The Cruel Irony of Deterrents

This is my favourite series right here. It’s outside the box, it’s to the point, and entertaining.

 

😉

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/10/22/law-and-order-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-2/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/06/the-irony-of-deterrents-part-3/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/27/prisons-and-bad-neighborhoods-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-4/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/02/02/the-carrot-and-the-stick-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-5/

 

These ones are better coupled with the Irony series too, I think . . .

 

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/09/01/punishment-a-self-fulfilling-prophecy-and-the-roots-of-institutionalized-racism/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/07/12/shit-flows-downhill/

 

Thanks for reading, folks! Please, share and retweet, it’s all free. Trying to save the world here.

 

Jeff

Dec. 19, 2015

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Domestic Violence among the Agents of Authority

Here’s a popular recent article from Addictinginfo:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/09/11/you-think-football-players-have-a-domestic-violence-problem-cops-are-three-times-worse/

  • And here’s the text:

You Think Football Players Have A Domestic Violence Problem? Cops Are Three Times Worse

AUTHOR: WENDY GITTLESON SEPTEMBER 11, 2015 3:40 PM

One of the biggest problems with police is that simply being a part of the force gives them a PhD level training in how to get away with breaking the law. While the majority of cops are likely honest (I hope), this sort of being above the law can make life very difficult for spouses and domestic partners of police.

Over the last year or so, the National Football League (NFL) has been under fire for its domestic violence problem. After Ray Riceand Adrian Peterson, the NFL has vowed to do something about it.

Still, almost 70 percent of Americans believe that domestic violence in the NFL is a serious problem. Did you know that it’s actually a bigger problem with police, though? It’s three times worse.

The problems in the NFL are somewhat overrated. There are actually a lot fewer domestic violence arrests among NFL players than there are in the general public, but that could be because police are often fans, which brings us to police. Of all professions, cops are the worst for domestic violence.

In families of police officers, domestic violence is two-to-four times more likely than in the general population — from stalking and harassment to sexual assault and even homicide. As the National Center for Women and Policing notes, two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10% of families in the general population.

A 2013 Bowling Green State University study, through news searches, tallied 324 cases of reported officer domestic violence. It is likely that this number is a gross underestimate, because as the National Center for Women and Policing has detailed, officers frequently cover for each other.

“Cops ‘typically handle cases of police family violence informally, often without an official report, investigation, or even check of the victim’s safety,’” the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf writes, quoting a study from the National Center for Women and Policing. “‘Even officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested or referred for prosecution.’”

Source: MIC.com

Unlike in the NFL, police carry a gun for a living, which can make it particularly frightening for domestic partners. Even worse, they know where the battered women’s shelters are, so there is no escape. Even with cops’ reluctance to do anything about their brothers in blue, 40 percent of families of police report domestic violence, as opposed to just 10 percent of the general population.

Aside from having domestic partners of cops wear body cams, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done about the culture of domestic violence and its cover-ups. One woman in Colorado wasn’t wearing a body cam, but she did record the abuse of her daughter and even then, the police department tried covering it up. After the video made state and national news, the county dissolved the police and the sheriff’s office took over.

Jeremy Yachik, the abusive officer in Colorado, was convicted of egregious crimes. According to his girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter, he regularly tied her up, slammed her head into walls, beat her with ropes, restricted her food, left her tied up in dark rooms, and force fed her a sauce that’s about 10 times hotter than habanero peppers. His punishment was three years of supervised probation, 30 days in a jail work-release program, and 80 hours of community service. We may have another chance at justice, but only because he was arrested last week for separate charges of sexually abusing a minor.

Featured image via Wikimedia

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So that’s a little depressing, to be sure, but it’s not a surprise, is it? After all, force and authority are the job, so it’s not a huge stretch to suggest that some police also believe in those things on a personal level and that some certainly employ them in their personal lives. I know I’m not showing causation, as Ms. Gittleson also did not, but this phenomenon does surely underline a strong correlation between the legitimate force of authority and abuse.

Causation and it’s proof are always hard to find in human affairs, so that will be a tough row to hoe, but let’s state the challenge, say it out loud and see what happens: how do we establish causality between the legal, authorized use of force and punishment and the phenomenon of domestic abuse? To say violence begets violence is a truism to my mind, but hardly a proof of anything, and anyhow, folk wisdom like that in regards to authority, punishment and abuse has a tendency to support the authorities’ positions. It’s something I’ve said before, but I would like to reset the precedence: folksy aphorisms will have to line up on the side of the status quo. But perhaps causation is not really the relationship there; maybe it’s more like one is the other rather than one causes or promotes the other. The analogy might be this, that choice does not cause discrimination; rather choice is discrimination, two sides of a coin. Certainly that is my view of it – punishment and abuse are two sides of a coin, two sides of the same coin.

We should never be surprised when a great number of policemen lose their faith in force and violence and begin to see their role as better served through mercy and discretion, but it should be no great surprise when “legitimate” force and punishment are co-resident with abusiveness either. I imagine that the difference is that some folks can keep force and punishment in the ‘necessary evil’ category while some just come to see it as a good thing always, as long as it’s being dished out by the right people.

I’ve made these points elsewhere, so I’ll leave off with my philosophizing for now. But the other thing about this article, the main thing, is frightening. Woe to those whom the agents of authority have singled out for abuse, for they have no-where to hide. Authority has a tendency to become a social club rather than a regulated organ for what is right and what is wrong; it always seems to be about who’s in and who’s out. In the worst cases, its members can apparently do no wrong.

Jeff,

Sept. 19, 2015

Authority is the Problem, Part #2

Authority is the Problem, Part #2

 

       Here’s Part #1:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/01/08/authority-is-the-problem/

although it’s not really related . . .

Really this Sandra Bland thing, feels like the final straw, I’m sure these last few weeks’ body count of people who die in police custody will be for many people, the very last possible straw.

Don’t let it be, folks.

I know it’s horrible, and depressing, but if it’s what it looks like? If it’s as bad as it looks? Because what it looks like is that individual policemen all over America are making examples of black people, driving it home for blacks and everyone else watching exactly who kills who in this society. Just when a sane person might imagine some shame, Hell even chagrin, on the part of America’s police, no, same answer as always, the club, the gun, the authority. They just keep doubling down and they never seem to run out of chips. That’s what it looks like: gang style intimidation. It’s like the American jihadists shooting soldiers for “the self-proclaimed Islamic State,” individual nut case cops acting as representatives for policemen generally, all on their own. Maybe we can’t show affiliation, but their interests are all leaning in the same direction.

If it’s that? If it’s that, and it is, then our fear and obedience may be the first goal of these examples, but don’t let it get you down either, because our sadness, depression and apathy serves their goals too. Be happy when you can, and maybe be angry if you feel the apathy creeping in. Certainly don’t let the apparent hopelessness keep you out of the voting booth. Somebody needs to vote against these Law and Order sister-sleepers. These swine are selling that employment-killing criminal records and prison sentences – which only create poverty and crime – are supposed to somehow be something we all want. Of course they sell that, because that really is good business, selling social improvement while destroying families and communities, creating the need and expanding their market with every poisonous thing out of their mouths.

Looking at you, Stephen Harper.

Authority is the original, world-warping scam.

Seriously. It’s sold to us like the American Dream. ‘Sure you’re not enjoying it now, while you’re bottoming for the authority,’ they say. ‘But you’ll get some too. Some day you can top!’ Nobody likes it when they’re being pushed around by authority, but give somebody some authority of their own – let them reproduce, for example, let them become parents – and now, they’re invested, now they’ve bought in, and they’ll tell you: ‘we need authority. Without it, there would be chaos.’

It’s a scam, and we’re all getting a piece of the action or we’d hate it. The thing is, though, just because everybody’s in on it, that doesn’t make it right. It only makes it a universal wrong.

“Rebuilding Trust” – a Rant. If You’re Going to Lie, Lie Big – **UPDATED**

“Rebuilding Trust” – a Rant. If You’re Going to Lie, Lie Big

 

       Who announced the Diane Rehm show this week? I missed your name. I’ll tweet this at Diane, hope it reaches you.

On the show on Friday, May 22nd., I heard the phrase ‘rebuilding trust’ referring to the dysfunctional relationship between America’s urban police forces and the poverty-stricken black citizens living in those cities. Continue reading

The Carrot and the Stick – The Irony of Deterrents Part #5

This series is intended to clarify the role and the efficacy of our use of deterrents, both in our households as a parenting tool and in society as a major premise upon which we have based our approach to criminal justice. Here’s the rest of the series:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/10/22/law-and-order-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-2/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/06/the-irony-of-deterrents-part-3/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/11/27/prisons-and-bad-neighborhoods-the-irony-of-deterrents-part-4/

(Part #1 sucked . . . you can find it on my blog, there’s a search button – but you’re not missing much.)

My premise is this:

When a deterrent works, when someone chooses not to engage in ‘naughty’ or criminal behaviour, then that’s terrific, it’s all good. A child may feel some betrayal at hearing that his caregivers are prepared to hurt him, and in a better world that would be a problem to solve, but in this world we have bigger fish to fry, namely the actual hurt that happens all too often.

It is when the deterrent fails that needs to be looked at, because actual, real world punishments have been shown to increase childhood misbehaviours in the longer term, and it follows that this is also the case in the world of adult criminality. In fact, our “legitimate” punishments cause the very same suite of damages that we all know illicit abuse causes, and so the failure of a deterrent isn’t simply a failure and the lack of a positive outcome, but a net decrease in the quality of life in our families and in our society. It’s a negative.

Our punishments are hurting us. Sounds like a no-brainer when we say it like that, doesn’t it?

We like to talk a lot about rehabilitation, the non-liberals consider that its success rate isn’t good enough and that as such, simply means a waste of money and resources, while the liberals consider it to be important, and if it gets a few percent of people out of the criminal life and the criminal justice system, then we owe to all criminals to try it. I’m here to tell you that rehabilitation isn’t what is failing.

What is failing is not the carrot, but the stick.

If someone wants to explain to me why giving someone an education or a trade won’t work, they’ll need to do something.

They’ll need to show that rehabilitation, when administered alone, without being accompanied by abuse, is failing. We know what abuse and fear does do people, and what it does, how to put this . . . what it does is not this: make people happier, less violent, less addicted and smarter. Personally, I see all punishment as abuse, but for this argument, I’ll settle for this: prison is abuse. Prisons are violent, terrifying places where there is danger in every shadow. We mostly think that’s a good thing, because that is where the deterrent lies, but this being my point in this series: when it’s a threat or a promise, it’s a deterrent. When it’s reality, it’s abuse, and damaging to those living in it.

Rehabilitation is an attempt towards improvement in a person’s performance in society; the abuse of life in prison is almost a guarantee of no such improvement, in fact, as stated in the film “Blow” as well as everywhere, prison is Crime University. That is the education many convicts get, along with the abuse that we know is the best way make people meaner and less interested in the legitimate life of lawful society. So these two ideas are diametrically opposed: if we really wanted to rehabilitate anyone, we wouldn’t abuse them before, throughout, and after their rehab program. Think of it in terms of how the kids in school with the most abusive, violent parents don’t all grow up to be the doctors and leaders, how abuse and corporal punishments have been shown, over and over, to negatively impact cognition and grades. In that sense, the hard-liners of public policy are correct: doing both of these things is mostly a waste of our money and time. It’s just that it’s not the rehab that’s at fault. It’s not the carrot that’s eating all of our resources. It’s the stick.

All that money we’re spending on abuse, and it’s creating crime, making criminals worse, because that’s what abuse does. If we want to see what can be done with the carrot – with an offer of a life for these people – we need to give the carrot without employing the stick at the same time, rehabilitation OR abuse. We need to make our prisons safe for our inmates, is what I’m saying. Sure we need to lock some dangerous folks up, but let’s spend that money a little smarter, and lock them up in such a way where they have a chance to improve themselves, make them safe from one another, more space, individual quarters.

Sure it’s more money, but it’s money with a return. The money we’re spending now is only creating crime in the long run.

A Conflicted Society, Part #4 – Rape, Part #2

OK, this should be a challenge. Delusional as I may be, even I don’t expect we’re going to get to the bottom of this today. All journeys begin with a single step, though, so off we go!

Just as I don’t really know why I have to be one of those whiney, high-maintenance, gluten-free types other than that it keeps me from consuming Chips Ahoy cookies by the package, taking on this challenge should keep me safe from ever imagining that I might do something crazy like running for public office. This will certainly contain material that with the simplest of spin or the slightest will to misinterpret will insure that. I mean, along with my usual legal and medical incompetence, of course.

Waivers: I am no sort of lawyer, doctor or psychologist. I think of myself as a sort of generalist, plus also, I think the experts don’t seem to be solving the rape issues, maybe they know too much. It is too often the accumulation of details that protect the status quo, that somehow override the principles we are trying to keep to, or trying to create. What I bring to the table, I think, is exactly a positive non-expertise. I like to think of my musings as somewhere between childish fumbling and moral philosophy. So to it, then.

I’ll Pick up where Part #1 leaves off, but first, disdaining the status quo as to how to write well (as well as of most other things), I’ll give up the best part right off the bat.

  1. “The victim liked it.”

I hope someone will correct me if I’m setting up a strawman here, but it would seem that rape is difficult to find sympathy for and difficult to prosecute if we think the victim liked it. Is that fair to say?

Injury, that is evidence of a beating or tearing of the muscles and tissues of the vagina and or rectum, this is the most persuasive evidence we see, I think. With that sort of evidence, a victim can reasonably hope for at least an attempt at prosecution, and these cases probably produce the greatest number of convictions. Sadly, the absence of this trauma can make rape invisible to some people, in some ways; the lubrication that makes sex possible without injury hurts the victims’ case. Cultural attitudes play their part, of course. Apparently lubrication still carries a stigma of sin, despite many factors, such as:

  • lubrication and arousal are physical responses, and as such should not be considered to supersede conscious choice or consent; if the lubrication was the result of consensual play, same answer: not an override for non-consent of anything that follows.
  • lubrication and arousal are physical responses, and as such may very well occur without any consensual play whatsoever. It is my possibly unpopular contention that sex is sexy, that even unwanted sex, even forced sex can produce the physical responses. (Men, remember the early puberty erections in school? Were those convenient, were they wanted? Would they excuse someone raping you?) That the physical responses imply consent is rubbish, something only rapists and their enablers should be advocating. Same for orgasms: even the world’s greatest orgasm means nothing as regards consent. If we could get that straight, all this confusion might be over already.
  • While I’m at it, while we’re all trying to look at the uncomfortable physical details of rape, we might as well get the worst of it out of the way. I’ll say it, if no-one else will: rape victims probably mostly do become aroused and lubricate – I don’t know how calloused your penis is, gentlemen, but for me, and I imagine for most of us, moisture is sort of mandatory for sex to be pleasurable instead of painful (I can’t speak for the uncircumcised. Perhaps that’s somewhat different?). I expect that when the tearing and injuries occur, that the rapist must be very drunk, that he too probably sustains some injury that he wasn’t able to feel at the time. It seems to me, if a rape victim didn’t lubricate, there would be very few sober serial rapists (of course, many of these rapists would probably simply dish out beatings instead of rapes. It really isn’t most often primarily about sex). Logical? Gross and uncomfortable yes, I’m sorry – but logical, right? Something we should probably face if we’re serious about dealing with this thing?

I should note, that the preceding ideas are surely known to doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who have the sad duty to deal with rape and its victims, plus, of course, to rapists and their victims. I don’t think little ol’ me is going to teach any of the pros anything; this is just for the average person, the voter, who perhaps knows little enough about these issues and may end up electing the wrong people because of it (such as some of the American politicians who have famously tried to weigh in on the subject in recent years, armed with only puritanical ignorance and little else).

But that’s not all there is either. That argument still leaves us at the status quo, because those points are already being made. Let’s take one more, tiny step.

So what if the victim liked it? Seriously: so what?

The argument that the victim enjoyed it only works for sex crimes, because of the aforementioned cultural baggage; for understanding, perhaps we should slide the argument over into some less confusing and emotionally loaded areas. What if it was about food, for instance?

Suppose I loved ice cream and all things sweet (hypothetically!) but that I was for any number of reasons trying to avoid it, reasons of health, weight, reasons of Calvinist self-denial, whatever. Now suppose you offer me a hot fudge sundae (I hear people like those) and I decline your offer. Now suppose you force me to eat it, whether you simply threaten me, or whether you hold me down, pry my mouth open and force it down my throat. Perhaps everybody knows I love hot fudge. Maybe I’ve kept my diet for weeks or months and I can’t deny the pure, childlike pleasure it gives me to eat it. Here’s the point: is one private citizen assaulting and force feeding another not a crime? Hold on, that analogy was a little too good, it still looks like a possible grey area! What about this:

Suppose, for whatever reason I enjoy pain, or maybe I get some mental or emotional payoff from being hurt and victimized. Now suppose that uninvited, you beat the living shit out of me.

See it now? Suppose I think I’m in too high a tax bracket, I need a loss to balance things out, and you rob my store?  (What about selling drugs? When my dealer got busted, no-one opted not to prosecute her on the theory that her customers liked it.) You know what? Just in case I’m leaving too much unsaid, just on the off chance that someone might rat me out to Pinker, I’ll spell it out.

Assault, battery, and armed robbery (as well as drug trafficking) are still crimes, despite that the victim might have a complex, real-life reason to enjoy it. Why wouldn’t that be true for rape?

Rhetorical, of course: it is.

  1. Complex, Real-life Reasons

 

I won’t be the first one ever to say that sex and power are tangled together in the human psyche – but maybe those of us who would like to change that are in the minority. Feminists, those that are talking about rape culture – certainly many of those folks don’t think that men, nearly half of the population, are serious about wanting to separate the two things. Plus, there are certainly plenty of women who wouldn’t wish the power dynamics of sex away completely. The positions the original two genders hold in the power dynamic are a big part of how we identify each other as potential or actual sex partners, and the cliché and therefore likely the majority opinion has been vulnerability is sexy in women and not so much in men, and the other side, strength is associated with maleness – and “genderness” as such is what we have mostly found to be sexy. Manly men, womanly women, this is what most folks have been finding attractive; womanly men and manly women, these have been the minority attractions for much of our history. This is not news to anyone I’m sure, these ideas are definitive, aren’t they?

(BTW, this is the obvious reason why paedophilia and homosexuality have nothing to do with each other in most cases. If a man is homosexual, that probably means he likes men – manly men, like straight women have mostly liked: big, strong, aggressive, hairy men. The specific suite of what the paedophile imagines to be sexual markers in children have traditionally been some of the womanly ones, namely small, weak, and hairless. Right?)

So we wouldn’t expect a real majority of the male gender to wish away the sexual aspects of power or the power aspects of sex, because mostly, men have been enjoying the upper hand there, and I think many women like most things about the current state of affairs also, although definitely not everything. So for the good, normal and repressed people of the world, the power dynamics of gender and sex are just a part of the fun, the dark side of which – rape – seems to be regarded as an unrelated phenomenon. Vive la difference! Then there’s the BDSM community, for whom the normal dynamics of gender and power are only a stepping off point.

All of this is to say, mostly, we like it this way, and very likely there is a huge evolutionary component to the way things are. Certainly wife-stealing and wartime rapes have been known to broaden the gene pool in some small groups. For many creatures, rape is pretty much all there is, and if only the males of a species ever wanted sex, that species may get on just fine and rape for that creature would be critical for the survival of them all. But comparing us to other animals, while instructive, is always fraught with error.

When we look at other species, or when we try to look into H. G. Wells’ ‘deep well’ of our own pre-historic past, we are simply making empirical observations without any chance or thought as to what they were thinking when they engaged in the observed behaviour. In this way, making human/animal comparisons can become only a way for us to deny the responsibility for our choices in life. Of course, just as our ability to continue as a species isn’t threatened by a small portion of homosexuality, neither would it be threatened by us more effectively cutting back on rape. This leads me to a point, eventually: sex and our conscious, rational, civilized life have always inhabited divergent worlds.

Christian it must be in origin, but I, for one, have personally never been able to reconcile the rational, moral life we lead when we have our clothes and the lights on with the irrational, animal world of sex. I literally need some fifteen minutes to move away from the repressed rational life I have with reading and my attempts at writing before I can switch gears and make love to my wife. How younger, more sexually driven people have any competence in their modern jobs while always living in the sexual animal mind is beyond me. That some exceptional people actually integrate the two sides of life – well, I don’t really believe it. When I hear of some brilliant artist’s life of sexual exploitation, I assume he has a split personality – again, Christian sexual repression to be sure, but as I write this, my self-esteem isn’t at its lowest and I’m not assuming that I’m the only one with problems. Repressed I may be, but a lifelong obsession with sex isn’t necessarily proof of an absence of neuroses either. Having said that . . .

If my life were all about sex, I mean if sex was the most important thing in my life – I’d probably be a bisexual bottom. I have masturbatory fantasies that range from consensual straight sex through cheating scenarios, to forced sex with big, fat women and beyond, all the way to me being the unwilling Chinese finger-trap for a pair of rough, scary men in a prison shower. I have these fantasies, and I never know from day to day which fantasy is going to be the one to work, but these are fantasies. This is not an invitation to anyone out there, and it is not – I want to make this perfectly clear – not consent. I am a happily married man, and I want to keep it that way. At the end of my life I will be happy to have missed out on some life experiences and also to have avoided their consequences. This is a conscious decision for me, and if I don’t get too drunk in scary places, I expect I’ll stick to it. I ain’t all that young and pretty, and that should help limit my opportunities to make a liar of myself in that way: no-one’s asking me. Ha.

I say “bottom” – check the Urban Dictionary if you don’t know that one yet – because I don’t have “top” fantasies, I don’t dream of dominating anyone or anything. With my wife, I have raised two girls to adulthood and near-adulthood from birth with no punishment whatsoever. I have never owned a dog, because I would want a big one, and I don’t want to have to dominate it. Repression again, sure, but I have lived my life in terror of any personal power I might have; I’m prone to guilt and I don’t want the responsibility of hurting anyone. I think there have been times when my sanctimonious judgment has hurt someone’s feelings, and besides feeling awful about it, it gave me an exaggerated sense of my own power. Again, it’s exaggerated, neurotic, and arrogant: fine for you to stomp around hurting people, but not me.

Perhaps some time embracing some personal power and pushing someone around would be good for me, liberating. I wonder how many rapes happen that way, some overly passive person trying it, ‘just this once?’ I don’t expect I could get it up – but there’s a pill for that, isn’t there? What a horrible line of thought! Maybe those sorts of experimental rapes are on the increase these days . . . crimes of self-discovery. I’m sorry. That was a depressing digression. Where were we? Oh yes, fantasies of having sex forced on us.

I have them, and I don’t imagine I’m the only one. I expect, if I were raped, by an intimidating man, a big, strong woman, or a diabolical smaller woman with some handcuffs and the element of surprise – that I would respond physically, arousal and orgasm, and maybe a really great orgasm. But rape is rape, because crime is crime. If I wanted that, my wife would be right to divorce me, and things in my life would be considerably worsened – so I don’t want it. Not sarcastic. No wink, no fingers crossed. That’s what fantasies are for, we get a sense of the nasty experience with none of the real-life downside. Many are the ways in which what is good for our libido is bad for our lives.

This is the false choice we hear around the water cooler, and God forbid some of our co-workers having these conversations wind up doing jury duty: ‘she was raped,’ or ‘she liked it.’ The complex, real-life fact is, sex is sex, and we all like it, and we like it even more for its power imbalances, but there are still problems with it. There are still STIs, unwanted pregnancies and unwanted abortions, and there is still shame and regret. Of course there is still violence, fear, and rape. Most of these musings are true just for the sex in rape. Of course, the violence in it only makes all of this even clearer.

Robbery, violence, rape, these are crimes. It doesn’t detract from it that these things can be fun and exciting. The crime is in the force, in the psychopathic disdain for another human being’s freedom to choose what happens in their life.

Anyone who knows me, any of the tiny handful of people who’ve read me, you know that I also consider punishments to be crimes. Although prosecuting and punishing rapists today would indeed be an increase in fairness for victims of rape, as well as for rapists, who possibly have an unfair chance of never paying for their crimes, compared to the perpetrators of non-sexual crimes, that really isn’t my endgame. I have a particularly expansive delusion: I want us all to behave better voluntarily. So here’s what we need to do.

Give up the fun. Learn to live without the excitement. If, in some level of maturity and self-knowledge, you want the power or the vulnerability and the excitement those things bring – then sign a waiver or something. Establish parameters of consent. Maybe we all need something like a flight recorder – if what you’re doing is within your rights, why not? Men, get consent, written consent, secure video-recording, something to protect you from false charges. Ladies, get and give some form of provable consent, protect yourself from the present day difficulties of getting the protections that are theoretically provided by law. Again, unless you’re a rapist, or a willing victim, why not?

My advice: let’s make our lives more conscious, let’s drag sex out into the light. Maybe we lose some of the excitement, some of the mystery, but maybe we also lose some of the rape.

I’m that way about everything. I’d lose the ‘magic’ of Santa Claus in favour of not telling mind-destroying lies to our children too. Mystery and magic are overrated; consciousness is the way forward. Most of this magic and mystery in sex is a man-made pile of confusion and lies anyway. At its core, sex is procreation, it’s how species are continued, and every ‘beast that crawleth upon the earth’ understands enough about it to continue down through the ages. Much of the mystery and gaming we associate with sex is the product of the fact that humans are on a divergent path from the rest of life on Earth and we have over-complicated it. If we could enjoy the simple payoff of sex, of succumbing to the procreative urge, if we could enjoy it in its simple, pure forms, we could be as happy as well fed, well fucked rabbits. That, plus a life lived consciously can be a great source of satisfaction and joy as well. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.

  1. Conclusions

 

  1. The absence of injury or proof of arousal and orgasm should have no bearing on the question of consent, they are completely separate issues. A helpful memory aid might be this: consent requires conscious personhood, and genitals are not people.
  2. Crimes are crimes despite that their victims may have a reason to like them. Crimes are crimes because society is victimized; otherwise, they’re just personal disputes.
  3. Rape exists at one end of a continuum that has a reasonable division of traits and or duties between the genders at one end and a lot of “normal” sex role expectations in the middle. Therefore support for the principle – distinct gender roles and power sharing – also (inadvertently for most of us) supports the rape culture.
  4. (Male paedophiles are nearly the opposite of gay, the disorder and the orientation are unrelated.)
  5. Sex lives in a different compartment of our lives than rationality and consciousness, and this may be a reason why rape’s status as a crime is confusing and therefore difficult to prosecute.
  6. Many people may enjoy fantasies of being dominated or even raped, but fantasies are fantasies and many consciously prefer to live without the realities and their consequences.
  7. Suggesting that the idea that humans have always raped or that some species routinely rape is a fallacious argument as regards present day humans and effectively condones male domination and rape as natural and inevitable. It’s an argument that ignores the most important premise of law and civilization: consciousness.
  8. Consciousness is the way forward. If we can learn to deal with sex in our lives consciously and honestly, rape will have fewer places to hide.

Now, I usually like to wrap my posts up with a pithy ending. That seems to be automatic, my particular, manipulative talent, and it embarrasses me sometimes, but I have no such summary for this one (if we don’t count that I sort of did that already, before the ‘Conclusions’ section). I’m just groping here, spitballing. I honestly don’t know why I think I have anything more to say on this subject than anyone else; I just hope that I’ve had something to say to some few of you . . . if you made it this far, I thank you. Any sort of comment would be very much appreciated. I expect this won’t be the last time I try to wrap my head around this very difficult topic.

One of Parenting’s Worst Myths

Let me ask anyone reading this – do you actually know ANYBODY who doesn’t try to discipline their kids? Anybody who doesn’t believe in discipline, anybody who says “Oh, I don’t care how my kids behave. Let the police worry about it!”

 

Of course the truth is, all the families that the misbehaving kids and the criminals of the world come from do indeed believe in discipline and punishment, and that DOESN’T F@#$%^G WORK, and so the kids misbehave, and many people grow up crazy and violent and lead criminal lives DESPITE having been punished and disciplined in their family homes. That is the obvious truth, because if discipline and punishment was some sort of magic cure, then you would have to show me a sizable portion of the population who doesn’t believe in it and doesn’t use it, and you can’t.

 

Can you? I’ll ask again:

 

Do you really know ANYBODY who doesn’t try to discipline their kids?

Updated! Shows of Strength and Presenting a United Front

. . . are short term, things, of course, is where I’m going. It was never my plan, in raising my kids. We’re playing the long game. We are traitors and pariahs in the world of breeding couples, my wife and I; if you’re disciplining your kids, we don’t have your back. We’ll have no part of it.

Same for the police, and Team America, Team Israel, and the vengeful God of Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.

If you’ve never read me before – and the odds that you’re one of the few who have are not good! It’s not like my message is the type to go viral – you may not know that this is a pattern with me, the family and then the society, the micro and the macro, the model and the mass production. I see things as fractal, as we do in our nuclear families, so it goes in society.

In my little corner of suburban Canada, in my mainstream life of the middle and lower classes, the adults have a cartel on what is allowed for kids, over what is done and what is not. It’s public school, public play, large public markets and entertainments, and everyone knows what is expected of kids, and apparently we all know exactly how to insure that, and so we all know exactly what is expected of parents too. Of course, that means discipline and control. God forbid your kids should create any problems for me, and vice versa. We all know when a child goes bad and causes problems who is to blame; it’s the parents. Somebody isn’t with the program. Don’t they know that we are all depending on each other to maintain total control of things?

Well, we took a chance, opted out of the cartel, and guess what? Our kids aren’t causing any problems for anybody. I’m not saying it’s all of the kids – but the kids causing problems were raised in the cartel, in the group where all the adults are backing each other up, where the adults are presenting a united front. When as kids we see that dynamic, when we see that it’s a military tactic and it’s directed at us, that hurts our feelings. And when it’s total, when there is no crack in the wall presented by the authority of the adults, when no adult dares break the line and side for the kids, well then we can lose hope. Then desperation may set in.

This united front, this show of solidarity and strength, it’s authority’s answer to everything, but it’s an affront to those of us who were operating under the illusion that we were all on the same side. So it’s a shock and an insult to us when we’re kids, and the grownups who in nature would be our caregivers, the ones who would love and protect us close ranks and say, “No, kid, it’s us against you. No-one who matters, no-one with a vote is on your side.”

That is the Dark Side of Alice Miller’s famous assertion that the presence of one enlightened adult can be the difference in a child’s life. Yes, believe it or not, Dr. Miller was sugar coating it for you. She also let us all think we could undo the damage afterwards with therapy, or she did with her first couple of books anyway.

So, on to the macro part.

Not parents, but the disciplinarians for the parents, and for the children as well, the police – they also like the benefits that come from presenting a unified front, plus they too have left the role of caregiver behind in favour of the bludgeon a little too often. These latest few high profile police slayings of unarmed black people put me in mind of the Hell’s Angel’s rules of engagement as detailed by Hunter S. Thompson so long ago: if one of them has a fight with you, they all do. Plus, as Thompson learned the hard way, it doesn’t matter that they pick the fight, or that it was accidental, the result of a stupid misunderstanding. You were simply unlucky, wrong place, wrong time. All right, on with it. Here’s the point:

We think that in order to keep control of things, we need to be strong, we mustn’t show weakness. Of course this is a self-fulfilling behaviour. If we establish control with strength – read force – then strength and force it must be, forever, because you have pissed off the objects of your control. Here’s the thing though. After some time, like two seconds after the first use of your strength, things like humanity, mercy, and kindness become synonyms for weakness, and that we mustn’t show, or all is lost. That is the nature of fantasy: the fantasized consequences for imagined actions are infinite, larger than life.

Clearly, what the authorities fantasize would happen if the police punished one trigger happy cop like they do every trigger happy private citizen is total anarchy, the end of their authority and civilization as we know it. Equally clear to some of us is that is really stupid. Of course what would actually happen, is it would be the beginning of some sort of respect. Humanity we can respect. Inhumanity we only fear.

It’s not humanity or weakness that is going to drive the people to rampage, it’s the opposite of humanity and weakness nobody likes, meaning of course, what the police are doing now, the show of strength. Here, perhaps the authorities and their police can take a lesson from parents. As much as parents are the model for this huge error, as much as parents are guilty of the same authoritarian methods, there’s a difference: kids grow up. Every parent sees the growth and steady increase of their kids’ power and the waning of their own that comes with age, and a great many parents can see their mistake in dealing with it and so change their ways.

Those that change, those that add humanity to their arsenal as time does its work, those who allow their dominance to slip and replace it with a real, human relationship, if they do it in its proper time, they are able to grow old, vulnerable and weak without unreasonable fear of their children’s vengeance. Their children also benefit greatly, having a more normal transition from childhood to adulthood, the gradual move from the small world of their nuclear family into the larger world beyond the family dynamic, learning to function in society. Those that cling to their strength and to their dominance live to fear coming under their children’s power – either that, or the children simply get as far from them as possible, possibly never to return. The people in the first group, the ones who relax their grip and show their humanity, those folks are growing up, maturing in a normal arc of learning. The ones in the other group grow stodgy, bitter, fearful of change, and live alone at the mercy of their negative fantasies. Some of the children from the second group manage to grow themselves up against the odds, but many spend far too large a portion of their lives trapped in the messed up power dynamic of their nuclear families. This extra time spent frozen in childhood in that sense, this what we call arrested development.

I’ve recently gotten out the old turntable and begun listening to vinyl records again, and one of the last few I’d bought, back in the day was the first offering from Tracy Chapman, remember it? ‘Talkin’ About a Revolution?’ I listened to the whole album last week, and it was depressing. That record is twenty-five years old and it could have been written and recorded yesterday.

The police, the authorities, they are in the second group of people. They are not learning.

What needs to happen, in order to satisfy Alice Miller’s minimum requirement for a difference in the lives of the people suffering under the dysfunctional caregiving of the authorities, is again, one enlightened adult. In this case though, a particular adult, one enlightened police chief, one enlightened prosecutor,  or one enlightened mayor. That’s something that could make a difference. In a bunch of lives.

A Conflicted Society – Rape #1

There’s this great, thinking-outside-the-box bit Louis C.K. did at least once, I saw it in the beginning stand-up bit on one episode of his TV show, “Louie,” where he aligns perfectly with me in the idea that punishing can backfire badly. I’ll paraphrase, I’m sure it’s copyrighted. He says something along the lines of ‘if we hated the people who have sex with kids a little less, maybe they wouldn’t feel they had to kill the kid afterward.’ The punch line is something like ‘so, rather than us getting a call that our kid is missing or has been found dead, we’d get a call from the child-rapist instead, saying “Hey, I just fucked your kid. You want me to bring him home, or should I just take him straight to soccer?”’

I guess the laugh comes from the shock and surprise, hearing something from the ‘things we never thought we’d hear’ file, but like a great many great jokes, it’s a stealthy way to express a great truth. Of course that would be a terrible phone call to get, but it’s clearly preferable to the other one. Louie, the genius, is telling us that our kids would be safer if we hated ‘people who have sex with kids’ a little less., that our desire for retribution is a part of the equation that puts the kids at an even greater level of risk.

Now if we can handle that example, the next one should be relatively easy: rape.

Is it possible that we hate rape too much?

I don’t mean it’s not that bad, don’t get me wrong. It’s all that bad and more. I’m just trying to help, and I’m wondering if we’ve allowed the word to get too big and too bad, so that no-one is willing to use it! Has it gotten so bad that men are unable to believe it about each other? So bad that we think of it as some sort of gargantuan mythical evil that is just too heinous to charge each other with?

Like Louie’s idea that if we hated the paedophile a little less his victims might be allowed to live, perhaps if we brought the idea of rape back into focus, back into the realm of human reality, we could prosecute it without feeling like we’re accusing the rapist of something akin to genocide or cannibalism. After all, as horrible as it is, and as devastating as it is for the victims, it’s clearly common enough, pervasive enough that we can think about it as normal, that is, as a normal enough crime that convictions for it shouldn’t qualify as extreme in anyone’s minds. Rape should be considered a normal crime, and should carry something closer to a normal rate of prosecution.

Obviously, we’re very split on the subject. Obviously, some men don’t think of it that way, and sadly, for some men rape is just business as usual. Part of the bitterness that the subject carries for women and innocent men must surely arise from the horrible irony of knowing the worst sort of rapist can escape prosecution partly because some other men think or pretend that rape is simply unthinkable. Maybe the rest of us men should stop being afraid to talk about our fear that these swine are laughing at us and make that part of the conversation, along with everything else we don’t like to talk about in regards to rape, sexual aggression and outright violence. For instance, why is it that the only people that want to talk about all the ways we’re conflicted on the whole subject of sex and all the factors that make rape prosecutions so problematic are policemen and defense attorneys?

Colour Blindness and Optimism

There are a lot of comments going around the internet that sound like a sort of backlash against the Ferguson and I Can’t Breathe protests. It’s white folks taking umbrage, maybe feeling left out, like ‘who’s protesting the fact that my life sucks too?’

I think comments like that can be viewed as somewhere on a spectrum, the extreme bad end being racist, but it’s probably usually best viewed this way: a lot of white folks aren’t aware of their racism. It’s all part and parcel of the beliefs around social things – Original Sin, Nature over Nurture stuff, a pedestrian disdain for psychology and social science generally. It seems to me to be rooted in some sort of idea that despite the bad things happening in the world, still, somehow we need to see everything as being all right.

Everything is OK, we’re not screwed up or racist, we’re just dealing with the screwed up people in the poorest communities the best way and the only way possible. It’s the world that’s bad, not us.

This “colour blindness” is at it’s core, optimistic. Of course, optimism isn’t always a good thing.