Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cultural blindness

Front page of the Herald Sun newspaper today is the story of a man found guilty of rape being granted a retrial. This is how the case is reported:

Getachew, 28, was accused of raping the woman as they shared a mattress at a mutual friend's house in Melbourne in June 2007.

The County Court was told the woman, who was drunk on champagne and bourbon after a night out, had twice pushed him away before passing out.

She later awakened to find him raping her, it was alleged.

Getachew allegedly told the victim he had pressed against her for warmth and later told a friend the woman had "pushed back" into him, causing penetration.

The judge jailed Getachew for at least 33 months.

I'm going to be accused of blaming the victim here, even though that's not my aim. The point I want to make is a larger one, that our culture seems to have lost the plot when it comes to understanding male and female interaction.

A hundred years ago, it wouldn't have been uncommon for young men and women to be chaperoned when out together. Today, a drunk woman is put to bed for the night on a mattress with a young man - with predictably disastrous results.

I'm not entirely sure what has gone wrong. Is it that our liberal culture refuses to recognise distinctions between the sexes? Is it that no-one wants to be seen to be limiting choice by warning that some choices are imprudent? Is it that modern birth control has made the issue seem less pressing?

The incident struck me, I suppose, because it seems to me to be a sign of a culture that is less able to deal with things as they really are.

13 comments:

  1. The woman should not have placed herself in such an unsafe situation..
    An imprudent choice? Of course..

    Feminism says otherwise though..

    A woman should be able to walk down a road in a skimpy outfit without, impunity.. get drunk and pass out, without impunity.. accompany a man back to his house then knock him him back just before penetration., without impunity..

    I think it is more of a situation where women have been encouraged to do as they feel, to be empowered.. And to hell with the consequences, to the detriment of the guys.

    The poor buggers are damned if they do or damned if they don't..

    The woman got drunk and passed out, the man took advantage of the situation.

    A situation that she willingly placed herself in. He was probably drunk as well.

    The woman gets no sympathy from me..

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  2. Its a denial of reality by the women. Reality is a scary thing obviously and gets in the way of the life you want to lead. This doesn't excuse the guy obviously, but its a situation that shouldn't be taking place.

    If women are protected by the state in all their rights, then it stands to reason that nothing should be able to happen to them regardless almost of the situation. This case would no doubt be used as a basis for calls for tougher penalties, or for more prevention measure, eg more anti-rape training for men in schools. The state shouldn't be seen as an all purpose insurer for stupid decisions though.

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  3. This doesn't excuse the guy obviously, but it's a situation that shouldn't be taking place.

    That's a good, succinct way of putting it.

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  4. "The state shouldn't be seen as an all purpose insurer for stupid decisions though. "

    Very true Jesse.

    The woman was stupid so, the man pays the price?

    Come on now, Mark. Lets not pussyfoot around here.

    I'll be blunt... I can just roll over and touch hubby(inadvertently) in bed.. and voila...
    If you get my drift.

    What in hell is a woman doing drunk in a bed with a man sleeping next to her.. You know where I am going with this don't you?

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  5. I'll be blunt... I can just roll over and touch hubby(inadvertently) in bed.. and voila...If you get my drift.

    I understand perfectly. And your comment shows that you as a woman are well able to understand just how responsive men can be to the female body.

    It just confirms for me that not everyone wants to deal with reality as it is - and not just the drunk woman in this case, but also the man and the mutual friend whose house they were at. Three people who thought it reasonable for a man to share a mattress with a drunk woman.

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  6. "Getachew allegedly told the victim he had pressed against her for warmth and later told a friend the woman had "pushed back" into him, causing penetration."

    Come on, who's going to believe nonsense like this? If this is the best explanation he has, it's obvious he's guilty.

    Kathy: "The woman was stupid so, the man pays the price?"

    If you forget to lock your front door and I come in in the middle of the night and murder you, should I be found not guilty because you were too stupid to lock the front door? Apparently so!

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  7. This is a good example of what the Catholic Church is talking about when it commands Catholics to avoid sin AND THE OCCASION OF SIN. Especially when the reason is impaired, as when drunk on bourbon and champaign, the will is directed by the passions, and the passions respond to the occasion.

    This links to Mark's theme of liberal autonomy in more ways than one. Not only did the woman assume that her "decision" to crash on the mattress would have no consequences other than those she consented to, but she also assumed the bleary lout beside her was a self-directing, rational being.

    A college student told me a similar story some years ago. She and a boy she liked and been drinking, and then climbed into bed together naked, with NO INTENTION of doing anything but stare at the ceiling and talk about their dreams.

    An occasion of sin is like a rip tide. Once you're in it, you're going to go where it wants to take you unless you're perfectly rational (know which way to swim) and have a strong will. We all know what happens to a drunk in a rip tide.

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  8. An occasion of sin is like a rip tide. Once you're in it, you're going to go where it wants to take you unless you're perfectly rational (know which way to swim) and have a strong will. We all know what happens to a drunk in a rip tide.

    That's well put.

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  9. I was going to reply to anon's nonsense, but I see JMSmith has saved me the trouble. :)

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  10. Mark, if you want to keep a civilised standard of discourse on this blog you should not tolerate comments like the anon troll above.

    It's amazing that some people can't even disagree politely any more.

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  11. not the same anon,

    I've just checked the blog this morning and was surprised to see anon's comments. I've deleted them and a couple of replies (sorry James). Kathy, apologies for the language used toward you.

    Anon, two points. First, I'm happy for you to post comments but I don't accept the use of foul language at the site, nor do I accept abusive attacks on other commenters.

    Second, you're misinterpreting the point of the post. I myself wasn't attempting to address the legal aspects of what took place, i.e. to what extent the man was guilty and what sentence he should receive. I left that part alone.

    I was addressing a fault within Western culture that the three people involved (the friend, the drunk woman and the man) all thought it reasonable for a drunk woman to share a mattress for the night with a young man. This would not have happened in other cultures or at other times, when people would have been more aware of the negative consequences that might result.

    I understand that Kathy wrote one line "The woman was stupid so the man pays the price" which does shift sympathy from the woman to the man. I wouldn't have put it this way myself and you could have opened up a debate about this.

    But I don't see how you can reasonably jump to the idea that nobody in Western culture cares about rape. It's been a subjet of much debate on both the left and the right for at least 30 years.

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  12. The issue is not just the occasion of sin, although that is a big part of it. Matters of self restraint aren't encouraged these days, both as a virtue and as something respectable in themselves. What is encouraged is being "brave" enough to gratify your senses to the greatest degree that you can get away with. Obviously this guy played that game and went too far.

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