19 May 2011

Attempted rape is not "seduction"

In commentary about this week's arrest of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn in New York for the attempted rape of a hotel maid, two nasty and reprehensible memes have emerged.

One, echoing the aristocratic mentality of a bygone (well, bygone to most of us) era, vents shock that a man of the power élite could be manhandled and humiliated for such a trivial peccadillo. This attitude is widespread among the chattering classes in Strauss- Kahn's native France (though French voters may view things differently; his Presidential hopes are now toast). Strauss-Kahn was well-known as a serial seducer of women, which in France is normal male behavior; if he hadn't set foot in the priggish USA, he wouldn't be in this mess.

The other meme uses the Strauss-Kahn story as just one more example of the problem of "tomcatting" males, conflating it with Schwarzenegger, Berlusconi, Gingrich, Bill Clinton, etc. All "illicit" sex is basically the same, and why can't these guys just keep it in their pants?

Both attitudes are sides of the same coin; both depend on blurring the crucial distinction.

Strauss-Kahn may well be a seducer, but what he is accused of doing in New York was not seduction but an attempt to force sex on a non-consenting person. If he had merely seduced her into consensual sex, most likely no one would ever have heard about it, and the police would have taken no interest even if they had.

His act crossed a sharp dividing line which "tomcatting", as such, does not, no matter how offensive some people find the latter. The world is full of people who object to various kinds of sex, but in many cases they're really objecting to human nature.

Some people have a taste for partners of their own gender. Many men have a taste for partners younger than themselves, and many women have a taste for men with status and power. Adultery may raise breach-of-contract issues, but so many people find strict monogamy so difficult to stick to that it's hard to uphold it as a realistic universal standard. No one knowledgeable about the sexual behavior of our fellow great apes could doubt that all these tendencies are hard-wired into humans.

I've often harped upon the sexual transgressions of conservative politicians and preachers, but the issue there is their hypocrisy in proclaiming the supremacy of standards they themselves do not follow, rather than the transgressions themselves.

Illicit consensual sex (even Gingrich's revolting cruelty) shouldn't be, and in most cases no longer is, a crime. The use of force to get sex must be. If Schwarzenegger did what it appears he did, then he deserves to be dumped by his wife and (if they feel so inclined) by the voters of California, but no more. If Strauss-Kahn did what he is accused of doing, he belongs in prison.


Blogger Ahab said...

THANK YOU for making this distinction. I'm so tired of the media framing attempted sexual assault as "seduction" or "womanizing." It's a crime and should be reported as such.

19 May, 2011 07:01  
Blogger Pamela D. Hart said...

Infidel: You’re right, adultery isn’t a crime, but it’s totally hypocritical for a person to preach values then do the complete opposite. Why these politicians don’t just keep their mouths shut about “family values” when they know they’ve breached them, is beyond my comprehension!

On a different note, how did Arnold keep this hushed? That “love child” was already what, 2 yrs old, when he campaigned for Governor…and no one had a clue! I find it hard to believe that Maria was in the dark the entire 10 yrs. I guess time will tell, because this isn’t going away anytime soon--it's way too juicy for the media!

19 May, 2011 07:47  
Anonymous Sherry Peyton said...

I found the charges odd at first, given his background of womanizing which I don't put in the same category as this. However, some women are coming forth now suggesting that he does a fair amount of strongarming, although in the past, he has relented in the end. Perhaps he felt this woman vulerable where other prey were more likely to be "heard". If he did this, he deserves all he gets. It is so far beyond "womanizing". Plenty of these men, Arnold included, seem to have crossed the line into force, mild or otherwise and this is simply not acceptable by an reasoning.

19 May, 2011 09:56  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ahab: It's really surprising how many people who should know better are treating this as just another case of "womanizing".

PDH: Each one seems to think he's the one who won't get caught. Or, like Gingrich, that it doesn't matter.

It's not only conservatives who sometimes excuse an "aristocrat" for an atrocity they would never excuse in an ordinary person. Long-time readers may recall my comment on the occasion of Ted Kennedy's death.

SP: Yes, I've heard that a woman in France has come forward now and said he attacked her nine years ago. It may be that he's used force several times, but no one had the nerve to speak up until now.

19 May, 2011 18:51  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Thank you, Infidel, for this post.

I will never forget the time I served as a juror during a rape trial.

The defense attorney tried to blame the victim for the sexual assault perpetrated on her.

(The night of the rape, she and her boyfriend had had a quarrel while in bed, and she ran out of the apartment, pulling on jeans and a tee shirt.)

The defense attorney pointed out to the jury that the night of the alleged crime, the woman had no underwear on under her jeans--this somehow made her deserving of being attacked!

When I heard that "evidence" I realized what was at work, and was shocked.

The defendent was eventually found guilty (the evidence was overwhelming), and after the sentencing, I read a report in the local paper that he had be charged with raping another woman once before, but it never came to trial because of the lack of definitive evidence.

19 May, 2011 18:55  
Blogger godlizard (aka dotlizard) said...

Really some of the worst punditry that's come out of this is of the Ben Stein variety, in which the whole thing is characterized as class warfare. Stein was outraged that an economist of such high standing was put in such a terrible jail over accusations from a common hotel maid, who might be a lunatic or a criminal for all we know.

Warning: if you read Mr. Stein's words at that link, you may become physically ill.

19 May, 2011 20:41  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Mornin Infodel! (about 4:15am Dallas)

All the point's Ya'll bring up are good and much more thought than I can do (I read this yesterday actually). I'm a simple type feller on these sex issue's you can say :)

I havent done a posting on this ole boy, but done one on "Snooki" of course as you seen, endorsing her to be the new IMF Director/ Chief, so my comment/ opinion is based off the response I gave on my blog to you.

But as for Kinky Kahn, this is all pointless for this feller, he done f'd up with the wrong gal at the wrong time in the wrong town, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh :) ... there is not one excuse or reason for these fella's, especially in his rank's to do these thing's, period, or for a feller that cant keep it in his pant's ... he simply wanted to rape a "strange", plain and simple.

I mean there are even social club's/ group's everywhere for everything a guy or gal can dream of wanting to indulge in. If you dont have a partner and it mean's that much to you ... find one, if you dont have time or want some relationship ... get a prostitute and they will make any fantasy in detail to the tee! Or just find someone in the neighborhood or into similar need's/ desire's. Bottom line, fella's who do this have "NO" excuse, even if you cant keep it in your pant's. This Guy has swarm's of women, relationship's, mistresses, a wife, and every imaginable source to cum 5X time's a day if he needed. Just like the posting I done a tad back on the high school teen cheerleader who got raped by a star football player on the team ... this guy has swarm's of gal's who would be more than happy to have sex with him and he does that? ... it's just pointless and ridiculous and a hefty price to pay.

But that's just my opinion Guy ... Thanx

20 May, 2011 02:31  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SK: Unfortunately such attitudes persist in some quarters even now, but they can be well addressed through mockery.

Of course any person charged with rape deserves a fair trial, but it has to turn on whether he actually committed the crime or not.

GL: What BS is saying there is just more of that entitled-aristocrat mentality -- DSK is one of the élite, how dare they treat him like a commoner!

It's quite proper to insist on presumption of innocence for DSK, but it's odd to do so and then spout off all kinds of wild speculations about the accuser.

RC: Who knows why he chose to attack this particular person at this particular time (assuming the charges are true)? But the motive hardly matters -- what matters is whether the crime was committed.

I remember that cheerleader case -- another case of aristocratic privilege, this time involving a sports star. It's too bad the police there were complicit, unlike in New York.

(PS: Anybody who's revving up to respond to RC by starting up the old "rape is about power not sex" thing, please don't bother.)

20 May, 2011 04:07  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thanx for bringing up about the "power/ rape" thing Infodel, I didnt even consider that, that could be shot at me on this one. But speaking of which as example ... back in the early 1990's for instnce when I fronted a satanic order, I was alwayz getting invited to these taboo or odd event's, some of them were sexual in nature, art's, etc. One that I was invited to monthly was called and sponsored by "P.E.P" (People Exchanging Power) (Texas) where they gathered at an underground weekly event called "Sadistic Sundays" ... and, I and a few friend's (both gender's) would attend, the music was loud and great (lot of "house/ techno/ electronika"), great company, and about as sinful as you can get, slave auction's, folk's with money, and just some working classes too (one case where the have's and have not's I reckon get along great!), couple's, etc, etc ... but that was the whole theory or whatever I reckon, was a master/ slave gathering for sex purposes ... and folk's just meet up with each other, and had several open sexcapade's even done "live" right there in front of us all, you had dominant's and submissive's in both gender's/ transexxual's, etc ... but all in all .. a fun event and entertaining. Of course if that isnt your cup of tea or curiosity, you shouldnt attend, cause I can assure you it would offend a person bothered by that.

Thanx ....

20 May, 2011 05:56  

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