There's really nobody to cheer for in the ongoing battle about "rape culture." The hysterical liberals / feminists are cheapening the charge of rape when they apply it to situations where a girl, usually intoxicated, gets taken advantage of. That involves a betrayal of trust, not the threat or use of violence.
Liberals used to concern themselves with matters of unfair treatment, injustice, one party taking advantage of another, and so on. You'd think the common-enough case of a drunk girl getting taken advantage of would be right up their alley. Hard to think of a better textbook example of someone using a higher bargaining position (clear-minded vs. intoxicated) to take advantage of another person.
Yet liberals these days don't talk much about the little person being taken advantage of (umm, vote for the Tea Party much? Cuh-reeeepy...) Most of them became numb to populism a couple decades ago. Hence every objection must be about preventing harm and providing care, no matter how unfitting this approach may be in any given case.
On the other hand, much of the so-called conservative reaction is to say, "Meh, what was she expecting? Anyway, no crime, no punishment. Next topic." While at least seeing past the blubbering about violence and harm, this response still shows a callousness toward a growing problem of young women getting taken advantage of while intoxicated, and while away from anyone who would look out for her interests, i.e. her family.
Sure doesn't sound like a world any of us want to live in, but pseudo-cons are so concerned with kneejerk reactions against the side of political correctness that they won't admit how unwholesome the situation is.
More and more, in fact, the pseudo-con position on any aspect of our fucked up world can be simplified as: "Unwholesomeness -- if you can't get used to it, you're a pussy." Real I-like-Ike kind of values.
This is the gist of some comments, copypasted below, that I left at this post at Uncouth Reflections about how hysterical accusations of rape are getting, that they're claiming ever less harm-based forms of not-so-consensual sex as rape.
That post was in turn motivated by this item at Time about Lena Dunham's new book, in which she relates a story about being "raped" in college. She was drunk and/or on Xanax, was insistent about going back with the guy who took advantage of her -- over an explicit attempt by a hapless white knight to steer her away from it -- and talked dirty to the guy during the act.
It never occurs to her that she was raped (she's thinking of actual rape, including force / violence). Her friend is the one who tells her she was raped, and convinces her. They are now thinking of metaphorical rape, and literal getting-taken-advantage-of. In the comments below I speculate about how our society has gotten here, making use of Haidt's framework of the moral foundations that liberals vs. conservatives draw on in their moral intuitions.
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Incidents like Dunham’s are obviously not rape, they are getting taken advantage of. Why can’t today’s leftoids speak out against vulnerable people getting taken advantage of? Partly because the women make themselves vulnerable in the first place by blasting their brain with so many hard substances in rapid succession, in a public place where they know strangers only have one goal on their mind.
But there must be something more to it. We would object to a sleazy pawn shop owner offering a couple bucks for pristine 1970s receiver if it came in from a clearly stoned-out customer who says he just wants some cash to feed the munchies, man, you gimme anything for this thing?
These cases involve not harm or force but violation of trust. She trusted the guys at the party not to be that type of sleazeball, the stoner trusted the shopkeepers to give him honest treatment. When they wake up the next morning worrying, “Oh God, what did I do?” they feel betrayed or lied to.
Why insist on framing it as harm when it is not? Liberals are becoming so infantilized that it’s the only moral foundation they can appeal to anymore. “Mommy, that person hurt me!” No, they took advantage of you — it’s still wrong, but different from harming you. Kids don’t get it because they’re naive and don’t know about the possibility of having their trust betrayed.
Grown-ups should, though, and the fact that liberals cannot even appeal to their second-favorite moral foundation — fair treatment — shows how stunted this society has become.
Betrayal also taps into the moral foundation of community or in-group cohesion, but liberals are numb to that. If you’re both members of the same community (and typically they are even closer, being at least acquaintances), how could you think of taking advantage of her? Shame on you. Get out, and don’t come back until you’ve made up for it.
But liberals value hedonism, laissez-faire, individual advancement, and other quasi-libertarian leanings that most Republicans do. Hence they cannot object on the basis of wanting to prevent people from taking advantage of others. Under hedonism, that is guaranteed. And if laissez-faire and non-judgementalism are sacrosanct, who’s really to say that we’re in a place to judge a mere sleazeball who takes advantage of others? I mean, it’s not like he’s using force or violence.
Therefore, yes, he must have used force or threatened violence — that’s the farthest that the liberal is willing to draw the boundary. If they have an instinctive revulsion, it must be framed as some kind of harm, because anything less severe than that but still repugnant (like taking advantage of a drunk chick at a party) lies on the “fair game” side of the moral boundary line. Cognitive dissonance kicks in, so they rationalize what happened as harm / rape.
I alluded to it by calling Republicans quasi-libertarians, but let me say that too many conservatives don’t know how to react to these scenarios either. They know that the liberals are hysterically over-exaggerating, and like to invent new classes of victimhood, so their instinct is to dismiss these cases altogether.
But a drunk girl getting taken advantage of at a party isn’t a brand-new victim class. I’m sure that was a concern in Biblical times when the wine began flowing. It’s not as though she were a black who was denied admission to law school due to low LSAT scores, or a mentally ill tranny who feels robbed because ObamaCare won’t fund his castration / mangina surgery.
Brushing the Dunham type cases aside, like “Bitch deserved what she got for getting drunk,” or “Bitches need to learn to fend for themselves when drunk at college parties,” is too far in the anti-PC direction, however understandable the revulsion toward PC is.
I don’t sense any of that here — that’s more of a shrill Men’s Rights thing — but it’s worth emphasizing that it isn’t only liberals who are dumbfounded when they try to articulate their reaction to “drunk chick gets taken advantage of.” They both rely too heavily on laissez-faire and hedonistic norms to be able to say there’s something wrong with someone betraying another’s trust.