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Posted by on Nov 29, 2012 in Guest Contributor, Society | 11 comments

“Hazing?” The Proper Word is “Rape”

Another story where the victim isn’t called a rape victim because he’s got a penis.

We really do live in a rape culture. It’s where we ignore, dismiss, and/or laugh at the rape of men and boys.

Of course, it’s true that these are merely allegations. Perhaps those accused are innocent, although from what I’ve seen much “hazing” culture is very much like what is described here and the allegations are believable. I’m actually more disturbed by the fact that we don’t call these allegations what they are: rape allegations. Sexual assault.

(And don’t even get me started on the bigots who call this a “male trait,” i.e. strictly something men do to other men. That’s a whole ‘nother story.)

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  • roro80

    Dean, I agree, but I don’t understand your concern with this particular article. It is referred to explicitly as sexual assault in the first sentence of the article, and the issue is treated seriously throughout. The incidents themselves are of course terrible, and I would say the charges should be more serious than they are.

    Please note that we ignore, dismiss, and laugh at the rape of women in our culture as well. We also tell raped women that they really wanted it, they are lucky it happened, that it is a compliment, and we outright disbelieve such incidents ever took place.

  • slamfu

    It is treated seriously, but it was rather glaring that the word “rape” does not appear once in an article that is clearly about boys being raped.

  • Dr. J

    If the greatest injustices out there are linguistic, we’re in pretty good shape.

  • roro80

    He did not discount the ignorance that women who are rape victims face.

    Hi abstract, Welcome to TMV, you seem to be new around here. You therefore are likely unaware that the above is not, in fact, true. I do understand the confusion, based upon this one post. I have for a good deal of time worked directly counseling victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and this particular author has called me a bigot and part of a hate-group for doing so. So there is some history there.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    abstractacademic, please read the commenters’ rules at the top of the home page.

    archangel/ dr.e

  • zephyr

    If the greatest injustices out there are linguistic, we’re in pretty good shape.

    You think this is funny?

  • Dr. J

    Just reading the post, Zephyr, which is about language.

  • ShannonLeee

    Odd, rape is rape. “Hazing” is the context in which the rape occurred, but it is still rape.

    I thought the article was pretty clear about the difference. I can imagine that the rapists would only see it as hazing. This would make a sad, yet interesting, study group dynamics, in athletics in particular.

    I was lightly hazed as a college freshman basketball player. The tradition was dead before I graduated.

    lol..thinking back. I didn’t have a name my freshman year. I was just “freshman”.

  • roro80

    Dr J, I actually agree with Dean that the language we use for things matters. In this case, it is highly likely that the particular newspaper or site has style guidelines in which “rape” is called “sexual assault”; many do, although contrary to Dean’s assertion, it has nothing to do with penises of victims. One similar problem we see a lot with articles about sexual assault is calling rape sex. “Sources indicate that So-n-so was having a sexual relationship with his/her 13-year-old neighbor for a number of years; all indications show that the sexual nature of the interactions was consentual”. That sort of thing. As you can imagine, rebranding rape as sex (or, in this case, rebranding rape as hazing) allows for things like this coach excusing it as normal, comoradory-building stuff, which it clearly is not.

    I’m actually a little baffled that you think language doesn’t really matter. There would be no such things as propaganda or politics or public relations or rhetoric or smear campaigns or *any* campaigns if it weren’t important. I can scarcely think of anything big where the words used were fully inconsequential. The Nazis (I win the Godwin!) rebrand quantum physics and relativity as “Jew Science”, fully propogating the idea that the ability of Jewish physicists (who fled Europe and joined the Manhattan project) were a race of low intelligence. Oops except for how this led directly to the bomb. Using the word “traitor” instead of, say, “liberator”; “explorer” versus “ruthless invador”; “robber barron” or “job creator”…well, you get the picture. Of course language is important.

  • Dr. J

    Not sure I’d say language doesn’t matter, Roro, but I would say it doesn’t seem like much of a problem in this case. Especially compared to the assault. Likewise, I’d have to put “Jew science” slurs pretty far down the list of Hitler’s atrocities.

    Yes, language is an important propaganda tool. Is there a propaganda battle going on here?

  • roro80

    Yes, of course we are.

    The point of talking about Jew Science was not that it was his worst atrocity. It was that selling it as such was a huge factor in the result that Germany did not end up with a nuke during WWII.

    If rape is really sex, maybe we don’t need to be outraged when it happens, and we can rebrand it as a woman regretting that she slept with the wrong guy. If rape is really hazing, maybe the fact that it’s occurring among boys in locker rooms is merely a case of boys being boys. The propaganda war is that rape is one of the worst violent crimes – and among the most common – that can happen to someone, and the propaganda war is to change the culture that allows it to be easily shrugged off, denied, the rapists’ side taken, the conviction rate smaller than almost any other violent crime, and so on. If young people know that having sex with someone while they’re pass-out drunk is a rape, and if you do that then you are a rapist instead of someone who got laid, maybe these young people won’t do this so often. If boys who sodomize their teammates against their will can be called rapists by the law and by their peers, and particularly if the coach had used such language and made sure charges were pressed in previous incidents, this event almost certainly would not have occurred.

    So yes, a propaganda war.

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