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LJ Idol Week 5: Sexual Ethics

So it's the age-old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case though, the question has an easy answer, man came first, followed by woman. This week's LJ idol topic is one that I considered not touching with a ten-foot poll, but then I realized that if I use my second bye week so early in the competition it could come back to bite me in the butt. So, once again, I'm going to give this topic of sexual ethics a twist, or something.

As a female, there are a lot of stereotypes, a lot of bias, and a lot of, well expectations maybe concerning sex. Men though seem to have the bad reputations. I would be the last person ever to condemn a woman who said that she was raped, however, although it's not as frequent, women are also perpetrators. Men though, because of their larger size, and the fact that society sees men as the more dominant sex, are more often accused. Also, I think that most men, if they've been raped, aren't going to want to come forward and admit it. However, about three percent of American men -- a total of 2.78 million men -- have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime according to the 1998 Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women study. I suspect that this number is lower also, again because many incidents most likely go unreported.

According to the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey, 2.8 percent of women actually attempted rape. (National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998.)

So this leads me to my personal thoughts. Happily, and most fortunately, I myself have never been a victim of rape, but as a female, I know that my chances would be higher. Also, never having been a rapist, I find it difficult to put myself into the shoes of a perpetrator to discover why they do what they do. But, the way I see it, for anybody, "NO" absolutely means no. It doesn't mean "I really do want this but I feel the need to protest.", and it doesn't mean "even though I don't want this I'm going to let you do it because you want to." No just means no, and there should be no room for negotiation.

I mentioned men being stronger and bigger, but that isn't necessarily all there is to it. Anyone can use coercion, and size and strength don't matter at all there. "Favors", bribes, blackmail; all these things can be used to get what one wants, and the gender doesn't matter at all in these situations. Again, in my opinion, this kind of thing is just plain wrong, but sadly it happens.

On the other hand, there's a completely different way of looking at things. This is a touchy subject, but unfortunately it happens. I was reading a book not too long ago by Jodi Picoult called Salem Falls. In this book, one man was falsely accused by two separate teens. In both situations this man was taken to court, and even served jail time for one incident, even though nothing had actually happened. The fact is, although there are true incidents of rape, there are also many false accusations made. These are, to me, just as damaging, and just as wrong. Many people suffer from this kind of accusation, and it could cause permanent harm to the accused, and to the supposed victim because all credibility is lost. I'm reminded of a girl that I went to school with during my senior year of high school. Twice, in one school year, she reported that a classmate of mine had raped her. After realizing that the school wanted her to press charges against this guy, she backed off both times. Why she chose to falsely accuse him, (a person who didn't even know really what sex was, how it worked, or how to be safe), is beyond my comprehension. The damage she did though by doing this not once, but twice, was incredible. Nobody knew if she could be believed, and there was always that question in the back of people's minds, what really happened. Rape is too serious of an issue to mess around with in that manner.

For every case of rape though, there are so many more stories of good relationships; couples that truly love and respect each other, listen to each other, and care for each other. In any relationship there needs to be mutual respect and understanding, and above all else, love.

(Note: The source that I used to get my statistics is The Victims of Sexual Assault | Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network; (RAINN). Other than the facts I stated above, the opinions here are my own.)

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