Get over it

July 24, 2006 at 4:09 pm (Society)

This is probably one of the sentences rape survivors encounter the most. So i think it’s worth being examined.

This phrase can have two meanings:

The first one is desperation. It’s not meant to hurt but shows that the person doesn’t know what to do to help the other one. It’s like telling someone with Anorexia nervosa to eat more – just won’t work cause it’s not that easy. Like a caring mother (or father) who sees that her daughter suffers though she tries everything to make her feel comfortable.

The second one is purely negative. It’s a sign of annoyance. The goal is not to make the survivor feel better but the person who says “Get over it”. The difference to the first meaning is obvious: The caring one wants the survivor and himself to feel better. It is in a way psychological abuse. The survivor’s welfare is not regarded as important as your own. Is the survivor supposed to feel guilty due to the fact of “annoying” another person? The answer is clearly No – If the person feels annoyed he should either leave or try to help instead of trying to suppress other people’s feelings due to laziness and/or a lack of respect. Why respecting someone who doesn’t respect you and cares for your well-being? This would be nothing else than an abusive relationship!

Sure, sometimes it’s hard to determine which meaning “Get over it” has but i think it’s worth thinking about it instead of just feeling bad. Whenever someone tells you to “Get over it” (Or “Why don’t you just forget about it”, etc.) with the second meaning you should know that there’s somebody annoying – the guy who told you to get over it.

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ITALIA!!!!!!

July 9, 2006 at 9:21 pm (Uncategorized)

Italy

Congratulations to Italy!

Football Worldchampion 2006 – the 4th title!!!

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Taser her only if she’s helpless

July 8, 2006 at 9:34 am (Crime)

A nice video, isn’t it? A bunch of men surrounding a woman who’s lying on the ground. All the men are actually policeman and one uses a taser gun on her though she’s already restrained to the ground and helpless.

In my opinion, this is a perfect display of male dominance over women. I guess the guy using the taser gun had a hard-on while she was suffering.

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Brutal Rape

June 2, 2006 at 10:38 am (Society)

"Brutal rape" is quite an interesting expression, isn't it?

But this expression implies the existence of a kind of rape which is not brutal or violent. What's that supposed to be? Tender or mild rape maybe?

But rape is always brutal because that's what rape is about. It's physical violence and therefore per definitionem brutal. But people are rather referring to the victim being not "only" raped but also beaten up. As if a rape was less severe if the survivor wasn't smashed. 

But this is in a way typical. If you don't see something you're unlikely to believe it (well, there are some exceptions to the rule, of course). If the victim has haematomas all over her face and body and broken bones it's hard to deny that a crime was committed. But not if she seems okay.

It's the same with disablement and diseases – Imagine someone confined to a wheel chair and someone else who can walk and looks just like anybody else. And now both show their passes for severely disabled persons. Who will be regarded to be more credible? The one in the wheel chair of course though the other one may have a malignant tumor destroying his/her whole body. But you don't see it, that's the point.

And now imagine a stranger with a gun/knife or something else forcing his victim to do everything he wants – raping her. She will let him do that. She'll do anything because she has to fear for her life if she doesn't. Does that sound like something you could call "soft rape" or something? And what if nobody believes her due to the lack of physical evidence (like the rapist using condoms or even forcing his victim to take a shower). Like she was only wanting to gain your attention. We won't go further with our example and maybe assume the rapist to be a good friend or relative of the survivor.

Believing the survivor is a hard thing to do for some people. That's because compassion costs energy and you will have to identify with the victim in a way. But who wants to? Why do you think that action movies are so successful? You sit there and watch your super heron showing no fear and making mincemeat out of the bad guys. Nobody wants to feel vulnerably or insecure. Sure, if it was "brutal rape" denying the facts is too much of super-session of the reality for most of us but not so if there are no visible signs.

We want to feel strong and not think about the dangers that surround us though they are everywhere so we have to find other explanations in order to live in peace. Like blaming the victim:

1. If she was raped it was her fault. You know, like dressing like a slut, etc. i won't repeat all this crap here.

2. If a boy/man is the survivor, but wait – He's either a prison inmate so hardly someone who arouses empathy or we just forget about the men raping men outside of prisons (and rapists of men are not necessarily homosexuals as you should know. rape is not about sex).The chance of being raped by a man outside of a prison is indeed existent. I remember a case where a man with a gun forced another one to take of his clothes (but the victim was able to escape). There has even been an episode of CSI: Miami covering this topic (though it was merely the final surprise and nothing more). The last one is a woman raping a boy. Also easy to deny since boys are regarded as the active parts in a sexual relationship and women have to be the caring motherly sitting hen. No problem to leave those aspects aside.

Aldous Huxley : "Maybe this world is another planet's hell."

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Once upon a time in America: Noodles was a pacifist?

May 27, 2006 at 3:39 pm (Films)

I recently watched the film again – a real masterpiece by Sergio Leone with Robert de Niro acting very well!

But then i read something in a lexicon about Noodles (Robert de Niro) and Max (James Woods) being antipodes. Max was called a materialistic and calculating delinquent while loyalty and and friendship were more important for Noodles. He is supposed to be the “romantic type of gangster” who doesn’t utilize violence systematically. Violence was rather a sign of desperate helplesness. The author goes on presenting us evidence for this hypothesis. He calls raping Deborah a pained cry for help due to the fact that Noodles couldn’t hold his only love.

I have to disagree with those assumptions (though he’s right about Max). Noodles is not romantic at all but merely possesses another point of view than Max does. Noodles is in fact much more pragmatic than Max is. Remember the scene after they killed Joe (the guy they stole the diamonds for) and Noodles makes his point clear: Frankie Minaldi (Joe Pesci) told them to kill Joe but next time he may tell Noodles to kill Max.
So Noodles sees through the mechanisms of this business. There’s no proof for Noodles being a pacifist. But he is rather more calculating than Max and doesn’t trust in Frankie Minaldi (and who would trust this guy). Max gave the answer to Noodles’ problem (the scene in the hospital with James Conway O’Donnell (played by Treat Williams) from the trade union) and the answer is that Noodles never really grew up and attached to the changed circumstances which is quite clear considering him being incarcerated for such a long time. This is not always a disadvantage as you can see.

Noodles is far from being nice guy. And he is even the most brutal one from all of them. You see him killing four people and raping two women.
The first rape occurs during the diamond robbery where Noodles rapes Carol (Tuesday Weld) who then procedes to become Max’s girlfriend. I’m not sure what to make of this scene. When she encounters the four gansters later she merely seems to dislike Noodles repulsing him due to the fact that he already had the “pleasure”. I think it became clear to the audience that the “sexual intercourse” was not consensual and therefore rape. I think it would be interesting to hear other opinions on this rape scene.
The second rape scene where Noodles rapes Deborah in the car is of much more significance for the storyline. You can interpret it the way the author of the article from the lexicon did but i think that this was merely an excuse and a try to make the movie’s storyline fit his assumption. While Noodles was attracted to her and vice versa she obviously never wanted to make out with him or go further in any way. Noodles loved her so he tried to please her and came up with the tacky candlelight dinner but without success. Then she wanted to go away, move to Hollywood and leave him – Noodles. Now he had waited so long but still was rejected. So he goes on “teaching her a lesson”. Cause Noodles gets what he wants: The silver watch, Peggy, Bugsy’s death, business without having a boss (though it’s not quite clear. Frankie Minaldi visits James Conway in the hospital but all the other scenes have been left out) and even the 1 million dollar (though he payed a high price). I even remember him saying something about forcing Deborah after she rejected him again (during their childhood).
So i think that the author’s theory was refuted. It’s not that kind of a superficial dichotomy and Noodles first rape was everything but a cry for help.

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Sex-for-asylum Scandal: Exploitation of a rape victim

May 21, 2006 at 1:27 pm (Crime)

The Guardian has an article about chief immigration officer James Dawute (53) hassling the rape victim Tanya (18) from Zimbabwe for about two weeks. She seeks asylum and he wanted to help her with her application if she had sex with him. There are also two videos from their meeting (14.1 Mb each).

Dawute, who was suspended yesterday: 'She's a vulnerable rape victim,' Dawute said. 'I wouldn't want to have sex with her. I'm the father of four kids.'

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Blame’em 4-ever

April 19, 2006 at 6:05 pm (Crime, Society)

Ever seen the Russian film „Lilja 4-ever“? It’s a good movie with a great leading actress. It’s about a girl who’s forced into prostitution in a foreign country (Sweden) after believing some guy (young, seemingly) attractive that she was heading towards some work on a farm. The cajolery was quite ridiculous (reaping vegetables during winter) and she ends up as a sex slave.

I don’t want to tell you everything about the film and it’s not that I knew this film by heart (I saw the movie a long time ago), you may want to watch the film (I really recommend it).

What I want to talk about is neither the film itself nor sex slavery in Eastern Europe or generally around the world but the reaction of many people hearing/reading/watching stories of girls/women who hit the hay.

The first reaction is to thrust it away by claiming them to be fully responsible for what happened to them due to their stupidity. But I think that this behaviour is highly unfair and shows the lack of will to think about it and to look into the difficulty those girls and women faced.

Just try to put yourself in one of these girls’ position: The town you live in is bedraggled, there’s nobody who takes care of you, poverty is the norm, your adjacencies don’t motivate you to strive for higher education and there hardly any prospects of ever getting a job which enables you to leave this dull environment or a job at all.

You are not well-educated and all that is left to you are dreams of a better future without an idea how to achieve this goal. Nobody really tried to cultivate your mental abilities.

You are NOT sitting at home in your middleclass household, graduated from high-school and went to college. You DON’T know about the problem of slave trade and all you want to DO is to turn over a new leaf.

No one really knows what’s going on in those girls and women who fall for the slave traders before the human trafficking occurs except for them selves and it’s only presumptuous to judge them for what is happening to them afterwards.

And you should never forget that even the most preposterous stupidity is in no way decreasing the guilt of slave traders. Nobody deserves the destiny of those girls and women and the greatest fatuity involved in this whole issue is putting the blame on the victims!

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Outgunned: Up against the MRA

April 17, 2006 at 9:27 pm (Crime, Society)

MRA? He probably intended to write NRA, didn’t he? No, I didn’t! MRA is the abbreviation of “Men’s Rights Activist”.

Some men consider themselves the losers of the feminist movement. There are actually some problems like mothers preferred over fathers when it comes to custody battles even if the father may provide better living conditions for the child. Not that it’s always like that but it shouldn’t be concealed.

But a real MRA doesn’t let reality slow him down. So he proceeds to fight windmills wherever he encounters them.

MRAs blame women for everything.

Sure, the evergreen is: “She asked for it” or even worse “If you ask for it, you deserve it” – a real classic to make excuses for raping a woman but for beating her up, too. You know, everyone is to blame except for the rapist. She was either dressed the wrong way, drank too much, “flirted” with the rapist to-be or just enjoyed freedom (but only men are allowed to in a MRA’s mind).

Another one is: “He didn’t really rape her. He took advantage of her”. What an innocent guy – he’s not a brutal rapist but merely a rascal. Well, but this is still not stupid enough for a hardcore MRA.

No, the woman not only asked for it or deserved it, it’s even worse in some people’s perception: She used her beauty (“provocative beauty”) as a weapon against those poor guys. So they were just defending.

Some MRAs go even further. Can you still go further than giving the victim the responsibility for the crime? Yes, you can! Richard demonstrates special impertinence:

What strikes me as peculiar is prosecutors’ reluctance to admit that innocent men go to prison due to false rape allegations. We get the normal platitudes about them having been very “careful” in their investigation, and how the woman is so “very brave”, but none of them want to deal with the actual statistics and just how uncertain it is that the vast majority of reports are actually rapes.[…] And this is what concerns me, the apparent complete lack of curiosity about the true number of false reports by those charged with prosecuting rape. When I broach this subject with folks in law enforcement it’s as if I’m challenging some religious doctrine; something deep in their soul is threatened by the very possibility that false reports might be significantly higher than they believe. The possibility for them is off the table, because they are "very careful", the woman have been "through so much", and we are lucky to have such "brave" women "come foreword". That's all I get. Finally, it would have been instructional if you told us what the accused rapists go through as the result of the accusation, and what their lives look like afterward if they are eventually acquitted.[…]

Richard goes on presenting “evidence” for false accusations but it’s not over yet.

My point is that it is extremely easy to find rape acquitals, much more so than other crimes. That may be because the nature of the crime's focus on consent (and therefore intent). Absent strong evidence of contemporanous physical abuse and/or an eye witness, it becomes a he said/she said matter that is very much open to abuse.[…] If a certain type of crime is known to be more open to false reporting than other types of crimes, than this is an extremely important fact that I believe public policy should take into account.[…]

Richard goes the whole hog. All this claptrap about responsibility is not enough. He doesn’t even bother to make up excuses for rapists. He claims that rape was more open to false accusations than other crimes. He really hit rock bottom!

Here’s a nice site with an interview presenting a real MRA to us.

The world is not perfect. And women aren’t either. Men sometimes turn out to be disadvantaged and if this is the case they have all the right to complain about it. But those MRAs lost every sense of proportion. It’s not that feminism threatened men and society and equality meant discrimination of men. The opposite is true. It’s not a fight between the sexes but aspiring toward a better society in which nobody’s being oppressed. But many men don’t get that. They think it was some kind of competition with them being on the edge of a loss. The elimination of inequity is a win-win situation. I know that this may sound quite idealistic. I’m not an idealist but I just wanted to make this clear.

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Women in chess

April 17, 2006 at 12:23 pm (Chess, Society)

If you have a look at the FIDE Top 100 you’ll find just one female chessplayer – Judit Polgar (2700+ and Top 10 strength but caring for her little child). The current FIDE Top 100 ends with Evgeny Vladimirov rated 2616. The second best female chesplayer in the world is Koneru Humpy with an Elo of 2548 (Zsuzsa Polgar (2577) and Xie Jun (2573) dropped out of the list).

The question remains why there are so few strong female Grandmasters in comparison to the tons of male GMs?

A brief history of women in chess can be found here.

There was Vera Menchik competing with men and doing quite well and then you had to wait until Nona Gapriandashvili (sixties) and Maia Chiburdanidze (seventies) came up. High level chess could be observed when the Polgar phenomenon made an impact on the World of chess. Zsuzsa being the first woman to ever achieve the men’s GM title and Judit breaking Bobby Fischer’s record and becoming the world’s youngest GM at 15 years and 5 months of age in 1991. Zsofia’s stellar performance rating of 2879 (or 2928 depending on the source) in Rome 1989 shall not be forgotten.

Judit Polgar beat anybody. Spassky and Karpov in matches (Polgar was the first woman to ever beat the world-champion in a match), Kasparov in 2002 and Topalov. Only Kramnik is still missing. She’s also responsible for the best performance of a female chessplayer ever by coming a close second in Wijk an der Zee 2003, ½ behind Anand and without a single loss! She won so many tournaments (and doesn’t compete in “women only”-events) that I won’t list them here.

But the question remains: Are women capable of playing chess as good as men do? Was Judit Polgar nothing but a fluke?

Many strong chessplayers like Kasparov and Kramnik and others like Nigel Short commented derogatory on female chess (Judit taught them a lesson, especially Short who has a score of 3:12 against her). But there’s still a discussion going on.

I don’t think that there’s a difference between men and women concerning their ability to play chess. In my opinion you need a strong basis and long tradition to produce Super-GMs. But that’s still not enough. And the basis for female chessplayers is still going so we’ll probably have to wait for some time. Take Germany as an example: Their chess association has 236000 members and their strongest chessplayers are: Arkadi Naiditsch, Artur Yusupov, Alexander Graf (former Nenashev), Rustem Dautov and Igor Khenkin (only Christopher Lutz, Jan Gustafsson and Dr. Hübner break ranks). Or have a look at the United States with Onishuk, Kaidanov, Goldin, Shabalov, Gulko (Zsuzsa Polgar became an US citizen also). But the strongest US player is Hikaru Nakamura.

So what I wanted to show that it’s extremely hard to produce those Super GMs even if there are lot of people playing chess and with many strong players around. Just compare the rate of female chessplayers in chess clubs to the one of male chessplayers. I think it will become clear that it has nothing to do with the gender itself (some people really think that women were inferior to men concerning mental abilities). The large basis is necessary but the women lack this large basis so it's not surprising that Polgar was the only one to ever cross 2600 (and 2700).

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Evolutionary Psychology and Rape

April 13, 2006 at 9:32 pm (Crime, Science, Society)

I just found the following article on the site of the centre for evolutionary psychology:

Is rape an adaptation?

No one knows, nor is there currently enough evidence to decide the question either way. A better question is whether or not a rape adaptation in humans is conceivable. Here, I think the answer is clearly yes. That rape might be an adaptation is a reasonable hypothesis to pursue, and the proper framework is intersexual conflict. Nature is rife with violent conflict–conflict between members of different species (such as predators and prey), conflict between members of the same species (such as males competing for females), and conflict between males and females (such as the killing of offspring by unrelated males during harem takeovers). Further, many organisms clearly possess adaptations to successfully engage in violent strategies (e.g., fangs and claws). There is no principled reason why animal nervous systems could not be specialized for coercive mating, including rape. In humans, the benefits of rape for males may have outweighed the costs during the EEA in the following circumstances:

High status males may be have been able to coerce matings with little fear of reprisal.

Low status women (e.g., orphans) may have been particularly vulnerable to being raped
because males need not have feared reprisals from the woman's family.

During war, raping enemy women may have had few negative repercussions.

Men who were low status, who were likely to remain low status, and who had few
opportunities to invest in kin may have realized reproductive benefits that outweighed the
considerable costs (e.g., reprisal by the woman's family).

Whether human males possess psychological adaptations for rape will only be answered by careful studies seeking evidence for such cognitive specializations. To not seek such evidence is like failing to search a suspect for a concealed weapon. It is extremely likely that human males, like males of many other species, have both physiological as well as psychological adaptations for successfully engaging in violent strategies. Rape may well be one such strategy. However–and this is important–adaptations provide organisms with special abilities. Rape is a behavior. It could easily result (for example) from the ability of individuals to use physical aggression to achieve any one of a number of goals, including sex; it may not require any cognitive specializations whatsoever. In order for a rape adaptation to evolve, there would have to have been cognitive problems involved in successfully raping someone in the EEA that were specific to rape, and did not generally occur in other aggressive encounters. It is not entirely obvious what these problems might have been. Perhaps identifying circumstances that were propitious for rape, as outlined above, would be one example.

More generally, the human sciences may be forced to consider that individuals are innately capable of doing bad things.

First things first, i was surprised that the term "habituation" was not used in this article.

The "benefits" of raping:
Primarily they talk about mating: A man rapes a woman and impregnates her thereby so that the "rape-gene" is given to the child. Reproduction's successful.

But I'm not convinced. The chance of becoming pregnant after one sexual intercourse is very low (i didn't find any figures but who would disagree?) and the rapist probably doesn't know about the woman's menstrual cycle. If pack raping comes to your mind – the chance of the woman being impregnated rises with the number of rapists but the chance for every single rapist remains the same. Ok, if you consider the rape-gene to be impetus then this may even make a bit of sense. Some kind of altruism would be involved because what's the benefit of the guys who participate but aren't those fathers to-be? It would be better for them to rape alone because there's no competition (you're reminded of the text: such as the killing of offspring by unrelated males during harem takeovers). And there would still be no explanation for any other rape than pack rape. The other problem would be the mother's relationship to the child and the chances of surviving would probably be lower (look at circumstance Nr.2). A woman who suffers from a trauma and with no father to care for the child… A stable relationship is by far a more successful strategy than raping could ever be. The development in medical science which led to abortions not being kind of a butchery anymore should have had a major impact on the success of an alleged rape-gene also.

Rape is a way of wielding power and this shows that there's an intention so the mating being a benefit of rape becomes even more unlikely. They provide us with another possible reason – a violent intersexual conflict. Using rape to domineer the women? This idea is not new (Susan Brownmiller's "Against our will: Men, women and rape" or Buchwald's, Fletcher's and Roth's "Transforming a rape culture" perhaps) but linking it to evolutionary psychology is just speculation. I don't think that this needs a subconscious instigation to be case.

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