Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 12 Posts?

I'm not seeing a thread for our week 12 posts. Do we have this week off?


Ross said...

Well, I’ll post here anyway.

Eli Hastings’ article asks a question that I’ve asked before: what do we do with the rapist, the predator, and the sexual abuser? I’ve never heard a really satisfactory answer. I’ve talked frequently about how to help victims and how to prevent rapes in the first place, and have heard some pretty good ideas. But the person who commits the crime is always the elephant in the room that no one feels comfortable addressing.

Hastings doesn’t have an answer to this question, and he’s too honest to try to offer one. I don’t have an answer either, just more questions. He admits that his course of action was wrong: “Choosing violence to punish (violence)…will only make things worse in the long run.” (MSO 249). He also points out a lack of alternatives: the law offers the “agonizing, shameful, laborious and probably unsuccessful process of prosecution.” (MSO 249). I would take this analysis a step further. If it is immoral for a community, in the form of a posse, to dispense justice in the form of a beating, how is it moral for the larger community, in the form of the state, to dispense justice in the form of the police and prison system? In both cases the group uses violence to meet violence. The only difference is that state violence obscures the guilt of the community. Someone else is doing the punching for you.

But what else to do? There must be consequences for rape, if for no other reason than for safety. Ostracizing predators is a not-in-my-back-yard approach that only shifts the problem onto the shoulders of others. Victims deserve justice, but everyone deserves a shot at redemption. In a mor enlightened society, how would we solve this problem?

Anita P. said...

Marshall Thompson’s explanation of sexual harassment within the U.S. Armed Forces truly shocked me. Not to say that sexual harassment in the army is shocking, to be honest I completely expected the U.S. Armed Forces to have a history of sexual abuse within the institution but the fact that they do not have a confidential reporting system for sex crimes is a complete shock to me (MSO p125). I recently did a group project for one of my classes on civil rights in the U.S. military for homosexuals (or lack there of) and was almost embarrassed of what I was responsible for reporting back to the class. The two rationales argued to put into place the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy include the “Unit Cohesion Rationale” and the “Privacy Rationale”. These rationales argue that heterosexuals are so uncomfortable with homosexuality that the inclusion of gays in the military would cause a lack of cohesion and low morale for units, therefore inhibiting them from functioning effectively, while the other rationale deals with the fear that heterosexuals will be viewed as sexual objects by members of the same sex, if they are a homosexual. The idea that these two (ridiculous) rationales were persuasive enough to pass legislation is absurd to me…but even more shocking is the fact that heterosexuals feel like they will be automatically sexually “objectified” by a homosexual of the same sex and this is NOT okay, but sexual objectification of someone of the opposite sex is perfectly acceptable? Grrr, so much hypocrisy.

Sara N said...

Like you Ross, I don't have any answers just more questions :). But I do have a different understanding of "Justice." That's right, with a capital J. I don't think that Justice can be enforced by an individual or the state or even that all powerful entity they call G-d. It might seem bleak to some, but I think Justice is the by product of a society comprised of just individuals. Self regulation is the only kind of Justice I can imagine.

In other words, is there any real Justice in a world where rape happens in the first place? Beating up, Locking up or killing the rapist doesn't undo the original violence. To me, Justice would mean it didn't happen in the first place. Maybe I'm a practical idealist like Gandhi, or maybe I'm pessimistic for the overall hope for humanity.

And yet, practical idealism doesn't help the current situation where rape, murder and genocide are the reality. All I know is that the current consequences for rape aren't enough of a deterrent. I heard someone say once about murder that capital punishment isn't effective because people either murder out of passion and then they aren't thinking about consequences, or it is premeditated and they don't think they will get caught.

I sympathize with your longing for redemption. And, while I detest the prison industrial complex, I'm afraid I'm also lacking in the "solutions" department.