Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rape and Male Hegemony

Majikthise has a thoughtful piece on Mukthar Mai and the psychology of reactions to rape. An excerpt:
Rape stigma is a direct result of male privilege. As long as women are assumed to be the property of men, a woman's rape is a defeat to whoever "owns" her. According to this warped worldview, a rape victim who speaks out about her ordeal shames not only herself, but everyone who was supposed to have been controlling her (her husband, her male relatives, her community, and even her nation).
Male privilege isn't unconditional--you don't get to be a "real man" unless you can control "your" women. So, every acknowledged rape unmans the victim's rightful owners. . . . If you presuppose male hegemony, it makes sense to address rape by silencing victims and to protecting future victims by restricting their freedom, especially their access to other men.
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