Would I Lie To You…

w.iOver at Ragnell’s site, she was addressing her loss of love for Dan Slott’s She-Hulk series. She raises some good points about the failings of the series. One point that I kind of agree with and kind of don’t is this:

“Which means we have another fake rape accusation in the pop culture consciousness. In a culture where it already so damned hard to bring a rape to trial because so many people that women are just waiting to make an accusation at the slightest offense. Where I can get into a 45 minute argument at work with men who think that there is actually some sort of gain in going to the police to report a rape,”

Was this a piss poor resolution to the story in She-Hulk? Yes. I don’t think there is any gain in it…So, again, I agree. But I get the impression that Ragnell believes noone has ever lied about rape. The main logic being that there is no benefit to doing it, so no person would go to the police and say they were raped if it were not true.

(Ragnell, please feel free to correct me if I am misreading you)

But the truth is, people do bizarre things that seem to lack gain. To presume noone lies about horrible, tragic, evil and criminal situations is to ignore the reality that on occassion, people do things that make no sense. I know people that have lied about being abused, witnessing abuse, witnessing other crimes and so on. It does happen. People lie about things you would think they would not lie about. We had the Satanic/Sexual abuse scare in daycares across the country several years ago. Most of the involved cases ruined the lives of people who were not satanic child molestors. But their lives were ruined well before the veil of hysteria lifted. I also believe that overall, these are extremely rare instances.

Does this change anything? No. If someone says they were raped? First you take a person at their word. If their claim falls apart? Then you start questioning if they are telling the truth. And should it be used as an easy out in a comic book story? No. That’s in poor taste. But to be upset at the idea that on rare occassion, someone might lie about being raped is to pretend that the human race only does things that make sense.



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  1. I think what she’s upset about, is the feeling that some men have not that women LIE about rape, but that we think EVERYTHING is rape. :\ That if we claim rape, it was prolly just consensual smex that we regretted, or something. The problem she’s annoyed about I think is when it starts becoming a recurring theme in entertainment to the point where most ppl whose lives just revolve around what they learn from tv/comics/etc, begin to believe that most rape accusations are false. 😦

    I rly hate when ppl do lie about rape tho b/c it just adds to this idea 😦

  2. Yeah…I have been thinking about this throughout the day since typing it. And I don’t want people to think I am trying to slam Ragnell. I go to her blog daily because I like it.

  3. Someone else said it better than me, and I looked all over their livejournal for the post but they’d taken it down, so excuse the incompleteness of this thought.

    Basically it came down to, if you have 100 women who report a rape, chances are 99 will be truth and 1 will be a lie. Unfortunately, because of that 1 case out of a hundred, the other 99 women who report a rape will be accused of lying and that’s not fair at all.

    As it is, out of a lot of the rape cases in fiction, close to half are false accusations and given the shame associated with being a rape victim, and the difficulty of proving a rape case, it is extremely unlikely that 50% of all rapes are lies and much more likely that its less than 10% (I know the FBI has statistics out on this that put it in the single-digits, but I don’t have access to them). But in fiction, its skewed to look like 50% or more, so that 90+ percent of women who actually have been raped have their experience worsened by being accused of lying.

    And that’s not even taking into account what Ami pointed out. The real problem here is that something like consent, something that should be rock solid clear (effectively that yes means yes, and only yes means yes) is continually clouded and confused by our culture, so not only are women accused of being liars when they’re raped, they’re accused of being confused, of backtracking, and of misunderstanding the guys.

  4. Ah, I understand what you are sayig there. Thanks for the response! I can totally agree with your comments on the issue (Which I am sure you were waiting on. 😉 ).

  5. Hi.
    Just wanted to post here before things get out of hand. I don’t really want to get too into this on every board where this topic is going (so please check my responses on the Ragnell board).

    But basically… I disagree with Ragnell’s take that there WAS a fake rape. In SHE-HULK Vol. 2 #6 & 7, a number of things occur…
    Starfox is accused of using his powers on a woman against her will.
    By the end of the SHE-HULK Vol. 2 #13, we find out THAT WAS TRUE. (It was NOT a fake rape). And there ARE repercussions: Starfox must seek the forgiveness of his victims– and he willingly lets himself be psychically nuetered– so that he will NEVER use those powers again. (We also find out that Starfox was not in his right mind at the time– and that was because of something Thanos did– but that does NOT absolve him of the acts themselves).

    Also in SHE-HULK #6 & #7 the question is raised whether Starfox used his powers on She-Hulk in the past– violating her as well. This question is NEVER clearly answered and purposefully left hanging in the air. In SHE-HULK #13, the question is finally answered– and the answer is “no.” This too is not a FAKE rape. It is never defined as a rape– and when all the facts are in we see that no rape occured.

    This is all the information– the actions– that take place in those issues. What I can’t control is what someone reads into them and how they wish to spin interpret them. But the actions remain. I would ask readers to please check out the issues in question and make up their own minds. Thank you.

    Dan Slott

  6. Hey there, Dan.

    Thanks for stopping by. I have to admit, personally, I have not read She-Hulk (it’s one of those books that I keep thinking, “Gee, I should check that out”, but as with so many other books, I seem to fail to get around to actually picking up). So, I was limited to the various interpretations that others had. Again, I appreciate your stopping by and giving your perspective on the storyline in question.

  7. Never read an issue of SHE-HULK? Well…
    Four issues of the book are available online for free:

    SHE-HULK #1: http://www.marvel.com/digitalcomics
    SHE-HULK #5: http://www.milehighcomics.com/firstlook/marvel/shehulk5/
    SHE-HULK #8: http://www.marvel.com/dotcomics/SHEHUL008/
    SHE-HULK Vol.2 #1: http://www.marvel.com/digitalcomics

  8. I tried posting this several times at Ragnell’s, but Haloscan is being all kinds of bullshit:

    The god-damnedest part, for me, is that it creates a situation in which people have been raped, but no one is actually responsible for it (as a rape): obviously not the victims; not Starfox, since he was damaged and not in control of himself; and not Thanos, the damager, because the power-abuse effect was an incidental side effect of his goal.

    So now there are several rapes with no actual rapist, just a confluence of accidental circumstances. I’m not sure I can articulate why right now, but this is unbelievably troubling to me. I actually feel disgust at the narrative twisting done to create this circumstance–in a light-toned near-comedy book, no less! It’s just plainly unbelievably bad.

  9. Derek,
    Even though Starfox was acting in a kind of altered state, he is still responsible for what happened. There were atrocities that were committed, victims, and a price that Starfox will have to pay.
    And I think it’s fair to label She-Hulk as a light-toned near-comedy book. Throughout our 28 issues we’ve told a lot of stories that won’t fit into that mold– Vol.1 #8 featured the near Dickensian story of who Titania is and how she got that way– a story about a lifetime of disappointment and rejection. Vol.2 #4 featured a story about Jen returning to a town that She-Hulk destroyed– wondering if she could ever find redemption for this act. And, by the story’s end, she meets one of the most tortured Marvel Universe. Vol.1 #2, Vol.2 #3, and Vol.2 #14 featured stories where at a key moment the lead character seriously contemplates a form of suicide.

    And while Vol.2 #6 and #7 were DEFINITELY our most serious issues to date– telling that story was taking a risk. It’s easy to stay in shallow waters, to do what’s expected, and to keep producing the same kinds of stories over and over again. I hope the readership of SHE-HULK realizes that the creative team is going to keep trying new things and finding new was to tell stories– stories about all kinds of subject matter.

  10. Hey Dan, as an aside, I picked up one of the trades yesterday. So far, I am enjoying it. It was kind of funny to read the rant about waiting for the trade paperback while I was reading a trade paperback though.

  11. “The god-damnedest part, for me, is that it creates a situation in which people have been raped, but no one is actually responsible for it (as a rape):”

    I felt precisely the same way about the resolution to the first season of Veronica Mars. The (male) writer managed to work in a sensationalistic rape with no real rapist in sight. Everyone was to blame, and no one was. How convenient! To summarize the *very* convoluted plot, Veronica was drugged and someone had sex with her. Much later she learned was her own, also drugged boyfriend. Once she found that out, the sex suddenly became consensual, not rape at all! Yeah. Right. It doesn’t work that way. I was nauseous. Once again we got to voyeuristically experience the woman’s pain while the male perpetrator remains invisible. Of course it took a ridiculously convoluted and utterly implausible story to pull off, but the resulting message was the same: women can be raped without anyone being to blame for it. To add insult to injury, another *girl* gets an innordinate share of the blame for Veronica’s “accidental, not really rape-rape” because she (unwittingly) gave her the drug-laced drink that was intended for *her* from her own skeezy boyfriend. In future episodes Veronica makes a point of hatin’ on this girl as she is the only one responsible for her (not)rape. Yet she treats the skeezy boyfriend of said girl *no worse* than she did before the incident.

    (The big difference between She-Hulk and VM is in the writer’s intentions, obviously. The VM writer made clear two seasons later just how much he hates women, or rather *feminists*, with a far more damaging rape storyline that made me chuck the show for good.)

  12. If I may — while we’re all being troubled by something or other — I’d just like to point to what’s troubled me as I’ve read the conversation here and at the Written World blog: The idea that it’s all okay because Starfox has “neutered” himself. Now obviously this is kind of a metaphorical neutering, not a literal moment wherein Starfox smiles sheepishly — straight razor in one hand, bloody amputated nutsack in the other — and says, “Is it all better now?”…but still. There is, to my mind, something enormously disturbing about equating “making it up to them (i.e., women)” with “cutting off one’s johnson.” I find this unsettling, and no less so because the character’s fuzzy accountability for his actions makes this sound like a kind of martyrdom.

    Mind you, this is all based on what Dan’s said here and elsewhere, NOT a reading of the book, which I…well…haven’t read. (I did read Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, though, which I enjoyed a great deal.) I probably will read it now, because all this has got me that curious, but I don’t think reading it is relevant to what bothers me here, which is Dan’s own interpretation of his own story.

  13. Interesting comments.. 😀

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