RAINN Goes Against The Grain

This post was also published on Feminist Critics.


On February 28th RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) published their recommendations for the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which President Obama has charged with creating a plan to reduce rape on college campuses.

RAINN is the United States’ largest anti-sexual violence organization and is generally well-respected. They run the DoD Safe Helpline on behalf of the Department of Defense. So I think we can safely assume that RAINN does have some lobbying clout on this issue.

RAINN really went against many of the more common feminist talking points/strategies against rape in their recommendation. This hasn’t gone completely unnoticed among feminists as can be seen in this post on Feministing and in some of the comments on RAINN’s Facebook post about their recommendations to the White House Task Force. But I have to say I expected a bit more discussion of this in feminist circles, all things considered. So let’s look at what RAINN wrote which I think will be viewed as problematic by some feminists.

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Open letter to David Futrelle

I left the following question (currently in moderation at Man boobz it has now been approved – possibly because I made a typo in an HTML anchor tag I now remembered that I was put on moderation for discussing Mary P Koss’ paper where she argues that it’s inappropriate to call it rape when a man has unwanted sex with a woman) on a thread on Man boobz after seeing this comment by the blog owner David Futrelle:

David Futrelle:

I actually think it makes sense to categorize made-to-penetrate as a form of sexual violence other than rape, and to use the term rape for sexual acts in which the victim is penetrated. In any case, it is sexual violence and needs to be taken seriously.

David, a woman decided to put my penis inside her vagina without prior consent while I was asleep. I call and refer to what happened to me as rape. Are you telling me I am mistaken? That I should stop calling that rape?

James Landrith who has courageously publicly spoke about being a male rape survivor on CNN, HuffingtonPost and other places (at great personal cost and attacks from people like this who also don’t think that “rape-by-envelopment” is rape.). Is he mistaken in his self-identification? Should he stop referring to himself as a rape survivor?

I’ll check in on that Man boobz thread a couple of times the next few days and update this post if there is any reply by David Futrelle.

David Futrelle have in a comment of his own replied to the comment I posted at his blog, here is his reply in its entirety:

Tamen, you were sexually assaulted. What happened to you was a violation of your bodily autonomy. I take that seriously. No, I would not classify that as rape, but I’m not going to tell you what you should call it, because it’s your experience.

Calling something a sexual assault, or “sexual violence other than rape” does not diminish it or erase the experience of the person who suffered it. Sexual assaults other than rapes deserve to be taken seriously just as rapes do.


Update: After quite a discussion on that thread where also several of the “regulars” stated that made to penetrate ought to be categorized as rape David Futrell have posted a comment where he states that he has changed his mind. Here is an excerpt of that comment:

But I’ve been convinced by the comments here that this is probably overoptimistic on my part. If made-to-penetrate needs to be called rape to be taken as seriously as what has traditionally been called rape, then it should be called rape.

So, yes, I have changed my mind on this. Made-to-penetrate should be classified as rape.


Exactly what is inappropriate?

This is a comment I wrote on Genderratic in January this year where I wrote about the definition of rape advocated by well-known academic and feminist Mary P. Koss. Ginkgo made it into a post which was also submitted to Reddit.

When I wrote the comment the paper was available in full on the Journal of Interpersonal Violence website, but currently only the abstract is available. The quotes are real though, and I have a scanned copy of the physical paper to prove it if necessary.

Here is the comment:

I did know that the often quoted study by Mary P. Koss didn’t count male victims of female perpetrators, but I always assumed this was incidental by her focusing on female victims or by the authors inability to conceptualize that men can be forced to penetrate a women without his consent.

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A rant that ran off

This was a rant that I wrote as a comment on Genderratic that got posted/linked to by others on Reddit, as a post on Genderratic and on Tumblr and perhaps even elsewhere that I am unaware of.

My original comment was written in haste and didn’t contain link to sources, however, Sir, You are being mocked did take the trouble to look up the links when he posted it on Tumblr. This post contains most of the links he collected (I changed one) and one he didn’t find.

Here it is:
When one disables the unidirectionalism inherent in many feminist definitions (privilege, rape culture, patriarchy/kirarchy and so on) then feminism itself does not really come off too well when it’s own theory is applied to it. Jupp’s comment about feminist’s reluctance to give up privilege is one example, Feminists track record on male victims of rape and on female perpetrators contributes to rape culture to the extent that a feminist who in an article about rape culture wrote that “only men can stop rape”. Minimizing victims of rape is rape culture according to feminists, but apparently not when the victims minimized are male and the perpetrator female. Not believing a rape victim is rape culture with the exception being if the victim is male. The exception is perfectly exemplified by Marcotte who thinks it is much more likely that a male victim faked it and is abusing the partner by being upset about sex without his consent.And then Marcotte have the audacity to say that what men needs to address and solve their issues is feminism.

Man: There is this problem that men’s consent is implied and not really respected by women. Who can address it?
Jill: Feminism can. Men of course can say no, but if you say no to certain sex acts then I will vilify you and call you a misogynist.
Feminist X: Oh, and this is so not like calling a woman who won’t perform a blowjob/facial for a misandrist because of power differential.
Man: I see.

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