Capitalism causes rape

Capitalism causes rape

Whatley, Sheri

I grew up around abusive men. With some combination of physical, sexual, verbal, or psychological abuse, they all taught me one crucial lesson: males can do whatever they want and get away with it.

Unfortunately in this cruel global capitalist system, aggressive and dominating behavior is rewarded. So why wouldn’t those values be infused into the culture as well? People constantly wonder why rape exists. In my mind it’s easy…..rape is an integral part of the capitalist system. Profits over people, aggression rather than compassion, and establishing control are the main tenets of capitalism. Capitalism teaches people to take what they want from the less powerful. It does this by creating an environment that no sane human could live in and remain compassionate. This “only the strong survive” mentality that drives the system forces people to abandon their hearts and souls in order to clinch the cold, immoral business deals that will earn them money. The capitalist system causes alienation from self, from others, and from the land. This is the foundation upon which rape is allowed to thrive.

Once people are disconnected from their true nature and are detached from feeling compassion for others, they are emotionally capable of raping another person’s body. The very fact that rape exists proves how detached people have become. It is one of the most vile and horrific acts humanly possible, yet it is an extremely common occurrence.

The capitalist system forces us to focus on earning a living rather than on the reality that our living standards in America come directly from the “rape” of the land and of people across the world, as well as within the U.S. There are just not enough resources for everyone in the world to live like the middle and upper class, so why is it allowed to happen?

Another question, why do certain people feel that they are entitled to sex and/or money? Patriarchy and capitalism teach certain privileged groups that they deserve benefits and that it is acceptable to take them from someone else. Rape is one of the most effective methods by which these things are acquired. It also serves as a tool to “teach” those in less privileged groups (read: racialized minorities, immigrants, women, lesbians, poor people) to be subservient to those with money and power. The web of control is only complete when shame is felt by victims of rape. Teaching people to be ashamed of being violated is as effective in silencing dissent as the act of rape itself.

When I was growing up, I internalized the message that I had no control over my body or my life. Men could come in at any time and alter my choices. I believed it. So when i was raped in college I was already primed to bury it and not seek justice. Subconsciously I felt that there was nothing i could do. The prick could always deny it, no one would believe me, maybe I did something to bring it on? ALL of these messages had

to come from somewhere! I did not come to these conclusions on my own. They were taught to me and reinforced by my family, my schools, and in American culture (justice system, media, etc.)

I was raped because capitalism taught this rapist to take what he wanted. It didn’t teach him that i had feelings and a memory that would carry this around for the rest of my life, but that I was an object for him to conquer, a thing that existed for his pleasure.

Recently I read about how a woman in North Carolina who is married to an enlisted military man was sexually assaulted for stating her opposition to the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. Since the military is the protector of capitalism and rape/ sexual assault is a tool of capitalism, it’s easy to understand why this woman was assaulted. She was actually questioning the capitalist regime! (and rightly so.) She was attacked in order to “teach” her that it is NOT okay to do.

Another example: I read an article in FORBES magazine that exposed corporate executives who rape and sexually assault their employees (July 22, 2002). Apparently the problem is so widespread in corporate America that even those whose vested interests lie in promoting the capitalist economy are reporting it! However, the most crucial point to acknowledge about the article is to what extent big corporations will go to in order to protect these rapists. From minimizing (he is just “difficult” and “a bit eccentric”), to justifying (“hell bent pursuit of revenues pushed the company to extremes”) to complete denial (“she claimed [he attacked her] but I can’t see that happening. She’s not a good looking woman.”), the companies’ policies of dealing with the accusations made it clear that big business will protect rapists who bring in the big money. Period.

Why is this? Why is rape an accepted part of our society? From corporate executives to rock stars, athletes, prison guards, and politicians to husbands, fathers, and brothers, capitalism protects them all.


Copyright Off Our Backs, Inc. Sep/Oct 2002

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