It Is About Control Not Sex—Henry Rollins Speaks Out

Rape is generally about control not sex. It is about domination, usually by men of women, although it happens in other combinations as well. It is a culture of dominance, not sex. It's something we should all stand against.

In my view it is not so much a gender issue as a human issue. It is about sad people who cannot see how to live decent lives and take that out on others. What is tragic, though, is how it blights the lives of those involved. Often the lives of the victims are shattered with devastating ripple effects. The lives of the perpetuators are affected as well, often for the rest of their lives. Victims can become perpetuators, and so on. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Henry Rollins

Some years ago my son started a tradition of giving me a journal every year. The first one he gave me had a quote at the front, that he had written, from Henry Rollins. It was my first introduction to this former punk musician, from my punk musician son. The quote said,

A lot of people spend their lives never getting to know their potential. They show up for work, despise their boss and the way they have to live but lack the guts to walk out the door and never come back. In the end they get what's coming to them.

As that was the year I left home to live on my own it meant a lot to me.

I have found that Henry has a lot of sensible things to say. On the recent notorious school kids rape case in the US he wrote,

What made these young people think that what they did was ok? What was in their upbringing, the information and morals instilled in them that allowed them to do what they did, minute after minute, laughing, joking, documenting it and then calling it a night and going home? Out of all the people who were witness to what happened, why wasn't there someone putting a stop to it?

Why wasn't there?

Culture of Domnance

This put me in mind of a brief Twitter conversation I had the other day on this subject.

Ingrid Keizer
Could you have prevented the Steubenville Rape?

Graham Reid Phoenix
Nobody in my family has ever done anything like this. Don't randomly put your 'gender equality' responsibility on me!

Ingrid Keizer
That response is the perfect example of the subject. Why would you think it was directed at you? Aren't you a role model?

Graham Reid Phoenix
Because it was a direct question. Don't conflate my response with boys raping in the US.

Ingrid Keizer
I thought that you help men to be more authentic. HAH! What a joke. I'll stop following you.

Graham Reid Phoenix
I do, authenticity is about honesty I don't follow the idea of gender equality just because you think I should. No joke but truth
Stop following and stay in your own world, keep following and learn how others think.

Ingrid Keizer
Boys don't rape in Spain?

Graham Reid Phoenix
Probably, but how is that relevant? You imply that I have a responsibility there.

Ingrid Keizer
I think your way of thinking is much to limited to continue this conversation. But thank you.

Graham Reid Phoenix
You don't know what I think – you have shown no interest in finding out what I think. There has been no conversation.

It was an attempt to draw me into guilt trip about so-called rape culture. I do not support rape, I condemn it. I do not, however, support this attempt to make all men guilty by imagining a culture that encourages rape.

It is a culture of dominance, not sex.

Where were the parents? What were the kids being taught? Why were they left out to dry?


Henry went on to say,

What I am attempting to get at, and I apologize if I am not being clear enough is that this is a failure on many levels. Parents, teachers, coaches, peers all come into play here. I am not trying to diffuse blame or lessen the awfulness of what happened but I want to address the complexity of the cause in an effort to assess the effect so it can be prevented.
It is obvious that the two offenders saw the victim as some one that could be treated as a thing. This is not about sex, it is about power and control. I guess that is what I am getting at. Sex was probably not the hardest thing for the two to get, so that wasn't the objective. When you hear the jokes being made during the crime, it is the purest contempt.

How could their culture teach them to behave like this? This is a culture created by all sides, men and women. We continue to play out the games of power and control, and continue to devastate children.

I'll leave the last words to Henry,

Education, truth, respect, equality—these are the things that can get you from a to b very efficiently.
It must be an awful time for the parents and relatives of all three of these people and I hope they all get to a better place soon.
What else? That's all I've got. Thanks for reading this. Henry