Mishkin Berteig: Trigger Warning: Unpopular Opinions About Rape

This article was written in 2016 and now a new update from Mishkin will be added soon. There is more to come. Please check back soon in the comments for an update from Mishkin.

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Mishkin Berteig offers a thought-provoking look at the real causes of rape.

THE REAL CAUSE OF RAPE AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

By Mishkin Berteig

TRIGGER WARNING: UNPOPULAR OPINIONS ABOUT RAPE. This makes me mad!!! The causes of rape are deep societal ills which very few people want to actually discuss, NOT just “rapists”. Easier to just make an enemy of “rapists” rather than thinking through the choices our society is making about sex, power, and the reality of humanity. Alcohol is the most destructive drug there is. Pornography, advertising and the media portrayal of people is almost 100% about dehumanizing us all so that we become consumers. Our understanding of consent is waaaay too focused on individual rights rather than community obligations.

Don’t get me wrong: the person who commits rape has done a terrible evil, has made a choice, and should face the consequences of their act. But that act is part of a broader culture that is unwilling (yet) to make the changes necessary to root out this evil.

As a white, heterosexual, middle-class male, I know I’m not normally given a platform to have a different opinion about these sorts of things. But, lest anyone judge too quickly where I am coming from, it’s probably important to know that I have been sexually assaulted and raped. All of this discussion of the ‪#‎StanfordVictim‬ (of which I have read all the relevant stuff), is important, but only if it goes beyond stupid memes like this one.

How can we elevate the discourse? By talking realistically about how alcohol impairs judgement and is a scourge on society. By talking about pornography and media for what they are: mechanisms for making money off of bodies and sex. By talking about how consent requires commitment and how this relates to marriage, community, family and relationships. By talking about how much of the disfunction in our society is inherited from our parents, our friends and our communities and cannot be turned around without strenuous action. And all of these things at their root are about recognizing that all human beings are noble spiritual beings who require love, who give love, and who can sacrifice for each other instead of taking from each other. Our secular society is leading us down the path of further and further de-humanization. Only the recognition of our fundamental innate nobility can bring us forward. We are not merely blobs of energetic meat. Our reason, our love, our art, our ability to serve and sacrifice and strive for better things are the definition of humanity. Anything that dehumanizes us – anything! – enables rape culture.

BACKGROUND:

Here is a link to the original case which inspired Mishkin’s post.

Here is a link to a website with encouragement and support for survivors of sexual abuse.

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