Patriarchy–the Original Rape

24 Jun

I was reading a post by Eve Bit First called a – man -is -a -rape-supporter if:  http://evebitfirst.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/a-man-is-a-rape-supporter-if/  and the following is a snippet of her article:

“A man is a rape-supporter if…

  • He has ever sexually engaged with any woman while she was underage, drunk, high, physically restrained, unconscious, or subjected to psychological, physical, economic, or emotional coercion.
  • He defends the current legal definition of rape and/or opposes making consent a defense.
  • He has accused a rape victim of having “buyer’s remorse” or wanting to get money from the man.
  • He has blamed a woman for “putting herself in a situation” where she “could be” attacked.
  • He has procured a prostitute.
  • He characterizes prostitution as a “legitimate” “job” “choice” or defends men who purchase prostitutes.
  • He has ever revealed he conceives of sex as fundamentally transactional.”

I understand where Eve was going with this and agree entirely; however, I would venture to take it even further to suggest that perhaps any form of sexual intercourse between a male and a female within the patriarchal box is a form of rape. I say this because patriarchy, a man made social system designed to enslave, control, oppress and objectify women for the benefit of men is not a good environment for building healthy sexual relationships, on the contrary, quite the opposite happens.  Men and women brought up in patriarchy are not equal in status and whenever there is an individual who is of higher status then the other, the relationship dynamic comes into question and we need to think about the limited options of females and the choices that necessarily ensue because of  those limited options. Men created patriarchy and they dictated the acceptable male/female gender roles and the statuses of the same so that they could have free reign over females including making sure they are sexually available.

This is extremely evident in the fact that our laws regarding prosecuting a rapist have been more beneficial to the rapist than to the victim. If men and women in current times are still carrying this mentality then men are victimizing women at all times in their minds without ever touching them; consequently, it follows that if men do carry out the sex act they violate women again physically because the relationship between the man and woman are fundamentally unequal. The man’s status is higher therefore he approaches sex with entitlement and even if he doesn’t overtly coerce her, his entitlement to human status over all other creatures including women who have no such entitlement can be nothing other then  coercion.  In patriarchy, male coercion directed at females doesn’t have to be in an active sense because it is an innate characteristic of our society.  All women have been coerced to believe that they don’t exist apart from men and that it is their identity to serve men. He is the predator because he comes from the world is my oyster type of reality and she is the victim because she comes from the world that dictates that she can only gain membership into existing though osmosis,  her relationship with men.  He knows that he has the right to have her body and she knows that she has no rights over her own body.

Their are those who argue that if we claim that all heterosexual sex is rape that this claim will muddy the waters and thereby diminish the validity of actual rape.  I can certainly understand where this fear comes from; nevertheless, the idea is absurd.  What is “actual rape”? Where does the definition come from and who defined it? In the World Dictionary rape is defined:

“The unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.”

Actual rape defined is “physical force or duress”. This definition is ridiculously simplistic and limited because it explains rape from the male perspective, not the female.  This of course is typical in patriarchy because literally everything in patriarchy is defined by men, even the definition of what a woman should be.  All experiences are defined by men, even the experience of rape that happens primarily to women by men.  The world that we know has been created and defined by men which makes women’s existence in that world foreign.

Because men have been the sole definers of women, what they are, should be and the definition of what a woman should be is completely dependent on her serving men, not herself, she cannot live in her own body, see through her own eyes, be herself because she is always outside looking in though his eyes, even at herself. He lives in her head at all times, he is her minds eye. In short, she judges herself by her worth to men. Women are outsiders even when it comes to our own experiences, including rape because women are outsiders even in their own bodies.  What this means is that even women define rape in a masculine way.  Not only does society blame women for being raped, women also blame themselves because she is defining what happened to her through male ideas, through the male perspective, though his eyes.

If we look at the idea of duress however we get a glimpse of what is really happening.  All women are under duress who grow up in patriarchal societies, from the womb until we are born. Women after birth are indoctrinated to be the male prescribed “feminine” and this means the total obliteration of her authentic self that has nothing to do with being feminine.  The male prescribed female is dependent on men and this was not an accident but instead by male design. Females are taught that the only way they can exist is to be what men want them to be because otherwise they cease to exist. This indoctrination or plunder of the authentic female is rape. It is a death of the woman for woman’s sake and an implantation of the woman for men’s sake.  Because of this, all sexual interactions between a male and a female that comes out of this original rape is rape.  How can it not be? And worse because the authentic woman is dead and has been dead for thousands of years, men are having sex with dead women and are therefore necrophiliacs.

What would you classify the experiences that most likely make up the majority of sexual experiences for women where they feel they have no option but to have sex if not rape? If coercion is one of the categories within the context of rape, then this strengthens the viewpoint that all female/ male sexual intercourse is a form of rape.  Coercion doesn’t have to be on a conscious level either and in patriarchy it is mostly subconscious programing.  Subconscious coercion is exactly the word I would use when describing my sexual experiences as a female with men. The coercion I speak about may not be at the time of the sex act, even though most of the time it plays a part, but instead it started when I was born and socialized in patriarchy. Females born into patriarchy are coerced into believing that they are sex objects and this indoctrination continues their entire life. This is why I believe that sex between females and males in patriarchy is a form of rape for the females–precisely because females are coerced by our society to have sex with men. We are programmed, conditioned, brainwashed and so on to believe that we are flawed because we are female.  Further, because men are the default sex, the only gender that matters and is considered to be human, females must gain admittance into the human race by being with men and the closest women can be with men the more human they become and what is closer then sex?

If we look at where our society began with the enslavement of females by males, then we can begin to wake up to the fact that we are literally sleeping with the enemy, we have just forgotten this because of the fading of memory with time. If  however we remember that our patriarchal male dominated society was created by men by enslaving women, than we begin to see the coercion as much more violent. We could say that all females then suffer from a form of Stockholm’s Syndrome in that they, out of the desire to survive, became friendly with their captors and over the long expanse of time, have forgotten this horrific aspect of their enslavement. This original coercion was the largest of Coercions, with a capital “C”. Men not only enslaved women but they also broke them as human beings and impregnated them with a male prescribed female that is dependent on them. This was the original Coercion the original Rape, the rape of the authentic female.

If we then come back to current times and approach this subject with our normal amnesia, where we have forgotten that we were/are slaves, we have forgotten what was done to us, then we can say that the current coercion, with a lower case “c” may not always be done with physical violence or be called or defined traditionally as rape, but with psychological and emotional violence; by being taught first that we are flawed just because we aren’t male and second, that we must have sex with men to make up for this deficit, females who do not abide by this coercion are seen as a waste, worthless. A female for females sake doesn’t exist in patriarchy. Her worth, unlike the worth of a male, is not dependent on her value as a human being, but instead is dependent on her value to men. Therefore, if a female is a lesbian, men will exclaim “what a waste!” revealing unwittingly that a female’s worth is dependent on her sexual availability to men. The lesbian vagina is being wasted because it isn’t being penetrated by the male penis. The lesbian female should not exist because she has no use for men.

So we have to ask ourselves how can I, by suggesting that all male / female sex is rape confuse the matter of actual rape?  When I propose that all heterosexual intercourse is rape, I am suggesting that we need to question the sexual dynamic between a female and male due to patriarchal conditioning. As a woman who was socialized in patriarchy and indoctrinated like all other women about not measuring up as a woman unless I had sex with men, and at the time which was prior to my education as a feminist, I had nothing to combat these negative ideas that made me feel worthless and caused me to make harmful choices. Consequently, because of this patriarchal conditioning, I entered into sexual relations with men from a deficit, because I was a flawed woman who had no right to exist; therefore, to say no to sex was horrible because when I did this, when I said the simple two letter word “NO” I was immediately bombarded with feelings of inadequacy, guilt and fear and this made me extremely uncomfortable. When your identity depends on men and allowing them access to your body for sex, saying no is like shooting yourself in the face–a matter of life or death–existing or not existing.

So needless to say, to avoid those feelings of worthlessness and to feel as if I existed, I would say yes. I then would just want to get it over with. Then after the sex act I felt victimized, like a little piece of my authentic self-worth had been chipped away. This is ironic considering that I said yes to the sex act to keep the male prescribed false self worth that I was programed to have in tact yet at the same time by saying yes, I lost some of my real authentic self worth that lie dormant inside of me.  Because I said yes to sex out of guilt and fear of the man not liking me which in turn was a threat to my male prescribed self worth, and not out of a valid desire, I essentially allowed (not consciously) myself to be raped and the feelings that ensued were very similar but of course more subtle to the feelings of a rape victim.  These encounters with men to this day haunt me on such a deep level that they have been instrumental in sabotaging my life, because there is a part of me, deep inside of me that blames myself for saying yes to sexual intercourse with men.  My authentic self that is buried inside of me is screaming at me in anguish because it knows—I know– that I was harming my true self.

I can imagine that you might be saying that perhaps my upbringing had something to do with my insecurities, perhaps my dad abandoned me or worse–abused me–but this is not the case. My primary socialization was good for the most part. I came from an upper class family economically and my parents are still married. My childhood was pretty normal. I’ve done a lot of work on myself over the years and I have journeyed into my layers of issues and underneath the “Mother and Father” layer, or my primary socialization, lies something deeper and more sinister,  the death of the authentic female and five thousand years of oppression and victimization. This is what ails me as a woman and I have this in common with all women.

Currently, for the past ten years I have gained a lot of knowledge about feminism, woman’s studies and the intricacies and mechanisms of patriarchy and with that knowledge I also gained a lot of insight into myself as a woman, including all of the baggage I was carrying around and also all of the ways I was dependent on and putting my energy into men and by default into patriarchy. Because of this knowledge, I chose celibacy so that I could work on myself in order to get to a more secure place as a female so that when I do choose to have sex I make that choice from a place of empowerment instead of a place of need and victimization due to my patriarchal socialization. My current husband however did care and does care about how I feel about myself and about sex therefore he supports my choice to be celibate. If he did not support it, I would have left him. I have decided that validating and protecting myself is the number one priority and if my husband didn’t understand that, he isn’t for me. I refuse to be anything other then who I am — a woman who loves being a woman because she is a woman, not in spite of it.

Knowing all of this, we can then see more clearly that as long as patriarchy exists and there is the dynamic of males dominating females in a context where men are considered to be human beings and women their sex objects, the grey area of defining what rape is can expand to encompass patriarchy itself. Patriarchy was built and it continues to be upheld on the rape of females. Rape is one of the coercions used to keep females enslaved today whether that be by physically forcing females to have sex, how we traditionally define rape, or by males benefiting sexually and otherwise from the plunder and internment of the authentic female,  either way it is a form of coercion and thereby a form of rape.

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10 Responses to “Patriarchy–the Original Rape”

  1. quixote June 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Yes. Since patriarchal social coercion exists above, below, around any notion of an individual woman’s consent, and since patriarchy’s a system DESIGNED to facilitate male access to female bodies through that coercion, I agree that all hetero sex in patriarchy is rape.

    Women are raised to think that sex is what we ARE, what we’re FOR — there wouldn’t even be ‘consent’ rhetoric if that wasn’t the case. In light of all this, I think celibacy or political lesbianism are the wisest, most self-affirming choices women can make.

  2. cherryblossomlife July 3, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    Thank you for this! IT was a great post that resonated with me.

  3. Missfit July 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    We are definitely indoctrinated from the start to believe that our existence is based on looking pretty and please men (from fairy tales, to girl/women’s magazines, to porn culture). Women learn to take for granted (and so do men) that they live in a world where women have to please men (from attitude of deference to outright sexual slavery) and where men do not have to please women (unless they feel like it).

    I too had sexual relationships even though I did not want to. I was passive, like I was trained to. If a boy told me I was pretty, it was as if he had just validated my worth and I felt I could not refuse him anything.

    Even when I had sexual relationships I desired (when I was actually aroused), I felt unsatisfied because hetero sex is so phallocentrically constructed and so centered on men’s arousal and orgasm, which fetishized power, objectification and degradation of women. I feel as if patriarchy has robbed me of my sexuality.

    Thus, I too chose celibacy. Considering the oppression of women in every sphere of life that have taken place over centuries, this is one area of my life where I decided I would not succumb. I am lucky to be economically independent and I am very grateful for this privilege (it is a privilege when compared to other women who do not have this possibility, but it should not be considered a privilege but a basic right).

    I love how you describe the original rape, the original coercion, the rape of the authentic female. It resonates so true to me.

  4. goodrumo December 23, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Reblogged this on iheariseeilearn.

  5. herbsandhags December 23, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    V. thought-provoking, thank you

  6. Smrtp February 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

    So if im a guy, and i dont want to rape, i should be celibate?

    Isnt there anyway a women can actually give consent?

    • mbraaheidner February 27, 2014 at 12:23 am #

      I’m actually celibate so glad that you asked. I chose to go celibate in order for me as a woman, to explore how I really feel about sex (PIV). I think it is important that women and men both gain knowledge about how women are being oppressed and valued not as human beings with respect but as sex objects, a woman’s worth dependent on whether or not she has sex with a man. To answer your question, as long as women are being oppressed and of deemed as a lower or even separate class from men, then unless there is knowledge to combat both in both partners, sex will always be coercive for women.

      • Smrtp February 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

        Thanks for answering.

        Going throught celibacy for a time is actually a good idea, even if we were not in a patriarchy, it would still serve for self knowledge process.

        Althought it have not been voluntary, more a result of poor social skills and shyness, i can give testimony that i have learned a lot throught celibacy. learning about your relation with sex while having sex, is a bit like trying to read a guide on what to do during an earthquake, while the earthquake is happening. So i do really recommend going throught celibacy.

        Now, would you say that if both people have knowledge, mutual respect and self respect and self knowledge, they could create a microcosm, free of patriarchy? (With microcosm, i mean that even when society is in general dominated by patriarchy, to have a safe space, sort of like a rebel group within a tirany.)

        How would non-coercive sex look within a serious relationship?
        How would non-coercive sex look within a more casual relationship?

  7. cursethereign November 24, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    I have noticed that most women balk at the suggestion that it’s all rape – I did, too, at first. But I have had exactly zero experiences which would support a serious opposition to this argument, and I bet other women who check the facts would come to the same conclusion.

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