predatory?

Predatory generally means that one has been stalked as prey and that the act was committed with malice aforethought. There are, as I mentioned, contexts in which that doesn't apply to rape.

You seem to be applying a lot of overt meanings to covert uses of terms here. That is probably my fault for not reasonably defining my terms. When I am talking about power in this context, I am not talking about physical brute force, I am talking about the need to dominate a person - that the motivation of power is based on a psychological need to dominate.

Ambivalent Academic said...

Look, DuWayne, I am not able to continue discussing this. Suffice it to say that for all the "typical" and "on average" evidence, my personal experience in the matter flies in the face of your assertions here. Yeah, yeah, anecdata. Furthermore, it is not necessary to carefully explain to me the definition of "acquaintance rape". I know all about it, thankyouverymuch. I am trying to say that you are making some very bold assumptions here, including whether it is appropriate to tell people whether or not the rape they experienced was or was not predatory, whether or not it was just that the guy wanted some sex (and how does this make any sense if the majority of acquaintance rapes are perpetrated in a couple anyway, per your assertion?), or whether or not it was about the perpetrator asserting his "right" to access the victim at his whim (this *is* very much about power), based on a bunch of categorical indicators. Sorry, no. Wrong.

Ambivalent Academic said...

You said: "When I am talking about power in this context, I am not talking about physical brute force, I am talking about the need to dominate a person - that the motivation of power is based on a psychological need to dominate."

We are talking about the same kind of power.

DuWayne Brayton said...

I am very sorry that you cannot continue this discussion and I apologize if I have caused you distress, that was most certainly not my intention. I am most certainly not interested in invalidating your feelings or how you are defining terms.

I would just like to clarify that the way I am using terms you object to is the way that they have been described in the literature and by one of my psych instructors who deals with sex offenders clinically. That is not however, the only way they can be used and there are people who would argue that the position I am ascribing to is incorrect.

I am sincerely sorry that I caused you any distress, or made you feel that I think your experience isn't valid.

Donna B. said...

Impinge?

Now you've gone to the other extreme, using a word better suited to describing the effect of sitting next to a very large person on an airplane.

Rape does vary in the extent of the harm it causes and in the motivation(s) of the rapist. It does not undermine the suffering of a victim of acquaintance rape to say that a victim of stranger rape was the victim of a different kind of crime.

The victims of manslaughter are just as dead as the victims of murder, but the motivations behind the crimes are not the same.

luna-the-cat said...

DuWayne, your blog will not let me post comments.

lunathecat said...

trying again....

Remember those fun discussions on Zuska's site with "thegoodman"? He was, of course, adamant that he did not intend to be in any way sexist. D.C.Sessions, in that PalMD post (which I just looked at), obviously didn't intend to insult the hell out of you, there; he just intended to deal with a phenomenon on an intellectual and generic level. Intention vs. the real effect on the person being spoken to, yes?

I am absolutely sure that you do not in any way intend to be dismissive. And in the past, you have delighted my shriveled, cynical little heart with how well you "get" it. Nevertheless, on this issue, you need to step back and think about historical uses of words, and how those words are recieved.

You said, regarding the "it's mostly sex" statement, I very strongly disagree about this being a slap in anybody's face; and in this last set of interactions with AA, you say Predatory generally means that one has been stalked as prey and that the act was committed with malice aforethought, and use this as your jumping-off point for saying that most rapes are not "predatory."

I like you, but do me a favour and stop right there and THINK.

cont.

lunathecat said...

I made the point that historically telling women it is "just sex" has been used to downplay both the act and the effects of rape. I don't care what you, personally, intend, this is the world in which you live and speak. This is the world in which we get to hear things. This is your context. "It was just rough sex/you like sex/it was just sex, what are you so upset about, you'll get over it" has historically been the traditional way of downplaying the violence and [deliberate] power dynamic aspect of the interaction, and "erasing" any inherent distinction between consensual and nonconsensual acts. It doesn't matter if you mean your statement to be a slap in the face, and regardless of your laudable attitude towards rapists, it still is.

Additionally, the meaning of "predatory" has, very traditionally, included "not seeing the other individual as an equal human being, but merely an object to be exploited"; look, too, at the common definitions at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/predatory, like "acting with or possessed by overbearing, rapacious, or selfish motives". You want to argue that rape is often not premeditated, fine, argue that; but I swear to god, if you ever get within arm's reach of me I will smack you upside the head for telling victims of rape that it is not "predatory." You do not get to narrowly redefine words to mean only what you think. Are we clear on this?

I'm going to remind you again that when you're dealing with highly emotive topics where you may be (and often are going to be) dealing with survivors of harm, you need to be very precise about what you mean and why, you need to be VERY careful not to co-opt terms for something inappropriate, and you need to be aware of how grating dealing with something as merely a clinical, intellectual exercise is for someone who has lived through it. I KNOW you know this; you just seem to have forgotten, here, for a bit. (Oh, as a side note, I would just like to clarify that the way I am using terms you object to is the way that they have been described in the literature and by one of my psych instructors who deals with sex offenders clinically. -- I don't recall seeing this terminology used in this way in the literature I've read, and your psych instructor can just bite me. There is a reason not to use this language, like I've just gone over.)

...cont....

lunathecat said...

Now, regarding the meat of your argument, that the vast majority of rapes are in fact date rapes where the rapist simply doesn't stop a sexual encounter when there isn't a continuing consent. I haven't seen the most recent literature on the prevalence of this kind of interaction, so you might be right; nevertheless, whether it is a "vast majority" or a "majority" of interactions, you ignore the power aspect at your peril. It isn't just about "getting sex", or consent would still be an issue; I will point to you in many pieces of literature, it is a way of asserting a "right" to have this access to someone, there are status issues of "yeah, I scored!" and "of course I 'got some' from her" which play into a LOT of male interactions, not to mention the general acceptance of women as objects rather than people with sovereignty. There IS a substantial overlap with men who want to "punish" a girl for "leading him on" or "being a bitch"; sweet green hopping christ, you haven't seen that in any of the papers you've read??? And the other forms of acquaintance rape, where the aspect of asserting power over someone, is something we can't just ignore away, either.

When one is looking at other "paraphilias" which don't involve deliberate harm to a nonconsenting person, you wouldn't say "it's mostly sex" when discussing why they take the form they do. Whether it's BDSM or a shoe fetish, you would still ask "why is THIS what this person gets off on"? ...Wouldn't you?... So why are you saying, on rape, that it is "mostly sex" which drives the phenomenon? People get sexual gratification from all kinds of bizarre things (a friend of mine who worked her way through college as a call girl/escort/prostitute had a client who derived sexual satisfaction from standing blindolded while she threw oranges at his testacles, at $10/hit. You couldn't make this shit up). If you are trying to understand the dynamic and the motivation, saying "it's just sex" is pointless and useless -- and this is JUST focussing on the primary actor, and ignoring the effect on the victim!!

Anyway, I've found my bibliographies, or large parts of them, anyway, but they require substantial editing for readability and consistency of format. If I can I'll put that up later today.

DuWayne Brayton said...

If you have any problems with posting, just email them to me and I will add them to the body of the post.

Luna_the_cat said...

Forgive me, it's 10 mins. to midnight here and I've barely done a fraction of what I needed to do tonight. I'm not going to get the bibliography up tonight.

I'm having trouble posting anything with any of my OpenID identities, by the way; I repeatedly get "openid error" even trying to post this, and I'm signed in on both Livejournal and Wordpress.

DuWayne Brayton said...

No worries, I know all about too many fucking things. I am going to see my boys this weekend, so I am trying to finish everything I need to do over the weekend now. I have class most of the day tomorrow, then need to pack and spend all day Friday on the road. I don't get nearly enough time with my boys to waste any of it on homework. But taking twelve credits in a roughly half length semester, means I have a lot of it to get done.

If it makes you feel any better, I will probably be working at least until two.

Don't feel any rush, get it when you can. If it takes a while, email it to me and I will just make it another post on the front page. I like it when I can post stuff from other people on the front page. Makes me feel like less of a dead beat blogger...

Luna_the_cat said...

I didn't want to shut you down on the subject, DuWayne, just think about how some of the terminology you were insisting on didn't fit.

...I think the bibliography is going to have to wait another day or so. I understand the mad work situation. Not trying to one-up you, honestly, but I have a full-time day job, study (which I am currently failing at) for the part-time degree programme, and my Mum-In-Law has been in and out of hospital for the last couple of weeks and we are looking after a profoundly autistic boy more than usual. And I have a cough which scares him, which doesn't make it easier. :-/

Jason Thibeault said...

I've been accused a few times of being a linguistic prescriptivist, so I've taken it as a challenge to try to untrain these tendencies in my thought processes. The problem is, words (and phrases) mean what they mean because we agree they mean those things. In cases where we don't agree (as seems to be the case now), it should be taken at face value that the person doing the defining means exactly what they defined, and not what baggage has historically come with the words. While authors should be sensitive about what words they use in case they do carry too much and too obvious of baggage, it often can't be avoided.

In a discussion of motivations, like this one, DuWayne cannot be honestly faulted with insensitivity by referring to a motivation for a rapist to get his rocks off, as being "about sex". It's not "JUST sex", and I don't see how else he could have phrased it more sensitively.

That notwithstanding, even unintended slights and unintended damage should be apologized for, if you have any sort of empathy whatsoever. Thankfully, DuWayne did it in this case, or I'd be right there with you, Luna, to rake him over the coals.