The Rape Play Better Known as “One Night”

August 26, 2006

I promised you a commentary on a play I saw two days ago, and since I find myself in a lull between dinner and not going to parties (to be fair, I did visit both the Freshman dance and the XC party), I have the time to contemplate this whopper.

So, first let me say that the school makes all the activities here at Ursinus optional, so I went to the “rape play” of my own free will. To be honest, I looked forward to a night of stereotypes and feminist bullshit. I got my fill of both, though to the credit of the actors, they did an excellent job of shoveling it out. And the general moral, that rape is a heinous crime, of course holds true. Unfortunately, whoever wrote the play decided to steep this simple moral in incorrect facts and assumptions.

(A quick note. I’m doing this for fun. Though I do really believe most of what I’m saying, the vitriolic, sarcastic tone is just for fun. Come on, give a white middle class male a break. :) )

The first thing about the play that bit me in the ass the repitition of the statistic that “one in four women will be raped.” Okay, cool. And 97% of statistics are all made up. I mean, context matters. Majorly. Especially when it comes to random dangerous numbers derived via statistics. Numbers don’t lie. People do though. So, during a Q&A session, I asked one of the actors, “Is that 1 in 4 statistic for women in the US or in the world?” She replied, though she had to do it in character, “I’m pretty sure it’s in the US. I found it in some of the literature given to me after the rape.” Okay, cool. That clears it up a little bit.

Then, using the internet (I love the internet), I did a little research. Googling “one in four women raped,” I came across this little nugget. In this article, the author makes the claim that this 27% number came about via spurious means. Yeah, I figured as much. You can read the article for all the info, but basically some 3000 college women were interviewed in 1982 and asked about their rape experiences. Then the researches, not knowing what to do with all the numbers they got, clumped similar (though really different) categories together. So, not only is this info 24 years old, the overarching principle behind the statistic is flawed.

There’s my math qualm with the presentation. Now time for my science qualm. During the presentation, the “rapist” comments that “asking a man not to have sex with someone dressed like that and flirting like that and kissing like that is like asking a lion not to hunt down a three legged antelope.” His friend, a non-rapist, comments later, “I hate that bullshit comment. The one about [quote]. We’re not animals. We have a choice.”

Okay, I understand that a lot of people like to make the distinction between humans and non-human animals by labeling us humans and them animals. But we’re still animals, even if we’re human animals. I realize this sounds like a minor difference in words, but I think it’s important. We ignore this fact at our own risk. If evolutionary biology has taught us one thing, it’s that we both transcend and INCLUDE our animalistic qualities. As Michael Shermer states in his book The Science of Good and Evil, we have both virture and vice, good and evil. To try and ignore our baser nature is simply denial. At the same time, to put it on a pedastal is also folly.

Okay, one more point of contention. Understandably, in the play, the female friend of the rape victim makes very clear to the raped women, “None of this is your fault. You’re a victim.” Noone wants to be told it’s their fault that something horrible happened to them, especially immediately after the event. But taking up the mentality of “none of this is my fault” doesn’t empower the victim. And it certainly doesn’t do any good for the rapist. It creates a dichotomy between the “good” rape victim and the “bad” rapist. Yes, in a lot of cases, the rape victim is totally free from fault. But in this play, this was “acquaintance rape.” In other words, the rapist and rape victim knew each other and in fact had sex before. To absolve the woman, who followed willingly the man into his room for “wine for a special occasion.” and condemn the man, who honestly thought the woman wanted to have sex, is just bad ethics and bad logic.

That’s my two cents on the rape play. This probably won’t make much sense to you unless you saw the play. But maybe it’ll shed some light on my thoughts on this issue. It’s not something I’ve really thought about before. And not something I’ve ever really spoken on. So now you know.

Namaste.

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2 Responses to “The Rape Play Better Known as “One Night””

  1. Dave in the West said

    Definitely one of your better entries. This is why I love you. I ADORE you. Why don’t you come over for a special occasion? Just be prepared for my inherent nature…. and remember, it’s not your fault.

  2. Talie said

    so she had sex with him, so now he can have sex with her whenever, even if she doesn’t want to. That’s still rape. so if she wears sexy clothes, she’s just asking for it right? If a women says NO that means she doesn’t want to have sex regardless how flirtation she was, what she had on, whatever. And rape is not Feminist bullshit, you as a man never had to have a car of guys follow you around asking you what kind of sexual favor you have to offer, and just be afraid that maybe walking outside may not be safe. Why do i have to feel unsafe because, you feel that you as an animal can’t control yourself, guess what you have fuckin free will

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