Rape

Was it always a crime?

Discussions about society in general and social activity.

Moderators: Calilasseia, ADParker

Rape

#1  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 1:45 am

The gangrape in Delhi last week made me think about this criminal act. It certainly could not have always been criminal. Wiki has only sketchy details but it does suggest that consent had nothing do with rape when it first became a crime. Rape was a crime because the victim was a man whose chattel (the woman) was harmed. Put differently, rape became a crime initially only as a result of humans organizing the society in a certain way; otherwise known as patriarchy today.

This is where I speculate. Patriarchy established itself only at a certain time in our long history. It's probable that we had periods prior to such a patriarchal society when men didn't have that privileged role in the community. It's also probable that men were still forcibly submitting women to perform sex with them. What was the status of such non consensual sex? Did they even have a vocabulary for such deed? Is it possible that women suffered forced sex like we suffer toothache today - without guilt?
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Rape

#2  Postby Ironclad » Dec 26, 2012 2:59 am

The male may have always dominated our war-loving species. Dunno, anyway.. Hammurabi's Code of Laws: 130 &154. Any use?
http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/h ... awcode.htm
For Van Youngman - see you amongst the stardust, old buddy

"If there was no such thing as science, you'd be right " - Sean Lock

"God ....an inventive destroyer" - Broks
User avatar
Ironclad
RS Donator
 
Name: Nudge-Nudge
Posts: 23921
Age: 52
Male

Country: Wink-Wink
Indonesia (id)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#3  Postby Agrippina » Dec 26, 2012 4:38 am

I've always thought that Hammurabi's code was the basis of Jewish law, although the Hebrews were far more patriarchal in their attitude towards women. It's interesting to see that his code doesn't put the blame for it on the woman:

130. If a man has ravished another's betrothed wife, who is a virgin, while still living in her father's house, and has been caught in the act, that man shall be put to death; the woman shall go free.

154. If a man has committed incest with his daughter, that man shall be banished from the city.


155. If a man has betrothed a maiden to his son and his son has known her, and afterward the man has lain in her bosom, and been caught, that man shall be strangled and she shall be cast into the water.


156. If a man has betrothed a maiden to his son, and his son has not known her, and that man has lain in her bosom, he shall pay her half a mina of silver, and shall pay over to her whatever she brought from her father's house, and the husband of her choice shall marry her.


157. If a man, after his father's death, has lain in the bosom of his mother, they shall both of them be burnt together.


158. If a man, after his father's death, be caught in the bosom of his step-mother, who has borne children, that man shall be cut off from his father's house.


I wasn't aware of the word "rape" until it was spoken about in the news and especially in my own society, it was only spoken about when it was a rape of a "white" woman by a "black" man. It was a death penalty offence, but not if the man was "white." It seemed to me that patriarchy in our society made the law ambivalent about it and the belief that women mostly "asked for it" made it difficult to get a conviction, except of course if it was across the race lines, but not if the victim was of an "inferior" race. In our society, rape within marriage has only recently been declared a crime. The attitude having been that agreeing to marriage was also agreeing to sex. Something that bothers me when I read fiction written in the 1960s is that rape by a husband is seen as his being "dominant" and that the wife isn't revolted by it. In an episode of Dynasty, the main male character, Blake Carrington, rapes his younger wife, without any negative consequences, and that was in the 1980s.

There's still an attitude of patriarchy in most African societies. I've heard women I know say that they aren't allowed to wear trousers because the men in their society see it as an enticement and rape as a consequence.

Also rape was a standard behaviour in conquest. Men "raped and pillaged" historically when they conquered other societies and the worst that could happen was that a man could be punished if it was seen as "unprovoked" and even then, the man would have to marry the woman if he was able to do so , so yes, I would say that its being a "crime" universally, since the time of Hammurabi, is a fairly modern phenomenon.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#4  Postby Doubtdispelled » Dec 26, 2012 10:09 am

advaitya wrote:Is it possible that women suffered forced sex like we suffer toothache today - without guilt?

What does does guilt have to do with being raped?
Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

― Mark Twain
Doubtdispelled
 
Posts: 11836

Print view this post

Re: Rape

#5  Postby Agrippina » Dec 26, 2012 10:59 am

Doubtdispelled wrote:
advaitya wrote:Is it possible that women suffered forced sex like we suffer toothache today - without guilt?

What does does guilt have to do with being raped?


I missed that.

I don't think that rape can be compared to toothache. The pain of a toothache is easily relieved and easily forgotten. I doubt that anyone ever forgets, or gets over, being raped.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#6  Postby mindhack » Dec 26, 2012 11:10 am

Doubtdispelled wrote:
advaitya wrote:Is it possible that women suffered forced sex like we suffer toothache today - without guilt?

What does does guilt have to do with being raped?

Maybe advaitya meant to say "shame".
(Ignorance --> Mystery) < (Knowledge --> Awe)
mindhack
 
Name: Van Amerongen
Posts: 2668
Male

Country: Zuid-Holland
Netherlands (nl)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#7  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 11:33 am

Doubtdispelled wrote:
advaitya wrote:Is it possible that women suffered forced sex like we suffer toothache today - without guilt?

What does does guilt have to do with being raped?


Visit the JSTOR network or any other respectable psychology journal and you'll discover reams of study documenting rape victims experiencing both guilt (blaming themselves) and shame. I am surprised (and disappointed) despite being a woman you singularly fail to empathize with rape victims who've historically been conditioned to blame themselves.
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Rape

#8  Postby Beatsong » Dec 26, 2012 11:39 am

advaitya wrote:This is where I speculate. Patriarchy established itself only at a certain time in our long history. It's probable that we had periods prior to such a patriarchal society when men didn't have that privileged role in the community.


I'm not convinced by that. "Patriarchy" is a notoriously loosely used and loosely defined word, but it seems to be ultimately based on the superior physical strength of men, allowing them to make women do what they're told, both individually and in terms of society as a whole. Since that imbalance of physical strength has, as far as we know, always existed, there is no reason to believe that the expressions of force (such as rape) arising from it have ever not existed.

And I'm not aware of any historical evidence of "pre-patriarchal" societies. There was some speculation about this by people like Robert Graves a long time ago, but AFAIK it's all been debunked historically.
User avatar
Beatsong
 
Posts: 7027

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#9  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 11:41 am

Agrippina wrote:

I missed that.

I don't think that rape can be compared to toothache. The pain of a toothache is easily relieved and easily forgotten. I doubt that anyone ever forgets, or gets over, being raped.


You're imposing the extant norms and discourses on rape that shape your current feelings and attitudes on women who were subjected to forcible sex before they came to be seen as chattels. Did those women have the ideological sophistication to separate a rape from toothache?
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#10  Postby tuco » Dec 26, 2012 11:42 am

No, it certainly could not have always been criminal as there have not always been criminal code. So much for the obvious. But that is not what this thread is about, I guess.

Going from criminal act to guilt or shame, or the other way around(?), indicates inquiry about justification for criminalization, and for that study of history and law could indeed offer some insight. Then one could complement such knowledge with examples from animal kingdom, say some other great monkeys, and conclude that non-consensual sex is nothing extraordinary within groups of animals like us. Seeing whales to copulate, for example, it is hard to imagine that non-consensual sex among them is even possible.

But what is it good for? What kind of point does it make? If there is none and this is just a curiosity, then the answer to the question is trivial: Non-consensual sex is, by definition, a violation. Society decides what to criminalize and whatnot, regardless of any guilt or shame involved. Whether females, thousands years ago, considered rape to be like toothache is like asking whether males considered rape to be like picking apples from a tree. It tells us nothing about anything.
tuco
 
Posts: 15550

Print view this post

Re: Rape

#11  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 11:56 am

tuco wrote:
But what is it good for? What kind of point does it make? If there is none and this is just a curiosity, then the answer to the question is trivial: Non-consensual sex is, by definition, a violation. Society decides what to criminalize and whatnot, regardless of any guild or shame involved. Whether females, thousands years ago, considered rape to be like toothache is like asking whether males considered rape to be like picking apples from a tree. It tells us nothing about anything.


Saying that society decides what to criminalize is trivial. Like beatsong noted about patriarchy, society is too big an umbrella word to usefully illuminate the causes for criminalization of rape. A society has its own inner logic and power structures and serves specific interests. My intrigue was about what kind of society would decide to outlaw rape. I am hypothesizing that welfare of women was not what led to it being outlawed. I am further suggesting that rape became a crime after women came to be seen as chattels belonging to men.
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#12  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 11:58 am

To expound further, the way rape was outlawed first positioned man as the victim whose property was wrongfully desecrated.
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#13  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 12:07 pm

Beatsong wrote:
advaitya wrote:This is where I speculate. Patriarchy established itself only at a certain time in our long history. It's probable that we had periods prior to such a patriarchal society when men didn't have that privileged role in the community.


I'm not convinced by that. "Patriarchy" is a notoriously loosely used and loosely defined word, but it seems to be ultimately based on the superior physical strength of men, allowing them to make women do what they're told, both individually and in terms of society as a whole. Since that imbalance of physical strength has, as far as we know, always existed, there is no reason to believe that the expressions of force (such as rape) arising from it have ever not existed.

And I'm not aware of any historical evidence of "pre-patriarchal" societies. There was some speculation about this by people like Robert Graves a long time ago, but AFAIK it's all been debunked historically.


Patriarchy need not be THAT confusing for our purposes here. I have assumed it to be a social set up that privileges male interests.

Granting the fact that men were always the physically stronger beings, it does not imply they were always aware of this advantage and put it to use to subjugate women. Nor does it imply that owing to their superior strength they started viewing women as quasi properties.
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#14  Postby tuco » Dec 26, 2012 12:13 pm

advaitya wrote:
tuco wrote:
But what is it good for? What kind of point does it make? If there is none and this is just a curiosity, then the answer to the question is trivial: Non-consensual sex is, by definition, a violation. Society decides what to criminalize and whatnot, regardless of any guild or shame involved. Whether females, thousands years ago, considered rape to be like toothache is like asking whether males considered rape to be like picking apples from a tree. It tells us nothing about anything.


Saying that society decides what to criminalize is trivial. Like beatsong noted about patriarchy, society is too big an umbrella word to usefully illuminate the causes for criminalization of rape. A society has its own inner logic and power structures and serves specific interests. My intrigue was about what kind of society would decide to outlaw rape. I am hypothesizing that welfare of women was not what led to it being outlawed. I am further suggesting that rape became a crime after women came to be seen as chattels belonging to men.


While I am not sure what kind of interests society serves, we both seem to agree that we can only speculate. I am lead to believe that societies are the key to outlawing rape as more than one implies interaction by definition, and that is trivial yes, its on wiki. Whether welfare, belief or pragmatic reasons for example led to outlawing rape is impossible to determine , and its possible it was a mix, over time.

advaitya wrote:To expound further, the way rape was outlawed first positioned man as the victim whose property was wrongfully desecrated.


Indeed. Same as the way murder was outlawed positioned murderer as the victim whose actions were wrongfully punished.
tuco
 
Posts: 15550

Print view this post

Re: Rape

#15  Postby Beatsong » Dec 26, 2012 1:02 pm

advaitya wrote:Granting the fact that men were always the physically stronger beings, it does not imply they were always aware of this advantage and put it to use to subjugate women. Nor does it imply that owing to their superior strength they started viewing women as quasi properties.


Sure, but the fact is that we have no evidence, either direct or indirect, of them ever not doing that. So your speculation is always going to be precisely that.
User avatar
Beatsong
 
Posts: 7027

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: Rape

#16  Postby advaitya » Dec 26, 2012 1:04 pm

tuco wrote:
While I am not sure what kind of interests society serves, we both seem to agree that we can only speculate. I am lead to believe that societies are the key to outlawing rape as more than one implies interaction by definition, and that is trivial yes, its on wiki. Whether welfare, belief or pragmatic reasons for example led to outlawing rape is impossible to determine , and its possible it was a mix, over time.


I can only speculate what kind of initial conditions allowed outlawing of forcible sex in those primitive societies. My motive was to see if someone with a background in the field can add something relevant and meaningful that an amateur like me is very likely to miss.


tuco wrote:Indeed. Same as the way murder was outlawed positioned murderer as the victim whose actions were wrongfully punished.


Not an apposite analogy and it seems as if you find my point about man as the first victim of rape untenable? Murder couldn't have been outlawed to position the perpetrator as the victim. Rape on the other hand could and does offend men who assume ownership of women.
advaitya
THREAD STARTER
 
Posts: 323
Age: 38
Male

Country: India
India (in)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#17  Postby Agrippina » Dec 26, 2012 3:49 pm

advaitya wrote:
Agrippina wrote:

I missed that.

I don't think that rape can be compared to toothache. The pain of a toothache is easily relieved and easily forgotten. I doubt that anyone ever forgets, or gets over, being raped.


You're imposing the extant norms and discourses on rape that shape your current feelings and attitudes on women who were subjected to forcible sex before they came to be seen as chattels. Did those women have the ideological sophistication to separate a rape from toothache?


I'm not imposing anything.

I happen to know a little about the history of humankind. Women have always been seen as chattels, even in societies where they were the rulers. There's some mythology in ancient Greece of a race of "amazon" women but that's all it is, mythology. Women have until fairly recently in the west always been treated as goods to be traded and subject to whatever men chose to do to them. There's no history of a time "before they came to be seen as chattels." The reason for it is a fairly simple one. Until science uncovered the actual physiology of female reproduction, the whole process of maturation and reproduction was treated as something to be feared and sometimes revered, but mostly as something "unclean." Until quite recently, menstruation was known as being "unwell." In fact there are still people who refer to it as such.

Because women have always (as I said until fairly recently) been seen as trade goods, the only reason that rape was frowned on was when the thing to be traded was violated and not because of her sensitivity towards unwanted attention, but because she could possibly bear a child that was not that of the man who really owned her. I also do not know of any time in history when women saw rape as something that could be brushed aside as easily as a toothache. Because someone accepts her fate and doesn't talk about it and appears to be going on with life as if it didn't happen, it doesn't mean that she's not feeling violated.

Women have historically behaved as subjects, and been submissive simply because they were not valued enough as people. Don't mistake submissiveness and a quiet demeanour as a sign of not feeling pain.

Rape has never been about sex. It is and always has been about power. Which is why men in positions of authority, who are not homosexual, will rape other men. It's not because they find the other man attractive and want to have a relationship with him, it's because of the same motivation that causes men to rape women. Women have always known this, and they still do.

In under-developed societies, even today, women will submit to men simply because resisting could cause them to be killed. The attack on women in India has nothing to do with lustful young men looking for a good time, it has everything to do with men resenting the fact that women are now able to live full lives without men to tell them what to do and because, especially in countries like India, they are moving away from being mere brood mares who are handed over by their fathers to whoever he pleases to give them to.

I don't understand how you can make a comparison between something as trivial as a toothache and the intimate violation of a person's most personal body functions. That is the only "extant norms and discourses on rape" that I'm imposing on this discussion.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#18  Postby Ironclad » Dec 26, 2012 5:08 pm

I imagine it had always been a crime, even if the crime would have been seen as an assault on owned 'chattle'. I say this because some higher mammals punish offenders, from monkeys & apes to whales.
Just guessing.
For Van Youngman - see you amongst the stardust, old buddy

"If there was no such thing as science, you'd be right " - Sean Lock

"God ....an inventive destroyer" - Broks
User avatar
Ironclad
RS Donator
 
Name: Nudge-Nudge
Posts: 23921
Age: 52
Male

Country: Wink-Wink
Indonesia (id)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#19  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 26, 2012 5:16 pm

To claim that it wasn't a crime in the past would also presumably be to claim that females of the species have never exercised any selection over sexual partners, which we know isn't the case. What I would suggest is that it's always been a crime, but only been enforced according to the whims of the alpha male of the group. So basically, the alpha male was able to go raping his way around the females in the group, but every other man would have to convince the females to have sex with them or risk the wrath of the alpha male.
Image
User avatar
I'm With Stupid
 
Posts: 9631
Age: 36
Male

Country: Malaysia
Jolly Roger (arr)
Print view this post

Re: Rape

#20  Postby Agrippina » Dec 27, 2012 9:49 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:To claim that it wasn't a crime in the past would also presumably be to claim that females of the species have never exercised any selection over sexual partners, which we know isn't the case. What I would suggest is that it's always been a crime, but only been enforced according to the whims of the alpha male of the group. So basically, the alpha male was able to go raping his way around the females in the group, but every other man would have to convince the females to have sex with them or risk the wrath of the alpha male.


Yes.
The extent of the punishment for the "crime" was dependent on the value of the woman. Which is why in South Africa during Apartheid, the rape of "black" women wasn't a big deal to the news media, but the rape of "white" women by "black" men was a death penalty offence.
Illegitimi non carborundum
User avatar
Agrippina
 
Posts: 36690
Age: 110
Female

Country: South Africa
South Africa (za)
Print view this post

Next

Return to Sociology

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 1 guest