Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Matter Of Perpective

Can anyone give me a satisfactory explanation why the media calls a man convicted of raping a 4 year old girl a "child rapist" - and a man convicted of raping a 4 year old boy gets labelled a "pedophile", when pedophilia knows no gender, whether referring to either victim or perpetrator. Is this not either journalistic ignorance - or a blatant attempt to reinforce the right wing image of gay people as "pedophiles"?

Just an observation - whenever a man is referred to as having molested male children he is most often referred to as "convicted pedophile Joe Soap" and not "convicted child rapist Joe Soap" blah, blah fishpaste. It reinforces the right wing lies and propaganda that gay people are a threat to children.

Just one of the many ways that bias is maintained without us even picking up on it.

How about this one - whenever a man murders his wife it is referred to as "Man Slays Wife" etc. It doesn't get referred to as "Heterosexual Murder" - but as soon as a lesbian murders her girlfriend it immediately becomes a "Lesbian Murder" in the press, and is used extensively to generate negative press and sentiment against the whole pink community.

It makes you think, doesn't it?

One wonders, in terms of the pedophilia thing, is it more the idea that society thinks it's worse to rape a little girl than a little boy? A ridiculous argument of course. Perhaps it is related to the stigma still attached to male rape victims... it really destroys them as much as female rape victims - but society expects men to be strong enough to defend themselves - and victimizes them if they dare to speak out as victims.

Even in terms of male victims of a mugging or robbery, people still wonder silently (if not out loud) "what's the matter with you, MAN - why didn't you beat the mugger up?" Male victims are viewed as weak - which is inherently bad for the stereotypical male ego - but for some reason women are EXPECTED to be weak and so when they are victims of whatever crime, they recieve sympathy instead of the scorn heaped upon male victims.

There was (and still is) a stigma attached to male rape which some straight men feel intimates that victims are assumed to be gay and "therefore less masculine" and this also forces them into a self destructive silence. We all know the old fairytale the anti-gay right wingers spread that gay people "became gay" through child molestation! They maintain that gay people "spread" through what they call "recruiting". I am sure this thought crosses the mind of every ignorant heterosexist parent at the mere mention of a child rape incident - and most especially when the victim is a little boy.

In fact I am pretty certain they keep an eye on their little boys for the first telling signs that their young men have "caught gay" and proceed to hide the wife's high heels and make up!

You would think that after forty years of information campaigns to try and educate people in the truth they would know better - or at least have some grasp of the facts? So many studies have been done which prove that pedophilia and homosexuality are two entirle separate things - and that homosexuality and transgender is inborn, and not "caught" - neither are gay and transgender people "recruited".

The logic of such beliefs eludes me. If that were the case, surely we would have long outnumbered the heterosexual population by now? LOL the entire religious right would be a tiny little community in the US "Bible Belt" living under a white flag with a blue cross on it, behind high walls and locked gates with James Dobson as 'El Presidente Vitalicio' (President For Life).

Thus, it seems ironically enough - the heterosexist attitudes employed against gay men also disadvantage and victimize the heterosexual male as well.

To me all this means simply this: sexism - AND heterosexism - along with prejudice and bigotry are bad for EVERYONE.

It took the gay rights movement to stand up for male rape victims and to try to get it recognized as a crime in SA. Up till then male rape was a taboo subject and there was no professional help for the victims...

These articles claim the rape law was amended to include male rape in 2007 - http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid45399.asp ; http://www.mrc.ac.za/public/facts18.htm

However, later articles from 2008 claim this was overturned, althugh it is not clear why. And as OUTLGBT Wellbeing has not responded to my query I cannot say why this worthy campaign seems to have been abandoned. Regardless, it seems that male rape is still not recognized legally and in such terms a man - or even a transgender person who is raped while still male can only file a charge of "aggravated assault" - which carries a far lighter sentence than that of a conviction of rape. While it seems the attempt was unsuccessful, it did achieve a marginal success in destigmatizing male rape.

The scales of justice hawever, are still clearly out of balance as far as this is concerned. "Aggravated assault" is not by any means or stretch of the imagination a satisfactory definition of what truly is rape in every sense of the word.

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