You may have heard that two days ago, a British politician was revealed to be behind a far-right blog that spews prejudice at every turn. Among Nick Eriksen’s most offensive comments were those regarding rape (trigger warning).
The Standard can reveal that Nick Eriksen, the BNP’s London organiser and the second-highest candidate on its list for the Assembly, is the author of “Sir John Bull,” a notorious far-Right blog which has regularly advocated hatred and abuse against women. The disclosure will be a serious blow to the BNP’s hopes of London electoral success.
On 24 August 2005, Mr Eriksen wrote: “I’ve never understood why so many men have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the feminazi myth machine into believing that rape is such a serious crime … Rape is simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal.
“To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that forcefeeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.
“The demonisation of rape is all part of the feminazi desire to obtain power and mastery over men. Men who go along with the rape myth are either morons or traitors.”
As far as conservative nutjobs go, Eriksen is extreme. Based on his other blog posts, I honestly don’t think it’s possible for him to look at a woman with anything but vile contempt. And the British National Party? They’re terrifying, and run almost entirely on a platform of making racism acceptable. There’s also the fun irony of the fact that they are “tough on crime” and support “the rights of victims” — no, really, they support corporal punishment for vandals and petty thieves. Which can only mean Eriksen thinks that spray painting graffiti on a wall is worse than raping your girlfriend.
We’re not dealing with your average misogynist, but once the shock wears off, I find Eriksen’s comments to be absolutely fascinating. And significant.
Eriksen has of course withdrawn his candidacy, as the BNP admits begrudgingly while calling his comments “distorted and taken out of context.” Actually, quite a few members of the BNP have responded to the comments this way. So let’s give poor old Eriksen a fair shake. Here are the comments in question in their original context:
Obviously violent stranger-rape will be traumatic, but feminazis have stretched the definition of rape to include ‘date-rape’ and even ‘husband-rape’!
Rape is simply sex (I am talking about ‘husband-rape’ here, for those who deliberately seek to misunderstand me). Women enjoy sex, so this type of ‘rape’ cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal. To suggest that rape, when conducted without violence, is a serious crime is like suggesting that force feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.
So why have the feminazis built ‘rape’ up as such a serious offence? Because it is the one offence they can accuse a man of without any evidence whatsoever. Even years after the supposed offence took place they can waltz into a police station and destroy a man’s life without a shred of evidence. In other words the demonisation of rape is all part of the feminazi desire to obtain power and mastery over men. Again, for those who are seeking to cause trouble by deliberately misunderstanding me: yes, violent rape by a stranger in the street is a terrible crime, but I am not talking about that – I am talking about ‘husband-rape’.
It seems that for some people, repeatedly alluding to the idea that someone will take your words out of context exonerates you from having to take responsibility for them whenever they happen to be quoted. As Eriksen points out, to paraphrase but using language that I don’t think he would actually object to, he’s not saying that rape isn’t bad; he’s just saying that women are lying, whining whores who like to throw a fit every time someone they know decides to stick his dick in without their permission.
To use full context, Eriksen argues in the same post that only 6% of rape cases result in a conviction (he doesn’t provide a citation, though it sounds accurate enough), and therefore 94% of rape accusations are lies. He says that since rape victims who claim to have been drugged rarely show any traces of rohypnol in their urine (not showing a citation, ignoring that other date rape drugs exist and that rohypnol passes through one’s system very quickly), the women in question were only very drunk and therefore there is no crime, as having sex with someone who is in a state of being blacked out is apparently not rape. He refers to victims as “tarts.” And he somewhat jokingly (how hilarious) refers to rape as “assault with a friendly weapon.”
I’m so interested in Eriksen’s comments not because I’m a masochist or even because they give me an opportunity for extreme outrage. I’m so interested in them because they contain such a huge quantity of misogynist ideas and rape myths all in one place. Precisely, they contain a combination of pretty much every misogynist justification for violence against women — and though spoken rather explicitly, the ideas are not particularly uncommon. In fact they’re the very ideas that have been socially absorbed to create what we refer to as a rape culture. They are the ideas that allow men to commit violence with impunity, that cause women to be held responsible for men’s violence and that impose a continued silence by survivors. The comments are rape apologism at its finest, and because they are so unfiltered, they provide a clear view of the man behind the curtain who the patriarchy wants you to pay absolutely no attention to.
Like the great misogynists before him, Ericksen seeks to redefine consent not as a willful and voluntary “yes,” but as a “no” that can be overcome without leaving any bruises. And as someone who clearly sees marriage as a financial transaction (man pays for sex on tap and obedience), he believes that consent once equals consent always. It’s an old view, and the reason why spousal rape used to not be a crime (and in some places still isn’t) — a time that Ericksen would like society to revisit. Women are property. And property does not get a say. We don’t have any real responsibility towards property, and if we did, the responsibility wouldn’t be so much to treat it like a living creature with feelings of its own as to not completely and utterly destroy it.
And though anyone who is a decent human being can see that women are not property, cannot be bought and sold and do not give up rights to their personhood with marriage, there is another strong and common misconception here: that rape is not destructive.
Rape has killed women, it has caused them permanent injury and ruined lives with emotional trauma. Those of use who survive are not destroyed — we’re still here. But rape’s failure to destroy victims as people doesn’t make it nondestructive. Rape and other sexual violence can and does destroy a lot: trust, health, safety, relationships, happiness, equality . . . the list goes on. Most notably, rape often destroys the sense that women have a right over their own bodies, and this is precisely the point.
Rape, feminists have long noted, is not sex. Eriksen actually gets that one half-right in his assertion that sex is rape only when violence is involved. This is true. But to Eriksen, violence is punching, beating and stabbing. He fails to realize that rape is in itself violence.
– actually, that’s not entirely true. As a recent comment on the blog post in question notes, it’s interesting that Eriksen compares rape to force-feeding chocolate cake. Of course, this is simply a misogynist swipe, indicating women as gluttonous whores who can’t get enough of a good thing — including, he delusionaly believes, his cock. But as the commenter notes, force-feeding is torture by definition and one can only imagine that it would be painful and terrifying. The comparison is actually somewhat apt in that both rape and the force-feeding if a favorite food are violent — and they both take something that people generally enjoy and turn it against us. The point isn’t violence for violence sake. It’s violence with the goal of turning the victim’s body, loves and pleasure against her. It’s violence designed to give the offender lasting power and control over something that once brought the victim joy.
In the end, I don’t believe for a second that Eriksen really thinks that partner/acquaintance rape or force-feeding is not violence. He just believes that they’re violence women deserve. He probably finds something innately disturbing about female pleasure and believes that men have a right to show the bitches what happens once they start genuinely enjoying things. I’ve long believed that rape is used as a punishment for women’s sexuality. It’s also a common myth that women enjoy rape, because we all supposedly enjoy penetrative sex.
This is one of the most prevalent myths: that physical pain and/or a lack of physical pleasure is the crime of rape.
In some cases this is a big part of the crime. But it ignores a few fundamental facts. The first is that not all rape is physically painful, particularly likely in cases which do not involve other forms of violence. There are many reasons that rape can be painful, but it is not necessarily so. The second is far more taboo, and very rarely discussed even in victim-advocacy circles. It’s not discussed because taken without understanding, it’s a fact that can be used against us. We’re also very, very wrong to ignore it, and I for one would like to break the silence.
The fact is that many women do experience physical sexual pleasure during rape. It’s difficult, but it’s true. And yet, this is 100% different from enjoying rape. It’s a biological response that cannot always be controlled. Some women do not experience pain during rape because their vaginas naturally lubricate against their emotional wishes. Others actually feel pleasure. It’s nerve endings, and you can’t necessarily decide what your body will feel as it is being touched. Women who experience this are generally frightened because of the additional lack of control over their own bodies, and also tend to feel guilty. Because we often don’t differentiate between emotionally enjoying an act and feeling physical pleasure during it, these victims often start to think that maybe they did enjoy the rape, even though their brains were telling them something very different from their genitals. Others know better, but still fail to talk about this aspect of the experience due to the rape apologist and victim-blaming remarks that are likely to ensue or because of embarrassment.
The crime of rape itself is not the physical pain, though this is commonly an aspect. The crime of rape itself is not about a lack of physical pleasure, though this is also very often true. A woman who does not feel physical pain or who does feel physical pleasure during a rape has still been harmed.
The crime of rape is the imposition on another person’s body. The crime of rape is taking away another person’s right to make their own decisions, deciding what will and will not happen to their bodies. The crime of rape is failing to respect personal boundaries and enacting your will on another. The trauma of rape isn’t necessarily the physical pain; the trauma of rape is temporarily losing control of your own body and your own life. And as rape intends, many victims fail to realize that the control is temporary. The crime and trauma of rape is the assertion that a person’s autonomy can mean absolutely nothing to others and can be taken away. The crime of rape is its inherent intent to own another person.
And until we as a society come to understand that, I sadly haven’t got the slightest fucking clue as to how we might end sexual violence.