Responsibility vs. Narrative

By Skiler-2 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 I’ve been an old softie for a bit.

Now I’m going to leave you with something hard to think about.  What exactly is a “rape culture”, anyhow?

Just like the suicide topic, I figure this isn’t going to be popular. Ditto, I have some… ahh, personal stakes in this one. Not necessarily because I’m female. Try because I’m human, and let’s just say high school wasn’t much fun for me. Particularly on the worst day of my life.

What disturbs me about this meme is how it targets the very people who are most determined to prevent rape. Yes, you heard me.  Women get distraught, and uncomfortable over rape. They get various frames of afraid and angry.

But men that I know, just ordinary men, who would see the above scene as a harmless fun (they are firing airsoft rifles, people), go into a particular headspace when confronted with even the idea of rape.  It doesn’t matter if it’s against women or against men. With the latter they just get quieter, and more intent.  Typical men go into a rage that burns so hot that it leaches all the heat from the room.   And that’s just the former kind. The latter just turns up the heat to 11.

After my little incident, I got no less than 5 serious offers to end the perpetrators life. This, over time, yes. Two of them could have credibly made the creature disappear for good without a trace.   All men who made the offer meant it.  Regardless what some women think, I’m not talking about the machismo types, the stereotypical male whom every hatchet waving feminist loves to hate. I’m talking about the quiet guys whom you generally feel safe around. Or the class clowns that you’d frankly laugh at before fear.  Ironically, it is almost never the sort who are totally pacifists who make a girl feel safe– not really. I think that’s where the fetish for “bad boys” comes from, but I digress wildly.

THAT is the typical response for a sane healthy, and yes, sometimes even testosterone saturated _man_.  That being, give me permission to kill the bastard who did this. He is an affront to all that is decent, and to every male who tries to be the good guy. This does not ever seem to have occurred to most feminists nor most “rape culture” activists. The thought never seems to have entered their minds that men themselves might have an incentive to stop this mess.  Most men have desperately have wanted to… even since the bad old days.  Maybe some of the things that made the bad old days bad, were measures set forth to prevent rape and it’s queer cousins.  I mean, sheesh, read your bible. Our culture is based on that of the Hebrews, who, if I remember correctly, slaughtered an entire tribe of people to revenge for rape.  If that’s not enough, I tremble to think about what could be.

Do you really think that becoming Eloi will solve the problem? Really? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read “The Time Machine” and get back to me. Hint: It’s a parable, from a time when Real Life [TM] had more of a bite than today, and if you felt “uncomfortable” you either had to do something about it, or you lumped it.  I mean, the Eloi solution worked so well for the Occupy crowd. That’s what they want to do to our country? Emasculate those who would protect set standards of decency, and give the predators what they want on a silver platter. Good going guys.

So, if the patriarchy is so awesomely powerful, and so on, why didn’t it fix the problem for once and for all? The usual answer from the “ladies” is that because they want it to continue, obviously. Well, not really.

See, the whole predatory mindset is not a culturally programmed thing. I think that some people are broken in a particular way, and some people aren’t. When did the word sociopath get erased from the world’s lexicon anyhow?

It’s not even all of them. Because some sociopaths have decided that following the rules of society for the most part is the path of least resistance and leads to a more satisfying and rewarding life– even if they see people more as vectors than as people to empathize with.

Others think that the only way to possess something is to take it.  They didn’t get taught this by their parents, most likely. It generally comes as a perceived observation of the world. There is also a particular worldview– the zero sum game, which assumes the whole world runs this way. This kind of thinking re-enforces the assumed observation of reality thus giving our “taker” somewhere to hide.

It’s a very easy model to understand, and it appeals to the cynic.  It goes something like this– the only reason why the poor are poor, is because someone took their money from them.  The only reason why some guys have gals and others don’t is because those “haves” took them from someone else. If the lines get blurred sufficiently, you can convince yourself of all kinds of evil this way.

But it is not something that rants,  protests, banners or active censorship will banish from reality. Nor is sociopathy.  You can’t use talk therapy, or guilt trips on these people that what they are doing is wrong.  It just doesn’t work. Because they don’t believe in right and wrong. They know  they are smarter than you, and they know that you don’t know the secret. And that’s why you are prone to having all those wussy emotions  that just get in your way of getting what you want.  Because not having a conscience is really very convenient.

The guy who targeted me was someone I spent close to two years being friends with before he drugged me.  I got to know him pretty well. The frightening part of it is how normal, how ordinary, and how sane he seemed, despite the fact that the world completely sucked around him. He alone seemed unaffected by a maelstrom of psychic stressors that hovered around him like a black cloud.  He was so good looking, did simple gestures that were kind seeming, and never forgot birthdays…

That inexplicable, buoyant emotional stability should have been a massive red flag.

His life was not enviable, yet nothing was ever a problem. Sure he got angry about a few things, but it was mostly about his own powerlessness as a teen– and who couldn’t identify with that at 16?  Goodness, he even introduced me to a priest from his church.

(Old High Church Anglican, for what it’s worth–a very good priest. I was half convinced of marrying the guy not long after this– just weeks before the incident.)

And yet I find that I wasn’t the only victim, and that he had a string of them.  I did make certain accusations, but the fact that he got good grades, looked respectable, seemed so sane, and even… made jokes at our expense during the monkey trial that the school concocted– made the emotional wrecks who accused him look desperate, fragile and weak.

Ultimately I wasn’t believed because I was emotionally unstable at the time. Gosh. After being a victim of a dehumanizing experience, and having to face off against a calm and cool and highly intelligent foe in public to his face after the fact– that seems more than understandable.  He came out of it smelling like a rose every single time.  Because, you see, this was true for all of his accusers, at least those who were willing and able to come forward.  Some were far saner, far more stable and trusted by the school society than I was… and they were ignored, too.  One even had to leave school to take care of the child.

This to the point that a good friend of mine wanted me to reconcile with the guy after the fact. I’m talking six months later.

She didn’t know that I had been drugged. But then, he had her not believing half the things I said.  He’d convinced her that what happened was just a big misunderstanding.  He was very persuasive, too.  I was damn lucky I had a different friend in my corner who was willing to tell me what happened  was wrong, and that I didn’t ask for it.  But I’ll never forget the gloating he did to me after the trial, because no one even bothered to make sure I was safe leaving it.  I was again, just lucky that we ran into a hall monitor at the right time, because down those long high school hallways between class, were empty. He threatened repeatedly that he was going to celebrate his victory with an encore, and that no one believed me, so there was nothing I could do. 

THAT is no “rape culture”, people. That is  a profoundly sick and broken individual, who can only be caged up or killed to prevent more horrors.  This cultural conditioning assumes we can just put on a happy face and make those evil men go away by telling them to not rape anymore, and if we just don’t see it, hear about it, or think about it– it will never happen again.

He only backed off when I told him that if he tried again, I’d do fatal harm to his anatomy– by any means necessary. But that only pushed him away physically. After that, I was treated to a rant that was a terrible mirror into his psyche. Invaluable for a writer and study of human weakness, but… enough to give me nightmares for the rest of my life.

Can we please go back to making decisions based on observation and interaction with reality? Please?  This whole “rape culture” activism is just going to muddy the already stinking waters and make things worse.  Not until a woman can safely conceal carry EVERYWHERE, in every state of the union will these monsters know, in their hearts, that they can’t just take what they want– because they might get their precious family jewels shot off.

Because THAT is deterrence. The problem is, the only way to stop a predator/bear  is to not be the slowest hiker, or the easiest victim.  One must not be vulnerable to attack. They are about as reasonable as vicious wildlife. I agree, it’s not fair. But there are some things that you can’t change by wishing, and this is one of them.

So why did it take him two years to collect my proverbial scalp? Because before, when we spent time together, I had been wary and careful.  I knew something was a little off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  After a year of separation, I didn’t have many friends, and he was practically the only person I knew. Suddenly I was desperate, and he circled in for the “kill”.

And I was so frustrated with some of my own beliefs I was willing to walk away from the proposition of marriage before sex just to keep a friend.   That made me a prime target, a victim waiting to happen.  It is a brutal thing to say. But it is the truth.  If he’d had a little bit of patience, he could have gotten what he wanted for free. But no, he’d rather take it.  So the narrative of the poor neglected male with little prospects does not sway me much. He could have had his choice of willing mates. They were literally lining up for a chance with him. But that’s not what he wanted. He wanted a disposable victim.

That, my friends, is what we are up against. And no amount of sensitivity training, outreach or education will change that.

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