All 16 entries tagged Preventing Rape
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March 18, 2012
Writing about web page http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13514412-sexual-ideology-in-the-works-of-alan-moore
The collection on Alan Moore and sexual ideology is out now, and I have contributed an essay. See the contents below… I can’t wait to read the whole thing.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments 1
Introduction: The Polarizing of Alan Moore’s Sexual Politics
TODD A. COMER and JOSEPH MICHAEL SOMMERS 5
Part I: The “Low Form”: Moore and the Complex Relationships of the Comic Book Superhero
1. Libidinal Ecologies: Eroticism and Environmentalism in Swamp Thing
BRIAN JOHNSON 16
2. Green Love, Red Sex: The Conflation of the Flora and the Flesh in Swamp Thing
MATTHEW CANDELARIA 28
3. When “One Bad Day” Becomes One Dark Knight: Love, Madness, and Obsession in the Adaptation of The Killing Joke into Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight
JOSEPH MICHAEL SOMMERS 40
4. “Don’t laugh, Daddy, we’re in love”: Mockery, Fulfillment, and Subversion of Popular Romance Conventions in The Ballad of Halo Jones
KATE FLYNN 52
5. The Love of Nationalism, Internationalism and Sacred Space in Watchmen
KARL MARTIN 65
Part II: The Vicious Cabaret of Love, Sexual Desire … and Torture
6. Theorizing Sexual Domination in From Hell and Lost Girls Jack the Ripper versus Wonderlands of Desire
ZOE BRIGLEY-THOMPSON 76
7. “Do you understand how I have loved you?” Terrible Loves and Divine Visions in From Hell
MERVI MIETTINEN 88
8. Body Politics: Unearthing an Embodied Ethics in V for Vendetta
TODD A. COMER 100
9. The Poles of Wantonness: Male Asexuality in Alan Moore’s Film Adaptations
EVAN TORNER 111
10. Reflections on the Looking Glass: Adaptation as Sex and Psychosis in Lost Girls
NICO DICECCO 124
Part III: Victorian Sexualities and the Ecriture Feminine: Women Writing and the Women of Writing
11. “Avast, Land-Lubbers!” Reading Lost Girls as a Post-Sadeian Text
K. A. LAITY 138
12. The Undying Fire: Erotic Love as Divine Grace in Promethea
CHRISTINE HOFF KRAEMER 150
13. “It came out of nothing except our love”: Queer Desire and Transcendental Love in Promethea
PAUL PETROVIC 163
14. Self-Conscious Sexuality in Promethea
ORION USSNER KIDDER 177
15. I Remain Your Own: Epistolamory in “The New Adventures of Fanny Hill”
LLOYD ISAAC VAYO 189
Afterword: Disgust with the Revolution
ANNALISA DI LIDDO 201
Selected Bibliography 207
About the Contributors 217
February 10, 2011
We have recently set up a giveaway for Feminism, Literature and Rape Narratives (edited Gunne and Brigley Thompson) on Goodreads. This is to celebrate the book having been published for a year. The essays in this volume discuss narrative strategies employed by international writers when dealing with rape and sexual violence, whether in fiction, poetry, memoir, or drama. In developing these new feminist readings of rape narratives, the contributors aim to incorporate arguments about trauma and resistance in order to establish new dimensions of healing.
October 12, 2010
Writing about web page http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ea/events/Writings%20of%20Intimacy.html
Representing Rape and Abuse: Papers from Binswanger and Samelius, Hallam and O’Hara.
Chris Binswanger and Lotta Samelius talked on ‘Palimpsests of Sexuality and Intimate Violence: Scripts as Transformative Interventions’. Binswanger and Samelius discussed scripts as having negative and positive potential, being fixed behavioural patterns and ways of rewriting or interacting with those patterns. Working out of Gerard Genette’s 1982 definition of the palimpsest and Abraham and Torok’s (1980) idea of cryptic incorporation, the presenters explored how survivors of violence that were interviewed used palimpsest techniques or layering to express their stories. Most interesting in this paper was the idea of public transcripts versus hidden transcripts whuch was taken from the writings of James C. Scott. Hidden transcripts were indirect, interior, personal, such as imagined speeches created after the violent event.
The next paper by Michael Hallam was on ‘Rape, Torture and the Language of Violence in the Writing of James Hanley’. James Hanley was a working class writer, sometimes thought of as inarticulate, though Hallam denied this criticism quoting Hanley’s comparison of the mind ‘like great forests to endless seas’. Hallam described Hanley as a chunky realist and discussed the psychic and physical invasions in the book No Directions. This book features a number of male rapes including that of a thirteen year old boy. Hallam described the power of rottenness in Hanley’s writing, which reflects the violence and shame of the violent acts described.
Finally, Sharon O’Hara spoke on ‘An Intimate Assault: Rape in the Writing of Joyce Carol Oates’. O’Hara gave a strong account of the kinds of rape myths that haunt Oates’s writing – usually myths that blame the woman for the violence that she suffers. O’Hara focussed in particular on the characters of Teena Maguire in Rape: A Love Story and Mary Ann Mulvaney in We Were the Mulvaneys. O’Hara argued convincingly that, in both books, Oates reveals the complex and biased machinery of blame that these women encounter.
October 07, 2010
June 14, 2010
The poet, Fatima Al Matar, recently sent me a copy of her debut poetry collection The Heart and the Subsidiary, which is published by Authorhouse . Fatima Al Matar is originally from Kuwait (born 1980) and studied law at Kuwait University. More recently, in 2005, she moved to the UK where she is completing a PhD in Economic Law at University of Warwick. She lives in Coventry where she has been mentored by the Coventry poet Fred Holland, who has written extensively on Philip Larkin.
As a researcher in the field of violence against women, I was particularly impressed by Fatima Al Matar’s poems about abuse. For example, in ‘The Box’, the cardboard box stands in for a relationship, signalling another layer of meaning to the man’s actions:
when he no longer needed the box
he took a blade
and swiftly slit
down the corners,
with zero resistance
the exhausted sides
Al Matar also writes more directly about abuse in ‘Happiness’, recounting the story of a fellow law student who was tortured by Iraqi soldiers during the 1990 invasion. The poem records a horrifying litany of torture – physical and sexual, too shocking to recount here, but ends by highlighting how such crimes are forgotten and ignored:
they twist in agony
kiss, hold hands
‘The war is behind us’,
they murmur cowardly.
you’ll never have to relive the
None of us survived the war
the way you did.
Al Matar’s final comment suggests a note of ambiguity. The torture of women in Kuwait has been hushed up, but would the act of reliving the pain merely be a second violation? What is clear is that the women victims of torture have borne their suffering for the whole society, but receive no thanks for doing so.
Al Matar’s subject matter is not all so bleak, however, and she writes earnestly about a variety of subjects including motherhood and love. Her poetry is direct and honest and the narration is wry and likeable.
June 02, 2010
OK, I have a few points. (I would note though in passing that Karl, the person who took issue with my letter, has some awful misconceptions about what feminism is.)
1. Rapists tend to be men
If you want to get down to it, what I research is sexual violence, which is something that tends to happen to women more. As Mollie Whalen writes:
The vast majority of the entire range of sexually violent acts on our society is perpetrated by adult heterosexual males on females of all races, social classes, ages, and sexualities. The second highest incidence of sexual violence is perpetrated by adult heterosexual males on other males – either adult gay male or male children. (p. 137 in Counseling to End Violence Against Women)
Given this fact, I see no problem in researching this area specifically in relation to women, though actually I do include male survivors and child survivors of sexual violence in my research too. I’m afraid that it is simply not correct to say that ‘Men are the primary victims of all violence from men & women alike’, and it is certainly not accurate to suggest that feminists are only interested in women’s rights. You suggest that in seeking to prevent anonymity for rape defendants, I am seeking a situation where ‘women benefit over men’, but I would point out that denying this kind of anonymity would also benefit male survivors of rape.
2. Clarification of Conviction Rates
The conviction rate for rape cases is around 6%. This figure has not been made up – it comes from a respected Home Office report titled ‘A Gap or a Chasm? Attrition in Reported Rape Cases’ by Liz Kelly, Jo Lovett and Linda Regan. This is what it says:
Home Office figures show an ongoing decline in the conviction rate for reported rape cases, putting it at an all-time low of 5.6 per cent in 2002. This year-on-year increase in attrition represents a justice gap that the government has pledged to address. (p. 10)
The debate regarding the 6% figure emerged because Baroness Stern pointed out that after a rapist is charged, 60% are convicted, but it is important to note that many simply are never charged with the crime. Kelly, Lovett and Regan admit this saying:
All UK studies of attrition in rape cases concur that the highest proportion of cases is lost at the earliest stages, with between half and two-thirds dropping out at the investigative stage, and withdrawal by complainants one of the most important elements. (p. 12)
This simply doesn’t happen with other kinds of crimes and it is just not good enough, especially when the large majority of rape cases go unreported. The reason for having a special method for looking at rape conviction rates is precisely because it is a crime that so often goes unreported in a way that does not apply to other crimes like assault, burglary etc.
3. Clarification of Rates of False Allegations
Feminist researchers do include false rape allegations in their research. Kelly, Lovett and Regan who wrote ‘A Gap or a Chasm? Attrition in Reported Rape’ write the following:
There are false allegations, and possibly slightly more than some researchers and support agencies have suggested. However, at maximum they constitute nine per cent and probably closer to three per cent of all reported cases. (p. 99)
This is what Baroness Stern described too: the “one in ten” figure reported by the newspapers, but remember that this means that 90% of women are telling the truth. I would also add that these figures are not very different from the rates of false allegations for other crimes, but with no other crime is there so much focus on whether the victim is telling the truth or not.
4. Widespread Mistrust of Women Reporting Rape
I’m afraid that there is widespread mistrust of women reporting a rape. In a British poll conducted by Amnesty International in 2006, substantial numbers of respondents blamed the survivor for her own rape if she was drunk (37%), if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing (26%), or if she had many sexual partners (22%). Juries are also less likely to find a rapist guilty in cases where the assailant is known to the woman, where a weapon has not used or where the rape survivor has not sustained incapacitating physical injury. All of these responses reveal the power of rape myths surrounding women’s consent to sexual acts and these myths are reflected in the media.
5. Why Women Need the Opportunity to Come Forward While a Case is Being Held
Prosecution of rape cases often depends on the ability of the rape survivor to testify in a convincing manner. This can be extremely difficult, however, in the face of hostile defence legal strategies like “whacking”, where the defence lawyer seeks to intimidate and humiliate the survivor in order to discredit her (or him). If more victims of a rapist that is being tried come forward during the case, there is a greater chance that the jury will believe the rape survivor’s story. If the defendant has anonymity, it’s possible that his name will never be broadcast. Would John Worboys, “the black cab rapist”, or others like him, have been convicted as a serial rapist if so many courageous women survivors had not come forward after reading about him in the news?
6. There Should Either Be Anonymity for All or for None – Not Just for Rape Defendants
My final point would be to ask you why rape defendants in particular need anonymity. If defendants are going to be given anonymity, then it should apply to all defendants – murder defendants, GBH defendants, burglary defendants etc. But hardly anyone is suggesting that. The fact is that there is a huge paranoia about false rape allegations to the extent that defendants of rape are being given special privileges. You say that you would not want to see your son’s life destroyed by a rape allegation, but equally, I would not want a daughter’s or a son’s rapist to go unpunished.
June 01, 2010
Writing about web page http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/21/anonymity-rape-defendants
Dear Chris White,
You are now my MP and I have a problem which I would like some help with. I am an academic researching in the field of violence against women and I am strongly opposed to the proposed move to give anonymity to rape defendants.
Rape conviction rates are still under 10% and most rapists “get away” with their crimes. The failure to properly prosecute rape cases and convict rapists tends to be attributed to two factors: the prevalence of “rape myths” in public opinion and the judicial system; and the intimidating tactics of defence teams in rape cases which refocus the attention of the judge and jury on the moral fibre of the rape survivor rather than the rapist. Juries can be influenced too by their perception of the victim’s character, behaviour and possible drug or alcohol use. In a British poll conducted by Amnesty International in 2006, substantial numbers of respondents blamed the survivor for her own rape if she was drunk (37%), if she was wearing sexy or revealing clothing (26%), or if she had many sexual partners (22%). Juries are more likely to find a rapist guilty in cases where the assailant is a stranger, where a weapon is used or where the rape survivor has sustained physical injury. All of these responses reveal the power of rape myths surrounding women’s consent to sexual acts.
Passing a law to give rape defendants anonymity would boost the widely held belief that most women who report rape are lying. Such a law cannot be defended either with an argument about false accusations of rape, because the latest research on false rape allegations has found that the figures are around the same as with other crimes, but no one is suggesting that all defendants have anonymity.In addition, in the UK, if a woman is found to have made a malicious accusation of rape, she loses the right to anonymity and media coverage of false allegations far outweighs reports of men arrested for rape. Finally, I would suggest that in recent cases of serial rapists, the publication of rape defendants’ names has encouraged other rape survivors (who previously were too ashamed or frightened) to come forward (e.g. the John Worboys case ).
I hope that these facts clarify matters. In addition, as my MP, I hope that you will represent my view and refuse to pass this retrograde law, which only compounds the problems that already exist in trying and convicting rapists.
Dr. Zoë Brigley Thompson
March 26, 2010
Writing about web page http://www.routledge.com/9780415806084
Note: In the third from last paragraph, the author gets mixed up – she mentions Sonya when she means Sorcha Gunne, my co-editor. I think that she was confusing her with my colleague, Sonya Andermahr. The article is taken from the University of Northampton magazine, Park Avenue and I reproduce it here, because quite a few people have asked me why I would want to research such a disturbing topic.
March 19, 2010
Writing about web page http://www.folioweekly.com/documents/main_010509_001.pdf
When I was visiting Florida earlier this year, I noticed an article in a local paper Folio titled ‘Why It Sucks To Get Raped Jacksonville: Advocate Jessi Acosta offers an unvarnished look at rape’s official aftermath’ authored by journalist Susan Cooper Eastman. The story discusses the Sexual Assault Response Centre in Jacksonville, Florida, and whilst there have been improvements, according to the article, the wait for a forensic examiner can be an ordeal. Sometimes these women have to wait for hours without drinking, showering, combing hair or changing clothes. In addition, when examiners are called out on weekends and holidays, the rape survivor can be made to feel like an incovenience.
March 02, 2010
Rus Ervin Funk’s Stopping Rape: A Challenge for Men has an intriguing title, and I would be interested to hear how other people react to it. I feel quite ambivalent and have not made up my mind yet, although I am very pleased to find a man writing about sexual violence is a way that is sympathetic to its survivors.
As an account of Western violence and masculinity, the book is very honest in its admittance that sexual violence does happen and men are the perpetrators.
The reality is ugly; it’s painful and it’s hard to look at. The reality is that men are violent against women. Any man can, and many men do, choose to be violent with near impunity. For most men, violence and sex has become intertwined. And almost all of us who do not choose to be violent are conspiratorially silent about the violence that our brothers are perpetrating. (1993: 19).
Funk suggests that men feel very defensive about violence against women and they find it hard to admit that such acts are taking place even if they have not been violent themselves. Rapists are not rare oddities though according to Funk, who suggests that rapists are probably our friends and neighbours:
the men who are raping the women in our lives are the men in our lives. We need to stop looking at ‘those’ men, ‘those sickos’, ‘those wierdos’ [sic] as the rapists and to take responsibility for rape … Acknowledging that it is our friends and maybe ourselves who sexually victimize women can be more scary and painful than acknowledging the incidence of rape for men and women (23).
To highlight the endemic nature of rape, Funk points out that in a survey of US college campuses, young men were asked whether they would rape if they could get away with it; 27% replied that they would. When the wording was changed, however, so that the question asked whether the students would ‘force a woman to have sex against her will’, 60% replied that they would.
So why is sexual violence so acceptable? Analyzing masculinity, Funk suggests that men are disconnected from the world around them, that they have a ‘militaristic mindset’ (21). He explains that ‘In order to turn a blind eye to rape, battery, incest, the ain, the oppression, and the violence, you must detach yourself from the humanity of the people being victimized’ (21). Funk also seems to think that this disconnectedness is bound up with masculinity and its demand that ‘in order to “be men” we’re supposed to be “independent”’ (21). Being a man, according to Funk, is about ‘taking control, taking charge, deciding what we want and going for it at all costs, being non-communicative, and keeping a score’ (23). Being a man then really means ‘living up to the John Wayne or Rambo image of, to quote bel hooks, “phallocentric masculinity”’ (27). This kind of masculinity entertains violence as a way of life:
Men are supposed to be willing, prepared and able to be brutally violent – to the point of killing up to thousands of people. We are taught that part of ‘being a man’ is being willing and able to ‘protect’ or ‘defend’ ‘by any means necessary’ whatever we may control: property, rights, justice, our country and ‘our’ women. At the same time, we’re being taught to not hit, to be patient and calm, and most recently to be ‘sensitive New Age guys’. The mixed message inherent in this dual training establishes what can only be described as a mild form of societal schizophrenia. (40)
What Funk seems to be saying is that we live in a violent society. For example, Funk notes, ‘we [men] aren’t supposed to be violent, but defending yourself, protecting your honor, and punishing a child really isn’t violence’ (41). Similarly, he explains that when young men are growing up, they ‘are taught to settle conflicts through use of force in a wide variety of way, including verbal pressure, physical intimidation and emotional blackmail’ (45).
Funk suggests then that violence has become so normalized that it is easy for men to become rapists, but I am glad to see that he does not excuse men of their responsibility. Instead he calls for a rethinking of how rape cases are prosecuted and of masculinity itself:
Men rarely identify what they did as force and therefore certainly not as rape. When you are taught from the earliest moments of life to use force to get your own way – hit back, shoot to kill, be a little warrior, kill to defend your honor – then using emotional force to get sex doesn’t compute as force. This should not be taken to mean that the man is any less responsible, or any less accountable, for his choices or behaviour. It does, however, reinforce the need to listen to survivors when they say that they experienced force – or rape. It also reinforces the need to redefine force based on definitions of people who have experienced being forced as well as the need for men to deconstruct our understanding of force and the ways we express force. (45-46).
Funk, Rus Ervin (1993) Stopping Rape: A Challenge for Men. Philadelphia PA & Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.