Saturday, 18 June 2016

Rape: Female Perpetrator Victims. Please mirror.

Author: Blaise Wilson
Egalitarian Feminist
Update 28/09/2016: new petition has been launched - let's get this one debated in parliament!
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This article is in support of a petition the UK Government to include female perpetrators in their legal definition of rape: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524

According to the UN definition, Violence Against Women includes any act of gender-based violence that causes psychological harm or suffering to women, such as the arbitrary deprivation of liberty through increased fear [1].

The legal UK definition of rape uses gendered language that excludes women from being physical capable of rape by defining it as unconsented penetration with a penis [2].

By excluding female perpetrators, the law not only denies women their agency to cause harm, but leaves their victims, both male and female, unable to get justice or even basic levels of support.

The gendered language in the UK legal definition of rape promotes a Rape Culture based on Rape Myths that encourage both victim blaming and vindication of the perpetrators. Victims of female perpetrators are systemically disbelieved at every level, from the initial reporting to the authorities, through the courts, and within the wider community of friends, family, and the support agencies.

Women force oral sex, sexual touching, and sexual intercourse onto their victims using the same strategies as men. These include [3]
  • threats of violence, including threatening their victims lives, sometimes with a weapon
  • physical and emotional domination, abuse and aggression
  • restraints
  • use of, or take advantage of, intoxication by drugs and alcohol
High impulsivity, hostile attributional bias, poor emotional regulation, and callousness coupled with neurological and physical factors increase motivation and willingness by men and women to use aggression against others, include sexual aggression [4].

Victims of rape can suffer the additional indignation of their own body betraying them, leaving them further traumatized. Sexual arousal is an automated response that does not require mental consent. Women self-lubricate and men gain erections through high emotional states such as fear and anger, and victims report orgasming against their will during violent and traumatic rape [3].

Even male victim with martial arts or combat training have a tendency to freeze up, especially if their lives are threatened. Not fighting back is not consent [3].

Women’s impact is ignored through the gendered definition of rape. Victims of female perpetrators suffer in the same way as victims of male perpetrators, regardless of the gender of the victim. This includes [3, 5]
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) such as flashbacks and an inability to sleep, isolation and feeling s of guilt
  • Impacts to their social life and emotional state
  • Becoming adverse to sex, or impaired sexual functions that can impact future relationships
  • Male victims suffer an additional challenge as due to the impact of their perceived masculinity
Rape Myths and Rape Culture are hugely prevalent and systematic within society causing victims of female perpetrators to be overwhelmingly disbelieved. These create an atmosphere of blaming the victim while exonerating the perpetrator, providing excuses for female perpetrators. This in turn encourages female sexual predators to further victimise others.

According to the Home Office in 2007 victims “deserve to be supported, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to see their offenders brought to justice” [cited by 3, p25]

The UK legal definition of rape creates a gender bias narrative, impacting the supporting evidence to exclude female perpetrators and their victims. This causes increased undue fear in women, treated them only as possible victims of male violence. This narrative causes psychological harm to women, and restricts their liberty by discouraging them from entering male dominated spaces.

It also denies women equal responsibility to men for the same actions and teaches women they do not have the agency to cause harm. Women’s actions are not taken seriously. If women are not taken seriously and society assumes they have no impact and agency when they choose to commit abhorrent acts, why should they be taken seriously, and have the same impact and agency when they demand equal rewards for the same job?

However, those who are impacted most by the wording of the UK definition of rape, are the rape victims themselves.

Equal rights, equal responsibility, for better or worse.

The UK legal definition needs to include female perpetrators of unconsented sexual acts. If you are a UK citizen please sign and share this petition, if you are not please spread the petition far and wide to reach as many UK citizens as you can: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524 

Campaign Support


References

[1] UN Definition of Violence Against Women: http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r104.htm
[2] UK rape law: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/part/1/crossheading/rape
[3] Nicola L. Fisher, Afroditi Pina, An overview of the research literature on male sexual victimization, undated. Available at: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/33378/3/Fisher%20%2526%20Pina%20REVISED%20FV%20AVB%2010-05R.pdf
[4] Nicola Graham-Kevan, The Re-Emergence of Male Victims, 2014. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244941105_The_Re-Emergence_of_Male_Victims
[5] NHS PTSD symptoms: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Post-traumatic-stress-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx
[6] Petition the UK Gov to change the UK rape laws: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167582
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124524 

Suggested citation

Blaise Wilson, Sept 2016, ‘Rape: Female Perpetrators Victims. Please mirror.’ Egalitarian Feminism. Available at: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk

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