Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SlateStar on Rape Culture

Here is Scott Alexander's explaining why he is confused and skeptical of the term "rape culture"
Most rapes are crimes without witnesses. If the accused claims the sex was consensual then even DNA cannot provide corroborating evidence against this story. The courts are presented with a “he said” / “she said” dilemma. Because the legal system enshrines the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” – that is, erring in favor of the defendant when a guilt cannot be established “beyond a reasonable doubt” – this situation usually results in acquittal.
A rock and a hard place indeed.
I do not want to justify the “advice” people give rape survivors. Some of it seems broadly good (if you’re meeting a strange man for a date or something, do it in a public place), but much of the rest seems well-intentioned but actively wrong (it’s been pretty well established that the clothes you are wearing do not affect sexual assault rate). Whether the advice is good or not, giving it to someone who has just been traumatized is without a doubt a stupid decision, and giving it in place of punishing an actual perpetrator is an obvious miscarriage of justice.
Some things are impolite to say, but nonetheless true. And that you didn't take precautions against something does not mean you are to blame for that thing happening.
Breast cancer gets a very disproportionate amount of funding compared to other, deadlier types of cancer. No doubt this is because of successful initiatives like the Pink Ribbon campaign, but these initiatives are themselves due to the fact that any gendered issue is naturally more interesting than any ungendered issue. My guess is this is also part of why prostate cancer (gendered issue relating to men) is in second place, although that could also be its unusually high morbidity/mortality ratio. 
The point of this graph isn’t to knock breast cancer research, but instead to note that people disproportionately ignoring women’s issues because they don’t care about women is the exact opposite of the way the world works.
Also relevant: Rape is a Special kind of Evil