"[Rape] is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear" - Susan Brownmiller
This quote was one of the problems that came up the other night in a discussion with my partner about the BBC4 program, Women.(I say it came up, when in actuality I started ranting on about it and Mr Onions listened and nodded at the appropriate points. He found the program pretty boring)
My argument was that the quote was poorly expressed but had a certain validity to it.
In essence, I believe Brownmiller was saying two things:
Firstly, that by not standing up and speaking out against rape (and, by extension in today's world, rape jokes) men who do not rape are as good as rape apologists and enablers.
Secondly, that the fear of rape makes all women fearful of all men, to the advantage of men who would seek power by such means, and to the detriment of men who wouldn't. Obviously, women lose on both counts.
Now, the original quote is a great soundbyte, but is pretty inflammatory towards men, and it could be said, is exclusionary and difficult for people to relate to, without a strong knowledge of rape discourses. But I do believe it's an important point to consider, with reflection upon what it actually means.