October 19, 2006

After the Gender Seminar on Rape

The seminar yesterday was extremely interesting and I think that it worked well as there were women from Law, Sociology, Literature etc. Rape and sexual violence are such important issues, so it was good to be discussing such things.

The number of convictions in rape cases is pathetic. See these news stories at the BBC and The Guardian :
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/5278722.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1795257,00.html

The BBC news story tells us that only 6% of reported rapes in Britain result in convictions. Joanna Bourke’s story in The Guardian notes the following:

In Britain today there is considerable scepticism expressed towards women who accuse men of rape. In fact, false accusations are less common in rape than in other criminal cases. But any woman with a slightly adventurous history, or hailing from a powerless group, is normally right to think that making a complaint is not worthwhile.

This is obviously terrible, but even worse is the fact that feminists in the UK and US are complicit with the idea that rape is the victim’s own fault. The point of the Mardorossian essay that we read is that feminists trying to theorize rape concentrate too much on the victim and not on the perpetrator. E.g. the feminist idea that there is a “gender script” that occurs when one encounters a rapist and that if one were to subvert that gender script in a combative way, one might not be raped. This obviously extremely dubious as Mardorossian points out.

At the end of her essay Mardorossian points to language as a way in which feminists can work against sexual violence – reevaluating words like ‘victim’ and reinvesting them with meaning. I think that this is already being done by women writers like Pascale Petit whose poems can be found at the links below:

http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/pascalepetitpoems.html#p1
http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/pascalepetitpoems.html#p4


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October 19, 2006

After the Gender Seminar on Rape

The seminar yesterday was extremely interesting and I think that it worked well as there were women from Law, Sociology, Literature etc. Rape and sexual violence are such important issues, so it was good to be discussing such things.

The number of convictions of rapists in Britain is pathetic. See these news stories at the BBC and Guardian:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/5278722.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1795257,00.html

The BBC news story tells us that only 6% of reported rapes in Britain result in convictions. Joanna Bourke’s story in The Guardian notes the following:

In Britain today there is considerable scepticism expressed towards women who accuse men of rape. In fact, false accusations are less common in rape than in other criminal cases. But any woman with a slightly adventurous history, or hailing from a powerless group, is normally right to think that making a complaint is not worthwhile.

This is obviously terrible, but even worse is the fact that feminists in the UK and US are complicit with ideas about rape being the woman’s own fault. The point of the Mardorossian essay that we read is that feminists trying to theorize rape concentrate too much on the victim and not on the perpetrator. E.g. the feminist idea that there is a “gender script” that occurs when one encounters a rapist and that if one were to subvert that gender script in a combative way, one might not be raped. This obviously extremely dubious as Mardorossian points out.

At the end of her essay Mardorossian point to language as away in which feminists can work against sexual violence – reevaluating words like ‘victim’ and reinvesting them with meaning. I think that this is already being done by women writers like Pascale Petit whose poems can be found at the links below:

http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/pascalepetitpoems.html#p1
http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/pascalepetitpoems.html#p4


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