Wednesday, 2 May 2018

** FATHER FRANK’RANTS Rant Number 770 bis 2 May 18 ON RAPE

Read it and weep!... And there's more!... I can't help but feel hollow GERMAINE!!!... 


Do women desire rape? Do they enjoy sexual violence directed at them? Are they using #MeToo feminism to cash in? Not misogynist prejudices but shocking assertions by veteran Aussie feminist Germaine Greer. The evidence? A US academic research suggests that 32 percent of females fantasize about men raping them and 52 percent dreaming about forced sex. Huh!

An epochal shift? The model woman in ancient Rome was Lucretia, a nobleman’s wife who was raped by the king’s son and committed suicide to erase her guilt. According to Greer today Lucretia would choose to exhibit herself in news media as a victim or ‘survivor’, discourse sententiously in dreary Marxist jargon about men objectifying and reifying women and, of course, sue for mega compensation. ‘A straightforward capitulation to market forces’, our Germaine cynically opines. Or just old-fashioned greed, maybe? By contrast, male victims don’t whinge, she says. Ho! Ho!

Rape is a horrendous crime. Its definition has changed, however. It used to imply physical violence, like in the French word for rape ‘viol’, etymologically related to violence.  Now rape means lack of consent. A man is guilty of rape even if a woman has consented to get into bed with him, have sex but, after a break, the man has sex again with her without formally asking her permission. Not so fantastic – it happened to Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.  Why is this relevant? Well, rare cases of masochism apart, call me naïve but I can’t imagine many women relishing a stranger beating them, dragging them into an alleyway and violating them. Besides, women, as well as men, tend to be discriminatory in their lusts. They fancy some and dislike others. Being forcefully possessed by an ugly, smelly brute isn’t every sheila’s cup of tea, I suspect. It is different perhaps with the multi-faceted notion of consent. A subtler game…

Woman is ‘a dark continent’, Dr Freud wrote, betraying his own limitations on comprehending female sexuality. In discussing the female version of the Oedipus complex, he argued that a little girl feels inferior because she lacks the male organ. She thus has to be contented with having a clitoris – cold comfort! Unconsciously, she substitutes for the penis she envies…a baby! The baby she incestuously wants to receive from her father. (I don’t really understand this but that’s just as well.) Freud, with all his scientific pretensions, did not advance much further in grasping female psychology than Pere Joseph, the famous ‘grey eminence’, the immensely shrewd Capuchin friar adviser of Cardinal Richelieu. Women are ‘mystical monsters’, he contended, prefiguring Freud’s mysterious ‘dark continent’. Much of a muchness.

Although the Romans much admired the heroic example of Lucretia, paradoxically their glorious city was founded on a rape myth. That of the Sabine women. Rome had a surplus of men but a serious shortage of females. Would their race be extinguished for lack of progeny? The Romans first tried to entice women from neighbouring cities but no joy. Then Romulus took advantage of the religious festival of Consualia, during which the population of different tribes came to Rome to have a good time. One of those tribes was the Sabines, with plenty of attractive maidens. At a signal from Romulus, the men of Rome grabbed the Sabine lassies and carried them away. Thus the Romans could ensure the survival of their people. Story to make feminists foam at the mouth but…too bad.

One of the charges St Augustine, the great theologian, brought against the pagan religion touched on the immoral behaviour of its gods. Zeus, the chief god the pagan pantheon, abducted and raped Antiope, a beautiful nymph, appearing as a satyr. He also attacked Europa, a Cretan princess, taking the form of a bull. To violate another princess, Leda, he preferred to appear as a swan. Note how some of these episodes involve bestiality. Not that Zeus confined his lust to females – he grabbed the beautiful shepherd Ganymede and took him up to Olympus, to serve as a cupbearer and of course, to share his bed. As to Demeter, goddess of the harvest, she was raped by the god of the sea, Poseidon, Zeus’ brother. So, rape as divinely sanctioned.

Greer’s argument relies on facts such as women being drawn to TV crime dramas depicting gory scenes of murders, violence and rapes on females. But why not thinking of those spectacles as cathartic? Long ago Aristotle claimed that tragedy should have the aim of purifying basic human emotions like pity and fear. So maybe the reason why many females of the species watch the unpleasant stuff is to purge themselves of those subconscious passions, not necessarily because they wish to suffer that grim fate.

The Aussie ex-feminist has a book out on rape. A game universally played: outrageous remarks are good PR. I may be pardoned some cheap psychologising. At 79, Germaine is, so to speak, ancient history, hors de combat. Does she perhaps hint at a subconscious, unrealisable wish? Not so fanciful. When a philosophy undergraduate at Birkbeck College I recall an ethics seminar in which the lecturer, Ian McFetridge, groped for an example of something intrinsically, self-evidently wrong. He started to say: ‘I am sure we would all agree that rape…’ Before he could finish the sentence, another lecturer, geriatric old maid Dr Ruby Meager, butted in: ‘Exciting!’

Sorry, Germaine, not quite fair but…can’t help feeling there may be something there.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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