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Feminism: chat

Seminar on rape culture

37 replies

MadamFolly · 10/05/2012 10:43

I'm a semi-regular on Mumsnet, namechanged a few times and have been a major lurker and sometime poster on this topic for about 2 years. I therefore know how knowledgable and great you all are and thought I'd ask for some advice.

I'm running a lecture/seminar for year 12 students in a couple of weeks and would like to run it on the topic of rape culture to compliment someone else who is doing sex trafficking.

I thought I might start with a slideshow of media images that glorify sexual abuse, like <a class="break-all" href=",r:4,s:0,i:80&biw=1024&bih=600&surl=1" rel="nofollow noindex" target="_blank">this maybe.

Then I thought I'd go on to talk about social interactions, 'banter' and how they contribute before moving on to some ficticious court cases where the victim is not believed or said to have been 'asking for it'.

I then thought I'd speak about advice for rape prevention which focusses on the woman like 'don't get drunk and walk home alone' and talk about victim blaming and the slutwalk.

After that I though to open the floor for questions and discussion.

What do you think? Too much? Am I missing anything major? I really want to get it right and make it both as informative and interesting as I can.

OP posts:

AbigailAdams · 10/05/2012 11:03

Well I would really focus on tackling and busting rape myths. The Mumsnet "We believe you" page has conveniently listed the most common ones. (Some of which you have mentioned)

Perhaps also touch on how the court system works against rape victims. "Eve was framed" (Helena Kennedy) is good on that. She really shows how the courts are totally set up from a male perspective. In fact everything about rape us generally looked at from a male perspective yet it happens to women.

The overall message should be men need to stop raping.

I would also get some facts and figures/stock phrases ready for the Q&A session. There will be those who think women lie, rapists should have anonymity, lack of prosecution = innocence etc.


messyisthenewtidy · 10/05/2012 11:10

I think you could say something about the way that the media has changed its position on date rape, from one initially condemning it to one that focuses more on "crying rape". One moment whilst I search for a link................

it is. It's about the US media but I think much the same has happened here.

Also, the twitter response to Ched Evans and other rape cases.

Oooh, whatshisface... the name of the guy on a morning Tv program who asked a victim why she didn't get a taxi? .....Eaommon Holmes, ok I'm spelling that wrong!

Lastly, this is a good website for finding images

Hope that helps!

MadamFolly · 10/05/2012 12:22

Ooh, Ched Evans, thats a good one will use that as a case study in victim blaming and male priviledge.

Some really good ideas guys! Thanks, I want to cram in as much as possible. Its a good idea to have some stock phrases ready for the q&a if anyone tries to minimise the phenomenom which I expect they will. Any ideas?

OP posts:

messyisthenewtidy · 10/05/2012 12:39

Yes! I remember during the slutwalk protest there was a factoid floating about to dismiss the idea that the way a woman dresses is inviting rape. It was something like: only 5% of rapists remember what clothes their victims were wearing.

Aaagh can't remember the name of the source but if you google it I'm sure you'll find it.


AbigailAdams · 10/05/2012 12:52

Well things like looking up the law so that when the inevitable, "but women rape men" cry goes up, you can point out rape requires a penis, everything else is sexual assault, incidences of women committing sexual assault (or any other violent crime) is a fraction of that of men. Media disproportionately report female crime.

The Stern report is good for facts and figures.

The Jon Worboys case is good for counteracting rape anonymity. Plus the fact that it is basically saying women lie.

Another thing to perhaps emphasize is that rape is penetration by a penis without consent. Anything else is an additional crime. So being hit whilst being raped is an additional crime to the rape.


neepsntatties · 10/05/2012 18:23

Go over consent and what it actually means, that it needs to be a freely given yes and not just the absence of a no.


CailinDana · 10/05/2012 18:51

I think you could do the whole seminar about consent. Discussions about rape end up getting bogged down in details - what if this and what if that. The fact is, if someone doesn't consent to sex then it is rape. It doesn't matter what the person was wearing, where they were, who they consented to before etc. Added to that is the concept that if a person gives consent then later withdraws it and the other person continues then that is also rape. Again there is no grey area there.

The message that needs to be put across is that sex is not a duty or a right, it is something two people participate in fully and it should be enjoyable. Consent isn't about yes or no, it's about two people being fully aware of each other so that they can both be sure the other person is enjoying themselves and is fully participating. Any less than that and you're on dodgy ground.

Ideally the aim would be to get rid of the idea that men will do anything to have sex and women must protect themselves from that.


catsareevil · 10/05/2012 18:59

One option that might work would be to make the talk about consent in all its contexts, for example taking a bit about consent to medical procedures could be useful for that age group, if you then after that move onto consent for other acts then you can probably introduce the concept for consent to sex without mythology clouding anyones mind.


AbigailAdams · 10/05/2012 19:35

Yes consent would be great. It would bring focus much more on to the man's behaviour than the woman's too.


AyeRobot · 10/05/2012 19:45

Agreed with the focussing on consent. Don't try to cram too much in, because I think you need to stimulate deep thought, not wide thought, if that makes sense. Looking at banter is a great idea too.

Good for you.


AyeRobot · 10/05/2012 19:48

Oh, and clarify the law - the Sexual Offences Act 2003 - and how violence does not need to be present for rape to have occurred.


MadamFolly · 10/05/2012 23:10

That makes sense, deep thought rather than wide thought.

I also like the idea of focussing on consent and the fact that rape is a crime separate from the other violence, grooming etc. That will make it easier to make the point that sex with a drunk/sleeping girl is rape even if she never notices.

OP posts:

Nyac · 10/05/2012 23:19

I think you'd be better off talking about Take Back the Night marches, which have been going a lot longer than slutwalk and also stand directly against male sexual violence against women. Slutwalk wasn't a march against rape, it was about being against women being blamed when they are raped. It appeared to see rape as a fact of life.

Is it girls you are talking to or is it a mixed group?


Nyac · 10/05/2012 23:21

You could also talk about who the rapists are - generally men women know, in particular men women are in relationships with.

Are you prepared for disclosures? Because there will be girls in the group you speak to who have been raped or sexually abused.


weeonion · 10/05/2012 23:56

You could use images from the Rape Crisis Scotland's campaigns - This is not an invitation to rape me and Not Ever, followed by discussion??


weeonion · 10/05/2012 23:56

if you pm me - i have some power point slides re adverts and images - happy to share.


BertieBotts · 11/05/2012 00:20

Is it a mixed sex or single sex group? I think this will affect what you should include, because girls and boys tend to react to things in different ways.

I'm guessing mixed sex in which case I really like the idea about doing it on consent.

You could definitely use some stuff from the media which shows either encouragement to coerce consent (there was a drink advert a while back where the guy played a fake news programme to a girl to convince her it was the end of the world - and probably more recent examples too) - try buying a copy of a lads' mag (any of them will have awful comments in, probably) and a magazine aimed at teen girls/young women which has articles about sex tips/pleasing your man. If you use the magazine route you could also quote the study done by Object about lads' mags/rapist quotes.

Sorry - got carried away with point 1 there - either encouragement to coerce consent, blatant disregard for consent or a blurring of what "consent" means, e.g. the absence of no being a popular view, whereas actually it's the absence of yes/enthusiastic consent which means no. You could play the recent government ad which shows a girl saying "No I don't want to" clearly and then point out that sometimes it's not as clear cut as that.

There was a recent BBC drama which I watched episode 1 of (it was dire) called Pramface, that was aimed at teens and some of them might have seen it. In the first episode, three guys go to a party with the intention of having sex. One of them gets latched onto by a drunk (older) girl and although he doesn't initiate sex with her, initially seems disinterested and then, when she keeps pushing advances on her keeps asking her "Are you sure? Are you really sure?" the issue that she was too drunk to consent (which she clearly was)never came up, and they did have sex. To me, the fact that he was having doubts at all should have been a clear signpost to say no, I don't think we should do this now, and I'm pretty disappointed that the BBC chose to portray drunken sex in this manner, however realistic it might be.


mirry2 · 11/05/2012 00:30

I think one of the problems in court proceedings is that most jurers have never had to think about rape in any detail so may be taken in by a rapist with a seemingly convincing story eg that the victim consented. some women are so shit scared that they don't have a mark on them because they just go along with what the rapist wants them to do. There is just the DNA evidence and maybe, if it's a stranger rape, the fact that they have never met before.
There needs to be more awareness of how people can react when they are confronted by a rapist (not to say all rapes and all modus opperandi are the same).

Personally I think that to treat a rape victim in court as if she is just another witness is appalling (this is what happens in our criminla system)


AyeRobot · 11/05/2012 07:12

Thank you , mirry!

You've both scratched a long-standing itchand given me another reason to challenge rape myth spouters with this:

"I think one of the problems in court proceedings is that most jurers have never had to think about rape in any detail"


MadamFolly · 11/05/2012 22:47

Yes I am delivering to a mixed gender group of 16/17 year olds.

I think you are right that focusing on consent will be better since there are males in the group. I don't want to seem like I'm criticising them.

Its a fine line to tread between having a go at the patriarchy and having a go against men as a group.

OP posts:

Smellslikecatspee · 11/05/2012 23:02

If it were me, I wouldn't just focus on consent and the understanding that not saying No does not mean yes, I would also look at hoe rape tends to be very victim blaming, and how rape is unique in this.

If you have time, and helpers what about a 'trial' do the trial of the well dressed man who gives to charity who gets mugged.

The script has been referenced on here before, even for me a rape survivor it made me think. . .


messyisthenewtidy · 11/05/2012 23:10

I think consent is the bottom line issue, because people are so unclear as to what that means, and I think that in some cases rape victims don't even realize that they have been raped because they have bought into rape myths.


Nyac · 11/05/2012 23:56

You know I wouldn't talk about consent, because consent is a concept invented and used by rapists to make what they do OK.

Basically consent means a man doesn't have to take any responsibility for what he does to a woman as long as he can get her to say yes.

It would probably be better to focus on rape myths.


Wheezo · 11/05/2012 23:56

That's the link for what I think Smells is referring to


BasilEatsFoulEggs · 12/05/2012 00:00

I think talking about entitlement to sex and the constant message to boys, that they should be trying to get it at all costs, might be worth discussing in terms of whether that message conflicts with the need that any decent lover would have, to ensure that he is welcome in a woman's body. Not sure how you can put that in teenage talk though.

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