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Author Topic: Death sentences for rapists  (Read 6208 times)

CTL

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #50 on: March 11, 2009, 02:30:12 PM »

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

pwnd.   :P

Hey, I'm glad she got me reflecting on the assumptions that I have.  That's why I wanted to have this convo after all!
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mbw

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #51 on: March 11, 2009, 02:30:13 PM »
I just see no reason not to end the life of such an individual.

Well.

There are a bunch of reasons.

Exactly.

But to move forward with my previous post, do you believe that someone who beats his/her spouse two or more times should be put to death too? 

What're you getting at with this question?

Is there a difference between spousal assault (w/o rape) and the rape of a non-spouse/partner?  What if the spouse is badly beaten, and the person who was raped suffered very few physical injuries?  Is it the actual physical act of genital penetration which is the capital crime?

Again, I'm no expert but I believe there is a difference.  Our criminal justice system makes these value differentiations all of the time.  But yeah, the actual of genital penetration makes it worse.

The question isn't whether it is - of course it is. That, in my opinion, is the problem.  Frankly, it wasn't the physical rape which almost killed me - it was the blunt-object beating which accompanied the rape which almost accomplished that end.  I personally would rather have had the latter more strongly prosecuted than the former.

Clearly, any form of physical assault is an assault on one's autonomy.  But the degree of the injury to the victim, not the perceived injury to "honor", personal or family, should be the deciding factor for punishment.
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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #52 on: March 11, 2009, 02:38:26 PM »
Point well taken.

Liz Lemon

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #53 on: March 11, 2009, 02:38:37 PM »
You raise good issues mb-dub.  

I don't really subscribe to the idea that rape is 'just another' violent assault.  There is an inherent and explicit sexual aspect to rape that is not engendered in other forms of assault.  I think how sexuality (and its importance to one's identity and dignity) is viewed makes a monumental difference in the perceived damage of the act of rape.

I guess my sexuality is one of the most important parts of myself, and my autonomy over who I share my body with is incredibly important.  That may be why I view rape as an especially heinous assault.  It strips a part of that autonomy forever.

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

+1

it seems that most rapists commit their act as a means to exert control over another person.  it's grotesque, and not necessarily about getting off as much as it is about controlling and hurting another person.  you could say the same about assault and battery, but since rape is a violation of one's most sacred and personal parts, it's much worse than punching someone in the face.  think of the emotional turmoil rape victims deal with, the effects never go away.

people who beat their wives are generally people who "lose it" over minor things that set them off.  considering that many rape cases involve people lurking in stairwell/bushes or dropping GHB in someone's drink, it's clear that this is a more premediated crime, thus it is much worse than assault.

mbw

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #54 on: March 11, 2009, 02:50:36 PM »
You raise good issues mb-dub.  

I don't really subscribe to the idea that rape is 'just another' violent assault.  There is an inherent and explicit sexual aspect to rape that is not engendered in other forms of assault.  I think how sexuality (and its importance to one's identity and dignity) is viewed makes a monumental difference in the perceived damage of the act of rape.

I guess my sexuality is one of the most important parts of myself, and my autonomy over who I share my body with is incredibly important.  That may be why I view rape as an especially heinous assault.  It strips a part of that autonomy forever.

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

+1

it seems that most rapists commit their act as a means to exert control over another person.  it's grotesque, and not necessarily about getting off as much as it is about controlling and hurting another person.  you could say the same about assault and battery, but since rape is a violation of one's most sacred and personal parts, it's much worse than punching someone in the face.  think of the emotional turmoil rape victims deal with, the effects never go away.

Really?  Any more than someone else who is mugged for money or beaten due to racial/sexual orientation? Those are often premeditated as well.  And why is someone's genitals any more "personal and sacred" than any other part of them, especially like, well, their brain?  Having given birth to five children, through a process where literally dozens of different people have had access to those sacred and personal parts, I don't view them as so sacrosanct anymore.  But that's just me ;)

I think that much of the "emotional turmoil" is reflective of our societies stigmatization of rape, and the associated guilt burden placed upon the victim/survivor. 

people who beat their wives are generally people who "lose it" over minor things that set them off.  considering that many rape cases involve people lurking in stairwell/bushes or dropping GHB in someone's drink, it's clear that this is a more premediated crime, thus it is much worse than assault.

See above re: premeditation of other assault crimes.  And I disagree that spousal abuse is only a crime of "passion".  There are plenty of cases of premeditation there as well.
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Liz Lemon

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #55 on: March 11, 2009, 03:10:04 PM »
You raise good issues mb-dub.  

I don't really subscribe to the idea that rape is 'just another' violent assault.  There is an inherent and explicit sexual aspect to rape that is not engendered in other forms of assault.  I think how sexuality (and its importance to one's identity and dignity) is viewed makes a monumental difference in the perceived damage of the act of rape.

I guess my sexuality is one of the most important parts of myself, and my autonomy over who I share my body with is incredibly important.  That may be why I view rape as an especially heinous assault.  It strips a part of that autonomy forever.

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

+1

it seems that most rapists commit their act as a means to exert control over another person.  it's grotesque, and not necessarily about getting off as much as it is about controlling and hurting another person.  you could say the same about assault and battery, but since rape is a violation of one's most sacred and personal parts, it's much worse than punching someone in the face.  think of the emotional turmoil rape victims deal with, the effects never go away.

Really?  Any more than someone else who is mugged for money or beaten due to racial/sexual orientation? Those are often premeditated as well.  And why is someone's genitals any more "personal and sacred" than any other part of them, especially like, well, their brain?  Having given birth to five children, through a process where literally dozens of different people have had access to those sacred and personal parts, I don't view them as so sacrosanct anymore.  But that's just me ;)

I think that much of the "emotional turmoil" is reflective of our societies stigmatization of rape, and the associated guilt burden placed upon the victim/survivor. 

people who beat their wives are generally people who "lose it" over minor things that set them off.  considering that many rape cases involve people lurking in stairwell/bushes or dropping GHB in someone's drink, it's clear that this is a more premediated crime, thus it is much worse than assault.

See above re: premeditation of other assault crimes.  And I disagree that spousal abuse is only a crime of "passion".  There are plenty of cases of premeditation there as well.

to be perfectly honest, my computer is being a piece of crap this afternoon and i didn't get a warning that there were more posts before i submitted.  i wouldn't have posted after reading your earlier post otherwise. 

i strongly admire your strength after such a terrible ordeal and i am so glad that you seem to be doing well.  but as you said, it is just you.  i agree that society puts a huge stigma on rape and that has to deal with much of the emotional problems that victims.  i don't really foresee these stimgas ever going away, regardless of how rapists are punished.  i don't really think of my genitals as being particularly sacred for similar reasons to yours, but i'm still certain that if anyone forced himself upon me, i would feel extremely violated.  my brain is sacred to me, but i feel like i share that with everyone i interact with every day (in the sense that my brain allows me to function and interact with others).  i do not share my genitals with everyone  ;)

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #56 on: March 11, 2009, 03:30:08 PM »
You raise good issues mb-dub.  

I don't really subscribe to the idea that rape is 'just another' violent assault.  There is an inherent and explicit sexual aspect to rape that is not engendered in other forms of assault.  I think how sexuality (and its importance to one's identity and dignity) is viewed makes a monumental difference in the perceived damage of the act of rape.

I guess my sexuality is one of the most important parts of myself, and my autonomy over who I share my body with is incredibly important.  That may be why I view rape as an especially heinous assault.  It strips a part of that autonomy forever.

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

+1

it seems that most rapists commit their act as a means to exert control over another person.  it's grotesque, and not necessarily about getting off as much as it is about controlling and hurting another person.  you could say the same about assault and battery, but since rape is a violation of one's most sacred and personal parts, it's much worse than punching someone in the face.  think of the emotional turmoil rape victims deal with, the effects never go away.

people who beat their wives are generally people who "lose it" over minor things that set them off.  considering that many rape cases involve people lurking in stairwell/bushes or dropping GHB in someone's drink, it's clear that this is a more premediated crime, thus it is much worse than assault.

I agree with you that rape is about wanting to control and hurt another person, but that's one reason that it is so often a crime of passion, and often seriously intertwined with partner abuse. Once again, while these cases of waiting in the bushes and deliberately roofie-ing a stranger DO exist, they are a very small number of rapes, and most rapes have to do with some kind of pre-existing relationship/control/rage/power struggle thing going on. I think the focus on the rapist hiding in the bushes really misses the point of what is most often going on in a rape, and trivializes/ignores the majority of rapes that take place.

I'm pondering mbw's points. I think you are right, mbw, that it's very hard to extricate the psychological harm done to rape victims from our societal conditioning about what it means to be raped. The instinct to punish rape more severely comes from the fact that we perceive the harm to be greater, but I guess that's sort of complicated.

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mbw

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #57 on: March 11, 2009, 03:45:24 PM »
You raise good issues mb-dub.  

I don't really subscribe to the idea that rape is 'just another' violent assault.  There is an inherent and explicit sexual aspect to rape that is not engendered in other forms of assault.  I think how sexuality (and its importance to one's identity and dignity) is viewed makes a monumental difference in the perceived damage of the act of rape.

I guess my sexuality is one of the most important parts of myself, and my autonomy over who I share my body with is incredibly important.  That may be why I view rape as an especially heinous assault.  It strips a part of that autonomy forever.

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

+1

it seems that most rapists commit their act as a means to exert control over another person.  it's grotesque, and not necessarily about getting off as much as it is about controlling and hurting another person.  you could say the same about assault and battery, but since rape is a violation of one's most sacred and personal parts, it's much worse than punching someone in the face.  think of the emotional turmoil rape victims deal with, the effects never go away.

people who beat their wives are generally people who "lose it" over minor things that set them off.  considering that many rape cases involve people lurking in stairwell/bushes or dropping GHB in someone's drink, it's clear that this is a more premediated crime, thus it is much worse than assault.

I agree with you that rape is about wanting to control and hurt another person, but that's one reason that it is so often a crime of passion, and often seriously intertwined with partner abuse. Once again, while these cases of waiting in the bushes and deliberately roofie-ing a stranger DO exist, they are a very small number of rapes, and most rapes have to do with some kind of pre-existing relationship/control/rage/power struggle thing going on. I think the focus on the rapist hiding in the bushes really misses the point of what is most often going on in a rape, and trivializes/ignores the majority of rapes that take place.

I'm pondering mbw's points. I think you are right, mbw, that it's very hard to extricate the psychological harm done to rape victims from our societal conditioning about what it means to be raped. The instinct to punish rape more severely comes from the fact that we perceive the harm to be greater, but I guess that's sort of complicated.


I think we need to understand, historically and socially, WHY we view rape so differently, so much worse, than non-sexual assault.  Also, why do we treat the rape of women differently than we do that of men (and I'm not including minors.)  Why do we view the rape of a virgin as so much more terrible than the rape of a prostitute?  Why do we still so often hear (or even think), "well, she was asking for it"?  I think when we begin to have an honest dialogue, as a society, and not just roomfuls of feminists ;), about the patriarchal implications not only of our treatment of rape, but of the act itself, then we might be able to begin to de-stigmatize it, and perhaps even lead to a decrease in such assaults.

Rape is not common in many non-patriarchal societies, mine included.  Not surprisingly, the concepts of property and "chattel" are not common either (hence our problem with title-centric Euros.)  To address rape as a crime, and a societal problem, we need to look at it in its entirety, and not just from a punishment perspective.

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #58 on: March 11, 2009, 04:01:57 PM »
You raise good issues mb-dub.  

I don't really subscribe to the idea that rape is 'just another' violent assault.  There is an inherent and explicit sexual aspect to rape that is not engendered in other forms of assault.  I think how sexuality (and its importance to one's identity and dignity) is viewed makes a monumental difference in the perceived damage of the act of rape.

I guess my sexuality is one of the most important parts of myself, and my autonomy over who I share my body with is incredibly important.  That may be why I view rape as an especially heinous assault.  It strips a part of that autonomy forever.

You definitely have gotten me thinking much harder about the whole concept of rape though...I'll have to get back with more..

+1

it seems that most rapists commit their act as a means to exert control over another person.  it's grotesque, and not necessarily about getting off as much as it is about controlling and hurting another person.  you could say the same about assault and battery, but since rape is a violation of one's most sacred and personal parts, it's much worse than punching someone in the face.  think of the emotional turmoil rape victims deal with, the effects never go away.

people who beat their wives are generally people who "lose it" over minor things that set them off.  considering that many rape cases involve people lurking in stairwell/bushes or dropping GHB in someone's drink, it's clear that this is a more premediated crime, thus it is much worse than assault.


I'm pondering mbw's points. I think you are right, mbw, that it's very hard to extricate the psychological harm done to rape victims from our societal conditioning about what it means to be raped. The instinct to punish rape more severely comes from the fact that we perceive the harm to be greater, but I guess that's sort of complicated.

I don’t know if I agree with this, becuase it’s only relatively recently that we, as a evolved society, have to come think of rape more in terms of damage done to the victim than otherwise. For a long time in this country and many others rape was a property crime, the victim being more so the man than the women. The husband was harmed because of the rape of this wife, the father the rape of his daughter making both less “valuable” to the man. It was the man who could sue for the damage done to his wife by virtue of his property interest in her, rather than the women.

Likewise its only relatively recently that a man could be convicted of rape of a his wife. The idea of rape as we see it now if an evolution of the women receiving rights independent of men, while at the same time the law looking at them still as more helpless and in need to greater protection than men. We can see this in the less stringent legal penalties of male on male rape cases. They are not taken as seriously as male on female rape, nor are they as universally condemned (i.e. if you go to prison its just one of the things you have to expect could happen to you). In part because a man is thought of in this society as not being “damaged goods” after a rape because he was either over powered, in a situation where that was to be expected or he was “weak” as a man in the first place.

I think society’s universal condemnation of male on female rape, while more ambivalence to male on male rape comes from how we have in the past seen women as property, and now today see them as more frail and thus needing greater protection than their male rape counterparts (or even female on female rape, where some would argue no permanent “damage” has been done to the value “property” in society the way male on female rape is addressed).

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sheltron5000

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Re: Death sentences for rapists
« Reply #59 on: March 11, 2009, 04:03:38 PM »
I have to agree with MBW that there are a lot of issues surrounding rape as a special class of crimes.

I'd also like to point out that in terms of sentencing, there are issues with the punishment of rape that go beyond how much time someone spends in jail.

There is a really interesting case being debated in my state's supreme court dealing with how or when to remove someone's name from the sex offender list. I'll see if I can find a good link.

Also, someone posted about the classifications of rape situations. Again in my state, there can be no consent while under the influence of alcohol, and it really comes down to who brings charges forward first, does the unlucky person who has drunken sex twice get the death penalty? And how do we make up gradations of rape for sentencing?

To sum up my thinking, i guess i agree with MBW that rape shouldn't be treated any differently from other violent crimes. Perhaps as an extra count of assault or battery or whatever (<---0L exemption ;) ). The problem is that our society does see rape as a special kind of crime, one that is more damaging to the victim than other crimes. So the question is not really how do we change the criminal codes, but how do we bring about a change in social stigmas?
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