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Capital Punishment for Rape?

PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
edited January 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
According to the New York Times, The Supreme Court will evaluate the constitutionalilty of capital punishment in the case of rape. Specifically, they will investigate the death penalty in the case of child rape. Now I am against the death penalty in ALL cases, but I understand the retributivist stance (punishment should be equal to the crime) and I think it has it's merits. However, I do not see how a rapist can be sentenced to death, even in the case of a child rapist. There is no way that the punishment fits the crime. While being one of the worst crimes and perhaps the most despicable and execrable one, Rape only warrants the death penalty in a justice system based on deterrence, which the Supreme Court constantly decides against.

The Supreme Court decided in 1977 that the death penalty was not an acceptable punishment in cases of rape, but did not specify child rape. Thus, some states have persecuted child rapists, demanding the death penalty. I agree with Justice White in his decision:
We have the abiding conviction that the death penalty, which is unique in its severity and irrevocability, is an excessive penalty for the rapist who, as such, does not take human life.

Rape is possibly the most feared crime, but that does not mean it deserves the worst punishment. It is insulting to the victim to give the criminal the death penalty, because if the punishment is meant to fit the crime, then the courts are effectively saying that the victims life has been lost. It equates rape to the taking of life. No matter how humiliating the crime is, the victim still can live their life, and should be supported and sympathized with in his or her future - not pitied.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I don't know if I agree with your reasoning since plenty of victims I'm sure have wished the other person would just die or be killed, but I do oppose it in this case for effectively the same reasons I always oppose it - killing one innocent man is unacceptable.

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  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I don't know if I agree with your reasoning since plenty of victims I'm sure have wished the other person would just die or be killed, but I do oppose it in this case for effectively the same reasons I always oppose it - killing one innocent man is unacceptable.

    As like you, I will always oppose the death penalty. But we should examine why this particular crime does not warrant the death penalty. The victims wishes are subjective and based on emotion, and we should be using reason to run our courts.

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  • gamer-girlgamer-girl Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You have to keep in mind that retributivist is not the only stance.

    My own support of the death penalty comes less from an "eye for an eye" perspective, which I see as barbaric, and more from an "the perpetrator is incapable of rehabilitation, cannot function within society as is, and it is an enormous waste of resources to support his life in prison" perspective. I've never actually taken any poli sci classes, so forgive me if I do not know what term applies to that school of thought. But the point remains that child rapists learn nothing from prison, cannot be cured by medicines or clinics, and from a completely logical standpoint, I'd rather 1 innocent man die than pay millions of dollars to let 100 child rapists live in incarceration.

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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I think it's important to define 'child.' Is a child a minor or someone under age 10 or what?

    EDIT: Nevermind. Even if the victim is a toddler, the death penalty is too harsh a punishment for rape.

    emnmnme on
  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    gamer-girl wrote: »
    You have to keep in mind that retributivist is not the only stance.

    My own support of the death penalty comes less from an "eye for an eye" perspective, which I see as barbaric, and more from an "the perpetrator is incapable of rehabilitation, cannot function within society as is, and it is an enormous waste of resources to support his life in prison" perspective. I've never actually taken any poli sci classes, so forgive me if I do not know what term applies to that school of thought. But the point remains that child rapists learn nothing from prison, cannot be cured by medicines or clinics, and from a completely logical standpoint, I'd rather 1 innocent man die than pay millions of dollars to let 100 child rapists live in incarceration.

    Retributivism isn't an "eye for an eye." It's the belief that a crime necessitates punishment, but not in the "eye for an eye" form. The better metaphor is the balanced that needs to be equalized. However, you seem to aspire to some virtue ethics / utilitarian sort of method, which I find to be very myopic and barbarically selfish. For you, punishment does not exist - only rehabilitation. If we don't have anything to gain from changing the criminal, than we should kill them? This holds human life at no value other than a dollar sign.

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  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    In this case, is a clear distinction being drawn between forcible rape of a child, and statutory rape through engaging in "consensual" sex with a minor? I assume this is for child molestation exclusively?

    Aroused Bull on
  • LanzLanz ...Za?Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    gamer-girl wrote: »
    You have to keep in mind that retributivist is not the only stance.

    My own support of the death penalty comes less from an "eye for an eye" perspective, which I see as barbaric, and more from an "the perpetrator is incapable of rehabilitation, cannot function within society as is, and it is an enormous waste of resources to support his life in prison" perspective. I've never actually taken any poli sci classes, so forgive me if I do not know what term applies to that school of thought. But the point remains that child rapists learn nothing from prison, cannot be cured by medicines or clinics, and from a completely logical standpoint, I'd rather 1 innocent man die than pay millions of dollars to let 100 child rapists live in incarceration.

    I know it's cliche and so on, but doesn't it cost more to execute a criminal than to support a life imprisonment?

    Also, no, an innocent life is not worth losing instead of life imprisonment for criminals. Because then you've just killed an innocent person. The justice system should not be an institution where we consider it "okay to break a few eggs."

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  • s7apsters7apster Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Couldn't this crime be regarded as the theft of a normal and healthy life? Children who are raped are in some cases so traumatized that they cannot lead a mentally or socially healthy life. I am in no way in favor of the death penalty, but this crime is more comparable to murder, in my opinion, than you guys seem to think.

    s7apster on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Court of Appeals costs actually make it more expensive to execute a person than lock them up for life. Unless they plead guilty. When a defendant pleads guilty, I don't think there's a chance for an appeal.

    emnmnme on
  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I know I've said it before, but people really, really hate rapists.

    Adrien on
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  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Adrien wrote: »
    I know I've said it before, but people really, really hate rapists.
    So we should kill people we hate?

    deadonthestreet on
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    s7apster wrote: »
    Couldn't this crime be regarded as the theft of a normal and healthy life? Children who are raped are in some cases so traumatized that they cannot lead a mentally or socially healthy life. I am in no way in favor of the death penalty, but this crime is more comparable to murder, in my opinion, than you guys seem to think.

    Some cases? Children are pretty much always fucked for life post sexual abuse, often physically as well as the expected mental/emotional problems. I'd argue its worse than death in many cases, although I don't support the death penalty for reasons that have nothing to do with what podly's outlined.

    its a tricky one. There's a weird expectation surrounding rape victims that they should never recover, that they should remain broken, and if they don't, people think they were faking it or something. Its the same thing that happens when widows/widowers remarry 'too fast', only more pronounced - rape victims are expected to conform to a very narrow set of behaviours and when they don't, their chances of getting justice, sympathy, or understanding drop rapidly. That mentality seems to me to promote the notion that rape really is an eternal life-ruiner and thus worse than murder, which is almost as assbackwards as 'oh its just another assault, like being punched, quit whining'.

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    In this case, is a clear distinction being drawn between forcible rape of a child, and statutory rape through engaging in "consensual" sex with a minor? I assume this is for child molestation exclusively?

    *sigh*

    no-one's going to chair your 18 year old self for fucking a 15 year old. can we please not go down this path of idiocy?

    The Cat on
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  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    The Supreme Court decided in 1977 that the death penalty was not an acceptable punishment in cases of rape, but did not specify child rape.

    Child rape is still a subset of rape. Do you need a new section in the lawbook for the rape of a child when there are already laws with various degrees of seriousness making rape a crime?

    Echo on
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    s7apster wrote: »
    Couldn't this crime be regarded as the theft of a normal and healthy life? Children who are raped are in some cases so traumatized that they cannot lead a mentally or socially healthy life. I am in no way in favor of the death penalty, but this crime is more comparable to murder, in my opinion, than you guys seem to think.

    Negligence, a bad environment, and repeated physical/verbal abuse can also rob a growing child of a decent life. There's a lot of things bad parents can do to screw up children for life.

    emnmnme on
  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Adrien wrote: »
    I know I've said it before, but people really, really hate rapists.
    So we should kill people we hate?

    Lots of people think so, yeah.

    Adrien on
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  • PlutocracyPlutocracy regular
    edited January 2008
    The problem I have with debates over capital punishment is that they often dangerously veer into retribution as opposed to justice.

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  • ChurchChurch Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I'm not of the opinion that punishment should be a priority, or even a factor, in the criminal justice system. Deterrence and rehabilitation are what we should have in mind when we decide how to treat criminals. When it comes to deterrence, it is the certainty, not severity of punishment, that is the greatest factor.

    However, I realise that other people will not see things that way, so I will say this. Given that it is generally accepted that the punishment should "fit" the crime, I submit two words, two very strong words: Situational homosexuality.

    Church on
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  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Plutocracy wrote: »
    The problem I have with debates over capital punishment is that they often dangerously veer into retribution as opposed to justice.

    They are not mutually exclusive. Many people hold them to be the same thing.

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  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2008
    Plutocracy wrote: »
    The problem I have with debates over capital punishment is that they often dangerously veer into retribution as opposed to justice.

    This is my gripe with the US system of justice overall. To me it's focused more on retribution and humiliation than justice and rehabilitation (see: the whole "inform neighborhood of your conviction for sex crime")

    Echo on
  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    Plutocracy wrote: »
    The problem I have with debates over capital punishment is that they often dangerously veer into retribution as opposed to justice.

    They are not mutually exclusive. Many people hold them to be the same thing.

    I believe he's trying to draw a line between the deterrent effect on criminals, and the emotional gratification of the avenged.

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    Church wrote: »
    I'm not of the opinion that punishment should be a priority, or even a factor, in the criminal justice system. Deterrence and rehabilitation are what we should have in mind when we decide how to treat criminals. When it comes to deterrence, it is the certainty, not severity of punishment, that is the greatest factor.

    However, I realise that other people will not see things that way, so I will say this. Given that it is generally accepted that the punishment should "fit" the crime, I submit two words, two very strong words: Situational homosexuality.

    No. If its not in the sentence the judge hands down, its not a legal punishment. You can't use other prisoners to do your dirty punishment work for you. If you're too squeamish to directly order an assault as a punishment, they shouldn't be excusable on the sly.

    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    The Cat on
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  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    Plutocracy wrote: »
    The problem I have with debates over capital punishment is that they often dangerously veer into retribution as opposed to justice.

    This is my gripe with the US system of justice overall. To me it's focused more on retribution and humiliation than justice and rehabilitation (see: the whole "inform neighborhood of your conviction for sex crime")

    This is not retribution. Retribution, as put forth by Kant et al, is the theory that punishment predicated by a crime. It is the duty of the law to punish transgressors, and we are not respecting their human dignity if we do not punish them. What you are talking about his emotional vindictiveness and deterrence.

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  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2008
    That would be the "humiliation" part.

    Echo on
  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    While I disagree with your points on the "sex as power" thing, your make some good arguments about fixing the system rather than the problems within it. However, that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, which would lead us down a long long road of internet geeks calling woman whores and bitches.

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    While I disagree with your points on the "sex as power" thing, your make some good arguments about fixing the system rather than the problems within it. However, that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, which would lead us down a long long road of internet geeks calling woman whores and bitches.
    Oh come on, you really think that isn't where this thread will be in ten pages?

    The Cat on
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  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    That would be the "humiliation" part.

    What? Punishment is not humiliating? For instance, a molester should go to jail and receive therapy. That is punishment, but it is certainly not humiliating, because it is deserved. (How many times do you feel relieved when you are punished for a crime you are guilty of?) If the punishment is improper, than it is not just and is vicious attacking rather than just punishment.

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  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The Cat wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    While I disagree with your points on the "sex as power" thing, your make some good arguments about fixing the system rather than the problems within it. However, that is a whole 'nother kettle of fish, which would lead us down a long long road of internet geeks calling woman whores and bitches.
    Oh come on, you really think that isn't where this thread will be in ten pages?
    Can't we keep the thread on track until then at least?

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  • ChurchChurch Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The Cat wrote: »
    Church wrote: »
    I'm not of the opinion that punishment should be a priority, or even a factor, in the criminal justice system. Deterrence and rehabilitation are what we should have in mind when we decide how to treat criminals. When it comes to deterrence, it is the certainty, not severity of punishment, that is the greatest factor.

    However, I realise that other people will not see things that way, so I will say this. Given that it is generally accepted that the punishment should "fit" the crime, I submit two words, two very strong words: Situational homosexuality.

    No. If its not in the sentence the judge hands down, its not a legal punishment. You can't use other prisoners to do your dirty punishment work for you. If you're too squeamish to directly order an assault as a punishment, they shouldn't be excusable on the sly.

    I don't think I ever said we shouldn't directly order the assault. Where do you see that in my post? You give the rapist a fitting punishment and you lessen pressure on the less-deserving inmates. It's win-win, as much as the criminal justice system can be.
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    Cultural values and norms are not static. They change. They can be broken down, and they can be built. We should all work towards changing our society for the better, even if it has to be done at a fundamental level.

    Church on
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  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    That would be the "humiliation" part.

    What? Punishment is not humiliating? For instance, a molester should go to jail and receive therapy. That is punishment, but it is certainly not humiliating, because it is deserved. (How many times do you feel relieved when you are punished for a crime you are guilty of?) If the punishment is improper, than it is not just and is vicious attacking rather than just punishment.

    What if the identities were televised.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLAC9kS_EqM

    EDIT: The thread about Chris Hansen's TV show, if I remember right, had most people agreeing that what echo is saying is on the right track.

    emnmnme on
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    What? Punishment is not humiliating? For instance, a molester should go to jail and receive therapy. That is punishment, but it is certainly not humiliating, because it is deserved. (How many times do you feel relieved when you are punished for a crime you are guilty of?) If the punishment is improper, than it is not just and is vicious attacking rather than just punishment.

    Uhm... I'm talking about the "knock doors in neighborhood" part.

    Echo on
  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The Cat wrote: »
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    In this case, is a clear distinction being drawn between forcible rape of a child, and statutory rape through engaging in "consensual" sex with a minor? I assume this is for child molestation exclusively?

    *sigh*

    no-one's going to chair your 18 year old self for fucking a 15 year old. can we please not go down this path of idiocy?

    I meant adults engaging in so-called consensual sex with prepubescents as opposed to violently raping them, but thanks for implying I'm an ephebophile, I really appreciate it.
    s7apster wrote: »
    Couldn't this crime be regarded as the theft of a normal and healthy life? Children who are raped are in some cases so traumatized that they cannot lead a mentally or socially healthy life. I am in no way in favor of the death penalty, but this crime is more comparable to murder, in my opinion, than you guys seem to think.

    One of the practical problems I see with giving the death penalty for child rape is that currently, if someone were to kidnap a child and rape them, the disparity between the penalties for child rape and child murder might pose as at least something of an incentive not to just kill the kid to get rid of the evidence. If they'll get the death penalty either way, they really have nothing to lose by murdering the child to reduce the likelihood of their being caught.

    Aroused Bull on
  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Echo wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    What? Punishment is not humiliating? For instance, a molester should go to jail and receive therapy. That is punishment, but it is certainly not humiliating, because it is deserved. (How many times do you feel relieved when you are punished for a crime you are guilty of?) If the punishment is improper, than it is not just and is vicious attacking rather than just punishment.

    Uhm... I'm talking about the "knock doors in neighborhood" part.

    Indeed, and I am of the opinion that the punishments are not just, and therefor wrong. They do not fit the crime, just as the death sentence is an emotional response to rape, illogical and unjust.

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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    Church wrote: »
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    Cultural values and norms are not static. They change. They can be broken down, and they can be built. We should all work towards changing our society for the better, even if it has to be done at a fundamental level.

    Did I say anything about it staying that way? No, no I did not. I'm all about change. What I'm doing is pointing out that the concept is problematic now, and that the rest of society really needs to get their act together before rehabilitation will be effective. Try and pay attention to what I actually type, please.

    The Cat on
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  • s7apsters7apster Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »

    One of the practical problems I see with giving the death penalty for child rape is that currently, if someone were to kidnap a child and rape them, the disparity between the penalties for child rape and child murder might pose as at least something of an incentive not to just kill the kid to get rid of the evidence. If they'll get the death penalty either way, they really have nothing to lose by murdering the child to reduce the likelihood of their being caught.

    Thats an interesting perspective.

    s7apster on
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    The Cat wrote: »
    ArrBeeBee wrote: »
    In this case, is a clear distinction being drawn between forcible rape of a child, and statutory rape through engaging in "consensual" sex with a minor? I assume this is for child molestation exclusively?

    *sigh*

    no-one's going to chair your 18 year old self for fucking a 15 year old. can we please not go down this path of idiocy?

    I meant adults engaging in so-called consensual sex with prepubescents as opposed to violently raping them, but thanks for implying I'm an ephebophile, I really appreciate it.

    Firstly, I didn't actually, I'm just heading off the inevitable horde of paranoid teenagers; secondly its pretty much not possible to avoid injuring a pre-pubescent during sexual activity. Things do not fit. I also fail to see how the violence of a sexual assault should modify how seriously one should take it. By that line of logic, most rohypnol rapes could be viewed as meaningless, since injury is less likely and the victim remembers little or nothing. I find that thought repulsive.

    The Cat on
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  • ChurchChurch Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The Cat wrote: »
    Did I say anything about it staying that way? No, no I did not. I'm all about change. What I'm doing is pointing out that the concept is problematic now, and that the rest of society really needs to get their act together before rehabilitation will be effective. Try and pay attention to what I actually type, please.

    ctrl + f

    "change"
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    Hm. That's all it picked up. I guess firefox isn't paying attention to what you type, either.

    Church on
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  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    Church wrote: »
    The Cat wrote: »
    Did I say anything about it staying that way? No, no I did not. I'm all about change. What I'm doing is pointing out that the concept is problematic now, and that the rest of society really needs to get their act together before rehabilitation will be effective. Try and pay attention to what I actually type, please.

    ctrl + f

    "change"
    The Cat wrote: »
    Secondly, I don't believe rehabilitation for sexual crimes is actually possible in our culture, because the dominant, 'normal' culture is so full of fucked up attitudes to sex. The dominant norms surrounding sexual activity fetishise sex as an exchange of power between parties rather than a mutually beneficial sharing, and thus inevitably excuse and hide sexually abusive behaviours. Assaults are just the extreme of what's considered normal conduct by the majority of sexually active people.

    Hm. That's all it picked up. I guess firefox isn't paying attention to what you type, either.

    Thin ice. Don't be a little bitch. You know how to read.

    The Cat on
    tmsig.jpg
  • ChurchChurch Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Yeah. All your post said about our culture is that it makes rehabilitation for these crimes impossible. You didn't say anything about changing it. Likewise, never in my post did I imply that you thought it couldn't; you left that issue open, so I commented on it. I don't see how that can be interpreted as "not paying attention" to or otherwise misconstruing your statement.

    Church on
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  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited January 2008
    Well, our culture does want us to be attracted to very young-looking girls without pubic hair.

    Echo on
This discussion has been closed.