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The discussion continues …

John, there is so much to think about and respond to in this last post.

My use of a few scenarios was not to prove anything, but to draw analogies. Whatever one might say about the underlying (social/societal/parenting) that allow a person to perpetrate such a terrible act as rape does not change the fact that the person who is raped is not responsible for the rape — that is, if it is a clear case of lack of consent from the outset or consent withdrawn.

That it may be hard to prove in court is, as you rightly say, a matter for the court to decide on the evidence available. That there are women who will have sex with a man and then accuse him of rape is a despicable act and does happen; this does not negate the fact of rape. The scenario you posted in another response of yours in this discussion does not argue against treating rape as an assault — if it is not truly rape then that needs to be found out in court and, yes, mistakes are made and there are people in jail who should not be.

My point about education being part of the solution and starting this young in the socialisation of boys was not to suggest that boys be taught not to rape, to obey the law. I am using education in a far broader sense. Unfortunately, too many boys are brought up in environments where violence generally and violence against women in particular is laughed at, made little of or even lauded as a way to be a man. That is why I also said that men need to front up to other men who make jokes about rape or who demean women or who behave badly towards women or who talk disparagingly about women. This is all education and we are all involved.

I think you are right to bemoan the fact that, if you try to bring some nuance into a discussion such as this (perpetrator/victim in relation to rape — or paedophilia for that matter), you can easily be labelled as an apologist for the men and a blamer of the women/girls/boys. Difficult as it may be, the discussion needs to be had, without name-calling.

Yes, a ‘victim’ is socially defined. In not all crimes is the role of victim crystal clear. Someone who responds to an email offering a million dollars for allowing their bank account to be used is a ‘victim’ when they lose all their savings. But this is different from someone who is robbed at gunpoint in their own home and has all their money and jewellery taken. And different again is the boy who is inveigle into having sex with his priest or the girl who is talked into having sex with her uncle. A women who is raped after being bashed on the street and dragged into a lane-way is a ‘victim’ in a different way from the one who, sober, goes home with a man and changes her mind about having sex at some stage but the man goes ahead anyway. The rapist, burglar, thief, sex offender are all perpetrators of a crime and the level of ‘victimhood’ of the other person is a separate matter.

I am not sure if the over-use and over-depiction of sex in the media of itself leads to more rape. I don’t have specific data, but rape has been around as long as there have been people and long before there was depiction of sex in the media, or in books. I suggest that the growing alienation of people and the disappearance of elders from the lives of children and adults has a lot to do with it.

This has turned into a very important discussion (thank you, Anna) and hopefully it will help to inspire others to think and share about this. A related topic is domestic violence (mostly men against their women partners) and in Australia (population 23 million) over 100 women are killed by their male partners every year — 2 every week. Again, the main move against this outrage needs to come from men who care.