What About Rapists?
What would anarchists do with rapists?
Last week we had local band The Songs of Tom Smith in the studio chatting about what they do and playing some songs.
We also talked about anarchism what it is/means … which was great.
After the show Tiffany from the band says what about rape. How would an anarchist society deal with rape?
What a great question! And what a great way to make the show more interactive. This is something I really want to do.. Ask an Anarchist.
What do you want to know about anarchism? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org .
On the question of rape I consulted with a few anarchist comrades and have got a few answers.
Anarchism is not a free for all. A comrade provided this quote which clears that up.
” Anarchists have never advocated the kind of “freedom” which assumes that people can do what they want. When people object to anarchy, they often raise the question as to those who would steal, murder, rape and so forth and seem to assume that such people would be free to act as they like. This is, needless to say, an utter misunderstanding of both our ideas and freedom in general. Simply put, if people impose themselves by force on others then “they will be the government” and “we will oppose them with force” for “if today we want to make a revolution against the government, it is not in order to submit ourselves supinely to new oppressors.” [Malatesta, Op. Cit, p. 99] This applies equally to the need to defend a free society against organised counter-revolution and against those within it conducting anti-social (“criminal”) activities. The principle is the same, it is just the scale which is different.”https://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secI5.html
First I think violence/sexual violence would be less of an issue in anarchist societies. With capitalism/patriarchy and the way especially women’s bodies are sexualised and with pornography which promotes rape fantasies and the idea of women not having agency over their own bodies and sex being something which mainly men feel they are owed. An anarchist society would differ in terms of the way people relate to other people and the way sex is viewed. An anarchist society would be sex positive and there wouldn’t be for instance fucked up religious issues barring consenting adults from seeking pleasure which is perfectly normal.
I’ll mention the extreme which Peter mentioned and me too… SELF DEFENCE. Do what you have to to defend yourself/your loved ones. Without saying anything which would lead to accusations of inciting violence you have to do what you have to do.
Barbara sent a link to this article which is discussed during this episode What About The Rapists?
Another comrade says ..
I just wanted to say that, as an anarchist, what I would like to see in an anarchist society addressing any incidence of violence, is a process based on healing, learning and justice, and not based on shaming or “throwing people away”.
I feel in a lot of “left” political groups these days the reaction to (particularly sexual/sexualised) violence is to shame the perpetrator and then ostracize them. I’m not opposed to people being ostracized but I think this should not be a default/first reaction, I think it is a very extreme consequence and if there is no process paired with this reaction it is cruel and damaging, possibly to all involved.
Shaming people does not stop violence and I don’t believe it is an empowering act. Holding people accountable is different to shaming. I think restorative justice would be an appropriate model for an anarchist society to build on in addressing the issue of violence.
The main point for me is that a rapist would be dealt with by the community, in direct consultation with the survivor. This could look like community discussions or forums to decide on appropriate action in seeking justice, it could look like this person being kept under “house arrest” with community members volunteering to stay with them until processes are complete, to ensure they can’t harm anybody else during this time. It could look like mental health support being offered to both the perpetrator and the survivor.
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