Rape Culture: A response to Nathan Goodman

drinking-rapeThe Steubenville rape case has gotten everyone talking, and predictably, the most effeminate, pansexual white genderqueers with “Asperger’s Syndrome” have weighed in with their nauseating platitudes on the “origins” of this “social epidemic.” Nathan Goodman from Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) had this to say:

“Evan Westlake testified at  trial that he saw one of the perpetrators, Trent Mays, smacking the victim’s hip with his penis. He also saw Ma’lik Richmond, the other perpetrator, penetrating the victim’s vagina with two of his fingers. When asked why he didn’t intervene, he answered “it wasn’t violent. I didn’t know exactly what rape was. I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.”

What Westlake witnessed was violence. It entailed physically violating another person’s boundaries. But, as is often the case in real rapes, there was no struggle, no armed stranger in the bushes, no screaming victim. What Westlake witnessed was rape. But it wasn’t the comparatively rare stranger rape that haunts the popular imagination. So Westlake did not even recognize it.

We need to change that. In a culture that educated young people about respecting boundaries and treating other people’s bodily autonomy as sacrosanct, Westlake would have known exactly what rape was, and he would have intervened. Throughout the night, when boys assaulted the victim, joked about raping her, and carried her unconscious body between rooms, multiple people would have intervened. But evidently, we don’t live in that culture.”

As I noted in a conversation with the author, whether he is conscious of it or not, he has taken an absolutely CHRISTIAN moral stance on this topic and resorted to a style of Evangelical preaching any Southern Baptist would recognize. Let’s contrast Mr. Goodman’s statement to this excerpt from Christian author Ann Voskamp’s popular open letter in regards to the same Stuebenville case:

“There were young men who opened their Bibles and didn’t value the worth of a God-fashioned woman made for glory, young men who sang worship songs and satiated their lust by ripping off the dignity of a sacred human being, young men who said women were the weaker vessel meant let’s drink them dry and be merry.”

Mr. Goodman actually uses the same religious tone of wording here, saying that culture education should emphasize “treating other people’s bodily autonomy as sacrosanct“, while Mrs. Voskamp states drunken rape is “ripping off the dignity of a sacred human being.” Both these writers are arguing for the sanctity of the human body, but while one bases it in on a perceived infallible Divine Command regarding property norms, the other is a Christian.

Next Mr. Goodman had this to say regarding the Judge’s somber comment regarding the dangers of combining immature young people and alcohol:

“Special Judge Thomas Lipps did little to bring us closer to that culture. Even as he convicted and sentenced the rapists, he made several troubling statements. For example, he claimed that this case shows alcohol is “a particular danger to our teenage youth.” Alcohol was not the problem here; rape was. People can drink alcohol voluntarily and consensually. Drunk people have the right to have their boundaries respected.”

Essentially Goodman is arguing here that other drunk people are completely and perfectly capable of understanding property norms and that to make a risk assessment on how drunken teenagers are more likely to cross a line regarding the “sacrosanct human body” is automatically a sexist, rape apologetic position. He is implying that to perform any mental calculation on your likelihood of getting raped based on the substances people around you are ingesting is “promoting rape culture and rape apologism.” Studies have found that alcohol is involved in over 50% of rape cases, yet Mr. Goodman would have you believe that to even mention this is just plain heresy and diverts the topic away from why we really just need a good preachin’ on property norms. Even Christians aren’t this stupid. Voskamp preaches the following cultural norm:

“Real Manhood means you don’t get drunk, and a man can get drunk on a lot more than alcohol.”

Voskamp is actually much more penetrative with her common sense observation that men getting drunk is an unbecoming behavior. Mr. Goodman has denied himself even this entirely plain observation because it conflicts with his irrational victim fetish. To Goodman, immature teenagers getting drunk is simply not a “problem” at all. I found myself wondering how big a set of cognitive blinders one would have to put on to avoid seeing this as a possible social ill, but then in a personal conversation he said this:

“…but generally speaking you do ask for permission before doing sexual things.”

Now I’m not an Asperger’s suffer, nor am I genderqueer, so perhaps my experiences are just at complete odds with Mr Goodman’s, but I have certainly engaged in sex with many, many women that did not ask me “Alexander Jacob McNabb, would you like to vaginally penetrate me and engage in intercourse? Please sign this release form and have my witness notarize it if so.” Matter of fact, I can remember many occasions where a woman grabbed my penis (sexual assault), and initiated intercourse without my express verbal consent (rape). Sexual intercourse is very often a non-verbal affair with various physical cues initiating the encounter. Many of those steps could in fact retroactively be labeled “sexual assault” by either party. Fortunately the general public does not have Mr. Goodman’s bizarrely Puritan and mechanistic view of sex. Despite my attempt to elucidate this young writer on the typical experiences of men and women initiating sex, he dismissed me as a “rape apologist” and then mused that anyone who didn’t check in with their partner verbally before initiating sex with her might be a rapist. Funny how Mr Goodman tacitly assumes that women never initiate intercourse; perhaps he should examine his own inherent biases here.

Nathan Goodman’s view of the situation is painfully naive. From a strictly utilitarian point of view we’d be better off listening to Christian authors like Voskamp who at least has the intellectual rigor to countenance other factors involved in socially undesirable behavior rather than reducing it all to a childish admonition on respecting property norms. Leave the dogmatic moralizing to the God Worshippers Nathan.