255 comments for “Real Consent Manifesta

  1. December 31, 2006 at 2:13 am

    gah, that story. thank fuck at least Savage gave her the right advice. hope she followed up on it. how do you not notice screaming and crying and bleeding is a problem? if you’re a self-absorbed shitstain, is how.

    and yeah, i think the distinction between “misogyny” and “sexism” is a useful one, and that yup, the former is far more tied to male homosociality (that’s also phobic of male homoeroticism, of course), sex-negativity, and tendencies toward violence toward women, rape included.

    for some reason i always think of Fellini films, some of ’em anyway, as a kind of “sexist” that’s somehow different from a more…well, -is- it a Protestant thing, this fear and loathing of women, of -bodies-? a U.S. thing? it’s something, that’s all i know, and no, that’s not universal, not as such, exactly.

  2. Norah
    December 31, 2006 at 11:04 am

    Jesus, what is it about rape threads that bring out the fuckwit in seemingly-normal guys?

    This guy knew she didn’t want anal sex. She told him that outright. She freaked out when he tried to just slip it in (what, she wouldn’t notice??) He knew exactly what he was doing. How coincidental, that he decided to do it when she was physically restrained and couldn’t fight him off. Hmmm.

    I hope it was worth it to him, since it cost him his relationship with a nice woman, the goodwill of any decent human being who hears about it, and hopefully his freedom.

  3. evil fizz
    December 31, 2006 at 11:58 am

    Wow, that comment thread is sickening.

  4. trillian
    December 31, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    Gaaa, I read this column a couple of days ago [Hi my name is Trillian and I’m a Savage Love addict] and haven’t been able to get it out of my head. This poor girl. I’ve gotten out of shitty relationships with some real issues about what was and wasn’t fair of me to expect – but to be apologizing for disliking getting raped…eep. Someone’s done a real number on her head, and I don’t think it was just this one asshat.

    Between this, the Maryland ruling earlier this year, and the general tone of a lot of stuff I’ve read lately, it seems like we’ve been taking a huge step back in terms of the most basic sexual rights (as in, to have or not to have)…or am I just naive, and it never stopped being this way?

    I just got the internet back after moving and want to thank you, Jill, for such great reading this morning. Well, you and the anonymous neighbor whose wireless I’m leeching until the cable chick [I have an awesome self-employed cable chick!] comes on Tuesday.

  5. Holly
    December 31, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    I can’t understand for the life of me why so many guys (or maybe I am just assuming they’re guys, but I don’t think so) start firing up the “well maybe…” and “they should have…” and any number of other prevarications to avoid the fact that hello, this guy raped his girlfriend. Why? What the hell could the motivation here be? Are they personally afraid that one day they’ll be in the similar situation, sitting there with blood all over their cocks and going “whoops, didn’t mean to do that!”

  6. piny
    December 31, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    No shit. I’m really annoyed by the people who are bringing up proper BDSM protocol, as though this was a problem of planning or communication. None of those little safeguards–just like in regular non-BDSM sex–function unless each party is fully committed to respecting the other, and they don’t exist so that assholes like this can ignore their partner’s responses. The guy was a rapist, and he would have violated his girlfriend’s trust and her body no matter what they’d negotiated beforehand, because he didn’t really respect her right to refuse.

  7. evil fizz
    December 31, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    The guy was a rapist, and he would have violated his girlfriend’s trust and her body no matter what they’d negotiated beforehand, because he didn’t really respect her right to refuse.

    Bingo. If he had respected her right to refuse, he would have dropped the issue after the first time he got the “no, I don’t do that, past trauma, etc.” response.

  8. so
    December 31, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    O man. I’ve had a couple of surgeries on and around my bunghole (ulcerative colitis, wheee!) and, as in this girl’s case, anal is absolutely, non-negotiably out of the question. I’ve spent more than enough time in hospitals already, and it honestly terrifies me to think about how many of those commenters were sympathetic to the rapist – or, more specifically, how I wouldn’t know to run like hell if I saw them on the street.

    “we’re not hearing the full story. Are you absolutely sure you’d notice if the lights were off..?” I’d be running away from my computer right now, if it weren’t so damn cold outside.

  9. Holly
    December 31, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    I’m going to partially blame people commenting on that thread for being total assholes, and partially blame the media brainwashing trend of “we have to fairly consider both sides of the issue all the time… now joining us to give his side of the story, Fred Phelps!”

  10. mythago
    December 31, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    I’m really annoyed by the people who are bringing up proper BDSM protocol, as though this was a problem of planning or communication.

    Speaking as one of those people, the issue wasn’t “this is BDSM gone terribly awry”. It was that Phoenician was trying to cover his ass by saying oh, perhaps this was a misunderstanding because of safewords blah blah. Some of us were trying to dispel that particular aspect of his bullshit.

    Because, you know, if you have a ‘safeword’ the person who refuses to hear ‘no’ immediately goes into a reset mode that turns them into a nice non-rapist. *eyeroll*

  11. December 31, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the linkage. I think mythago’s take on PR was 100% correct—caught making an inappropriate joke, he tried to back out of it. Would have done better to say, “My bad” and move on.

  12. piny
    December 31, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Speaking as one of those people, the issue wasn’t “this is BDSM gone terribly awry”. It was that Phoenician was trying to cover his ass by saying oh, perhaps this was a misunderstanding because of safewords blah blah. Some of us were trying to dispel that particular aspect of his bullshit.

    I was talking about PR, not the people who responded to him.

  13. Myca
    December 31, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Re: BDSM Protocol

    Right, right, right, right, right, Piny and Mythago.

    Safewords are there to facilitate clear and proper communication.
    Communication was not the issue here.
    He already knew her thoughts on anal sex. She’d communicated them really really clearly.

    He chose to disregard her communication and raped her.

    This is about motherfucking consent, not communication.

    God, this is awful.

  14. EoL
    December 31, 2006 at 7:20 pm

    O man. I’ve had a couple of surgeries on and around my bunghole (ulcerative colitis, wheee!) and, as in this girl’s case, anal is absolutely, non-negotiably out of the question.

    When I read this story for the first time, it reminded me of a period of months where I was dealing with recurring fissures (I’m in the same UC boat) while I was in remission. For a few months, every single time I went #2, the fissure split open and bled enough to make me woozy. Then it would be fine for a week or two and I’d have a large bm and it would open again. (I was seeing a new gyn, and she started with a, “Now, I’m just going to stick a finger in your rectum to feel for blah blah,” and my response was a sudden, “Could you NOT do that?” She poked my fissure anyway–“Is this it?”–and I nearly kicked her in the head.) Anyway, from my fissure experience, I know how all it can take is one little thing to pop an old wound back open again. One little thing that’s SUPPOSED to be there.

    In this woman’s case, I don’t know what her past trauma was, but knowing how much one tiny fissure would GUSH, I’m not sure how you could miss the kind of bleeding she experienced unless you were blind and had no sense of smell. And in this guy’s case, he’d have to be deaf too. My impression was that he’s the sort of guy who thinks he needs to “help her expand her limits” or that “if she tries it, she’ll like it, but she doesn’t know it yet.” And it’s always possible he thinks she’s just a dirty liar about the anal. I get called a liar all the time about my sexual disinterests. And I get that “I’ll ___ and you’ll like it, you stuck-up bitch!” kind of response, too. Some people just … should be … (fill in the blank, really).

  15. December 31, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    “we’re not hearing the full story. Are you absolutely sure you’d notice if the lights were off..?”

    She says, “screaming and crying.” Do the lights being off make him deaf, too?

    and yeah, sometimes people scream and cry during the course of (heavy) BDSM play (and by the way, if it IS heavy BDSM play? lights being off? maybe not such a hot fucking idea), but if you can’t tell the difference between your partner’s screaming as part of play and as part of “this is wrong, STOP ENOUGH,” well.

    it should never even get to the point of her having to SCREAM, for christ’s sake.

    gahhhh.

  16. December 31, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    “if she tries it, she’ll like it, but she doesn’t know it yet.”

    and you know something: anyone who pulls that shit even -out- of bed: out of there. You don’t get to decide for the other person. You just don’t. It’s really. fucking. basic.

  17. December 31, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    …and, oh shit, i missed the bit that she’d already said that “no anal” was a hard limit. well then yeah shitstain, it’s rape as soon as you ignored that hard limit. jesus.

  18. December 31, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    Jesus, I’m just glad I basically missed most of that thread. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!

    Did anyone ever consider that this idiot rapist (who, yes, deserves to be prosecuted) believed they were doing role play, believed it was okay to ignore her objections?

    OMG! ‘Cause we’ve GOT to care what a rapist thinks about the situation, right? Seriously, WTF?!

  19. December 31, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    And guys who try to force the issue in bed by “springing” it on you make the whole area of discussing new things to do so fraught and anxious they ruin it for people who actually discuss sexual experimentation with their partners in respectful ways. What the fail to realize is if a woman says, “No, I can’t do that for very good reasons,” and they respect her space, then they have built up trust so when, in the future, they suggest something else she might be more open to, she’s going to be a lot more willing to listen.

    Not that it’s always gendered this way, but from talking to friends, it seems that a lot of couples do have situations where the woman is not doing sexual things she would enjoy if she could get past guilt and social conditioning. But you know what? The only way her partner can help her get there is to be beyond respectful of her limits and only willing to discuss outside of bed, etc. DUH.

  20. KnifeGhost
    December 31, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    and you know something: anyone who pulls that shit even -out- of bed: out of there. You don’t get to decide for the other person. You just don’t. It’s really. fucking. basic.

    That’s pretty much a fundamentl principle of life. You don’t get to decide for other people, and other people don’t get to decide for you. The division between people who accept that, and those who don’t, is in many ways more meaningful than “left” and “right”.

  21. ginmar
    December 31, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Rape threads are sadly useful for getting people to show their true colors. “But what was he thinking?!” Who gives a shit?

  22. December 31, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    The division between people who accept that, and those who don’t, is in many ways more meaningful than “left” and “right”.

    Yeh, i’ve been using that as a litmus test much more than declared ideology or alliance or identity, increasingly so, these days.

  23. JDC
    December 31, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    Okay, I really hate to be in two places at once with this topic, but if you’re gonna bring my comments over here . . . .

    Jack and Ginmar, I already answered this: It doesn’t matter, now, what he was thinking. It only mattered then, while the brutal rape was actually happening . . . just in case there was the remotest, once-in-a-blue-moon chance she could have convinced him to stop. That’s all. Never did I say we should consider his frame of mind before condemning him, and you can’t find any such comments of mine, because they’re not there.

    It wasn’t even my idea in the first place. Somebody said, “Er, safeword?” and for that innocuous comment, he was fucking roasted as a “rape apologist”. I thought that was inappropriate and shameful. I think it’s perfectly rational to suggest that people who play with bondage should have a safeword, and I think it’s normal for people like me to wonder if it would have convinced him to stop.

    When something terrible happens, I wonder if it could have been prevented. That does not equal “blaming the victim”. This is very simple.

    But if you WANT to see rape apologia, you will, no matter what I actually say. I think it’s sad that so many people are more interested in condemning outsiders than winning converts.

  24. December 31, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    I could only have been prevented if the son of a goat hadn’t been such a stain. He needs to go away for a long time, and males need to stop being piece-of-shit rapists. Any other statement besides that is blaming the victim.

  25. December 31, 2006 at 10:01 pm

    It wasn’t even my idea in the first place. Somebody said, “Er, safeword?” and for that innocuous comment, he was fucking roasted as a “rape apologist”.

    As I said over there, I think the real crime PR committed was an unwillingness to examine all the ways the victim played a part in not having the foresight to stop this rape. For instance, as I mentioned there, she could have done enough squats to have buns of steel and simply block entrance by clamping her ass cheeks shut. Or she could have gotten training as a magician so she’d know how to slide out of restraints tied by amateurs. You and PR are falling down on the job of “helping” by suggesting ways that the victim failed to protect herself to your standards. My god, she could have learned to interrupt the space-time continuum and escaped that way. Outside the box, people!

  26. December 31, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Should be “It could”

  27. December 31, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    And winning converts?! Uh, I think if one needs to be converted to seeing that WHEN A WOMAN SAYS NO, SHE FUCKING MEANS NO, I’m not sure how said person could ever not be a rapist or a potential rapist.

  28. December 31, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    Damn, my funniest comments get grabbed by the modbot when I know damn well everyone’s out getting toasted. Damn you, time zones!

  29. eve
    December 31, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    The guy who brought up safewords is in fact being a rape apologist. People who do bonadge don’t need to have safewords. That’s just absolutely not true. I am not going to get into a dsicussion about that. In any case safewords are to let you know that your partner has stopped enjoying or does not want whatever you are doing to them. This guy new very well that the girl didn’t want anal sex, it had been stablished before and outside of the bedroom. “er safeweord?” Is nothing more than rape apology.

  30. JDC
    December 31, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    Jack, by “winning converts” I refer to convincing someone like me that your ultra-broad definition of “rape apology” is valid. I think you and several others have painted with an incredibly broad brush, and people seem more interested in tarring me with it than understanding what I tried to say.

    Eve’s Comment #29 is a perfect example. As things stand, I’ll just go on to tonight’s party thinking, “Wow, those fucking Pandagon/Feministe people are just absolutely impossible to communicate with. Guess I’ll just read them even less than I already do, and I’ll damned well not comment again.”

    I hate to use the overused “echo chamber”, but that’s exactly what it is. The majority here (and there) don’t want to hear anything but echoes. Y’know, I suspect I could renounce everything I’ve said, apologize, and “convert” myself — and it still wouldn’t matter, because I didn’t echo the first time. I showed my “true colors” as a “rape apologist”, and now it’s too late.

    Why should anyone bother with this?

  31. JDC
    December 31, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    People who do bonadge don’t need to have safewords. That’s just absolutely not true. I am not going to get into a dsicussion about that.

    Fine, don’t. But don’t expect to garner tons of respect for your opinion.

    As someone in a BDSM relationship, I find I come closest to needing my safeword when I’m in bondage, more so than with pain or breath-play or any other aspect of BDSM. Just speaking personally here, it’s the bondage which pushes me closest to the edge.

  32. eve
    January 1, 2007 at 12:08 am

    Oh, please! I didn’t say anything about BDSM. Bondage isn’t necessarily BDSM. When I said I am not gonna get into a discussion about that I meant: because it is not relevant. I am not into BDSM by any means, I am not even interested in it, yet I have had sex with my partner tied up and if they said no, I stopped. This girl said she let her boyfriend tie her up. She didn’t say anything about BDSM, she didn’t even say that normally during sex she screams and begs the guy to stop. Even if it had been a BDSM session, when there aren’t any safe words established no means no. In any case as people have said many times but for some reason you are not able to understand, safe words to communicate your limits or dislikes, in this case, the limit had been very clearly communicated before the sex, that’s what makes the “er, safeword?” thing a red herring at best.

  33. KnifeGhost
    January 1, 2007 at 12:14 am

    “er safeweord?” Is nothing more than rape apology.

    No. “er, safeword?” was a really tasteless joke. His response to being called out for it, and his refusal to admit fault, drifted into rape-apology.

    JDC, not everyone who’s into BDSM needs or uses a safeword. Many people choose to, and that’s a good idea. But what happened in this case was fairly light bondage, and the rape had nothing to do with the bondage, other than that it made it easier. This isn’t about the _bondage_ going too far, it’s about sexual acts that happened while she was in bondage. I think that’s an important distinction.

    Look, what this whole safeword derailing ignores is that she many times made it clear to him that she will not consent to anal sex, and in the moment she made it clear to him that she did not consent to anal sex. Period. This is not bondage that went to far. It’s rape that happened within bondage. It probably would have happened eventually, but not have gone so far, without the bondage. Bondage is a side issue.

  34. KnifeGhost
    January 1, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Even if it had been a BDSM session, when there aren’t any safe words established no means no.

    Beat me to it.

    JDC, people are generally easier to communicate with when you assume good will in what they say. That goes for here just as well as anywhere else.

  35. mythago
    January 1, 2007 at 12:28 am

    As someone in a BDSM relationship

    Oh, no, no, don’t EVEN play that card, my friend. Don’t expect to garner tons of respect for wrapping your nonsense in the leather flag.

    To put this in BDSM lingo, the bottom had repeatedly and firmly discussed her limits with her top before sex, told him anal sex was not in those limits, and told him to get it somewhere else. Her top waited until she was restrained to break their agreement and go beyond her limits. He also failed to notice that she was screaming and crying, and that he was damaging her to the point that emergency medical care was needed, until AFTER he’d finished.

    And blaming the bottom for not using a safeword in response to a suddenly abusive, unsafe, nonconsensual top is plain old stupid. Do you really think that a top who’s decided limits only apply when you can physically enforce them is going to say “Damn! She said ‘red light’, I’d better pull out now!”?

    If you’d bothered to read the thread*, you’d know that PF didn’t get reamed for an “innocuous comment”. He made a dumbass comment that suggested the rapist would have respected the victim’s wishes if he used a safeword. When the dumbassery of the comment was pointed out, he started making EVEN STUPIDER comments to try and justify himself, apparently thinking “I have a friend who gives BDSM seminars” was sufficient cred to cover himself.

    But y’all have a nice time at your putative party, feeling all smug because you’re a smart bottom and what happened to the letter-writer would never, EVER happen to clever, safe-word-using you.

    *Assuming, of course, that he’s not merely a sockpuppet

  36. so
    January 1, 2007 at 1:10 am

    On winning converts: there is a very big difference between amicably discussing opinions with which you disagree and amicably discussing opinions which scare you shitless. I can understand that you may not understand that you are, in fact, providing excuses for a rapist; but then I’m enough of a relativist to kind of get that someone could conceivably be unaware that what they are doing is actually committing rape (not in this case, though, this dude had to have known exactly what he was doing; that was in reference to another comment made earlier).

    Yeah, it would be great if we could retroactively make every situation better. Shoulda, woulda, coulda – it’s already been done, and to suggest ways that things could have been done differently is to imply that this girl was raped due to some failure on her part. So please, just backtrack already, because defending rape is not just raising an alternate point of view. We’re all running out of ways to try to drill it into your skull that the only thing that “could have been changed” was the guy’s choice to rape his bound girlfriend, since he was the only one who could have known what he was going to do.

    Aaaand sorry to go back to my ass for a second, but here we are: after the last surgery I had, my then-boyfriend was scared to even have vaginal sex with me for fear of hurting me. Because, you know, most guys try to avoid putting their partners in the hospital. It took some serious begging on my part to convince him that I wouldn’t break from his penis touching me. He was in general a fucktard, but god, these threads are making him look like a shining prince for at least showing a decent amount of respect for me and my body.

    And EoL, I feel your pain. The fissures, the insensitive doctor’s finger poking around…I’m with ya. Everyone else: don’t ever get IBD. This may involve some playing with your genes, but hey, we’re living in a new era, right?

  37. January 1, 2007 at 2:28 am

    READ THE LETTER.

    I am well aware that there are couples in which one or other partner could scream “Stop, stop, right now or I’ll call the police and cut off your penis, not necessarily in that order” and that still doesn’t end things.

    But that was not the situation here. Absolutely was not – at least not when it came to anal sex. So “safeword” seems pretty pointless, doesn’t it?

  38. January 1, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Yeah, I think, JDC, what’s being missed here is that she -had previously established that she did not want to do anal.-

    If that hadn’t been the case, if anal penetration had been expected, then -maybe- “er, safeword?” might be a more reasonable thing for the casual reader to suggest (even if the other details provided…well, never mind that for the moment). But, that -is- the case; and, even without the screaming, crying, he had his orgasm and -then- noticed oops lots of blood and needs to go to the hospital: if you tie someone up and then use the opportunity to ignore a -hard limit-, that. is. rape.

    So, the question of “what was he thinking?” does tend to make peoples’ knee jerk, even though, yes, it’s understood, that does not mean you’re a rape -apologist-, i will say at least, okay: because 1) people do get tired of immediately “but what about the man, is he okay” when the woman is the one who’s been, well? raped 2) it seems pretty obvious that whatever he was thinking, if it justified him ignoring a hard limit, it can’t have been anything good. or rather: this is not someone who is interested in communication; this is not someone who is going to hear anything he doesn’t want to hear. And didn’t.

  39. JDC
    January 1, 2007 at 5:53 am

    belledame222,

    Thank you for a sane and thoughtful response. I wish there had been more comments like yours.

  40. R. Mildred
    January 1, 2007 at 6:16 am

    No. “er, safeword?” was a really tasteless joke. His response to being called out for it, and his refusal to admit fault, drifted into rape-apology.

    No either/or people, it’s a tasteless joke AND a rape apology, specifically it uses the standard of “consent until proven otherwise” which is all patriarchal, because it is not incumbent upon the person who is tied down to stop herself being raped, but incumbent on the person who is NOT tied down to make sure it’s not rape, and ot stop himself from being a rapist.

  41. KnifeGhost
    January 1, 2007 at 6:46 am

    JDC, there were a lot of comments like belledame’s. Please do belledame the courtesy of not making her the token “well, you’re one of the good ones”. I appreciate that you’re trying to reach common ground, but there are better ways to do it.

  42. JDC
    January 1, 2007 at 7:05 am

    JDC, there were a lot of comments like belledame’s.

    No . . . There really weren’t. If there had been, I would have responded in kind. Check what’s missing from her comment. Contrast it with Mythago’s #35.

    Please do belledame the courtesy of not making her the token “well, you’re one of the good ones”.

    Christ, you can turn anything into something bad, can’t you? Whatever happened to “assume good will”?

  43. Norah
    January 1, 2007 at 10:08 am

    belledame222,
    Thank you for a sane and thoughtful response. I wish there had been more comments like yours.

    No, JDC, KnifeGhost is right. belledame didn’t say anything that dozens of others already said multiple times both here and on Pandagon. And please, before you get too holier than thou, remember that in your very first comment on Pandagon you called everyone else assholes.

  44. January 1, 2007 at 11:30 am

    As things stand, I’ll just go on to tonight’s party thinking, “Wow, those fucking Pandagon/Feministe people are just absolutely impossible to communicate with.

    Yep, just as the rapist thought, “Well, if I rape her, I bet she’ll come around to liking it.” We convince ourselves of what we want to believe a lot.

  45. January 1, 2007 at 11:32 am

    I hate to use the overused “echo chamber”, but that’s exactly what it is. The majority here (and there) don’t want to hear anything but echoes.

    Typical troll statement. Rather than admit that what you have to say has been heard a million times before, considered, and rejected on its merits, you assume that your listeners are stupid. You might do well to put your internal echo chamber, the one that says, “I know everything and could never be wrong,” on hold and listen.

  46. January 1, 2007 at 11:35 am

    As someone in a BDSM relationship

    I’m concerned about your sex partner’s safety, since your attitude is to push things as far as you feel you can get away with, instead of catering to his or her desires.

  47. ginmar
    January 1, 2007 at 11:39 am

    What’s especially chilling to me are the motives of the rape apologists. Why are they so eager to believe it’s not rape? Why are they so determined to avoid grasping the simple concept that rape starts when the rapist rapes, not when the victim somehow fails? It’s like it’s a contest to these guys, and a complete rape means only that the victim lost and the rapist won, so shut up about it already.

  48. January 1, 2007 at 11:41 am

    What I want to know is why JDC keeps ignoring my entirely reasonable suggestions about ass cheek-clamping, magician skills, and breaking the space-time continuum as rape prevention. She could have helped that poor guy not be a rapist and failed to do so by not thinking ahead of time. Why are women so capricious?

  49. January 1, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Why are they so eager to believe it’s not rape?

    The most immediate thought that springs to mind is that they are in the habit of conducting their sexual encounters by testing what they can get away with instead of seeking mutual pleasure.

  50. ginmar
    January 1, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    “What they can get away with.” There we go again, with the women as gatekeepers to men image. Men are active, women just passively guard their virtue. Supposedly it’s feminists who go around saying that men are rapists, but it’s amazing how often men themselves quite clearly send that message.

  51. Holly
    January 1, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I’m trying to think of any kind of good reason for engaging in this kind of excuse-making for a rapist, which might make me a rape apologist apologist. But I really am not doing a very good job. I don’t get why. My only thoughts are that they’re either assholes who are trying to start an argument, assholes who somehow have been trained to think that every side of a situation has to be given equal time, including that of a rapist, assholes who are actually afraid they might rape someone themselves (hint: if you have serious concerns about this that you can’t figure out how to handle through say, talking with your sex partner about consent, DO NOT HAVE SEX) or assholes who are in fact rapists. I can’t really come up with anything else; I think I lose at apologia.

  52. ginmar
    January 1, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Talking with your partner doesn’t do any good if he’s not going to listen to you when your nonconsent gets in the way of what he wants.

  53. January 1, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Talking with your partner doesn’t do any good if he’s not going to listen to you when your nonconsent gets in the way of what he wants.

    Yeah absolutely, but I think Holly was directing her comment towards these men. As in, “Men, don’t have sex if you are afraid you’re unable to comprehend basic English words like ‘No.'”

  54. January 1, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Or “No” in whatever language they might speak.n Like “Non,” or “Nein”, or “Nyet,” etc.

  55. January 1, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I have to agree with mythago and Norah: I was not saying anything a number of others aren’t. I am sorry if you’re feeling piled on or mischaracterized, JDC but you know: what others said about assuming goodwill: it’s a two way street. As someone who’s done the “fuck you all!” thing on a board before (and in the course of discussions including similar highly charged subjects, possibly even this one), I can tell you that it isn’t the best way to make friends and influence people. That goes double or triple if no one’s seen you before and so you’ve built up no social currency.

    Take a breath, step back, think about the content of what people are saying here and why they might be doing so.

    and:

    “The great thing about believing that -everyone- is out to get you is that eventually it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

  56. January 1, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    and Knifeghost, I meant to say there, sorry.

  57. January 1, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    that said, tangentially, i will note that i find the “sockpuppet!” thing annoying. If everyone was a sockpuppet that people said they were, we wouldn’t be able to walk for the Muppets.

  58. kje
    January 1, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    I also think a lot of people who ask those rape appologist questions are people who on one level know that they are vulnerable, whether they’re women, gay men or bottoms in BDSM. They instinctively identify with the victim. That scares the shit out of them, so they look for things that the victim might have done “wrong” to establish why it can’t happen to them (even though it can). If we take this view, a different, perhaps kinder, approach to talking to these “trolls” might be warrented.

  59. zuzu
    January 1, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Whatever happened to “assume good will”?

    That goes both ways, punkin.

  60. January 1, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    kje: that is interesting. you’re right wrt women who do the “it can’t happen to me,” and it’s probably also true of anyone who is in the vulnerable position for one reason or another.

    not to say that “it can’t happen to me” doesn’t also really push buttons hard, and for good reason. it is a somewhat different transaction from “i am identifying with the guy in this equation,” though. hm.

  61. sidwood
    January 1, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    I just want to address an issue of language:

    Was “manifesta” a typo, or did you purposely change “manifesto” to have a feminine-gendered ending? I’ll hold back any comment until I know the answer to this question.

  62. January 1, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    …i mean, i’ve certainly known women to do the, much more blatantly even, “well, what’d she expect?” and you know, they do tend to get clobbered for it. and i think at least if it’s -that- blatant, then rightfully so.

    per gay men, i think there aren’t enough cross-conversations between gay men and feminist women on this subject, at least that I’ve seen. sure, the basic transaction is the same, obviously, (hello, rape is rape), but especially when it comes to y’know cultural assumptions (heteronormativity is always a big panty-twister for me, not that i’m especially seeing it here, i hasten to add), it’d be worth really going over at some point.

    for that matter, woman on woman sexual abuse tends not to be covered much. and here is a situation where in fact it could’ve been replicated: look ma, no phallus! no overwhelming physical force needed!

  63. KnifeGhost
    January 1, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Christ, you can turn anything into something bad, can’t you? Whatever happened to “assume good will”?

    As a matter of fact, I _can_ turn anything into something bad, just as I can turn anything into something good (well, almost. I realy really have to stretch to do that in some cases). I wasn’t here. I’ll quote myself.

    I appreciate that you’re trying to reach common ground, but there are better ways to do it.

    Picking out one commenter and saying something that suggest that that one commenter is somebody you can talk to, and everyone else is unreasonable, sends a message that people don’t respond well to. If your intent is to reach common ground, there are better ways to go about it.

    belledame222: I think a lot fo the rape-apologist who _do_ identify with the guy are scared of the “it could happen to me” thing. They’re afraid that they’ll accidentally cross a line and end upraping somebody. Relatively few men _want_ to commit rape, but there are a whole hell of a lot who do because “it isn’t really rape”. As Holly said, if you aren’t confident you can tell the difference, you’re probably better off replacing sex with catching up on 40+ years of Feminist thought until you _can_ tell the difference. There are any number of ways to err on the side of caution, and if guys can’t accept losing a bit of sex for the sake of gaining, I dunno, the self-respect of not being rapists or potential rapists, well……….. Let’s hope they make their feelings public so at least there’s a warning flag over their head.

    And sidwood? It’s probably not that big a deal.

  64. mythago
    January 1, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    . Contrast it with Mythago’s #35.

    Mythago was calling you out on being snotty and insulting to a whole bunch of people merely because they disagreed with you, and then pretending that you have super secret BDSM knowledge that makes you right.

    Future tip: “assume good will” is not the same thing as “I get to be an assberet, and you girls are supposed to timidly and gently bed to differ with me.”

  65. ginmar
    January 1, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    How do you accidentally cross a line and rape somebody? Not picking at you, KG, just noting that line, because I’ve heard that over and over. “I didn’t meant to rape her!” If the old defense to rape is “You can’t thread a moving needle” then the perfect proof of guilt is someone who does just that. It cannot be an accident.

  66. sidwood
    January 1, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    KnifeGhost: I know it’s not that big of a deal, language is just a little obsession of mine, primarily because it’s a much more powerful force than most people realize (I actually think I enjoyed Orwell’s appendix on Newspeak at the end of 1984 than the novel itself). Why I brought it up is that I feel the feminist movement gets a little carried away sometimes with politicizing language — the words “womyn” and “herstory” come to mind as some of the more ridiculous examples — and often these efforts backfire and only serve to discredit feminism as a whole.

    Incidentially, when I saw the title of this thread, I thought that the “Manifesta” thing was kind of clever, if it was intentional… but then I saw that the title of the original at Pandagon spells it “Manifesto. That puzzled me a little bit.

  67. January 1, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I think the concern that they are rapists or could be is huge. Apparent, the research has found that a huge percentage of men who’ve committed rape didn’t call it that, even as they admitted they forced themselves on a woman. Not that I sympathize with such men, but it’s worth noting that our culture encourages men to ignore or dismiss women’s opinions when they’re not what a man wants to hear. I can see a lot of men, therefore, reflecting on times when they’ve—with social support for their behavior, mind you—badgered or pressured a woman into sex acts she didn’t enjoy and feeling terrified they are rapists.

  68. January 1, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    The cure, needless to say, for that fear is to avoid badgering. Which I think some men are also terrified of, because they know that women have sexist baggage that will make them never experiment sexually out of fear of being a slut. But there is a cure. You can have it both ways. All you have to do is never be a pushy asshole about stuff, becoming the sort of trustworthy guy that a nervous woman can test her own limits with.

  69. mythago
    January 1, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    If the old defense to rape is “You can’t thread a moving needle”

    There’s an old court-war-story anecdote about a defense attorney attempting to prove the ‘moving needle’ theory with a bottle and a pencil; having his assistant in court wave the bottle around while he tried to drop the pencil into it. The prosecutor’s rebuttal was to take the bottle and smash it against the corner of a table; then he picked up the piece with the neck of the bottle and calmly inserted the pencil, saying “That, gentlemen of the jury, is rape.”

  70. January 1, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    I think a lot fo the rape-apologist who _do_ identify with the guy are scared of the “it could happen to me” thing. They’re afraid that they’ll accidentally cross a line and end upraping somebody. Relatively few men _want_ to commit rape, but there are a whole hell of a lot who do because “it isn’t really rape”.

    Oh, sure. I just meant that the fear of being the rapee is a different “it could happen to me” than the fear of being the rapist. and that yes, men could be fearing the former as well as the latter, depending on context.

  71. January 1, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    How do you accidentally cross a line and rape somebody? Not picking at you, KG, just noting that line, because I’ve heard that over and over. “I didn’t meant to rape her!” If the old defense to rape is “You can’t thread a moving needle” then the perfect proof of guilt is someone who does just that. It cannot be an accident.

    Yes, I agree. I don’t think they do accidentally cross a line. I think in some cases they simply don’t believe the line is there in the first place, because, after all, “everyone knows women don’t really mean it when they say ‘No.'”

    Or “Well, I know she said ‘No,’ but that’s just because she doesn’t really know how awesome this would be. So it’s OK if I do it without her consent the first time, because afterwards she’ll realize I was right all along and not be upset with me.” I think there’s even more societal support for that than for the first scenario. It’s somehow romanticized that if your partner just doesn’t like something you do, it’s a fun thing to trick them into doing that thing. Like, for example, my bf doesn’t like opera, but I do. So some of my friends have suggested maybe I should be a little “romantic,” buy tickets, blindfold him, and then get him into the opera house. Now, I would never actually do that because I simply believed him the very first time he said to me “I really don’t like opera.” Funny how I was able to just accept his boundary without him having to repeat it multiple times.

    However, let’s just say I did decide to take their advice. It’s still not the same, because (1) he wouldn’t be afraid that he might be physically hurt or killed if he refused to stay and watch the opera, (2) he wouldn’t be physically restrained either, so based on either (1) and/or (2), (3) he’d be able to just get up and walk out of the opera house at any time. Sadly some people are unable to grasp that the dynamic is not the same when it comes to sex.

    Nonetheless, he’d be perfectly justified in being angry with me even if he availed himself of (3), because he’d made it clear to me that he doesn’t like opera.

  72. January 1, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, sorry, one more thing I should have added to the second scenario. Even if it winds up that she doesn’t like it after the fact, she’ll just magically understand that all he really wanted to do was “help” her by showing her the error of her ways. So, therefore, in their entitled minds, it still wouldn’t be rape.

    To be quite clear, it definitely is rape. I just think this is the kind of mental gymnastics that these men go through to convince themselves that they’re not really rapists, even if their actions meet the legal qualifications for rape.

  73. January 1, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Now, I would never actually do that because I simply believed him the very first time he said to me “I really don’t like opera.” Funny how I was able to just accept his boundary without him having to repeat it multiple times.

    Not to get too OT, but I hate female friends who suggest ideas like that to me. “Just trick him into getting your way!” Now why would I want to do a low thing like that? What would that say about how I really felt about him?

    But (back to the topic)–exactly. And not only did you believe him the first time, you clearly aren’t the sort to believe that getting your opera fix entitles you to disregard his wishes entirely.

  74. January 1, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Apparent, the research has found that a huge percentage of men who’ve committed rape didn’t call it that, even as they admitted they forced themselves on a woman.

    I can believe this. There’s a similar thing with abusers. I was shocked when a guy who’d shoved a piece of toast in my face (sounds like nothing, I know, but it left a visible and painful abrasion on my cheek) referred to it ever afterwards as “the toast-throwing incident,” of course whining all the time about how he shouldn’t have had to spend a night in jail for just throwing a piece of toast! Oh, the injustice.

    Either he was actually able to ignore the evidence, in the form of the nasty scrape down my cheek, that he plainly had done more than “throw” the piece of toast; or, he knew damn well he’d done more than throw it, but figured that in light of all the extenuating circumstances (like what an awful bitch I was and how much I deserved a little roughing up, etc.), it was almost as if he had only thrown it. So why not just make the leap and pretend that was what had really happened? What’s the harm, right?

    No, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were a similar rationalization process at work in men who rape.

  75. January 1, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I also think a lot of people who ask those rape appologist questions are people who on one level know that they are vulnerable, whether they’re women, gay men or bottoms in BDSM. They instinctively identify with the victim. That scares the shit out of them, so they look for things that the victim might have done “wrong” to establish why it can’t happen to them (even though it can).

    I’ve been too angry to find a way to say this but I think you have something there. When my friend was raped I found myself playing fantasy scenarios all the time, like I’m there and I have a gun, or I run the guy over accidentally years before, or I can turn back the clock – looking for the thing I could do, or could have done, to give myself some power.

    When I’ve been harrassed or attacked a “guy reaction” I’ve noticed is “If I’d been there I would have killed the guy”. They don’t mean to make it worse, but the logical extension of this is “you can never go anywhere safely without me because I (and my presence) have power to stop your attackers and you don’t.” It’s very hard to explain why this is not a comfort, but in fact a piss off.

  76. Lorelei
    January 1, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    How do you accidentally cross a line and rape somebody? Not picking at you, KG, just noting that line, because I’ve heard that over and over. “I didn’t meant to rape her!” If the old defense to rape is “You can’t thread a moving needle” then the perfect proof of guilt is someone who does just that. It cannot be an accident.

    This is usually used when you fuck someone who’s too drunk to consent.

    This actually happened to my friend the other night. I was talking to her on the phone while she was drunk out of her mind, and I knew her exboyfriend was coming over so I told her I’d tell him to not bother trying to fuck her because she couldn’t consent. She said she could take care of it so I let it alone.

    APPARENTLY, she told him what I was going to tell him. Later in the evening he asked her ‘are you sober enough to consent?’ She either drunkenly laughed or said she didn’t know. There was no ‘yes’ to be spoken of anywhere in that exchange.

    Well, apparently HE took it as a yes and raped her and she hardly remembers it.

    I’m gonna have a nice little chat with this dickhead and I KNOW he’s gonna say he didn’t know. Yeah. Okay. If you couldn’t understand that this girl was PISSDRUNK, then I don’t know what to say to you, buddy.

  77. KnifeGhost
    January 1, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Yes, I agree. I don’t think they do accidentally cross a line. I think in some cases they simply don’t believe the line is there in the first place, because, after all, “everyone knows women don’t really mean it when they say ‘No.’”

    That’s more or less what I’m getting at.

    ginmar, when I say “accidentally” I mean that they don’t mean to cross the line, but don’t know where the line is. They do what they do intentionally, but don’t understand (in the gut-level sense, beyond the intellectual sens) that it crosses a line. Instead of doing the sensible/human thing and playing it safe, they plow right through becuase they can do no wrong.

    And when we point out the line, it scare them because they’re afraid they’ve crossed it, or don’t want to give up doing things that sound like they may cross it. So they start sputtering and pointing fingers and diverting the debate and so on.

    Either he was actually able to ignore the evidence, in the form of the nasty scrape down my cheek, that he plainly had done more than “throw” the piece of toast; or, he knew damn well he’d done more than throw it, but figured that in light of all the extenuating circumstances (like what an awful bitch I was and how much I deserved a little roughing up, etc.), it was almost as if he had only thrown it. So why not just make the leap and pretend that was what had really happened? What’s the harm, right?

    No, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were a similar rationalization process at work in men who rape.

    Exactly what I’m getting at.

  78. KnifeGhost
    January 1, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Oh, and sidwood, I know what you’re getting at, but I again suggest that it’s not that big a deal.

  79. Lorelei
    January 1, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Apparent, the research has found that a huge percentage of men who’ve committed rape didn’t call it that, even as they admitted they forced themselves on a woman

    My favourite (if by favourite I mean I wanna punch shit whenever I think about it) was my best friend saying to her abusive exboyfriend, ‘You remember when you’d be trying to fuck me and I’d tell you ‘no’ three times and you’d look right at me, say ‘yes’ and fuck me anyway?’

    ‘Yeah.’

    ‘Yeah, by the way, that was rape.’

    ‘WHAT?! NO IT WASN’T!!!!!’

    WTF?

  80. January 1, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Silly Lorelai. It didn’t occur in a dark alley and she wasn’t a stranger to him, so CLEARLY it wasn’t rape.

  81. mythago
    January 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    That scares the shit out of them, so they look for things that the victim might have done “wrong” to establish why it can’t happen to them (even though it can).

    Oh, yes. Blaming the victim means you wouldn’t be one.

    Lawyer anecdote (because this is a big issue in jury selection): the person in question represented a woman who was a victim of malpractice, committed during surgery when she was under full anesthesia. One potential juror averred as how she felt the patient might be to blame for the injury. Because she had done something foolish before? Because she had not followed her doctor’s post-op instructions? No: “Well, she’s the one who picked that doctor!”

  82. January 1, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Was “manifesta” a typo, or did you purposely change “manifesto” to have a feminine-gendered ending? I’ll hold back any comment until I know the answer to this question.

    Did it on purpose. Not because consent is solely a female issue, but because the “manifesto” was written by a woman, about a woman’s experience. And because unfortunately, consent is an issue that disproportionately impacts women.

  83. twf
    January 1, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    There’s some confusion in that thread between “BDSM” and bondage in the context of a relationship. I do and have done both.

    “BDSM” is when, for instance, I meet a person/group of people in a BDSM-specific context: alt.com, a munch, an explicit posting on craigslist. Rules are made. Limits are detailed. I have two safewords: “yellow” means “the next thing I say is out of scene” e.g. “yellow, I’m losing circulation in my right hand, could you loosen the rope a bit?” while “red” (which I’ve never used) means “the scene is over, untie me fast.”

    What I believe Dan’s letter-writer was talking about, what I believe Amanda Marcotte’s experience of bondage is, is the other kind: usually-“vanilla” lovers playing with light bondage. This is the kind of thing I do with my husband. A little tying-up (scarves or rope, easily undone if I chose) with no real roleplay component. I know in that context I can’t even say “ow” or moan in the wrong tone without my husband stopping mid-motion and asking “what? what? Is everything ok?”

    Note that I’m not defending the rape apologists. In fact, I’m saying it’s wrong and stupid to put the rules designed for the first scenario on the second. And as everyone else has said, even in BDSM, even in uber-kinky couples, if you haven’t negotiated a safeword, NO still means NO. Stop, ouch, screaming, crying, they mean lack of consent. Unless you’ve specifically discussed that these things are expected within a roleplaying scene, and provided a safeword.

  84. JDC
    January 1, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Amanda quotes the beginning fragment of my sentence, “As someone in a BDSM relationship” and responds:

    I’m concerned about your sex partner’s safety, since your attitude is to push things as far as you feel you can get away with, instead of catering to his or her desires.

    She had to CUT the sentence to avoid the obvious conclusion that I’m the sub/bottom:

    As someone in a BDSM relationship, I find I come closest to needing my safeword when I’m in bondage, more so than with pain or breath-play or any other aspect of BDSM.

    I’m sorry, I know she’s Amanda Of Pandagon, but does anyone else feel like calling “bullshit” on that one?

  85. January 1, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    I can’t speak for Amanda, JDC, but I know that my assumption was that many people in BDSM relationships switch up who’s the top and who’s the bottom. I took your comment to mean that you felt a particular way when you’re bottoming; I didn’t take it to mean that you’re always a bottom.

  86. January 1, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    well the other thing is that if it’s NOT BDSM, just bondage for sensual or aesthetic purposes, then y’know i’d think the screaming and crying ought to be a bigger tipoff than ever, since outside of “heavy” scene playing that’s generally not something that’s supposed to happen, ime, at least.

  87. JDC
    January 1, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    KnifeGhost, if it makes you feel any better, I’m also appreciating your comments, as well as belledame’s. And there’s a Lesley over on Pandagon I owe a response.

    If you really look it over, I stopped being hostile a long time ago. I exploded twice in the early stages, and then apologized. I admit there were substantiative comments, but there was also a helluva lot of just-plain-bashing on Phoenician, and then me.

    (Ironically, I’ve seen from his subsequent comments that Phoenician wasn’t really worth defending. But if I stay active here I’ll be busy enough defending myself, so there ya go.)

    If people are going to call me a “rape apologist” for saying that safewords are a good idea, I’m not going to respond well to those people. Simple minded? Maybe so: Some things are simple. If you want to get through to me, don’t impugn nasty motives to me, and don’t distort what I said like Amanda recently did (see above), or like Mythago does when she refers to me “pretending that you have super secret BDSM knowledge that makes you right“, just because I advocate safewords for bondage.

    I think here and at Pandagon, the regulars are more interested in excoriating others for the amusement of each other, than they are in trying to get through to people who aren’t already on the same page. You, belldame, Lesley, Peter, and maybe some others aren’t doing that. But that’s mostly what I see, and I’m not gonna embrace it. Bashing someone only teaches him/her that the basher is an asshole.

  88. JDC
    January 1, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    “I think here and at Pandagon”

    should be

    “I think at Pandagon”

    I don’t really know this blog well enough. So far I like it better. Sorry.

  89. January 1, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Not that I’m backing up JDC here, since it’s already been established that this is obviously an instance of rape, but some relationships involving some BDSM do not reverse roles, as in my relationship. I’m not a top and cannot be a top.

    I’m not going to call bullshit on Amanda here because it is reasonable to assume that JDC has some messed up ideas about what BDSM is and how far it should go, and seriously needs to reevaluate his knowledge of the subject. Either way, it seems obvious to me that this specific instance was not BDSM, and bringing up things like safe-words and personal experiences are complete red herrings.

  90. January 1, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    “Well, she’s the one who picked that doctor!”

    God damn. That’s all I have to say to that. What. the. fuck.

  91. January 1, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    I don’t know that i’d call out his BDSM creds here. but yes, it is a red herring, which is the source of most peoples’ ire.

    i mean, i think basically you know when a situation like that is described, the first thing people want and expect to hear, for good reason, is something along the lines of,

    “godDAM that shit is fucked up!”

    …for personal as well as political reasons.

  92. piny
    January 1, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    They’re a good idea, but they’re not the issue. She could have had a notarized no-anal contract in triplicate, and it wouldn’t have changed anything, because he raped her. His refusal to accept her refusal was the problem; she made herself perfectly clear. Like Jack says, in this context, it’s a digression and a pretty obnoxious one.

  93. January 1, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    slip. who said that? eh, fuck, i’m getting dizzy with all the back and forth. i need to lie down.

  94. January 1, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Not that I’m backing up JDC here, since it’s already been established that this is obviously an instance of rape, but some relationships involving some BDSM do not reverse roles, as in my relationship. I’m not a top and cannot be a top.

    Right. I was only pointing out that some people who are involved in BDSM relationships do switch roles, and so it wasn’t necessarily a bad-faith assumption for Amanda to think that JDC might be both a top and a bottom within his relationship.

    But as has been said before, this has nothing to do with BDSM at all. It wasn’t about safewords or role-playing or whatever the rape victim could have done to protect herself from an attacker who clearly was not going to take her wishes or physical safety into account under just about any circumstances. This has to do with rape.

  95. January 1, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    i’m also not clear that JDC is saying this case ISN’T rape, for the record, just reading his linked post at Pandagon, briefly.

  96. JDC
    January 1, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Um, I’m damned well NOT saying it isn’t rape. It absolutely is. I never said it wasn’t rape. I never implied it wasn’t rape. I got sucked into this because I was talking about tangents like safewords, and could-this-have-been-prevented, and I made the mistake of defending Phoenician. I felt the initial criticisms of him were out of hand, but he later went on to show himself deserving of them.

  97. January 1, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    And there’s a Lesley over on Pandagon I owe a response.

    Yeah, that would be me.

    Re: your ultimate realization that Phoenician didn’t deserve defending, I mean, yes, of course he didn’t. I think a lot of us just came to that conclusion earlier. I did after his first response to my comment. I initially asked him to take a step back and consider how he might be mitigating what the guy did by saying he was “stupid” and by saying that the woman was stupid. His response back was that she was stupid because she let someone untrustworthy tie her up. At that point, I was like “Rape apologist subtext? Check!”

  98. January 1, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Silly Lorelai. It didn’t occur in a dark alley and she wasn’t a stranger to him, so CLEARLY it wasn’t rape.

    Or “Well, you didn’t fight me to try to stop me,” or “You didn’t fight hard enough, because if you had, I wouldn’t have been able to ‘fuck’ you,” or “I knew you didn’t really mean ‘No’ because I know what you want better than you do,” or “Stupid bitch, if you really meant ‘No,’ why didn’t you continue saying it until I stopped,” or…

    Sadly, there’s no length some rapists won’t go to to convince themselves they’re not really rapists. After all, they know that only really evil people commit rape, and they’re not really evil, so ipso facto, they could not have committed rape. Therefore, there’s some other explanation for why the woman said “No,” and they ignored it. An explanation that removes all responsibility from them. And our society supports and enables them in that.

  99. January 1, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    I felt the initial criticisms of him were out of hand, but he later went on to show himself deserving of them.

    [breathes huge sigh of relief]

    Yeah, he got dug in and kept right on going. Glad you haven’t.

    And if it makes you feel better, I know you are not a rape apologist.

  100. mythago
    January 1, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    just because I advocate safewords for bondage.

    No. If all you were doing was advocating safewords for bondage, I wouldn’t have lifted a finger. (Though my own experience has been that safewords are best reserved for situations where ‘No!’ would not be clear, because people far gone in their headspace may not be able to remember a safeword, and may not even be coherent enough for ‘No’–which is why it’s the top’s role to be alert, instead of so into their orgasm that they don’t notice the bottom is bleeding to death.)

    But you came in here ranting about an echo chamber and how you were going off to your party tsk-tsking about those silly people who were mean to PF. You might as well have shouted “No tagbacks!” and been done with it. Turning around and complaining that people are picking on you, at that point, is risible.

    I’m glad you read further and realized that PF’s comments were indefensible. You’ve probably run into tops who think that they’re too bad-ass to worry about safety or what happens after the scene. That attitude isn’t any prettier outside of BDSM.

  101. January 1, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Yea, a lot of folks think that you can just throw the rules of common sense out the window when it comes to sex. No no no, if you can’t play with everyone being happy, you can’t play at all, folks.

  102. sidwood
    January 1, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Jill:

    Did it [changed “manifesto” to “manifesta”] on purpose. Not because consent is solely a female issue, but because the “manifesto” was written by a woman, about a woman’s experience. And because unfortunately, consent is an issue that disproportionately impacts women.

    That’s all well and good, but the reason I brought it up was that the person who wrote it didn’t feel compelled to make the same language choice. As someone else said, it’s not that big of a deal, just something I noticed immediately and was a little irked by.

    Excellent blog you have here; keep up the good work.

  103. KnifeGhost
    January 2, 2007 at 2:40 am

    JDC, we’re all on the same page. I haven’t read much of the thread on Pandagon (just enough to watch PR dig himself into a hole), so anything I’ve said about your comments apply only to this thread. Rape and BDSM are touchy subjects in themselves, and any time they collide (even if one’s off-topic from the other) it gets ugly. It gets worse when people get defensive.

    And about Pandagon, I used to be a regular over there. Now I’m a regular here. I’ll leave it at that.

  104. January 2, 2007 at 4:21 am

    sidwood, I confess I’m disappointed.

    Here I read through this thread waiting for you to deliver an overblown rant about the moral iniquity of the small (and gentle) joke of “manifesta” (probably invoking the awesome power of the dread PC Police), and you go and make a perfectly reasonable comment instead.

    JDC also calmed down surprisingly.

    Next thing you know, Phoenician will take back his dumbass “safeword” joke.

    Or not.

  105. so
    January 2, 2007 at 10:35 am

    This thread was getting bad for my blood pressure (I’ve almost-completed at least two unposted replies in the last day or so, then thought better of them. Guess that makes me a semi-lurker. Or a dash-loving semi-lurker). How nice to see that everyone’s getting along this morning. Happy new year, everyone.

  106. January 2, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Sorry, JDC, I was only trying to requote the relevant part. But since you insist.

    As someone in a BDSM relationship, I find I come closest to needing my safeword when I’m in bondage, more so than with pain or breath-play or any other aspect of BDSM.

    I’m concerned about your partner’s safety, because you seem to be opportunistic instead of respectful.

  107. January 2, 2007 at 11:28 am

    But glad you went back and reread the actual thread after flipping out on everyone. My point, repeatedly, which was ignored, repeatedly, was that the very framing of sex as opportunistic—and the subsequent approval of men especially testing limits—is troubling if you’re in sexual situations outside the vanilla especially, where it’s doubly important that people do not get pushy.

  108. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 11:38 am

    JDC, the problem with tangents on a rape thread is that almost any tangent about something someone should do for safety reads like something women should do for rape prevention. And, without playing out the whole argument, any comment about what women should do to prevent rape is rape apology.

    Only rapists can prevent rape. They can do so by not raping.

  109. January 2, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    i’m not following 106 at all, i’m afraid.

    Thomas: exactly.

  110. January 2, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    ..oh, right, okay, i see what that meant. sort of.

    shrug. BDSM safety and etiquette–hell, vanilla for that matter as well–would probably be worth a separate discussion at some point. but, as Thomas says. in a rape thread, any tangent runs the risk of looking like “well she should’ve.”

    anyway.

  111. Ron O
    January 2, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve avoided commenting on this or the other thread until now because I know shit-all about bondage and BDSM. I tried them each once (bottom, FWIW) and decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t establish a safeword, since it wasn’t necessary.

    The concept of enthusiastic consent seems so obvious, but it wasn’t until I had words for it that the concept became clear to me. I realize now that the inhibitions about discusssing sex that I learned from my catholic upbringing really did me a disservice. I’ve felt the fear of crossing the line and being a rapist. I’m ashamed of it, but women have had to tell me to stop. If I was paying better attention and opperating from the assumption that enthusiastic consent was needed, that wouldn’t have happpend. I think that fear can be healthy if it keeps you aware of the need to pay attention and communicate. Unfortunately it can also make you afraid to initiate any sexual contact too.

    If IC was what I’d been taught, I think my adolescense and early adult years would have gone better for me sexually. I feel like I should talk to all my teenage neices and nephews about it, but them I begin to doubt myself, wondering weather it would be awkward, creepy or unwelcome of my to so so.

  112. January 2, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    One thing I’ve really appreciated/learned from BDSM is that the extra careful attention to negotiation, boundaries, limits, can be applied with good effect to other situations as well (sexual and otherwise). A lot of us never really learn even basic boundaries in really simple social interactions, i would say; it’s no wonder sex gets so fraught. I mean, yes, hegemonic sexism plays a big part in this as well (in several ways), but i do think that “communication 101” would be a good thing for a lot of people, if (as established) obviously not sufficient in cases like the Savage-writer.

  113. January 2, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    and yes, i have personally tended to err on the side of too much fear, for different reasons (internalized homophobia played a part, i am sure, although not all of it); this is what tends to drive much of my POV in these-type discussions. or rather, discussions of the so-called porn wars, sex wars, yadda yadda, in feminist circles.

  114. Ron O
    January 2, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Whoops, make that ” …unwelcome of ME to do so.”

  115. KnifeGhost
    January 2, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    JDC, the problem with tangents on a rape thread is that almost any tangent about something someone should do for safety reads like something women should do for rape prevention. And, without playing out the whole argument, any comment about what women should do to prevent rape is rape apology.

    Only rapists can prevent rape. They can do so by not raping.

    Point taken, but there’s a lot of really good Feminist non-victim-blaming work done on how women can lessen the risk of rape. Saying “only rapists can prevent rape” completely erases women’s agency and makes them (conceptually) helpless.

    The distinction here is that “she should have done this” is rape-apology and “this is what women can do in the future” isn’t. I think the distinction is absolutely vital. Women who are raped are not at fault in any way at all. But there are things women can do to lessen the risk, and I think they should be taught widely.

  116. January 2, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    “What KnifeGhost said,” too.

  117. zuzu
    January 2, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    But there are things women can do to lessen the risk, and I think they should be taught widely.

    But, you know? They don’t need to be brought into a discussion of an actual rape. Because then it sounds like victim-blaming.

  118. KnifeGhost
    January 2, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I get that, zuzu, and that’s why I don’t recommend they be brought into discussion of an actual rape. This has long since become a meta-discussion.

    I’ll repeat the distinction. Talking about what a survivor _should have done_ is 100% victim-blaming bullshit. Talking about what women can do in the future, while affirming that there is nothing a woman can ever do to deserve blame for being raped, isn’t. I think the greatest disservice we can do to women is to tell them how powerless they are.

    And of course, that discussion should hapen seperately from discussions of actual rape.

  119. January 2, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    I think what we keep arriving at is that yes, we’re all on the same page wrt the discussion of actual rape, for instance the one being discussed at Pandagon.

    i am interested in maybe spinning off some other discussions on separate threads, though, because i do think they’re interesting in their own right.

  120. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    KG, I’m not sure that it is true that there is a lot women can do, and it damned sure is not true that one undermines agency by talking about some things beyond one’s control.

    I’ll take the second one first. There are things beyond my control. A hurricane can knock down my house. That doesn’t mean I don’t have agency in how I maintain my house, or even where I live. An assassin can shoot me while I walk to my office. That doesn’t mean I don’t have agency in where I walk. It is not necessary to talk about assassination prevention or hurricane-resistant construction to reaffirm my agency.

    A woman’s sexual agency travels through the exercise of her free will, by the shoices she makes. Rape is the removal of her choice, and is therefore as irrelevant to her sexual agency as a hurricane is to my home maintenance routine.

    Second, I’m not sure there is a lot that women can do to prevent rape, that they are not already doing. Overwhelmingly, rapes are acquaintance rapes. So, I’ll just say that talking about stranger rape is already a smaller subset and leave it at that. Within the large set of acquaintance rape, the suggestions I’ve heard amount to (1) things that women already do to the best of their ability (e.g. “listen to that little voice and avoid guys that give off a creepy vibe”); (2) limitations on behavior that I am unwilling to swallow as policy (“avoid being alone wiht men you don’t know well”); or (3) self-defense advice, which may be useful but is too situation-specific to make for any kind of policy discussion — that is to say, some women in some situations may be able to resist with force, but for other women in other situations no amount of training will produce a scenario where the likelihood of being seriously harmed in retaliation falls to acceptable levels, and every woman in any situation would have to make that call for herself, so there’s really no way to assess even how often any particular amount of training would make a difference.

    But perhaps you have figured out some piece of advice that would frequently reduce the risk that a woman would be the target of a rapist that she knows (and does not know is a rapist), but that would not subject her to an increased risk of grievous bodily harm or a significant limitation on her behavior. If so, let’s hear it.

  121. January 2, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    It is not necessary to talk about assassination prevention or hurricane-resistant construction to reaffirm my agency.

    Thank you. The agency argument, usually phrased as a rhetorical question on the right side of blogland, a la “But isn’t saying women can’t prevent rape infantilizing them?” has always bugged me. Your comment helps me clarify why.

  122. January 2, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    It points up something else, too: We don’t view a man’s agency as so fragile or transient that it requires reaffirming, or lots of tender loving care to prevent others from encroaching upon it.

  123. Karolena
    January 2, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Even if we are making a distinction between this case and possible future rapes, what the hell relevant advice could you possibly give here? “Never experiment with the fuzzy handcuffs”? “Don’t date men”? “Every moment of your waking life, make sure you are either with women only, or with enough women to physically overpower the men present if necessary?”

    How many times do we have to repeat that most rapes are committed by friends or intimate partners? Why do some people insist on shifting the focus back to women’s behavior? Do you honestly think there is a single thing this woman could have done to prevent the rape?

  124. nik
    January 2, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    But there are things women can do to lessen the risk, and I think they should be taught widely.

    But, you know? They don’t need to be brought into a discussion of an actual rape. Because then it sounds like victim-blaming.

    I been thinking about commenting, but haven’t up to now because I didn’t want the victim blaming thing thrown at me.

    When we are responding to a letter from a woman who is seriously considering continuing a relationship with her rapist, then things women can do to lessen the risk do need to be brought into the discussion.

    I’m not blaming her for anything. Plenty of women have been taught that being in a relationship is more important than not being sexually abused (as Amada more-or-less said over at Pandagon). I just despair of the whole thing. Until we reach a situation where people’s values aren’t that being abused is a price worth paying for being in a relationship things aren’t going to improve. People need to stop thinking that being treated like that isn’t really a deal-breaker. It really depresses me that there is no hope of this happening.

    It’s a shame the whole discussion got derailed by the BDSM thing. There are much bigger cultural problems that Amamda pointed to that have pretty much been ignored.

  125. zuzu
    January 2, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    When we are responding to a letter from a woman who is seriously considering continuing a relationship with her rapist

    Did you read the letter?

    then things women can do to lessen the risk do need to be brought into the discussion.

    The only thing that needs to be brought into the discussion is to DTMFA. And to remind her that she was raped, and that his suicide threats were manipulation, plain and simple. All of which Dan Savage talked about.

  126. zuzu
    January 2, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    In fact, she did all kinds of things that you’re supposed to do and she still got raped by someone she trusted, who knew she had injuries to her rectum and that anal sex was off the table, but who went ahead and raped her anyway and managed to get off despite her screaming, crying and bleeding.

    So, nik — what should she have done differently? What’s going to change going forward?

  127. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    When we are responding to a letter from a woman who is seriously considering continuing a relationship with her rapist, then things women can do to lessen the risk do need to be brought into the discussion.

    Well, okay. That amounts to reaffirming that women have the right to say no, the right not to be raped and the right not to be abused. When people purport to give rape prevention advice, these affirmations that women have basic human rights are rarely what they are talking about.

  128. Peter
    January 2, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    First, let me say I was a part of the Pandagon discussion from early on; sorry to find this board so late. I don’t feel like I’m a latecomer to the discussion itself, but I’m sure I’ll feel like one to some here. Excuse me if necessary.

    kje Says:

    “I also think a lot of people who ask those rape appologist questions are people who on one level know that they are vulnerable, whether they’re women, gay men or bottoms in BDSM. They instinctively identify with the victim. That scares the shit out of them, so they look for things that the victim might have done “wrong” to establish why it can’t happen to them (even though it can). If we take this view, a different, perhaps kinder, approach to talking to these “trolls” might be warrented.”

    On the one hand, that is truly one of the only meaningful suppositions I’ve heard so far, and I don’t doubt there is some truth in it. On the other hand, when explicitly asked “why are you saying this?” not a one of them has said any such thing, even after repeated attempts of various people asking various ways. It just plays funny. I sure didn’t and don’t get it.

  129. Karolena
    January 2, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Saying “only rapists can prevent rape” completely erases women’s agency and makes them (conceptually) helpless.

    Would you prefer a (conceptual) world in which women really could prevent rape, but just failed repeatedly to do so? Why is it so hard for you to accept that, just like men, women are “helpless” when it comes to being the victim of a violent crime?

    The notion that “only rapists can prevent rape” can only be bothersome to one who believes that rape is something women can prevent. WE CAN’T PREVENT IT.

  130. blondie
    January 2, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    How sad a commentary upon our society is it that a woman writes a letter seeking affirmation that she deserved to not be raped by the man who supposedly loved her?

    When they discovered the bodies under the house of John Wayne Gacy or parts at Daumer’s place, I don’t recall much discussion of what a bunch of idiots those male victims were that they allowed themselves to be in a position that Gacy or Daumer could rape and murder them.

    When is a crime victim not a victim? 3 guesses

  131. January 2, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    When we are responding to a letter from a woman who is seriously considering continuing a relationship with her rapist, then things women can do to lessen the risk do need to be brought into the discussion.

    Actually, Nik, I’d argue that what needs to be brought into the discussion is how the risk of women putting up with abusive relationships can be lessened. The specifics of how he abused her are irrelevant to the fact that our society still often condones violence as long as it’s committed by a partner, and condones the idea that sexual violence is not a relationship-ender.

    I want to know how the system helped or hindered this woman. I want to know if the paramedics or the hospital called the police, and if the police treated her in accordance with guidelines for handling victims of rape and/or domestic violence (as opposed to just ignoring said guidelines, as many do). I want to know if a social worker came to visit her in hospital and brought her brochures re: rape crisis support groups, battered women’s shelters, crisis phone lines, etc. If the police haven’t yet pressed charges or aren’t already urging the victim to press charges, what are they waiting for? Hi, thirty stitches inside the anus, boyfriend was at the scene, what do they THINK happened? We pay taxes for this stuff, therefore if it doens’t do its job, best the taxpayers should know about it, so it can be changed.

    I also want to know if she has supportive family and/or friends who are encouraging her to do the sane thing and not only dump the guy, but also press charges. You know, to counteract his friends and family who don’t want to admit it’s rape and want her to forgive him. I also wonder if some of this victim’s self-esteem problems may stem from a pervasive atmosphere that it doesn’t count as a real beating or rape if the perpetrator is her husband/boyfriend. And I’m wondering what we as a society can do to try and counteract that destructive message.

    I’m not attacking you, Nik, but I do think you’re slightly off in your suggestion about what the key factor is here. If her boyfriend had decided not to rape her, the rape would never have happened. If our society didn’t reinforce this victim’s notion that maybe she ought to forgive her rapist and refuse to call it rape, she wouldn’t be considering continuing the relationship.

  132. Susan
    January 2, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    nik:

    When we are responding to a letter from a woman who is seriously considering continuing a relationship with her rapist

    I really think you misread her. “Forgive” != “Continuing a relationship.”

  133. Peter
    January 2, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    belledame222 Says: per gay men, i think there aren’t enough cross-conversations between gay men and feminist women on this subject, at least that I’ve seen. sure, the basic transaction is the same, obviously, (hello, rape is rape), but especially when it comes to y’know cultural assumptions (heteronormativity is always a big panty-twister for me, not that i’m especially seeing it here, i hasten to add), it’d be worth really going over at some point.

    If it isn’t too late, go ahead and open that door. I think it would be an interesting topic, but like the BDSM digression, I’m not sure it really applies in the discussion of this particular Savage column.

    In at least my little corner (Chicago area) of the gay leather BDSM world, nothing anyone has said here about consent, hard limits and the top’s responsibility would be disagreed with. My guess from some discussions are that the vanilla gay folks getting a bit kinky range from clueless to competent along pretty much the same spectrum as the straight ones.

    I can’t really think of anything where a gay man would think differently on this than a straight woman.

    I’d be curious to know what kinds of cross-conversation questions you’d ask.

  134. Peter
    January 2, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    nik says: When we are responding to a letter from a woman who is seriously considering continuing a relationship with her rapist, then things women can do to lessen the risk do need to be brought into the discussion.

    Is that really the point? I want to remind everyone that in the original Dan Savage column, she said she’d been in a relationship with this guy for three years and considered it to be a good one, that they frequently did the light bondage thing, and apparently, nothing remotely similar had happened before. (Okay, some clues that he was sexually pushy and a bit insensitive, but nothing was shared that would rationally prepare her for that evening’s events.)

    What in the world is someone going to say that “lessens the risk” that your trusted partner of three years is suddenly going to hospitalize you with a rape of an evening?

    Close friends or therapists may well be able to help her find any red flags she might have seen in her particular situation so that going forward she doesn’t repeat this thing, but really, I think she may be far more likely to need help learning to trust a future boyfriend than to learn to be more suspicious. I know I certainly would.

    I don’t want to minimize things that apply to other situations, like having good door locks, meeting people in public areas, getting references, etc, etc, etc.

    But honestly, what are you proposing in this case to “lessen the risk?” Don’t have a relationship in the first place? Never be a bottom, even for someone you trust?

    Savage GAVE her the response to someone considering continuing the relationship: Don’t. And press charges.

  135. Peter
    January 2, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Raincitygirl Says: If the police haven’t yet pressed charges or aren’t already urging the victim to press charges, what are they waiting for? Hi, thirty stitches inside the anus, boyfriend was at the scene, what do they THINK happened?

    I hope you meant to include assuming that they asked her what happened and that she said what she told Savage about the limits and the attempts to stop things, because that is the critical part of the story.

    IF a similar injury had happened in the case of consenting people (and stupid and/or tragic injuries can and do), the fact of the injury and the boyfriend at the scene should definitely NOT kick in full police and legal response.

    Certainly in the case of such an injury, the right questions need to get asked (and appropriate weight given to the possibility of the victim lying out of fear of reprisal), but the response has to be a result of the answers to those questions, not to the fact of the injury.

    I do assume you meant it that way, and you were speaking of this particular case, not the general one, yes?

  136. January 2, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Peter: I guess just based on my conversations with the men i was talking with, the differences wrt what was essentially date rape–well, difference, not so much exactly, let’s call them specific…something. anyway, that there is actually a parallel process of let’s say pressure (and going along to get along, fear of partner’s physical overpowering, wanting to be liked) between gay men and straight women; but the socialization that leads up to that place i think is a bit different.

    for the men in question, i think it was an overall lack of information of what was okay and what not okay, because of homophobia; whereas in straight dating/romance/what have you there are still i think gender-based “rules,” even if they seem to be changing so rapidly no one really knows what they are for sure; but, you know, there’s a template.

    but if you’re coming out (and this goes for gay women, too, and anyone who doesn’t fit the “normative” het dating/sexual experience), for the most part, you’ve either found a subculture for your template (much more likely to be true in urban centers, even now), or you’re simply in mostly uncharted territory.

    so i guess what i’m saying is, with women/women as well as men/men: the act can be the same; the feelings the victim go through are certainly the same; but it’s possible that the erm expectations going into it (a situation that ends in date rape) might be a bit different. i think for lesbians/women with feminist sensibilities there’s the added, well, WOMEN can’t be abusers, because…they, we just can’t.

    and then too of course there’re various experiences of aftermath, of being able to tell your community. If you’re not out and you’re date-raped, that makes the likelihood of your getting support even less.

    i realize i’m painting with a -really- broad brush here; just mulling out loud.

    BDSM is a whole ‘nother set of conversations, of course.

    and yes, this is all tangential to the original thread at this point. i don’t want to derail if we’re really still hashing out the Savage writer’s case; otoh i’m not really sure where else to pick up the thread. i don’t quite feel qualified to start this particular conversation at my own spot, somehow.

  137. January 2, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    I do assume you meant it that way, and you were speaking of this particular case, not the general one, yes?

    Yes Peter, that’s what I meant. Thanks for the clarification.

    However, I would say that the default response to suspicious injuries should be ‘probably a criminal matter rather than consensual kink gone wrong’ UNLESS they are told so by the injured person. I mean, if the hospital/police/social workers were to just assume that maybe it was an accidental injury from consensual BDSM, and not ask questions so as not to embarrass people if they weren’t raped, then I’d be annoyed. Urging someone to press charges or giving them brochures re: domestic violence is going way, way, way too far when they’ve already been told.

    But the initial response to any suspicious injury should be, well, suspicion. And fact-checking. The boyfriend says it was consensual BDSM gone wrong? Fine if true, but don’t just take his word for it. Talk to the injured person (when the partner isn’t there) in a non-judgmental way, and make sure they have an opportunity to tell you what happened from their POV.

    Not saying that you’re implying otherwise, just trying to be very clear regarding what I think should happen following suspicious injuries.

  138. ACS
    January 2, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Would you prefer a (conceptual) world in which women really could prevent rape, but just failed repeatedly to do so? Why is it so hard for you to accept that, just like men, women are “helpless” when it comes to being the victim of a violent crime?

    Rape doesn’t strike at random. There are forms of rape that do — the proverbial stranger hiding in the bushes — but there are many rapes that are directed at a specific person. Other rapes are crimes of opportunity committed by some craven asshole who believes that some existing circumstance gives him a moral ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ (for instance, this one). A very few rapes are committed by someone whom physical force would seriously discourage.

    If someone wanted to devote every moment of their life to avoiding rape, they probably could. They could live in a sealed container, fed through a slot, with a shotgun trained on the slot twenty-four hours a day. Someone’s failure to take this measure does not make them an accomplice in their own rape, should it happen.

    I get in the car every morning and drive to work. I careen faster than a galloping horse down crowded streets less than three feet away from vehicles travelling fast enough to crush my own vehicle and kill me. If suddenly a suicidal asshole or drunk driver changes into my lane, hits me, and kills me, I was the reason that I was on that street at that particular time. There are an infinite number of other scenarios where I wouldn’t get in my car, I wouldn’t be on the road, and I wouldn’t die.

    But in the case of rape, it’s always those scenarios — the one where the victim doesn’t go to the party, or doesn’t get tied up by their rapist partner, or on and on and on — that people focus on, not the scanario where the victim, instead of going to the party, goes home, chokes on a bagel, and dies, or is jumped by a stranger while walking back from the party.

    I think there’s a legitimate case to be made for rape prevention education — not because of any sort of moral responsibility for women to prevent rape, but because, practically, it might prevent some particular rapes of some particular women. On the other hand, retroactively working-over an actual rape to find something that might have prevented it is profoundly inappropriate. Any change in what she did likely would have prevented the rape: she could have convinced her parents to send her to Kuala Lumpur when she was nine and never met the guy. But that’s not the point.

    — ACS

  139. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    I think there’s a legitimate case to be made for rape prevention education — not because of any sort of moral responsibility for women to prevent rape, but because, practically, it might prevent some particular rapes of some particular women.

    ACG, I’m not trying to be combattive, but I’ll say to you what I said to KG: leaving aside stranger rape, what can women do that they are not already doing, that does not expose them to an increased risk of grievous bodily harm, and that is not an infringement on their liberties? Of course, lots of advice could prevent some rape in some circumstance, but is there any such advice applicable broadly enough to apply to a general audience?

  140. KnifeGhost
    January 2, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    I’ll take the second one first. There are things beyond my control. A hurricane can knock down my house. That doesn’t mean I don’t have agency in how I maintain my house, or even where I live. An assassin can shoot me while I walk to my office. That doesn’t mean I don’t have agency in where I walk. It is not necessary to talk about assassination prevention or hurricane-resistant construction to reaffirm my agency.

    The notion that “only rapists can prevent rape” can only be bothersome to one who believes that rape is something women can prevent. WE CAN’T PREVENT IT.

    All of these points are exactly right, and it wasn’t my intention to suggest otherwise. No matter what women do, they will never be 100% able to prevent rape. Generally, nothing anybody can ever do can prevent something bad from happening to them. It’s pure and simple out of their control. As such, they can never (ever under any circumstances) be blamed for it.

    What I’m talking about is the thin margin between “there’s nothing we can do” and “there are things we can do even though they’ll never put us out of danger.”

    Rape stops when people stop commiting rape. The way to address that, I believe, is to help men change the the way they thinki about women, and sex, and personal boundaries, and so on. In short, they way to stop rape is through cultural change. I agree completely that any discussion of ending rape ultimately _has_ to deal with the perpetrators (real or potential).

    My previous point was only that there are things we can do to support women in lessening risk — although never _eliminating_ risk.

    Thomas, to use your hurricane analogy, you can board up your windows to keep the winds from breaking them, but ultimately the hurricane decides if your windows get broken. And even if you don’t board up your windows, it’s not your fault the hurricane fucked up your house. Second-guessing helps nobody ever.

  141. Peter
    January 2, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    belledame222 Says: this is all tangential to the original thread at this point. i don’t want to derail if we’re really still hashing out the Savage writer’s case; otoh i’m not really sure where else to pick up the thread. i don’t quite feel qualified to start this particular conversation at my own spot, somehow.

    If you do find a home for it I would like to be part of the discussion.

  142. KnifeGhost
    January 2, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    ACG, I’m not trying to be combattive, but I’ll say to you what I said to KG: leaving aside stranger rape, what can women do that they are not already doing, that does not expose them to an increased risk of grievous bodily harm, and that is not an infringement on their liberties? Of course, lots of advice could prevent some rape in some circumstance, but is there any such advice applicable broadly enough to apply to a general audience?

    Thomas, frankly I don’t know. Ultimately, nothing women do can prevent rape. What can they do to lessen the risk (which will by definition only work “in some circumstances”)? I don’t know. I really don’t know how to answer you.

    I think there’s a legitimate case to be made for rape prevention education — not because of any sort of moral responsibility for women to prevent rape, but because, practically, it might prevent some particular rapes of some particular women. On the other hand, retroactively working-over an actual rape to find something that might have prevented it is profoundly inappropriate.

    Thank you, that says what I’m getting at very clearly. Beyond inappropriate, it’s also fundamentally useless.

  143. KnifeGhost
    January 2, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    Sorry for the serial posting, but belledame, do you not have a blog? Might we move it over there?

  144. ACS
    January 2, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    ACG, I’m not trying to be combattive, but I’ll say to you what I said to KG: leaving aside stranger rape, what can women do that they are not already doing, that does not expose them to an increased risk of grievous bodily harm, and that is not an infringement on their liberties? Of course, lots of advice could prevent some rape in some circumstance, but is there any such advice applicable broadly enough to apply to a general audience?

    This is, of course, several questions, and I want to address this gingerly, because I don’t believe that rape can be ended, or even affected substantially by the behavior of potential victims of rape. I’m only willing to go as far as to say that prevention strategies can prevent particular rapes. The answer to the first question is, I think, more carefully framing the bounds of acceptable male behavior for young women. There are some pretty seriously shitty norms for especially young men; things that encourage rape. This doesn’t mean that there exists some moral responsibility for women to enforce sane sexual norms among men, just that knowing what set of sexual norms are sane.

    Rape is not a behavior that is uniformly distributed across men. The number I take most seriously is around one in twelve — but that doesn’t mean that you just count off twelve men, and one of them, at random, is a rapist, or that rape is a behavior that exists in a psychological vacuum, without the infrastructure to support the capacity to commit it. Most rape is social behavior. Knowing that rape-supportive behavior is conducive to actual rape is something that most people don’t know and don’t fear, at least in a way that overcomes social pressure.

    As for the remainder, I don’t want to get into specific targetted messages (there are people that have been doing terrific prevention work with college students, sex workers, and other vunerable groups), but there are particular, meaningful things that can be said about prevention. There’s a fair distinction that can be made, I think, between prevention work and the way prevention has been used to bludgeon actual victims of rape.

    — ACS

  145. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t know. I really don’t know how to answer you.

    Cut, print. Until someone has an answer to this, any discussion of “rape prevention” or “lessening risk” is inappropriate. As far as I can tell, it produces no good ideas (other than of course “change the culture,” which is what feminists are trying to do all the time), but does lend aid and comfort to rapists, and to people whose agenda is to defend rapists.

  146. nik
    January 2, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Thomas, I can’t speak for ACG or KD, but the kind of thing I’m trying to get at isn’t stuff like don’t go out late at night, be careful who you socialise with, don’t drink.

    Most rapes are committed in relationships – plenty of which are serial rapes, and plenty of which are prefigured by other forms of abuse. That’s the key to the advice we should give. I don’t think the trusted partner suddenly deciding to rape you is all that common in comparison.

    Regarding the woman who wrote the letter, the guy had attempted to rape her before (or maybe even raped her, depending on how far he managed to get, which we don’t know). I’m not blaming her for not leaving him. She lives in a culture where she’s being told that being in a relationship is more important than not being abused. She also can’t expect any support from society in protecting herself, but there are warning signs which women can look for if they are told what to look for.

    There’s a cycle of abuse here. If someone gets away with slapping you, they’ll then take advantage in other ways. If they get away with one thing, they’ll push the boundaries elsewhere. Most rapists will rape again because of this, because they suffer no consequences from doing it the first time. Similarly, if you’re victimised in one way, you’re at risk for being victimised in more extreme ways in the future.

    I know from #127 you probably think this is obvious. Well it is in a way. But plenty of women do think it’s worth tolerating a certain level of abuse in return for being in a relationship. I think – perhaps – they can be educated to protect themselves. We can’t do much to prevent the rare stranger attacks or out-of-the-blue attacks, but because most attacks take place within a relationship I think an awareness of the dynamics of this can be exploited in prevention.

  147. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    ACS, what I’m getting is that rape prevention is changing the messages to men — a proposition I wholeheartedly agree with.

    Then you say,

    I don’t want to get into specific targetted messages … but there are particular, meaningful things that can be said about prevention.”

    You don’t want to get into specific targetter messages because … it’s a secret?

    Or because most of them fail my standards by limiting women’s freedom?

    I did “risk reduction” work in college years ago. The only damned good we did as far as I can tell was the bit about how to be supportive when a friend is raped. The “risk reduction” parts all failed my standards. Telling women not to get drunk with men? Telling them not to be alone with guys they just met? That’s telling women not to do things that guys take for granted, and I’m not willing to accept those answers.

  148. ACS
    January 2, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    You don’t want to get into specific targetter messages because … it’s a secret?

    Or because most of them fail my standards by limiting women’s freedom?

    I did “risk reduction” work in college years ago. The only damned good we did as far as I can tell was the bit about how to be supportive when a friend is raped. The “risk reduction” parts all failed my standards. Telling women not to get drunk with men? Telling them not to be alone with guys they just met? That’s telling women not to do things that guys take for granted, and I’m not willing to accept those answers.

    I’m not wanting to get into specific group-targetted messages because I didn’t want to get into a discussion of “here are some useful things to tell sex workers; here are some useful things that address common situations that college students face.” Actually, that entire kind of teacher-student model that assumes consistent conditions and homogenous culture with regard to rape (and proceeds largely from a conceptual base that argues that rape is outside the norm) is part of the problem.

    I’m not involved in this part of the program, so I can’t talk in detail about what other people in the agency I work for are doing, but Washington in particular is really sold on the community-development model: that is, using the particular experiences of communities within which rape occurs (churches; the Greek community; a gay nightclub) to build specific, context-sensitive plans to prevent rapes from happening and respond to rapes that occur within the community, rather than coming down from on high with diktats about how and why rapes occur within their community and how to deal with it.

    This, for instance, is wrong and crazy. This is not what I’m talking about.

    — ACS

  149. January 2, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    I think “lessening risk” is more inflammatory than say, y’know, as suggested earlier, basic self-defense, safety, assertiveness, yadda. I don’t know that it necessarily lessens the risk, though; that depends on other circumstances as well, the amount of risk you well risk. But I do think all those things are good as well, which i assume was the author’s main point.

    and/or, what ACS said.

  150. January 2, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    slippage.

    anyway, KnifeGhost, Peter, anyone else: I went ahead and started a thread at my place, here.

  151. January 2, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Sorry for the serial posting, but belledame,

    heh.

  152. MyFireElf
    January 2, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    JDC: …I think it’s normal for people like me to wonder if [a safe word] would have convinced him to stop.

    I really tried to make it through the thread before speaking up, but this just keeps biting at me. And what you said over at Pandagon.

    Okay, nobody’s interested in the notion that perhaps… …this particular rapist can be convinced to stop.

    She should not have to (no woman should have to) CONVINCE a man to stop violating her body!

  153. zuzu
    January 2, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Thomas, to use your hurricane analogy, you can board up your windows to keep the winds from breaking them, but ultimately the hurricane decides if your windows get broken. And even if you don’t board up your windows, it’s not your fault the hurricane fucked up your house. Second-guessing helps nobody ever.

    Well, unless you live in New Orleans and — look! buses!

    Most rapes are committed in relationships – plenty of which are serial rapes, and plenty of which are prefigured by other forms of abuse. That’s the key to the advice we should give. I don’t think the trusted partner suddenly deciding to rape you is all that common in comparison.

    Regarding the woman who wrote the letter, the guy had attempted to rape her before (or maybe even raped her, depending on how far he managed to get, which we don’t know). I’m not blaming her for not leaving him. She lives in a culture where she’s being told that being in a relationship is more important than not being abused. She also can’t expect any support from society in protecting herself, but there are warning signs which women can look for if they are told what to look for.

    There’s a cycle of abuse here. If someone gets away with slapping you, they’ll then take advantage in other ways. If they get away with one thing, they’ll push the boundaries elsewhere. Most rapists will rape again because of this, because they suffer no consequences from doing it the first time. Similarly, if you’re victimised in one way, you’re at risk for being victimised in more extreme ways in the future.

    In other words, “Why didn’t she leave?”

    Again, this puts the burden of preventing the behavior not on the perp but on the victim, for not being clairvoyant and seeing with perfect foresight what you see in hindsight.

  154. JDC
    January 2, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Amanda, since you insist on getting personal:

    I’m concerned about anyone who tries to have a relationship with you, since you make assumptions about things you cannot possibly know, distort and re-frame what they say in the worst possible light, and are just generally intellectually dishonest. Since one’s online debating behavior is apparently a perfect indicator of how they treat their loved ones, this means you would be an emotionally abusive partner.

    But, at least you responded to an instance of being called out on your bullshit for a change, so I’m hopeful.

    What’s really offensive, Amanda, is that you’re insulting my girlfriend of eight years by assuming she would have such poor self-esteem to be with someone who wasn’t good to her. Me, I’ve received much worse insults at that lovely blog of yours, so I don’t care, but leave my girlfriend the fuck out of it. Do you even realize you’re insulting someone you don’t know?

  155. Thomas
    January 2, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Washington in particular is really sold on the community-development model: that is, using the particular experiences of communities within which rape occurs (churches; the Greek community; a gay nightclub) to build specific, context-sensitive plans to prevent rapes from happening and respond to rapes that occur within the community, rather than coming down from on high with diktats about how and why rapes occur within their community and how to deal with it.

    Is there an example available? I’m interested in what kind of context-specific message one uses for a church, or for a gay nightclub.

  156. January 2, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    It hurt your feelings to have a stranger on the internet insinuate that you aren’t conducting your personal relationships properly?

    Good. Absorb that lesson next time you want to tell a rape victim she didn’t do enough to protect herself from her boyfriend of 3 years.

  157. January 2, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Uh….you don’t got to bring your g/f into this dude.

  158. January 2, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    As for insults, sorry if I hurt your feelings. You hurt mine with your insinuation that I was implying that rape victims shouldn’t engage in self-defense—particularly your ugly insinuation that I don’t want people to escape further victimization, something I have been lucky enough to do. Your defense of victim-blaming is an insult to me and everyone like me who didn’t do enough by your measures to stop men who had a mind to rape us. In a fog. Of male entitlement.

  159. JDC
    January 2, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    MyFireElf, please don’t bring my old Pandagon comments over here. I won’t address them. I’m trying to move forward on this topic, doing more reading than commenting, (and incidentally, closing the door on that little snakepit).

  160. January 2, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Knife, I’m going to point out that my original post was about cultural changes that men and women can both engage in that lessen the possibility of rape, particularly women letting go of the fear of losing a relationship and the social status it brings. But I strongly disagree that saying that rape is 100% on the rapist has shit all to do with denying women’s agency. What Thomas said. And what Ilyka says:

    It points up something else, too: We don’t view a man’s agency as so fragile or transient that it requires reaffirming, or lots of tender loving care to prevent others from encroaching upon it.

    The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of feminist writing that denies that women have full agency, but actually I would put “what can women do to stop getting raped?” in that category

  161. MyFireElf
    January 2, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    The top quote is from this thread. The bottom one was just my attempt to reinforce the context (I wouldn’t want to be accused of only quoting fragments).

    I’m not trying to stir the pot any more than it already is. It just… bugged me.

  162. January 2, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    please don’t bring my old Pandagon comments over here.

    Isn’t this EXACTLY what you’ve done in your entire asinine argument? Fine, you’ve admitted it is in fact an instance of rape and that PiatoR isn’t worth anything.

    You want applause? You want to further imply that the victim didn’t do enough to stop what happened to her? You want to talk about what women can supposedly do to stop rape? If so, go to hell.

  163. January 2, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Ack, cut myself off. The reason is that it implies that up until we came up with our brilliant rape prevention ideas, women are somehow lacking in agency and getting themselves raped. I reject that. Women are like men and have full agency and are weighing their options and making decisions. With the knowledge at hand, a woman in bed with her boyfriend usually believes she’s as far from being raped as possible, because our culture has this notion that rape is something strangers do, or relative strangers, and men close to us are the ones who protect us. So, with the available knowledge, women who stick close to men that are marked as protectors—boyfriends, husbands, friends, fathers—are actually acting with as much agency as anyone.

    Education might be an issue, but the education is a lot more complex, obviously, than “use a safeword”. And education will not help women if there’s not subsequent social change. You can tell women night and day that you’re more likely to be raped or abused by a partner than a stranger, but that’s not going to change anything if we don’t have men learning not to hit or rape. Because women, having full agency, are going to weigh their options and decide that the risks of having a partner are worth the potential rewards.

  164. January 2, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    ACS, I’d also be interested in hearing your take on how you address different communities; maybe that would be relevant for the drift thread I started.

  165. January 2, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    I rather think that the “prevention” that at least some people were talking about did in fact include education. and that most such programs at least in my experience tend to talk about such things as “statistically, x many rapes happen at the hands of someone you know” before something like bondage safewords.

  166. ACS
    January 2, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Is there an example available? I’m interested in what kind of context-specific message one uses for a church, or for a gay nightclub.

    Yeah, actually. The second is the only intervention I can actually speak to, because I’m the one that conducted the stakeholder meetings surrounding it*. Mostly, it was a discussion of reframing the issue of consent for gay men so it looked like an issue that applied to them. A lot of the people I worked with were young, just-recently-out gay men who viewed themselves entirely in the role of being the sexual aggressor, rather than being an individual who was potentially sexually receptive — which made framing the issue of consent for them potentially difficult. That is: there’s a norm that adult men, when they do think about consent, don’t think about their own sexual consent, only the sexual consent of potential partners.

    We did a friend-to-friend survey to begin with, which came back with a 25% rate of forcible or drug-facilitated rape and with 87% of responding individuals reporting that they had experienced some form of sexual violence or nonconsensual sexual behavior. This was, I’d say, prety comparable with women.

    There were a number of issues we acutally ended up working on. The first was actively thinking about consent. We used some of the same tools that get applied in M/F rape prevention; specifically, intervening when someone’s obviously too fucked up to consent. The second was informational. The third was creating and maintaining institutions outside sexualized behavior was toned down, so gay men would get a chance to interact outside the club/bar scene and actually, you know, talk to each other. The fourth was making sure that people who did bad things didn’t get to hide behind a “thin pink line” while leaving the victims out in the cold. The fifth was some basic drug and alcohol safety education: not “cover your drink,” but “know where your judgement stands when you’ve had X, or done X drug”.

    — ACS

    * Full disclosure: it wasn’t actually a gay nightclub; it was the intersection of a gay men’s coffee/activism group who overlapped regulars at the only club in the college town I work in, which happens to be assertively LGBT-friendly and “the gay hang-out”, not that there was a large enough gay community to support any LGBT institutions.

  167. January 2, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    thanks, ACS.

    A lot of the people I worked with were young, just-recently-out gay men who viewed themselves entirely in the role of being the sexual aggressor, rather than being an individual who was potentially sexually receptive — which made framing the issue of consent for them potentially difficult. That is: there’s a norm that adult men, when they do think about consent, don’t think about their own sexual consent, only the sexual consent of potential partners.

    that’s interesting. would you say that was because of still-internalized this-is-what-masculinity-is stuff, or fear of contracting disease (i hear that among newly out men more, reasons for not bottoming wrt anal at least), or…?

  168. January 2, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Agreed, belledame, but I think it’s dangerous to overrate how much educating women will help, for real. I think the giant decline in the rape rate is probably due to two factors: 1) men have learned that just because you know a woman doesn’t mean that it’s not rape when you force yourself on her and 2) the increasing social acceptance of the fact that women have sex for our own reasons has made men a lot less willing to characterize resistance from a woman as an obstacle to be overcome by force and instead they see it as a turn-off.

    Between the two, rape is a lot less common. You read older books and histories and there’s a lot of common acceptance of date rape as a fact of life. This has changed. And it’s not that women changed that made the difference—it’s that men relinquished their privilege in a profound way.

  169. ACS
    January 2, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    that’s interesting. would you say that was because of still-internalized this-is-what-masculinity-is stuff, or fear of contracting disease (i hear that among newly out men more, reasons for not bottoming wrt anal at least), or…?

    I’m not talking about topping and bottoming, although, looking back, I can definitely see how it could be interpreted that way. It’s about men not thinking about themselves as having the capacity to deny consent. Heterosexual men (and almost every gay man has thought of himself as heterosexual at one point) are taught that their partners are the sexual gatekeepers: they propose sex, and their partner responds with either a yes or a no. When put in the situation where they are not clearly the aggressor, as often happens especially with young gay men, they frequently don’t have any sort of frame — as in, consent/non-consent — to place their reaction in, or are unsure what their rights are in that situation. In that situation, it’s easy for it to get coercive.

    At least, that’s the conclusion that our stakeholders came to.

    — ACS

  170. January 2, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    But I strongly disagree that saying that rape is 100% on the rapist has shit all to do with denying women’s agency.

    Yes, absolutely.

    Look, it is ridiculous to suggest that saying that only a rapist can prevent a rape denies a woman agency. We exercise our agency when we choose to do one thing or another. We don’t choose to get raped. Someone chooses to rape us.

    Now, we may choose in a rape situation to fight back. Then again, we may choose not to, because we might believe that not fighting increases our chances of survival. We also may not because we’re too traumatized to do so in that situation.

    We may choose to study self-defense. We also may choose not to. Regardless of which option we choose, the rapist is equally culpable.

    And that’s what it really boils down to. A rapist is equally culpable in any situation, regardless of what we do or don’t do. The only agency that mattered in that situation was our right to consent. It was the rapist who decided that didn’t matter. Not us. Therefore, it is all on the rapist to prevent rape.

  171. January 2, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    well, and by education, i meant: *men* as well as women. you’re right, it can’t be one-sided.

    The real problem is the long-standing social/cultural tradition of treating rape as, at best, (if not actually a right and proper and deserved thing), a regrettable but inevitable problem, beyond human control, like the weather. that’s true on a micro level and you also see it on a micro level (i.e. some of the more disgusting apologies for the Duke case–“well, whaddya think is gonna happen with a room full of drunk and horny boys?” and so on).

    On the other hand–while it’s definitely true that the rapist SHOULD take responsibility for his actions, and that in the -aftermath-, sure, we can all line up and say, it’s all his fault (and it is); on the other hand, that doesn’t do much for what happens BEFORE it happens.

    and we none of us can control anyone else, at the end of the day. We try to figure out the best ways of…deterrence? but, ultimately, just acknowledging that “yeah, rapists suck, period; and this is what all decent people understand to be rape, and if you do it you’re a rapist, and you suck” isn’t enough to stop it happening, of itself, either, i don’t think.

  172. mythago
    January 3, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Do you even realize you’re insulting someone you don’t know?

    Exhibit A: what happens when you forget to take your irony supplements.

    My previous point was only that there are things we can do to support women in lessening risk

    There are–but they are nothing like the advice women are always given. “A man who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer the first time is dangerous” is never quite as popular as “Never go out alone at night.” (And yes, guys, women ARE told this with a straight face. ) Gavin deBecker is about the only example I can come up with of a person who presents good ideas for women (and men) to spot predators, without engaging in victim-blaming or pretending that rape is inevitable and blameless, like rain.

  173. January 3, 2007 at 1:23 am

    “A man who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer the first time is dangerous” is never quite as popular as “Never go out alone at night.”

    Indeed, if the guy, say, kicks you out of the car and makes you walk home in the dark, because you said no, and then says he’s sorry afterward, all the training is in favor of letting it pass, because you forgive people who are sorry, right? And he didn’t actually do anything abusive, right?

    (And yes, guys, women ARE told this with a straight face. )

    All the time. I remember the year that some guy wrote a stupid letter to my college newspaper, that got published, about how the rape problem would be all solved if women just didn’t go out alone at night. At the same time, the campus escort service stopped at midnight, getting decent, not excessively loaded time on the campus computer system required me to go there after midnight, and it was back in the day of mainframes, when no one had access from the dorm. And some of my male friends (who wrestled with that same computer system, and kept the same hours to get good access to it) didn’t understand why I found the letter offensive.

    Far from the only time I’ve heard “Never go out alone at night,” but the most egregious.

  174. Susan
    January 3, 2007 at 2:03 am

    JDC:

    please don’t bring my old Pandagon comments over here.

    Isn’t that exactly what you did to Amanda at 154? Why the double standard?

  175. R. Mildred
    January 3, 2007 at 2:28 am

    2) the increasing social acceptance of the fact that women have sex for our own reasons has made men a lot less willing to characterize resistance from a woman as an obstacle to be overcome by force and instead they see it as a turn-off.

    Yeah, the heartening thing about much of the rape apologist literature is that it accepts implictly that women ahve consent to give – the whole thing about how women shouldn’t drink or do this or do this to invite rape implies that we’re giving off secret signals of consent, which, while not doubleplus good exactly, still means they’re accepting that women have consent to give, even if we’re now supposedly able to secretly give it, and if we can give consent, we can take it away.

    And on top of that, they all accept that men have to be inticed at all – they’re no longer spontaneous rape monkeys, so men are allowed to consent, to want to have sex on a concious level also.

    They’re baby steps towards progress, but steps towards nontheless, desptie the right wings’ thrashing and wailing in an attempt to wake the dead and turn the world back to those glorious days when feminism hadn’t yet been visible despite it being there, eating away at the foundations of their wished for zietgeist.

    That’s what confuses people about the 50’s/60’s, the backlash started then, the “sexual revolution” was the backlash practically and ever since we’ve been in open conflict with the anti-fems, and we’ve made so much ground that even they’re repeating our ideas for us, watered down naturally, but still there, becuase they can’t understand truly what they’re supporting, to support it, without going mad or blind or converting at the sight.

    and we none of us can control anyone else, at the end of the day.

    Yes, but we can control ourselves, and no one thinks of themselves as evil.

    That’s actually a fanfic rule I picked up that applies to real life – when writing a villian always remember that no one thinks that they’re evil, not really, they’ve got motivations, they’ve got reasons that justify their actions, no matter how evil they are, to themselves if no one else , there’s always a reason that a person does an evil act. (except skelator)

    And leading on from that, if we can get everyone to agree that an act really is evil, and to allow them no way to fool themselves that this act, in this moment, in this particular way, is not really evil, then we stop that act occurring.

    You need a sort of sub-nuspeek, not new words or new language, but an acceptance of new meanings for old words – to make “rape” mean “rape” in the minds of people, rather than just this abstract evil thing that they would never do because of course they’re not evil, oh no, you’re oh so badly mistaken and your definition is wrong.

    As long as men can convince themselves that rape isn’t rape, that it is if not consensual sex then merely this lesser thing that isn’t quite rape, oh ho ho ho, not rape but this hting that isn’t so… evil, becuase they’ve done something alarmingly similar and here comes the super ego defending itself…

  176. KH
    January 3, 2007 at 2:38 am

    Of course there are things women can do to reduce the risk of rape. Mass suicide, for example. Or kill all the men. Or withdraw to armed camps. A well-armed woman sometimes can stop rape, as the slogan reminds us. These are, after all, possible exercises of agency. Women could devote themselves so entirely to avoiding rape, to the exclusion of everything else, that nothing good remained in their lives (except the reduced chance of being raped). There are less radical options. The fact that they all reduce rather than eliminate the risk doesn’t fundamentally change things. No one imagines that women, acting alone, could absolutely eliminate rape, but they could, if they sufficiently turned their lives upside down, radically curtail it. And so …?

    The question isn’t really about agency; it’s about causality, &, above all, the difference between, on the one hand, causality, probabilities, matters of empirical fact, &, on the other, right & moral responsibility. The empirical argument displaces a moral one. I suspect that many people adhere to the idea that only rapists can prevent rape – the categorical generalization, not judgments any specific case where, e.g., the victim already effectively has been physically overpowered – in part because they subconsciously still accept the wicked notion that if there’s anything – not even just anything reasonable, but anything – that a woman could possibly have done but didn’t, then she bears some small measure of responsibility if she’s attacked. This obnoxious principle is applied in no other field of human affairs, & it’s past time it was discarded in discussions of rape.

    It’s rarely stated outright. More often the insinuation is enough: If a woman doesn’t do every conceivable thing to prevent rape, no matter how much it costs her, how much it diminishes her life, then she’s somehow deemed to have assumed the risk (in insurance-speak), & bears at least a bit of the responsibility for her own victimization. The beauty of the insinuation is that victims, & women who fear becoming ones, can always think of something more they could have done, even if they tell themselves there wasn’t.

    The risk of rape imposes real costs on all rapable people. To the extent that I, in response to the risk, take classes, learn self-defense, devote myself emotionally to the danger, change my habits, do anything I wouldn’t do but for the risk, I’m foregoing things that I’d rather have been doing, & am to that extent poorer, even if I’m never raped. Having agency, I can impoverish myself in this way to the ultimate, insane degree, so conform my conduct to the risk of rape that I lose all chance of a flourishing life. I can withdraw from life.

    Most women don’t do that. They choose to bear some risk. People disagree about where prudence lies, but there’s no point along the continuum at which women become morally responsible for their own victimization. If anyone, in her heart, doubts that, she won’t find real peace by telling herself that, as a matter of contingent empirical fact, there’s nothing anyone can ever do. Not least because, in our real lives, we all daily show that, whatever we profess, we do still cling to the hope that, if we don’t do this, or avoid that, maybe we’ll be safer. The only way out of this impasse, I think, it to get clear in our heads the fundamental moral truth of rape, which is that, no matter whether the victim could have done this, or avoided that, no matter whether, by utterly abandoning her life’s own projects, she could have forever wiped rape off the face of the earth, she’s innocent, & the rapist is guilty. How, as a problem of practical reason, she balances the costs & risks she faces is another matter.

    Incidentally, isn’t the miscreant in the Savage letter also guity of other felonies, in addition to rape? Any lawyers here?

  177. KnifeGhost
    January 3, 2007 at 3:09 am

    My previous point was only that there are things we can do to support women in lessening risk

    There are–but they are nothing like the advice women are always given. “A man who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer the first time is dangerous” is never quite as popular as “Never go out alone at night.” (And yes, guys, women ARE told this with a straight face. ) Gavin deBecker is about the only example I can come up with of a person who presents good ideas for women (and men) to spot predators, without engaging in victim-blaming or pretending that rape is inevitable and blameless, like rain.

    Thanks, you said that better than I could.

    Cut, print. Until someone has an answer to this, any discussion of “rape prevention” or “lessening risk” is inappropriate.

    Thomas, it’s hard to find answers to things without discussing them, isn’t it?

    Look, I know what you’re getting at. And I mostly agree. But not talking about things never gets them solved. Ultimately it’s more productive to talk about things while risking fucking up (and I’ve fucked up more than I tend to in this thread) than it is not to talk about them.

    Rape survivors never bear fault for their rape. Rapists always bear culpability for raping. There are no exceptions to that. Discussions of what women can do for their own safety can NEVER be applied retroactively. I’m not sure where you see the victim-blaming, but I’m going to step back, grant the premise, and think it over.

  178. January 3, 2007 at 7:37 am

    I suspect that many people adhere to the idea that only rapists can prevent rape – the categorical generalization, not judgments any specific case where, e.g., the victim already effectively has been physically overpowered – in part because they subconsciously still accept the wicked notion that if there’s anything – not even just anything reasonable, but anything – that a woman could possibly have done but didn’t, then she bears some small measure of responsibility if she’s attacked.

    Or many of us continue to adhere to that notion because we know damn well that’s what most OTHER people believe, and giving ANY ground to them on that issue reinforces that belief. Look, I’m not going to argue that there are, in fact, things that anyone CAN do to lessen the risk of just about anything. And if someone is actually interested and chooses to seek those things out, great. But if someone chooses not to, great too. Further, it is distinctly possible to do many things to lessen the risk, but someone still rapes you. So, really, the only one who could prevent the rape with 100% certainty is the rapist.

    If we lived in the kind of society where people believed that rapists were equally culpable regardless of what the victim did or did not do, we could have a very different discussion about this. Just the same way it’s possible to have a very different discussion about how much special locks and alarm systems can do to lessen the risk of your house being burglarized, since we do live in the kind of society that believes the burglar is equally culpable regardless of what kind of locks someone had, etc.

    Sadly we still teach and reinforce in victims of rape that it’s their responsibility to have done something to stop it. That if they don’t, somehow that lessens the responsibility of the rapist. This comes out in tons of tiny ways. For example, when discussing whether or not it would be wise to pass a law setting a specific blood alcohol level above which a person would be deemed capable of consenting to sex, the discussion devolves into how women should just not drink or drink less if they don’t want to “get raped.” Despite the fact that men are equally or more likely to have been massively drunk when they commit those rapes, no one suggests that, hey, maybe men should drink less.

    In fact, our colloquial language reinforces that it’s victims who are responsible for stopping rape. Note that it’s almost always phrased as “X got raped.” As if it’s something X just went out and did, like getting some milk from the store. The perpetrator disappears from the equation. It should be phrased as “Y raped X,” or “An unknown assailant raped X.”

    Another thing I want to point out is that most of the things that people can do to significantly lessen the risk of rape are along the lines of not having male relatives, friends, or acquaintances. Most of the things we advise people to do to lessen the risk of rape revolve around lessening the risk of stranger rape, the less common sort of rape. I think it would be great if we started educating people in the dynamics of abuse, so they could spot abusers earlier. Just seeking out romantic or sexual relationships increases the risk of rape, so it would be good to educate people to help spot the signs earlier on. Not that a failure to act on doing so would in any way lessen the culpability of the abuser.

    So basically, I agree with you when you say this:

    The only way out of this impasse, I think, it to get clear in our heads the fundamental moral truth of rape, which is that, no matter whether the victim could have done this, or avoided that, no matter whether, by utterly abandoning her life’s own projects, she could have forever wiped rape off the face of the earth, she’s innocent, & the rapist is guilty.

    However, until we are able to do that, I will continue to frame the issue as rape being something that only a rapist can prevent. It puts the focus smack on the rapist, where it belongs. I will also be leery of people who frame it in other ways, because all too often (but not always), there’s a rape apologist subtext to that. I’m not saying anyone commenting here has that subtext, but there’s always lurkers and future readers.

  179. thegirlfrommarz
    January 3, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I’ve been reading this thread all morning, and I wanted to thank you all for such an interesting and thought-provoking discussion. It’s why I love Feministe – you’ve truly spun the straw of a dumb comment into gold.

    I’ve been turning the whole issue of why some people don’t realise that it’s rape or assume the victim bears some responsibility over in my mind recently, since I saw a TV program where a group of young university students were asked if some reconstructed incidents were rape or not (e.g. she was drunk, he walked her home and took her upstairs, she was almost comatose… was that sex or rape?). What shocked me was how many of the male students thought it was fine – he was a bit stupid or “naughty” or something, but not a rapist. The female students thought it was definitely rape, but only one of them out of twelve thought it was clearcut enough to convict him if they’d been on a jury.

    A lot of men still think there are grey areas where it’s not exactly consensual sex but it’s definitely not rape. They look at a rape like that and don’t see it as rape. They aren’t evil (which is why I really liked the point R. Mildred made earlier about people not seeing themselves as evil, in general), but they’re wilfully blind and need to have their eyes opens. I’m not an expert in this by any means, but I wonder whether a strong, simple campaign to show how unacceptable this kind of “oh it’s not really rape” behaviour is would work in making more people less tolerant of it, like the way drunk-driving has changed in the way we think of it from “a bit naughty” to “stupid, dangerous and criminal”. Rapists like this flourish when society tolerates and turns a blind eye to the seriousness of what they do. It shouldn’t be about what women can do to protect themselves from rapists – it should be about what society can do to make the general climate less tolerant of criminal behaviour of this sort and make sure it’s not nudge-nudge-wink-wink acceptable.

    Hey, I know – teaching my grandmother to suck eggs much? But I’m not exactly surrounded by feminist thinkers IRL at the moment, and sometimes it feels good just to state the obvious.

  180. January 3, 2007 at 10:57 am

    There are–but they are nothing like the advice women are always given. “A man who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer the first time is dangerous” is never quite as popular as “Never go out alone at night.” (And yes, guys, women ARE told this with a straight face. ) Gavin deBecker is about the only example I can come up with of a person who presents good ideas for women (and men) to spot predators, without engaging in victim-blaming or pretending that rape is inevitable and blameless, like rain.

    Well, I kind of like the Heartless Bitches Manipulator Files, for one.

  181. JDC
    January 3, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Susan:

    Isn’t that exactly what you did to Amanda at 154? Why the double standard?

    There’s a big difference.

    I’m trying to back away from any past comments of mine that could be taken as rape apology, because I know perfectly well I’m not an apologist, yet I’m somehow unable to express what I was thinking at the time. It seems there is still some reasonable debate about what does or doesn’t constitute “blaming the victim”, which is slightly comforting, but since I’m new to the debate, I don’t feel I should be proclaiming anything yet, nor should I necessarily stand by old statements (although, again: No rape excuses or apologies were EVER intended.)

    Amanda, on the other hand, is merely getting personal and nasty. Bringing my girlfriend into it, no less. This is why I don’t like Pandagon: It’s the sort of place where people can say “Fuck you, you fucking jerk, fuck you up the ass” (yes, in that very thread), or hint that somebody’s a rapist himself for having the wrong opinion. It’s a low standard — worse than in the Jesse/Ezra days, as I recall — and that goes to Amanda. Since she got personal with me, I got personal right back at her. I don’t plan to keep going in that direction, though. Like I said, I’m trying to read rather than comment right now.

    See the difference?

  182. Peter
    January 3, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    You need a sort of sub-nuspeek, not new words or new language, but an acceptance of new meanings for old words – to make “rape” mean “rape” in the minds of people, rather than just this abstract evil thing that they would never do because of course they’re not evil, oh no, you’re oh so badly mistaken and your definition is wrong.

    I couldn’t agree more. I would add that because of this, I wonder if there might be some value in being a little more sparing in the use of the word “rapist.”

    I don’t disagree at all with the accuracy of the term. But if we want discussions like this to sink in to the people who really need to learn from them, it may be counterproductive.

    Your construct — people don’t think of themselves as evil, also works to short circuit discussions like this one.

    “I am not an evil person.” “Rapists are evil people.” “Therefore, I am not a rapist.” “Therefore, this discussion is not about me.” “Therefore, this discussion is not about anything I might do.”

    On the other hand, speaking about the action, and in that case, by all means, use the word rape loud and often, doesn’t do that same short-circuiting.

    “I am not an evil person.” “Having sex with someone without their full consent is rape.” “Have I ever, or could I ever do that? Oh, my God.”

    Sometimes I wonder if what underlies some of the “rape apology” that shows up in threads like this — the ones that blew up here, the “Oh, I concede that this is rape, but maybe this other thing applies” is not so much an actual apology for the deed or the person, but a difficulty in wrapping our heads around using the word rapist to apply to some shmuck who hospitalized his girlfriend. I don’t argue the correctness of the term, just the ease in using it. While using it really does underscore the seriousness of what he did, does it at the same time make it harder to apply to similar (especially, the less dramatic) situations?

    Mildred essentially proposes making the word “rape” more accessible (which we could all probably help by using modifiers for what “used to mean” rape, like “serial rape” or “violent rape” or “armed rape,” etc.). I agree completely.

    I wonder if it might help to meet somehow in the middle by using our language so that it is clear that rape is something that “people” do, not just those evil charicatures in B movies called “rapists.”

    Or does something like what I am talking about only serve to water down the seriousness of the rape itself? Anyone? I actually see it both ways, and anything we can do to cut down on all this needs to be done.

  183. January 3, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    “I am not an evil person.” “Rapists are evil people.” “Therefore, I am not a rapist.” “Therefore, this discussion is not about me.” “Therefore, this discussion is not about anything I might do.”

    Substitute a “c” for a “p” and you have a whole -other- set of blowups…

  184. January 3, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I would add that because of this, I wonder if there might be some value in being a little more sparing in the use of the word “rapist.”

    If you commit first degree, second degree, or third degree murder, it’s still called murder You’re still a murderer. You don’t need new words.

    In fact, calling it something other than rape makes it seem as if it’s lesser. This is the situation we’re in today, where people believe that if you didn’t jump some unsuspecting victim, you’re not really a rapist. If you want to express the concept that premeditation is worse than opportunism, you can do that without changing the name of the crime. Further, premeditation does not necessitate the guy who waits in the doorway and jumps some unsuspecting victim. Acquaintance rapes can be equally as premeditated.

  185. Peter
    January 3, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Lesley,

    Please reread what I said. I explicitly said to keep calling it rape, and do it more than we do it now. I explicitly said it was ONLY the specific word “rapist” that I was talking about.

    I agree with what you say about the word “rape.” Do you have any thoughts on what I actually said?

  186. Peter
    January 3, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    belledame222 Says: Substitute a “c” for a “p” and you have a whole -other- set of blowups…

    I agree completely. And I meet a lot of people who bristle and shut down when the conversation starts by calling them a racist, but who will listen and think if you speak about specific ways in which how they think and act are race-based.

    Talking more about racism and less about racists can achieve a lot of otherwise difficult or impossible results. I am only wondering if the same might apply with rape — talk more about rape in all its forms (asrape) and about the various people who commit it, and less use of the word “rapist” – which distances people from applying it to themselves.

  187. Peter
    January 3, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    that should have read:
    “talk more about rape in all its forms (as rape)”

  188. January 3, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. But my response remains the same. If someone commits a rape, he/she is a rapist. Just like if someone commits a murder, he/she is a murderer. The only difference is in degrees. You don’t need new words.

    And I further maintain that even with a word switch, the first sentence of the second paragraph is true. Rewrite it as “In fact, calling them something other than a rapist makes it seem as if it’s lesser.” You can still retain the idea that premeditation is worse than opportunism without changing the word rapist. The idea that X committed rape but is not a rapist really does water things down.

    This is very like where we are now, where 1 in 12 men commit acts that legally qualify as rape, but 84% of them don’t consider themselves rapists. If you commit an act that legally qualifies as rape, you are a rapist. If that makes someone uncomfortable, good. It ought to. Perhaps they’ll reconsider committing an act that legally qualifies as rape. Otherwise, I think you give them an out in their own head.

  189. Peter
    January 3, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    You know what, never mind. Please allow me to utterly and completely retract the entire idea. If a moderator can delete my posts on the point, please do. It is not worth going where this is going to go.

    Pretend I never said anything.

  190. January 3, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Peter, seriously, I do appreciate what you’re trying to do. I don’t think you believe that someone who commits a rape isn’t a rapist. I understand that you want to make it easier for someone to accept the idea that they might have committed a rape or might do so because they have some pretty effed-up assumptions around consent and whether women really mean it when they say “No.” It’s just that I think that what you proposed and now withdrew would exacerbate the situation we have today. It would help enable the existent mentality that someone can force another to have sex without consent but somehow not be a rapist.

    It isn’t that I think you in anyway believe that. So just to be clear on that.

  191. Peter
    January 3, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for that feedback. It is reassuring.

    I repeat my request for my points to be either deleted or ignored. I do not want to go there, and I am profoundly sorry that I raised them in the first place.

  192. thegirlfrommarz
    January 3, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I do kind of see what you’re saying, Peter, and it’s something I’ve wondered about myself. I do agree with you that people will not apply the label “rapist” to themselves and that in talking to people about rape it would certainly be more constructive to structure the conversation in the second way – and let them have the road to Damascus moment about whether they could ever be a rapist themselves:

    “I am not an evil person.” “Having sex with someone without their full consent is rape.” “Have I ever, or could I ever do that? Oh, my God.”

    But I think the problem is that someone who commits a rape is a rapist. If people don’t get that, they need to have their eyes opened to what rape is.

    I think it’s about taking the easy definition that “a rapist is an evil stranger who rapes a young girl in a dark alleyway” and then saying, yes, but coercing someone to have sex with you without their consent is rape. Even if she’s your girlfriend or wife. Even if you went on a date with her and she got drunk and asked you up for coffee. Even if she didn’t say no, but she just didn’t say yes.

    Like I said about the drink-driving thing, in the UK it used to be okay. It was a bit naughty – “really shouldn’t drive, had one too many, but sod it, got to get home”. People thought real drunk-drivers were too drunk to stand up, alcoholics, evil people, not some ordinary person whose reaction times were slower than they might have been because they’d had a few pints. Then the government started a really hard-hitting campaign showing the after-effects of drink-driving and making it clear that anyone who’d drunk more than the legal limit was at fault and would be heavily prosecuted. Public opinion shifted: drink-driving is not tolerated and most people are disgusted by people who drive drunk. The police come down hard on drivers who are over the legal limit. So it happens less often because it just isn’t tolerated in the same way. I’d love to see that happen to so-called “date rape” – but I think it will take a major shift in public opinion for a lot of people to understand that it really is rape if force isn’t involved.

  193. thegirlfrommarz
    January 3, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    By the way, sorry for extending this conversation, Peter, despite you asking for it to be deleted/ignored – like Lesley, I also understand entirely that you’re not saying that someone who rapes isn’t a rapist – just suggesting the best way to get people to understand what rape means.

  194. ACS
    January 3, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Peter, seriously, I do appreciate what you’re trying to do. I don’t think you believe that someone who commits a rape isn’t a rapist. I understand that you want to make it easier for someone to accept the idea that they might have committed a rape or might do so because they have some pretty effed-up assumptions around consent and whether women really mean it when they say “No.” It’s just that I think that what you proposed and now withdrew would exacerbate the situation we have today. It would help enable the existent mentality that someone can force another to have sex without consent but somehow not be a rapist.

    It isn’t that I think you in anyway believe that. So just to be clear on that.

    I’ll, I guess, not reiterate what Peter said, but chime in. More people have a correct idea of what rape is than about what rapists are. You get different and better answers from men if you present an acquaintence-rape scenario and ask, “is what the man did in this situation wrong?“, then “should what the man did be illegal?” and then proceed to “is it rape?” That way, the question can be addressed with reduced resistance.

    Almost all adults have been exposed to the right ideas about rape. They understand, on some level, what rape is and why it’s wrong. The capacity of people to hold conflicting ideas (and to put wrong ideas that benefit them over right ideas that they’re not certain of) is incredible.

    Unfortunately, the demonization of rapists is a tremendous barrier to men understanding their own capacity to rape. This is not to say that rape is not a monstrous act. It is. But most rapists themselves are not, themselves, monstrous, in that they are not acting far outside existing social norms. Rape is a social phenomenon, not an individual aberration — a social phenomenon like, for instance, genocide. When speaking to hostile audiences, giving a firm framework w/r/t cultural and subcultural norms that normalize rape is important before saying “you might be a rapist,” because saying “you might be a rapist” immediately invokes the guy hiding in the bushes, which, frankly, even hostile audiences are not.

    I think that’s more what Peter was trying to say?

    — ACS

  195. ACS
    January 3, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    But I think the problem is that someone who commits a rape is a rapist. If people don’t get that, they need to have their eyes opened to what rape is.

    Exactly.

    — ACS

  196. January 3, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    well, i was just saying on the other thread, the Liz Funk one:

    basically i think that saying “rape is the rapist’s fault, 100%” is necessary but not sufficient, is what it boils down to. And that it tends to be more useful -after- the fact than as a deterrent, of itself. Yes, education as to what rape is, proper boundaries and communication, all of that, for -all- genders and populations, is vital. and of course work at the macro level: courts, legislation, various institutions.

    and also, though, i think, at the personal is political level (and really, what’s more personal than this?) a more sophisticated, nuanced understanding of how to recognize the people who -don’t- respond to reason or empathy, early warning system, if you like, would be good. i linked to HBI up above for some examples of that.

  197. January 3, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Rape is a social phenomenon, not an individual aberration — a social phenomenon like, for instance, genocide. When speaking to hostile audiences, giving a firm framework w/r/t cultural and subcultural norms that normalize rape is important before saying “you might be a rapist,” because saying “you might be a rapist” immediately invokes the guy hiding in the bushes, which, frankly, even hostile audiences are not.

    and that makes a lot of sense, too, if what you’re talking about is overriding the automatic defensive instinct that kicks in with most basically well-meaning dudes (and as RM or someone pointed out above, no one thinks they’re the bad guy, really) so as to get to the nitty gritty quicker and more effectively. Yes.

  198. KH
    January 3, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Or many of us continue to adhere to that notion because we know damn well that’s what most OTHER people believe, and giving ANY ground to them on that issue reinforces that belief. … If we lived in the kind of society where people believed that rapists were equally culpable regardless of what the victim did or did not do, we could have a very different discussion about this. … However, until we are able to do that, I will continue to frame the issue as rape being something that only a rapist can prevent. It puts the focus smack on the rapist, where it belongs.

    This discussion is based on a confusion. An empirical claim – a statement of fact – isn’t a moral judgment. IS isn’t OUGHT. Misogynists, apologists for rape, &, worst, too many victims, draw an abhorrent false inference from a trivially true premise, that women can reduce the risk of rape. Your solution isn’t to reject the false inference, but to deny the true premise.

    That’s a mistake. If it didn’t have consequences, & just, as you hope, kept the focus on the rapist, the error might be a minor point. But it does have consequences. It ill serves victims on more than one level. Our moral appraisal of rape mustn’t be left captive to any contingent matter of empirical fact, & we mustn’t mistake insistence about one dubious factual claim for resoluteness about the moral facts. To defeat a lie, attack the lie head on, not by clinging to some other claim that, when the chips are down, everybody knows isn’t true.

  199. ACS
    January 3, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Apropos to nothing, the only absolute end-the-objections-dead solution I’ve come up with to a rape myth is my response to the trope that once you get going, you’ve got to finish. I just ask: “If your mom walked in the room while you were masturbating, would you stop, or would you just go ahead and finish up?”

    — ACS

  200. Frumious B
    January 3, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    leaving aside stranger rape,

    First, why would you leave stranger rape aside? Stranger rape, and other stranger violence, are real, and lessons in recognizing a dangerous situation are useful to everyone.

    what can women do that they are not already doing, that does not expose them to an increased risk of grievous bodily harm, and that is not an infringement on their liberties?

    #174 hits on the answer. Part of recognizing a dangerous situation is recognizing manipulation when it occurs. Manipulation is strikingly similar when it comes from a stranger as when it comes from an acquaintance – refusal to take no for an answer(“I don’t want to have sex” “come on, please?”), lame-ass, plausible deniability excuses (“It’s normal to give visitors a tour of the apartment” said by abusive ex who forced his way into my friend’s apartment and went through her drawers and cupboards in front of her and me), not taking responsibility for one’s own actions (“of course I’m going to look if you wear a dress like that!” said by any number of assholes on the street or at the office).
    Of course, in addition to teaching women that manipulative behavior is not acceptable, we need to teach men that manipulative behavior is not acceptable.

  201. mythago
    January 3, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    And I meet a lot of people who bristle and shut down when the conversation starts by calling them a racist, but who will listen and think if you speak about specific ways in which how they think and act are race-based.

    Racism is not a crime, and it’s not something people enjoy doing. It’s a lot easier to get somebody to admit that they said something racist, even if they don’t say “Yeah, I’m a racist”–because most people equate ‘racist’ with ‘agrees and approves of racism’.

    But admitting “oops, I guess I did commit rape” is not something most men are going to be able to handle. First, because rape is a CRIME. Second, because they may well be still engaging in the same kinds of behaviors. That’s a far bigger problem than the ‘ist’ label.

  202. Robyne
    January 3, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Before I start talking, I should introduce myself: Hi everyone, I’m JDC’s girlfriend of 8 years!

    I had to step in because I see certain people insulting JDC and myself in quite hostile ways. I have things to say in response.

    Amanda said:
    “I’m concerned about your sex partner’s safety, since your attitude is to push things as far as you feel you can get away with, instead of catering to his or her desires.”

    “I’m concerned about your partner’s safety, because you seem to be opportunistic instead of respectful.”

    “It hurt your feelings to have a stranger on the internet insinuate that you aren’t conducting your personal relationships properly?

    Good. Absorb that lesson next time you want to tell a rape victim she didn’t do enough to protect herself from her boyfriend of 3 years.”

    The first quote is the most insulting. Are you suggesting that JDC might try to tie me up and rape me like the prick in the story? I’ll tell you for the sake of having it in writing, JDC is extremely respectful towards me and women in general. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Since he is the submissive in our relationship (which he already pointed out before that comment was made), it would be more likely that I’d be the one pushing our boundaries. Which, by the way, is why we have a safeword.

    The wording you chose is doubly insulting. You said “your attitude is to . . .” You imply you know exactly what his behavior is like in his relationship with me, and that’s bullshit.

    That last quote is just WRONG. First, you insult the relationship of someone you don’t know, imply he is abusive and that I might not be safe with him. Then, you say you’re just a stranger who’s insinuating he’s not “conducting his personal realtionships properly,” as if you’re nothing more than a concerned party. Bullshit.

    And, for the record, JDC was only (in the beginning) defending someone exploring the idea that something might have helped deter the rape, all the while saying stuff like “it probably wouldn’t have worked,” and “this guy IS a rapist and should be convicted.” This SO does not make him a rape apologist, and I’m appalled at all the people who have labeled him as such.

    JackGoff said:

    “. . . it is reasonable to assume that JDC has some messed up ideas about what BDSM is and how far it should go, and seriously needs to reevaluate his knowledge of the subject. Either way, it seems obvious to me that this specific instance was not BDSM, and bringing up things like safe-words and personal experiences are complete red herrings.”

    I have read what JDC has said, and I can’t understand why a rational person would think it’s reasonable to assume he has “messed up ideas” about BDSM. I think it’s more reasonable to assume that everyone calling him a rape apologist at least does not fully understand what a BDSM relationship is like.

    And yeah, the rape victim may not have had a BDSM relationship, but it’s understandable why someone would conclude this, given the information that the couple often practiced tying the woman up.

    One last thing.

    Shannon said:

    “Uh….you don’t got to bring your g/f into this dude.”

    He didn’t. Amanda brought me into this.

  203. January 4, 2007 at 2:28 am

    Thanks, Robyne. And, you’re right.

  204. January 4, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Robyne: I had to step in because I see certain people insulting JDC and myself in quite hostile ways. I have things to say in response

    I think you need to understand that JDC began this fight himself on Pandagon, taking the side of a rape apologist who was excusing the rapist by saying that maybe if his victim had used a safeword he would have stopped, and calling everyone who disagreed with this “assholes”. There seems to be a fair overlap between this thread and Pandagon, and while JDC may now wish he hadn’t got involved in the rape apologist fight on Pandagon,. he hasn’t apologized for his insulting and hostile behavior either there or here.

  205. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Jesurgislac,

    Yes, yes I did so apologize. See comment #87 for the link. No, y’know what? Fuck it, here’s the link again. Why not? Maybe I’ll start a blog devoted to apologizing for the Pandagon comments, and I can just include that with my signature, so every time you click on my name, you’ll see how sorry I am.

    . . . But why do I feel even that wouldn’t work?

    Anyway, Robyne’s seen the Pandagon thread, up to the point where I dropped out. (Did you mean to be insulting, by assuming she hadn’t?) Not that it would matter what I said on that thread. Amanda insulted our relationship — insulted her. Amanda’s comments imply Robyne doesn’t have the self-esteem to choose a good partner. That she has poor judgement. That she’s my good little victim. This is highly fucking offensive to both of us, and so far all she’s said is “sorry if I hurt your feelings“, which only shows how badly she fails to get it.

    It’s Robyne Amanda owes an apology to, not me. Hell, I’ve been called all sorts of things at her blog (yes, even after my apologies), so I don’t really give a shit what I’m called next. But Robyne was barely even aware of these threads when Amanda chose to insult her. Let’s see if she’s capable of an unqualified apology that doesn’t have a little “poison pill” tucked into it. Somehow I seriously doubt it.

  206. Thomas
    January 4, 2007 at 9:14 am

    But why do I feel even that wouldn’t work?

    Because it can take months to scrub off the stink left by taking up the cudgel for a rape apologist. You defended rape apologist PitR, who even you now accept was completely indefensible. But it took you a lot longer to accept that PitR really was saying what we all said he was saying. So now you look like a complete asshole, and Amanda suggested that with an attitude like that, you’re a danger to your partner. But in a sad ploy to distract everyone from your own bad conduct, you’ve elevated Amanda’s shot at you to a civil rights violation of some kind, and even trotted out your partner to complain of your treatment.

    Instead of, you know, shutting up and accepting that you’ll stink like dogshit until most folks forget that you were rape apologist PitR’s wingman.

  207. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Belledame, I’m really glad you’ve been here.

  208. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Thomas, it doesn’t have to be that way, and in fact I don’t think it will be that way.

    You’re right about one thing: It did take me longer than everyone else to see Phoenician was in fact a rape apologist. From his initial comments, it was not clear to me that’s where he was going. I had to see him actually say “two sides to every story” until it finally clicked. You’re absolutely right.

    If that makes me an “asshole” . . . instead of, say, “slow”, or “ignorant”, or “one of the few outsiders”, or “unaware of what usually goes on in these here rape threads” . . . well, that’s a nasty little standard, don’t you think? It’s harsh, judgemental, and I’d expect to see it sooner on FreeRepublic than on a liberal blog.

    It’s also a standard I’m not going to worry about. I’m doing my best here. I’ve made mistakes before, and I’ll make ’em again. If some people want to stay angry at me, they will, and I can’t help that. But I don’t think most of them will.

    Also . . . I didn’t “trot out” my partner. Robyne does what she wants to do. Real feminist of you to assume she’s my subservient puppet, dude.

  209. January 4, 2007 at 9:52 am

    JDC, I overreacted to your statements at that thread and here. And since you have apologized, I shouldn’t have kept at it, as I did. I’m sorry for what I said, and for calling you names.

  210. January 4, 2007 at 9:56 am

    And yeah, the rape victim may not have had a BDSM relationship, but it’s understandable why someone would conclude this, given the information that the couple often practiced tying the woman up.

    While it’s true that the couple engaged in bondage, it isn’t necessarily a BDSM indicator. And either way, it’s still a red herring.

  211. January 4, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Amanda insulted our relationship — insulted her. Amanda’s comments imply Robyne doesn’t have the self-esteem to choose a good partner. That she has poor judgement. That she’s my good little victim.

    Hold on, because I think you’re getting into some unintended territory here. I would like to remind you that you introduced yourself into a conversation where a group of people were defending the letter-writer from a person who was making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about her. You defended the guy who was making those insulting assumptions about the letter writer’s alleged lack of good sense and good judgment. Granted, eventually you realized that he was a rape apologist and regretted defending him, which is all good.

    I’m going to say this loud and clear – Women who have good sense and good judgment are raped by men they trust. While you didn’t explicitly say that, it is an implication of one of your grievances against Amanda. Amanda NEVER insulted your girlfriend. She did insult you. However, suggesting that YOU might be an untrustworthy sex partner is not an insult to your girlfriend. Having good sense, good judgment, and self-esteem does NOT render a woman invulnerable against an untrustworthy man. You can have all those things and still make a mistake. Making mistakes does not mean someone lacks self-esteem or judgment. And it comes dangerously close to suggesting that if only a woman had had good judgment and self-esteem, she couldn’t be raped by a man she trusted. Is that a road you really want to travel down?

    Lastly, I really don’t know Amanda, but I am willing to say with 100% certainty that she agrees with everything I wrote in this paragraph and did not imply anything about Robyne. That is something you inferred based upon some unspoken assumptions you appear to have. Amanda does not have those same unspoken assumptions. You should judge her statements in the context of her beliefs, not yours. In that context, the only person she insulted was you. It’s hardly odd that you’d be upset by that. What Amanda was later asking you is don’t you think that if the letter-writer came upon this thread (and that has happened in the past), she might also be upset by Phoenician’s insulting assumptions and your initial defense of him?

  212. zuzu
    January 4, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Also . . . I didn’t “trot out” my partner. Robyne does what she wants to do. Real feminist of you to assume she’s my subservient puppet, dude.

    Dude, you’re the one who tried to play the “As someone in a BDSM relationship” card to defend yourself. Meaning that you, yourself, raised the issue and Amanda responded.

  213. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Second thoughts — hopefully more productive:

    I admit “ignorant” is an appropriate enough label for me on What Is Rape Apology? Though I’m a sexual abuse survivor and have had relationships only(!) with SA survivors, I still blundered into Pandagon unaware of what it is rape apologists say, thinking Phoenician (in the early stages, at least) sounded reasonable, and that the criticism was out of hand.

    As badly as I regret trying to defend Phoenician, I still think some of the comments directed at him (and a lot the ones directed to me) WERE out of hand, because they were just unproductive shit like “You fucking asshole” and “I bet you get off on this story.” (Not actual quotes, but close.) Because, here’s the thing: They fail to educate — and in fact alienate — the ignorant outsider who doesn’t realize what’s the wrong thing to say. (They also caused a sympathy backlash, in my case: I took up for Phoenician mostly because people were flaming him.)

    Maybe the bloggers at Pandagon, or here, don’t see themselves in an educational role, but I’d guess that’s at least part of their purpose. I don’t think you educate people by slapping an ugly label like Rape Apologist on them, and then daring them to figure out how to get it off. You’ve got to give them another choice besides Stupid Or Evil. You don’t say, “Humiliate yourself for our amusement, and then we’ll deign to educate you.” In other words, when people fuck up, for god’s sakes give them a chance to SAVE FACE.

    People here on this thread did that for me. I thank you very much for that.

    The alternative, as suggested by Thomas, is that the fuck-up (in this case, me) should just wait (months, even) for the “stink” to wear off. Okay: Where is this confused, humiliated, stinky old fuck-up gonna wait? Here? PANDAGON? Like hell he is. He’s gonna slink away and forget all about it. “Gee, guess I’m too stupid to have an opinion on rape or feminism or any of that. Sure not stickin’ my neck out again.” And to me, that’s . . . uh . . . not good?

  214. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Jack . . . Wow. Just, WOW. I wasn’t even gonna tangle with you, and hoped you’d just forget about me. Last thing I expected . . . Apology absolutely accepted. Thank you so much.

  215. zuzu
    January 4, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Maybe the bloggers at Pandagon, or here, don’t see themselves in an educational role, but I’d guess that’s at least part of their purpose. I don’t think you educate people by slapping an ugly label like Rape Apologist on them, and then daring them to figure out how to get it off. You’ve got to give them another choice besides Stupid Or Evil. You don’t say, “Humiliate yourself for our amusement, and then we’ll deign to educate you.” In other words, when people fuck up, for god’s sakes give them a chance to SAVE FACE.

    Why do you see the label as worse than the behavior it’s labeling?

  216. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 10:48 am

    zuzu,

    Dude, you’re the one who tried to play the “As someone in a BDSM relationship” card to defend yourself. Meaning that you, yourself, raised the issue and Amanda responded.

    I think that’s a pretty weird standard. I mention I have a relationship, Amanda gets to insult my partner?

    Keep in mind, I mentioned that only for the purpose of saying safewords are a good idea if you’re playing with bondage. It had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the rape. I still think safewords are a good idea if you play with any aspect of BDSM, which by definition includes bondage. If you wanna go back and forth on that red herring all day, I’ll do it, but it was still wrong for Amanda to insult my girlfriend and our relationship.

    Why do you see the label as worse than the behavior it’s labeling?

    I don’t understand the question. I’m talking about someone who is ignorantly saying things that sound like rape apology. I don’t think shaming and flaming is the way to go on that. What do you think?

  217. Mandolin
    January 4, 2007 at 10:50 am

    “Maybe the bloggers at Pandagon, or here, don’t see themselves in an educational role, but I’d guess that’s at least part of their purpose. I don’t think you educate people by slapping an ugly label like Rape Apologist on them, and then daring them to figure out how to get it off. You’ve got to give them another choice besides Stupid Or Evil. You don’t say, “Humiliate yourself for our amusement, and then we’ll deign to educate you.” In other words, when people fuck up, for god’s sakes give them a chance to SAVE FACE.”

    You didn’t come on saying, “Hi, I’d like to be educated.” You came on saying, “Hi, you’re all assholes.”

    If my studnets came into my classroom saying, “Hi, you’re an asshole!” I might try to educate them or I might ask them to leave, depending on the circumstances. And that’s in a case where I have an *obligation* to educate them, ‘cuz I’m paid for it.

    Cough up your cash to Amanda, Thomas, Lesley, Jack and whoever else had the patience for your antics.

    Personally, I think you’ve been a troll from your initial insulting introduction through to your current whining.

  218. Mandolin
    January 4, 2007 at 10:58 am

    “Lastly, I really don’t know Amanda, but I am willing to say with 100% certainty that she agrees with everything I wrote in this paragraph and did not imply anything about Robyne. That is something you inferred based upon some unspoken assumptions you appear to have. Amanda does not have those same unspoken assumptions.”

    As far as I’m concerned, the unspoken assumptions take us right back to rape apology. Amanda implied JDC could be a potential victimizer. JDC takes this as an insult to his girlfriend — because victimized women have done something stupid (like, not use safewords) to trigger their abuse — ergo, Amanda, by suggesting his girlfriend could be victimized, is also suggesting she’s stupid (or irresponsible, etc, but obviously SOME negative trait if it’s to be an insult).

    Amusingly, JDC is currently trying to play at being a victim, which if judged by his own rules, should make him stupid (or irresponsible, etc.).

    (I neither agree with his rules nor the fact that he’s been a victim in this situation.)

  219. January 4, 2007 at 11:01 am

    I think that’s a pretty weird standard. I mention I have a relationship, Amanda gets to insult my partner?

    I’m going to assume that since my comment #212 was in moderation, you didn’t read it, but only read the later ones that got posted more quickly. So I’m going to say again that Amanda did not insult your partner. She only insulted you. For the rationale behind that, go back and read comment #212.

    I really don’t want to let up on that, because the implication is that only women who lack good judgment and self-esteem get raped by men they trust, which just rankles. It’s a very bad premise. It’s a tautology, and it puts another layer of responsibility on victims of date rape (not having had good judgment and self-esteem).

  220. January 4, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Sorry, that last sentence should read “another unfair layer of responsibility on victims of date rape.” I do not mean to imply that victims of date rape have any real layer of responsibility.

  221. January 4, 2007 at 11:09 am

    You didn’t come on saying, “Hi, I’d like to be educated.” You came on saying, “Hi, you’re all assholes.”

    I’m going to take a break from my regular dull, dry, term-paperish writing style to say “Word!” Seriously, JDC, dude, when I read your first comment calling us all assholes and whiny ones at that, my first thought wasn’t “Gee, here’s a fine young man I can educate.” It was “What a fuckwit.”

  222. zuzu
    January 4, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    I think that’s a pretty weird standard. I mention I have a relationship, Amanda gets to insult my partner?

    You raised your relationship and the nature of your relationship to cloak your defense of PR in authority. Amanda pointed out that because you were both in a relationship that played with power dynamics AND you were using that to justify your defense of someone who was arguing that the woman in question got raped because she was too stupid to use safewords, there was reason to worry for your partner because, as Lesley said, it said something about you that you would argue this.

    Now, it says something about you that you brought your girlfriend up to use as a shield and you’re huffing about feminism now that you’ve brought her in her to use as a sword and people aren’t going along with it.

  223. Medicine Man
    January 4, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Amazing that there was someone who would defend the rapist in this particular story. Or maybe I should just be happy that I still am naive enough to be amazed by these things.

    I’m not sure how much more clear cut a case of sexual assault could be.

  224. Susan
    January 4, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    JDC:

    Since she got personal with me, I got personal right back at her. I don’t plan to keep going in that direction, though.

    How’s that working out for you?

    Like I said, I’m trying to read rather than comment right now.

    You could have fooled me!

    See the difference?

    Not so much. As I tell my kids: You’re in a hole– back away from the shovel.

  225. ako
    January 4, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I had to step in because I see certain people insulting JDC and myself in quite hostile ways. I have things to say in response.

    Nobody intended to insult you. Do you really think that claiming your boyfriend has an unhealthy attitude towards BDSM is an insult directed at you? As others have pointed out, this implies that any woman who’s partner ever turns abusive is somehow to be blamed for not knowing this in advance. JDC has already made it clear that he holds this attitude by going off in great detail about all the horrible things it would imply about you as a person to suggest that he might be abusive. Do you share his contempt for victims of domestic violence and rape? Because no one’s insulted you so far, but that might tempt me to start.

    Since he is the submissive in our relationship (which he already pointed out before that comment was made), it would be more likely that I’d be the one pushing our boundaries.

    As pointed out, many BDSM relationships don’t have one party as the continuous submissive, and another party as the continuous dominant. This was an honest mistake on the part of many commentators.

    Which, by the way, is why we have a safeword.

    Since I’m not trying to insult you, I can only assume that unlike the commentator on the original thread who started this all, you don’t regard a safeword as an excuse to do anything and everything to JDC, concerned only with your pleasure, and indifferent to his emotional state, physical pain, or severe bleeding, with the safeword as the only thing to stop you. Similarly, I assume you wouldn’t regard a partner’s failing to establish a safeword as an excuse to disregard any and all signs of refusal, and forcibly subject them to injurious sexual acts that caused them to bleed, while they were screaming at you to stop, because “if they’d really wanted to stop, they’d have established a safeword in advance”

    That last quote is just WRONG. First, you insult the relationship of someone you don’t know, imply he is abusive and that I might not be safe with him. Then, you say you’re just a stranger who’s insinuating he’s not “conducting his personal realtionships properly,” as if you’re nothing more than a concerned party. Bullshit.

    So if a complete stranger came in who hadn’t been debating the question with JDC, and told you that his attitude towards bondage, women, and rape was profoundly warped, and you might not be safe with him, that would acceptable then? Every bit as acceptable as continuing to harp on a rape victims mistake in not developing a safeword to stop a rapist who willfully ignored any and every attempt at communication?

    Because based on the threads on question, JDC’s attitude towards bondage, women and rape seems profoundly warped, and you might not be safe with him. And even if you’re a good, intelligent, and healthy person, it’s still possible for him to hurt you.

    He didn’t. Amanda brought me into this.

    He brought you up, Amanda said some bad things about how he might treat you, and he made the whole thing about how insulting to you it was to suggest that he might be violent and abusive. So, unless you share his views about how much the feminists owe him, it’s not exclusively her.

  226. ako
    January 4, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    In other words, when people fuck up, for god’s sakes give them a chance to SAVE FACE.

    Why don’t you save us all a heap of trouble by making up a list of what your sense of entitlement demands in a response, and what feminists owe you if they’re going to dare to discuss how rape is wrong, so we can all make sure not to offend your ego, or suggest that you might be anything other than entirely noble and innocent of sexism?

    That might make it easier on everyone. We’re not spotting the pattern of what your occasional “You’re the good one,” head-pats are supposed to teach.

  227. Peter
    January 4, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    First, hi Robyne. I wish there were some way to say that which didn’t sound incredibly lame, but so be it. Thanks for joining us.

    JDC, breathe, dude.

    I want to say that, reading along, if I am honest, I have to say that you are responding on…. hmm.. let’s call it “the angry side of appropriately” to what you clearly think is going on here.

    But I wish you could take a step back and look at a few things more objectively, because I think you are responding to some attacks that never happened, and in doing so, you are setting up things so that those very attacks become real. I hope you don’t.

    Let me take one point in particular. It seems that one of your sore points is that Amanda said, “sorry if I hurt your feelings“, which you feel is a completely inadequate apology for what you think happened.

    But then follow your own link to what you call your own apology, and it seems that the fact that your apology doesn’t seem to have been either noticed or accepted is a second big sore point. Your apology says only:

    But I admit I didn’t take care to deliniate that, and I’m sorry if anyone who hadn’t already condemed Phoenician as a “rape apologist” felt attacked by me.

    As far as Amanda’s apology goes, I happen to agree with Lesley in saying that I never heard Amanda insult either Robyne or your relationship, only you, and that it is only some assumptions about how relationships work that made you see it as an attack on her. Those assumptions may be true in your relationship, but they are not true in the general case, as Lesley points out, nor, dramatically so, were they true in the relationship from Savage’s column. I honestly think you are demanding that she apologize for something that she never did, regardless of what it looked like from your angle.

    But go back. You have in fact made parts of a real apology. You have in fact said that after all is said and done, Phoenician was the ass everyone was saying he was. But all you’ve said further is that you are sorry people felt attacked – and “you’re all assholes” is a pretty strong opening salvo. You’ve said you were wrong about Phoenician.

    But you have never said that you were wrong to attack all the people who saw it more clearly and early on. In fact, every time you hint at that, you hedge it by saying that you think the piling on was inappropriate. You’ve said that you are sorry that we felt attacked, but not (unless I missed it) that you were wrong to be insulting. My guess is that you took that for granted, but I don’t think you said it. By saying only that you are sorry people felt attacked, by extension, you are saying that your words themselves still stand and you stand by them. Examine your feelings towards Amanda’s comment, and you may see my point.

    So, yes, some people you pissed off got pissed off back. But I invite you to go all the way to the beginning, where, deliberately or not, you set the tone by calling everyone arguing with a rape apologist a bunch of assholes, and have never really cleaned that up.

    And now you are, with whatever justification of lack of it, escalating the situation by picking new fights. Is that really your goal?

    Peter

  228. January 4, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    JDC, quit digging. You fucked up. I am perfectly willing to believe that you fucked up unintentionally, and perfectly willing to be civil to you in other threads, but you still fucked up on THIS thread, and as Lesley has pointed out, your outrage re: the implied insult to your girlfriend reinforces rape culture. Even if the subtext of your anger is subconscious (which I’m pretty sure it was).

    Actually, I should clarify. I am perfectly willing to be civil to you in THIS thread. And I am even sorry that you got excoriated by other posters in this thread, because that must’ve hurt. I haven’t insulted you so I don’t feel like I should apologise. But as for Jack, Belledame, and the others, I highly doubt they apologised because they thought you were a victim. They apologised because you clarified your views and copped to having fucked up earlier.

    But just because you fucked up and were later honest enough to admit it does not make you the victim here and does not make Amanda evil incarnate. Not being evil incarnate is not the same thing as being a lovely person. I’ve never met Amanda and neither have you, so I have no idea if she’s a lovely person or not. I just know she can write.

    Now, given that this thread was not originally about you, can we move on please? Because glad as I am that you clarified your views, and that you’re not a complete misogynist asshole like PiatR, this thread still isn’t about you. It’s about rape. And sexism, both subconscious internalised and the active kind, reinforcing patriarchy and rape culture by blaming women for their own victimisation. Which, I’m sure subconsciously, is what you did when you decided that Amanda’s (admittedly nasty) insult to you was actually an insult to your partner’s judgment. Because one of the ways rape culture reinforces itself is in the unexamined belief that smart women don’t trust untrustworthy men, and therefore a woman who gets raped by a man she trusts is partially at fault.

    Do I think you’re going to rape or abuse your partner? No, of course I bloody don’t. But I think it’s fascinating that we all, even avowed feminists who fight against rape culture, have these unexamined assumptions that influence us without us realising. And I have unexamined assumptions too, as do many other participants in this thread. It’s not all about you. You’re an example. Is it fun to be an example? No. Is it difficult to be an example? Hell, yes.

    JDC, you fucked up and threw insults around, just like PiaR. But then you did something fabulous: you recognised that you had fucked up, and repudiated your earlier position. Which puts you head and shoulders above him, and is liable to make people think when they see your username in a comment in another thread, “Oh, JDC, that’s the guy who backed up Phoenician. Oh, but he changed his mind. Maybe not quite such an asshole after all.”

    I think you underestimate the average Pandagon or Feministe thread participant. It may take a while for us to stop thinking ‘rape apologist’ about you, but I highly doubt anyone will bring up your previous fuck-up in a new discussion unless it becomes relevant. The best way to overcome a label given as a result of your own prior behaviour is to show you don’t deserve it. And not whining about how getting labelled is so terribly oppressive and unfair is the best way to get other people to either forget your past fuck-ups, or accept that your fuck-up was an honest mistake you won’t make again.

    Apologies are great. But they don’t magically erase people’s memories of stupid shit you said before you knew better. They do, however, allow you a more-or-less fresh start in future, and minimise the chance of people continuing to label you as a rape apologist. Getting all indignant because some people think you’re a jerk is NOT a good way to convince them you’re not a jerk after all. You can’t browbeat people into changing their private opinion of you. Actually, you’re more likely to affirm their private opinion of you if you do that (because ultimately, this thread is not about how unjust it is that some people here think you’re a jerk. This thread is about rape).

  229. January 4, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I think Peter and I posted around the same time, because he said what I was trying to say, only better.

    P.S. Just to clarify, when I say “admittedly nasty” I am not condemning Amanda. You started out combative, and stayed that way for a good long time. That would be part of the stupid shit I alluded to in the previous post. Amanda was harsh, and I might not have said something quite that harsh (of course, I don’t run a top feminist blog, so I don’t have the same experiences with verbal kung-fu), but that doesn’t make her evil or in need of apologising to you. You fucked up, just like we all do sometimes.

    Now here’s a chance to prove that your earlier climbdown re: Phoenician was honest and sincere: suck it up and move on. Because at this point it’s starting to look like being PERCEIVED as a rape apologist is far more upsetting to you than the idea that you inadvertantly DID act as a rape apologist, until you repudiated that position. And I’m sure you’re sorry and embarrassed about that, so don’t make it worse. Give people a chance to think you’re a well-meaning person who fucked up, rather than a jerk.

  230. January 4, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Raincitygirl is correct: my slack, at least, was based on the clarification and the apology. as for saving face: dude, well, what everyone else said about “stop digging.” it’s good advice. because, whether rightly or wrongly, doing this isn’t actually saving face; it’s well, kind of doing the opposite.

    i will say that I don’t blame Robyne for being pissed off, and I don’t think it’s up to -anyone- else to determine -why- she should be pissed off, or who at.

  231. January 4, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    JDC/Robyne–to be perfectly blunt, a discussion about the larger issues of rape, violence, and how rape culture decimates women’s freedom and dehumanizes women is NOT a forum for your complaints about how you think Amanda was mean to you. Really. I don’t give a shit. You’re expecting respect but you’re showing none. It’s not respectful to derail a thread and make it all about you and your school-yard complaints about another blogger. Cut it out.

    To everyone else, I’m going to cut and paste what I said in the Funk rape thread, since there’s been concern voiced here about how we’ll reach men, who may feel uncomfortable with being called out. And Thomas, WORD to everything you’ve said.

    It’s not a choice of either blaming the victim/blaming the rapist. [And I’ll add in here that it’s not a matter of “educating” women on how to lessen the chances of rape, since frankly, we all know the drill and are more likely to be raped by someone we know, in situations outside of those preventative steps.] It’s the idea that this is actually a rape culture–a culture that accepts that women are expected to take extra steps to prevent rape, and then blames them if they get raped, is a culture where women are not as free as men. Women are not as free to move as men, we are not as free to experiment as men, and we are not as free to be as social as men. (And then, frustratingly enough, we are on occasion criticized for not being adventurous enough, or too suspicious/cold.) Not when we have to constantly worry about “gawd is this guy going to slip me something is it okay if I ask him up it’s late out and even though I’d really like to take a walk I can’t” because you could be raped, RAPED! and then it’s all your fault. Or maybe it’s not really your fault, but we’ll just make you feel like it is since we’ll go on about what YOU could have done differently, instead of looking at WHY it’s acceptable for women to be raped and their freedom of movement curtailed.

    Not to mention, these helpful hints don’t mean jack squat to a woman who’s working the graveyard shift because the differential is what allows her to make rent and feed the kiddos, or the stripper in the club down the street from me who finds that this job is the best bet for keeping her and her kids fed and clothed, or the retail/service worker who has to close up and walk down a dark parking lot at night. I mean, yeah–your average graveyard shift worker and Wal-Mart worker might not be going to nightclubs, your average stripper (if she works in a decent club) has bouncers who’ll keep the patrons in line but they’re all likely to be in situations where they are vulnerable–situations that anyone would warn you against–and it’s out of necessity.

    One thing about this “advice” that gets right up my nose is how classist it is. You’d think the way these folks go on and on that rape only happened to cute, middle-class White college girls who are vacationing in Aruba or dancing in a club.

    We can’t deny this is part of a system. Keep the “good” girls at home–the White, middle-class girls, that is. Keep them at home under threat of rape. Everyone else, well, they don’t matter anyway, even though they do get raped, and assaulted, and harassed.

    For me, it isn’t so much about shaming men into not raping, it’s getting people to understand that the fear of rape is wielded like a weapon to keep women in line and to punish them for stepping out of line. And it’s used to further demonize/degrade poor and working-class women who simply aren’t afforded a place in this line.

    Shorter me: rape culture is a system, and I really don’t give a flying fuck about the fee-fee’s of the men who are uncomfortable when they’re called out on their attitudes. WTF about the women who are directly affected by this? People bristle and shut down whenever you call them out.

  232. January 4, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    because I think you are responding to some attacks that never happened, and in doing so, you are setting up things so that those very attacks become real.

    “The great thing about believing everyone is out to get you is that eventually it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.”

    So, yeah, what Peter said. Breathe. Okay, Pandagon may not be your cup of tea. This is, as you noted earlier, a different, if overlapping, community. So, maybe best to just let it go, unjust or not, read around the rest of the site, see if there’s anything -else- you want to talk about, friendly-like, or just read along for a while. We’re all individuals on this bus, ultimately. and it might be better to start with the assumption that most people mean well, perhaps with some exceptions, rather than the other way around. just my two cents.

  233. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Lesley and Mandolin,

    I would appreciate it if we can draw a line between my first comments at Pandagon, four days ago — which I apologized for and retracted — and my comments here. I no longer defend Phoenician. I am no longer posting at Pandagon. I do not plan to post at Pandagon. Don’t plan to read Pandagon. Let’s call that over.

    Can we do that? Do you need a more elaborate apology first? Can we take this as my “first comment”? I’m not even proud of that one, but at least it doesn’t have “assholes” in it.

    I’m tired of hearing about “assholes”. According to Lesley, Amanda was actually trying to imply I’m a rapist (WOW . . . even I didn’t take it that way), and I’m supposed to just lump it, so I think the rest of you can get over being indirectly called “assholes” ONCE. Especially considering, y’know, I apologized for it. Two days ago.

    If you’re not willing to do that, I think that might be reverse trolling — trying to goad me into continuing to act out in anger. I’ve flamed no one here at Feministe, and don’t plan to start.

    Please note I am trying to draw a useful lesson out of my mistake. If you would rather talk about four-day-old “assholes”, you can do it amongst yourselves.

    Lesley, I’d like to address #212. When this “assholes” stuff is over.

  234. Thomas
    January 4, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Real feminist of you to assume she’s my subservient puppet, dude.

    Call me cynical, but when someone backs up someone else with whom they have an intimate relationship, I infer collusion. Further, since she’s not a regular commenter here and she hasn’t said she’s a regular reader of either blog, she probably knows about the whole discussion only because you told her about it. So, while nobody is arguing that she takes marching orders from you, I do think that you are the but-for cause of her appearance. That’s what I mean by “trot out.”

    That said, you certainly have not permanently destroyed your credibility like rape apologist PitR. The whole thing will blow over. But having seen PitR’s head split open and the Gorgon wriggle out, you’re still over here getting defensive. When the guy you’re backing turns out to be evil, just duck and wait. Getting defensive and trying to define your own level of culpability only calls attention to you, instead of letting the blame fall on the primary wrongdoer.

    If you want the debate to be about the propriety of your actions, you can keep it alive as long as you want, and you’ll never get wide support. No cookie is forthcoming. The readership here is not going to vote en masse to grant you a certificate that Amanda was mean to you. You’ll just get more criticism. If you want the criticism to stop; shut up, stay away from rape threads, and let it die.

  235. Mandolin
    January 4, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    “i will say that I don’t blame Robyne for being pissed off, and I don’t think it’s up to -anyone- else to determine -why- she should be pissed off, or who at. ”

    I’m not sure whehter you’re trying to say here that the critiques of Robyne’s response have been too vehement (telling her what she should think instead of explaining an alternate viewpoint) or that they shouldn’t have happened in the first place, because the cause and direction of her anger shouldn’t be questioned.

    If the latter, I disagree. I don’t see why that kind of thing should be off target for analysis.

    (For the record: I’m not particularly interested in Robyne’s anger or the response to it. I am interested in what’s considered kosher for analysis, which does seem to be a feminist issue.)

  236. January 4, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Just simply because I’m really tired of it all, the above comments, especially RainCityGirl’s are correct. JDC, I apologized because I got out of hand, and you did try to make amends. Can we move on?

  237. January 4, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    According to Lesley, Amanda was actually trying to imply I’m a rapist (WOW . . . even I didn’t take it that way), and I’m supposed to just lump it, so I think the rest of you can get over being indirectly called “assholes” ONCE. Especially considering, y’know, I apologized for it. Two days ago.

    Excuse me. I never said that. Really. Never. I mean, WTF? Neither about what Amanda was implying, nor that you should lump that. I believe that Amanda only insulted you by saying you might be dangerous. Not that you are a rapist. I also said it wasn’t odd you’d be upset by her statement [that you might be dangerous]. The rest of the comment was following your assumption out to its extreme in other situations. Not meant to indicate that Amanda implied you’re a rapist.

    What I was trying to say in the later comment was that it’s ridiculous for you to complain about how people were treating you on Pandagon when you started off calling us all assholes. You were still complaining about those initial responses this morning (your parenthetical in #214). In other words, what you should lump is the initial response to you. You came on like an asshole and got treated like one. Deal. You may have apologized two days ago, but you were still beating the dead horse of how people initially responded to you today.

  238. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Lesley,

    If you think the purpose of my #214 was to complain, I am a lot less articulate than I thought. #214 isn’t about me — unless you want it to be. I’d appreciate you (hell, anybody) taking a second glance. I only use myself as an example.

    #214 was my attempt to move on. It’s mostly been ignored, yet people are asking me to move on. I genuinely don’t get it. Apparently the only way I’m supposed to move on is to shut up entirely.

    But to answer your question, you referred to Amanda as “suggesting that YOU might be an untrustworthy sex partner“. And Amanda, of course, was concerned for Robyne’s “safety“. If that’s not implying I’m a rapist, okay, fine: It’s implying I’m something equally vile!

    . . . and despite all the hair-splitting defenses: No. You just do not do what Amanda did. You don’t cast aspersions on someone’s relationship when you don’t know both people. Not even to the smelliest troll. You don’t go there.

  239. zuzu
    January 4, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    JDC, let it go already. Go complain to Amanda if you’re still burned by what Amanda said. You might have noticed that this isn’t Pandagon.

  240. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks, Peter, Raincitygirl, and, again, belledame222. I’m trying. Believe it or not.

  241. JDC
    January 4, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    I’m sorry, zuzu. I’ll say nothing more on the topic, and hope no one else will attempt to convince me that what Amanda said was okay . . . because on this one, I can’t be convinced. I’m telling you right out, folks: My mind is indeed closed on this issue. And if I ever say an unkind word about anybody of your love lives, I urge you to hate and revile me forever. Assuming, y’know, you don’t already.

  242. zuzu
    January 4, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    JDC, now you’re just begging someone to bring it up again.

    Let. It. Go.

  243. January 4, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I would like to continue the conversation about the general point behind my comment #212, because I think it’s an important one. So I’ve put up a post on that topic over at my own blog, if anyone would like to discuss it there.

  244. January 4, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    JDC, now you’re just begging someone to bring it up again.

    Well, yeah! You don’t think this thread should be about anything but him, him, him, do you?

    Zuzu, wasn’t there an old post where you specifically asked people not to lose sight of the victim (was it the one where the NY Post photo of her looked “whitened?”), and within the first 10 comments the victim-blaming had begun all over again? Anyway, I’m having flashbacks to it.

    JDC:

    First, you derailed the Pandagon thread. Now, you’re derailing this one. IF YOU CARE, as you claim, about educating yourself, or about examining issues of consent openly and honestly, then quit whining about how you were attacked, and people were mean to you, and that was so shaming and judgmental of them, even though they were repeatedly provoked by your bullheaded flamewarrior act–oh, but we can’t mention that, because you’ve apologized and you’re a changed man now, even though you don’t act very different–and put the focus back where it belongs, that is, on topic.

    Alternately, you could quit feigning shock that people question your real motives here, and just admit that, yeah, actually, it IS all about you.

    We’re not spotting the pattern of what your occasional “You’re the good one,” head-pats are supposed to teach.

    Classic little technique called “divide and conquer,” beloved of cornered narcissists worldwide. Continues to be a favorite despite its transparency.

    But back to the topic: I think in hindsight this remark of Amanda’s was . . . prescient? Interesting?

    What if she had felt free to say to him when he first started pestering for anal sex, “You know, I will never do that. If that’s a deal-breaker to you, please leave now. If not, never bring it up again, since you’ve heard my final word on it.” He probably still might have done it, but if she was in that mindset, maybe she would realize that she gave him an out and he chose, chose to rape her. If everyone around them understood that he was free at any time to drop her like a hot potato and find a woman who liked anal sex, then maybe they wouldn’t be making excuses for him.

    It’s almost like she saw the PiatoR’s ready to crawl out of the woodwork to do just that (I can’t imagine how; that almost never happens in a rape discussion).

    Me personally, I think telling a guy ixnay on the analay repeatedly over a three-year time span ought to be explicit a refusal enough, but it breaks my heart that the letter writer didn’t, apparently, see it that way herself. Or she had enough doubts about the clarity and finality of her refusal that she didn’t feel comfortable calling it rape, even though that’s what it was.

    And figuring out how to get a better understanding of what rape actually is out to the population at large, that is something I’d be interested in examining, something that I think could be done without bringing more second-guessing and judgment down on rape victims.

  245. January 4, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Oh shit. Zuzu, my comment violates the request you made to Lesley, but I didn’t know it at the time I posted it. Could you please just can the thing? Or keep the second OT half, whatever. Thanks, and I’m really sorry about that.

  246. zuzu
    January 4, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Sorry, I can’t edit Jill’s comments. But I will ask JDC not to respond since it wasn’t intentional.

    Zuzu, wasn’t there an old post where you specifically asked people not to lose sight of the victim (was it the one where the NY Post photo of her looked “whitened?”), and within the first 10 comments the victim-blaming had begun all over again? Anyway, I’m having flashbacks to it.

    Yeah. You know who that was? Jennifer Moore. Who was brought up by Liz Funk as an example of what happens to young women who drink in Chelsea and wear short skirts. We’ll just ignore the fact that she was forced into a choice between getting into the relative safety of a cab with the guy who eventually killed her and continuing to walk down 11th Avenue with some guy following her. She was drunk, she’d left a club, and her skirt was short. She probably didn’t even pay for her drinks at the club!

  247. January 4, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Oh shit Ilyka, no. I think I was way unclear on my own blog post. I only meant zuzu’s request to let drop the whole issue of what Amanda may or may not have said about JDC, which I assumed meant we should all let that issue drop. Not that any other comments were supposed to be off-limits.

  248. January 4, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    She probably didn’t even pay for her drinks at the club!

    Why, that mercenary trollop.

    And, clearly I have to do more than just skim that Funk article this time. I wonder why I’ve been so reluctant to read it all the way through? It’s a mystery.

  249. JDC
    January 5, 2007 at 12:28 am

    I’d just like to apologize to everyone in general. I really didn’t mean to make it all about me. I admit, I’m easily insulted and I don’t let go easily. Also, I keep thinking that if I just keep explaining myself over and over . . . eventually everyone will love me! I can see how it’s tiring for others. I’m tired.

    I’m sorry about this.

    I’ve been treated with a lot of patience, and I appreciate it.

  250. zuzu
    January 5, 2007 at 12:32 am

    You’ve had more than patience; you’ve had indulgence. Keep that in mind.

  251. January 5, 2007 at 12:46 am

    I am interested in what’s considered kosher for analysis, which does seem to be a feminist issue.

    Let me put it this way: I think “consent” matters in other contexts besides physical sexuality. And I’ve witnessed a few interactions on feminist boards that I found decidedly -unkosher.- One can analyze such things as rape in a general way; one can use one’s own experiences as a jumping off point for a “personal is political” sort of discussion. What -isn’t- kosher, in my view, is

    telling her what she should think instead of explaining an alternate viewpoint)

    yes, that; except it’s not really a question of being “too vehement;” it’s more fundamental than that. You don’t get to tell total strangers what their experience does or doesn’t mean. Especially, (this wasn’t getting into it so much here, but this is why i jumped in to say something to Robyne; i’ve seen this before) you don’t -insist- that they’re wrong when they tell you in so many words that they don’t agree. Even if what they’re saying pushes all your buttons and you’re totally sure you’re right, based on your own experience. You don’t “speak for” another woman, drown out her voice, insist that you’re right about her experience. Not in my feminism you don’t, anyway.

  252. ako
    January 5, 2007 at 12:55 am

    That last post is the most impressive thing I’ve seen you say in either thread. If you’re willing to move on at this point, and discuss the issues in general instead of the personal arguments, I think most or all of the people will be willing to let this go.

  253. Mandolin
    January 5, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Okay, belledame, that makes sense. Thank you for explaining.

  254. twf
    January 5, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    I want to go back to the topic of calling someone “a rapist” or even calling a particular situation “rape” and what that means, and why it’s so difficult.

    One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard for a woman *in the process* of being raped is to say “this is rape.” And I think back to my own history (2 rapes, 1 attempted rape) and try to project myself saying that into the situation. In one case I wouldn’t have, couldn’t have due to being extremely disoriented and nearly unconscious from alcohol. And in the others… I still can’t picture myself saying it. It’s too much… too confrontational, and I avoid confrontation. Especially one-on-one, when I’m not being backed up, when I’m vulnerable.

    The ex-friend who raped me when I was drunk doesn’t know why I declined his wedding invitation and no longer speak to him. He doesn’t know I’ve since processed that event as rape, and would resist it strongly (considers himself a feminist and a progressive, the type of guy who “would never do that.”) The other rapist (boyfriend of roommate at the time) apologized the next day for his “behaviour” but I don’t think he would call it rape either. The other guy, the foiled attempt… maybe doesn’t remember the events at all (he was drunk, I escaped by being smarter than his impaired self).

    A good friend of mine was repeatedly sexually abused by her stepfather when she was a child. She has not and will not report him or press charges. Why? To her he’s a complex human being, a disabled old man, her sister’s beloved father, as well as an abuser. My alcoholic mother-in-law used to beat my husband and put out cigarettes on his body, and he continues to have a complex relationship with her. Rapists, molesters, abusers are not inhuman monsters. They are real, muti-faceted people. And reducing rape to something only the “inhuman monsters” can do makes us much less likely to call something rape. Nice guys rape. Pro-feminist men active in progressive politics rape. Sweet old blind men molest their stepdaughters. Upper-middle-class proper ladies beat their children. One can be a rapist and be many other things as well.

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I guess I’m just saying that part of where blame-the-victim comes from is thinking that “rapists” are not real people, never also nice people.

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