Guilty verdicts in Richmond High School rape case

[Trigger warning]: In 2009, a 16-year-old girl was beaten and raped for more than two hours on the Richmond High School campus in California. She nearly died after the attack, which was perpetrated by multiple men while even more looked on. After four years, some justice is being done: Two of the accused have been found guilty and are facing long sentences. I’m obviously not a big fan of long prison sentences as a general rule, but for sadists who rape and torture a young woman for group entertainment over the course of several hours? Yeah, those guys probably shouldn’t be walking the streets. Neither should the onlookers who encouraged the violence and did nothing to stop it.

Thanks to Catherine for the link.

Author: has written 5268 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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68 Responses

  1. Disemvoweled: Wordwizard
    Disemvoweled: Wordwizard July 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm |

    Yr rtcl stts:
    “ftr fr yrs, sm jstc s bng dn: Tw f th ccsd hv bn fnd glty nd r fcng lng sntncs.”
    t ds nt mntn tht 2 thrs hv lrdy bn fnd glty s wll (thrgh pl brgnng) nd 2 mr r gng t b trd. S t wn’t b jst ths tw wh wll py.

    gr tht lng prsn sntncs r nt gd d—f w hd lws tht llwd cstrtn+cttng ff dcks, blv rps nd rp ttmpts wld drp prcptsly ftr th pnshmnt hd ctlly bn dmnstrd NC. “Crl nd nsl pnshmnt” s gnst th Cnstttn, knw, bt cstrtn sn’t nsl n sm thr cntrs…t’s mttr f pnn—nd thn th !@#$% wld b st fr, prhps wth n nkl mntrng brclt.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune July 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

      if we had laws that allowed castration+cutting off dicks, I believe rapes and rape attempts would drop precipitously after the punishment had actually been administered ONCE

      Seriously, can we not suggest this shit.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen July 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

        Yeah, I’m with you on this mac. Not a helpful answer to the problems posed by the US ‘justice’ system.

    2. Ally S
      Ally S July 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm |

      [Trigger warning: rape]

      if we had laws that allowed castration+cutting off dicks, I believe rapes and rape attempts would drop precipitously after the punishment had actually been administered ONCE.

      No, just no. Aside from the fact that this punishment is incredibly barbaric and inhumane, there is the fact that rape isn’t done only with penises. As Mac said, we really shouldn’t even think about suggesting this as a punishment for rapists.

      “Cruel and unusual punishment” is against the Constitution, I know, but castration isn’t unusual in some other countries…It’s a matter of opinion

      Translation: “Other countries do it, so it’s okay if we do it, too!”

      -_-

      1. Wordwizard
        Wordwizard July 23, 2013 at 1:27 am |

        The punishment would fit the incredibly barbaric and inhumane crime. That rapes don’t have to be done with penises isn’t the point—It’s to serve as an EFFECTIVE deterrent. No crime done, no punishment administered. But it’s obvious no one here agrees with me. Enough said.

        1. Ms. Kristen J.
          Ms. Kristen J. July 23, 2013 at 2:48 am |

          1) Torturing people is unacceptable even if we were to agree that the other person deserves it. Unethical acts do not become ethical just because we hate that guy. (That type of dehumanizing bs is how humans convince themselves that hurting the different person down the street is somehow okay.)

          2) Castration does not stop rapists. Take a look at the recidivism rates for people have experienced surgical or chemical castration to secure their release from prison. You idea simply doesn’t work.

          3) As far as I’m aware, there is no evidence suggesting castration as a punishment actually deters rape. People get away with rape most often because of complicit social structure that tells rapists that they will rarely be caught and convicted of any crime. Increasing the punishment won’t change that underlying cultural dynamic.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 10:40 am |

          That rapes don’t have to be done with penises isn’t the point—It’s to serve as an EFFECTIVE deterrent.

          A short list of people it would not deter (content note: discussion of rape):

          Cis female rapists
          Trans male rapists
          Female-bodied non-binary rapists
          Any rapist using an object to rape
          Any rapist using fingers or tongue to rape (see also: Steubenville rape)
          Any rapist less interested in getting off than in hurting/traumatising/humiliating their victim (see also: wartime rapes)
          Some penis-having rapist who had their penis cut off and is now, on top of being a rapist, incredibly fucking angry and wanting revenge, not just power.

    3. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm |

      And what about the occasions when the wrong person is convicted of rape?

      1. Wordwizard
        Wordwizard July 23, 2013 at 1:49 am |

        “And what about the occasions when the wrong person is convicted of rape?”

        What about those occasions NOW? Is the PRESENT system of locking people in cages for years, with rampant prison rape, with the concommittant HIV non-judicial death sentences, truly more humane than what I’m proposing?

        1. JBL55
          JBL55 July 23, 2013 at 8:59 am |

          Fallacial thinking. Both are equally horrific. And your proposal is as wrong as capital punishment because it is irreversible.

        2. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 24, 2013 at 1:51 am |

          JBL55 – precisely.

          WordWizard, how does it improve the current appalling situation in US prisons to introduce an irreversible physical punishment? And why are you horrified at what rapists may go through in prison now (that’s assuming they’re not the ones carrying out the prison rapes anyway) but still happy to propose castration?

          Plus, as has been mentioned, penii aren’t needed to commit rape. Women commit rape. People of any gender can commit it digitally or with objects. Would you have rapists’ hands cut off, or rapists with vulvae be genitally mutilated? Where does it stop?

          I have no sympathy for rapists, btw. I’d love to see them crumble to dust or otherwise just disappear from the face of the earth. But deliberately going for a barbaric punishment? How the hell is that supposed to help? How does that make our societies any better?

        3. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard July 24, 2013 at 7:44 am |

          Kitteh: It really seems best to drop this thread, but since you asked—I proposed what I did as an ALTERNATIVE to prison, not in addition. What I proposed is against my usual non-violence, because rape pushes my buttons, let alone gang rape, but it was clearly something no one else likes, though men I’ve informally polled have said they thought it would reduce rapes, but the point about certainty of punishment being more important than severity, ditto lack of acceptance, certainly beats anything I said, so let’s just leave it that it was a bad idea.

          On the original thread, when I was explaining what I meant by the phrase “radical feminist”, I said it applied to others assuming that I did not offend anyone who did not wish to be so identified, but this time I left that phrase out for the sake of brevity, + because how can I repeat EVERYTHING from a different thread here anyway? If there is a better, non-controversial phrase to characterize this community, I would be happy to use it, however, it might make better sense to address the Richmond HS case…

        4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 24, 2013 at 9:22 am |

          WordWizard – yes, I replied before seeing the comments downthread asking us all to drop it.

          I’d just say this is a feminist site. Covers everything without using specifics that really don’t apply to everyone.

    4. yes
      yes July 23, 2013 at 2:50 am |

      We need a giraffe in here. And one fewer commenter.

      [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

    5. Thomas MacAulay Millar
      Thomas MacAulay Millar July 23, 2013 at 10:00 am |

      (1) Research tends to show that severity of punishment is very poorly correlated with deterence and swiftness and certainty of punishment are very strongly correlated with deterence. (2) When punishment for a crime is severe but the crime is actually common and committed by people with social support, the response is to loosen enforcement so that mostly those with no social power get punished, and those with power always seem to get away with it. Castration as a mandatory punishment would cause already tragically low rates of arrest, prosecution and conviction to fall through the floor.

    6. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve July 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

      A short list of people it would not deter (content note: discussion of rape):

      Cis female rapists
      Trans male rapists
      Female-bodied non-binary rapists
      Any rapist using an object to rape
      Any rapist using fingers or tongue to rape (see also: Steubenville rape)
      Any rapist less interested in getting off than in hurting/traumatising/humiliating their victim (see also: wartime rapes)
      Some penis-having rapist who had their penis cut off and is now, on top of being a rapist, incredibly fucking angry and wanting revenge, not just power.

      This. Especially the one on the bottom. Cutting off a penis does not make one less violent, and as mac points out, it could be quite a source of resentment.

      I get that Saudi Arabia has low rates of theft because they cut off people’s hands for stealing, so I’m not going to say it definitely wouldn’t reduce rates of rape, but I don’t want to live in Saudi Arabia or the American equivalent.

      If you’re going to make a barbaric suggestion, then surely the best option would be to cut the rapist’s head off. I guarantee they won’t re-offend after that.

  2. Disemvoweled: Wordwizard
    Disemvoweled: Wordwizard July 22, 2013 at 10:45 pm |

    Yr rtcl stts:
    “ftr fr yrs, sm jstc s bng dn: Tw f th ccsd hv bn fnd glty nd r fcng lng sntncs.”
    t ds nt mntn tht 2 thrs hv lrdy bn fnd glty s wll (thrgh pl brgnng) nd 2 mr r gng t b trd. S t wn’t b jst ths tw wh wll py.

    gr tht lng prsn sntncs r nt gd d—f w hd lws tht llwd cstrtn+cttng ff dcks, blv rps nd rp ttmpts wld drp prcptsly ftr th pnshmnt hd ctlly bn dmnstrd NC. “Crl nd nsl pnshmnt” s gnst th Cnstttn, knw, bt cstrtn sn’t nsl n sm thr cntrs…t’s mttr f pnn—nd thn th !@#$% wld b st fr, prhps wth n nkl mntrng brclt.

    1. f.
      f. July 23, 2013 at 3:19 am |

      We need a giraffe here. Or three.

      [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

  3. Hugh
    Hugh July 22, 2013 at 10:56 pm |

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    1. Noadi
      Noadi July 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm |

      And repetitive.

      1. Willemina
        Willemina July 23, 2013 at 1:07 am |

        I feel like there are now links to here from some MRA spot saying, “See, look wut teh evil feminists r saying!”

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl July 23, 2013 at 9:51 am |

          I went a couple hundred rounds with Wordwizard a while back in an earlier thread about paternity issues. They claimed to be a Radfem, cis woman and got alllll het up with me when I accused them of being an MRA (because they were expressing rull serious concerns for the poor menz having their children being kept from them by meany women who refuse to give them paternity rights). They even tried to get the mods to banninate me for leveling such an insult when they were actually a super serious Radfem.

          Interesting turn of events.

        2. A4
          A4 July 23, 2013 at 11:27 am |

          They claimed to be a Radfem, cis woman and got alllll het up with me when I accused them of being an MRA

          A commenter on the internet informed you of her gender identity and because you did not like what she said you are deliberately misgendering her in some sort of rhetorical power play? Are you unilaterally revoking her woman status due to an improper performance of femininity?

          That is really not cool.

        3. Kerandria
          Kerandria July 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |

          A4, Lola didn’t use any gendered statements in her post – calling Wordwizard out for MRA politics is not the same as deliberately misgendering someone.

        4. A4
          A4 July 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

          Lolagirl used the pronoun “them” to refer to Wordwizard instead of “her” even though Lolagirl also reported that she knew Wordwizard identifies as a cis woman. That is deliberate misgendering.

        5. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl July 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

          Hey A4, catch up!

          Wordwizard just got banned for saying some pretty effed up stuff. Which in my mind only further seves to undermine any credibility they ever tried to claim or demand for themselves her at Feministe. So, no, I’m not going to take anything they say or said in the past at face value. That they claimed to not be an MRA while spouting MRA party line bs, or a cis woman, a Radfem, or whatever else? Yeah, not going to give that any respect at all.

        6. tigtog
          tigtog July 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm | *

          Wordwizard just got banned for saying some pretty effed up stuff.

          Actually, Wordwizard had several comments redacted via disemvoweling and has been placed into the premoderation filter. That’s not the same thing as getting banned at all, and it’s important to us mods to emphasise that calling for a giraffe or having the giraffe arrive and express disapproval via comment redaction etc is not automatically going to lead to a commenter being banned. Sometimes the giraffe just lets people know that they need to dial it back a bunch of notches if they want to continue commenting here.

        7. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl July 23, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

          Thanks for clarifying, Tigtog. I apologize for misstating, although I admit I jumped to that conclusion because of the disemvoweling.

          Sorry again!

        8. tigtog
          tigtog July 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm | *

          No worries, Lolagirl. It’s just that if people think all redactions from the Moderator team are signs of a banning, then some will be reluctant to call for a giraffe on less egregiously problematic comments because they see moderator intervention as a nuclear option that might possibly be too harsh.

          Those comments were disemvoweled to clearly indicate that their content was unacceptable, so that they couldn’t be linked to by anti-feminist MRAs as indicative of some alleged widely accepted feminist view.

          Further discussion of moderation principles should probably happen on #spillover, if you’re interested.

        9. Kerandria
          Kerandria July 24, 2013 at 1:39 am |

          @A4 and Wordwizard – I apologise. After thinking, I can certainly see how that would constitute deliberate misgendering. tbh, I didn’t see it that way at all — I’ll give it (and my privilege) some deeper thought. Thanks for the pointer!

      2. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve July 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm |

        Hey A4, catch up!

        Wordwizard just got banned for saying some pretty effed up stuff. Which in my mind only further seves to undermine any credibility they ever tried to claim or demand for themselves her at Feministe. So, no, I’m not going to take anything they say or said in the past at face value. That they claimed to not be an MRA while spouting MRA party line bs, or a cis woman, a Radfem, or whatever else? Yeah, not going to give that any respect at all.

        Lola, I apologize, but I can’t really follow what you’re saying either. Are you using the term ‘they’ because WordWizard posts under numerous pseudonyms? Or does ‘they’ refer to a group of people? Because if WordWizard is a single person who identifies as a woman, she does deserve to be called ‘she’ and calling her ‘they’ is somewhat misgendering her, as A4 points out. It’s not a hugely serious offense, and probably not even worth A4 mentioning it in the first place. So, while I completely agreed with you in your missives against WordWizard (and I don’t always agree with you on paternity issues, so you can tell I found her comments pretty awful,) I don’t see how what you’ve said is a defense of calling a woman ‘they.’

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl July 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

          I’m using “they” as a catch-all term because it is unclear who Wordwizard truly was or from where they were even coming. My initial impression was that they were actually a man (and the word wizard is commonly used in literature to refer to male characters.) but Wordwizard objected and then claimed to be a cis woman Radfem. Who was utterly unaware that the term Radfem was simply short for radical feminism, and claimed utter ignorance of the Radfem movement’s transphobic leanings, and expressed opinions that were straight out of the MRA play book.

          So, no, I guess I’m saying that I’m no longer willing to take Wordwizard’s claims to be a cis woman seriously. I apologize if that offends folks here, that isn’t my intention. But when you ring all the bullshit bells on the manner Wordwizard has done, I’m going to stop believing anything you say or even continue affording you a modicum of respect.

        2. yes
          yes July 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm |

          Well, as long as you’re clearly dictating what a real cis woman would or wouldn’t know, say, and believe, I guess there’s nothing to be annoyed by.

        3. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl July 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm |

          Really, yes, you feel compelled to put such offensive words in my mouth for refusing to believe someone who has such an offensively offensive track record here at Feministe?

          Because I never said anything about what a real cis women is or is not. And you know that, because it in no way appears in my comments above or elsewhere. FFS, I can’t even believe anyone would want to defend the person otherwise known as Wordwizard, and do so in a way that involves lying about or misconstruing what I’ve stated quite clearly. Which is, to repeat, that I all along suspected Wordwizard of being untruthful in her/their claims about her/them selves, and that as a result of how things went down above in this comment thread I am no longer believe those earlier claims were truthful.

          All of which has absolutely zero to do with gender identity, or gender essentialism, or gender non-essentialism.

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan July 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

          I’m glad a couple of guys are here to put Lola in her place about how to feminism, amiright? >_>

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

          I’m glad a couple of guys are here to put Lola in her place about how to feminism, amiright? >_>

          If I’m one of those guys I only asked Lola for clarification and expressed agreement with her. A4′s suggestion that Lola ‘misgendered’ WordWizard when she merely mistrusts her is blatantly ridiculous.

        6. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard July 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

          I’m still a cis woman, whatever Lola thinks, and she DID use “he” and “him” referring to me. I NEVER asked for pity for “teh poor menz”, I don’t think they need it, and I called myself a radical feminist, small letters, general term applicable to all here, not a RadFem, capital letters, specific tainted group. I really wish Lola would stop telling lies about me. (I’m at a loss as to WHAT would satisfy her that I’m “properly” female, short of a beaver shot…) I am not ill-intentioned, however ignorant I may seem to such lofty beings as her, nor am I a pawn of MRAs. Men, the privileged sex, don’t need their rights as a group protected, period.

          To Tigtog: Thank you for the giraffe clarifications. I vastly prefer being moderated, so as to not “make yourself a vessel for other people’s catharsis.” Since I don’t think the first paragraph of the original comment, unconnected to the impugned one, could have given offense to anyone, perhaps its vowels could be restored? But no biggie.

        7. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
          The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 24, 2013 at 2:08 am |

          I called myself a radical feminist, small letters, general term applicable to all here,

          Oh, really?

          Thanks for assuming you know beliefs of everyone here, and that “radical” anything necessarily describes any of them.

          And you wonder why people give you the side-eye?

        8. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve July 25, 2013 at 11:30 am |

          Oh, really?

          Thanks for assuming you know beliefs of everyone here, and that “radical” anything necessarily describes any of them.

          And you wonder why people give you the side-eye?

          Not a defense of WW, but…

          I looked up the dictionary definition ‘radical’ and well…actually…some of the definitions, I think most here would be cool with…

          a : very different from the usual or traditional : extreme
          b : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
          c : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change
          d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs

          While I wouldn’t agree with ‘a’ or ‘d,’ a large part of why I read feministe is because the bloggers, commenters, and ethos in general seem to embrace ‘b’ and ‘c’

          So again, not a defense of WW (because her comments imply a different definition of ‘radical’ than mine,) but a defense of certain definitions of radical and why it’s not an insult to apply it to many here.

        9. Wordwizard
          Wordwizard July 25, 2013 at 11:42 am |

          Fat Steve:

          I’m fine with your definitions 2+3, but not 1+4, however, the word “radical” comes from the Latin word radix, radicis, fem. meaning “root”. The basic meaning is to get to the ROOT of the problem. Many different specific things are wrong with this society, STEMming from the ROOT problem of women’s inequality. Not such a scary word after all.

        10. yes
          yes July 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

          @lola

          Not defending wiz. Hate her in that half-assed, lazy way you hate shitty internet people who don’t really impact your life aside from taking up oxygen and poisoning the dialogue.

          I’m just pointing out that you deny her gender based upon her views and behavior. If that’s not dictating what a real cis women is/would do, then I think we are choosing to define our words differently.

  4. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll July 23, 2013 at 11:46 am |

    Can we actually discuss the subject of the article and not hypothetical castration laws that will never happen in this country? The penis almighty is safe, we don’t need to worry that it’s going to be cut off.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L July 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm |

      Thank you. Talk about a derail.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll July 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

        Almost every single word in that article sickens me. From talking about the rapists families crying over the verdict, to jurors feeling pressured into a conviction, the the reaction of the defense lawyers talking about the poor poor rapists just touching the girls vagina but not raping her (!!!!)

        Calling them curious bystanders….I don’t even. I just..*throws hands in air*

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm |

          the reaction of the defense lawyers talking about the poor poor rapists just touching the girls vagina but not raping her

          What?!?

          I didn’t read the article yet because I’m already anxious (and oh, the pro-mutilation comments didn’t help with that) but fucking seriously!?!?!?!

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll July 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm |

          Peter demonstrated for police on video how he touched the girl’s vagina while others were groping her. He said he didn’t foresee her getting raped and beaten afterward.

          A witness testified that Peter told him he took cellphone pictures of part of the attack. DNA belonging to Peter was found on a condom.

          His attorney, Gordon Brown, argued that the DNA was not from Peter’s sperm, and it is unclear how it got there. He said police interrogation tactics led to Peter falsely confessing to touching the girl.

          Brown said his client remained composed after the verdict.

          “So far, he’s kept his chin up,” said Brown, noting he braced Peter for the worst. “He’s been a strong young man throughout these very difficult proceedings.

          Brown described his client as a “curious bystander” during the attack.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm |

          He said he didn’t foresee her getting raped and beaten afterward.

          “Your honour, when I fired my gun, how was I supposed to foresee the bullet traveling on a predetermined trajectory to contact with her head?”

  5. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm |

    It’s weird…I was talking about rape-culture stuff with Val this morning, about the conceptual framework that rape is about power, and I find I can’t agree with it as a definitive statement. (I.e. All rape is about power.) I think there’s a Venn diagram of power and entitlement involved in rape, particularly this kind of gang rape. Sure, that overlaps by quite a lot, but there’s exclusive parts, too. Take a guy raping his sleeping girlfriend, for example, or the sexual assaults of sex workers by their clients. Sure, yes, it’s about power to some extent, but it seems to me like power as a subset of entitlement. As in, the victim has been defined as someone whose body the rapist is entitled to use for pleasure. The fact that that comes from power over the victim doesn’t seem to register for the rapist (per my impression of the interviews etc that I’ve seen, read etc) as much as “well, why shouldn’t I? They’re XXXXX”. Where XXXXX = in a relationship, drunk in public, high and uncoordinated, existing while trans, existing while a sex worker, existing while black, etc, etc. Seems like this is the case, where people who “only did X” feel entitled to not call themselves rapists but bystanders…

    I don’t even know what to think of this, it’s very incoherent in my head right now but still…

    1. Thomas MacAulay Millar
      Thomas MacAulay Millar July 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

      I think that’s a coherent idea. And correct. The power/sex dichotomy is a very rough, even inaccurate way of framing it; especially since as Lisak has written, many of the serial rapists are hypermasculine and identify masculine sexuality with conquest in a way that almost completely conflates sex and power. Entitlement adds a layer of analysis that bridges much of what is lost in the power/sex terminology.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

        Entitlement adds a layer of analysis that bridges much of what is lost in the power/sex terminology.

        Yes, that’s what I was trying to do. I mean, I suppose everything can be reduced to a power equation in the end, but there seemed to be a gap that this tries to fill, IMO.

    2. Ally S
      Ally S July 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

      In my view, I feel that the entitlement you speak of is really just another form of believing that one has power over another. When a rapist rationalizes hir actions by saying “well, why shouldn’t I? They’re XXXXX,” it implies that they think they have a license to ignore someone’s consent i.e. control them for some purpose. (The implication is the same even though the rapist may see some things a bit differently.) And I fail to see how that can be meaningfully distinguished from a desire to have power over someone else.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

        And I fail to see how that can be meaningfully distinguished from a desire to have power over someone else.

        In my opinion, desire for power is a conscious/subconscious need to prove one’s superiority, while entitlement acts from a place of already assumed superiority. So, someone deciding that a trans person being trans is enough to permit intrusive genitalia-related questions is being entitled, but someone hitting a trans guy for having short hair is wanting to prove power over them. (Which, again, isn’t to say that the power equation isn’t fed by entitlement, but there’s a primary motive/secondary effect order that seems to switch based on the situation IME.)

        1. A4
          A4 July 23, 2013 at 5:38 pm |

          It sounds like there’s an aspect of whether the aggressor is aware that their action seems aggressive and uncalled for by the victim. Towards the end of entitlement, the aggressor would be surprised that their victim was unhappy with their treatment. Towards the end of power, the aggressor is tailoring their actions in order to make sure the victim is unhappy with their treatment.

          The entitled aggressor might be more likely to have a self focused motive for their victimization, like pleasure, or the expression of pent up anger, or hunger. The power focused aggressor is more focused on the nature of the relation between themself and the victim, and therefore the pain and submission of the victim is of higher priority.

          In very simple terms, are they stepping on my neck to reach something or are they stepping on my neck to grind me into the ground.

          It should be noted that the effect can be indistinguishable.

          Just some thoughts. Please push back if you’d like!

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune July 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm |

          Nope, I think you pretty much nailed it, A4.

          The entitled aggressor might be more likely to have a self focused motive for their victimization, like pleasure, or the expression of pent up anger, or hunger.

          Yes, exactly. People like that douchebag philosopher you brought up in one thread (I think it was you?) who was arguing that a person wasn’t raped if they were asleep, or something(?), are basically arguing from a position of entitlement. Also, I would argue that sexual abusers also sometimes act from a place of entitlement. (E.g. I strongly believe the person who sexually assaulted me was of this type, since I never really saw the connection between a power trip and her abuse of me, but entitlement to my body, I can definitely see. In fact, when I pointed out to her that the only reason I hadn’t called the cops on her was that she was a [female relative], she was horrified, and she sexually assaulted me in a way that was really not about sexual gratification.)

          It should be noted that the effect can be indistinguishable.

          Oh yeah. I never meant to imply otherwise. A person who was victimised was victimised, period. I was basically trying to study perp/cultural thought processes.

  6. Joe from and alternate universe
    Joe from and alternate universe July 23, 2013 at 6:20 pm |

    I’m obviously not a big fan of long prison sentences as a general rule

    For non-violent crimes, such as drug possession, theft (aside from home invasion and breaking and entering), etc. Sure. But for violent crimes, the longer the better.

    1. Tony
      Tony July 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm |

      I’d say all non violent crimes, even those that involve trespassing / breaking and entering, are on a whole different class than violent crimes, however, if we were to make an except for non violent crime, then it would be major white collar crime. Not because major white collar crime is the left’s favorite whipping post, but because it objectively impacts more people. The harm of theft, for instance, is the deprivation of an amount of property, so when the value of the property deprived is a hundred or a thousand times greater, then so is the harm. There is no reason why that should not play a role in sentencing.

      1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
        The Kittehs' Unpaid Help July 24, 2013 at 2:14 am |

        Very good points, but I’d be wary of classing burglaries as wholly non-violent, at least in a psychological sense: there can be a real sense of violation in having one’s home invaded and turned over. Not comparable with having one’s body violated, but it’s certainly not in the same category as things like drug-taking.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan July 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm |

          Very true; a roommate (soon to be ex-roommate) of mine just went through my room and stole my purse, microwave, etc. a week ago –I came home to drawers opened and rifled through, missing clothes and personal items– and it felt very violent. Having someone come into what should be your safe space is a painful and scary intrusion. An invasion is an invasion, and it’s not victimless.

        2. Joe from and alternate universe
          Joe from and alternate universe July 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

          I agree. Tony’s exception of breaking and entering seems wrong. If you’ve ever arrived home to find windows broken and your house tossed, you know the fear of someone maybe still being there. And robbing someone in person, even if you don’t physically injure them, can leave emotional scars.

          I do agree that if a white collar criminal steals people’s life savings the penalty should be severe.

        3. Some Random Passerby
          Some Random Passerby July 30, 2013 at 7:13 pm |

          Very good points, but I’d be wary of classing burglaries as wholly non-violent, at least in a psychological sense: there can be a real sense of violation in having one’s home invaded and turned over. Not comparable with having one’s body violated, but it’s certainly not in the same category as things like drug-taking.

          Theres also the problem that at least some violent crimes look like a simple burglary if they’re interrupted. Breaking into a home implies a different level of disregard for the basic rights of others. Theres a reason why so many states have the Castle Doctrine, after all.

  7. Power of Choice
    Power of Choice July 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm |

    Getting back to the original news story for a second -
    Let me pick the brain of all the clever people here to ask:
    What practical steps could be done to prevent these events (where multiple witnesses don’t intervene in an ongoing rape) from happening (seems like this story is repeated too often with just the names and places different.)

    As much as we demonize (rightly so) the folks who sat on the sidelines while this girl was raped, I think we can also be sure that at least some of then were uncomfortable with what was happening. How many of these witnesses empathized with the girl, but were too cowardly to help her? How many just sat there with an uncomfortable smile, more afraid of the alienation of their peers than the weight of this girl’s suffering on their conscience?

    The frustrating part is that I think we’ve all been in uncomfortable situations where the crowd was doing what we knew to be wrong, but we didn’t want to be excluded by calling them on it. Granted, when the wrong being done is the violent rape of a young girl, I would certainly do something without hesitation, but I can at least put myself in the shoes of some of those bystanders.

    So, my question is: How can we encourage the kind of heroism among the public that would permit at least one of these silent witnesses to intervene on behalf of this girl?

    1. tigtog
      tigtog July 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm | *

      So, my question is: How can we encourage the kind of heroism among the public that would permit at least one of these silent witnesses to intervene on behalf of this girl?

      There are increasing numbers of bystander intervention programs being incorporated into campus and community efforts to prevent sexual violence. They aim to dispel rape culture myths and give participants the vocabulary to break through the “somebody else’s problem” field and persuade others to assist/support intervention to stop any sexual violence they are witnessing.

    2. Wordwizard
      Wordwizard July 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

      How about developing a play that shows such a situation, and shows someone intervening to defuse it? Perhaps, showing SEVERAL different ways it could have gone. Perhaps, inviting audience participation in how things develop, with improvisation. Then, take the play to schools, or wherever invited, or to parks…

    3. Power of Choice
      Power of Choice July 25, 2013 at 11:13 am |

      Thanks!
      I wasn’t aware that Bystander Intervention Programs were around to that extent – I haven’t seen anything like that at my home campus.
      Still though – I’m a bit skeptical that such programs, or a play as WordWizard suggests, are likely to be seen as anything other than an overly preachy PSA by the audience it would need to reach.
      The people we need to reach are those who aren’t likely to voluntarily attend a campus event about sexual violence prevention, and likely to roll their eyes and play angry birds on their phones if attendance were mandatory. Not that the audience that needs to be reached is in favor of rape – its just apathetic.
      The audience which is likely to attend (and pay attention to) a play/event about bystander intervention is going to consist of concerned feminists already, and preaching to the choir is something of a waste of precious time & resources.

      You’ll note that I’m also not overly concerned with trying to preach to the active perpetrators of the rape. Anyone monstrous enough to rape & torture a young girl is too far past gone to be reached. Its the bystanders who are most likely to be receptive… if only a clever person could figure out a way to get them to pay attention.

  8. McMike
    McMike July 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm |

    There will be a recourse obviously and since nobody died the verdict reduced drastically.

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