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Richard Dawkins and the "rape tweets"

(72 Posts)
Grannyknot Wed 30-Jul-14 11:42:58

Sometimes social media causes more trouble than it's worth:

Grannyknot Wed 30-Jul-14 11:45:43

I never knew he is a childhood sexual abuse survivor (from the article). Interesting.

GrannyTwice Wed 30-Jul-14 11:54:42

<sighs> . You would think any reasonably intelligent man, let alone RD, would think twice before using rape to exemplify a logical point ( and paedophilia for that matter)

whenim64 Wed 30-Jul-14 11:59:43

What a pointless subject for him to use to illustrate his argument. Some people never recover from what he calls 'relatively mild' whilst others can attribute the trauma of their horrendous experience in a way that enables them to become strong when one would expect the complete opposite. I loathe 'intellectual' arguments that dismiss the person on the receiving end.

Grannyknot Wed 30-Jul-14 12:22:35

I agree with you, poor choice of subject with which to illustrate the application of ruthless logic.

ffinnochio Wed 30-Jul-14 12:27:08

Intellectualising a devastating experience such as rape is a classic 'go to' option for those who have experienced sexual violence. It is often a stage in dealing with the aftermath. Whilst I 'get' his overall adherence to logical thinking, but not necessarily always agreeing, his use of rape to take further this view is ...... now how can I put this politely ......... fucking ridiculous! angry

Granny23 Wed 30-Jul-14 12:39:40

Dawkin's 'logic' may be correct but his understanding of rape is flawed. Not surprising - as a man and presumably not a rapist, it is a subject that will not intrude into his nightmares, nor haunt him when he thinks of near misses or has to live in fear.

At WA I worked with many women who had been raped by a husband/partner or former husband/partner and learned that this was indeed horrendous RAPE, not 'merely' unwanted or forced sex but rather a show of control, a deliberate attempt to degrade, by using insider information, obtained during the relationship, to whatever was most abhorrent to her. When a woman is raped by a complete stranger it is just possible, though very difficult, to come to terms with the attack as having been random, a horrendous accident, she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, she need feel no shame, she need never feel any connection with the rapist. Whereas for a woman raped by someone with whom she has been in a relationship the rape is exceedingly personal, she has been directly and specifically targeted. In addition she may not be believed by close family and friends or may find it impossible to seek their support and will have an ongoing relationship with her rapist (perhaps the father of her children) and his family and friends. (Imagine trying to tell your MIL what her much loved son has done or your brother/father's reaction when he learns what has happened.)

And NO - I am not trying to suggest that any 'type' of rape is worse than another. Only that a relationship rape has its own distinct, often unacknowledged, characteristics.

thatbags Wed 30-Jul-14 14:09:12

Very good post, G23.

Aka Wed 30-Jul-14 14:23:59

Oh dear, I'm going to be in the minority again if I voice my opinion.

ffinnochio Wed 30-Jul-14 15:50:09

I like the clarity of your post, G23 - I rather lost mine.

whenim64 Wed 30-Jul-14 16:01:01

You didn't ffinocchio. It was said with feeling. Pity Mr Dawkins didn't 'think' in an emotionally intelligent way. angry

Grannyknot Wed 30-Jul-14 16:39:49

when maybe he doesn't have emotional intelligence. Now wouldn't that be something. So clever, and yet not.

GrannyTwice Wed 30-Jul-14 16:55:39

Well Aka - there are two issues here - one is the fact of what he used as examples and the other is the content of what he said. Without going into any discussion about actual content ie which type of rape is 'worse' there is the issue that he was a complete prat to choose that example as he was bound to get a kicking for so doing. I would have thought the latter point was pretty non- controversial

nightowl Wed 30-Jul-14 17:19:55

I'm going to be in a minority as well Aka although my point may not be the one you wanted to make. I think yours is a very good post Granny23, but I have to disagree that a man can't be haunted by rape. It may not happen as often, and it may not be spoken of as often, but men can understand very well what it means to be raped; by strangers, by people they know, and by people they love and it is every bit as devastating for them as it is for women. And if Richard Dawkins is a survivor of sexual abuse I think he will have more insight into the effects than many of us on here, whether or not he happens to be a man.

I think his point was clumsily made but I think he has as much right to make it as a woman.

nightowl Wed 30-Jul-14 17:23:16

I don't think he will be surprised that he got a kicking; in fact I think he was trying to be controversial (as usual). I think this episode may throw some light on his personality and (apparent) lack of emotional intelligence.

Deedaa Wed 30-Jul-14 20:01:43

Having made an unfortunate choice to illustrate his argument he did give us a good example of a man who doesn't know when to stop digging!

rosequartz Wed 30-Jul-14 20:36:24

I just do not understand why he has chosen to 'tweet' or twitter or whatever on this controversial and profound subject.

Grannyknot Wed 30-Jul-14 23:09:57

rose because one million people will read it instantaneously (he has 990,000+ followers on Twitter).

Granny23 Wed 30-Jul-14 23:27:38

You are quite right Nightowl and I must apologise for somehow missing the information that Dawkins is, himself, a survivor of sexual abuse. I wrongly personalised the general point that the vast majority of men give little thought to Rape unless it has affected them or someone close to them, whereas almost all women feel, to a greater or lesser degree, fear of being raped and many feel that they must modify their behaviour, dress, where they go and with whom, etc. accordingly.

I personally know of a young (heterosexual) man who was raped as a 'punishment' for making fun of 'Queers' and also a lesbian woman raped by a male acquaintance whose advances she had rejected. Again, I am not saying that these rapes were worse than any other, however neither of these two individuals was able to rebuild their confidence, trust or self-esteem afterwards and they have remained 'victims' rather than 'survivors' for the rest of their lives.

Iam64 Thu 31-Jul-14 08:56:35

I'm not a fan of Dawkins views on any subject. I didn't know he experienced sexual abuse as a child, and much as I sympathise with anyone with this in their background, I don't believe it makes him an 'expert' on the subject.

He may be a very intelligent man, but I feel he lacks emotional intelligence.

thatbags Thu 31-Jul-14 09:19:34

I think he wanted to separate the emotions that are inevitably attached to something as awful as rape from thoughts about what he sees as logical differences between different situations. I think I understand what he meant. I agree that it was a very clumsy way of giving an example of how logic works and, yes, he may well be lacking in emotional intelligence but then so am I probably, so are we all in some circumstances.

I've always understood, rightly or wrongly, that unpremeditated manslaughter is not regarded as quite such a serious crime (though it remains serious and depending on circumstances those guilty of it can be given long prison terms) as premeditated murder. Anyone who can see that logical though not emotional difference should be able to understand what RD meant, even while thinking him a fool or worse for saying it.
The result of both killings is the same but the crime is not the same.

nightowl Thu 31-Jul-14 09:33:26

Granny23 smile

I didn't know that Richard Dawkins had been sexually abused either, but I have known a few male survivors like him - using their intelligence to provoke controversy, angry (but often well hidden), rationalisers who often appear to have limited emotional intelligence. That's how I see him anyway.

whenim64 Thu 31-Jul-14 09:41:52

bags the difference between manslaughter and murder is intention, but there is no difference in the intention of an abuser to commit 'mild' or 'serious' sexual harm - there is intention and planning in both examples.

thatbags Thu 31-Jul-14 09:50:26

I accept that, when, but I still think there's a difference between the situation where a couple have gone to bed together (both parties willingly) after a date and one of them rapes the other and the situation where someone is randomly attacked out on the street and raped. Perhaps I shouldn't see a difference, but I do. The first seems preventable to me.

thatbags Thu 31-Jul-14 09:52:18

I know rape within marriage is possible but that's not the situation I'm talking about.