Monday, 13 May 2013

Breaking news: Stuffed Rape Culture

Today Stuff published an article about two rapists, convicted for raping a young woman and sentenced to 16 and 15 years in prison.  Both rapists had previous convictions for assaulting women.

Stuff's advice, right at the end:
Travel in pairs
Make sure people know where you are, and when they are next likely to hear from you
Be aware of your environment
Do not travel with strangers
Just what I needed to finish the day.

The only thing the two young women - yep, that's right, the young woman raped here was already following Stuffed Tip One and was walking home with a friend - the only thing the two young women could have done to be safer in this instance is to not be with rapists.  Maybe those two rapists should have to carry signs showing their previous histories of hurting women?

You know what means you get raped?  Being unlucky enough to be in the presence of a rapist who targets you.  That's all.

Stuffed Tip Two:  Make sure people know where you are, and when they are next likely to hear from you.
Bollocks.  When people don't know where you are, it's not usually because you're being raped.  It would be more effective to suggest women with boyfriends, former boyfriends, male friends or work colleagues should set up rape alarms.  We could set off permanent signals when we're with these men, to alert people about where we are every 15 minutes perhaps, because these men rape us 84% of the time.  It will catch on, I'm sure.

Stuffed Tip Three: Be aware of your environment.
Good tip.  You should avoid being inside, because most people get raped inside (67% of rapes in NZ happen inside the home of the rapist or the person raped.) 
You should avoid night-time, because most people are raped at night.  
You should avoid being around men, because most people are raped by men (99% of perpetrators of adult sexual violence in NZ are men). That's that one sorted.

Stuffed Tip Four:  Do not travel with strangers 
Mmm.  This won't actually help, because most people are raped by people they know (84% of perpetrators of adult sexual violence in NZ are known to the survivor).  More like, don't travel with boyfriends, former boyfriends, male friends or work colleagues.  Wonder why they didn't put that up?

Rape Crisis Scotland have some other ideas:

Rant over.  Get busy with telling Stuff what complete and utter victim blaming creeps they are, if you feel the urge.  The research is here, in case they have trouble finding it.


ZenTiger said...

Love the sign. Very good.

Tip 11: Carry a photo in your wallet of your balls under a guillotine. This is the suggested punishment for a rapist. Look at it if you feel inclined to rape.

ChundaMars said...

You're completely right of course LJ, but this particular article WAS about a "stranger rape" so perhaps the list of tips is a little more justified in this case? At least there was no mention of what the girls were wearing that night... Small miracles I guess.

ZenTiger: How's Tip 11 supposed to discourage the 1 in 20 rapists that are women (to borrow LJs statistics)?

Rust Beast said...

@Chunda: Presumably the same way the poster, which focuses exclusively on stopping women being raped, does.

LudditeJourno said...

Hey Chunda, I get your point BUT we still need the context of how most rape happens.
Stranger rapes are "easier" for the media to report - they can use perpetrator names and details, because they are not necessarily identifying the survivor (which is illegal) in the ways they are if the rapist is connected to the survivor. They are also "easier" to construct as rape, because of rape myths, so it's a circular situation where stranger rapes get reported more so the public believes stranger rapes are more common. AND they require less knowledge of the law around consent, which is frequently an issue in reporting rapes by partners/known people - notions of consent which do not meet legal requirements are presented by defence lawyers, and reproduced faithfully, without pointing out the problems, by journalists. This does not happen in the same way as other crimes.
I have a lot to say about this :-)

ChundaMars said...

Oh I agree completely, and sorry if it came across that I was giving Stuff a free pass :-)
What you've said in your comment is one of my bugbears with the effect of the media on people's perceptions. The book I'm reading at the moment has a section on the availability heuristic so it's fresh in my mind.

LudditeJourno said...

And whoops Chunda your earlier comment alerted me to a typo - Police stats show 99% perpetration of adult sexual violence by men, not 95% as I'd originally written. Apologies all, changed now.

Anonymous said...

Wow - those tips are still there. The article was published originally on Friday morning and Wellington Rape Crisis sent a complaint in to the Editor immediately. See

Clearly they took a lot of notice!


Simoon said...

There's an interesting contrast with this story (from Hawke's Bay Today) about (alleged) drink spiking:

Mikaere Curtis said...

Given that rapists are overwhelmingly male, then it is clear that rape is a male problem and that all men need to take responsibility for confronting rape-enabling artefacts in our culture (e.g. male-originated misogyny and negative portrayal of rape survivors in the media) . Rapists must own their abusive behaviour and change it.

Needless to say, it's going to take a lot of time and effort, and meanwhile, there will still be sexual predators of both the "stranger" and "known" types.

Recently I heard an interview with guy who spent 7 years with gangs, and he indicated the a number of gangs outlawed rape. Why ? Because the police were intent on prosecuting and their members kept going to prison.

I think the same opportunity may exist where a rapist is known to the survivor.

While there are many difficulties in such a situation, there must be a pathway that a survivor could take to creates the best possibility of a successful prosecution. Perhaps a tip sheet something along the lines of how to get support, how to retain evidence, how to deal with police etc.

One consideration that may motivate rapists (because, obviously, considerations such as common decency, impact on their victims etc are irrelevant to them) is that if they are likely to be held to account, they might choose to stop raping.

LudditeJourno said...

Hey Mikaere,
thanks for commenting, appreciate your views.
I think in my experience while survivors need information about the criminal justice system, for lots (91% don't report now) that's not what they want for healing and recovery. So there is a balance there around respecting people's wishes, especially when rape is a crime of violating people's bodily integrity.
I think you're right about changing the "social acceptability" of rape though - if we change rape culture, there will be less rape. I guess for me that's about more than prosecution - it's also about how such behaviour is socially validated (or not).

Martin English said...

This sort of article always makes me a little cranky. The problem is not the content or even the tone; if anyone has the right to be pissed off at the world, it's a rape victim. I get cranky because people like you are still having to point out that we see rape as a problem for the (potential) victim, not the perpetrator.

The image you have (from Scotland) can be seen as suggesting all men are rapists. I get the black humour behind it, but I know (in Australia, at least) of many commentaters who would misinterpret it it; some of them deliberately.

Something I would like to see is a campaign that emphasizes the fact that the people in this 99% are, in fact, daughter, mothers, wives, girlfriends etc. I am not a feminist theorist, but I can imagine (correct me if I'm wrong, please) that some people would see it as perpetuating the hierachy etc.

Rape prevention is (unfortunately) still seen as a female problem, because 99% (in NZ anyway, based on the stats above) of the victims are female. There is a proportion of the male population who cannot relate to women being people, and I believe THEY are the ones who rape. Advertising along the lines I've suggested will reach the ones who need to be reached out to. It doesn't help with identifing or monitoring these people, but thats a seperate question.