A bit more on that “one in four” statistic

Anti-feminists like Heather MacDonald continue to say that the “one in four college women experience attempted or completed sexual assault” statistic is false. I didn’t offer much of a rebuttal in this post, but I think it’s worth countering the oft-repeated claim that feminists are making up these numbers. In fact, the study that produced the disputed one-in-four statistic used Ohio penal code to define rape and attempted rape, and classified reported experiences accordingly. There was a separate category for coercive sex, and later studies proffered similar results. While many of the women whose experiences were legally rape did not self-identify as rape victims, 30 percent considered suicide after the experience, 31 percent sought help from a therapist, 82 percent reported that the experience had changed them, and only 11 percent said that they did not consider themselves to be victims.

But let’s not let the facts get in the way of the anti-feminist narrative that rape doesn’t happen, except to women who deserve it.

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70 comments for “A bit more on that “one in four” statistic

  1. February 27, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    yep just like only sluts need the HPV vaccine… 9_9

    im thinking the ‘3 out of 4’ just never went to frat parties..lol im serious, thats like going to a concert and wondering why the music is so loud and you got a shitty view of the band. like dont you just expect that to happen? I do. its sad, and i hate to semi-blame the girls, (i kno, we shouldnt have to worry, but right now WE DO, every girl knows it) but why would a girl go there when she knows frat guys have a reputation for being rapists?? i wouldnt even live in a dorm. seriously, college campuses are too dangerous for women to live on/drink on. we need more security guards and surveillence cameras.

  2. February 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    ok and dont hate me for saying that last thing. its just..why do girls go to frat parties? yes, they want to have fun and everyone else is going. but if everyone else is jumping into a pool of sharks for fun, and you decide you have the right to do it too, why would you get mad if you got bitten? it just doesnt make sense. its like these girls are going “well, tonight i might get raped,but it’s TOTALLY worth risking for a few shitty beers and drunken, immature frat boys howling at me! teehee!” i dont see the appeal of college parties with certain males.

    i mean, college parties dont have to be on campus or at sor./frats…

    i think these poor college girls need to see there are other SAFER ways to party…and its not worth getting raped to hang out with a buncha assholes. why not hang out w/ NICE guys? perhaps NOT rapists?

    i kno not all rapes are at parties, but im sure MOST are. everyone’s drunk and horny… ok im done. dont hate me. im not saying they ‘asked’ for it, but they just made a dumb choice to GO TO A HOUSE FULL O’ RAPISTS!! X(

  3. February 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    seriously, college campuses are too dangerous for women to live on/drink on. we need more security guards and surveillence cameras.

    No, actually, I think we need to keep on working to educate college men and women to help change the mindsets and behaviors that lead to sexual assault and rape. It’s not an easy task but it is a goal worth working toward.

    A thought on surveillance cameras and security guards – they can help protect property and real assets, but they are less effective in preventing person-on-person crimes like sexual assault and rape, which frequently occur in the (as yet) private domains of homes, apartment and vehicles.

  4. Tina
    February 27, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Bunny: I think you missed the point. Just because “every girl knows it” doesn’t make it right. It also doesn’t mean that rape doesn’t happen. It does.

    I never went to any parties in college expecting to be raped. That included a few fraternity parties, for the record. I was raped by a date before I ever *got* to college. Not a date at a party, just a seemingly innocent night out ending with ice cream and forced sexual acts.

    Rape doesn’t just happen at frat parties, in college dorms, at off-campus party, or when alcohol is present, or when it’s a stranger, or in a dark alley. If there were definite conditions that lead to rape, don’t you think we could prevent rapes?

  5. meggygurl
    February 27, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Oooooookay Bunny214. I think you are taking this blaming the victim thing to a whole new level.

    Wanna know why girls go to “a house full of rapists?”

    Because they don’t SEE a house full of rapists. They see guys they went to high school with, guys they have classes with, guys they KNOW. Guys they are DATING. Guys that call themselves “nice guys.” I don’t think any frat house has “We rape all women who walk in here!” under their letters. I didn’t go to any frat parties at the school I attended, because I didn’t care, but I went to many at another campus. Why? Because I *trusted* the guys. I knew them. I would get fucked up there, and never once worried. And I’m sure something COULD have. I’m sure not all of those guys were wonderful. But I believed they wore.

    Should women not do anything that might result in a rape? If so… will we be stuck in our homes… alone for the rest of our lives?

    Oh wait… it can happen there too.

  6. Lorelei
    February 27, 2008 at 4:34 pm


    I was raped when i was 16 (and at this point, i was about to head to college in like four months, so whatever) by my exboyfriend. i went to a couple of college parties when i was 18 and I wasn’t raped then. one of my best friends went to one or two frat parties every week and she was never raped. most of my other friends report the same: they were never raped at frat parties or college parties, they were raped by friends or boyfriends or family members.

  7. February 27, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Jill, I’m glad you’ve pointed out that just because a woman doesn’t call it rape doesn’t mean it wasn’t traumatizing. Rape is a loaded word and it can be hard to acknowledge for many reasons. MacDonald reinforced all of those misogynist attitudes towards rape that make it so hard for some people to recognize when it happens.

    bunny214, lots of women go to frat parties and don’t get raped. Women don’t get raped because they went to a party, they get raped because a rapist went to a party.

  8. February 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    i knew you’d all say that stuff. i know it sounds like im blaming them. in a way i am. i know it is all the guys’ fault because WHY would a girl be raped if guys never RAPED in the first place? I get it. i know. im not an idiot. its just…thats like somebody not getting the stereotype. we know it. like ‘cheerleaders are dumb’. cool. everybody knows that stereotype. how about ‘frat boys are drunken idiots’ and if you go to college or have ever read a newspaper, you know rapes happen a lot in college. (or if you just read this article…)

    i also enjoy how you tell me all your rape experiences outside of frat parties when i clearly stated they dont all happen at frat parties. way to go.

    its just…we all know it! we’re friggen eighteen. i mean, you can AVOID rape by perhaps NOT drinking or whatever. but why would you go somewhere where there is SUCH AN OBVIOUS THREAT?? NOBODY IS FORCING YOU.

    like i get it. nobody goes there hoping to be raped or thinking it wont happen. if you have half a brain, you realize every moment you are alive and have a vagina you have a chance of getting raped. everyday is a danger. i know.

    but nobody told them to go there. i can see ‘i live at a dorm and i got raped’. i know. you have to live there, probably. but a PARTY??? you didnt WANT to be raped but you knew it was such a probablility.

    like leaving your car running with the keys inside, then going ‘oh poo my cars gone’ when you come back…like..its kind of common sense. i just dont UNDESTAND WHY THEY GO.

    thats all im saying. i just cant comprehend their LOGIC (or lack of).

    i know we could all be raped at a college party or at a five-year-old’s party. but when you put rapists in the picture (or POSSIBLE rapists, because drunk guys will act violent sometimes) how do you reason that it’s WORTH THE RISK??

    like “well, i may be having sex with a guy who has AIDS….but oh well! i dont want a condom!” somehow we can hold that person responsible but not the girl that goes to the rapist fraternity house with drunken idiot misogynists????

    I’m not getting your points. there are times when the person is JUST PLAIN DUMB. walking out at night and choosing to sneak in alleys when you could EASILY stroll through a busy area…stupid. no they dont WANT to be raped, but WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND chooses that OVER a clearly safer option????

    it’s just like they’re oblivious to how horrible the world is? i dont know. its weird.

    not their fault they got raped. OK? damn. just WHERE ARE THEIR BRAINS FOR GOING INTO A DANGER ZONE? thats ALLLLLLL im saying.

    i know, you dont care. anytime i expect women to have a LITTLE doubt in college boys, they get mad. its the boys fault we have rapes. i know. how many times do i have to say it?
    fine heres my solution since you dont seem to get it:
    tell girls where most rapes happen. tell girls you can get raped at frat parties or dorms. tell them not to walk in dark places at night.

    its not gonna solve every rape, but im sure there would be less. when you could go to a different party, why dont you? sure your crush may be at the frat party…but..then maybe get a buddy thing going w/ a gal pal? i mean…idk. if you’re gonna insist on going, you sure as hell NEED A PLAN. thats it.

    you need a plan. thats all im saying. stop lecturing. god damn.

  9. February 27, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    a room full of misogynistic drunken men + drunk girl=??? thats my thing. if youre gonna be that girl, you should know you walked into a scary situation. if you wanna party, get your friends, not RANDOM GUYS.

    sure friends can rape you but if you’re only with a ton of friends, you have a way to protect yourself. your friends probably wont just go ‘hmm shes randomly having sex with so-and-so and sounds upset. i think ill leave her alone’ though that has happened. if you have decent friends, you should be alright in a friend party.

    god damn. i know women cant just NOT go to parties. or NOT drink. its not fair. but just do it somewhere else. its not that fucking different except you have LESS of a chance of being assaulted. there is never NO CHANCE for you to be assaulted, but why not lower the odds???

  10. February 27, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    No, actually, I think we need to keep on working to educate college men and women to help change the mindsets and behaviors that lead to sexual assault and rape. It’s not an easy task but it is a goal worth working toward.

    for sure that too. we have..fratMANers @ my college. yay. i mean, guys are the ones who do it, we gotta target them head on.

  11. February 27, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Bunny, by your logic – women should do everything they can to avoid “obvious” dangers to protect themselves from rape – women should never be in a romantic relationship and should be separated from all male relatives.

    The problem with your “solution”?
    Most rapes DON’T happen at fraternities or in dark places from an attack by a stranger at night.

  12. meggygurl
    February 27, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    like ‘cheerleaders are dumb’. cool. everybody knows that stereotype. how about ‘frat boys are drunken idiots’

    I almost cannot commit on the statement you just made. So, are you saying we should believe all stereotypes? I cannot even word how… dumb that is.

    Bunny… you seem to have a personal issue with Fraternity parties. I’m sorry if something horrible happened to you or someone you care about at one… and yes, a LOT of rapes happen there. A lot. But not all of them are at actual parties… and this is not universal for all frats.

    Instead of telling girls to stop going to parties… why don’t we focus our energy on telling the boys there that it is NOT OKAY to rape girls (or boys) whether it in their houses or not.

  13. February 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm


    Statistically, a woman is most likely to be sexually assaulted in her own home. Women are victimized in private far more often; it’s men who are more likely to be victimized in public. People here are taking issue with your statements because there’s a broad rape narrative which tells women that leaving the house to socialize, to go to parties, to date men, whatever, opens them up to violence. That constant threat of rape is used as a tool of social control against all women.

    In reality, men are 150 percent more likely to be victims of violent crimes than women. Men are more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of crimes. Men are more likely to be assaulted, injured or killed when alcohol is involved. Men are more likely to be victimized by a stranger (63 percent of violent victimizations), whereas women are more likely to be victimized by someone they know (62 percent of violent victimizations). Women are more likely to be victimized in their home or in the home of someone they know, whereas men are more likely to be victimized in public.

    So the constant narrative of “why do women go here when they know they might be raped?” isn’t innocent, even if you mean it that way. It adopts a greater framework that has always been used to keep women docile and domiciled. It’s men who are more likely to experience violence at places like frat parties, but no one suggests that they simply stay home or don’t socialize in a particular way, because everyone assumes that men are entitled to live in the public space as they see fit. Women don’t have that kind of entitlement. That’s why feminists get pissed off when people suggest that women shouldn’t go certain places or do certain things because they might get themselves raped; it’s both inaccurate and part of a larger misogynist message.

  14. Thomas, TSID
    February 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Bunny, you say you get it. And you must know how many women are raped and never report, and never tell anyone, because they’re afraid that people, even women, even their friends, will say things to them like, “why would you go somewhere where there is SUCH AN OBVIOUS THREAT?? NOBODY IS FORCING YOU.” And you surely know that they believe their friends will say things like this because their friends are people like you, and you said this.

    So if you get it, why are you part of the problem? Why are you posting over and over, saying that you get it, and yet doggedly, actively, vociferously, being part of the problem?

  15. Lorelei
    February 27, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    bunny, i don’t think you understand why your logic is failing here.

    many a woman is raped by their own boyfriends. by your logic, women don’t NEED boyfriends, so they probably just shouldn’t have them because then they’ll be less likely to be raped.

    like what the hell?

  16. puggins
    February 27, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    its just..why do girls go to frat parties? yes, they want to have fun and everyone else is going. but if everyone else is jumping into a pool of sharks for fun, and you decide you have the right to do it too, why would you get mad if you got bitten?

    The obvious question here is why do you equate having a party with a pool of sharks?

    Now, it’s been a long time since my college days, and I wasn’t exactly a frat boy then, but never did I once consider going to a party to be dangerous, or even concerning. Hell, I remember staggering into a couple of them already blitzed and about thirty minutes from blackout territory. The fact that you consider it acceptable to blame a woman for wanting to be at ease at parties like I was tells me that you’re looking at this problem from the wrong perspective.

    * yes, women have to be a lot more careful at parties than men, at least now.

    * no, that’s not an acceptable situation in an egalitarian society.

    * no, the woman is NOT to blame. At all.

    Let’s extend your logic to a couple other logical conclusions:

    * A husband who loses his wife to a drunk driver on new year’s eve shouldn’t be mad at the driver, he should be mad at himself for deciding to drive on new year’s eve.

    * A wife who loses her husband to a accident during an introduction to skydiving class shouldn’t be mad at the company that mispackaged the chute, she should be mad at her husband for choosing to go skydiving.

    i think these poor college girls need to see there are other SAFER ways to party…and its not worth getting raped to hang out with a buncha assholes. why not hang out w/ NICE guys? perhaps NOT rapists?

    Sorry, there’s no “i’m a rapist” secret handshake that girls can learn to watch out for. Rapists aren’t just ugly boogeymen that pick their nose and look like they belong in a Texas Chainsaw sequel. I knew of at least two incidents involving men that I knew personally during college. One I had pegged as a happy-go-lucky partier who did have a nasty bone in his body, and the other was a bookworm that looked as harmless as a lemur. My two roommates, on the other hand, were complete jackasses that probably fit some sort of rapist sterotype to a “T”. Neither ever lay a finger on a girl without her permission. Asshole =/= Rapist.

    Your solution, then, is to restrict girl’s activities if “they know what’s good for them” and not handle the real problem- lack of campus security and a culture of objectification that enables this whole rape culture in the first place.

  17. Lorelei
    February 27, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    yeah, what thomas and meggy and jill and astraea said.

  18. Dianne
    February 27, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Women are victimized in private far more often; it’s men who are more likely to be victimized in public.

    So in the “you knew it was a dangerous situation: why did you put yourself into it” model of avoiding victimization, perhaps men should never leave the house and women should never go home.

    I’ve never been to a frat party: I just never wanted to. But I have been in a frat house. A friend of mine was subletting there for the summer and I visited him several times. Including being alone with him in his room. I never got raped. The reason was simply that he wasn’t a rapist. Not because I did all the “safe” things, but just because I was lucky enough not to be in the presence of a criminal. One in four college women loses that gamble at some point. This is not a problem with college women, but with college men.

  19. TinaH
    February 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Bunny, enough. Everyone knows that you can get raped by strangers in dark alleys and frat boys at parties. Huge numbers of women are raped by people they know and trust, not by strangers or some stereotypical frat boy. Only the rapist can control his behavior, not the rape victim. No matter what she does, where she does it, how many drinks she had beforehand, during or after, the rapist does the raping. You can warn women about rapists until the cows come home, but until you get men to stop raping, there will continue to be rape.*

    *Obligatory disclaimer that yes, men can be raped too and women can rape. That’s NOT what this is about.

  20. February 27, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    If every girl in college avoided going to the stereotypical (and statistically false) “frat parties where rape is likely to happen,” then guess what would happen? More rapes somewhere else. It’s not the parties that are causing rape to happen.

  21. February 27, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Getting away from the Bunny vortex and back towards the realm of the actual statistics: the actual methodology of the original 1982 survey is examined here, and it appears about as solid as one can have given the fact that a legal conclusion is required. I don’t know how broadly the survey was disseminated (one campus or many?), but it involved a lot more participants than we have in political polls and still points to something epidemic, even 25 years later.

  22. roses
    February 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    tell girls where most rapes happen.

    Except that most rapes happen not at frat parties or in dark alleys, but in a woman’s own home. So if you’re using that logic, the best way to prevent rape would be for a woman to never, ever let a man into her home, not even her father or brother or best friend, and certainly never a husband or a boyfriend (because a woman is most likely to be raped by somebody she knows and trusts). Are you going to start giving young women that advice? Are you going to start asking women: “Well, why did you let that man into your home? I don’t understand your LOGIC.”?

  23. Lorelei
    February 27, 2008 at 5:28 pm


    i used to have the PDF of the original Mary Koss survey, but i recall that the survey was distributed over several campuses. they even detail what sorts of campuses they were, if i recall correctly. i wouldn’t be able to tell you the actual number, unfortunately. :(

    you could probably get your library to grab it thru interlibrary loan, though.

  24. meggygurl
    February 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Also back to the statistic… I think one of the key things a lot of “I don’t believe in rape!”-ers seem to miss is the stat is for rape or attempted rape. Not every try works. And not every girl who was almost raped… even KNOWS she was. One of my *best friends* tried to rape me. And honestly, it wasn’t until over a year later that I could even recognize that that was what happened to me! And I was active in the feminist community AND was an officer on our Sexual Assault Task Force! Why? Because I trusted him, and I knew he did something wrong, but I didn’t understand just HOW wrong. I would not count in the “rape is like gay people in my family!”‘s stats… but I would count in that 1 in 4.

  25. meggygurl
    February 27, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    “rape is like gay people in my family!”’s

    I realized this could sound bad… I meant that frame of mind that conservatives have where they “don’t know anyone gay and surely no one in their family could be!” They often times seem to be the same people who think rape only happens to virgins in white dresses by “dark and scary” men.

  26. February 27, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    OK OK everybody LISTEN

    I am so sorry everything came out completely IDIOTIC.

    all i was trying to ask is “what makes girls go to frat parties when they know it is dangerous?”
    what is in their minds? how many times do i have to explain i want to know their thought process? “I dont get what their rationale is”. there.

    Just like “why do women date guys who come off as controlling?” am i BLAMING them? you could say i am insinuating that, but I’m not saying “well every guy is controlling, she should just never date guys”. NO. im saying, “if you know there is a problem, why do you deliberately LINGER??”

    the whole ‘lingering’ is what bugs me.

    im real sorry you all. it came off really bad. i wish i could take back the..three? long things i wrote because i really COULD NOT find a way to word what i meant!! argh.

    OK, so im just asking a psychological question. im not saying ‘wow what idiots” im saying “i (assume) they know better, but WHY do they go?”

    maybe they dont know? im just asking for what you thought about their thinking process..not “omgz bunny u blame women for rape. not all rapes happen at frats. its not our fault its the guys.’

    no shit. thats why i come on here. i get it and i agree. (well except that i blame them lol)

    and yes, i am going to wonder why people let DUMB men into their lives. you can figure out if a guy is a misogynist pretty easy, i think. what does he say about women? i mean, why are you dating a guy who you have never discussed RAPE with? and if a guy is lying, he probably acts sexist. guys my age are incredibly predictable. i wouldnt date a guy who is clearly just trying to get in my pants by ‘pretending’ to be a feminist. it takes a bit of talking to figure out who a good guy is. maybe thats why i dont like ANY party with strangers. you may know a few guys, but the majority you don’t. and there is alcohol and bedrooms and horny people. sex will happen.

    i just dont understand why they go. thats all. i mean, its the fact that they stay in the environment. like i would never walk around at night unless i had a weapon or mace or w/e. idk. fuck it you guys im just gonna change my name and never use ‘bunny214’ again because nobody is getting what im asking. its just why do they think its ‘alright’. like a constantly suspicious girlfriend.

    screw it. nobody is getting the point. i get all your points. i just couldnt find a way to get mine across (HOPEFULLY) until now.

  27. February 27, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    ok sure you get raped by people you know…but with so many unreported rapes isnt that going to be obvious? I mean, you would probably report the person if you thought “yes! Justice! I know that guy and he cant go on doing this!” and you know who it is and will identify him. i think girls wont tell if it was some random guy…cuz what are the chances it will get solved, you know? It just seems hopeless. i really hate how you all think i dont know ‘you get raped by sum1 u know more often’.

    i was simply making a joke about frat dudes and how unpredictable they are..and then wondering why the unpredictability is appealing to some.

    its not appealing to me and my friends, i can tell you that. so maybe everyone else was from a group of ppl who just…what? exactly. i dont know. so im asking you to tell me. you had mace? you buddied up?

    why did you go??? tell me. because I DONT GO. im not claiming to be better than you or something. i want to know YOUR reasoning. let it rip.

  28. puggins
    February 27, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I’m a bit of an optimist, and think that most of society still thinks that rape is such a horrifying occurrence that it can’t possibly occur at the rate those studies claim. At least, that was my mindset before I actually took a closer look at the actual situation on the ground. The “women deserve it if they’re slutty” thing never even crossed my mind- I just basically ignored the whole sordid mess by believing that our culture was just way too advanced to allow something this horrific to go on even a tenth as often as 25%. Of course, that’s before two women I knew in college were raped, another was murdered and raped, and a fourth, fifth and sixth revealed they were molested as children. Then I sorta woke up in a hurry.

    So I can understand casual denial- I see it all the time, and it’s almost always ignorance disguised as well-meaning optimism. What I can’t get are the people like MacDonald, that consciously stoke the fires against women, blaming them for wanting to enjoy themselves even the slightest bit. I can’t think of any more obvious example of subjugating women- these people are literally flipping abused women the bird, telling them that they don’t exist and would’ve deserved what they got anyways. WTF is wrong with these people?

  29. SarahMC
    February 27, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Oh sweet Christ. For someone who keeps calling other people dumb, Bunny, you sure don’t come across as a genius yourself. How old are you, huh? Because the text-speak and lack of proper capitalization/punctuation makes it difficult to take you seriously. Plus you appear to be on uppers.

  30. zuzu
    February 27, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Bunny, there’s a very old saying that you should think about very carefully:

    When in hole, stop digging.

  31. Mnemosyne
    February 27, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I mean, you would probably report the person if you thought “yes! Justice! I know that guy and he cant go on doing this!” and you know who it is and will identify him.

    Identifying the rapist is easy in most cases, since he and the victim are already at least acquaintances.

    Getting the cops to believe you that it was a rape (and not bad sex) and then getting the prosecutor to think that you have a solid enough case to convince a jury and then getting the jury to believe it was a rape (and not bad sex). That, of course, is assuming the prosecutor doesn’t plea-bargain it down to a misdemeanor sexual assault charge that comes with 20 hours of community service as the punishment.

    And then you lose the case, because the jury didn’t believe you, and now you’re the evil bitch who ruined this nice young man’s life with a false rape accusation.

    And you wonder why more women don’t report being raped?

  32. February 27, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    does nobody even read what i say? i said the problem lies with the men. thats it. why do you say i think women should never go outside and shit like that? damn. you like to put words in my mouth. all i ever said was if its dangerous, why do it?

    why. not ‘omg theyre risk-takers’. i never said its 100% their fault. it never is.

    mindset. mindset. why why why. thats all.. X_X like my mom always said ‘you teenagers think you can live through anything’…is that what is going on?

    yeah and seriously my topic has basically nothing to do with the article itself…but has somehow taken over the comments. sorry about that.. :(

  33. February 27, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    *suicides the name bunny214* *fills hole..with self*

    wait did someone say I’m on drugs?? i don’t know what “uppers” is.

    OK and fine. I will type properly. I was just typing MASSIVE amounts of text and if I do that (especially in self-defense on a blog or w/e) I tend to just pop my words out w/out caps. I know, it’s sloppy.

    Everyone hates me now. I’m not blaming victims for the millionth time. I KNOW it is society’s way of raising men that makes rape happen. Goodbye.

  34. Lorelei
    February 27, 2008 at 6:32 pm


    i think you need a little visit to Feminism 101 before you try this again.

    FAQ: What’s wrong with suggesting women need to take precautions to prevent being raped?

    FAQ: What is male privilege?

    Internalized sexism

    for what it’s worth: i stayed with an abusive guy because none of the attitudes he had about women were any different than any other guy i’d known or heard of. i didn’t know he was abusive and i figured all guys would treat me that way.

    most other men and women i know who have stayed with abusive partners did so because they literally could not afford not to or were afraid of being killed if they did.

    [Links edited because they broke the page, and broken pages make me sad. –z]

  35. dragonsmilk
    February 27, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    i think these poor college girls need to see there are other SAFER ways to party…and its not worth getting raped to hang out with a buncha assholes. why not hang out w/ NICE guys? perhaps NOT rapists?

    bunny, I know a lot of people are responding to your overall point, but I really wanted to say something about this bit specifically. When I went to college, I felt pretty much the same way you did about all of this. I certainly never went to big drunken parties (not my taste, even if they didn’t scare me), and I avoided loudmouth jock types like the plague. I figured I should hang out with guys who decried stereotypical fratboy behavior as much as I did. I wound up with a boyfriend who was the total antithesis of all that, never tried to be macho, bent over backwards to be considerate to everyone, quiet, sensitive, total nice guy. You already know where this story is going, right?

    In retrospect, there were warning signs (childish emotional manipulation, mostly), but they looked nothing at all like the warning signs I’d been taught to expect. To the contrary, I assumed that a guy who showed his emotional vulnerability and was “so considerate” had to be the opposite of a Potential Rapist. While I’m all for young women steering clear of assholes, emphasizing the stereotypical depictions of sexist asshole, IMO, serves mainly to make things easier for a lot of sensitive, quiet, geeky, artistic, seemingly gentle rapists. And if you have images in your head of the kinds of guys who rape and the kinds who don’t, and you’re as stupid as I was at 18, you might have a harder time wrapping your head around an attack from someone in the latter category.

  36. Lorelei
    February 27, 2008 at 6:36 pm


    women go to frat parties for the same reason men do.

    because they like free liquor.

    because they like sex.

    because they like dancing.

    and people already answered you: women don’t think that their classmates, roommate’s best friends, buddies from high school, quiet kid down the hall, or whoever, is going to up and rape them. do you have any reason to believe that those people will rape you? probably not. if you’re going to a frat party, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, you’re probably going because you have a bunch of friends going. therefore, you figure you’re just gonna chill with your circle of friends and what the hell could happen?

  37. Dana
    February 27, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you Lorelei! Quite apart from the many gaping holes in her (?) logic, what is difficult to understand about the idea that women like going to parties, getting drunk, having fun? Possibly having consensual sex. Not going to parties because you might be raped is just fucked up.

  38. February 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Why do women go to frat parties?

    I’m not American, but I can make inferences from my own experience.
    -Some people (like me) enjoy drinking and
    -Some people like socialising
    -Some people enjoy flirting, sexual attraction and attention and sex

    It’s not wrong in any way to like these things. It’s part of being my age that these situations are the most common ways that you do meet people who are you age. It’s not ideal for everyone. It suits me. I’ve been in situations of analogous safety (where there existed a similar chance of rape), but the reason I am unharmed is because I, through luck, managed to not be in the presence of rapists.

  39. February 27, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    i mean, why are you dating a guy who you have never discussed RAPE with?

    This is actually kind of a good point. But it needs to be elaborated on, because not just any conversation will do. It’s not like the guys who end up raping their girlfriends, when you ask them about rape, will be like “rape? who cares? I’ll rape a bitch whenever I want, including you, you’re my bitch!” Right out of the blue… their insane violent misogyny revealed. Sadly, that’s not quite how it works. (And I don’t think you were saying it does, bunny.) An infinitesimal number of guys actually believe they are rapists or are capable of rape or have ever raped anyone… even the ones who have, or might. This is exactly the problem with the original article — rape has turned into this “impossible horror” bogeyman crime that’s so unimaginably bad that people like Heather MacDonald can’t imagine that YES it’s really happening, and without widespread outcry.

    The word “rape” has become so impossibly bad, the realm of something outside and beyond the pale, that most men can’t conceive that yes, they could end up raping someone even if they don’t realize or acknowledge it’s rape, someone they know, someone they chose to get drunk, someone they didn’t get consent from. Even most frat guys probably believe that they would only ever be “rapists” if they kidnapped some girl in a dark alley, tied her up, and forced sex on her even though she was screaming for them not to. So yeah — the acquaintances and friends and boyfriends and ex-boyfriends who are far too likely to be the ones committing rape? When you have a conversation with them about rape, they probably make all sorts of noises about how bad rape is, how it’s not a joke, how they can’t imagine how sick you would have to be to rape someone, the thought utterly horrifies them, etc.

    I don’t know how often conversations happen, with the average Joe, about whether he’s ever been in a situation where consent wasn’t clear. Where maybe his partner was a whole lot more drunk than him. Where maybe afterwards, she thought to herself, I didn’t want that and it happened even though I didn’t say yes. Those are the situations that cause arguments, where you start to see some more subtle true colors. Most people in our society are not the “hahaha yeah rape is hilarious” types — and even those guys are joking about something they don’t really have any idea about, a bogeyman that’s so ludicrous and unimaginable to them that it’s absurd — but most people still don’t get that having sex with someone who does not consent equals rape.

  40. Thomas, TSID
    February 27, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Bunny, I and the rest of us were a little hard on you, but that’s because we’ve heard this all before from people that say, “I’m not saying it’s their fault, not completely, just some, but it kind of is, and I know everyone’s going to be mad that I said it …” We’ve all heard it so many times that, speaking for myself, I just get mad.

    You asked one question that got my attention. You asked what the mindset was the got women into the situation where some man rapes them at a frat party. I know the answer to that, and I know it because of something else I’ve heard too many times.

    **Trigger warning**

    Maybe some woman goes out to a party, which maybe is at a frat house, or the local off-campus party pad at five bucks for a plastic cup at the door. Maybe she thinks half the guys that show up at that place are dicks, but the other half are okay, and her friends are going there, so it’s there or be alone on Friday night. Maybe the music is good and the beer is cold and she’s with seven other women, so how dangerous could it be?

    Maybe there’s a guy and maybe she makes a connection with him. He doesn’t have “rapist” on his hat, or his tee shirt, or his forehead, and he seems pretty cool. And maybe she wants to make out with him, and they’re both three or four drinks into the night, which is a lot for her. And maybe that goes pretty well.

    But now she’s making out with this guy on the couch, and he’s clearly into her, and there’s only so much they can do on the couch in front of forty of their not-so-close friends. And maybe if his hand starts working up under her sweater she’s good with that, but they’re on the couch in front of forty people. She doesn’t want to be there with her bra unclasped and her sweater around her collarbones, which is not fun unless she’s an exhibitionist. Everyone in the place has a camera on their phone and the pictures would be in all the inboxes two hours later and maybe on Facebook by dawn.

    So now she could decide to call it a night and call in the morning, or maybe she’s the sort of woman who doesn’t feel like she can make the call so she would have to hope he calls in the morning. But tomorrow is a long way away and he’s into her now. There’s a bedroom upstairs and her friends are right down in the living room.

    But once that door is closed maybe she learns something that she couldn’t really have gotten earlier, which is that once the door is closed he thinks he gets to fuck her no matter what. Either he just thinks that’s how it works, or he’s already decided he doesn’t care what she thinks about that. And if he had told her, “once we go in there I expect you to fuck me,” she would have decided that wasn’t the deal she was signing on for, but they never do say that.

    And now he’s not listening to anything she’s saying. Maybe if she yelled she could get his attention, but maybe he’s not being an asshole and maybe he’s just too excited to realize he’s way out ahead of where she wants to be. And then maybe it’s pretty clear he’s not too concerned with where she wants to be, and maybe if she smacks him he’ll come to his senses and realize that raping her would be really, really wrong. But now the body that made his look so good on the couch makes him look scary, because maybe he’s six inches taller than her and sixty pounds heavier. What if she smacks him and he doesn’t come to his senses and instead decides to hurt her until she stays still? Or maybe she could yell for help, but the door is thick and the music is loud? What if she yells and he hits her to shut her up? What if she yells and his friends come in and she’s most of the way naked but what he wants looks like a better deal to them than what she wants, which right now is really, really to be out of that room? What if she yells and nobody comes, and he’s going to do what he’s going to do even if she yells for half an hour? And at that point all the good options are gone and maybe she decides to just be somewhere else and leave as soon as he’s off of her. And then what? Then her friends saw her drink with his hand up her shirt on the couch and he says she was cool until she sobered up in the morning; so maybe she decides to just shut up about it and who cares what she calls it because she’s not going to tell anyone, ever, anyway.

    And my daughter, a long time from now, will be her age. And what would she do? Would she stay home and work on her Astrophysics paper every weekend? That would be safer, but that’s a monastic existence. In my mind’s eye, she’s a Brazilian Jujitsu brown belt and pulls an arm-bar and calmly folds his elbow the other way, pulls on her jeans and spits on him on her way out the door. That’s how the good girl wins in action movies – the ones I like, anyway, where the women all kick ass. But there’s no way I know now who my daughter will be, if she’ll he physically or mentally capable of that, and I can’t know if doing that will get her injured or killed and if she’s ever there she’s going to have to make that decision alone: terribly, terribly alone. And there’s no way now I can know if she’s going to be on that couch making out with a woman or a man or nobody. And if it’s a guy, I can’t see all those years in the future and know if he’s a rapist of not, and when she gets there I don’t know how she’ll know. I know that there are all sorts of things I can teach her that might make a difference or might not, but the one thing most likely to spare her that is if, when she’s that age, the whole culture is different, and there are less rapists and less rape; because everything else depends on facts we can’t know in advance.

    There’s no situation where a woman is raped where somebody won’t say, “what was she thinking?” If she goes camping with male friends, they’ll say, “what was she thinking?” and if she goes with only women, they’ll say, “what were they thinking?” If she gets drunk and tries to wander out and catch a cab, they’ll say, “what was she thinking?” And if she spends the night to sober up, they’ll say, “what was she thinking?” If she has a guy over, if she goes to his place, if she lives alone, if the man who rapes her is her husband, someone somewhere will always throw it at her and tell her she did something wrong or stupid. And that’s why it’s not what she did: because there’s no right answer. So to change the way it is, the only question has to be about what he did.

  41. ACM
    February 27, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Bunny, if you wonder why would women go to frat parties knowing there are jerks there waiting to rape them couldn’t we go to the next logical step and ask why women go to college at all when they know the men who go there are waiting to rape them? Once you begin restricting where women go to “protect” them you start down a very dangerous road. You sound very young and naive about how things work.

  42. Emily
    February 27, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Thomas, TSID,

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

  43. oatmealia
    February 27, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Thomas, that was a wonderful comment. You hit the nail on the head, repeatedly.

  44. February 27, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Longtime/first time and all that….

    About ten years ago I was an educator against sexual assault/violence against women at my university’s women’s center. And I met a lot of young women like bunny. Young women who basically got the idea that rape was common and that women weren’t asking for it but still felt deep down that there was, for lack of a better phrase, a “correct” way to be raped.

    Raped by a stranger when you did everything correctly to prevent it? OK
    Raped by a guy you’d gone to a party to meet or misjudged? Not OK.

    And while the reasoning for many people is certainly anti-feminist, there’s also a group out there who reason this way out of fear. I even saw it among my co-educators, in which case it was more of a “we know so much about this issue it can’t happen to us” kind of thing.

    So, bunny, if you’re still reading the comments here I’d like to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that knowing you are at risk for being raped is so terrifying to you that you need to convince yourself you are doing everything correctly to prevent it and it will never happen to you. If you or someone you care about has already been raped and you are trying to ensure that it never happens again, I’m sorry for that, too. But know that if it does, you will not have done anything “wrong” — and that applies to the girls you see going to frat parties, too.

  45. roses
    February 27, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    ok sure you get raped by people you know…but with so many unreported rapes isnt that going to be obvious? I mean, you would probably report the person if you thought “yes! Justice! I know that guy and he cant go on doing this!” and you know who it is and will identify him. i think girls wont tell if it was some random guy…cuz what are the chances it will get solved, you know?

    But there are a lot of reasons a woman might not report a rape done by a man she knows. Maybe she’s in denial that it was rape because she doesn’t want to believe somebody she knows and trusts could do such a terrible thing. Maybe she figures it wasn’t really rape, because after all she was drinking with him and she did agree to make out with him, and she was wearing a short skirt… what did she expect really?* Maybe she loves him and doesn’t want to see him go to jail. Maybe she’s afraid that if she reports it, he will hurt her. Maybe she knows there’s no point in taking it to trial because there’s no evidence, it’s his word against hers, and you can’t get a conviction based on that. Lots of reasons not to report a rape, other than not knowing who it was who raped you.

    *Please don’t think I’m making that argument. I absolutely think rape is rape under any circumstance. But it seems like a depressing amount of men and an even more depressing amount of women still believe that kind of thing.

  46. Marissa
    February 27, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I wanted to add to what pretty much everyone is saying here, but it literally does not matter what the victim was doing before she got raped. Unless you are going to baracade yourself in your house. Rape happens at frat parties, rape happens in public buildings and parks, rape happens in people’s own homes, and it is usually someone she trusts. A Family member, a freind, a boyfreind. It’s not just frat parties, this kind of misogynistic disregard for a woman’s feelings and body extends throughiut culture on all levels. And it really doesn’t matter what she choses to do or not to do, rape has NOTHING to do with her actions. It is ENTIRELY the fault the rapist.

  47. Rika
    February 27, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I have a little story that bunny may find interesting.

    So I went to a party last year. It was hosted by one of my supervisors where I worked, and there would be a lot of my co-workers there. There would also be a lot of people I didn’t know. Was that a dangerous situation? Should I not have gone because any one of the guys there might be a potential rapist? Should I not leave the house without my umbrella in case it rains, even if there’s hardly a cloud in the sky?

    So I got drunk at this party, and then it pretty much disbanded, with a lot of people going to the bars. Somehow I got left behind, standing in the parking lot wondering where everyone went and what I was supposed to do now. Then one of my co-workers came out, and when he found out my situation, offered to take me to another party.

    So I went, and now I was at a party where I didn’t know anybody except for my co-worker. And I didn’t even know this guy too well, we talked a bit when we were working together, but that was about it. When we left the party, I hadn’t sobered much at all, and I didn’t really want the night to be over. So I complained a bit and then asked my co-worker if he would come back to my dorm with me. The other two people laughed a bit, and I protested, saying that I didn’t want sex, I just didn’t want to be alone.

    I had an extra bed in my dorm that I said he could sleep in, and I had extra blankets and everything. But he was like, “you’re not going to make me sleep by myself are you?!” So I said fine, you can share my bed.

    Now I’m going to guess that several of you are thinking this is going to end up with rape. Well it didn’t. I was just asking for it huh? I let a shirtless man into my bed, he was drunk, I was drunk, surely its going to end in disaster! Well no, because, though the guy is kind of an asshole, he’s not a rapist. Through my conversations with him before the party, I deduced that he was pretty sexist. But alcohol doesn’t turn men into rapists, even if they are sexist assholes. All we did that night was cuddle a little, and talk a bit about how I was such a virgin.

    So maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Maybe I put myself in a lot of danger. And maybe I was being naive at the time for not feeling like I was setting myself up for trouble, and liable to get sexually assaulted. But I don’t think I should HAVE to worry about that, even if I do willfully put myself in such a situation. Even if we had both been naked and making out, I want to think that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting raped. Unfortunately we don’t live in such a world, but still.

    Sorry that was long. I probably could have made the story shorter. Oh well.

  48. ElleBeMe
    February 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Gee I went to a bunch of frat parties and even married a “frat boy” years later….and my attempted rapist was a grad student who was working on his PhD and tried to f*ck me while his fiance was asleep in the other room.

    Like everyone else here has said – you can’t judge a book by its cover.

    I thought I was safe when I was told I could crash at this house. Afterall, it was a small gathering, I had my friend Tim there with me, G had his FIANCE…. I thought I was safe when I passed out in the guest room – until I woke up with G trying to undress me and grabbing my chest and crotch.

    After all the frat parties and drunken soirees of undergrad, where I was as Bunny would classify me as having been in the wrong place – the moment I felt safe – when the frat boys were nowhere around, I was almost raped.

    Bunny – I don’t think that anyone here would argue with you that a woman should avoid placing herself in danger. It isn’t wise to walk alone in the dark of night – or to lose one’s self control at a party, or bar. I was always taught that there is safety in numbers, and if alcohol is involved to not let loose so much that I couldn’t function. However in those instances if I had been raped, would I have deserved it? Would I have been at blame? No means no. Anyone who can’t take that as an answer and pursues to sexually violate the other party is the one who is in the wrong. NOT the other way around.

    I know survivors of rape, one who was raped and barely escaped with her life from it. Nothing they did by wearing “provocative” (a very subjectible standard) clothing to drinking too much, to having been separated from the female group deserved what they got. NONE of them.

  49. Emily
    February 27, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Re: Thomas at 42:

    I always found that there was a moment in a hook-up at which I would feel the need to say to a guy “I’m not having sex with you tonight.” Usually it was when we were potentially moving from a public/semi-private place to a more private place. Once when a guy took his pants off. I was, of course, lucky not to have been in the presence of a rapist. But I did feel that making it explicit, at the moment at which it felt to me like maybe he would think I’d somehow agreed to have sex with him, was worthwhile. It also kind of made them say something – acknowledge, affirm, no sex. I don’t know if I had really fully thought out why I did that – I did it without thinking. But it was my little attempt to avoid precisely the scenario Thomas describes.

  50. February 27, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Maybe the woman in question is a thirteen year old whose most explicit sexual experience was a kiss during truth or dare at a party, who later finds herself in a violent situation with an adult man she thought she could trust.

    Years later she will find herself in far more precarious situations with far less trustworthy men and nothing bad will happen to her.

    Like me.

  51. ACM
    February 27, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I am always sad when the rules applied to women are ones that would be laughed at if applied to the rest of society. For example “Why did you go to that party? You should have known you would be raped.” But what if you used that same logic in other areas. “Why did you go to that gas station? You should have known it would be robbed.” “Why did you drive your car? You should have known you would be hit by a drunk driver.”

    Even if you ignore the fact that most rapes aren’t happening at drunken frat parties and that if every woman in the world never went to another one again the number of rapes would decrease by barely a blip on the map, the “Why did you…/You should have known…” rules only seem to apply to women and rape. Used against anything else those same comments would never be said.

  52. Anon4Now
    February 27, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I’ve read this site for a long time now and have commented every now and again though probably not enough for people here to recognize my username, at any rate.

    I have never publicly talked about my rape until now, for reasons so many of you address so well.

    This happened when I was 16. The guy was “just a friend.” I loved him. We felt like soul mates as far as friendship went. We hung out and listened to music and watched movies and got stoned and it was the best, lightest feeling in the world, to feel so close to someone, and it was so fucking magical and freeing because he wasn’t my boyfriend and I wasn’t his girlfriend and we didn’t have a romantic relationship.

    Then, one night, we went driving around, as people are prone to doing in small towns (that, or Wal-Mart, or Denny’s.) We got lost in the country because that was fun to do – to see the universe wide open and full of possibility, to see the stars in the sky. We stopped the car, smoked a joint, talked a whole lot about different stuff.

    He came on to me. Well, it was sort of weird, but what the hell, I figured. No harm in kissing. I love him and he’s my best friend and I like kissing. Things went on from there, and I didn’t want them to. Finally, he stopped after my insistence. He didn’t cum, but he did put a condom on and he did penetrate me, and I didn’t want him to.

    We stopped being friends after that. Girls I barely knew would go on to tell another guy (my future boyfriend) what a slut I was because I “had sex with _____.” They didn’t know what happened. And the only thing worse than being faced with being called a slut by relative strangers for no good reason was the prospect of being called a lying slut, so I kept my mouth shut. I kept my mouth shut because it was all I knew to do. Because this guy was the valedictorian, and I was the girl he got high with who’d had sex before him and after him, so obviously I consentually had sex with him.

    I was freaked out and traumatized by that (and all boys/men) for years. It’s been over 10 years now. I’m okay with it. Heck, we even had a nice time among mutual friends at our class reunion. I forgave him. I never told him how I felt about him or what happened, or my perceptions of it, partially because I couldn’t come to terms with it or name what happened until years later. Does my forgiving him make it okay? Does it undo the rape?

  53. Kristen
    February 27, 2008 at 11:16 pm


    Everything everyone else said, plus one important point. I was a lot like you in hs and college. I had seven friend who were victims of date rape so I was hyper vigilant about my personal safety…but there was one very important thing I learned years later.

    Men can be fun, interesting, kind, generous and wonderful people.

    The type of hypervigilance you’re talking about blocks women off from having relationships…sexual or otherwise…with a group of people just because some of them are rapists. And that isn’t any way to live a life. You can go through life trying to protect yourself from men…but in the end you’ll be missing out on a lifetime of wonderful friendships and perhaps more. If you find the risk too great, I understand, but please understand that many of us DO think these types of relationships are important.

    I know sometimes when talking about rape, we can get a little sloppy with the language…the reality is frat houses aren’t filled with rapists any more than an office, a drs waiting room, or the neighborhood bar.

  54. Marissa
    February 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Wow. Damn. I’m so sorry to hear that happened but thank you for sharing that with us. The lying slut part is especially sad for me.. I personally cannot forgive for rape. Does forgiveness help other survivors?

  55. Anon4Now
    February 28, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Thank you, my fellow feminists, for carving a place in this world where, for once in my life, I feel safe talking about my experiences.

    What I was getting at was addressing what Bunny was insinuating – and sort of reiterating what dragonsmilk said. Rapists aren’t just the creep hiding in the bushes. Rapists aren’t just the white-hat frat boys who call each other “brah.” Rapists are dangerous because they’re otherwise just like you and me, and that’s something people don’t want to face. Something so “like” wholesome, who would never do such a thing. Something so “like” normal, who would never force himself on someone. Something so “like” handsome, who would never need to have unconsentual sex. Something so “like” successful, wouldn’t it be a tragedy to tarnish his reputation, so why don’t we tar and feather the girls/women instead?

  56. Roxie
    February 28, 2008 at 1:39 am

    I want to thank EVERYONE for writing all of their thoughts and most personal experiences. This has been a truly amazing and (hopefully) transformative thread.

  57. Thomas, TSID
    February 28, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Anon, it’s the least we can do. You see, it’s our fault. Not just me or the Feministe readership; but all of us. The whole society is us, and it’s a patriarchy, in which men rape women and women are silenced. We all owe you an apology, and as Piny once said, “an apology is a promise to change.”

  58. jamesPi
    February 28, 2008 at 10:02 am

    As mentioned above, there is a lot of resistance to these stats and that, I think, is because of the basic optimism of people and their lack of knowledge on this specific subject. You have people such as the ones on this blog on one side and for some reason a group of people who dismiss any stat like the 1 in 4 stat out of hand on the other side. In the middle is the majority of Americans who think a lot like you do here only its hard for them to process such a high number. They haven’t read a lot about it, they agree its a problem and more should be done but usually they just go off of DoJ stats or what they may have learned in college in a mandatory course or reports in USA Today/Newsweek and so on. Because many of them are never in a place to hear a discussion on it such as the ones we have here, they don’t see it for what it really is.

    Thats why I believe the, anti-anti-rapists?, make these attacks on the numbers as the attack will reach some of the people in the middle and perhaps even convince them. I’m one of those in the middle slowly working my way towards where you are and when I see these attacks on the stats I do read them because I inherently distrust stats and I can see how easy it would be to buy what they are saying and dismiss this “rape crisis” if I had no other real sources of information, as most people dont really look into things. (I don’t really mean there is a hard line between feminists, anti’s, and everyone in the middle but it was the best way I could think of to express what I was trying to get at).

  59. kali
    February 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    There’s a nasty double bind that I’ve just seen in these comments that can get used to dismiss the account of absolutely any rape victim:

    Stereotypical rape: What did she expect?/She must have wanted it.
    Non-stereotypical rape: He would never do that/She must be lying.

    Of course most rapes contain elements of both, so you can combine the two in different quantities and you have a recipe for dismissing anything any rape victim ever says. Yuk.

    Also, did this comment by Bunny ring any alarm bells for anyone else?
    its not worth getting raped to hang out with a buncha assholes. why not hang out w/ NICE guys

    If you combine that with the absolute incomprehension that women might enjoy fun, and the belief that “assholes” are easy to spot on sight and the division between them and NIce Guys is clear cut… i dunno if it was really a Nice Guy(TM) in drag, maybe just someone who has spent a lot of time listening to one talk. Either way I had never considered the intersection between Nice Guyism and victim blaming before– slow of me, I know.

  60. meggygurl
    February 28, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Ya know what scares me with the Nice Guy(TM) thing?

    Is that most of my male friends are nice guys. What if one of them was one the the guys the has raped someone… and doesn’t even consider it rape?

    Sometimes my thoughts keep me up at night.

  61. February 28, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks that bunny is actually a teenage boy? I could be wrong, but I dunno.

  62. February 28, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Thomas, it’s insane what you wrote. Completely insane. Because in response to the post about this article yesterday, I wrote what was intended to be a small commentary but ended up being a huge, 7-page blog about it… that I didn’t post, because I chickened out. But what I wrote about was actually almost verbatim the hypothetical scenario you described. I think I may actually post it, because now I do not feel so weird about it anymore.

    Thank you.

  63. meggygurl
    February 29, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Am I the only one who thinks that bunny is actually a teenage boy? I could be wrong, but I dunno.

    A teenage boy who probably doesn’t get any dates cause he’s such a Nice Guy and all the hot girls at his school hang out with the “stupid frat boys” instead of him!

    Ginger! You might be on to something!

  64. Jason
    March 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm


    So the constant narrative of “why do women go here when they know they might be raped?” isn’t innocent, even if you mean it that way. It adopts a greater framework that has always been used to keep women docile and domiciled. It’s men who are more likely to experience violence at places like frat parties, but no one suggests that they simply stay home or don’t socialize in a particular way, because everyone assumes that men are entitled to live in the public space as they see fit. Women don’t have that kind of entitlement. That’s why feminists get pissed off when people suggest that women shouldn’t go certain places or do certain things because they might get themselves raped; it’s both inaccurate and part of a larger misogynist message.

    The topic isn’t simply violence. It’s rape. There’s not a massive outcry or a movement about a “campus violence culture” which is largely predicated on males being too inebriated to consent to being victimized. You’re attacking a supposed red herring with a red herring. McDonald’s op-ed is a review of the claims that the “campus rape culture” is so extensive based on nominal studies that define acts as rape even when the supposed victim doesn’t.

    No woman deserves to be raped, but defining rape down doesn’t serve women or men. Additionally, pointing out that we are all responsible for our behaviour isn’t blaming the victim. If you enter into a place where other people are going to have diminished mental capacity AND you voluntarily diminish your own ability to make reasonable decisions, you’ve increased the odds you aren’t going to like what happens- if you happen to remember it.

  65. March 20, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    In case anyone’s interested in reading the full text of (one of) the study(s) in question rather than someone else’s excerpted quotes from it, I have posted one here:


    It’s not a difficult read – takes 10-15 minutes.

    It’s a valid & worthwhile study, but it does not point to an epidemic of
    sexual violence on college & university campuses, as so many have claimed it does.

    This misunderstanding is probably encouraged by the (intentionally?) misleading title of the study:
    “Hidden Rape: A Survey of the Incidence of Sexual Aggression and Victimization on a University Campus”.

    The study shows that about 1 in 4 women have experienced rape or attempted
    rape by the time they get to college .
    It does not show that 1 in 4 women experience rape or attempted rape while they are in college.

    Most of these women experience only attempted rape.

    Those women who experience only attempted rape do not identify themselves as rape victims (which only makes sense), but the vast majority of the women who are actually raped do.

  66. heinous seamus
    April 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    male opinion here.

    it’s really very simple. women are raped by men– usually men they know. this is a pretty scathing indictment of heterosexual relationship in this country if it affects one in four (my gut is more like one in three) women. other than in defending themselves, supporting each other and making this issue known– this isn’t a women’s issue– it’s a men’s issue because men are doing the raping. as such it’s not going to change until the issue of rape and sexual violence against women matters to men.

    none of this is acceptable to society, to women– and none of it should be acceptable to men. the algebra is really simple. my mother and grandmother are women. my sisters (if i had them) are women. my female friends are women. my female coworkers are women. my ex-girlfriends and lovers were all women. my wife is a woman. my daughters (if i have them) will be women. with a statistic like 1 in 4, with all of these women in my life, this affects the hell out of me.

    how can this not matter to men?


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