Jun 22, 2007

"IS IT REALLY SO STRANGE?"

Yo. My back is still out of commission. Still bored. Yawn.

So, what do you guys think about this? (Link fixed)

I'm kind torn on it. One one hand, the judge makes a half-decent point about what words and their meanings, that some words are conditioned and loaded in our minds... and that perhaps boiling it down to the most clinical form would be beneficial for fair trail purposes.

However, I'm punching a few holes in this right away.

Can a judge ban language? Sure, you'd be held in contempt if you showed up in court with fuck this and asshole this, etc. But, is it constitutional to ban a word? I see the guy's point, I think, that it's a loaded word and in order to level the playing field and give everyone a fair trail, things need to be, well, fair. But, I mean, to someone who has just lived through something so horrible wouldn't s/he probably find it extremely difficult to describe such an event as sex? Sex implies consent. It does. Rape implies the opposite. I mean, what's left? What do you say? To boil it way down to just clinical terms, maybe intercourse or penetration, I suppose, would be your only options of you had to describe....? Just because it sounds more clinical, if you ignore some of the roots. I don't know. I'm no expert on any of this; I don't mean to lessen the plight of anyone...I'm mostly just thinking about words.

(Ha, it just occurred to me that it would be hard to challenge the judge's ruling of banning a word if you couldn't even use the word to challenge his ban on the word you needed to say in order to challenge it. Ha.)

I think it wise to constantly re-evaluate language for fairness, especially in courtrooms, but I'm not so sure there is such a thing as a neutral word, the more I sit here and think about it. Hmm.

29 comments:

CawfeeGuy said...

"intercourse" actually conveys a mutual consent more than "sex"; the word itself means "between two". your link to the article is faulty...

nice blog :)

julie ganz said...

I expect a WOMAN to be more understanding about rape and putting those ASSHOLES away who rape and ruin lives. Who can you side with the perpetrators? How can you side with men? Aren't you a feminist? You say you are but how can you be and say that?

Amy Guth said...

Julie, Julie, that's not what I'm saying. If someone sexually assaults a person (male or female), then that person, the perpetrator of that crime, should be brought to justice. I do support victims, all victims. And, unfortunately, sometimes those victims are the wrongly accused. Not often, but sometimes. Everyone is supposed to get a fair trial, and I think it's okay to have an ongoing discussion about that sense of fairness in courtrooms.

And, just because the "fem" is in there, the word feminism gets such an unbalanced wrap. My dictionary defines it thusly:

Feminism: Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

See, what I'm saying? To me, that's as simple as a belief in anti-oppression and fairness. You know?

Adam Shprintzen said...

What a dangerous precedent in the sense that it really takes away a victim's (or witness in some cases I would suppose) inherent right to tell his or her side of the story. So yes, words are inherently charged. And because of that perhaps a jury will be influenced. But short of turning testimony into a series of bullet points or mime movements, it is unavoidable that any sort of word is charged, even those that seem "neutral." So while the attempt is made to neutralize rape by turning it into sex, the word sex inherently implies (though yes, rape in a purely semantic sense would technically would fall into the category of a sex act) consent. As the author points out, in a way our justice system relies upon the power of language, of competing narratives as supported (or not supported) by evidence. Banning any word, no matter how inflamatory or emotionally charged, infringes upon a defendant's right to present his or her case.

Here's the thing; if the judicial system was REALLY concerned with
emotions getting in the way of jurors' ability to process facts and such..how about banning family
members from speaking during sentencing?

PS, Julie...proposing a question doesn't mean inherently taking a side. While I disagree with this judge's act (for any number of reasons) I also do somewhat understand the logic behind it. It is misplaced and inconsistent logic to be sure. It isn't a matter of siding with the perpetrators by the judge (even if that is the unintended consequence), but just his own interpretation of how to run a courtroom.

And, PPS, siding with a man on an issue does not necessarily, inherently negate a feminst perspective or narrative. Are there not instances when an individual man perhaps has a feminist perspective when another individual woman doesn't?

meat man said...

Oh look another girl whining about rape. Sorry to be a cock, but why is it the only crime that gets so much kumbaya shit attached? I know ya said ya were talking about language, but there are probably better articles to prove yur point without playing this girl victim card.

Amy Guth said...

Adam: Great point about family members. I hadn't thought of that. I can see the cathartic value for the family member, I suppose, but it does present a very grey area, of fairness and truths, etc. Yes.

Meat Man: I don't even know where to start with you. I wasn't "whining", for starters. And, further, I was simply discussing an article I stumbled across.

Anonymous said...

ur a cunt

don't like that word so much when it's about you, do ya?

Amy Guth said...

Pardon? I'm a cunt? For considering? For posing a question? Isn't that the only way to reach any quality conclusion-- to consider?

You are, of course, welcome to believe I'm a cunt if that's why you need to do, but if you're going to take the time to leave a comment, perhaps including a little information about how you arrived at your decision would be more constructive.

Adam Shprintzen said...

Meat,

Around 1 in 6 women in the United States will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. If you don't think this is an issue for both women AND men, then clearly your priorities are a little askew. The fact that a culture of violence and intimidation towards women by many men exists is an absolute blight, one that most men have yet to truly face or fight to overcome.

jake ryan of sixteen candles fame said...

I think you're doing a fine job, Guth. You're just kicking around ideas and considering options. No harm in that, ya'll.

How is your back, anyway?

Anonymous said...

ok ur a cunt because ur a pussy and cuz ur one of those snotty jappy rich girls with a perfect life who like to pretend to have compassion. you wouldn't know victimization if it stole your prada purse. get some priorities and a job and quit whining about your back. you probably got fucked too hard and ur covering your ass on your blog. moron.

NaipulScholar said...

Nothing shows intelligence like not being able to spell out the word "your." Though I am guessing that Anon is far too confused between the proper use of your and you're.

Amy Guth said...

Anon, I've had enough of you. You listen to me. I welcome discussion and debate, but not hatred, to me or to other readers. We have to discuss without attacking, that much I insist upon. I don't understand this venom, in the least, as I was merely discussing an article I found. An article. This isn't life and death, Anon, this is just a discussion. About words. Is it really worth the spike in blood pressure? Is it really worth expending so much negative energy? I mean, really. When encountering something in conflict with one's beliefs, isn't is usually more useful to have a discussion, rather than a childish name-calling fit?

I'm going to ask you politely to either begin using your name or stop commenting here, please. I think your energies could be better used elsewhere.

Haha, just a reminder to everyone that this is a blog. A blog. Not a rescue mission. Not a murder trial. Not a heart transplant. It's a blog.

dana the poetess said...

Dummy, she's got a job. See that book on the side? She wrote it. She writes. That's her job. Maybe you're the one who needs a job so you can have something to do besides stir shit for no reason.

Ames, you make good points as always. Ignore the douchefuck, sisterfriend.

cousin it said...

Your life was perfect? You have money? Damn dude, the cousin is always the last to know. I thought you were a bitter broke-ass chump like the rest of us in the family. :)

Adam Deutsch said...

Wow. I step away from the desk for a couple of hours to have some soup and watch a flick, and look what happens.

Lots a people with no names expressing some loud ideas.

Let's just wait and see how it all plays out on next week's all new Law & Order...

Hope your back is better soon.

I've changed my plea said...

It’s a little sad that conversation has digressed to this degree today. Post solstice remorse? Batman production anxiety? I’m not sure, but I’d suggest some of the discussion participants might be happier at duckporn.net or a common ground sister site. It’s rather unfortunate, because I’ve been enthusiastically reading this blog for a few weeks now and am now posting for the first time out of pure exasperation. Has this happened here before?

Anonymous said...

This is the nice anon btw,

Aaahh liberal, political-correctness bites liberals in the ass....priceless.

I understand the point-but it is what it is, so I find it ridiculous to ban a word especially when it describes what is being alleged-even if the defendant is found to be innocent.

As for angry, Anon....dude(or dudette...or "Sweety" (just to get Ms. Guth's dander up):
You're the same knucklehead who liked the Jerky Boys prank phone calls back in the day...and no doubt have a swell collection of petrified mucus populating various under-sides of furniture throughout your dwelling.

I say to you, Ms. Guth is a groovy chick, wether you like it or not...and while I feel she wastes her time responding to you, it's hard not to agree that you deserve a good pull of the short-n-curlys for your antics. You are truly an ass-clown.

"Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time".

sparkypoo said...

Guess you're not bored anymore, huh? ;)
I can't believe you were holding out on me about your Prada purse. Tres' glamorous!

Amy Guth said...

Ass clown? Nice.

Would it kill you anon. posters to make up even a fake name?

Leah said...

Adam, wish it was so low, but it is really more like 1 in 4 women are victims of sexual assault. Only 1 in 10 are reported to authorities of any kind.

I can't even begin to wrap my head around the idea of a judge banning those words.... hmmmm...

Adam Shprintzen said...

Bad historian! Bad historian! I should always know to site my sources...the 1 in 6 number is from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, here's the citation:

http://www.rainn.org/statistics/index.html

Either way, I agree, the actual statistic is difficult to accurately gage and is probably much closer to the 1 in 4 (if not more) that you quoted.

This is too much pre-shabbos agita.

Amy Guth said...

I flinched. If you two need to come to blows over stats, maybe spare me this one, eh?

Kidding, I'm a kidder.

Sorta.

Adam Shprintzen said...

I challenge you to a duel Leah! Meet you in front of the shul tonight! Rulers and protracters are the weapons of choice!

Queensbury Nerd Rules are binding...no wedgies, and no blows that will damage glasses.

Leah said...

1 in 4 was the stat when I managed a sexual assault hotline in 2001. If it has dropped to 1 in 6, then that kicks ass.

As for fighting at shul, you name the entrance. (adjusts nerd glasses)

the prosecutor said...

Nebraska is now decades behind the State of Illinois:

Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963
725 ILCS 5, Section 115-11.1
Use of "Rape". The use of the word "rape", "rapist", or any derivative of "rape" by any victim, witness, State's Attorney, defense attorney, judge or other court personnel in any prosecutions of offenses in Sections 12-13 through 12-16 of the Criminal Code of 1961, as amended, is not inadmissible.

Amy Guth said...

Sparkypoo: No joke! That's what I get for mentioning boredom.

Prosecutor: Oh, snap!

jewgirl said...

I agree with Amy on all points. I’m so glad you posted about this. It's a very interesting and important discussion. The crux of this issue is the power of language. In this case, the judge is saying that it could change the course of a person's life forever. That's worth talking about. It also raises questions about infringing on a person's Freedom of Speech and the definition of a fair trial. I digress, a worthy topic.

The idea of someone being wrongfully accused of rape is as horrific as being raped. Thank God I've never been in that situation, but if God forbid I was, the idea of referring to the alleged rape as sex or intercourse or hymen sparring is just as horrifying in my opinion. I imagine I would feel like I was being raped all over again and I don’t know how I would get through that.

Regarding the comments, I have to throw in my Howard Cosell. I can't help myself.

Meat man, your disdain for women and your ignorance is offensive and stupid.

I loved Amy's response to Julie's comment.

Anonymous, you haven't earned the right to use the word cunt. You're Anti-Semitic, hateful, vile, and, well, a cunt. You get off on being mean and hurtful. Outside of the wood manifesting between your legs, what else do you get from behaving this way? And why won't you use your name? Man up, pussy boy. Go away or engage in a meaningful way.

ALT - [f r a m e s] said...

Bottom line: a judge can ban a word or words from being uttered.