Rape is not your analogy even when you don’t know what “analogy” means

[TW for rape, facetious rape comparisons and abuse of the English language]

As broken by In The Gateaux, some wonderful human being on the Act on Campus bookface page decided to link to an article on compulsory student association membership which included the following:

But if the Charter guarantee of free association is to mean anything sensible at all, surely first and foremost it must guarantee the rights of individuals not to be compulsorily assimilated into larger groups merely by being outvoted. After all, if two men corner a woman in a dark alley and force her to have sex with them because they, the majority, have voted in favour of it, that would still be rape, not the exercise of their group right to freedom of association.

Yep, apparently “compulsory assimilation into a larger group” = “being raped by multiple people”.

After ITG posted, the NZUSA women’s rep issued a press release, and blow me down with a slow-news-season-shaped feather if it didn’t make it all the way to Stuff.

Which is where, if you can believe that, it gets worse.

ACT on Campus: “Thanks to the Labour and Green supporters for their comments but an analogy is just that, an analogy. No-one claimed the two are the same or equivalent.”

Okay, this calls for macros.

Description: Two Starfleet officers from Star Trek: The Next Generation have their heads in their hands in an expression of exasperation and disappointment.

And now, the OED.

  • a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification
  • a correspondence or partial similarity.
  • a thing which is comparable to something else in significant respects.


late Middle English (in the sense ‘appropriateness, correspondence’): from French analogie, Latin analogia ‘proportion’, from Greek, from analogos ‘proportionate’

Oh, I see what they did there.  I await with bated breath the excuse that “no one said compulsory student association membership was literally the same as being sexually violated”.

But then, we are dealing with people who, under their real names, will say shit like this online:

Rape was not compared to compulsory student membership. Instead, the following observations were made:

2) Majorities do not have a right to take away individual freedoms.
3) Were that not the case, then majorities would, as a matter of logic, also have the right to take away people’s capacity to not consent to sex.

It wasn’t a COMPARISON, it was just, um, a logical extrapolation of what would obviously happen.*  Which is not to say that we’re comparing the two things, just saying that in this situation they would both be totally logical.  Which is not to treat them as comparable things.  Just things which are similar enough to be compar- HOSHIT.

Moral of the story:  I should learn to be less surprised that people who support Act, party of Rodney “Perk-Buster Except When It’s Me” Hide, David “Tough on Crime Except For My Own Identity Fraud” Garrett – and especially Deborah “Being Called on My Lack of Integrity is Just Like Gang Rape” Coddington – don’t think words have actual meanings.

Description: a black-and-white drawing by Tenniel of Alice looking up at Humpty-Dumpty sitting atop a wall, from "Alice Through the Looking Glass"

“‘There’s glory for you!’

`I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”‘ Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected.

`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.'”


*And isn’t it wonderfully telling that people like this go immediately to rape when pondering some kind of hypothetical breakdown of civilisation? Protip, dudebros:  MEN ALREADY “OUTVOTE” WOMEN AND RAPE THEM AND ASSUME THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO THAT BECAUSE THERE ARE LOTS OF THEM AND THEY WANT TO.  You aren’t hypothesizing shit.



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  2. Gravey

    Oh I don’t know – they might have a point. Women outnumber men societally, so perhaps that means women can beat the living shit out of any man who says crap like Act on Campus.

    What pisses me off more than the initial comment was how people, when the offence is so clearly pointed out to them they say “I have nothing to apologise for”.

    A big man would take the kick in the balls and say (after a bit of recovery) “I am honestly and deeply sorry for the offence I have caused here. It was very wrong of me to make those comments, and I utterly retract them. I thank you for pointing out to me just how wrong it was, and I will make every endeavour to do better in future”.

    The big man can then walk away with his head held high because he knows he has learned something valuable.

    Why people can’t simply accept they have done wrong, genuinely apologise, make whatever amends can be made, and be better because of it, I just don’t understand.

    • QoT

      Unfortunately women aren’t socialised towards violent response the way men are (or rather, fortunately) and in any case plenty of women can be participants in rape culture. I’ve known some fairly stroppy women Actoids in my time, and Heather Roy was noncommittal on this (going for the classic “libertarian” bogey, “I can’t tell people what they’re allowed to say!” as though that was at all relevant to the question.)

      But then as I noted on Twitter, the only reasons Roy would have been asked to comment are that she’s the only woman MP Act have, and of course we’re only talking about gross rape comparisons, not a ~serious~ issue or anything.

  3. Gravey

    Well said QoT. One of the things that bugs me about the sort of responses from ACT and others is the “freedom of speech” line. I always respond with the idea that two people with diametrically opposing views can seldom freely express their ideas in the same place and time.

    And freedom of speech tends to apply in a public forum. If someone posts something on my (hypothetical) website, it is allegorical to me inviting them into my home and them saying it. If the person who made the comment did so in my home, I would tell them to leave immediately.

    The allegory is that if they have the freedom to say such things on a website, the administrator has the freedom to remove it.

    And thank you for your response. I try not to use a violent reaction, but sometimes these things just get me so angry.

    • QoT

      Hi, Dr! As a first-time commenter I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt this one time and assume you’re just a poor reader.

      The context of the “outvoting” footnote is quite clearly the shitty gang-rape analogy referred to in the post, hence “men outvoting women” and has nothing to do with general population turnouts in state/political election circumstances!

      If the rest of my post (“comments” are different things) isn’t worth addressing you are very welcome to not even address it by so much as making the effort to let me know you don’t want to address it. There are no marks deducted for blank space in these exams.

      You may however benefit from actually figuring out what it is you’re reading and critiquing any specific points or general attitude with which you disagree. I find it most difficult to have serious conversations with people who don’t relate their comments (which are different from posts) to the topic at hand.

    • QoT

      I would also be terribly disappointed in myself to have made any statements about “all men committing rape” so if you could direct me to those I’ll make a retraction asap.

  4. Boganette

    I agree with everything you’ve said. But in particular this: “And isn’t it wonderfully telling that people like this go immediately to rape when pondering some kind of hypothetical breakdown of civilisation?” which at first I read wrong. And the way I read it (which was wrong) is also something I think (I know I’m not making a lot of sense it’s 8am on a Sunday):

    When I hear someone use rape as an analogy or say something like “the All Blacks got raped last night” or make rape jokes or defend alleged rapists and trot out bullshit about false complaints etc I immediately side-eye and then step away – I immediately distance myself physically from them.

    Because people who joke about rape, or having rape as their ‘always on my mind’ go-to thing for analogies or descriptors creep me the fuck out. Like they’re dangerous people. I don’t want to be around someone who doesn’t take rape seriously – for obvious reasons.

    Anyway, great post. Awesome as always. And so dire on the freedom of speech front. Everyone knows being asked to remove an offensive link on Facebook is pretty much the most obvious act of hatred, bigotry and oppression known to man. We should hold a rally for them to restore their rights as we all know just how oppressed ACT Party supporters are.