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A very good writeup, futurebird. If I may, I would like to write a counterpoint. (This is not an attack on you; please realise, I do not wish to do that. I would like, however, to help paint a more complete picture.)

Rape is bad, but it is not the worst crime: it is not murder.

There are some who would argue that point. To my mind, this is related to the issue of euthanasia: is it a kinder, more humane thing to end a life, or to allow (or, in the context of this argument, cause) a great deal of pain and allow life to continue? The degree of a crime is a function of cause, effect, society, the values of the person judging, and too many other things; 'the worst crime' is far too subjective a term to be pinned down. To my mind, "rape is not as bad as murder" is akin to "apples taste better than oranges". Many people will unhesitatingly agree with this statement, but if presented with a rotten apple and a fresh orange, will choose the orange. I believe it is possible for a particular rape to be a crime worse than a particular murder, and I believe it is possible for a particular murder to be worse than a particular rape.

Re your story about your male friend; I am glad you talked to him, and I am glad he changed his mind. However, this is a non sequitur: it does not support your thesis, "Fear of sex is the power of rape". He chose to turn away from the powerful urge to rape, and it had nothing do to with fear.

This is how I know that attempting to stamp out all evidence that some people have such urges only makes the problem more ugly.

The conclusion you come to is true, but the path you take is (IMO) not justifiable. His other 'friend' was angry at him. She had a right to be. But she was not necessarily trying to stamp out all evidence of his urges. He talked to her about his plan to rape. He made her, in a sense, an accomplice. It seems clear that to hear things spoken to him compassionately and plainly (which is what you did) made it easier for him to defuse his anger. I feel it is likely that he knew this on some level, and wanted it, which is why he started talking about it to his friends in the first place. But when he tried to make her responsible for saying things plainly, in order to help prevent a violent crime from happening, he was trying to manipulate her into being responsible for actually preventing a crime - or, indirectly, allowing (or causing) a crime if she didn't say what he wanted to hear. Quite likely, neither party fully understood all the dynamics of the situation. Also quite likely, I'm only skirting the periphery of those dynamics myself - but I believe what I describe is a plausible angle on the situation. "He said that the fact that I listened gave him the chance to really think about what he was saying". He gives you more credit than you deserve, I'm afraid - and in doing so, he continues to avoid taking responsibility. You did not give him a chance; he had always had that chance. You were mature and secure enough to know that the (potential) crime was not your responsibility, but being a good friend was. His other 'friend' may not have realised all this. She was entitled to believe the responsibility was his, and should be his, and that she did not have to give him the option to not rape because it was his option to take, then and always - and she was entitled to believe all of this, because it is all true. Perhaps she did not understand what he wanted (or was not confident enough that she could give it), and did not want to take that responsibility from him. She did not want to be an accomplice to his rape. Who can blame her? 'Stamping out all evidence' does not apply to this story.

I am perplexed by the emphasis some feminists place on rape as a "crime against women" this only continues to reaffirm the notion that women are primarily valuable as sexual chattel rather than as people?

I hope I can unperplex you. The idea that the only effect a rape has on a woman is to reduce her value as 'sexual chattel' comes from the idea that the only sexual value of a woman is the external value, i.e. how others judge and evaluate a woman's sexuality or sexiness. Most feminists (that I know, at least) do not subscribe to that idea. Women (and men) value their own sexuality for themselves, and for their own reasons. That a rape may damage the external sexual valuations placed on a woman by others is not so deep, not so violent, as the damage done to her internal sexual values as she applies them to herself. The focus is not on the value of a person as sexual chattel, the focus is on the damage done to a person's self-worth, identity, … faith in the goodness of humanity. For example, rape often leads to very serious depression - that is the kind of thing that makes it a crime. Rape is a "crime against the victim (be it woman or man)" because it is more an attack against the victim as a person, than it is an attack against a pretty label pasted on that person by society.

The gripe I have against calling rape a 'crime against women' is that it ignores, even belittles, the fact that rape is a crime against men too.

I have exposed these views on rape since I was 16 or so. (Often getting in arguments with my peers.) Depending on my line of argument I've been threatened and on more than one occasion someone has said "I hope someone rapes you, then you'll learn to be more sensitive!!"

No friend would say that. But then I notice, you used the word peers.

The way you word your argument, though, does allow for an interpretation which makes you seem very insensitive (I'm not saying you are insensitive - I'm just saying the way you put your argument allows for that interpretation). To criticise calling rape a "crime" (against women or not) is to allow rape to not be called a crime at all. To allow for this, is to disregard all the suffering endured by those people who have had bad after-effects, to claim they are unimportant. I see that you have never stated that rape should not be a crime, and I appreciate the fact, but to criticise calling rape a crime does point in that direction. Leaving that door open may explain some of the hostile reactions you have received.

Well, oddly enough that wish came true, last year...

I am sorry to hear that.

But I have not changed my views. I asked the detective to treat the case as "poisoning and assault" (they put something in my drink, then picked me up in the parking lot.)

You have strong convictions. You are entitled to choose whichever valid charges you can bring against the perpetrators of any crime against you. I am sure your particular choice confuses, and perhaps maybe even alarms, some people - but that's a topic for another node.

I told the police that I don't believe in "sex crimes" only in assault and was very proud of myself for standing up for the things I believe in.

Well, I won't stand up for the same things as you. I consider sex crimes to be a subset of assault, and just because "theft" is a crime doesn't mean that the term "pickpocketing" doesn't have any meaning. But it is good and right that you should feel proud for doing so for yourself.

I'm not a ruined woman. And won't let anyone mourn me as if I were.

Brava.

Your experience, and the amount of time and care you have put into forming such difficult thoughts, makes you (IMHO) an expert on the subject. (I hope I do not devalue that statement in your eyes when I say I consider myself somewhat of an expert, too :).) But it should be pointed out that your attitudes on rape are not applicable to everyone. They apply to you. It's good to know what applies to you and what doesn't, no matter what side of any particular argument you may fall on. It's good to be able to express all of this too, so that anyone who cares to listen will be able to make a more informed decision for themselves. I thank you for this contribution to E2.