Culture

Rape: Victims of Pity

Razack argues that “we need a theory that can account for the structure of violent relationships in women’s lives and expose the social conditions that limit what can be said in the rape script… [and that] the stories of women with disabilities must be told, not as stories of vulnerability, but as stories of injustice.”

In changing the rape scripts and incorporating the stories of violence into our evaluation of justice, we effectively “move beyond consent [as the salient factor in rape cases] to responsibility [of men as respects to women] and beyond pity to respect.”

This essay makes an assumption that if we unravel the consent argument and look at the sexual histories of violence and sources of violence in the lives of women with disabilities and how those stories play into the case and the establishment of justice then the outcome both in the case itself and in the perception of women with disabilities.

Secondly, this argument assumes that if these stories are told and the subtexts uncovered that those in positions of power to judge will be swayed to find differently in these cases.

Third, Razack assumes that if we were to shift the focus from whether or not ‘she’ consented to the man’s responsibility then again there will be a positive impact for women.

It is a scary moment when you realize to make progress you have to give up the conventional method by which rape cases are tried. You have to leave behind the consent argument to pursue the uncovering of stories instead. However this is dangerous because the judge and jury are not conditioned to this strategy, and may not even be amiable to such reasoning. If that is true then we stand to lose many more cases than are even being won at the moment. I contend that a tenuously won justice is still better than none.

That having been said I laud Razack and her cohorts for their work in examining the current system, the rape scripts and the means by which justice is to be had and it’s perpetuation of the issues at hand. It seems so simple that it really comes down to men and their responsibility in violence and facing consequences for their actions. That in this modern day and age we still consider the argument to be whether or not a woman was worthy of saying no, and whether or not she was deserving of respect is a crime against women in itself. A correlation has been shown between the reenactment of violence seen on television based on whether or not there were consequences. Maybe we should consider the thought that maybe men don’t feel as though there are consequences if they should violate a woman, or they wouldn’t so readily do so. Razack and company are working to change this by trying to bring the subtexts to the fore and putting the men, not the women, on trial.

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