Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wendy Murphy on Steubenville Rape

Videos HERE and more on anonymous HERE

Wendy Murphy, the favorite lawyer and advocate
for victims of violence and stupidity, has this to say about the steubenville rapes:
(You can read more from Wendy HERE and  HERE and here too)

wendy murphy at the Patriot Ledger HERE


By Wendy Murphy JD New England Law|Boston
Gail Dines, PhD Wheelock College Boston

March 30, 2013

How could two average all-American teenage football players from
small-town Ohio think nothing of sexually brutalizing an unconscious 16
year-old girl, and why did a dozen other teens encourage the
perpetrators, or take pictures and videos of the scene and share the
images with friends -- for fun!?

We think the answer is obvious.

Like most teens, they know “rape” is wrong but they have a distorted
view of what constitutes rape because they live in a society where most
boys learn about “sex” from a culture saturated with images of women
being degraded for male pleasure.

Mainstream heterosexual porn, for example, almost always involves men
behaving abusively toward women, yet the images are not understood as
offensive, much less depicting rape, because the women appear to be
consenting. There is no “no” in porn, so when boys see images of
degrading sexual activity where the woman  is begging for more, they
get the message that sexually harmful behavior is not only acceptable
but enjoyable for all parties.

We know from a wealth of studies that the behavior boys see as the norm
in porn, music videos, etc., are internalized into their sexual
And with today's technology, boys have near-constant access to images
that just a short while ago were hidden away in stores that wouldn’t
let them
through the door.

With porn and pop culture as their major form of sex education, boys
get a
distorted image of female agency and power. Female desire is a mere
reflection of male desire and everything that happens to the female
body is
acceptable, no matter how humiliating or painful.

Steubenville incidents occur a lot in the United States, not because
males are natural born rapists, but because they’re trained to think
and act like predators by industries that exploit and manipulate human
sexuality for profit.  This problem is made worse by entrenched rape
myths and structured inequality in law, expressed in federal and state
codes that
fail to treat violence against women as a Civil Rights harm, and offer
better legal
protection against theft crimes than crimes against women’s bodies.

As experts in the field who speak to thousands of young people every
year at high schools and colleges across the nation, we hear stories
like Steubenville all the time. The challenge for us as scholars,
feminists and mothers of sons is to educate young people to understand
the way American culture shapes their ideas about sexuality and
especially the powerful role mainstream porn plays in cementing a
sexist mindset.

It’s very difficult to combat embedded social norms about sex, not only
because the topic isn’t comfortable for some people to discuss, but
also because we’ve become so desensitized to sexualized violence, we
barely see it as problematic.

We think nothing of hearing a defense attorney argue in a rape case
that a victim’s bruises and vaginal injuries are “consistent” with
consent. Fifteen years ago, such a defense strategy would have been
laughable. Today, it’s a winner.

Recent studies offer an explanation for why this may be happening.
Researchers in 2010 examined scenes from 50 of the “top-rented” porn
movies and found that over 88% included both physical and verbal abuse
in the form of hitting, physical aggression and gagging. Half the films
involved the use of sexist slurs such as “bitch” and “slut.”

Incidents like Steubenville will continue to occur with increasing
frequency so long as our children are raised in a country where the
sexualized disrespect of women is widely accepted as normal, and images
of violent sex are accessible 24 hours a day, with the tap of an
impressionable young finger.

We need a public health approach to this epidemic, alongside new laws
and stronger public opposition to the promulgation of images that
eroticize violence,
not as a matter of censorship but rather, as a commitment to women's
true equality.

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