Scott Livingston; Former Mr. USA Accused of Rape by Unassertive Woman
Questions & Conclusions prior to this story: According to the underlying report in the Orange County Register Scott Livingston, former Mr. USA and Mr. California is accused of rape by a lady who reportedly did very little aside from saying "no" to the accused perpetrator and then continued to contact him after the crime. If in fact he is proved to be guilty of rape, which he reportedly admits to continuing the advance after being told "no" did the victim handle herself sufficiently by not more forcefully opposing his advance beyond her stating "no" to them? Sociology research at the University of New England, Maine focused on crime and deviance with respect to gender, race, ethnicity, and class postulates a physically assertive and strong woman as a great defense and deterrent against rape, but runs counter to the traditional gender bias oriented female vulnerability philosophy inculcated in American rape prevention programs. Rape is a crime of vulnerability according to Alex Campbell, Ph.D., and assistant professor of sociology at the University of New England. Campbell goes on to conclude, " Women are not inevitably vulnerable, despite our common perceptions to the contrary. Given different physical stimuli, women are more than capable of building muscled and strong bodies. What is more, women can build and use their strength to defend themselves.
Jocelyn Hollander’s 2004 longitudinal study on the effects of self-defence training, for example, indicates a multiplicity of benefits in terms of making women feel more confident in potentially dangerous public situations and of making women more self-assured and comfortable in interactions with acquaintances and intimates. Students in this study reported that they had more positive feelings about their bodies, increased self-confidence, and transformed beliefs about women, men, and gender. Significantly, many of the women described feeling more confident in their “self” and having a more empowered sense of what it means to be female. Repeated findings indicating that women victimized by partners are frequently isolated and have little social power, low self-esteem, and a tendency to self-blame signifies the possible utility of self-defence training for these women. Moreover, female empowerment, which helps to protect against the threat of intimate abuse, has the potential to undercut traditional sex role dynamics so often associated with violence and abuse in intimate relationships within specific interactions. This is not a false security or confidence. Given self-defence training, women are often physically capable of overcoming rape.
Rape prevention literature often advises women not to fight back on the basis that this might escalate the violence of the attack. Yet studies on women who avoided rape during an attack suggests that fighting back—physically resisting, yelling, and fleeing—is effective and is linked to lower severity of sexual abuse. In contrast, pleading, begging, and reasoning have been associated with greater severity of abuse. This suggests that women who act like “ladies,” in other words frail, weak, and passive, are more likely to be viewed as suitably vulnerable.
Encouraging women to be stronger and more physical is also a powerful deterrent. The knowledge that women can defend themselves, and in fact that they can harm men, offers a challenge to the idea that women are inherently vulnerable. If this idea were to spread through society, women would no longer view themselves as inevitable targets both in public and private spheres. More importantly—in respect to rape and its prevention—a potential attacker could no longer assume that a woman is a suitable target."
It would seem American rape prevention programs and American culture more generally could benefit from the example of women athletes who put aside the assertions of those who would discourage and not support their athletic and assertive activities.
Story from Orange County Register:
Ex-Mr. USA from O.C. faces rape charges
Bodybuilder's trial is scheduled for today in Riverside
By JON CASSIDY
Oct. 31, 2008
The Orange County Register
A bodybuilder from Orange County who's won the Mr. USA and Mr. California competitions was set to go on trial today in Riverside on rape charges.
John Scott Livingstone, 51, is charged with three felonies stemming from an incident on April 11, 2007.
The trial was postponed until Dec. 10 at today's hearing.
Livingstone's lawyer, David Nisson, said he was not authorized to discuss the case, adding, "I'm confident that my client will be acquitted."
Livingstone, who lives and works as a personal trainer in Menifee, grew up in Orange County and competes in bodybuilding competitions here. He won his age division in April in the 2008 NPC Orange County Muscle Classic. He also won the 1982 Mr. USA and 1987 Mr. California bodybuilding competitions.
According to a profile in the North County Times, Livingstone recently got back into bodybuilding competitions after a long absence.
The woman accusing Livingstone told police that he ignored her objections and forcefully disrobed her, but did not accuse him of violence or threats.
She said she was afraid of how he would react if she fought him off.
According to an arrest warrant, a Riverside County sheriff's deputy recorded two phone calls the woman made to Livingstone afterward, in which he reportedly apologized several times, and acknowledged that she told him no.
Livingstone is married and has three children.