Another woman has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, this time as a student at Yale University. The allegation follows Christine Blasey Ford's charge that he attempted to rape her at a hard-drinking Georgetown prep school party. Deborah Ramirez remembers him drunk at the university dorm party exposing his private part and pushing it in her face. His friend Mark Judge has also acknowledged “taking turns’ having s*x with a drunk girl.” Art history pictures such deeds as if it were a witness for the prosecution in real time.

Familiar scene

You can see the frat-party scenario in a 1547 engraving titled “Women Being Carried to a Libidinous Satyr” by French graphic artist Leon Davent, who describes a violently struggling girl being carried towards a satyr who eagerly waits on a couch. And Francisco Primaticcio's “Rape of Helena” likewise conjures up the animal house air with young men attacking a helpless screaming female.

Such scenes are commonplace in paintings and drawings of the past. According to art historian Edward Lucie-Smith's 1972 Book “Sexuality in Western Art,” “the most striking thing about most representations of sexual congress in European art is the violence offered by the male to the female.” This kind of violence dates back to the Greeks in the sixth century B.C., he said.

The reasons why

Why? Why would raping women be so popular that it transcends time and place and ends up at prep school and dorm parties?

Psychotherapist Lyn Yonack, a faculty member at Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute, wrote in Psychology Today last year that the abuse is more about power than it is about s*x: “Although the touch may be sexual, the motivation stems from the perpetrator's need for dominance and control.” Lucie-Smith sees a possible reason why in paintings like “Death of the Maiden” by Hans Bal dung Grien, saying the work not only expresses the fear of death, but also the fear of the female who must be punished because of the threat she represents

The sound of silence

Whatever the reason, certain facts are known.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, rape is the most under-reported crime. Fully 90 percent of college s*x crimes go unreported. “Too often,” says Dr. Yonack, “society turns a blind eye to sexual assault and violence. In many ways, the ethos of our culture encourages the use of power over others and disdains vulnerability. So long as contemporary culture reinforces traditional constructs of masculinity, ignores the subjugation of women and justifies violence as an inevitable expression of power, sexual violence will persist.” But, she adds, the #MeToo movement gives hope that such humiliations will no longer be tolerated in silence.”

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