Rape of elderly lady in the news *potential trigger warning* title edited by MNHQ

(62 Posts)
ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 26-Jun-14 09:03:44

Not sure if you have seen, but an elderly woman was raped in Rochdale earlier this week and I'm just really hmm about the way it is being described and represented on the news.

Lots of interviews with local residents describing how 'abhorrent' and 'vile' it is that an old woman was raped. As if her age makes the crime worse? It seems to imply that if she wasn't 90 years old they wouldn't be so disgusted by it; the implication being that rape is more understandable when it happens to young women? And then something else is bothering me too, some sort of implication that older women are somehow asexual or sexually off limits so sex crimes are infinitely worse when they happen to them? (The fact that rape = power rather than sex seems missing from all the reports I've seen).

It was on the radio this morning and I was muttering darkly to myself in the car and wanted to write it out.

Have I got a point?

scallopsrgreat Thu 26-Jun-14 09:09:00

Yes. Sorry I haven't got time at the moment to discuss. But I too am very uncomfortable about the 'othering' of this particular crime. As if it were separate from other rapes and not on the continuum of male violence against women (not that the media ever recognise rape as being symptomatic of MVAW or a hate crime).

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 09:15:47

Any violent crime against a ninety year old is worse than violent crime against younger people. I do think this is particularly awful because of the age of the woman.

ArgyMargy Thu 26-Jun-14 09:16:54

I think any crimes of violence against old people, particularly women, are regarded as abhorrent. Essentially old people are much less able to defend themselves and therefore it is seen as unacceptable - like kicking a child or a cat. I think you are distorting this somewhat to make it into a feminist issue.

JustTheRightBullets Thu 26-Jun-14 09:27:29

Old people are particularly vulnerable. But then so are young girls, or those where their abuser is in a position of power.

what I feel uncomfortable with, although it's hard to describe, is the way this is portrayed as the work of a sick pervert, while rapes on teenagers/women are not usually. So it is made to seem different from 'normal' rape when actually it isn't.

It's the same crime, and it is still about entitlement and power. It is only different to other rapes if you believe rape is about sex and sexual attraction.

scallopsrgreat Thu 26-Jun-14 09:36:45

"what I feel uncomfortable with, although it's hard to describe, is the way this is portrayed as the work of a sick pervert, while rapes on teenagers/women are not usually." Yes. That.

And rape is always a feminist issue.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 09:37:44

This thread is utterly disgusting.

I honestly do not believe people posting this kind of stuff care about any rape victim at all. It is just designed to cause other posters distress.

I am not in the habit of reporting threads, but I think the OP should report her own thread and get a trigger warning put on it about rape and violence towards elderly women.

JustTheRightBullets Thu 26-Jun-14 09:39:59

Almond - I don't think anyone is saying this isn't a horrible, despicable crime. If that is what you took from my post it certainly wasn't meant that way.

The thread is about how certain types of rape are portrayed in the media, not about whether they are wrong or horrific for the victims.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 26-Jun-14 09:40:04

Because 'rape in the news' was not enough of a warning of the content?

JustTheRightBullets Thu 26-Jun-14 09:40:52

I agree about the trigger warning, although the tread title is obviously about a sensitive subject.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 26-Jun-14 09:41:23

My point was that this kind of reporting of rape perhaps just contributes to long standing rape myths that make it harder for all rape victims, and allow people to carry on thinking that there are shades of rape.

Quangle Thu 26-Jun-14 09:44:34

"what I feel uncomfortable with, although it's hard to describe, is the way this is portrayed as the work of a sick pervert, while rapes on teenagers/women are not usually." Yes. That.

Totally agree with this. Although she must be physically incredibly vulnerable and fragile at that age and that is a fair reason to view this slightly differently. It doesn't make the crime any worse - they are all bad. But I do understand people's reaction to this.

basgetti Thu 26-Jun-14 09:54:20

Well the first thing I thought when I read this is that it will probably kill this poor woman, so I do think age is relevant in that respect. I agree about the wider problem with people thinking there are shades of rape, but I don't think this is the best example to give to argue about that. My appalled reaction to this crime wasn't due to minimisation of sexual violence against younger women, but a human reaction to a 90 year old woman being so brutally attacked.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 09:56:26

OP, no, it isn't enough of a warning, because as you are quite aware as it is the actual point of your OP, many people do think that a crime against an old woman is worse. As many people find it worse, they are going to find it more upsetting and triggering.

The fact that you think morally people shouldn't find this more upsetting doesn't change the fact that they do.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 26-Jun-14 10:07:35

I do feel more (outraged isn't the right word, but similar?) that a vulnerable person was physically attacked. But people's reaction to the rape element, to me, just shows that rape is still viewed at a crime that has shades of right and wrong and that if this had been a woman my age (30) then there would not be the same amount of horror that she had been sexually assaulted. I don't doubt people would be reacting about the fact that she was violently attacked in broad daylight, but the fact it was a rape would not be the number one feature iyswim?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 26-Jun-14 10:08:44

what I feel uncomfortable with, although it's hard to describe, is the way this is portrayed as the work of a sick pervert, while rapes on teenagers/women are not usually. So it is made to seem different from 'normal' rape when actually it isn't

Yes, that's what I see too.

scallopsrgreat Thu 26-Jun-14 10:22:59

I can totally understand (and also feel it myself) why people have such a reaction to this crime. It is horrendous. I'm sorry if my posts came across as not caring about this woman because that is so far from the truth. The media however pick and choose their the victims of rape that they care about. The stuff on the Moral Maze last night is a good illustration of that. Plus in this report the police are asking people to imagine that it was a relative of theirs. Because clearly a 90yr old woman being raped is not enough for people to view her as a human being and worthy of compassion in her own right.

Having said that though and thought about it some more, my reasons for being uncomfortable is mainly with how the perpetrator is described. Not how the victim is portrayed. I agree that isn't what is in the OP though.

LoveSardines Thu 26-Jun-14 11:07:31

I was also uncomfortable with the reporting of this when I heard it one the radio. My reasons (I think) were that

- It was presented as much worse than a younger woman or even a child being raped, maybe the same as a baby or toddler. Of course there are reasons for that and I feel them too, yet surely all rape is a terrible thing so why is it only reported this way when the victim is paticularly vulnerable. People don't have the same visceral reaction of disgust when a person between around 12 and 60 is raped. Why is that? Is it because females that age are deemed to be sexually active/available or because it is "normal" to want to have sex with them? There is something there

- I have not seen any reports in print yet but I would be willing to bet that the woman will have been raped, not "raped". It will be reported in such a way that it has actually happened, not with an air of "of course she might be making it up" as rapes on women between say 12 and 60 so often are

I think people are getting the wrong way around about this thread. It's not to reduce the horror of what has been done to this victim. It is to say why the fuck are all reports of rape not met with a similar level of disgust. Why are they instead met with a shrug and a general feeling that the victim/s might well be making it all up.

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 11:26:25

I am simply using this thread now as a list of posters in this section who I will no longer have any respect for because they seem to have not a shred of basic human empathy.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 26-Jun-14 11:37:40

Because being concerned about the way the reporting of this particular rape reflects on how other rapes are reported (with no where near as much gravity/care) makes me lacking in empathy?

I have empathy for all women who are victims of sexual violence. That's the point. I think the unfairness of how the press treats these cases is a problem for all women and all victims of sexual violence.

whatdoesittake48 Thu 26-Jun-14 12:01:25

A rape of an elderly woman will always be a top news story while a rape of a younger woman is largely ignored.
I totally understand the horror of this story. But i feel it every time a rape is reported.
If each and every rape made the news we might see the true scale.

whatdoesittake48 Thu 26-Jun-14 12:04:51

Almondcakes...I think you are misunderstanding the intention of our posts. It is simply to highlight the inconsistencies of the media snd not intended to diminish the awfulness of this crime against this poor woman.

weatherall Thu 26-Jun-14 12:08:52

I remember reading that there was some kind of study showing that young women are more psychologically traumatised by rape than elderly women. The implication being that the fact that older women are believed and younger women aren't is part of the problem.

Rapes are reported differently. It all comes down to our cultural assumptions about consent, sexual desirability and the desire to believe that rape is something which happens down dark alleys.

Vintagecakeisstillnice Thu 26-Jun-14 12:12:07

I’ve always wonder how the rape apologists deal with cases like this.
After all they can’t find a way to blame the victim.

She wasn’t drunk and out on the town.
She wasn’t wearing a mini skirt.
She didn’t flirt and lead him on.
She didn’t have a one night stand and then regret it and lie to cover up.

Reading the observation above this is portrayed as the work of a sick pervert, while rapes on teenagers/women are not usually. So it is made to seem different from 'normal' rape when actually it isn't. I had a light bulb moment.

So that’s how they manipulate it in their heads.

Though the headline I saw still refers to it as a rape claim. .

almondcakes Thu 26-Jun-14 12:18:08

I don't believe you OP. I think you are just trying to use rape victims'. experiences to trivialise and ignore the very real differences in vulnerability, power and safe access to public spaces between you as a 30 year old and an elderly person, presumably because you are trying to claim some kind of 'top victim' status in some kind of oppression Olympics over elderly people.

Or maybe you just like to start threads on very distressing topics because you get a kick of upsetting people on the Internet.

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