Not All Sexual Misconduct Is Rape

Like it should, the hierarchy of sexual abuse favours those who have suffered the most

10 March 2018

Groping a woman is not akin to raping her, and I mean that in the best way possible. A couple of years ago, that was far from a controversial thing to say—it was common wisdom. But our cultural outlook on sexual misconduct has changed, and it has changed for the better.

Women are finally able to speak out and be heard, their allegations acting as powerful weapons for industries and communities to root out undesirable people. And indeed, whether you’re guilty of sexual harassment or assault, you’re undesirable.

However, although all bad people are bad, it should be understood that there are varying degrees of evil, especially when it comes to crimes of a sexual nature. Not all cases of sexual misconduct should be treated and punished equally, and by conflating lesser levels of harassment with rape, we are only making it harder for everyone to tell their stories and receive justice.

Matt Damon was savaged on social media by merely suggesting this. His statements were apparently so egregious that activists called for him to be cut from a movie he had already filmed. Damon said of the situation in Hollywood, ‘I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behaviour,’ as ‘there’s a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation.’

Essentially, he called for us to differentiate between different forms of sexual misconduct, which would allow for the better doling out of punishment. He never said that a pinch on the butt was unworthy of attention, but merely that our reactions should be catered to the gravity of each revelation as it comes out.

That didn’t stop people from going mad, though. And the lack of logic coming from some of those minds continues to be astounding.

According to the actress, Minnie Driver, ‘There is no hierarchy of abuse,’ and ‘you cannot tell’ a woman who has been raped and a woman who has had a penis exposed to her that ‘one is supposed to feel worse than the other.’

Feelings are subjective; I get that. But we live in a crime and punishment society. If there are sexual predators out there, I want us to go after them. I want to make sure that bad men receive the punishment they deserve, something that can’t be done if we treat rapists and penis-showers the same. We should be more disgusted with the former than the latter, as the courts tend to reflect our public morality.

To say it’s not for us to judge how a victim feels is completely asinine. You can’t send someone to jail based on the victim’s feelings. If I were assaulted but felt like I had been murdered, should the accused get life in prison?

Another daft argument is the idea that it’s ‘the micro that makes the macro,’ as said by Alyssa Milano. To her and many others, it’s the small acts of sexual misconduct that add up to ‘a patriarchy intertwined with…misogyny,’ which presumably allows assault and abuse to be carried out and overlooked.

Apply this thinking to anything else and its faults show immediately.

It’s what happens when you care less about the facts of a crime and more about the outcome. Should we treat an accidental killer (drunk driver) the same as a murderer? After all, in both cases, the victim died.

Property crimes make up the majority of crime in the United States. Does that mean those criminals should be treated the same as killers? It’s the micro that makes up the macro, right?

The claim that by differentiating between acts of sexual misconduct we are somehow lessening one or the other is also ill-conceived. A letter to the editor of the New York Times stated, ‘No one is saying rape is the same as pinching a woman’s behind. But reducing the latter gives credence to the old thinking that a woman shouldn’t complain about the pinch.’

Everyone has the right to speak up and report a case of bad or criminal behaviour. Just because some poor guy had his car stolen does not mean I should feel any worse for reporting my stolen wallet.

This isn’t the 1950s. If your employers won’t hear you out on a case of sexual harassment, then social media definitely will.

We can’t stop our lives because a few victims don’t speak up. We can’t be expected to tiptoe around something that has been internalised.

There is nothing wrong with saying that we should treat groping, crude jokes, exposure, and rape, differently. Every story should be heard, but not every story’s villain should be treated the same, and the court of public opinion can be just as damaging as a criminal court.

The idea that all sexual misconduct is the same is plainly wrong. It is insulting to the victims who have been subject to rape and extreme sexual assault.

I’m sorry, but I will always feel the most sympathy for rape victims. If we equalise every case of sexual harassment and assault, then we take away from those who have seen the worst of man’s depravity. 

In an effort to make all sexual victims equal in sympathy, we have diminished all their stories equally, and instead of looking at things on a case by case basis, we have once again gone the easy route and made a blanket judgement.

4 comments

  1. Again great article! I, myself, have been a victim of sexual misconduct in many different instances and this speaks the truth to the heart of the matter. You’re right it is very insulting to have liberals equalize all of these different degrees. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ㅤOne day there will be a debate about women who get a double whammy. Sexual assault because a man has got her hooked on cocaine or an opioid. That’s assuming she doesn’t O.D.
    ㅤOverall I don’t think the publicity over minor infractions is helpful. In my experience, one has a better chance solving problems one at a time, starting first with problems that are in desperate need of a solution.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t mind the lesser crimes being pointed out and publicised, but we need to stop pretending all perpetrators victims, and cases are equal. Tell your story, but don’t try to inflate its importance by conflating it with things that are far more severe.

      Like

      • Sexual harrassment is total disrespect for a woman. But we all feel disrespected by others. Many times. Sometimes on a daily basis. Just for different reasons. In my experience, one gets respect by giving respect. I think that’s how it’s supposed to work. We need to ask ourselves if we are giving respect.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s