Monday, December 12, 2005

it all depends on how ya look at it...and that sucks

a colleauge writes...

"My concern is helping people with and preventing them from experiencing social problems. Social problems such as date rape, AOD problems and "mental" illness."

I don't think it is that simple. Can we all agree that date rape is a social problem? On the surface, the answer is YES! However, think of the people who commit date THEY think it is a problem? No. Most of them don't even think it happened, right? "it wasn't rape, it was consensual." Of course for the person who suffered the rape it is a problem, a serious, life-changing one.

The intervention then seems obvious, right? Get people to understand that date rape does happen, is wrong, and they shouldn't do it.

Herein lies the problem; there are several "work-arounds" to that in the mind of a potential rapist which increase the likelihood of occurrence. He doesn't see it as wrong, because he doesn't see it as rape; he might see it as wrong, be he thnks he won't get caught, so he proceeds anyway; he intends to rape someone, so he drugs her to increase his likelihood of committing the rape and decrease his likelihood for getting caught afterwards; he knows that if he is caught, SHE will be put on trial, too, and in all likelihood, will drop the case (think Kobe). All of these increase the chance that rape will occur and continue.

Fear of jail time does NOT deter people who are intent on crime from committing crimes. That is why they commit the crime — they aren't concerned about getting caught. Fear of jail time probably works for many people (like ME!), but for those people who are interested in doing something illegal, it is just another problem that needs to be overcome before the crime is committed, hence the work-arounds.

These are the actual realities that need to be intervened on. When looked at this way, the target of the intervention becomes much clearer and it takes on a different tone entirely. Since we know that men rape, we must target men; not only that, but we must target the way men can and do make sense out of situations; we must target how men use power and force, etc.

So, the social problem, when carefully analyzed moves from DATE RAPE to MEN RAPING WOMEN AND NOT BEING THAT CONCERNED ABOUT IT FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS.

Hmmm, is THAT going to be recognized as a social problem as easily as "date rape?"

I doubt it, yet that is much more accurate of a description of what is happening. And, again, is illustrative of the need for behavior change, IMO.

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