Conservatives: Institutionalizing Perversion, Part 2

Perversion, continuing from here:

The Grand Marais story describes the sexual exploitation of women and girls. The report quoted below is from the Virginia Department of Health, from the Coordinator of the Sexual Violence Prevention program; it describes how older men younger women exploitation works perfectly, who does it, and who is vulnerable to being victimized by it. Look at the description below, and then look at the Grand Marais story details:

Recognizing sexual coercion and exploitation
Anytime an adult has a sexual relationship with someone who is underage, it is a form of exploitation, even if no overtly coercive behavior appears to be involved. The adult is using the sexual and emotional inexperience of the teen to get something from them.

� The teen herself may not (probably doesn’t) see the relationship as exploitive or coercive.
� Many feel flattered that they are getting this affirmation of their attractiveness and maturity.
� Even if the teen recognizes that the relationship is going too fast, or that it feels scary or uncomfortable, they will probably not express these feelings for fear of seeming “immature” or “unworthy” of the attention.
� The exploiter will probably use grooming techniques to override resistance or objections on part of the young teen.
Threats: “I’ll tell everyone that you’re a slut if you don’t do it.”
Bribes: “I’ll take you to the prom.”
Status: “Hey, the other girls would kill to go out with me.”
Flattery: “You’re so sexy, I thought you were at least 18”
Intimidation: “no one will be able to hear you…”

An expanded description of grooming behavior follows:

Stages of “grooming” behavior
(note: the language below refers to the victim as “she” and perpetrator as “he,” but both may be of either gender).

Stage One: Testing
This is the tactic a sexual predator uses to “test” someone, to see if she is vulnerable. During this stage, the perpetrator will try to cross the teen’s boundaries in various ways: making sexual statements or innuendoes; giving inappropriate gifts; flattery; offering help with schoolwork; seeming to be emotionally nurturing or understanding; touching in seemingly “friendly” ways.

Stage Two: Desensitization
Desensitization is the tactic used to get someone “accustomed” to sexually coercive behavior. During this stage the offender tries to make the teen feel less sensitive to intrusive acts by minimizing her reactions to the offensive behavior—“I’m just being friendly!” The teen may begin to question her feelings, or to feel that she may be overreacting. The perpetrator will probably belittle the teen if she expresses doubt about sexual behaviors to force her to “prove” that she’s “worthy” of the attention he’s bestowing on her. He may also pretend to feel hurt, in order to make the teen feel guilty.

Stage Three: Isolation
Isolation means removing someone from sources of safety and support. The perpetrator may attempt to convince the teen that her friends are “immature” and that someone as mature as she should hang out with older teens/adults. He may insist that he is the only one who really cares about or understands her. Any objections the teen may express on behalf of herself or her family (“my parents told me I couldn’t date anyone older than me”) will be put down. If her friends try to convince her that she’s being taken advantage of, he will try to alienate her from them.

Stage Four: Control
Once the perpetrator has been successful in attempts to coerce the teen into a sexual relationship, he will usually try to maintain control over her with additional manipulative techniques. These may include:

• possessiveness • jealousy • further isolation from friends • threats and intimidation • threats of self-harm • expressions of love • anger and violence • gifts and bribery • playing on teen’s insecurity • constant presence
Sexual coercion may or may not include the use of force, threat, or intimidation. It may or may not include the use of “date rape drugs” to facilitate sexual assault. Alcohol is the most widely used “date rape drug.”

Other forms of sexual coercion may take place in the context of an abusive relationship. These forms include expressing anger, manipulating by appealing to sympathy (“you don’t love me”), jealousy and possessiveness and other controlling behaviors, including physical violence.

When I read and hear the comments of Rush Limbaugh, and the comments in support of his statements by conservatives who are waging culture war on women, what I hear is demeaning, what I hear is the reactionary concepts of masculinity and femininity, and the notions of sexuality as something dirty. That definition that is personified by Rush Limbaugh is described in that Virginia Department of Health Report under who is an abuser:

Who is at risk for being an exploiter?
Some of the same risk factors for being exploited apply to exploiters as well.

� Older teens who may not feel confident of their ability to attract and maintain a relationship with an equal may turn to someone younger as a way to bolster self-esteem.
� Men/older boys who have rigid, stereotyped views of masculinity may see the “conquest” of a young girl as an affirmation of their masculinity.
� Older teens and adults who have control issues may find it easier to control someone who is younger.
� Adults who have not been successful in their relationships with other adults may turn to preying on young teens.

These pro-Rush conservatives see relationships between men and women as one of conquest, not a relationship of equals. These conservatives waging culture war on women have no problem denying women easy access to contraception, which puts women under the control of men because of an inability to have control over their own bodies, their reproductive choices. These conservatives waging culture war on women seek to humiliate and violate women through trans vaginal ultrasounds, through demeaning and insulting factually inaccurate government intrusion into their medical decisions relating to sex and reproduction. These conservatives are the people who are trying to make it legal to commit certain kinds of rape, including statutory rape and date-drug rape where a woman is incapacitated. These are the conservatives who want to repeal equal pay for equal work laws, so that women can be financially controlled by men, and be financially less secure, and less independent by being unable to earn a fair wage for equal work.

So it should come as no surprise that where women are viewed as conquests, as conquered, as people to be controlled and exploited for male sexual gratification, as less then equals, that violence and intimidation are also present either overt threat, or by implication. The numbers of women who are victims of intimate partner violence, of domestic abuse, of murders and murder/suicides and stalking involving firearms is a matter of record. It so very often involves men who possess firearms; that is not an accidental correlation.

According to the UNICEF Report on Women and Violence from June 2000:

“Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women…”

The United Nations Declaration on the EliminationGeneral Assembly Resolution, December 1993.

and in describing violence and gender based relationships

“violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.” It broadens the definition of violence by including both the physical and psychological harm done towards women, and it includes acts in both private and public life. The Declaration defines violence against women as encompassing, but not limited to, three areas:
violence occurring in the family,
within the general community, and
violence perpetrated or condoned by the State.

Whether it is the norm of sexuality espoused and demonstrated by Rush Limbaugh in his words past and present, and in his actions in the past, or the norms promoted by the older men exploiting younger and underaged female partners in Grand Marais, we have precisely the above-described attitudes of violence and exploitation of women. In the legislative efforts of the so-called conservative and often religiously dominionist right wing extremists, also personified by Rush Limbaugh but also by many others, including those who have advanced subordinating legislation or efforts to repeal protective legislation for women, we have the State approved violence and subordination of women by conservatives. It is no accident that their gun agenda supports that history of intimidation and violence, whether they express is specifically or not. Whether it is Rush Limbaugh, or Rick Santorum, or Nut Gingrich, or Mitt’s full of money Romney, or the conservatives trying to wage culture war on women at the local, state and federal level, we have men oppressing women in the most perverse possible way.

We have the choise, to return to the violent, exploitive, oprressive and unequal days of pre-feminism, of pre-equality where women are humiliated, exploited, demeaned and kept subordinate. OR, we can recognize and oppose the conservative agenda for what it is, in the culture war on women, and in their ancillary pro-gun efforts for what they are. The right abuses the word freedom, but they are trying to make us anything but free; they pervert the word, they pervert the concept, they pervert the most intimate relations between men and women, they pervert the value and dignity of human sexuality.

Don’t let them.

Tags: , , , ,