Irrelevancy in a gendered world

_Edit i am grateful to a thread participant who has helped me understand part of the strong reactions to some parts of this thread. I apologize to any troubled by my clumsy speech, and ask their forgiveness. i am just a lay person, very much trying to learn and do better. The OP and my first few comments were not an attempt to report facts about this world or anything in it; this was an attempt, admittedly quite a clumsy one, to share and strengthen a letting go of anger and hurt experienced by me; a happy renunciation of a view conditioned by my experiences in this life, involving the suffering of many… May all beings be freed from suffering, from views, from identities, from ignorance, from anger, hate and all defilements; may all beings have peace and liberation. _

I have been dealing with some very old angers, and a bad cold, lately, and i had a minor epiphany. I realized it isn’t that some people rape, repeatedly, without police or law courts or much societal disapproval. It isn’t even that the behavior seems increasingly normalized, by media, psych professionals, judges or people who mistake gender violence for lust.

It is my increasing awareness that the real reason rape violence rises without societal resistance is that so many “good” people consider it irrelevant to them. Some readers will not have made it to that sentence. It does not bother them, or concern them, to make their way through a world with gender violence; they do not rape, so that is more than enough attention to the issue.

Why, i ask myself, did i assume “good” people would be any different?

Why when i look at some countries and see societies built on a foundation of female enslavement, prostitution, bride trafficking, am i surprised that some other people see nothing but well supported buddhism?

I doubt either perspective is much like what the Buddha saw. He decided to proclaim the Dhamma, and designed a society of individual responsibilities, aspirations and achievement, firmly rooted in communal mutual interdependence.

And that is not the world we live in. We are fractured, intercompetitive, non trusting, non trustworthy, and utterly unwilling or uninterested in supporting society dedicated to holy lives (which has little or nothing to do with ordination).

Too dark? Irrelevant? Comments welcome.

edit: no comments after 1 hour. I find this darkly funny. Also inspires questions about what is peace. Is it simply freedom from care? Sociopaths have that, i have read.

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2hours and no comments. Hmmm. Well, i shall consider the ideas of what can and cannot be talked about, and whether beneficial mental activity might yet have been fostered in this silence. May all be well, and happy, and liberated from defilements and suffering.

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Perhaps, this is done for me. An excellent dovetailing Dhamma talk for me was this: YouTube Ajahn Brahmali’s recent talk on views and Right View. Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu!

I will probably not reply to any comments; but do post if the that is helpful to you, there may be others on SC who may benefit or help.

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SC is primarily a place to discuss the patterns of issues prevailing in the world and how to overcome them personally or collectively in my opinion - just as the Buddha’s dhamma discusses suffering and the cessation of suffering, macroscopically or microscopically.

While I admit that I’m still trying to figure out how psych professionals are normalising rape, maybe that might be a good place to start as potentially I’m blinded. I would like some education on the matter.

I don’t think it acceptable that people are accused without sufficient proof as no one signed up for this.

With metta


I agree to Mat, it would help if you explained what exactly you are talking about, e.g. as I have absolutely no idea what you mean.


No part of this rings true to me. Across the Western cultural sphere, rape is one of the most serious crimes according to our legal system. What’s more, there has been a broadening and a deepening of our understanding of what constitutes rape - rape within marriage is now recognised as a crime for example. The law against rape has become more comprehensive and deals out harsher sentences.

The idea that rape violence is on the rise is false. The idea that it rises without societal resistance is also clearly false.

The idea that “good” people consider it “irrelevant” strikes me as false, but I’d be interested to see some evidence on this score before commenting further.

I think you probably got no comments because people were incredulous at the extreme view being expressed. Also you seem to implicate the rest of the world in allowing rape to flourish and I think probably most of us find this rude at best.

Let’s see some evidence that anyone thinks rape is irrelevant. I certainly do not, though neither I nor anyone in my circle of intimates have been affected by rape.


Quite possibly what is being referenced here is what has commonly become known in the United States and perhaps other countries as a “culture of rape.” This phenomenon is said to exist at the intersection of two related cultural expressions, i.e., the pervasive sexualization of women and the acceptance of violence as a constant in human behavior.

There are certain logical fallacies in the theory of a culture of rape. For one, the sexualization of women does not necessarily imply acts of violence. Also, the sexualization of women accompanies an increase in exposure to overt expressions of sexuality in general as found perhaps most prominently on the internet. One could also add that overt sexualization of women and men has varied throughout history and I am not sure if there is data to suggest a correlation between social norms regarding sexuality and inhibitions and/or prohibitions against rape.

As for violence, the current presence of violence throughout the world is not necessarily overtly directed towards individuals of any specific gender. With digital media such as the internet and video games, violence does not appear to be gender-specific. The scale and scope of violence also have varied historically. The correlation between types and forms of violence as well as its location, scale, and scope and cultures of rape may be analyzed with data but that is not a field with which I am familiar.

The point is that a culture of rape is like any cultural form, hard to empirically measure let alone attribute to individual human beings. Within any culture there are dissident voices and forms of resistance. One could even argue that all cultures are comprised of prevailing norms that are in constant tension with transgressive norms. Certainly today there is widescale resistance against rape both by societal groups as well as individual human beings. The very fact that we are having this discussion demonstrates that rape is far from condoned and in most cases is treated as a moral, legal, and ethical transgression against individual human beings and prevailing societal expectations.


I more or less agree with @ERose, but didn’t comment because I couldn’t think of anything helpful or encouraging to say. Rape and other forms of gender violence are one part of the staggeringly awful human history of violence and cruelty, which have destroyed lives and well-being like a raging plague down through the ages. It’s hard to know what to do about our world full of butchers, exploiters and predators. The less violent among us can band together from time to time to hunt down some of the hunters, and try to lock up the most egregious offenders, but the results have usually been imperfect and counterproductive, to say the least. And the Buddha warned appropriately about the problem of trying to defeat hate with hate, aggression with aggression.

Consider Rome. It came to dominate much of Europe, West Asia and North Africa through an unceasing centuries-long militarist process of conquest, enslavement, subjugation and exploitation. Its people seem to have loved war, and warriors, on the whole, and for entertainment, they liked to watch people kill each other, or be eaten by animals. They maintained control over their conquests via extreme brutality. When some of the people they had enslaved, led by those enslaved to fight and kill themselves in the arena, rose up to try to liberate themselves, they were crushed militarily, and the survivors crucified all along the Appian Way to send a message to anyone else who might get similar ideas.

And yet these monsters are held up to generations of schoolchildren as a Great Civilization. The same observations could be made of most other empires.

One thing that keeps violence alive is a tendency among the subjugated, defeated and subordinate to fall into flattering the violent hordes who run the world, writing elegant poems and treatises on the glories of the Heroes, and of our sublime duties to our skull-crushing, pillaging, torturing and limb-mutilating benefactors and protectors. People who won’t submit are dealt with harshly, as recounted in rebellious syntax by the poet e.e. cummings:

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelovéd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but–though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments–
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
“I will not kiss your fucking flag”

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but–though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat–
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some shit I will not eat”

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.


Yes, this disturbs me too. When I think of Thailand, for example, it would be nice if the first thing I thought of was its thriving Buddhist culture and people like Ajahn Chah. But it isn’t. What I think of is Thailand’s reputation as the sexual tourism capital of the world.

I am not feeling angry, or attacked; I feel some joy at what i have let go, and the liberative experience i tried to share in my post. May all beings be happy, healthy, and liberated.

Rape may be a crime, but it is not by itself cause to diagnose a person as psychologically ill. Rapists per psychiatric definitions are not ill. Rape supportive theories include evolutionary psychology, which normalizes the behavior as effective evolutionary strategy. Pysch professionals are also sometimes involved in reduced sentencing, early releases, non pursuit of finally processed rape kit cases because of possible effects on victims families or society, and let’s -just-move-forward talk therapies. Mat, i respect you greatly, but your profession and colleagues do not and cannot adequately address rape, rapists or rape victims’ harm. Rape is not a psychiatric condition or event… by definition.

Rapes ARE under reported, and rape cases drop out of legal justice system even when reported and documented. Sentences vary dramatically, but only apply to the fraction of crimes recognized. In some areas marital rape is unrecognized, or forced marriage is a “solution”, or war rape or coerced sex trade is not considered rape.

"Let’s see some evidence that anyone thinks rape is irrelevant. I certainly do not, though neither I nor anyone in my circle of intimates have been affected by rape. "
Reread your second sentence; you state without qualification that neither you nor anyone in your circle of intimates has been affected by rape; this is a statement that rape is not personally directly relevant for you (plural). Statistically and sociologically your unqualified statement is probably factually false, even if your intimates are all celibate or all men or very few in number. If any one of you has ever intentionally acted to avoid rape risk or the appearance of rape risk… there you are affected. It might be helpful to ask yourself why and what bothers you; may you be liberated and happy.

Several responders suggested my post was an accusation of persons, others stated portions of my post were “clearly false”. These characterizations are interesting observable reactions. I have reread my post. Nothing in it is either clearly false, or an accusation of persons, or “a theory” about culture, or about rising or falling rates as if that matters, or were not heart-numbing handles for real problems. So if those or other strawmen upset you, talk to the errector of those strawmen. :slight_smile:

Everyone has views unless in profound meditative states. Everyone has conditioning in this and from prior lives. That is not an accusation; it is simply observable.

Every continent, every country, every community… do research as needed for your own concerns; or not. I think gender hate, gender violence, gender greed, are defilements. That is a view.

Ajahn Brahmali's recent talk on views linked above) was very good.

Rape research ( just a quick sample for those seriously concerned about rape and society)
Rape: Is it a lifestyle or behavioral problem? by Zeel N. Kamdar, Jayendrakumar K. Kosambiya, [...], and Abhinav Kadia

Misogyny, Acculturation, and Ethnic Identity: Relation to Rape-Supportive Attitudes in Asian American College Men by Kelly H. Koo, M.S., Kari A. Stephens, Ph.D., [...], and William H. George, Ph.D.

100 Women: Rape survivors in Vietnam and Thailand struggle for justice
"Women who survive rape in Vietnam and Thailand struggle to get justice because of claims that sexual violence is only a problem when it happens to "innocent" women and girls, a report suggests.
A new UN study showed that women were pushed out of the justice system at every stage, from initial reporting through to trial, because of discrimination against them. "

Researchers say the psychology behind rape is complex By CreelaBelle Howard

Thailand Study: One rape every 15 minutes

Mental health assessment of rape offenders by Jaydip Sarkar 

Commentary: Inventing Diagnosis for Civil Commitment of Rapists by  Thomas K. Zander. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online December 2008, 36(4) 459-469.

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Highlights

Intimate Partner Violence in the United States - 2010

Multiple perpetrator rape among girls evaluated at a hospital-based Child Advocacy Center: Seven years of reviewed cases by Laurel Edinburgh, Julie Pape-Blabolil, [...], and Elizabeth Saewyc

Community perceptions of rape and child sexual abuse: a qualitative study in rural Tanzania by Muzdalifat Abeid, Projestine Muganyizi, [...], and Pia Axemo

@DKervick Now, this goes too far. It’s like I’m saying that western countries are full of people who are promiscuous, materalistic, racist, and so on, which is certainly not true (I’m not sure about other Asian countries, but in Thailand, these stereotypes are quite prevalent, especially among older people). Of course, those descriptions depend on each person. You can’t just stereotype people or things like that.

There are bad people everywhere in the world, the same is also true for promiscuity and prostitution. Pornography is also prevalent in Japan and America, but does that mean that that’s the only thing I think of when I think of those countries? Definitely not. Is it fair to think of Myanmar only as a country that indiscriminately persecutes Rohingya people? Certainly not. In my opinion, unless a majority of people of a certain place unanimously do something in particular, you can’t stereotype them as representing that action. Even then, it doesn’t mean that every single person constitutes to it.


Is it or is it not true that Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for sea tourism in the world?

And I have no problems with people harboring the negative views toward the United States that you describe. US culture does indeed exhibit, on the whole, much greedy, hedonistic and aggressive behavior.

There’s no such thing as a ‘Buddhist’ country or a ‘Christian’ or ‘humanist’ country. I think we can talk in ‘averages’ but that doesn’t apply to individuals. People who genuinely practice the dhamma are a the minority even in traditionally ‘Buddhist’ countries though their cultures are influenced by the dhamma. However when it comes to the crunch ego, power, money, influence, pleasure etc outweighs the practice of the dhamma in all countries, sadly.

With metta


How can you possibly speak like that about the romans ? They have introduced rule of law, morality, civilization, etc. in places where there has been only barbarism before. Their culture was far superior in terms of morality and fairness compared to the barbarism it has replaced. The effects of their moral advancement are still seen today for example in the civil law. (best legal system, used in every country except english speaking ones that still maintain a barbarian-style legal system)

Civilizations that have developed high standards of morality are praised also in the suttas, while barbarian ones are bashed. There are some suttas about the lands that were barbarian in ancient india and Buddha does not speak favorably of them.

Romans liked to write and rewrite history, and there was a conscious strategy to absorb and transform local religions and beliefs. If this faltered or internal Roman politics required, slaughter was popular. Some of the barbarian cultures wiped out by the roman empire had quite functional legal systems.

Rome’s origin story for itself is deceit, genocide and mass rape. The Roman republic was destroyed by Romans. The Roman empire had strong distinctions between citizens’ legal rights, and the rights of everyone else.

Rome like any human creation had good and bad remembered and forgotten aspects. Idealizing it or anything - maybe not harmless for one.


Not really. They were so successful because of their policy of peacefully integrating conquered territories into the empire and providing the benefits of civilization to these formerly barbarian lands. Instead of constant war, rape, plunder, injustice etc. they provided rule of law, good standard of living, efficient economy, etc.

My country was conquered by the romans and latinized. Everybody was happy with it, so happy that we even named our country “Romania” which means “citizen of rome”. Our ancestors, the Dacians, used to have the second biggest empire after Rome and Rome was paying tribute to them at one point. Yet, everybody was happy with tranzitioning to a superior form of civilization, same as a hellhole country of today would be happy to transition into a better one.

When has it become a trend on buddhist forums to bash advanced cultures that rose the standards of civilization on this earth ? Buddha had good words to say about the civilized inner lands of india and bad words to say about the violent barbarian lands at the margins, same as any rational person would.

I am waiting for the point when the devas start getting criticized here for engaging in war with asuras.

@DKervick Is it or is it not true that Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for sea tourism in the world? Perhaps. I’m not sure why you ask about sea tourism.

The point isn’t about having negative views (actually in my previous post, I said “western countries”, not just United States). The point is about believing in incorrect stereotypes about people or things.

You said something about Thailand’s “reputation” as the sexual tourism capital of the world. It’s not. It’s really puzzling why this stereotype is persistent among many western and caucasian people (perhaps it has to do with Vietnam War, but that was a long time ago now) when sex industry and prostitution are illegal in Thailand, and not in some western countries. As I said before, sex industry and prostitution are everywhere in the world, why single out Thailand? The reasons why people think of Thailand as such are because of stereotypes, fictions, incorrect information from media, etc.

Something just feels off about this topic/post.

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The Buddha’s standards are not those of worldly civilizations. He taught a path of absolute harmlessness, and his first precept is to refrain from killing or causing others to kill.

I don’t think he was all that impressed by what the world, consumed by it’s lusts for wealth, power and glory, regards as “civilization”. But a cast-off toga would make a couple of nice robes.