We have had some discussion in this group on sexual assault and rape triggered by a video shared by Tapati Dutta. Even after fatal gang rape of a young woman in New Delhi in Dec triggered an uproar, conservative groups continued to suggest that somehow women were asking for it - by dressing provocatively, staying out late at night and daring to have male friends. Now a Bollywood actress is taking on the issue in a cheeky video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YILiCauhO8 

Irit commented...Suggesting that women are 'asking' to be abused, by wearing such & such clothes, is a terrible insolence that only men can invent. The fact is that : very modest women are raped ; young girls & even toddlers, who do not know right and wrong are raped ; old women who are not even attractive are raped. Means - women ARE raped by men, no matter what. the video itself - I don't like it at all. I do not believe making fun of the subject (even with a good intention) serves the purpose.

I realised that if we could find some experiences where communities are taking action and share widely so that communities learn from each other and it gives them energy and hope to take action in their own setting. I request the group to share any such experiences.

Thanks
Rituu

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Replies to This Discussion

In Israel the subject is "on the map" - women organizations are dealing with it every now and then. There was a case when a judge (!) said - "she enjoyed it", re a rape case. it raised   enormous waves....even the media  ( who usually is not very kind with us) gave it an appropriate time. 

Response on Facebook from AI practitioner Claudia. Thanks Claudia!

Claudia Gross I remember that Mette Jacobson told us in Lincoln about her experience with victims of torture in Africa. if I recall it right, the AI approach was also concerned about "what gave you the strength to survive it?" but definitely better to ask her yourself, supposedly by email since I believe she is not on fb.

Response by Jean Joklik, an AI practitioner on Facebook. Jean has been facilitating strength-based approach for past 20 years!

Jean Joklik In David Cooperrider's article "A Positive Revolution in Change" he relates the case study of Marge Schiller's work with Avon Corporation in Mexico: moving from the problem of sexual harrassment in the workplace to an affirmative topic choice of "high quality cross-gender relationships in the workplace."

Response via email from Mette Jacobsgaard, an AI practitioner. Thanks a lot Mette! This conversation was facilitated by Claudia Gross based in Egypt. Sincere thanks to lovely Claudia!

A piece of work I did some years ago comes to mind:

I did an (e)valuation using AI of the work of an organisation that works with torture survivors. The work included interviews with torture survivors as clients of the organisation. We did sample interviews in Zimbabwe, Kosovo, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The idea was to assess the experience of the service that the clients had received from the organisation. What I had not been prepared for was how important it was for the torture survivors to tell me their whole story to make sure I understood what they had been through. That was pretty tough, emotional and difficult to listen to. I listened to their story and then when I felt that they felt I knew their story I thanked them and asked them:

-          I see enormous strength in you – what is it about you that enables you to sit here today and share this with me? Tell me that story also.

 I find that the best way to support people to move forward is to tap into that life giving force that made them choose to move forward and live. See that, and appreciate that in them and help them appreciate that in themselves as enormous strength.

I think that rape is a form of torture and some people survive and some don’t.

 So, this is my example working directly with survivors, and I choose the term survivors rather than victims as I think it is much more difficult to live with the victim label than the survivor label.

 And in terms of working with the rape/assault issue at the community level – well that can be done in a million different ways and that is another and much longer conversation.

Mette Jacobsgaard, Lincoln Workshop Series Ltd. Training AI practitioners.

www.appreciative-inquiry.co.uk

 

Best wishes

Mette

Response from Tarun Verma, 'New Gender studies' group on Facebook

Tarun Verma men are biologically programmed to approach women for sexual intercourse..sperms are 'seekers' of ovum and testosterone yields aggressiveness..so only a higher order thinking can help to surpass our biological givens..its a pity we have such natural systems that results in criminal offenses..terminating crime needs change in thinking..other solutions are doomed to fail, like law

Tarun, I agree with you that there is a need for a wholesale change in thinking. This has to start with the belief that there are 'natural systems which result in criminal offences' against women. There is nothing natural about committing violence against women. Violence against women is not an unfortunate consequence of men's 'natural sex drives'. First of all, there is no such 'natural' thing as an 'uncontrollable sex drive'. Sex drives are not uncontrollable. Secondly, and most importantly, violence against women is not about sex. It stops being sex when the other person says no. This is when sex drives have to and can be controlled. When men continue to have sex with women who clearly do not desire it, it is not about any 'natural sex drive', it is about power, and the belief that men can have what they 'desire' in spite of protests.

Thank You Shraddha for the reply. I totally agree with your view that after a point there is no sexual desire but a power desire of men that leads them to conduct rape. Rape simply defined is "forceful, non-consensual sexual intercourse". So when consent is lost, forceful action is causing unwanted sex. This force is an expression of power motive which has aggression at its root. When man's self-respect is hurt, his 'ego' is hurt, he tends to take the revenge by inflicting his desires onto the woman against her wishes. So rape happens. This mechanism is clear, and I totally agree with your thoughts here.

But a question arises here that why this aggression/power/force is taking the form of 'sex'. Why not some other form of force? May be beating the woman, abusing her badly, abducting her and torturing her physically (more satisfaction through causing long term pain). If its only about power after getting rejected, then it shouldn't take the form of sex. 

I believe there is some other intention of men behind that. They actually want to see whether they can convince the woman or not. And for that, they want the woman to agree with it. There is usually an assumption that women don't express their desires openly, but they also want to have sex. So they hesitate, and want the male to take initiatives. This assumption and view has been popularized by movies and other media, where a man 'chases' a woman. This has been considered by our species an obvious way to agreement. A man takes a cue from the girl (like "hansi to phansi") and makes more attempts to convince the girl. (One of the popular statements in media regarding this is that women's clothes invite men to rape.) This is a common way to attain consent, and it happens everywhere. But when its about sexual consent, things get worse. Because a rejection to a relationship may invite physical violence (like acid attacks, very commonly seen these days), but a rejection to a sexual contact motivates for rape. So one factor is this chasing attitude.

Second stage where this consent seeking is observed is during the act of rape. This happens again by taking cues - in the form of vaginal lubrication, and other facial and bodily signals. That implies a man rapes in order to arouse the victim, which may compel her to provide consent, or if not consent then just believing that she enjoys the act means she wants it. So they look for cues, which suggest she likes to have sex. Cues like, vaginal lubrication which is one of the major ones, lessening of physical resistance, facial expressions, are usually taken to see if she is sub-consciously desiring it or not. And this happens very often. Please refer to this article for many similar views http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/science-arousal-durin... This is an excerpt from the article 

''Finally, horribly, some rapists enjoy making their victims' bodies respond to the assault as a sign of dominance. These rapists work to get a physical response from their victims. They have learned how fear and anxiety can correspond to other forms of heightened arousal, and they exploit the connection.''

Biologists and neurologists (sorry to bring this again!) say that sexual arousal is a state of tension, so tension has to be released. Releasing it brings pleasure, much more intense than any other form of pleasure. So there is a natural hurry in getting releasing this tension. It is a well known fact that men usually do not intend to prolong the duration of intercourse and their chief focus is at ejaculation. Because it acts as a climax for them. Now this is a common behavior that intercourse activity is usually desired to be fast. Because when more force is applied, it yields more pleasure. So there is a natural tendency to seek more pleasure through more force. Forcing the woman is associated with more desire for pleasure. Rape is rarely romantic, I believe. So its more close to releasing this tension. 

Therefore, it seems that sex doesn't end at non-consent. Sex desire continues to rule. Power is just a way to achieve the actual sexual pleasure they intended to attain since the beginning.

And yet another thing is there. Very young girls are also raped. There is no consent issue there, and no power motive. So is it just sex-driven or power driven?

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