XVI - Much Better - Rape and More
The Accused is a 1988 American legal drama film directed by Jonathan Kaplan from a screenplay written by Tom Topor. The film is loosely based on the 1983 gang rape of Cheryl Araujo in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
I’m in tears! My Autism is “acting up” incredibly (sic)! Ten minutes ago as Jodie Foster’s first Oscar winning performance was coming to a conclusion, I totally lost it. If I had been driving a car then, I would have needed to immediately pull over to avoid a possible crash.
I don’t recall ever watching a movie with a totally explicit rape scene, particularly of a gang rape. That was horrifying, but that isn’t what totally got to me. Jodie Foster was amazing, simply amazing! The young rape witness who testified and through that really “convicted” – the guilty – was most credible, believable and encouraging. Neither of the two of them were “heroes” - in the normal use of that word. They both were individuals we might speak of as: “flawed”.
There are the “innocent rape victims” – who we all feel empathy for. The “nun” assaulted in a locked house, with locked windows is a stereotypical example of this. No one could accuse her of being complicit in her rape.
There are the “justifiable rape victims” – the women – who “asked for it”.
Rosa Parks was portrayed as the “innocent victim” on segregated buses, because she was not “flawed” by “immoral behavior” that a prior potential litigant allegedly had. Rosa Parks, however, was not “innocent”. She was already an activist in the work to end the racist segregation she faced every day in her life.
Jodie Foster’s character – was no “Rosa Parks”! She drank (too much), she smoked both weed, and plenty of cigarettes. She was neither “virginal” (sic) nor a “God Fearing Christian (wife) Woman”. She had just had a fight with her live-in boyfriend. She joked that she’d take a cute guy home and “f” him in front of the boyfriend. She willingly danced closely with a young man and happily kissed him. Significantly in her case, there were no other women in the room she had moved into, where they had been playing pinball.
By the time she significantly resisted the advances, things were out of control. The initial assailant pulled down her bra, touched her breasts, and then moved to vaginally penetrate her. The rape escalated into gang rape rapidly. The “public” nature of the assault greatly affected the outcome. The spectators, with a single exception, encouraged the first two assailants. The third rapist had been homophobically ridiculed to show his “manliness” (sic)! The other vocal spectators pressured and supported him.
The victim had zero options until her traumatized escape, semi-naked out of the bar during an extremely brief opportunity
Emotionally – this movie is very powerful. It exposes both the simplicity of rape, and the complexities it pushes at its victims. Surviving assault – is faintly comparable to the loss of a young child, by her caring parent(s). The trauma of what has happened builds in its survivor(s)/victim(s), making an “escape” only possible through some type of denial such as frequent drunkenness.
This movie – blends in my memories – closely – with a very different movie: Promising Young Woman (my review – URL first) –
https://www.georgemarx.org/2021/01/promising-young-woman.html - TRIGGER WARNING
Promising Young Woman is a movie that touched me in a way that I've never been touched before!!!!
It will greatly upset any viewers who really care about women and rape!
It exposes the lies, deceit and avoidance that we men often live with remaining silent.
We try to protect ourselves from horrible things that we have done in the past.
We try to protect both other men, and ourselves, from horrible things ,that one or more of us did in the past.
Emerald Fennell is an insightful, brilliant, caring woman! She wrote, produced, and directed this amazing film!
As a man who helped co-found Men Stopping Rape, Inc - in 1983, I have cared about the issue of rape for a long time!
This movie explicitly exposes the horrors of our abuse and more! Our silence indicts us!
Trigger Warning: This movie can easily trigger survivors and perhaps some others who care!
Both of these movies - move me directly, as a man! They remind me of the sex I had as an inexperienced 19 ½ year old, with a much more sexually experienced (than me) 14 year old girl. I was 100% wrong – it was abusive – me abusing her. Another example - Once – in my early 20’s – I contacted a younger woman I’d barely known – seeking (blindly) a sexual tie to her, even having the nerve to tell her that I was only interested in seeing her in such a way. That was abusive!
Believing – being – Feeling – and similar –
While I’m ashamed of some of what I’ve done, this is Not – what moves me here.
I do not feel sexually attracted to Trans People. I do not feel sexually attracted most of the time to reasonably Thin women, who do not look – “normal” as in how a majority of women are – who are not “model thin”. Pretty and sexually attractive are not the same thing.
None – of this matters!
Finding meaning in life matters! Reaching beyond my comfort zones matters! Staying – in Uncomfortable Space – when it reflects Deep(er) Truths matters a lot!
Sexism – doesn’t persist – because of we, the Cis-Gendered Men – avoiding doing the right thing”, though we Do and Should Aspire to do what is right frequently.
What does being Male mean? For me - it initially means – seeking to move on a path – an unclear path –
That Path seeks something from within my Spirit! To say that it is “gender equity” – feels true – in My Head – but is less clear in my heart – Honestly, I don’t fully know what it is.
What I can see within me is a desire – for Connection. I want to be connected with multiple worlds beyond myself.
What is Rape?
Rape is Power Over Another – Extreme Power – the Other – doesn’t matter, doesn’t count.
Rape is the Storms -that ravage us – Rape of the Land(s)!
Rape is the Oppressions of the Children – and the child – within all of us
Rape - is the Massive – Blame – of the Poor, the “Foreigner”, the “immigrant” – the “jew” – “the socialist” – “the liberal” – “the do gooder” – “the bleeding heart”- “the ____” (so many words I won’t use or even think of – besides – the simple: “Black woman” (not: “Black Woman”)
Moving in a different direction – rape – is an important issue to me, as is reproductive justice (abortion is a part of it).
As caring human beings, particularly in this case as an upper-middle class cis-gendered white male – I (and we) can and often do support causes that reflect our interests and things that closely tie in with our lives. Where we have a special needs child, we may get involved in a cause related to special needs children, for example. As Jews, we may get involved in issues related to Anti-Semitism and/or Israel.
Working in these ways is important work for us to do. We can also stretch our visions – and reach beyond our – self-interests – at least on the surface. Amongst others – sometimes it is self-obvious. A Black person may focus upon racism issues. A woman may focus upon sexism related issues.
I would note that Black, Queer Lesbians do a lot of social justice work, as well as other relevant work, often far beyond their numbers. White, cis-gendered, het, upper-middle class men not strangely at all – we do far less than our numbers might suggest we “should” be doing. It is far, far different for us! We don’t get kicked in the pants – in our daily lives, when we don’t step up.
I get a lot more compliments about my work from “oppressed” people vs. those who are seemingly similar to me. Indeed, it is so, so easy – to take in the compliments and to have a false sense that I am doing far, far more than I actually am doing.
To really help effectuate meaningful change in the crazy worlds that I live in today, a lot of us who don’t need to do the work, really need to start doing what we can. We need to reach out as outsiders, in supporting others – whose lives may differ greatly from ours. For me – this is often my Reproductive Justice related work. It also relates to really caring deeply about, and try to do more work related to helping end rape and sexual abuse.
Due to our privilege, we have disproportionate power to be heard, and through that, to effectuate or support others in building positive major efforts for gender and racial justice. For me – this work is meaningful and doing this meaningful work pleases me. Doing it – also is challenging. At times – I’m in pain. This pain is minor compared to the pain of many who are directly impacted by the oppression.
Me – guilt tripping you – is Not Effective! I hope that you will do what you can do, because it is important for you – it is what you want to do. I’m not a better person, because of what I do. I’m a good person to the degree that I do what I can – towards helping others – who are already doing the work.
It is not helpful for me to judge you!
I will return to my tears – at other times. The two movies – I’ve discussed have been excellent influences upon me.
the best for you! I can’t possibly know
what your path is! I trust that you
will do your best to find your way, if you are not already doing it.