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376 Responses

  1. Hayley
    Hayley December 16, 2011 at 11:34 am |

    Unfortunately there is still a “she was asking for it” mentality that I just saw represented on my own blog just yesterday when a new commenter (a so-called 19-year-old) suggested that girls shouldn’t dress a certain way because “they’re asking for it.” After bashing my head against the desk, I calmly wrote back explaining the feminist slant to which he politely thanked me for schooling him. Was he genuine? Who knows. On another note, college campuses need to plaster this campaign from Ottowa, Canada around that says: “Just because she’s drunk, doesn’t mean she wants to fuck.”
    http://crimepreventionottawa.ca/en/initiatives/dont-be-that-guy#.TuqLjUnZ9d4.twitter

  2. Aimee
    Aimee December 16, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    I love this, thank you for writing it, you hit the nail on the head in so many ways. However, i think the faulty bungee analogy is off, because rape isn’t an accident that happens to someone whilst drunk. It may be more appropriate to say, if you decide to bungee jump and someone cuts/detaches your rope right as you’re jumping.

  3. Gina
    Gina December 16, 2011 at 11:58 am |

    This is a great post, but I would object to the idea that our social choices with regard to our risk for rape are “taking a risk.” Being at risk for rape isn’t something that one can choose or not choose — it’s not a matter of (potential victims’) agency. Women are at risk for rape because they are women and because some men use *their* agency to rape. It is misleading and buys into the very rhetoric the author wishes to repudiate to characterize women’s choices as more or less “risky.”

    1. Jill
      Jill December 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm | *

      This is a great post, but I would object to the idea that our social choices with regard to our risk for rape are “taking a risk.” Being at risk for rape isn’t something that one can choose or not choose — it’s not a matter of (potential victims’) agency. Women are at risk for rape because they are women and because some men use *their* agency to rape. It is misleading and buys into the very rhetoric the author wishes to repudiate to characterize women’s choices as more or less “risky.”

      I don’t think Jaclyn meant taking a risk for rape – I think she meant riskiness generally.

  4. bleh
    bleh December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm |

    Of course, girls and women are trained not to take certain kinds of risks but to embrace the risks of things like marriage, childbearing, etc. Those activities have giant risks, but they don’t have the fun factor of bungee jumping, drinking to excess, driving fast, and other risk-taking behavior coded “masculine.” I wonder why that is.

    Hell, I’m even being chided for planning travel to a perfectly safe African country, when my brother has been to many, many dangerous spaces including the country I’m visiting, and never got chided about his travels.

  5. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    Here’s a revolutionary thought–let’s advise people to not get regularly loaded because drinking to excess or getting high can really fuck up your body. I KNOW, WEIRD, RIGHT???

    Also? Don’t guys get into fights, get robbed, and get fucked with when they’re loaded? Yet they don’t get treated to lectures about How They Should Have Known Better. Nope. Assault and robbery are crimes, full stop.

    But when it happens to the bitches, our drinking or being out after 10 p.m. or trusting our date or just existing is the crime.

  6. Stefani Vonne
    Stefani Vonne December 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm |

    Ma’am, you are getting a standing ovation from my bed. A-FUCKING-MEN!

  7. antic - dotal
    antic - dotal December 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    Also? Don’t guys get into fights, get robbed, and get fucked with when they’re loaded? Yet they don’t get treated to lectures about How They Should Have Known Better

    Heh, actually, women tell us getting drunk was no excuse to “loose the fight like a pussy” or “let yourself get fucked like a fag”, or the ever common “your not a real man”.

    which you would think would make people de gender – ize their “drunk / high ppl are bad ppl” bashing since all sides get screwed over by that kinda logic but i guess to some, fighting slut shaming with “girly man hate” is a “winning argument”… sigh :(

  8. Roxy
    Roxy December 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm |

    Is it possible to couch this valid criticism of victim-blaming with the practical advice of being aware of where you are, who you are with, and how you’ll get home?

    It seems like we have on the one hand a PR Campaign that focuses on the common idea that women ought to be scared, all the time, any time they leave the house. And on the other hand, we have the suggestion that anyone OUGHT to be able to go out and do whatever they like and NOT BE RAPED. Because rapists should not be enabled with these kinds of messages that the victim was asking for it.

    Yet the reality lies somewhere in between: without perfect prediction surveillance and wide-spread awareness, rapists (and rape culture) still exist. So do muggers and stalkers. And being aware of your surroundings, those you are with, and how you will get home can all help us protect ourselves.

  9. BDarling
    BDarling December 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm |

    Yes, stay on well-lit streets and don’t walk alone too late at night. Make sure your date sees you to your door!

    What happens when your date is the one who rapes you?

    Blaming/shaming women for rape tends to completely disregard the very stereotypical nature of the rape scenarios we are warned against. This article mentions the false belief, that if you engage in certain “good” behaviors and avoid “bad” ones, you are suddenly safe. Not enough women know that rape isn’t typically some strange man just grabbing you off of the street, it’s more often someone you know (and in some cases it can be someone you love).

    If we want to be safer, we need to be more honest.

    Fantastic article!

  10. Megan
    Megan December 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Also?Don’t guys get into fights, get robbed, and get fucked with when they’re loaded?Yet they don’t get treated to lectures about How They Should Have Known Better. Nope. Assault and robbery are crimes, fullstop.

    This. I talk about drunk barfights all the time when teaching college students about rape. If a drunk person can be arrested and charged for getting into a fight, that means that being drunk isn’t an excuse or an out when a crime is committed, and the same should apply when we think about intoxicated individuals committing rape.

    Sometimes people get it … sometimes not.

  11. Concerned
    Concerned December 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    I had read the Huffington post article a few days ago, and was recently linked to yours. While I understand your frustration with the article, I don’t think you provide any better of an answer here than the writer there did. Yes, you yelled. Yes, you cursed, and called out the bad-natured advice that was being given to others. But I believe that you missed out on the point of that article. The author herself admits that you’re right, in every way. That it’s messed up that men aren’t advised in the same way as women when it comes to drinking to excess. I will propose an analogy to better illustrate my point. When it comes to muggings, and other campus related incidents, students are provided with many ways to limit their exposure to such crimes. Travel together, keep your cell phone out, don’t flash your valuables. Why isn’t there an equal amount of advertising made to the would be muggers? “Don’t you dare go mugging people when they’re walking around! If someone’s walking around with a hundred dollar bill falling out of their pocket, don’t you take that.” This is foolish because these would be muggers already know its wrong to do what they’re doing. Telling them not to isn’t going to help. What will help is making it harder for them to do it. Taking away opportunities for the crimes to occur, by informing potential victims of how to better protect themselves. No it’s not a cure, or an end all be all solution. But at the very least you’re giving information that’s only purpose is to help those who may become victims of a crime. Nobody is blaming the person who walks around with a hundred dollar bill hanging out of their pocket for asking to be robbed. They’re simply saying “hey it might not be such a smart idea”. You’re right its not fair that this is the world we live in. But it IS the world we live in. You getting mad at others for opening up discussion because you think its not the cure to the problem is arrogant.

    (PS I wrote my email wrong in the last one, hence the repost)

  12. Amelia ze lurker
    Amelia ze lurker December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    Oh man, this. My friend was assaulted under these very circumstances, and I wept and wept after hearing about it (alone, later) and then when my mom wanted to know what was wrong she repeated the Practical/List Argument for some reason, and that made me feel so much sadder and angrier, and then I gave her the lecture which was basically this post but not so well said, and then she GOT IT. She did get it. That was a huge relief.

    I need to study up on this so I can explain it so eloquently. I think I hit all the main points but there was a lot more sobbing and ragetears.

  13. Katya
    Katya December 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    I am totally for comprehensive education on the risks of binge drinking, because I think a lot of young adults underestimate those risks, and the results include alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, accidents, assaults, etc. But I would love to see a campaign that not only made it clear that drunk =/= consenting, but also warned people that even if you were drinking, you’re still on the hook for rape. The bar fight example is spot on–you can be arrested for assault even if you were drunk, ditto for rape.

  14. zuzu
    zuzu December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Megan: I talk about drunk barfights all the time when teaching college students about rape. If a drunk person can be arrested and charged for getting into a fight, that means that being drunk isn’t an excuse or an out when a crime is committed, and the same should apply when we think about intoxicated individuals committing rape.

    There are even specific crimes for doing things while drunk.

  15. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin December 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    There’s so much Paternalism in this debate. And some of it has good intentions, though it is still wrong.

    Though I am a man, I have never understand why culturally we feel we need to protect women from themselves. My own parents were obsessive about keeping myself and my two sister safe, and I feel like their own fear and paranoia fell equally upon all of their children.

    I’ve seen more offensively cultural, corporate ways of “keeping women safe” than individual ones. How a parent chooses to raise a daughter is sometimes very different than how the talking heads or the politicians phrase it. And yet, even if we disagree with these beliefs personally, we still nod our heads up and down when some self-assigned very important person says it.

    Do.not.understand

  16. Ceres
    Ceres December 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    If there’s a killer on the loose in the forest, it is your responsibility not to go out alone because your well-being is not only relevant to you, but also people that care about you and society at large. Similarly, if you’re a girl and you go out binge-drinking in a frat house when you know that’s the way to get raped, then you’re not to blame, but you could most certainly have taken steps preventing it. If I leave my bike unlocked and it gets stolen, then I’m always offended if someone said: “hah, should have locked it”, since I have had one stolen even when it was locked. (in that case, my father said: “hah, shouldn’t have left it at the station/got a better lock”) But still, isn’t a world where people do lock their bikes and take care not to have expensive bicycles at the train station and so on one that makes it harder for criminals and is therefore a better world?

    And this very website often tells of the risk women run wrt rape. So wouldn’t it be sensible to alert them to the danger of frat houses or of going home with men while drunk? I don’t think the “dress less slutty” advise is any good – if everyone locks his bike it’s genuinely harder for a thief to steal them, but even if for an individual woman, it only means that the rapist is going to target someone else. Someone is still going to be hurt.

    Watching your alcohol intake is a good idea in general, given how bad it is for you. I imagine it’s patronizing to go around telling people: “hey, smoking is bad for you” when they are probably aware of that, rather, it’s a choice they made/addiction they have, and you telling them isn’t going to do any good. However, raising awareness of the health problems of smoking/drinking is a net good to society, so it could be a positive thing, as long as no one individual is singled out.

    This more of a utilitarian line of thinking, I suppose, and I’m not sure whether I completely agree with it. But wouldn’t it be acceptable to on one hand: warn of the dangers of alcohol wrt to becoming an easy target for people with bad intent, and on the other: never ever judge any group/individual for their actions?

  17. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    Except we do not hear these lectures aimed towards men. Men go out, get smashed and are assaulted, get into fights, and get robbed. Yet no one lectures them about caring for their own personal safety, staying out of trouble, taking precautions, and not drinking and making themselves a target.

  18. Rachel
    Rachel December 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve been sickened and horrified by all the different versions of latter day Camille Paglias crawling out of the woodwork.

    Even on feminist sites, people are popping up with, ‘well yeah but we should be careful’.

    What they fail to comprehend, again and again and again, is how putting full responsibility for ‘preventing’ rape squarely on the heads of the usual victims is both dangerous and misleading. The paternalist ‘protect our women’ and the violent urge to ‘put women in thier place’ are connected, they are two pieces of the same puzzle.

    All of us who’ve had any kind of education about rape and sexual abuse know that the its the people who are **supposed** to be protecting you that are usually the greatest danger. The friend, the stepdad, the uncle. AND all the noise about stranger rape is just that, noise. Of course people are assaulted by strangers, but that’s not what happens in the majority of cases. And pretending that someone ‘out there’ is the real danger is a great tool for keeping bitches in line, ain’t it? Especially if you couple it with the idea that there is some set of rules that we can all follow to keep us safe from that stranger, all of which depend on us being, in one way or another; ‘good women’. But none of that takes into account that good women aren’t safe either, not from the random stranger, nor from the more usual form of danger. You can follow each and every rule and still not be safe. Instead of telling women to behave, let’s tell rapists to stop raping people!!! That carrot/stick thing IS the patriarchy! I can’t get a guy to back off when I want him to by telling him I already have a GF, I need to be somehow seen as the property of another man to get even the mostly halfway decent dudes to give me some space. SRSLY, I gotta tell the idiot I’ve got a BF, then he’ll leave me alone.

    I’m over victim blaming, and I’m over the ‘well I’m just keeping it real’ school of victim blaming, and I’m over the whole notion that the victim bears responsibility for hir/her victimization EVER. SRSLY, pardon my french, but fuck that noise.

  19. Concerned
    Concerned December 16, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    My first post never showed up, but it went along with Ceres. Its not prevention only, It’s understanding that prevention should not be limited. No matter what. Nobody’s saying we shouldn’t educate men. Or go after rapists harder. Nobody. But that also doesn’t mean we can educate young girls on the harm and danger of binge drinking. I just graduated college, and let me tell you the amount of girls (I say that because of their immaturity) who got absolutely wasted and blacked out. Regardless of whether they were raped or not, its irresponsible to say to them, no that’s cool, that’s your choice, go ahead. Like with the bike example, you cant educate the bike criminals and tell them to stop stealing bikes. They know stealing bikes is wrong. Telling them not to do it isn’t going to work because they’re not thinking rationally. And while the rest of the political system argues over the law, why wouldnt you want to do everything you can RIGHT NOW, including talking to young women about drinking and safety, that you could?

  20. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    And yet no one “educates” men. No one writes screeds about how men need to be careful, not go out at night, use the buddy system, perhaps refrain from drinking or getting high when a guy is assaulted or rolled or robbed.

  21. Concerned
    Concerned December 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    are we talking about educating men to prevent them from being raped? besides the fact that its a statistically less likely occurrence, the support system in this country is shockingly lower for men who are raped then women. Culturally we don’t want to talk about it, and even if we do it’s not something that is talked about in the open. You want to talk about gender specific double standards, you can’t ignore the ones that don’t fit your argument.

  22. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

    Concerned: are we talking about educating men to prevent them from being raped? besides the fact that its a statistically less likely occurrence,

    Men do get robbed, no? Men do get assaulted, no? While they are drunk, high, and out at night? I mean, if we’re going to educate people about protecting themselves from being the targets of criminals. . .

    As far as support services for men who are raped, it seems as though you’re trying to derail. The original post is about victim-blaming. Now you’re trying to turn the conversation to how much better women who are raped supposedly have it (men can use rape crisis centers just as easily as women can, BTW). Yet women are told by oh-so-concerned members of the peanut gallery that of course it wasn’t their fault but they were kinda asking for it by getting drunk, going out at night, trusting their date to not rape them, etc. These self-same concerned people who wring their hands and clutch their chests in horror over “girls” getting blackout drunk make nary a peep over “boys” who get just as plowed (and who are just as vulnerable to criminals). Odd, that.

  23. Concerned
    Concerned December 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    My problem with this article is the anger that the author places on the fact that anyone, especially a woman, would have the audacity to say that maybe more dialog about the issue is neccessary. If you read the article that set this off (Here’s the link) the author says “I will most likely be inundated with [hate mail] for publishing today’s column.” She thinks that it is irresponsible to take this conversation off the table. The article above hates on her for victim blaming. Read the original article, then tell me that she’s really advocating victim blaming.

  24. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm |

    When you focus on what a crime victim did to invite an attack, yes, you are victim blaming. When women are expected to curtail our freedom of movement and our social activities–and yet men are NOT expected to do these things–then you’re not promoting safety, you’re promoting a form of imprisonment for women and implicit blame if they have the gall to want to have the same freedoms men take for granted.

    And when you shrug and say “Well, ladies, that’s just the way things are, there’s nothing you can do about it besides live smaller lives and limit your options compared to men” then you are part of the problem. If I am targeted for rape because I am a woman, then the problem isn’t me wanting to be able to have the same fucking freedom that men have, the problem is that I am being targeted for being a woman and the peanut gallery in some measure agrees that it’s somehow okay to target women for assault. That it’s women who have to change, and we should never, ever say, hold men who rape accountable or hold people who shrug it off or blame women accountable for making this society a comfortable place for rapists to operate.

    Again: NO ONE lectures men about behavior and choices and intoxicants when they are assaulted or robbed or victimized. We do not see articles and news segments and shaming cops offering “helpful” advice to them. Because men should be able to go out with their buddies, drink or get high, and walk alone without fear.

  25. Concerned
    Concerned December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

    There is no such thing as a 100% effective deterrent to crime. No matter what that crime is. We can make laws against it, we can put more cops on the streets, we can even make the punishment for that crime way out of proportion. Still doesn’t stop the crime. Now I used to live in the middle of nowhere, and in nowhere we didn’t lock our doors. House doors, car doors, nothing. Then i moved to a big city, and learned right quick that I couldn’t leave my car door unlocked without losing every single valuable in it the first night. Now, its completely not my fault that someone else stole my shit. Nobody would ever say it is. However, people told me that there are things that I can do to prevent my shit from getting stolen in the future. Locking my car door is a start. I know now to be extra careful to keep my laptop under the seat, lock the car door, maybe even get some onstar for it. I do everything in my power to keep my stuff safe. Is it foolproof? absolutely not. Did i know to do that from the start? absolutely not. It’s because someone had the common sense to tell me ways to reduce my risk. It is against my freedom and my way of life to lock my door. I should be able to keep it unlocked if I want to, its my car. But these are decisions I have to make to keep it safe. How is this any different, besides the severity of the crime which I do not mean to belittle by my analogy.

  26. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm |

    Concerned: How is this any different,

    Because you and everyone else who lived in that area were expected to do the exact same things, no? But women are supposed to curtail our movement and our lives for fear of rape, while men do not have to do this. Women are targeted for rape, and it is accepted as okay, and the responsibility is placed upon women. Men do NOT have to take precautions or curtail their behavior–they are free to do whatever. To not interrogate that, to not see how fucked up that is, is quite telling.

  27. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm |

    Also? Considering the fact that the vast majority of rapes are committed by someone the survivor knows, well . . . the problem is not “getting drunk” or being out alone or whatever. The problem is that some men feel entitled to take what they want, and more men (and women) excuse it by putting the onus on the woman who was raped, not believing her, or excusing it.

  28. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho December 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    Concerned:
    How is this any different, besides the severity of the crime which I do not mean to be little by my analogy.

    It is different, because this is not advice given solely to one gender (WOMEN) which will supposedly help to prevent a crime (NEWSFLASH – IT DOES NOT) but that really only manages to serve as yet another way our society (PATRIARCHY) tries to control women’s bodies and actions, while also providing the scapegoat in cases where drunk women do get raped, which is so much easier than actually looking at the situation that breeds rapists. (RAPE CULTURE)

    Seriously, how much fucking effort does it take to completely miss the goddamn point over and over a-fucking-gain?

  29. scrumby
    scrumby December 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

    It really seems like another version of bootstrapping solutions. People focus on what individuals can do to prevent some form of victimization (rape, poverty, etc.) and ignore the much more difficult task of acknowledging and critiquing the flawed system that enables the abuse. Girls and women are constantly told ways to avoid getting raped and that is not going to stop if we shift the focus to targeting rapists instead of their victims. Rapists use those lists of preventative measures to pick the most vulnerable targets; so a if a woman is piss-drunk and unescorted by friends or family and is raped, logically, those aspects should add to the truth of her story. But because we live in a culture that would rather tell women how not to be assaulted than actually punish rapists, a woman (or any victim) is less believable because they did things that make them more appealing to rapists.

  30. Natisha
    Natisha December 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

    These types of conversations do nothing to curtail rape because the focus is put on the victims and not where the focus should be – on the predators who commit these crimes. We live in a society that’s all about “survival of the fittest” and “you can’t get something for nothing” and wonder why rape happens. We forget that rape has nothing to do with sex. It’s about someone who has no control in other areas of their lives inflicting that lost of control onto someone else by violating the victim in the worst possible way. My son is two years old and I instill in him already that he’s not entitled to anything that he has worked hard for and earned. I do this by ignoring his tantrums and letting him know to ask for what he wants. i give him lots of hugs and kisses and explain everything to him. As he gets older these lessons will change but the core values will still be the same. You have to plant the seeds so that they take root!! I get upset when I hear about parents who don’t want sex education taught in schools. They forget one thing, our children learn value and respect for their own bodies and others!! Lay the blame where it belongs – at the feet of those who commit this terrible crime!! As a rape survivor I can say this: You Can Be Proactive. You Can Be On Constant Guard. You Can Do Everything Right. And You Still Can Become A Victim!!

  31. Natisha
    Natisha December 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm |

    Sorry!! That was supposed to be that I instill in my son that he’s not entitled to anything that he has NOT worked hard for and earned. I also left out that even when he feels that he’s earned something I teach him how to deal with the disappointment of not getting his way. My mom always told me that everyday is not Christmas!!

  32. Concerned
    Concerned December 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm |

    My car was nicer than my neighbors who had a busted window and was from 1997. She could leave her doors unlocked, even leave the car running to warm up in the winter. She knew the car was worthless and therefore not targeted for theft. This crime is targeted at a specific group, and yes its terrible. Nobody is making that argument. Again I’ll say that there is no way to make the crime 100% Where i guess we disagree is what role prevention education can play in the meantime. When a girl goes out to a frat party and gets black out drunk, that’s where somebody should say “wait a minute, maybe there’s a problem here.” Whether she gets raped or not, why is it bad that we should educate these girls about making smart decisions? If this was in the context of girls dying from alcohol poisoning people would be fine with it. It’s education and prevention, not blaming and scape goating.

  33. tuna
    tuna December 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm |

    Concerned:
    Like with the bike example, you cant educate the bike criminals and tell them to stop stealing bikes. They know stealing bikes is wrong. Telling them not to do it isn’t going to work because they’re not thinking rationally.

    It seems like you’re premising your point on the idea that there are some men who just rape people, and that it’s no use trying to tell them not to rape. That doesn’t appear to be the case. There’s some good research that indicates that a large percentage of men admit to having sex with women who are not really consenting – because their threshold is the absence of “no”, not the presence of “yes.” Just like how we have basically eradicated drunk driving in the past 40 years, it doesn’t seem impossible that we could change what is considered rape – except that every time we have an ad campaign about how women should act, and not how men should act, we go back to square one.

    @Sheelzebub – Your statement that no one lectures men about safety hasn’t been true in my experience. There’s a lot of shaming, especially around getting drunk and then mugged. It’s not as bad as the shaming of women. But it does exist.

  34. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm |

    A single digit percentage of the male population commits the overwhelming majority of rapes. Concerned and Ceres, what have you done to identify and stop these rapists? Just telling women to drink less will not work; we all know it won’t work. It’s not a real solution. It’s an excuse to do nothing about the real problem, which is the need to ferret out of the population the men who are committing the overwhelming majority of the rapes, so they cannot hide their conduct.

  35. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm |

    Tuna, I don’t believe that’s what the research shows. Lisak’s and McWhorter’s research (follow the link from my prior post) show that most rapes are by repeat offenders who know exactly what they are doing. They need to be caught and prosecuted. When social circles sweep rape under the rug and colleges seal the conduct council hearings and discourage open justice, the rapists keep their rapes a secret and can continue to operate. We need to support women who have been raped so they can name the rapist, if not to law enforcement (which doesn’t work for everyone by any means) then at least to friends — the rapist is overwhelmingly someone the victim knows. The rapists have to be known and watched so they cannot stalk targets undetected.

  36. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm |

    In general, we do not spill nearly as much ink or spend as much bandwidth and energy lecturing men on how to stay safe, and wringing our hands about men getting blackout drunk and being vulnerable. I got shamed for being “stupid” when I was mugged as well, but I don’t see articles and news segments and endless blog posts about mugging victims and how they were basically asking for it by not taking the “right” precautions. Nowhere near the level of the shaming and lecturing aimed at women.

    Concerned, your car theft analogy doesn’t hold. There have been people in my complex whose shitbox cars were stolen.

    Also? It’s a car. It’s not a person. You’re basically saying that I should not have the freedom to do the things men are expected to be able to do, for safety reasons. That it’s just reality. You don’t like it of course, but that’s just the way it is. But the result is that our lives are affected by this in ways that men’s are not. That you don’t acknowledge this, that you cling to the “it’s just safety precautions!” fallacy doesn’t actually help matters.

    What would stop rape is if men were not given a green light to rape. What would stop rape is if men were not raised with an overarching sense of entitlement to take what they want. What would stop rape is the shaming of men who commit it–instead of the excuses, minimization, and victim-blaming we see. What would stop rape is a social environment that makes it less comfortable for rapists to operate.

    But that environment doesn’t exist. It’s quite comfortable for rapists to operate here. A woman gets blackout drunk (along with men) at a fraternity party, and she’s the stupid one for getting blackout drunk, not the men. (Since she’s the one who could be raped. The fact that she’s targeted for being raped by virtue of being a woman is not up for any sort of critical side-eye, we’re supposed to accept this and take necessary precautions.) A woman invites her date up to her place for coffee, and she’s blamed if she’s raped because what was she thinking? It’s not safe! (Of course, if she takes precautions, she’s a paranoid man-hater.) A woman is out alone at night and gets attacked is blamed because she should have known better. How could she?? A woman who is promiscuous is raped and she’s blamed because who’d ever believe a slut like that? Ad nauseum.

    And that creates a very comfortable environment for rapists. They know damn well that they won’t be blamed. Oh, concerned citizens will give a half a second’s lip service to the “RAPE IS BAD KIDS, MMMKAY” line but will spend most of their energy lecturing women on how we should lock ourselves away and curtail our lives. They’ll clutch their chests over “irresponsible” women and girls who get drunk, get bewildered at the reaction they get when they’re only trying to heeeeeelp, but not ever give the same advice to men, who are also targets of criminals while drunk.

    Odd that. Also telling.

  37. zuzu
    zuzu December 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm |

    Concerned: Then i moved to a big city, and learned right quick that I couldn’t leave my car door unlocked without losing every single valuable in it the first night. Now, its completely not my fault that someone else stole my shit. Nobody would ever say it is. However, people told me that there are things that I can do to prevent my shit from getting stolen in the future. Locking my car door is a start. I know now to be extra careful to keep my laptop under the seat, lock the car door, maybe even get some onstar for it. I do everything in my power to keep my stuff safe. Is it foolproof? absolutely not. Did i know to do that from the start? absolutely not. It’s because someone had the common sense to tell me ways to reduce my risk. It is against my freedom and my way of life to lock my door. I should be able to keep it unlocked if I want to, its my car. But these are decisions I have to make to keep it safe. How is this any different, besides the severity of the crime which I do not mean to belittle by my analogy.

    How is this different?

    Because no one’s going to refuse to prosecute the guy who stole your stereo or your laptop just because you left your car unlocked.

  38. Freemage
    Freemage December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm |

    One thing I do think is missing from this article is the further point that even if a specific risky behavior (say, drinking to excess, or even college drinking at all) were eliminated among college women, then the rapist douchebags would just find a new “risky” behavior that they would target. The notion that the would-be rapist is gonna look around, say, “Hey, no drunks around, guess I don’t get to rape anyone tonight,” is absurd on the face of it. So instead of drinking, the new warnings will be against going out at night. Or going out alone. Or going out in clothing that shows your face.

    Eventually, this leads to, “She was asking for it. After all, she left her home alone without her brother or father there to protect her honor.”

  39. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm |

    Look, as long as we’re having the same old rehash of the same old shit, I’m going to do some rhetorical bomb-throwing. If you’re in the “women need to look out for their own safety” camp, show me you’ve done what you can on to stop the rapists from operating first.

    What have you done? Killed a rapist? Reported a rapist to the police? Published an allegation of rape so that other people know to distrust and watch the rapist? Published a research paper on rapist tactics to they can be spotted and defused? What? When the concern trolls have done as much as they can to disable the rapists from operating, then I’ll listen to this shit that we can’t stop the rapists. Until then, my declaration is that we have not tried; like anti-choicers who refuse to propose free contraception and comprehensive sex ed, knowing what works and refusing to do it is the conscious policy choice of those whose real policy goals don’t include fixing the problem.

  40. Courtney
    Courtney December 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

    Ceres,
    Come back when you have something other than a stolen property analogy. I am not a bicycle. I am a human being.

  41. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm |

    Terrorists blow up planes and tall buildings and I know this. Every time I fly or go up into a tall building I am willfully incurring the risk, making myself a target. I work in Manhattan, where I know the attacks are more likely! And I keep doing it!

    Yet nobody tells me that I should stop taking these risks. These are reasonable risks. In fact, if I stop taking these risks because I’m afraid of the criminal acts of those who seek to intimidate me, I’m letting them win.

    I’m just going to say it: asking women to stop taking the risks of ordinary life because of the threat of terrorism is letting the terrorists win.

  42. Courtney
    Courtney December 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    Sheelzebub: And when you shrug and say “Well, ladies, that’s just the way things are, there’s nothing you can do about it besides live smaller lives and limit your options compared to men” then you are part of the problem. If I am targeted for rape because I am a woman, then the problem isn’t me wanting to be able to have the same fucking freedom that men have, the problem is that I am being targeted for being a woman and the peanut gallery in some measure agrees that it’s somehow okay to target women for assault. That it’s women who have to change, and we should never, ever say, hold men who rape accountable or hold people who shrug it off or blame women accountable for making this society a comfortable place for rapists to operate.

    This, this, this this this. Thissity this this.

  43. Lyn
    Lyn December 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    Concerned (troll) – serously – stop with the “raping women is just like stealing stuff” bullshit. People sometimes steal nice bikes when they see them at the train station. My body, you know, the thing I move around in, ME, is not the same as a fucking nice bike. Or car. My body is ME, I can’t just put it under the seat or lock it properly, or hide that it might be attractive to someone. Just because I have the temerity to walk around in a woman’s body does not mean that I am in any way responsible for people attacking me. FFS.

  44. Unree
    Unree December 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    Big thumbs up to Sheelzebub and Thomas MacAulay Millar.

    I once left my front door unlocked, out of carelessness, and came home to find that burglars had got in. Filed a police report, admitted my mistake, and the cops did NOT blame me. Told a friend what a doofus I had been and she said, “Maybe you’re misremembering? Just because they got in doesn’t mean you left the door unlocked.” People went out of their way to respect what I said. They believed that I was a perfectly okay, sympathetic victim.

    As Sheelzebub said, odd, that.

  45. Gumiman
    Gumiman December 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Also? Don’t guys get into fights, get robbed, and get fucked with when they’re loaded? Yet they don’t get treated to lectures about How They Should Have Known Better. Nope. Assault and robbery are crimes, full stop.

    Well that depends of your acquaintances but we do get lectured,
    ( Or complimented if we did what we could have done in said situation. ) or to be more accurate the situation will be debriefed. Its not for blaming the victim but for learning from our mistakes.
    Obiviously this should be done in an delicate manner and not in an public sphere. For an example by whoever is responsible for the training of the victim. ( And who therefore may also be partially responsible for not training the victim properly. ) Though there are also certain internet forums where such situations are debriefed anonymously.

    “We’re never responsible for the harm others do to us.”

    Sure, but the other side of the coin is that no amount of ethical or moral righteousness will physically prevent anybody from doing anything.

  46. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date December 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm |

    I am certainly going to have plenty of conversations with my daughters about how drunk people have a tendency to do stupid things. I.e., “Don’t get drunk because you might do something stupid.” Not “Don’t get drunk because somebody might rape you.”

    If I had had sons, I like to think that I would have had those same conversations, except with one addition: “Don’t get drunk because you might do something stupid, including raping somebody.”

  47. Aria de Sitter
    Aria de Sitter December 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm |

    Glad TMM finally said it.
    There is no “risky” behavior that women are guilty of. Women lead their lives and when a crime is commited against them society blames them. It doesn’t matter if it’s rape, mugging, domestic violence, robbery, stalking, invasion of privacy, scopophilia, etc.
    Claiming that “advice” does “some good” is incorrect. It ASSUMES that the victim shares responsibility for the crime with the criminal. This is not the case.
    Imagine a woman drunk at a frat party. If she passes out and is murdered, is she to blame? Is she is hit with a baseball bat does she share responsibility with the criminal?
    If she is beaten up “for being pretty” is she to blame? What if she gets raped by a relative BUT she is sober and awake?
    What if a woman has a crime commited against her.
    Is she to blame?
    What if a man has a crime commited against him? Is he to blame?
    WHO IS TO BLAME FOR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR?
    “Advice” advocates claim the victim shares that responsibility.

  48. Ceres
    Ceres December 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm |

    I don’t understand some of the things you are saying. So hypothetically, if you prevent situations that can lead to rape from occurring, this has zero effect at all, because rapists are just going to create new situations? And in the next sentence you say that many rapes are based on opportunities of a friend knowing each other and taking advantage of a situation. As far as I’m concerned, unless you’re talking about stranger-rape, where you really can’t take good preventive steps, having less chances for a would-be rapist to take should reduce rapes in general, isn’t it?

    And honestly, just about every rape is preventable (speaking about ‘friend-rape’ again). For instance, the way rapists operate resembles that of some twisted game. They have to probe people for their suggestibility, create situations that leave them weak, defenseless etc. Their big advantage is that they know what game they are playing, yet their victims don’t know. By raising awareness of their strategies and tactics, young women can as a group become less vulnerable, because they can better defend against this.

    I am aware some of the “ways to defend yourself” are morally questionable, such as reducing risk by neutering yourself out of fear. But well, just mentioning that getting drunk in a frat house gives an opportunity to people of malicious intent isn’t victim-blaming, right? I mean, it’s a fact that it is the case, so I think you don’t have to associate some judgement about women refusing to abide by it with it.

    Obviously, a lot of people excuse a rape because “the girl was drunk and dressed slutty so she was asking for it”, but that’s an entirely different issue than “ways to prevent it from happening”, except that some things match up as reasons. But one side is plain-old patriarchy, the other side is just raising awareness, I think. And nothing prevents you from both educating women on this as well as ensuring that rapists get their punishment. It’s just silly to say the two are mutually exclusive, really, since imo, victim-blaming is only superficially similar to education about it.

    I guess if I was a girl and people kept warning me that: “it’s a dangerous world out there, be careful” I would find that obnoxious, because after all it’s not my fault it’s dangerous, it’s the rapists’ fault. But if you instead said that “here are 10 ways to recognize someone has bad intentions” that actually becomes useful and gives women more, not less power.

    So I think it’s just a confusion of two similar issues. If I had a daughter and I would give her some advise, I’m not being controlling, but if she was raped and I would then give that advise I would be. One is preventive, the other is victim-blaming.

  49. Ceres
    Ceres December 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm |

    Maybe for more clarity: if you come up with a list of ‘things that reduce risk of rape’ then if someone doesn’t follow that list, you can tell they’ve been irresponsible, but to me that’s victim-blaming. However, if it’s just a list without judgement attached, then it can be helpful.
    Because (imo) we should aim to let people live life the way they want and then encasing them in a bubble to protect them is paternalistic, especially since it’s not their fault they are at risk for rape, but it’s the fault of rapists rather.

  50. john
    john December 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm |

    Maybe there’s not as much education targeted towards men getting drunk-rolled because there’s a public perception (and perhaps statistical fact) that that’s not nearly as common nor as much of an issue as rape?

    If men were getting raped at the same rate that women were, and a number of the rapes were happening on college campuses, where the perception (though not necessarily the truth, in every–or even most–situation) was that both parties were intoxicated at the time, you would probably see the same educational outreach to men. The discussion may be tinged by gender bias, but I don’t think it is wholly motivated by it.

    And statements like “What have you done? Killed a rapist? Reported a rapist to the police? Published an allegation of rape so that other people know to distrust and watch the rapist? Published a research paper on rapist tactics to they can be spotted and defused? What?” are complete hogwash and totally counterproductive. So I’ve never witnessed a rape or spent years studying the sociological context in which it occurs, and I am not allowed to have an opinion? I haven’t MURDERED a rapist? Is that the benchmark for believing in “the cause?” You people are crazy.

    And to the person who said “What would stop rape is if men were not given a green light to rape. What would stop rape is if men were not raised with an overarching sense of entitlement to take what they want. What would stop rape is the shaming of men who commit it–instead of the excuses, minimization, and victim-blaming we see. What would stop rape is a social environment that makes it less comfortable for rapists to operate,” what world do you live in? The first two assertions (that we live in a world that gives people–i’m going to use that instead of men, as it is sexist to suggest that only men rape–a green light to rape, and that we give men an overarching sense of entitlement to take what they want) could only be the product of living in an insular community where everyone shares your irrational fear and hatred of men. That is not our world. Sorry. You’re wrong.

    I would also argue that we DO live in a world that shames rapists and makes it difficult for them to operate, but those are more subjective valuations, and I have a feeling I wouldn’t convince you anyways, so I’m not going to waste my time putting forth my argument.

  51. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho December 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm |

    Ceres:
    And honestly, just about every rape is preventable (speaking about ‘friend-rape’ again).

    And if anyone was looking for a classic textbook example of victim blaming…..

  52. kmart steve
    kmart steve December 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm |

    I’m just going to say it: asking women to stop taking the risks of ordinary life because of the threat of terrorism is letting the terrorists win.

    HAH so true, it’s kinda sad that ppl cant see that both Concerned and Sheelzebub are right. Telling ppl who get raped “they could just live shittier and be safer” is pretty messed up, just like telling men who get worked over “who cares, your an irresponsible drunk weakling who got punked” is pretty fucked up too. And sadly, BOTH happen… a lot :(

  53. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm |

    Ceres, there is no way for you to say “some rapes could be prevented if women didn’t do X” that does not provide cultural support to people who say “she did X, therefore it was her fault.” And by saying “some rapes could be prevented if women didn’t do X” you are virtually never raising a concern that most women have not already considered. Therefore, by saying it, you are doing no good, but actually doing harm. You should stop trying to have the conversation you are trying to have.

    And not to put too fine a point on it, you will not be permitted to have the conversation you’re trying to have here. If you don’t see reason and desist, you’re going to get shouted down, and then possibly banned.

  54. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig December 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm |

    I worry about this a lot. I tend to go out to a lot of concerts, mostly by bus or train (and holy shit, are there a lot of places to go) and the best clubs are often in the worst neighborhoods. And personally, I take a shitload of precautions. I try to avoid hugging my male relatives, don’t really flirt, go only to places I know I can get home from, and, at some point, took self-defense. And.. yet, I still might get raped, and I know I’ll feel that I was stupid.
    I hate the idea that I can’t go to, say, Guatemala, because the men there are too rapey and I’ll only feel safe if I put on three layers of underpants and smuggle in a meat cleaver.

    And despite all this, I don’t really have a lot of faith in re-education. All the talk-talk in the world won’t stop a rapist. I personally believe that women need to start embracing violence and destruction. Set a rapist’s home on fire, ambush them with glocks.. you get the idea. Violence gets the idea across quickly, and the victim blaming will die down quickly when victims retaliate violently.

  55. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm |

    Ceres: For instance, the way rapists operate resembles that of some twisted game. They have to probe people for their suggestibility, create situations that leave them weak, defenseless etc.

    Orly?

  56. ****
    **** December 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

    If a bungee jumper’s cord was cut, I would honestly have to blame the bungee jumper a little bit. You’re doing something that puts you in danger for no good reason. It’s never the victim’s fault, but there is so much wrong with this article. No, you’re not completely safe if you don’t drink and are monogamous, but you are not directly putting yourself at risk like you are if you get so wasted you black out. That’s just a fact, and no, even my 15-year-old cousin doesn’t know that yet, and there’s nothing wrong with telling her about how to keep herself as safe as possible. The truth is, there are rapists out there. There shouldn’t be, but there are. And when you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you’re putting yourself at risk for many things, not only getting raped. There’s nothing wrong with putting that out there for people to think about.

  57. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 16, 2011 at 11:49 pm |

    I have an idea that I go by that’s pretty simple. Still, a lot of people don’t get it or don’t agree, which is perplexing to me. My idea is, “each person is responsible for their own thoughts, feelings, actions, choices, etc. And each person is NOT responsible for the thoughts, feelings, actions, choices, etc. of other people.”

    Therefore, it might be a bad idea to get extremely intoxicated. You might die of an overdose. You might go drunk driving and kill yourself. You might just have a terrible hangover. As long as you willingly imbibed the substance, those are outcomes you caused by your actions.

    But you can’t control whether other people choose to rape you. Or choose to mug you or to assault you. God knows the reasons those people may choose to do that, but it’s not anything you have any control over. It’s their deal and their responsibility.

    I think the logic of victim blamers and radical activists is not altogether different. Both of them are trying to control the behavior of rapists from the outside, usually ineffectively. Victim blamers believe an individual should directly try to control the rapist by modifying her behavior and therefore indirectly manipulating the rapist not to rape her. Radical activists believe that, rather, individuals should band together and pursue collective action through social institutions to control rapists, either through incarceration, education, shaming of rapists, etc. But the fact is the only person that can control a rapist is the rapist. He is the only one that chooses his behavior, and if he wants to rape people he will rape people, even in prison.

    I think one of the pitfalls of radical activism is that it involves subsuming your identity into a movement, giving you an illusion of control where you have none. Regardless of your individual political efforts, it is unlikely that you will personally have any impact on the number of rapes that are committed in the world. I think the only actual way for a non-rapist to reduce the amount of rapes in the world is to learn self-defense techniques and/or carry a weapon and be prepared to castrate, kill, or otherwise incapitate a rapist when one comes in contact with him.

  58. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 12:26 am |

    ****: If a bungee jumper’s cord was cut, I would honestly have to blame the bungee jumper a little bit. You’re doing something that puts you in danger for no good reason. It’s never the victim’s fault, but there is so much wrong with this article. No, you’re not completely safe if you don’t drink and are monogamous, but you are not directly putting yourself at risk like you are if you get so wasted you black out. That’s just a fact, and no, even my 15-year-old cousin doesn’t know that yet, and there’s nothing wrong with telling her about how to keep herself as safe as possible. The truth is, there are rapists out there. There shouldn’t be, but there are. And when you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you’re putting yourself at risk for many things, not only getting raped. There’s nothing wrong with putting that out there for people to think about.

    Is there any actual evidence though that women who drink heavily get raped at a higher frequency than women who don’t drink or drink in moderation? I find it interesting that all the proponents of this theory only seem to bring up anedotes, at best. More typically, they only use speculation and hypothetical scenarios to substantiate this theory.

    And I’m not sure how being “more aware of her surroundings” helps a woman avoid having a man choose to rape her? Does this enhanced awareness somehow translate in an enhanced ability to manipulate rapists into not doing something they want to do, like raping people?

    I really think the only actual way to reduce rape is to be a rapist and choose not to act on your impulses or be a non-rapist and be williing and able to physically overpower and/or kill a rapist when you see one.

  59. kkr
    kkr December 17, 2011 at 12:33 am |

    i’m just wondering how many commentators have had first or second-hand experience with rape…because if you have, you probably understand it’s a really hard thing to discuss at all. Rapists in fact probably picked you up by making you feel special and then attempted to break you down short after by telling you how terrible you were/looked…such as, “I cant believe I thought you were beautiful” or “wow, well you’re not as good looking as i thought”….and it’s on image alone – destroying your sense of self- that they tried to legitimize what they’d planned to do to you all along. Tell you you’re ugly, tell you he can’t believe he stopped for someone so pathetic, disgusting – that you should be so lucky, etc. to the point where you are confused as to how you ended up in this dude’s presence in the first place. Drinking or not, people like this prey on your insecurities and then exploit/abuse them to a point of manipulation where youre unable to tell if you’re defending yourself as a whole and decent person or consenting to his low opinion of you. . .either way, it’s dishonest. it’s preying on your insecurities. it’s rape. and your life – and your family’s lives, will never be the same.

  60. anon
    anon December 17, 2011 at 1:32 am |

    How is it that you are directly putting yourself at risk *of rape*if you get so wasted you black out? As someone else pointed out, the main thing you are directly at risk of is a hangover. And there are many other risks associated with drinking that are far more likely than being targeted by a rapist. Thomas’ terrorist example was spot on, you’d hardly say people are putting themselves directly at risk of being killed by terrorists every time they get in a plane – even though that’s something which *might* happen. Since women are so much more likely to be raped at their home or at the home of a friend or acquaintance, or basically anywhere other than on the street, why don’t we launch an ad campaign telling women to stay out getting drunk in bars or wandering the streets late at night, to avoid directly putting themselves at risk of ending up in a house with a rapist? No wait, that would be fucking stupid.

    Also:

    Ceres:
    Sohypothetically,ifyoupreventsituationsthatcanleadtorapefromoccurring,thishaszeroeffectatall,becauserapistsarejustgoingtocreatenewsituations?

    Gah! Rape *occurs* in certain situations, seriously? WTF?!

  61. Zorbitor
    Zorbitor December 17, 2011 at 2:09 am |

    Sober people have car accidents too.

  62. Jen
    Jen December 17, 2011 at 3:11 am |

    Rapists do look at the inebriated as easy marks. They admit it. Out. Loud. To actual police. So wake up out of your perfect Walgreen dream world, this shit happens all the time. Yet, according to you, it’s just WRONG that women can’t get drunk and be safe from rapists. If guys do it girls can too, so ladies, just go get drunk and be as stupid as you want. It’ll be fine!!Really? Your naïveté is appalling. Grow up and take responsibility for your own safety.

  63. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 6:06 am |

    Thomas, are you a moderator? If not, it’s not so polite to tell me to shut up or be disposed of, seriously. I did’t think I needed to have personally be involved in any kind of anti-rape organisation/movement to debate on a forum. Yes, none of the examples I gave are very innovative, but 1. not all women know of even common sense precautions, so it can still be useful to reiterate, and 2. they were just examples, and 3. you don’t need to flesh out the examples when debating the merits of education.

    I’m a computer scientist, so I have a lot to do with computer security. Nobody thinks that you can have enough preventive measures to stop attacks, and in fact, attacks can evolve to become more sophisticated. Yet at the same there is no question that we should raise awareness about all the threats out there. The importance of updating your browsers and so on.

    And there is the question of victim-blaming here too. In fact, it’s quite prevalent to blame the person whose computer gets attacked for lacking in security, but there’s push-back against this too. Because no matter how careful you are, you can’t account for everything. So actually, in the communities I frequent, it’s okay to educate, but not to blame someone post being attacked. And having your computer hacked, your identity stolen and such can be mildly traumatizing as well and have quite severe consequences. Not to the point of rape, of course, but it’s not always something trivial.

    So I just don’t see why the refusal to acknowledge the benefits of some sort of education. (if it’s bad and useless education that only gives completely conventional solutions that don’t even work – like “dress less slutty” – than that’s another problem) If it works, then you can actually reduce the amount of rapes that occur, which would be a great thing.

    In a certain way, you do create (more) cultural space for victim-blaming, but well, that can still always happen. I just don’t think people who victim-blame are all that motivated by the existence of preventive measures and more by their attitude to the place of men and women in society.

    I mean, what next? A campaign against radio stations who play misogynist songs? (half of the songs of the 60s) That also creates cultural space for misogyny. I think you’re better off arguing with those whose who always give out advice after the fact. For everything that happens you can give advice to prevent it in hindsight, but it’s not falsifiable to say you could have known that beforehand. This makes it really a bad thing to do and this is very harmful. But threatening to shut me up because I discuss preventive awareness measures, what?

  64. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 6:36 am |

    I don’t know Ceres; I’d be terrified if I were you. Getting banned from a blog is right up there with waterboarding, cancer, and homelessness in the pantheon of REALLY SCARY outcomes.

  65. Non-Sequiturs: 12.16.11 | Good Citizen
    Non-Sequiturs: 12.16.11 | Good Citizen December 17, 2011 at 6:42 am |

    [...] * Girl-on-girl victim blaming. I said “girl-on-girl” so you kind of have to click. [Feministe] [...]

  66. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 6:59 am |

    Is this endemic to feminist websites where if you disagree with anyone the regular commentators will come and bully you?

  67. Wilson
    Wilson December 17, 2011 at 7:14 am |

    I’m discomfited that you blame women who believe themselves virtuous for “literally increasing rape in the world” in a post decrying Girl-On-Girl blaming.

    The rest of your post, I like.

  68. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 7:16 am |

    I think it’s endemic to the internet, in general, that if you say anything at all, really, that someone dislikes–for whatever reason–you will get lashed out upon with vicious anger. Sorta the road rage of the 21st century.

  69. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 17, 2011 at 7:25 am |

    Seriously, Ceres, you come in here mansplaining to us about how this advice is oh-so-helpful (trust me, we’ve heard this “advice” about 10,000 times), you build scare scenarios about how we’re all going to ban music from the radio, and then you have the fucking gall to whine about how you’re being bullied? Protip: People disagreeing with you isn’t the same as bullying you.

    You know what’s endemic to feminist blogs? Concern trolls who stomp all over comments sections, fling poo about, then complain when people call them on it.

    I don’t know if you’ll get banned, but concern trolls who do get banned (after a lengthy and tiring exchange where they show they do not listen, they continue to acgt like condescending assholes, they continue to act like they are victims of fucking Stalin) are banned because they insist on presenting the same arguments we’ve all heard ad nauseum. It’s not like you and “concerned” aren’t saying anything particularly new, and it’s tiring as all fuck to come to a feminist blog when I’ve already been judged and hectored and lectured at by a bunch of mansplaining douchebags out in meatspace and deal with that shit here.

    We read and comment on these blogs because we don’t want to do 101 educating with people who refuse to fucking listen to us, who refuse to take our own experiences into account, and who are more interested in scoring points and lecturing us on rudeness (while ignoring your own rudeness in NOT FUCKING LISTENING). This is not a space for 101 educating. We are dog fucking tired of educating people who think they have all of the answers for the ladies, the ladies who have, you know, actually lived this bullshit.

    So yeah, our patience tends to run thin.

    And yeah, cupcake, I’m sure you’ll start complaining to and lecturing us about how we’re not allowing any dissenting viewpoints, blah blah blah (although your posts have gone through the mod queue). Well never fear sparky, because besides your posts going through the mod queue, you have a big wide world that agrees with and promotes every goddamn thing you have been posting here. A world that, by the way, is a very comfortable place for rapists to operate in.

  70. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated December 17, 2011 at 9:02 am |

    First we get victim-blamed, then the RWNJ’s run all of their crapitude about “victim mentality”. Nowhere in mainstream media do you hear of victimizer mentality or of aggressor mentality. These things, and not women’s negligence, cause rape.
    And that friend with the old, theft-proof car? The rules have changed. Meth monsters and crackheads steal jalopies to sell for scrap metal. Victimizers change techniques for reasons not always available to foresight. Woman-on-woman backstabbing is a sexist joke but it excites prospective victimizers of both sexes.

  71. eriN
    eriN December 17, 2011 at 9:12 am |

    Why do I have to worry about what route I use to walk? Should I care that it’s too dark outside? How was I “asking for it” when I wore that skirt? Haven’t I the right to go out for cocktails and enjoy a harassment-free evening ONCE IN A WHILE? What FREEDOM do we REALLY have when we’re expected to live by a RAPE SCHEDULE? Y’know, I would love to feel FREE to leave my house without worry or shame, without having to second guess what I wear, where I go, or how I get there. Is the FREEDOM to BE too much to ask for? I suppose this makes me some kind of privileged asshole with a sense of entitlement for asking these questions…

  72. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 9:24 am |

    I’m not the one victimizing myself. Matter of fact, Thomas and some others were actually being hostile. Note that in your post you called me a concern troll and a ‘mansplainer’ (silly term that), which are direct ad hominem attacks.

    To defend myself:
    I’m honestly completely sympathetic to women’s concerns on this issue which I think by definition makes me not a concern troll, since that’s supposed to be someone insidious that tries to divert the issue and make something look bad by ostensibly being in favor of it yet raising concerns. I agree that victim blaming can occur and can be strengthened by a cultural frame that obsesses about ways to prevent risk. I know that and I agree with how insidious that is. Yet I’m just saying that 1. some forms of education can actually prevent rapes from occurring and therefore be worthwhile even if it might enforce a certain cultural frame 2. the ability to victim-blame doesn’t just exist because of the existence of preventive measures (and no matter if everyone in the world is going to stop giving advice, you can always think of possible preventive measures if you had wanted to), but also because of our society’s attitude towards women in general, and reframing this issue can’t simply be done by attacking people who come up with preventive measures.

    And well, self-defense classes for women are oftentimes organized by women who identify themselves as feminist. What is it that such a thing would be okay, but I’m being a ‘concern troll’?

    And I agree with the article that warning women to not go drinking or expect to be raped is like the most useless piece of advice there is and is actively hurtful since putting themselves in such a situation doesn’t as much put them as risk as make them an easier target for the actual bad people in this situation, the rapists. Being targeted isn’t your fault. Yet well, if you had a daughter and she went binge-drinking in a frat house with a bad reputation, then if she got raped you wouldn’t be angry at her and wouldn’t blame her, but on some level you would know that there’s a certain kind of self-destructiveness in this part by her, which does show ‘issues’.

    I was more talking about things like informing them about what kind of threats to expect. Like, I hear on this blog all the time that most women are raped by friends or acquaintances. Yet when someone mentions that you don’t hear the rest of the commentators go: “shut the fuck up, you mansplainer”, even if on some level it’s still useful advice they’re giving. Or in another example, if someone educates on the dangers of drugs, do you think it’s appropriate to tell them: “I can decide for myself, thank you”? The very point is you can’t properly decide for yourself if you don’t have a good grasp of the issues. You can take the risk if you want to and if it leads to addiction I won’t blame you, society will and that’s a bad thing, but at the same time, don’t we all know that informing yourself would certainly have been wiser?

    And again, I’m not giving advice. Which makes me not a ‘mansplainer’. I’m only debating the utility of advice being given, I don’t care who actually goes out to do it. It might just be up to women to do so, I don’t really have an opinion on that. I jsut don’t see why it’s so bad for me to have a very minor point about this. Why do I immediately have to be targeted with this community’s favorite slurs for fucking making a minor point on an article I actually do agree with. (namely, in some cases and circumstances, given by the right people, with the right advice, it could be a net good and it’s useful to think about)

  73. eriN
    eriN December 17, 2011 at 9:47 am |

    …if you had a daughter and she went binge-drinking in a frat house with a bad reputation, then if she got raped you wouldn’t be angry at her and wouldn’t blame her, but on some level you would know that there’s a certain kind of self-destructiveness in this part by her, which does show ‘issues’.

    So… you WOULD blame her, then? Sounds like she KNEW what was going to happen to her, so obviously, she MUST have been asking for it, right? ….at least that’s how I read it.

  74. Sandy
    Sandy December 17, 2011 at 9:50 am |

    Ceres: if someone doesn’t follow that list, you can tell they’ve been irresponsible, but to me that’s victim-blaming. However, if it’s just a list without judgement attached, then it can be helpful.

    Do you really think people do not know they are safer from crime when sober versus blackout drunk? (News at 11!)

    Can you truly not see how saying, “if women do such and such to protect themselves…” or “they’ve been irresponsible” contains a judgement?

    I understand where the whole “protect yourself” meme is coming from, and there’s no question in my mind that most of those who espouse it mean well, but the “protect yourself” message, unpacked, boils down to “don’t let it be you.” It takes the focus off rapists, who are the problem, and puts the burden on women to keep themselves safe from rape. And you know what? They can’t. So the “protect yourself” message is not useful in talking about rape prevention. As has been pointed out numerous times now, it’s actively harmful, because it contributes to the prevailing cultural discourse of: ‘well, what did the victim do wrong?’ and that brand of crap.

    Freemage: The notion that the would-be rapist is gonna look around, say, “Hey, no drunks around, guess I don’t get to rape anyone tonight,” is absurd on the face of it. So instead of drinking, the new warnings will be against going out at night. Or going out alone. Or going out in clothing that shows your face.

    Eventually, this leads to, “She was asking for it. After all, she left her home alone without her brother or father there to protect her honor.”

    QFT.

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: Terrorists blow up planes and tall buildings and I know this. Every time I fly or go up into a tall building I am willfully incurring the risk, making myself a target. I work in Manhattan, where I know the attacks are more likely! And I keep doing it!

    Yet nobody tells me that I should stop taking these risks. These are reasonable risks. In fact, if I stop taking these risks because I’m afraid of the criminal acts of those who seek to intimidate me, I’m letting them win.

    This is superb. (I like this comparison better than the bungee jumping analogy, because I read that and my first thought was ‘well why are you bungee jumping anyway, that’s so dangerous.’ Fail, I know.)

  75. nini
    nini December 17, 2011 at 9:54 am |

    Ceres
    Yet well, if you had a daughter and she went binge-drinking in a frat house with a bad reputation, then if she got raped you wouldn’t be angry at her and wouldn’t blame her, but on some level you would know that there’s a certain kind of self-destructiveness in this part by her, which does show ‘issues’.

    Wow, just wow.

    Ceres
    Or in another example, if someone educates on the dangers of drugs, do you think it’s appropriate to tell them: “I can decide for myself, thank you”? The very point is you can’t properly decide for yourself if you don’t have a good grasp of the issues.

    1. Yes, I think it is appropriate, if someone educates me on the dangers of drugs without me asking them to do so.
    2. Taking drugs is something you do, being raped isn’t.
    3. So women don’t have a good grasp on the issue of rape? What makes you such an expert in the field?

  76. Wilson
    Wilson December 17, 2011 at 9:54 am |

    My earlier comment continues to await moderation while others get posted. I assume a moderator is attempting to discern whether I am trolling or not – so, I’ll explain my discomfiture. Foremost, I absolutely agree with Jaclyn. A woman should not expect to be raped for being drunk. Nor even a man.

    However, my discomfiture Jaclyn’s attempt to make the slut-shaming fallacy equivalent with drunken party-girls. The problem with this equalization is that while slut-shaming is a fallacy, most rape victims know their attacker (75 to 89 percent), and most rapists use alcohol to facilitate their terror (upwards of 80%). These numbers are in the very link that Jaclyn provided in the paragraph wherein my discomfiture lies.

    Jaclyn didn’t approach this from the “supporting slut-shaming is permissiveness to a rape culture”, but instead, directly went after those women who believe in slut-shaming as exposing themselves to greater personal danger by virtue of irresponsibility. So – if you can blame a woman for exposing herself to greater danger by believing herself safe for being modest, how can you not blame a woman for exposing herself to greater danger by letting the inhibition-loosening effects of alcohol lead her to ignore those very same warning signs? If you blame a victim in one regard, how can you maintain that a victim is blameless in another regard? If you require a woman to be vigilant for the animals among us, that vigilance does not disappear simply because she drinks.

    You can never blame a woman for allowing herself to feel safe from being raped, whether by virtue of being drunk, or by being personally modest.

    1. Jill
      Jill December 17, 2011 at 10:52 am | *

      My earlier comment continues to await moderation while others get posted. I assume a moderator is attempting to discern whether I am trolling or not

      Sweet Jesus, it’s 10:30am on a Saturday, and you left your comment at 7am. As much as I would love to be up moderating comments at that hour, I am not. Patience, everyone, please.

      Although the rest of your comment is bullshit. Jaclyn didn’t criticize anyone for NOT going out or dressing “modestly.” You seem to be pulling that out of thin air. Jaclyn did criticize women who blame other women for going out drinking. She didn’t criticize them for choosing not to drink or whathaveyou.

  77. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 10:00 am |

    I don’t see how you’re going to say that on one hand, rapists are friends, not strangers, who use opportunities available to them to get away with their crimes, yet on the other hand keep insisting that no matter what suggestions someone can make, it’s -never ever- going to reduce rapes. So if all women in the world were very aware of the ways a typical rapist operates, there wouldn’t be less rape in the world at all??

    The example you gave is so silly: being drunk does make you an easier target, I don’t see how you can deny that. Dressing “less slutty” has no net effect, because rapists will still rape someone else then, but getting drunk actually does give them an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s possible to at the same time say that it increases risk (a fact) and on the other hand it doesn’t make it a decision you’re to blame for. And you don’t have to ‘educate’ about all the possible things, since many are common places and paternalistic, but can you honestly say that no advice can be useful -ever-?

  78. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 10:12 am |

    Ceres, rapists *create their own opportunities*. Among everything else wrong with your argument, treating “getting drunk” as an individual decision on the part of the victim in the context of sexual assaults and rapes in which the victim is intoxicated flies in the face of what we know about how rapists use alcohol and other substances to prime their victims. If an individual person isn’t drinking or resists the perpetrators attempts to get them more drunk then yes, that rapist will quite possibly go and find someone they can more effectively target. I mean, to paraphrase you, if all people in the world were very aware of the way a typical rapist operates, then no one would be making the kind of bullshit argument you are making on the internet.

  79. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 10:15 am |

    Ceres:

    And again, I’m not giving advice. Which makes me not a ‘mansplainer’.

    Did… did you just mansplain mainsplaining?

  80. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 10:15 am |

    Ceres: being drunk does make you an easier target, I don’t see how you can deny that.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just naive. . .but I can deny that because I’ve never seen anyone present any evidence for this claim ever. I’m fully aware that being drunk can lead one to harm ONESELF, either through alcohol poisoning, being more prone to accidents, choosing to get into fights, etc. But how exactly does it make one an “easier target.” This is apparently common sense so no evidence needs to be provided, but I’m still not convinced.

  81. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 10:19 am |

    Li: Did…didyoujustmansplainmainsplaining?

    Yeah, that must be it. *sigh*

  82. eriN
    eriN December 17, 2011 at 10:31 am |

    Kay, but the question here is WHY? Why is the onus on women to ALWAYS PROTECT THEMSELVES? And also, why do we give men SO LITTLE CREDIT? He didn’t WANT to grope her boobies, the V-neck made him do it. Are we all saying that men are too stupid to act of their own accord? Are we as woman to shoulder the responsibility on account of how, well, men are just naturally morons, and can’t control themselves and all? Where is the logic in that? How is this fair to ANYONE?

  83. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 17, 2011 at 10:32 am |

    Ceres: 1. not all women know of even common sense precautions,

    Victim-blaming, and victim-blaming that simultaneously calls women dumb.

    Ceres: I’m a computer scientist, so I have a lot to do with computer security. Nobody thinks that you can have enough preventive measures to stop attacks, and in fact, attacks can evolve to become more sophisticated. Yet at the same there is no question that we should raise awareness about all the threats out there. The importance of updating your browsers and so on.

    And there is the question of victim-blaming here too. In fact, it’s quite prevalent to blame the person whose computer gets attacked for lacking in security, but there’s push-back against this too. Because no matter how careful you are, you can’t account for everything.

    This entire comparison to getting shit on for not updating your McAfee to getting shit on FOR BEING A WOMAN FULL STOP is offensive.

    Ceres: Yet I’m just saying that 1. of education can actually prevent rapes from occurring and therefore be worthwhile even if it might enforce a certain cultural frame

    You’ve already been told that there is literally nothing that women can be told that we do not already know, but you’re ignoring it because you idiotically think you know better.

    Ceres: reframing this issue can’t simply be done by attacking people who come up with preventive measures.

    Well, when people present “preventative measures” as “thoughtfully” as you have EVERY FUCKING TIME, you can fuck off. You do not have a right to say offensive things without getting criticized.

    Ceres: Yet well, if you had a daughter and she went binge-drinking in a frat house with a bad reputation, then if she got raped you wouldn’t be angry at her and wouldn’t blame her, but on some level you would know that there’s a certain kind of self-destructiveness in this part by her, which does show ‘issues’.

    “I’m not victim-blaming pure women, just the sluts. Like your daughter.”

  84. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 17, 2011 at 10:38 am |

    Hey, you know what would keep women REALLY safe? If men would just follow a curfew, never drink, and not venture out of doors. And perhaps keep themselves in a separate room in their homes since the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the survivor knows.

    I mean, if we’re going to talk prevention, and all. . .since men are the ones who do the vast majority of the raping, it would be better for them to sequester themselves away. Rape survivors didn’t commit any crimes, yet we’re advised to imprision ourselves.

    Oh, wait, advising men to curtail their freedom and behavior is unfair and unjust even though it would be most helpful. Yet it’s okay to advise women to do this.

    How. . . telling.

  85. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 10:49 am |

    If in a patriarchal system of dystopian class exploitation, women are proles and men are Party members, then rapists are the Ministry of Love, the blame-the-victim crowd are the Ministry of Truth, and Sheelzebub–fittingly, being evil incarnate–is Goldstein.

  86. CollegeFeminist
    CollegeFeminist December 17, 2011 at 11:24 am |

    When I was a Sophomore in high school I went to prom with my Senior boyfriend. I remember before we left my mom reminded us that there are a lot of drunk drivers on prom night so we should be extra alert when we were coming home after the dance. Had she also pulled me aside and reminded me that I didn’t have to do anything with my boyfriend I didn’t want to and if at any time I felt uncomfortable or pressured I could just go to a more public place or call her I don’t think that would have been victim-blaming in any way. The difference in our culture is that had we been hit by a drunk driver no one would blame us for being out on a night when there is a statistically higher chance of encountering a drunk driver. Yet had I been raped by my boyfriend that night the conversation would likely be very different: he was a senior, what did you expect?, it was prom night – it’s not his fault he assumed it was consensual, you should have been more vocal in telling him no, why didn’t you just punch him in the face?, etc. Although he would likely be blamed as well, the blame would be shared, because I should have taken steps to prevent it.

  87. Wilson
    Wilson December 17, 2011 at 11:35 am |

    My mistake, then; I stand corrected for reading too far into “Believing that being more virtuous than the next girl will keep you safe from rape actually puts you in greater danger, because you’re less likely to spot warning signs that you’re being targeted if you think you’re at less risk. So congrats, pearl-clutchers: you just made life worse for the people who do get raped while drunk (and if you’re clutching those pearls in a public forum, you’ve literally increased the amount of rape in the world), and that smug feeling you derived from it doesn’t even reduce your own risk. Well-played.”

    Mea culpa.

  88. Caperton
    Caperton December 17, 2011 at 11:36 am | *

    Ceres, while any one piece of the Standard Anti-Rape Advice List is a useful tidbit of knowledge, none of it is going to prevent a rape, because every single encounter is different. “Don’t walk alone at night” is great advice… if the man who is going to rape me is out on the street at night rather than being the taxi driver or the trusted friend who’s escorting me home so I don’t have to walk alone at night. A woman can’t possibly follow every item on the List, and there’s no way of knowing if it’s the frat house or the sober study session that’s going to getcha raped, so no, “educating” women isn’t going to prevent rape. It’s only going to reinforce the societal idea that if a woman is raped, it’s because she wasn’t doing what she was supposed to to prevent it.

    And no, if myndaughter got drunk and was raped at a frat party, I wouldn’t assign her any “self-destuctiveness.” I would assign her “being a college student and going to a frat party,” which is what college students do, and which is what I did in college numerous times without incident because I wasn’t around any rapists.

  89. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am |

    I tried to see if I was alone on this and asked my mother, someone that identifies herself as feminist. I asked her: “if you advice a girl of danger associated with something, does that mean you enforce a frame that allows victim-blaming if something does happen to her?” and she tells me the two have no relation, because sane people know how to discern between advice and taking risk.

    I was robbed when on vacation in Budapest once. I was walking around in some off-center location on the way to the hotel, while obviously looking like a tourist with a backpack and so on. Nobody told me that being there I somehow provoked the attack, but my family and I did discuss ways to take some precautions in the future. I just don’t see how any of that can be victim-blaming.

    The Dutch government (I’m from the Netherlands) even gives out warnings to travelers about certain dangers in certain countries, with precautions to take and so on. Nobody I know of thinks they’re engaging in allowing victim-blaming or being insulting and paternalistic. There just exist dangerous situations in the world and completely ignoring them out of some idea that “hey, I’m not at fault for their bad actions” can cause a lot of grief. You should obviously still be free to do as you like, just like you’re still free to travel to some location even if the government warns you against this. Their warning isn’t because of paternalism, but because of their duty to their citizens to inform them of what they’re getting into. And similarly, when traveling to a country it does make sense to inform yourself of what are the dangerous areas and where it’s safe to go and so on.

  90. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 11:45 am |

    Wait. . .isn’t Wilson right? How do pearl clutchers “literally increase the amount of rape in the world”?

  91. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 17, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    Re: But it’s just common sense!

    Society is a mix of mutual obligations from which rights are derived. Saying shit like “If you get drunk, you’ll be raped” is really saying “Society has little interest in enforcing its obligation to protect you from being raped when you drink. You’re on your own.” If we really gave a shit about preventing rape we would do the gazillion things feminists have been suggesting since the dawn of time, like changing the standard of consent from negative to positive or supporting victims of domestic violence or blaming men for their actions.

  92. Caperton
    Caperton December 17, 2011 at 11:54 am | *

    Oh! Well, if your mom said it, feel free to continue disregarding everything everyone has been saying to you through this entire thread.

  93. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

    PrettyAmiable, you’re acting exactly like the person in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzhrCg9To14 No matter what I say you’re inferring some sinister motive.

    What does it matter I have nothing of value to tell as far as advice goes when I’m not giving advice? I’m only talking about if advice can have any potential value, which according to you is never. To me that sounds absurd and well, is like denying reality. I don’t want to have a list of things women aren’t allowed to do.

    I know that no matter the amount of precautions, you’re still going to have people be targeted and they won’t be prepared, because there are always precautions you haven’t taken. It’s inhuman to take all of them. Yet we still give advice for, say, traffic safety, even if we know that unforeseen circumstances can still occur. It can be the case that you can’t take all possible precautions, but just taking some can substantially reduce risk. Getting some proficiency in recognizing would-be-rapists can reduce risk. Being careful where and with whom you get drunk can also reduce risk. That doesn’t mean you should completely withdraw yourself from the outside world, just as traffic safety precautions don’t mean you shouldn’t ever take the car.

  94. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm |

    Caperton, since so many people here are finding my posts completely absurd (PrettyAmiable sees me as a Complete Monster, it seems), I just thought it was interesting that the first person outside of this forum I asked thought my point was common sense. I’m not saying my mom is some sort of authority.

  95. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm |

    One more thing, I guess. Not everyone is always speaking in code. When I say something, I don’t actually mean something else. Please debate what I said, don’t ‘translate’ it to something offensive first. >.<

    Like, when I say: "drinking increases risk of rape" it is -not- code for "if you get raped while drunk don't expect any sympathy or judgement on the attacker". I'm just stating a fact, I don't mean anything with it. I would be the first person to be completely sympathetic to anyone in that situation, yet what does that have to do with the simple notion that some behaviors put you at risk?

  96. DW
    DW December 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    OK, I promise I’m not trying to be an asshole here, but what world is everyone living in here? I keep hearing women argue that we need to stop victim-blaming and start telling rapists not to rape. Um, sure, yes, victim blaming is bad, perpetrator-blaming is good. Get them to stop. But are you seriously arguing that people are NOT telling rapists not to rape? I mean, I guess I never got a lecture from an authority figure telling me and the other men not to rape women, but it’s certainly not encouraged, and the criminal penalties for rape are really quite severe. In what way are rapists NOT being told not to rape people? As far as I know, there isn’t any culture celebrating rape and talking about how awesome raping women is. (There are isolated pockets like that frat house that got shut down after having that rape survey, but at least to me it doesn’t seem like part of the broader culture.)

    Please, someone explain to me. What am I missing? I want to understand this issue because I hate rape and I want to do what I can to help prevent it, but I simply don’t understand why people are repeating over and over that “we need to tell rapists not to rape” when it seems to me that widespread condemnation of rapists and severe criminal sentences for those convicted of rape is already doing that.

    Thanks.

  97. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    Ceres, I can almost guarantee you that PrettyAmiable sees you as entirely pedestrian. Which is the point. We have covered all of this ground before. Let it be clear that we have heard every single one of these arguments before. The feminist women on this thread will have heard the “But sometimes advice is useful!” argument over. and. over. again. And when someone comes along and spends their time insisting that they just have to recognise the IMPORTANT POINT that yada yada argument entirely predicted by half a century’s collective work on sexual violence they tend to get tetchy. Especially when the person making the argument does so over and over again while spewing forth a series of exciting analogies that disappear the fact that rape is PERPETRATED VIOLENCE against ACTUAL PEOPLE by virtue of their HAVING BODIES. What are you hoping to get out of this lecture series, anyway? Ladies gonna finally bow to your wisdom?

  98. DW
    DW December 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm |

    Kristen J.: If we really gave a shit about preventing rape we would do the gazillion things feminists have been suggesting since the dawn of time, like changing the standard of consent from negative to positive or supporting victims of domestic violence or blaming men for their actions.

    This is an example. If “changing the standard of consent from negative to positive” means requiring consent or else it’s rape, that’s already the legal standard. Victims of domestic violence are already supported. Maybe you want MORE support for them, more money, more shelters etc, but society doesn’t ignore them. For example battered women’s syndrome is even a defense for women who kill their abusers. Last is the point about blaming men for their actions, which, as far as I know, we already do.

  99. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    Ceres: yet what does that have to do with the simple notion that some behaviors put you at risk?

    Ok, so risk, not a simple notion. Among other things, behaviours do not ‘put you’ at risk of sexual violence. Risk of sexual violence is inherent to all people living in a world in which sexual violence occurs. What differs is the level of risk. There is no decision that eliminates risk of sexual violence. And ultimately, what determines risk of sexual violence has very little to do with individual behaviours on the part of the victim anyway so much as an interaction between victims’ circumstances and the behaviours of perpetrators. Which I think I’ve already covered in relation to substances.

  100. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    Well DW, good questions. According to some research that’s been referenced on this blog anywhere from 6% to 13% of men are rapists:

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/25/predator-theory/

    So let’s split the difference and say 1 out of 10 men is a rapist. Do you think 1 out of 10 men wind up in jail for rape? Even 1 out of 100? The answer is no. The vast majority of rapists are never punished for their actions whatsoever. So some feminists on message boards like these are advocating for increasing the percentage of rapists that actually get imprisoned.

    I don’t support the American “justice” system or the prison-industrial system, however, so I’d prefer to see an increase in vigilante justice/self-defense by rape victims and those who care about them. So in terms of what you can do to prevent rape I’d say: a) don’t rape anyone [sounds like you're already on board with that anyway] and b) if you encounter a rapist be prepared to incapacitate him through physical force.

  101. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm |

    DW:
    OK,IpromiseI’mnottryingtobeanassholehere,butwhatworldiseveryonelivinginhere?Ikeephearingwomenarguethatweneedtostopvictim-blamingandstarttellingrapistsnottorape.Um,sure,yes,victimblamingisbad,perpetrator-blamingisgood.Getthemtostop.ButareyouseriouslyarguingthatpeopleareNOTtellingrapistsnottorape?Imean,IguessInevergotalecturefromanauthorityfiguretellingmeandtheothermennottorapewomen,butit’scertainlynotencouraged,andthecriminalpenaltiesforrapearereallyquitesevere.InwhatwayarerapistsNOTbeingtoldnottorapepeople?AsfarasIknow,thereisn’tanyculturecelebratingrapeandtalkingabouthowawesomerapingwomenis.(Thereareisolatedpocketslikethatfrathousethatgotshutdownafterhavingthatrapesurvey,butatleasttomeitdoesn’tseemlikepartofthebroaderculture.)

    Please,someoneexplaintome.WhatamImissing?IwanttounderstandthisissuebecauseIhaterapeandIwanttodowhatIcantohelppreventit,butIsimplydon’tunderstandwhypeoplearerepeatingoverandoverthat“weneedtotellrapistsnottorape”whenitseemstomethatwidespreadcondemnationofrapistsandseverecriminalsentencesforthoseconvictedofrapeisalreadydoingthat.

    Thanks.

    DW:

    Please, someone explain to me. What am I missing? I want to understand this issue because I hate rape and I want to do what I can to help prevent it, but I simply don’t understand why people are repeating over and over that “we need to tell rapists not to rape” when it seems to me that widespread condemnation of rapists and severe criminal sentences for those convicted of rape is already doing that.

    I’m gonna come right out and say it: This is not the space for you to learn this. This blog isn’t 101 level, which is the category your questions fall into.

    Finally Feminism 101’s page on rape culture will get you started.

  102. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

    Ceres, all of your pretty analogies are bullshit. Giving advice to tourists is not the same as repeating the same tired tropes about how women can protect themselves from rape, because tourists are not an oppressed class who are constantly blamed by society for being the victims of crimes. No matter how a tourist behaves or what areas of town zie goes into, if zie is attacked and reports it, the police are not going to use that fact as an excuse to do nothing about the attack or to disbelieve the tourist. There is not a society-wide drumbeat of ‘it couldn’t have been a real attack, clearly zie was asking for it, going into that part of town with a map visible!’ and people who attack tourists are not routinely let off because of what the tourist was doing. Tourists who report attacks do not have to have the entirety of their tourist history, their associates, their drinking habits, their map-using habits, their choice of dress, etc. publicly scrutinized every time, and are not routinely shamed for having been the victimsof criminals.

    Do you know who this DOES happen to? WOMEN. Women who report BEING RAPED.* Consider the DSK case, just for the most recent high-profile instance. See just about every case around rape that ever get public attention. Consider the case of the 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped and who was told off by the fucking New York Times for dressing too provocatively, while that same paper bent over backwards to shed the best light possible on the character of the accused rapists.

    Every time someone brings up these bullshit ‘pieces of advice’ the existing culture of victim-blaming is reinforced. Because YOU ARE NOT SPEAKING IN A VACUUM. It has nothing to do with intent – intent is not fucking magic and cannot erase the consequences of an act. Your intent may be the best in the world, but the EFFECT is to yet again place the responsibility – and thus the blame – with the victim instead of the rapist. This upholds a society in which a rape victim can be disbelieved and no charges filed because of what zie was wearing, or doing, or where zie was, letting a rapist go free to likely RAPE AGAIN. This tells the rapists that zie may operate without fear of real consequences, and tells the victims that it was hir fault for being raped, not the rapist’s.

    And none of your ‘advice’ is new – it is trumpeted at women day in, day out, from every fucking corner. If you are really concerned with the fate of rape victims instead of the fate of the status quo, who can channel all of that effort you’re expending into informing yourself about the actual situation instead of repeating the same damn thing every other self-proclaimed expert about ‘rape prevention’ has been saying for decades.

    Short version: CONTEXT. For FUCK’S SAKE, it’s not that hard.

    *Of course not everyone who is raped is a woman. However, women are by far the majority of rape victims and are already bearing the burden of oppression, of which rape culture is but one more aspect. They are also by far the majority of those such BS ‘advice’ about rape is aimed at. I’d be interested in a discussion about how blame is apportioned in cases where men and gender minorities are victims of rape, but obviously this isn’t the place.

  103. DW
    DW December 17, 2011 at 12:53 pm |

    Li:
    I’mgonnacomerightoutandsayit:Thisisnotthespaceforyoutolearnthis.Thisblogisn’t101level,whichisthecategoryyourquestionsfallinto.

    FinallyFeminism101′spageonrapeculturewillgetyoustarted.

    Li, thank you. I will go read that to get started and see if there are other links on that page that can answer my questions. Sorry if my questions were inappropriate to this forum.

  104. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    I admit, risk is not a good term. I guess that’s more applicable to random processes where you increase the chance it hurts you. Rape is rarely random, there are usually specific reasons why exactly someone is targeted.

    I think it’s a weakness of imagination that the only way to prevent rapes is to stop rapists; can’t you imagine there being good ways to take precautions that increase one’s defenses against a rapist? I can think of several off the top of my head, so I’m sure there are good ways to go about it.

    It also gives rapists too much credit. If you ‘evolve’ your defenses, not every rapist can evolve his offense, so to say. If women as a group become better educated in ways to prevent rape, less of them will in fact happen. It’s not that for every thing that makes you a worse target, he’s just going to pick another target. For some things that’s the case, but not for all.

  105. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    DW, thank you for handling that gracefully. I hope the Finally Feminism page answers your questions and that you come back ready to engage on a non-101 level sometime. (I mean this sincerely – I see graceful exits rarely enough that I like to acknowledge them when I do see them.)

    Li, thanks for posting that link.

  106. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm |

    Ceres: I think it’s a weakness of imagination that the only way to prevent rapes is to stop rapists

    Oh, so now the reason we shouldn’t focus on stopping rapists is that it just isn’t imaginative enough? Wow. That’s a new one. Yes, let’s continue to cause women who are raped emotional harm by telling them that it is their fault and not focus on doing anything concrete to stop people from raping because the former offers so many more possibilities for us to exercise our imaginations.

    Wow. Just wow. I hope you realize that actual women, who are, you know, human beings, are paying the price for your flights of imagination. Does that sit well with you, really? Or are women just not worthy of the basic regard that would insist that preventing harm to them in the most straight-forward, effective and ethical manner is the highest priority?

  107. shfree
    shfree December 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    One thing: Regarding the whole theft=rape thing. In England I saw a lovely sing that warned pickpocketers that undercover police were around, circulating throughout the touristy area in front of Buckingham Palace. They didn’t caution the potential victims, they cautioned the potential criminals. I thought that was a nice change of pace.

  108. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    Look Ceres, who exactly are you trying to convince? Us? Yourself? If you think it’s such a great idea to come up with a list of “10 ways to recognize someone has bad intentions/protect yourself from becoming a rape victim” then go ahead and make the list. Publicize it among women who you believe need to hear this information. Nobody here is stopping you from doing that, even if we think you doing it would be really pointless and counterproductive.

  109. DW
    DW December 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm |

    J: DW, thank you for handling that gracefully. I hope the Finally Feminism page answers your questions and that you come back ready to engage on a non-101 level sometime. (I mean this sincerely – I see graceful exits rarely enough that I like to acknowledge them when I do see them.)

    (Note: This will be the last you’ll hear from me until “sometime” gets here.) You’re welcome. I just stumbled across this blog from a link on a news website I usually read. My friends and I have had conversations about this sort of thing in the past but none of us are experts (clearly I am not). I’m definitely interested in the issue though, and I, too, hope that sometime in the future I will be back, after being educated so that I actually know what I’m talking about. Thanks for your acknowledgement and for your work on this blog.

  110. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Ceres: I think it’s a weakness of imagination that the only way to prevent rapes is to stop rapists; can’t you imagine there being good ways to take precautions that increase one’s defenses against a rapist? I can think of several off the top of my head, so I’m sure there are good ways to go about it.

    The number one way in which I increase my defenses against being raped again is by being an anti-rape and consent activist. And no, the only way to prevent rape isn’t directly stop rapists. I do large amounts of work training people to develop explicit and healthy consent practices and ultimately to implement them within their social environments, work which tackles rape by making sexual violence and the coercion tactics perps use more visibly deviant. But like, sure, I guess I could exercise my imagination or something and just tell women that getting drunk is a bad idea. Thanks for the suggestion there.

  111. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    J, funny you say that, since I reported it to the police and I never heard back from them – it probably didn’t register on their radar – and some people told me that I could have expected it, being so obviously a tourist in a place like that.

    I think you’re misusing the word context. Logically speaking, if you have a statement like: “X can be useful, but because of the context it’s harmful”, then you’re assuming it can be useful sometimes and you’re stating that the context invalidates every single case of it being useful. That’s quite a burden of proof you put on yourself then, since you’re now stating that no-advice-ever can be helpful in any possible situation, all because of the cultural framing.
    I might agree that in some cases lecturing women can backfire, but like I said, I think it’s a weakness of imagination to act like it can’t be useful ever. I’m quite sure that if I were a girl and I read some blog that said: “10 tips to avoid rape” I would read it and if I hadn’t heard them before and the tips were actually useful, I would consider that a good blogpost. I certainly wouldn’t go around shouting in all caps that “who is that blogger to lecture me!”

    Again, I really am not trying to act all “hah, I invalidated feminism, your turn”, I’m just saying that to infer bad motives or bad results or whatever from essentially every single person who says something practical about this entire matter ever is too strong a statement. I certainly don’t mean that we should have more victim blaming or more lazy hindsight-solutions. Just that there is also an extreme of never ever talking about ways to prevent rape. It’s only hypothetical. Even with the consequences arguing about this has to world peace, sorry.

  112. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    OK Ceres, so what are your practical solutions for preventing rape? Women shouldn’t get black-out drunk in frat houses with bad reputations? I think people here registered that’s what you think. So unless you have more practical solutions to share, maybe you should run along and help other women with your practical solutions who may have not heard them yet. You’re wasting precious time.

  113. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm |

    J: Of course not everyone who is raped is a woman. . . .I’d be interested in a discussion about how blame is apportioned in cases where men and gender minorities are victims of rape, but obviously this isn’t the place.

    Oh, for God’s sake. So not only in the “representative sex work” thread but here, “gender minorities” is now a polite, sanctimonious way of excluding trans women from the category of women and placing them involuntarily into a “third sex” category that most trans women I know reject and despise? News bulletin: a trans woman getting raped (which happens all the damn time) is a woman getting raped regardless of the configuration of her anatomy, and regardless of the fact that I know trans women who’ve been raped and gone to hospitals and been refused rape kits and treated like loathsome pieces of crap.* And who are you to say that this isn’t the place for a discussion of it, as tiresome and inconsequential as you may find the subject? (If I didn’t want to preserve my apparent reputation here for giving people the benefit of the doubt, I’d just tell you to fuck off. But I won’t. Paraleipsis in action.)

    *Yes, I know perfectly well that under New York law it’s technically impossible to rape (rather than merely sexually assault) a trans woman unless she has a vagina, and that even if she does it’s been a matter of debate within certain D.A.’s offices as to whether a so-called “neo-vagina” qualifies as a vagina for purposes of the Penal Law. But it’s still rape as far as I’m concerned, and it certainly isn’t your place to assert that this isn’t the place to discuss it.

  114. Caperton
    Caperton December 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm | *

    Ceres: I think it’s a weakness of imagination that the only way to prevent rapes is to stop rapists; can’t you imagine there being good ways to take precautions that increase one’s defenses against a rapist? I can think of several off the top of my head, so I’m sure there are good ways to go about it.

    Hoh lee shit. So what you’re saying is that there are plenty of surefire ways to prevent rape, but throughout the history of feminism no one has ever had the imagination to come up with one? That you’re the bold thinker who can think of a dozen that surely haven’t been conceived of and tested and rejected as failures at the expense of women’s lives? That your cocktail-napkin jottings of an afternoon can solve problems that have plagued women through centuries of lived experience, because no one’s considered that maybe women just don’t know how to keep themselves from getting raped? Please re-read what you’re saying.

    Ceres: I’m quite sure that if I were a girl and I read some blog that said: “10 tips to avoid rape” I would read it and if I hadn’t heard them before and the tips were actually useful, I would consider that a good blogpost. I certainly wouldn’t go around shouting in all caps that “who is that blogger to lecture me!”

    And if you were a poor black kid, you’d buy a computer. I might call it a weakness of imagination to think that such lists don’t already exist, aren’t already posted on blogs, aren’t already posted on police Web sites, aren’t already handed out at college orientations, aren’t already added at the end of newspaper articles and read at the end of TV news reports every time a woman gets herself raped, and so rapes still happen.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=tips+to+prevent+rape

    Normally, I’d apologize for the snark and say something about how I’m just really passionate and frustrated and whateverthefuck, but I… don’t.

  115. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    DonnaL: Actually I was including trans women under the category of women, full stop. By gender minorities I meant people who are agender, neutrois, genderfluid, genderqueer, etc. I should have made that clearer. I apologize. Has the phrase been elsewhere used in a way that implies that trans women are not women, trans men not men? If so I was unaware of that, and know better now.

  116. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    Also, I included that note only because my understanding is that the thread here is focused on the blaming of women specifically, given that the victim-blaming ‘rape prevention’ tips are generally directed specifically at women. If the mods don’t think it’s derailing to open it up to a discussion of how these tips impact genderqueer and other non-binary-identified people I’d love to discuss it with anyone interested (since I am genderqueer myself). However, I do not want to derail. If the mods prefer to keep the focus specifically on women I’d be happy to discuss it over email at oneirosmechta@yahoo.com .

  117. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    J: DonnaL: Actually I was including trans women under the category of women, full stop. By gender minorities I meant people who are agender, neutrois, genderfluid, genderqueer, etc. I should have made that clearer. I apologize. Has the phrase been elsewhere used in a way that implies that trans women are not women, trans men not men? If so I was unaware of that, and know better now.

    The term “gender minorities” was just recently used in the representative sex workers thread, within the same comment so there’s no ambiguity, to refer to trans people. Which inspired my annoyance at your comment. I’m glad to hear that’s not how you intended it.

  118. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm |

    @DonnaL – Ah, ok. Thanks for explaining. I haven’t read the most recent comments at that thread yet, so I’d missed it. (Perhaps the term is best avoided in any case, given how easily it can be used that way. Non-binary-identified people might work better as a catchall, I guess?)

    I do sincerely apologize as well for any hurt I caused you. Intentions not being magic, the effect is what matters – so thanks for bringing the issue to my attention. I often enjoy your contributions here, though I don’t dive in myself that often. You’re braver than I! :)

  119. DonnaL
    DonnaL December 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm |

    J: Non-binary-identified people might work better as a catchall, I guess?

    I think that’s a far better, and less ambiguous term.

    Thanks, and no problem.

  120. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date December 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    Ceres
    Yet well, if you had a daughter and she went binge-drinking in a frat house with a bad reputation, then if she got raped you wouldn’t be angry at her and wouldn’t blame her, but on some level you would know that there’s a certain kind of self-destructiveness in this part by her, which does show ‘issues’.

    I’m assuming that, where you wrote “you”, you mean you. You certainly don’t mean me.

  121. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    Ceres: Like, when I say: “drinking increases risk of rape” it is -not- code for “if you get raped while drunk don’t expect any sympathy or judgement on the attacker”. I’m just stating a fact, I don’t mean anything with it.

    Are you seriously so stupid that you can’t take your own words to their logical conclusion?

    Ceres: (PrettyAmiable sees me as a Complete Monster, it seems)

    No, babe. I know you’re not a Complete Monster. I also know you’re a Complete Fucking Idiot With No Listening Skills.

    Ceres: What does it matter I have nothing of value to tell as far as advice goes when I’m not giving advice? I’m only talking about if advice can have any potential value, which according to you is never.

    And did you seriously spend time telling me I was misconstruing what you were saying by completely misattributing this nonsense to me? Please see above, where I rather astutely call you out on being a complete fucking idiot with no listening skills. Thx.

  122. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    *mutters* I’ve had to literally talk to other people about this issue just to confirm I’m sane and not completely off the deep end.

    I’m trying to debate honestly on something that I frankly don’t even particularly care about. It’s just a point I was trying to make. (I guess I’m too argumentative) Funny that only a short while ago you had the theme week about gaslighting, now half of the commentators spend their time telling me I said things I never did and question my sanity.

    I don’t mean those things you say I mean, Caperton. :(

  123. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    See, that’s the thing Ceres, a lot of the posters here DO care about this topic a great deal. Some have been raped themselves, some are committed anti-rape activists. Your emotional detachment from this topic and spirit of intellectual musing has been evident and I believe it’s part of what’s rubbed people the wrong way. I hypothesize many are left wondering why you continue to reiterate the same points over and over, speaking more than any other single commenter, when it’s evident the issue is rather triffling to you. And perhaps it makes people feel like you don’t really care about them or their concerns, so they respond by not really caring about you or your concerns.

  124. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    Ceres: I’m trying to debate honestly on something that I frankly don’t even particularly care about

    Which is the issue, i assume. Everyone on this site and thread cares a great deal about rape, victim blaming, and rape culture. They’ve discussed it multiple times. What you’re espousing has been heard before, a lot. You seriously live in place where girls and women don’t get the constant bombardment of messages of how to “stay safe” and not do something “stupid”? So, has this stopped rape? Does it decrease the risk? Why, in your opinion can’t we broaden the discussion to include other ways to discuss rape that don’t couch their premises in the idea that the person really should have seen it coming/done more/not been there/worn something different? Why do you think women haven’t heard all your shit before? You’re on a feminist website, as you pointed out. if you don’t care why ignore the words of people who do and have put some fucking thought into the issue?

  125. Sandy
    Sandy December 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm |

    Ceres: I’m trying to debate honestly on something that I frankly don’t even particularly care about. It’s just a point I was trying to make.

    … well, it’s great that you’ve come right out and said you don’t particularly care about victim-blaming (or stopping rape, I’m not actually clear on that, and honestly, don’t care which you meant). This explains a lot, either way.

  126. guilty
    guilty December 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm |

    Ceres: *mutters* I’ve had to literally talk to other people about this issue just to confirm I’m sane and not completely off the deep end.

    I know that feel bro, there are some great insights about certain belief structures within feminism that can be learned by commenting here, but in order to get to them without loosing your mind and letting people convince you that you’ve lost your grip on reality simply by harboring a decanting opinion is to remember that the people here as a rule do not “agree to disagree”. In general the people here believe that on feminist issues right and wrong are universalities to some degree, and by offering a decanting opinion you either a) frankly dont mentally grasp what’s going on, or b) are simply a bad person. I suspect this comes from the fact that a lot of the people posting are from places where they have been shut down emotionally and not even allowed to dispassionately discuss why they felt seriously wronged in the past, so this place serves as a counter where not only are those people not silenced when they choose to discuss something dispassionately, but they are allowed to rage as hard as they feel the need to about things that truly eat at them physiologically. 2 simple rules of thumb I use when reading posts here are 1) if somebody calls you stupid as apposed to evil, they believe you are not being disingenuous, and 2) always read posts with the filter “yes im being hysterical and unyielding during your attempt to be dispassionate and debate, im allowed to do that here, it still dosen’t mean im wrong!”

    Hopefully this post gets past the filter but I’ve been put in some really dark psychological places because of some of the things said here but I really think the knowledge is worth the trama and I would hate to see a mind willing to address the issues brought to light here leave because they got turned away at the door for not having the right shoes.

  127. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    @Ceres – RE the tourist example, you clearly don’t read closely enough. Note I said “routinely” and “society-wide.” An one-time example (which doesn’t even necessarily indicate negative beliefs on the part of the police – they lose paperwork now and then like any bureaucracy) does not provide evidence of a massive, repeated, publicly-accepted effort to blame all tourists everywhere for getting mugged. There is however a wealth of examples of women being blamed for being raped and rather few examples of successfully prosecuted rapes for less than perfect victims, considering the number of women being raped every year.

    And no, assuming that the context makes a certain action harmful doesn’t mean that it must be harmful in every single case. Only harmful more often than not. Sure there might hypothetically be a girl somewhere who, somehow, never ever was exposed to any of your tips, and for whom they were useful. Indeed, let’s posit for argument’s sake that she successfully avoided getting raped because of these tips! (Although nobody ever manages to produce convincing evidence that they are all that successful at preventing rape. Funny, that.) So the rapist raped some other girl. That does not change the fact that for every such girl, there are going to be a dozen people who read it and find confirmation of the notion that women are responsible for protecting themselves from rape and therefore they are to blame for getting raped. Just look at the discourse surrounding any recent rape case in which a woman was the victim and see how many people use the logic of these tips to blame the victim or assert that it wasn’t really rape.

    And given how the rest of your paragraph continues, I think you are the one who has no understanding of what context means. It’s not just about any specific woman’s reaction to the ‘advice.’ It’s about how the repeated efforts to put attention on what *women* are supposed to do instead of how we can stop men from raping actively harm women and contribute to a society in which what an 11-year-old girl was wearing is considered relevant as to whether she was to blame for being gang-raped.

    However, I’m not sure you are actually going to pay attention to what I am actually saying. You’ve ignored a great deal of material countering your views already, and have explicitly stated that you don’t care about the issue – despite the fact that actual rape victims are talking to you, pointing out where you are wrong and asking you to stop. (Though I wonder why you put so much effort into something you don’t care about. Could it be that you are actually invested – for whatever reason – in the system as it is, but are unwilling to acknowledge it directly? You might find reading up on the just world fallacy enlightening.)

    Oh, people disagreeing with you in a public forum in which every word is clear for all to read =/= gaslighting. Holy Batman, what a way to be even more offensive. You need to educate yourself about how communication works if you think that multiple people finding meanings in your words that you did not consciously intend means that there is a conspiracy to convince you that you meant something else. It doesn’t. It means that either you were not as clear as you would have liked, and/or that there are in fact implications of your words and opinions that you have not considered. Pointing these out is PERFECTLY FUCKING VALID.

  128. J
    J December 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    Sandy: … well, it’s great that you’ve come right out and said you don’t particularly care about victim-blaming (or stopping rape, I’m not actually clear on that, and honestly, don’t care which you meant). This explains a lot, either way.

    QFT.

    And librarygoose, word.

  129. Tamen
    Tamen December 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    Someone said in an earlier comment:

    Of course not everyone who is raped is a woman. However, women are by far the majority of rape victims…

    Sadly this is no longer true in the US. According to the latest National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey by CDC 1.1% of women and 1.1% of men were raped in the last 12 months (which I presume means 2010 since that’s when the survey were done). Now, for that result to be true one has to be willing to accept that the definition of “being made to penetrate someone else” is rape (I’ll put the exact definition used by CDC at the end of this comment). The numbers are from the tables on page 18 and 19 in the report.

    This has to change the discourse around rape and ought to have an impact on how rape prevention programs directed at young people are designed and implemented.

    CDC’s definition from page 17 in the report:
    Being made to penetrate someone else includes times when the victim was made to, or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.

    For the record. The definition of rape also included attempts.

  130. Diz
    Diz December 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    I have a dad who thinks a lot like Ceres. There’s a reason we don’t talk anymore, especially after I was raped. I never got any justice for the attack because I was blamed for it from top to bottom by people like Ceres within the police, my friends, and my family. Funny that I was mugged a few years later after work and didn’t get the same level of blame that I got for being sexually violated.

    So I’ll just say it straight out. Fuck you, Ceres. You remind me of every person who failed me at my lowest point and you make me sick. I doubt I’m the only victim who has read this thread with great disgust towards you and wishes you would just STFU and listen to what people are saying. Comparing women like me to a fucking computer virus/car/inanimate object? Go fuck yourself hard.

    I hope you don’t have a daughter.

  131. Li
    Li December 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm |

    Li:

    The number one way in which I increase my defenses against being raped again is by being an anti-rape and consent activist.

    Ugh. So I reread this and noticed that I said this. I’m going to retract this and change it to “sexually assaulted again”. Picked up the language of what I was responding to and managed to mischaracterise my own experience of sexual violence. Commenting while super tired clearly = bad plan.

  132. zuzu
    zuzu December 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm |

    Ceres: :(

    Let’s break out the tiny violins for Ceres.

  133. Ceres
    Ceres December 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm |

    Well, English isn’t my first language so I know I don’t always express myself clearly. When I say I don’t particularly care about something that to me means something like 1. I do care, but it’s not personally something I prioritize as something to devote personal energy to stop. It doesn’t mean I don’t ‘care’. And 2. I do care a great deal about this issue, actually, but I don’t -particularly care- about my contribution to it. I just wanted to make a point to add to this article, and since I’m too argumentative I suppose I get caught up in such things.

  134. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm |

    Ceres: 1. I do care, but it’s not personally something I prioritize as something to devote personal energy to stop. It doesn’t mean I don’t ‘care’. And 2. I do care a great deal about this issue, actually, but I don’t -particularly care- about my contribution to it.

    I don’t get why you were so dismissive of people who do care personally and do want to make contributions. I’d think that if you were only marginally interested you’d have an easier time listening to people who’ve spent more time dealing with the issue.

  135. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    Oh, I’ve thought of a better way to summarize the debate so far, based around this example. So suppose you have something that’s just outright a bad message: “never being in contact with other people makes you less vulnerable to rape”, yet it’s still a fact. (evidently true)

    Now the first problem I had was that some people are actually denying this is a fact. There have been several comments that outright denied a similar example. I don’t mind if someone thinks whether it’s true or not is irrelevant, that’s a useful way of thinking, probably. But outright denying something that’s most likely true because you don’t like the message isn’t proper.

    The second issue is that some state an even more extreme version of this. Rape can’t be prevented ever by any adjustment on a would-be victim. Again, if you feel like the precise nature of prevention isn’t relevant because it wrongly frames the issue, then that’s a fair statement that I largely agree with. But then do dismiss ‘helpful tips’ on this ground, don’t also say that they can never work.

    I do feel like it would be a good thing if women were well informed about this matter. For instance, society tends to obsess a lot about rape by strange men in dark alleys, when that’s statistically not the majority. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of women actually didn’t know this, simply because a lot of people probably don’t know this. And knowledge of tactics rapists might use can likely come in handy when spotting one or saving yourself. I won’t go into specifics, because that’s not the point, but it seems self-evident to me that such information could exist.
    Mind you that in the above paragraph I’m not saying that I think someone should go out to inform them. Neither am I saying that women are dumb and can’t inform themselves. Some will already be informed, some won’t. The only thing I’m stating is that if as a group they would be informed (hypothetically), then that would be something positive. Again, I don’t really see how anyone can disagree with this.

    As far as the counter-point to my first two points. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a fact, point is that it reinforces the wrong frame.” I think that’s a good way of thinking about it, but the obvious question is to ask if that would go for all such examples. The example I chose was particularly vile, but would it be possible to say the same thing about all examples?
    For instance, self-defense classes are essentially education for precisely such circumstances. I think that’s an instance of messaging that even a lot of feminists stand behind. So assuming that would be a good message, you can already no longer state that all possible examples are bad. Logically, you only need one to invalidate that claim.

    And strictly speaking, every girl who goes out constantly makes judgement calls on whether something is safe or not, or worth the risk. They will have thought about this issue too and considered points for themselves. Taking precautions is just something people do, no matter the situation. So outright saying that actually listing potential precautions is offensive seems bizarre to me.
    What’s usually meant is that it’s not the idea per se, but rather, who is listing them and what’s on it. I guess there are a lot of pseudo-rebellious ‘thinkers’ out there (like the article said) who feel the need to advice young women to don’t drink much. But this advice is too common place to be useful and is offensive coming from such a person.
    However, my problem with this is that you can’t just generalize about this. For instance, what if the advice was more useful, the person more suitable, would it still always be bad then? What if your friend warned you of a certain frat house? I think that would be useful advice.

    I think what happens is that I try to make the somewhat trivial point that it’s impossible to speak about this in absolutes (even knowing that most of what passes for advice actually is offensive), yet it’s not interpreted as the descriptive statement it is.

    I hope this is more clear. This is why I say that I don’t -particularly care-, since my entire point was this trivial abuse of logic by some commentators. I feel very strongly about protecting women from victim-blaming and also from rape, but I don’t feel that way about me correcting people on abuse of logic. That’s also why I’m so unhappy about being attacked, (see the post that says I should never have children) since in debating this I have no intentions other than continuously correcting people who attribute some sinister meaning to my posts. It had no way to go but down, I suppose, and it’s my fault for not writing in proper English, sorry.

  136. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 18, 2011 at 12:41 am |

    I think the problem is that your ideas, about a laundry list of things women can do to prevent rape, kind of ignores survivors. Survivors will have every single one of their judgements, decisions, and choices questioned. The idea that there could exist a list of rape-proof ideas is offensive. I’m not saying you would use this list to point out the failings of the woman, but some one would. Because a list of do’s and don’ts won’t stop rape. But it will give people some thing to look at and say, “Well, you violated rule 4: Guys in Apartment; section III- don’t let guys in with out first doing a back ground check and finger print scan.” Now that woman is no longer a victim, they broke the rules. So saying that some behaviors are more dangerous than others and should be avoided only puts the blame on the survivor, and rubs it into their faces that they *some how* could/should have been able to avoid being attacked. There are survivors on this thread, and your words and ideas are fucking repulsive and condescending. Women are exposed to lists and classes and school assemblies and every other goddamn thing in order to teach them how to not get raped. I have never heard of one thing teaching guys the importance of consent or how to not pressure or coerce. I learned about the “consent is sexy” movement in college, and it blew my mind that the mantle of rape prevention was something that could be carried by more than just women. That shouldn’t surprise a woman in her 20’s.

  137. shfree
    shfree December 18, 2011 at 1:54 am |

    When I had my defense training for the clinic (which is something completely different than clinic defense, as I was an employee) one of the things I was told was that if someone really wants to hurt you, they will, and the safest thing to do is just minimize the damage that is done to you, if you can’t get away. If one looks at it from this perspective, as opposed to the idea that if we have trained ourselves enough we can protect ourselves from all harm, that would make better sense. Because that way we don’t have to wonder if only we hadn’t had that one beer, or walked home with that one guy, or worn those pants, or taken that one class in self defense. Then it wouldn’t be our fault, because it was about the dude that was looking to hurt someone else, not the person that he ended up hurting.

  138. J
    J December 18, 2011 at 2:11 am |

    Ceres: do you know why people don’t know for the most part that stranger rape cases are the minority of rape cases? It’s because people keep repeating bullshit lists like yours that emphasize the ‘stranger danger’ model of rape. Yet one more consequence of all this ‘rape prevention advice’ is the spreading of misinformation like this.

    And you obviously have not grasped any of the most fundamental points that have been made in response to your posts. Your point comes across fine, although you seem incapable of or unwilling to grasp the implications of your argument. Your English is not the problem; your logic and lack of thought regarding the facts of the situation are the problems.

  139. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 18, 2011 at 6:22 am |

    So we’ve got people who are all bent because “I don’t agree with what you said, YOU ARE JUST WRONG, but I’m too fucking lazy to present any evidence/I don’t have jack shit for evidence” and “Oh, Ceres, I totally know what you’re going through because the bitches here are so mean and it’s traumatic.”

    You know what’s fucking traumatic? Being raped and then being lectured about how You Did Things Wrong. So take your whining about trauma and shove it the fuck up your ass, trolls.

  140. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 10:37 am |

    librarygoose, if there is no such education for men that’s a problem in itself that has no relation to my point. I’m not at all against that, why would I be?

    J, I have to mind my words when if I make a wrong pronoun there is a post devoted to attacking it. My English is pretty good, but I often slip up in subtle ways. :/

    Also, why is it my problem that people create lists that reinforce fear of stranger-rape cases? That’s evidently a problem of a ‘bad list’, so to say. What if it was a list that did reflect reality? Are all such ‘lists’ bad, every single one that you can think of and more? To prove that it’s not enough to point to mainstream examples – even if those are all awful, it’s not enough to discredit the idea in general. Maybe the problem lies with mainstream culture.

    shfree, I guess that post isn’t directed at me, but I wanted to add that on some level ‘minimizing damage done to you’ and ‘preventive measures’ are the same, since both can be forms of education. Then it’s simply a matter of choosing the best one and this might always be first.


    And in general, how can you on one hand want people to be educated about something, yet reject -any- form of education? What if the education was proper and came from the right people, in the right way?

    I think the existence of education allows for using it as victim-blaming, but it doesn’t necessarily follow from it. Because there are a lot of other factors involved too, especially the overall culture, the lack of such education for men and so on.

  141. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 18, 2011 at 10:55 am |

    I really thought Ceres was gonna stop prattling on after his confession that he was being too argumentative and didn’t care overly much about the point he was making. But evidently he decided, all that being the case, just to go back to making the same point he doesn’t care about all over again. WTF.

  142. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 18, 2011 at 11:35 am |

    Ceres: Funny that only a short while ago you had the theme week about gaslighting, now half of the commentators spend their time telling me I said things I never did and question my sanity.

    You’re an idiot who cannot take things to their logical conclusion. This is not gaslighting. This is fact. You, commenter, are an idiot. People cannot debate with idiots. Further, if you choose not to listen to people who are describing their lived experiences, it is not a debate.

    All you want is to be told that you’re right. You are not. Get over it.

  143. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    LotusBen, there’s a difference between being argumentative and arguing. I thought and hoped my last two posts were more clear and constructive.

    PrettyAmiable, I didn’t mean it’s “gaslighting”. Just that when a group of commentators keep searching my words for things to negatively interpret so much so that in the end I’m at a loss for the utter negative reaction, simply because I’m never given the benefit of the doubt, that to me has some sort of similarity with gaslighting in the effect it has. It’s not meant to be an offensive comment, it just seems to me that a community that considers gaslighting a supreme evil ought to be more careful with their own debating tactics. Which I thought was ironic. *shrug*

  144. shfree
    shfree December 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    No, minimizing damage to you is not the same as a laundry list of how to avoid rape. What it means is that if you are ALREADY in harm’s way, it is even better to not fight. Because that could just escalate the problem, and cause greater violence, and then hurt us more.

  145. Drew
    Drew December 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    I didn’t read all the comments, so forgive me if this is old ground.

    In the article:

    “Believing that being more virtuous than the next girl will keep you safe from rape actually puts you in greater danger, because you’re less likely to spot warning signs that you’re being targeted if you think you’re at less risk.”

    But, um… wouldn’t being extremely drunk also make you less likely to spot those same warning signs?

  146. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

    Shorter Ceres: I’m not calling it gaslighting, but it is gaslighting.

    Seriously, dude? For someone who professes to not care about this subject you sure are insistent on posting obsessively about it.

  147. Alison
    Alison December 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Seriously, dude? For someone who professes to not care about this subject you sure are insistent on posting obsessively about it.

    Ceres doesn’t care about the issue, but s/he certainly cares about making it clear how wrong we all are because we have different views. THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT.

  148. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm |

    @Concerned

    You are operating under rape myths.

    “Why isn’t there an equal amount of advertising made to the would be muggers? “Don’t you dare go mugging people when they’re walking around! If someone’s walking around with a hundred dollar bill falling out of their pocket, don’t you take that.” This is foolish because these would be muggers already know its wrong to do what they’re doing. Telling them not to isn’t going to help. ”

    What you aren’t understanding here is that rapists usually DON’T know that what they are doing is wrong. Many times they believe that the woman was asking for it, or if shes drunk then its okay because she isn’t saying no (so they themselves are operating under the “no means no” model of rape), or that what they aren’t doing is rape (10% of university-aged men will admit to rape as long as the word rape isn’t used. This means that rapists do NOT think of themselves as rapists).

    So while your understanding of rape prevention is based on your acceptance of rape myths, you are failing to understand why rape actually occurs. Our culture needs to start telling men to STOP raping–that consent is AFFIRMATIVE, it is marked by the existence of YES and not by the absence of no. Rape does not happen by some big bad man running out from a bush, but by the boy next door, or by your guy friend, or whoever, that doesn’t understand what consent is.

    THIS is the problem.

  149. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm |

    PeggyLuWho: Itisdifferent,becausethisisnotadvicegivensolelytoonegender(WOMEN)whichwillsupposedlyhelptopreventacrime(NEWSFLASH–ITDOESNOT)butthatreallyonlymanagestoserveasyetanotherwayoursociety(PATRIARCHY)triestocontrolwomen’sbodiesandactions,whilealsoprovidingthescapegoatincaseswheredrunkwomendogetraped,whichissomucheasierthanactuallylookingatthesituationthatbreedsrapists.(RAPECULTURE)

    Seriously,howmuchfuckingeffortdoesittaketocompletelymissthegoddamnpointoverandovera-fucking-gain?

    Exactly. How do people not get this?

    Women are raped because of a sense of entitlement to women that some men have. We need to focus on THIS, not on prevention, because as long as women are not free to walk in the world the same way men can–without the fear of rape–then they are second class citizens.

    I think a lot of people, not just some of the rape apologists that post on feminist blogs, don’t “get” what we are trying to get at–and this is because they are operating under rape myths, such as the myth that rape happens because men cannot control themselves, or that rape is committed by psychopaths, or something. And they treat it as something that’s natural–so basically, the fact that women’s bodies are considered communal property for the taking is “natural”.

    This is not natural.

  150. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm |

    Whenever rape apologists try to compare rape to crimes like mugging, or home burglary, they don’t seem to realize that what they are actually doing is likening a woman’s body to an object to be possessed and taken.

    That is rape culture.

  151. Drew
    Drew December 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

    Stephanie: Wheneverrapeapologiststrytocomparerapetocrimeslikemugging,orhomeburglary,theydon’tseemtorealizethatwhattheyareactuallydoingislikeningawoman’sbodytoanobjecttobepossessedandtaken.Thatisrapeculture.

    Or, they’re likening one form of crime (wherein a person violates another persons rights) to another form of crime (wherein a person violates another persons rights).

    I know, life isn’t made from sugar and cocoa beans, nor is it processed in a factory – but saying “Life is like a box of chocolates” doesn’t intend to imply either.

  152. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Ceres: simply because I’m never given the benefit of the doubt,

    Why are you entitled to the benefit of the doubt? Why? You haven’t given women here the benefit of the doubt that we know what we’re talking about even though we’re women actually affected by rape culture. I really want to know why you think you should be given the benefit of the doubt about what women do and do not know about rape.

    Ceres: It’s not meant to be an offensive comment, it just seems to me that a community that considers gaslighting a supreme evil ought to be more careful with their own debating tactic

    This is not a debate, sparky. I already told you once that it is impossible to argue with utter dipshits, and therefore it is impossible to argue with you. You wouldn’t know, because as I’ve elsewhere asserted, you refuse to actually read what women are telling you.

  153. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm |

    Ceres: librarygoose, if there is no such education for men that’s a problem in itself that has no relation to my point. I’m not at all against that, why would I be?

    But it is vital to trying to talk about rape, rape prevention, and any permutation. Because men are the majority of rapists. so it would make sense to educate them as well as the cultural and “educational” oh-so-helpful lessons women learn. WOMEN ARE TAUGHT HOW TO AVOID RAPE. THESE LESSONS ARE FALSE AND WORK UNDER A FALLACY. Rape survivors are persecuted for not “knowing” or for “being risky”. Which is fucked, because women do not rape themselves. Seriously, your handy-no-rape-tips exist. Our society is steeped in precautions for women, guidelines for “being safe”. They are fucked. What new revolutionary thoughts do you have? Why are you keeping them secret?

    TL;DR: WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS ALREADY A THING.

  154. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    Is there actually moderation on this site? (PrettyAmiable’s posts)

  155. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    *The next post is in good jest, I swear*

    ALSO, I talked to my fairly sexist father and HE agrees with me. So, I see your feminist mother and raise you one.

  156. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    Ceres: Is there actually moderation on this site? (PrettyAmiable’s posts)

    There is, but I doubt they are worried about your hurt fee-fees, after all PrettyAmiable said nothing you haven’t deserved after all of your bullshit in this thread.

  157. Alison
    Alison December 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    Ceres: Is there actually moderation on this site? (PrettyAmiable’s posts)

    Yes, there is, as Jill has noted 80 zillion times. But I’m pretty sure “comments that hurt Ceres’ precious feelings” isn’t one of her tenets of moderation. PA called you an idiot because you are saying idiotic things and being what seems to me to be rather grandiosely willfully obtuse. (I assume that’s what you’re referring to, unless being called “sparky” is somehow offensive…)

    You’ve been so generous with your advice, shittastic though it may be. Allow me to give you some advice in return: Get. The. Fuck. Over. Yourself. Seriously. get over yourself and your brilliant ideas about rape prevention and your oh-so-above-it-all privilege and your arrogance and your rudeness and your disdain for others’ lived experiences and your need to KEEP TALKING UNTIL WE ALL SEE THE ERROR OF OUR WAYS AND COME TO THE LIGHT THAT SHINES FORTH LIKE A BEACON FROM CERES ALMIGHTY MIND. Get over all of it. The sooner the better.

  158. Alison
    Alison December 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm |

    (LOL, jinx Annaleigh :P)

  159. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    Alison: (LOL, jinx Annaleigh :P)

    Jinx, and bravo! *applause* ;)

  160. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho December 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    PrettyAmiable

    This is not a debate, sparky. I already told you once that it is impossible to argue with utter dipshits, and therefore it is impossible to argue with you. You wouldn’t know, because as I’ve elsewhere asserted, you refuse to actually read what women are telling you.

    Zie was probably on the debate team in high school. All those motherfuckers always think that you win by repeating the same thing over and over again.

  161. Drew
    Drew December 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm |

    Conversations like these rarely get past the myopic “proximal factors” stage because you get one side ready to attack with phrases like “rape apologists” and “vitim-blaming”, and you get the other side ending up focusing entirely on what (they think) women can individually do to decrease their chances of being raped.

    I propose an agreement that no one will agree to: that, instead of focusing on what individual men or women do or do not do, we try to look at the entire culture that breeds rape (a culture both men and women contribute to).

  162. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    Ceres:
    Is there actually moderation on this site? (PrettyAmiable’s posts)

    Oh sry Jill, Caperton, et al. I meant “dipsh*ts.”

  163. valentifan69
    valentifan69 December 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm |

    @ Stephanie

    “What you aren’t understanding here is that rapists usually DON’T know that what they are doing is wrong. Many times they believe that the woman was asking for it, or if shes drunk then its okay because she isn’t saying no (so they themselves are operating under the “no means no” model of rape), or that what they aren’t doing is rape (10% of university-aged men will admit to rape as long as the word rape isn’t used. This means that rapists do NOT think of themselves as rapists).

    I don’t think you can just assert this. The fact is there is a big and as-yet unresolved argument going on about it. Concerned is just basically repeating the message in the poster-approved ‘Yes Means Yes’ blog linked above which essentially says the complete opposite to you:

    “Second, the sometimes-floated notion that acquaintance rape is simply a mistake about consent, is wrong… the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men… who do it again … and again … and again. … the repeaters are also responsible for … intimate partner violence, child beating and child sexual abuse, the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data. Most of the raping is done by guys who like to rape, and to abuse, assault and violate.”

    https://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

  164. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    valentifan69: “Second, the sometimes-floated notion that acquaintance rape is simply a mistake about consent, is wrong… the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men… who do it again … and again … and again. … the repeaters are also responsible for … intimate partner violence, child beating and child sexual abuse, the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data. Most of the raping is done by guys who like to rape, and to abuse, assault and violate.”

    https://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    Being mistaken about consent does play a role, I think. What a perpetrator could do is look for things that are consent-ish, i.e. that are commonly associated with consent, such as talking to him, going home with him, kissing with him, even if he is aware there hasn’t been actual consent. He can use the expectations that society has to create a veil of plausible deniability. Because it’s presumably difficult to know when someone is making a false or true accusation, since so often it’s just one person’s word versus the other’s, having all these trappings in place can make the police side with you. I guess that’s not a good thing, since it does allow a free-ticket out for rapists.

    I don’t know if it works that way in reality though, perhaps there really are people mistaken about consent. (seems doubtful) It’s not so long ago that the notion of consent being necessary would have been absurd. In the Netherlands it’s only since 1991 that rape is a crime even in marriage; previously consent wasn’t needed apparently and the law was such that a husband was entitled to sex as some part of the marriage agreement. So I think it’s more likely that some people do not really take the idea of consent seriously, because of either some sense of entitlement or just an inability to empathize. It’s something that exists in our culture. I guess this is all well-known though. (and is presumably a slightly different issue than the one in the previous paragraph)

    @ValentiFan, what are you referring to when you say it’s an unresolved issue? Do you know of research to support or undermine Stephanie’s position? (and not even whether one sort is the majority, but whether the other side exists at all, since I feel like it would require some sort of sociopathy to not notice the lack of consenting)

  165. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm |

    [lack of awareness that I'm invoking tropes about how rape accusers are lying bitches despite no substantiated evidence supporting that false accusations in rape occur at higher statistical rates than in any other crime].

    Hey remember that time that guy got mugged and we second-guessed him because of how it’s totally reasonable that people interpret violent crime as he-said, she-said?

  166. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    @ PrettyAmiable

    Yeah! Totally. Good times…good times.

  167. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    For anyone that still cares, can you please confirm for yourself that PrettyAmiable’s interpretation of my post has absolutely nothing to do with what I actually wrote? I could have said the sky was blue and she’d see it as an anti-red bias.
    Now I guess I ‘invoked a trope’ because I mentioned the word false somewhere in my post. PrettyAmiable, can you send me the list of words I can avoid so that I don’t face your wraith?

    Here, a summary of the discussion so far.
    me: X
    feministe: how dare you say Y, it’s Z
    me: I agree with Z, I wasn’t saying Y, I disagree with Y, I said X
    feministe: the nerve you have to defend Y, don’t you know there are survivors here, I hope you fucking die in a fire
    me: ..what? I’m just saying X, a harmless trivial comment
    feministe: aha! now you’re being argumentative and you have to obsessively repeat your point over and over because you just want us to bow down to your will
    me: I don’t even necessarily care about X, I just don’t like being attacked this way
    feministe: so you don’t care about Z, yet constantly invoke Y? You’re a monster.
    me: look, shouldn’t there be some standard of debate here? You can’t just constantly misinterpret my posts so much so that in the end I’m starting to question my own sanity. Shouldn’t a community that for instance dislikes gaslighting so much, be more careful with these tactics?
    feministe: so you’re saying you’re being a victim of gaslighting? that what happens to you is -exactly- like gaslighting? you monster, you can’t use that word since we don’t like you.
    me: no I’m not saying that, just that there are some similarities, but nevermind
    feministe: I hope you never have a daughter, you sick bastard.
    feministe: there’s no talking to fucking morons like you, you fucking dipshit
    feministe: I bet you were on the highschool debate team [I didn't get why this is an insult], motherfucking idiot

    And I’m the person that’s being rude? I’ve been a bit liberal in paraphrasing other people’s comments, but most of that is literally in there.

  168. suspect class
    suspect class December 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm |

    Wow, apparently Ceres has been interacting with some sort of borg-like hive mind, not a number of individual commentators who all disagree with him. I guess that explains why he’s still ‘splaining about–acknowledging that a lot of people disagree with him might challenge his worldview, but obviously if he’s up against a malevolent entity made of brainwashed fanatics he can be the heroic non-conformist who refuses to bend to Feministe’s will.

  169. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    I know you’re being ironic, but it’s actually exactly like that.

  170. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    Well then, you know resistance is futile.

  171. Ceres
    Ceres December 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    Yeah, I submit. :( (and am off to sleep)

  172. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm |

    suspect class: I guess that explains why he’s still ‘splaining about–acknowledging that a lot of people disagree with him might challenge his worldview, but obviously if he’s up against a malevolent entity made of brainwashed fanatics he can be the heroic non-conformist who refuses to bend to Feministe’s will.

    I think ze has said that ze just likes to argue. Meanwhile, this is not just a trivial argument to pass the time for so many in this thread, and that’s what’s so offense about hir bullshit, and ze refuses to understand that and shut and listen or leave.

  173. Diz
    Diz December 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm |

    There’s a solution to your butthurt, Ceres. Fuck off and don’t come back.

  174. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm |

    Ceres: For anyone that still cares, can you please confirm for yourself that PrettyAmiable’s interpretation of my post has absolutely nothing to do with what I actually wrote?

    Ceres: Because it’s presumably difficult to know when someone is making a false or true accusation, since so often it’s just one person’s word versus the other’s,

    This comment assumes that this is a reasonable concern to get a rapist’s “side of the story” because of the issue of false accusations. This is only ever an issue with this particular violent crime despite the utter lack of substantiated support that false rape accusations occur at a higher rate than any other violent crime. You keep spewing bullshit that is steeped in rape culture and then try to lecture us back like somehow you know better, despite the fact that you have demonstrated no introspection in how you talk about this issue – something that, if we’re going by statistics, has affected at least 1 in 6 women reading this. And, instead of deferring and actually listening to the voices of those most affected, you instead ignore every substantive argument you’ve received against your trite drivel (fact: anyone who entertained you was doing you a favor – that’s what google is for). Your disdain for the chorus of people who are telling you you’re wrong is apparent since literally your entire post at 166 could be summed more concisely as such:

    Ceres: Totally new idea y’all have never even thought of – look, it’s coming from me!
    Commenters: No, that’s the dominant discourse actually, it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t help in any way. Also, phrasing of new idea is offensive (seriously? it’d be like telling people to update their Symantec?).
    Ceres: WAHHHH. Ignore. Reiterate point.
    Commenters: No seriously, dude.
    Ceres: WAHHHH.

    You’re not right.

  175. zuzu
    zuzu December 19, 2011 at 1:02 am |

    Ceres: Being mistaken about consent does play a role, I think. What a perpetrator could do is look for things that are consent-ish, i.e. that are commonly associated with consent, such as talking to him, going home with him, kissing with him, even if he is aware there hasn’t been actual consent.

    Hear that, ladies? TALKING TO A MAN IS CONSENT.

  176. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 19, 2011 at 1:36 am |

    zuzu: Hear that, ladies? TALKING TO A MAN IS CONSENT.

    Very well then, skeevy dudes on or near the bus will now be met with stony silence. Probably Ceres too. Too bad, so sad.

  177. Henry
    Henry December 19, 2011 at 4:41 am |

    Sheelzebub: Here’sarevolutionarythought–let’sadvisepeopletonotgetregularlyloadedbecausedrinkingtoexcessorgettinghighcanreallyfuckupyourbody.IKNOW,WEIRD,RIGHT???Also?Don’tguysgetintofights,getrobbed,andgetfuckedwithwhenthey’reloaded?Yettheydon’tgettreatedtolecturesaboutHowTheyShouldHaveKnownBetter.Nope.Assaultandrobberyarecrimes,fullstop.Butwhenithappenstothebitches,ourdrinkingorbeingoutafter10p.m.ortrustingourdateorjustexistingisthecrime.

    Look if everyone, men and women, walked around completely sober all the time, in full on Kevlar body armor, trained to use multiple weapons and at least 2 forms of martial arts, we’d all be alot safer from criminals of every type. It’s completely stupid to demand women be responsible for not being victimized…the real world does not work like that. People (women included) like to have fun, on occasion (or even frequently) they like to drink, even OMG get drunk or high. So lets focus on eliminating criminals from out midst instead – making sure the bouncer at the bar is not a repeat felon and sex criminal would be a great start, keeping predators off college campuses and in prison where they belong instead of encouraging victims not to report crimes. You can still get more time for armed robbery than a violent sex crime – but PA has these spiffy posters to tell women how to avoid becoming a victim of the criminal they just released/failed to prosecute etc.

  178. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 5:20 am |

    Look, when someone is accused, you need to know whether it’s a true or false accusation, being police or prosecutor or whatever. Doesn’t mean that I’m saying anything about an ‘epidemic of false rape accusations’ or that it’s a particular concern in the case of rape. Note also my use of the word ‘presumably’ which indicates I’m not giving my personal opinion, but rather the perspective of a police agent that perhaps is steeped in rape culture. Because for a rapist not to get prosecuted, he has to fool or convince the police and such, and he does so by certain tactics, some of which I mentioned. That’s a fault of our culture and I was only describing that, I obviously don’t agree with that. I don’t think you are giving that comment of mine a fair reading at all.

    And do you disagree that our society often thinks it’s okay to be ‘confused’ about consent because so many of the ‘signs’ were there? I’m not saying I personally think that (which is incredibly obvious from my post), just that society might, so it’s a way for rapists to get out-of-jail. I realize going home with someone isn’t consent, but it’s ‘consent-ish’ (i.e. in some superficial ways it resembles consent) enough that you can use it as defender as part of a narrative of there being actual consent. Which is something you have to convince the law/police of.

  179. Li
    Li December 19, 2011 at 5:48 am |

    Aaaaaaand I believe that brings us to the end of the Derailing for Dummies list. Suprise, ladies! Ceres doesn’t really agree with this stuff, it’s just what police/society might say!

  180. valentifan69
    valentifan69 December 19, 2011 at 6:01 am |

    Hey remember that time that guy got mugged and we second-guessed him because of how it’s totally reasonable that people interpret violent crime as he-said, she-said?

    This does happen a lot. 90% of assaults are ‘he hit me first, I was acting in self defence’, ‘no, he hit me first, I was acting in self defence’.

  181. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 6:11 am |

    Ceres. . .there’s a reason some of the commenters here may not always give your posts a “fair reading.” I suspect they are so frustrated with you that they have given up on trying to communicate with you, and respond to your comments chiefly to make fun of them for the pleasure of the other people reading this thread. I myself have done this several times with you. Somehow, though, I keep trying to respond in earnest and have faith that something I say will reach you.

    (I’m not a women or a victim of rape; I hope my use of “we” here won’t be offensive or colonial. For some reason I feel driven to reach Ceres). . .

    Ceres, if we act disrespectful toward you, it is because we believe you are disrespecting us. You still haven’t addressed the people who have told you that at there are actual VICTIMS OF RAPE that you are talking to here. You say you’d be sympathetic to a woman you knew who was raped but you haven’t expressed any sympathy to the women HERE who have told you they’ve been raped.

    More generally, you have been very selective about what you’ve responded to here. I recall a commenter saying something to you and you responding “but that has nothing to do with my point.” That is it. We are SICK of your point. You have already expressed yourself on this thread for 25 posts, more than anyone else has posted (I counted). Now I know you believe that you’ve been unfairly attacked. I know you that you want to respond to what you believe are ungenerous characterizations of your point of view or character. And in real life you may be a really good person. But just remember, as much as your feelings have been hurt here, so have the feelings of other people here, in fact their feelings have likely been hurt much more given how triggering these conversations are for former rape victims. But this can all stop if you choose to just listen. Maybe saying things like “OK” and “uh-huh” or “interesting, I think maybe I’ll do more research about what you said so I can learn more.” You have made your arguments quite clear to us already. There are people here who are experts on rape and rape culture, including people who dealing with these issues is their JOB. So we’d appreciate if you listen and learn, or if you’re not willing to do that, kindly leave.

  182. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 6:47 am |

    LotusBen: Ceres. . .there’s a reason some of the commenters here may not always give your posts a “fair reading.” I suspect they are so frustrated with you that they have given up on trying to communicate with you, and respond to your comments chiefly to make fun of them for the pleasure of the other people reading this thread. I myself have done this several times with you. Somehow, though, I keep trying to respond in earnest and have faith that something I say will reach you.

    i.e. you are being bullies. Congrats. Every bully says they are just innocently making fun of people for other’s entertainment. It’s actually frustrating when it’s directed at you. I’ve noticed this tendency a lot on some feminist website. I recall a time at pandagon.net when I made a minor correction to someone’s logic even while agreeing with the main point it and the result was several posts mocking and insulting me. I know you all feel very strongly about the subject, but should that give you the right to have bullying campaigns against people trying to have some sort of debate? I’m arguing in good faith, most of you don’t seem to be. Li for instance, just a few posts above is publicly looking for ways to make my posts seem more offensive.

    (I’m not a women or a victim of rape; I hope my use of “we” here won’t be offensive or colonial. For some reason I feel driven to reach Ceres). . .

    Ceres, if we act disrespectful toward you, it is because we believe you are disrespecting us. You still haven’t addressed the people who have told you that at there are actual VICTIMS OF RAPE that you are talking to here. You say you’d be sympathetic to a woman you knew who was raped but you haven’t expressed any sympathy to the women HERE who have told you they’ve been raped.

    Meh, I felt it would be condescending if I expressed public sympathy since someone would feel offended I was ‘patronizingly’ offering sympathy then. If something I said caused someone pain then I’m sorry for that, but if it’s based on a misreading of my points then how is that my fault? If someone misreads a comment and screams “go to hell, I was raped you know” what am I supposed to say? “I’m sorry for making the comment misreadable?” I did say that, and I was attacked for trying to weasel out of my point or so.

    More generally, you have been very selective about what you’ve responded to here. I recall a commenter saying something to you and you responding “but that has nothing to do with my point.” That is it. We are SICK of your point.

    That person (librarygoose I think) was being disingenuous. She said something like: “what you propose[I didn't propose anything] already exists [I know, that wasn't my point], when education directed to males doesn’t exist.” Yeah, I agree with that, but so what? I didn’t propose anything, so that’s why it didn’t disprove anything I said. It’s a disingenuous debate tactic by her. This doesn’t mean I’m not being responsive or anything. I promise you I could have made a post about male education or so and it would also have been attacked, no matter what I would have said. I was just trying to not start arguing about everything, only the specific initial argument I had.

    You have already expressed yourself on this thread for 25 posts, more than anyone else has posted (I counted). Now I know you believe that you’ve been unfairly attacked. I know you that you want to respond to what you believe are ungenerous characterizations of your point of view or character. And in real life you may be a really good person. But just remember, as much as your feelings have been hurt here, so have the feelings of other people here, in fact their feelings have likely been hurt much more given how triggering these conversations are for former rape victims. But this can all stop if you choose to just listen. Maybe saying things like “OK” and “uh-huh” or “interesting, I think maybe I’ll do more research about what you said so I can learn more.” You have made your arguments quite clear to us already. There are people here who are experts on rape and rape culture, including people who dealing with these issues is their JOB. So we’d appreciate if you listen and learn, or if you’re not willing to do that, kindly leave.

    I’ll admit that I made a big mistake assuming this to be some kind of general discussion forum, when there is a real need for feministe to be some kind of safe space for survivors, especially since there’s such a high amount of them here. I guess it’s nice to hold discussions in such a way to be non-triggering and I will say I’m not at all accustomed to holding them like that. I figured that’s why people were so much against my posts, since the examples I use are I guess based on my own experiences arguing, yet they can be hurtful to read because they invoke tropes that caused people pain in the past. But in my defense, I have never said anything that wasn’t either a hypothetical example or some self-evident fact. I have never tried to argue for anything that’s actually offensive to survivors.

  183. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date December 19, 2011 at 6:59 am |

    I have never tried to argue for anything that’s actually offensive to survivors.

    And yet, you have offended survivors! How did that happen?

  184. Li
    Li December 19, 2011 at 7:04 am |

    Ceres: Li for instance, just a few posts above is publicly looking for ways to make my posts seem more offensive.

    What makes you think that I’m even capable of making them more offensive? You have spent the entire conversation engaged in derailing-dicsussions-of-victim-blaming-101. It isn’t a mischaracterisation for me to point that out. The fact that you didn’t notice that because of your privilege or that you had good intentions doesn’t alter the negative impacts of your commentary, because INTENT ISN’T FUCKING MAGIC. I don’t think you had bad intentions, I think that you repeatedly prioritised your intentions over the actual effect and context of your words. The fact that we are contextualising and historicising your comments according to our fairly substantial experience in the area of sexual violence isn’t twisting your words, regardless of how ignorant you are of their context.

    When people repeatedly say “What you are saying is offensive”, and you refuse to listen to them, then that isn’t evidence that what you are saying is not in fact offensive to survivors (we can decide that for ourselves thanks), but rather that you think the survivors in this space are irrational and manipulative and not the authorities on their own experience.

    Ceres: But in my defense, I have never said anything that wasn’t either a hypothetical example or some self-evident fact. I have never tried to argue for anything that’s actually offensive to survivors.

    So, with that in mind, let’s note how when people have said that what you are saying is offensive, and those people are survivors, and then you come out with the above, there is no way to read that except that you are saying you know better than actual survivors what is offensive to them. You really think I need to do anything to make that kind of sentiment more offensive?

  185. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 7:37 am |

    Past my expiration date: I have never tried to argue for anything that’s actually offensive to survivors.

    And yet, you have offended survivors! How did that happen?

    Because like everyone else, survivors are just human beings, capable of misreading my posts?

  186. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 7:40 am |

    And second, there’s a difference in arguing for something that’s offensive and describing something that’s offensive. I apologized for doing the latter, I guess, since I can imagine how that can be triggering, but well, people didn’t attack me for the latter but for the former, which I haven’t done. I do actually know what I’m saying, don’t tell me I meant something different than I actually meant. Why do you think I’m so annoyed at this whole discussion?

  187. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 7:45 am |

    Well, I know I’m not the judge of who can get offended by what, sorry. I suppose if something I say is offensive to anyone, for whatever reason, they can feel that way, but I’m also allowed to find it incredibly obnoxious people are claiming offense because of things I didn’t actually say, meh.

  188. Li
    Li December 19, 2011 at 8:40 am |

    Ceres: Because like everyone else, survivors are just human beings, capable of misreading my posts?

    What do you think is more likely, that every single commenter who thinks your posts here have been a parade of bullshit is just too stupid to read your posts properly or that you maybe may have actually been wrong and they’ve picked up on it? Because, just saying, there are a whole bunch more people here pointing out the flaws in your arguments than there are insisting that the survivors and feminists in this thread just don’t understand your important points. I mean, it’s not like as a large and diverse collection of anti-sexual violence activists our near consensus might be telling.

  189. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 8:56 am |

    Well, Ceres, I’m annoyed because I want you to either be quiet and listen—or leave. So far you haven’t done either of those two things.

    Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you’d listen without debating or stop posting on this thread altogether. Would you be willing to either listen without debating or stop posting on this thread?

  190. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 8:59 am |

    I thought it might, but then I also thought that others might feel that way and create a false consensus, simply because they went along with the others. (mob mentality and such)

    The reason I’m still responding is because there have been multiple direct quotes of something I said, with clearly false interpretations of it. I can see they’re just inventing meanings that require bad-faith interpretations, and therefore I can keep faith in my own sanity, so to say. I found it disappointing that so many engaged me like that and I’m not sure why. I think my posts were badly timed and distracted from the more important conversation going on, so I shouldn’t have written my first few of them. But that simply doesn’t mean I said anything that’s, well, different from feminist beliefs. It just takes a different perspective that appears different because I suppose my language is more mainstream-ish, since I mostly just follow mainstream debates about this and I can see some of you finding that really distracting, I guess, but I don’t think that means I deserve all of the vitriol directed at me.

    Also, I very highly doubt that all of you in this comment section are PhD gender studies anti-rape activists who deal with these issues professionally. I did some courses on gender studies too, I’ve been reading websites like this one for over a year, I think I’m fairly qualified to have an opinion as well. Albeit my opinion isn’t really influenced by real life experiences with the subject, but is that necessary? The facts are available and I can have a perspective based on that. If someone that does have direct experience comes to me and tells me of it then I have no qualms accepting that and reconsidering my opinion. It appears I don’t in this comment section, simply because people are saying I’m wrong when they first misread my posts, so I can’t exactly admit I’m wrong when it’s not relevant then.

    And even if you are very experienced in this topic it doesn’t make you right be default. For instance Thomas MM was the person starting the mischaracterisation of my points quite early on and I figured he must be a respected figure here.

  191. Weekly Feminist Reader
    Weekly Feminist Reader December 19, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    [...] As a follow-up to the controversy over that anti-drinking PSA this week, Jaclyn Friedman on girl-on-girl victim-blaming. [...]

  192. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 9:02 am |

    LotusBen, people are responding solely to me ever since this thread went off-topic halfway through the comment section. Is it sensible for me to continue when I believe most of you aren’t arguing in good faith? Probably not, but if people write posts directly responding to things I say I’m going to reply. I stopped trying to make a point other than writing responses, in any case, so I guess at this point I’m just entertaining people like Li who think I’m just so hilarious in my wrongness, but go attack her then, not me.

  193. Ceres
    Ceres December 19, 2011 at 9:05 am |

    I mean, I’m sure feministe will survive my existence.

  194. Deepika
    Deepika December 19, 2011 at 9:51 am |

    Before we completely close the Ceres chapter in this thread, did anyone else pick up on The Big “I’ve noticed this tendency a lot on some feminist website[s]” Reveal? (i.e. the tendency of just not understanding poor old Ceres…) He has a history of being a dogdamn spermbag on feminist websites!

    Heh heh. Just found that funny. You’d think after being shut down a couple times a reasonable, logical person would think long and hard about why.

    Anyhoo, just wanted to make this little point. Carry on with the feministifying!

  195. Marcie
    Marcie December 19, 2011 at 10:18 am |

    Ceres, please knock it off already.
    You’re not doing yourself, this blog or any of the other commenters, be they survivors of rape/sexual assault or not, any favours.

    There may be tips on rape prevention that make perfect sense to you, but piling them up on survivors is definitly not cutting the cake in so many ways.

  196. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 10:40 am |

    I am not picking up the Ceres mantle. However, I do think its fair to say that there is a difference between a recommendation of practice and an assignment of culpability.

    There seems to be very little, if any, distinction between the two here, though. If someone says “It’s not a good idea to get excessively drunk, because it can leave you more susceptible to sexual assault”, that statment is automatically read as “If you get drunk and get raped, it’s your own damn fault.”

    I disagree with the idea that anyone who would say the first necessarily agrees with the second.

    However, I’ve talked with a lot of females who have been sexually assaulted, and they have repeatedly stated that victim blaming is one of the worst parts of their experience – so I can understand why the two are so closely linked.

    Also, as I said in a previous post, these conversations rarely get past that point because one side gets so angry and the other side keeps trying to explain themselves.

    I also agree with the other commenter who asked why the same message hasn’t been sent out to men, since a guy who is wasted is more likely to be a problem (in about every way) as a girl who is.

  197. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 19, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    Can’t say I didn’t warn him.

  198. Sera
    Sera December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |

    @Drew:
    I’ve avoided jumping into this discussion when it was with Ceres, mainly b/c oher commmentators were dealing with him quite handily, but you’ve just pissed me off. Way, way, WAY, back up in the comments, someone asked for the statistics on rape, and I would like you to present them here if you want to continue to state that (basically) ‘it may not be fair but it’s reality’ that women who get blackout drunk are morelikely to be raped.

    On campus where I did my 1st undergrad, there was a little path through trees, a cute little shortcut back to my house, lovingly dubbed ‘Rape Road’. Oddly enough, it was rarely (like 1 in 45) the girls who were falling down drunk who were assaulted there. We had had it drummed into our heads that we should never walk home from a party alone and drunk. We always went in pairs or groups, always vary becuase hey, we were fricking loaded, the rapists must be coming to get us, right?
    The girls who were most often assaulted were actually coming home from the library b/c they hadn’t had it drummed into their heads that they should buddy-walk, and they were usually the only ones around…except their often intoxicated attackers.

    TL; DR, I know, but all this to say that until someone shows me all the carefully kept stats on the attacks that aren’t filed or prosecuted stating that being blackout drunk ACTUALLY increases your risk of being sexually assulted, I am going to say to anyone who flies this banner: YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

    After those stats have been produced, then and only then will I even BEGIN to discuss what it is that we can do to best stop the attackers from attacking.

  199. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 11:54 am |

    Sera. . .a name so much like Ceres. . .but with such better arguments.

  200. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm |

    If we were serious about best-practices for avoiding rape, all the tip sheets would be about the demographics and tactics of rapists and how to spot them and what to do when one spots a suspected rapist. But that would be uncomfortable for people who are in positions of relative privilege, so our culture doesn’t work that way.

  201. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

    Demographics is probably the wrong word. I mean distinguishing characteristics and corellated social phenomena.

  202. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    I also meant to spell correlated correctly.

  203. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    Sera: @Drew:I’veavoidedjumpingintothisdiscussionwhenitwaswithCeres,mainlyb/cohercommmentatorsweredealingwithhimquitehandily,butyou’vejustpissedmeoff.Way,way,WAY,backupinthecomments,someoneaskedforthestatisticsonrape,andIwouldlikeyoutopresentthemhereifyouwanttocontinuetostatethat(basically)‘itmaynotbefairbutit’sreality’thatwomenwhogetblackoutdrunkaremorelikelytoberaped.OncampuswhereIdidmy1stundergrad,therewasalittlepaththroughtrees,acutelittleshortcutbacktomyhouse,lovinglydubbed‘RapeRoad’.Oddlyenough,itwasrarely(like1in45)thegirlswhowerefallingdowndrunkwhowereassaultedthere.Wehadhaditdrummedintoourheadsthatweshouldneverwalkhomefromapartyaloneanddrunk.Wealwayswentinpairsorgroups,alwaysvarybecuasehey,wewerefrickingloaded,therapistsmustbecomingtogetus,right?Thegirlswhoweremostoftenassaultedwereactuallycominghomefromthelibraryb/ctheyhadn’thaditdrummedintotheirheadsthattheyshouldbuddy-walk,andtheywereusuallytheonlyonesaround…excepttheiroftenintoxicatedattackers.TL;DR,Iknow,butallthistosaythatuntilsomeoneshowsmeallthecarefullykeptstatsontheattacksthataren’tfiledorprosecutedstatingthatbeingblackoutdrunkACTUALLYincreasesyourriskofbeingsexuallyassulted,Iamgoingtosaytoanyonewhofliesthisbanner:YOUAREANIDIOT.Afterthosestatshavebeenproduced,thenandonlythenwillIevenBEGINtodiscusswhatitisthatwecandotobeststoptheattackersfromattacking.

    Not too long, absolutely did read. Let me make sure I’m getting this correctly, though: The girls who drank tended to use a buddy system, while the girls who did not drink (I’m assuming the library wasn’t a hot spot for parties) were assaulted more often because they falsely assumed they were safer.

    This doesn’t exactly support the point that “Getting drunk doesn’t make you less safe” – for a fair comparison you’d have to compare the rates of sexual assault on drunk girls walking alone vs. sober girls walking alone.

    You asked for some stats – here, from a link in the original article here:

    https://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    “Of all 120 admitted rapists, only about 30% reported using force or threats, while the remainder raped intoxicated victims.”

    “McWhorter’s findings on modus operandi also confirm the basic finding of Lisak & Miller’s earlier study: 61% of the reported attacks were intoxication-based, 23% were overt force alone, and 16% were both. (77% of the pre-enlistment and 75% of the post-enlistment rapes or attempted rapes were, in whole or in part, intoxication attacks)”

    Alcohol is involved in over 70% of reported sexual assault cases (between the two studies). I don’t think I’m wrong to say that, given this, it’s a good idea for women to be careful when drinking (again, that’s not an assignment of blame if they do drink and anything happens to them – all fault is on the rapist).

  204. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    Ceres: simply because people are saying I’m wrong when they first misread my posts,

    …Scott Adams? ‘Zat you?

  205. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

    It is, of course, also (and moreso) a good idea for boys to be careful when drinking, as well.

  206. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    For clarity:

    I fully understand that all responsibility for sexual assault falls on the rapist. I understand that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if a woman is stone cold sober or passed out drunk – she has equal right to not be raped. I do not believe that any action on the part of a victim (any victim) mitigates or rationalizes any crime against them.

    I also understand that the context in which advice is given is paramount – there is a grand canyon of difference between saying to someone, before they go out, “Hey, if you’re going to be drinking tonight, be careful,” and telling a victim that they “Should have been more careful.’

    I had a friend who was sexually assaulted. I remember her thanking me for being one of the few people who didn’t blame her or tell her what she should have done – I recognize and respect that pointing out what a victim “could have done” is insulting and does nothing but make them feel worse for what happened (where they shouldn’t feel like they did anything wrong, at all).

    So I have to admit I get a bit offended when I’m labeled a “victim blamer” or “rape apologist.”

  207. J
    J December 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Drew, the problem with the ‘giving advice isn’t necessarily assigning blame’ argument is that it fails to take into account the current situation. Ours is a society in which women are already blamed for being raped because they were drinking, or wearing the wrong clothes, or walking alone, etc., and this victim-blaming is already, now, making it difficult for women to get their cases heard, difficult for rapists to be prosecuted and convicted. Rapists are left on the street, free to rape again, and women who have been raped are dealt the emotional harm of being told it’s their fault.

    Repeating advice, no matter how well-intentioned, that echoes the excuses already used in society to blame women for being raped ultimately serves to uphold the same victim-blaming discourse. Because you (general you) cannot control how your words will be heard, used, or repeated. If they echo the discourse of victim-blaming, they aren’t separable from that discourse, no matter the intent behind them. So you can’t offer advice that suggests that women can do anything to avoid being raped without supporting the notion that women who fail to follow all the ‘rules’ are to blame for being raped. There is the logical implication that, if there is something one could have done to lessen the risk of X happening, and one does not do it, then when X happens, one bears partial causal responsibility for it – that cannot be merely talked around, and rape victims will pick up on that implication. But there is also the current, ALREADY-EXISTING use of exactly this sort of advice to blame rape victims for being raped.

    You simply cannot state this advice, and then state “but I don’t mean to BLAME you for being raped,” and have that magically cancel out the actual effect of supporting victim-blaming discourses. INTENT IS IRRELEVANT.

  208. shfree
    shfree December 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    Well, as far as drinking goes, one can just say “Drinking until you black out is dangerous” full stop, as you never know WHAT you’ve been up to while you are blacked out, and your inhibitions are already lowered. It doesn’t even have to involve sex at all, just dumbass shit a person wouldn’t do while sober, too.

    It’s incredibly offensive that avoiding heavy drinking is listed as a way to prevent sexual assault, when if they really, really meant to keep people safe, it would be a fucking blanket caution, and not just something targeted at young women.

  209. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    @J. That’s a very good point. I’m sorry that I hadn’t considered it that way before.

    Thank you.

  210. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    Drew, until we fix the blaming problem, there is no way to have the recommendation conversation that doesn’t feed the blaming problem. That’s why it is important not only to say, “the blame is on the rapist”, but also to not then say “but …”

    We have to just stop there. The blame is on the rapist, the best approach to preventing rape is to learn to identify and stop the rapist. This is something we can all contribute to.

  211. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm |

    shfree: Well,asfarasdrinkinggoes,onecanjustsay“Drinkinguntilyoublackoutisdangerous”fullstop,asyouneverknowWHATyou’vebeenuptowhileyouareblackedout,andyourinhibitionsarealreadylowered.Itdoesn’tevenhavetoinvolvesexatall,justdumbassshitapersonwouldn’tdowhilesober,too.It’sincrediblyoffensivethatavoidingheavydrinkingislistedasawaytopreventsexualassault,wheniftheyreally,reallymeanttokeeppeoplesafe,itwouldbeafuckingblanketcaution,andnotjustsomethingtargetedatyoungwomen.

    I absolutely agree. Not only that, but a guy getting blackout drunk can result in a rape happening which never even would have been attempted had he not been drunk.

    Read: Drunk guys are more a public concern than drunk girls.

  212. Katya
    Katya December 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    Alcohol is involved in over 70% of reported sexual assault cases (between the two studies). I don’t think I’m wrong to say that, given this, it’s a good idea for women to be careful when drinking (again, that’s not an assignment of blame if they do drink and anything happens to them – all fault is on the rapist).

    But why aren’t there posters and educational campaigns that warn men that they should be careful when drinking because they might rape someone? I mean, many rapists drink before they rape, but no one warns men not to drink too much because they might commit a crime. Or to always drink with a buddy so that their buddy can make sure they doesn’t rape anyone.

    If people want to warn women about drinking and rape, a more useful campaign would be to inform them of the ways in which many rapists use alcohol to facilitate rape. That guy who keeps buying you drinks, even when you say no, and you don’t want to be rude, so you accept them? That guy might be a rapist. It’s okay to be rude to people who are testing your boundaries. If someone refuses to respect your “no,” that person is bad news. Learning to recognize predatory behavior and respond forcefully without worrying about “being nice,” that might actually be a useful campaign–it would be actually empowering, rather than telling them to limit their lives and be good little girls in the hope that they won’t get raped. Or maybe a big poster with “signs that a guy might be a rapist,” posted in men’s and women’s dorms, listing characteristics and strategies that rapists use. Wouldn’t it be great if men were encouraged to police each other’s behavior, instead of women’s? Or signs that remind people that being drunk is no excuse for rape, and being drunk is no substitute for consent, a la the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign.

    I mean, it is a good idea for men and women to be careful when drinking. Being intoxicated has all kinds of risks associated with it–alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, accidents, getting in fights, committing crimes….but that is a message for both men and women, not just women. The message for men and women should be: No one ever deserves to be raped. Ever. Period.

  213. Sera
    Sera December 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    Thank you from me too, J, for putting so well the thoughts that were tumbling around in my brains, but didn’t get to escape.

    I am really sorry Drew that I attacked you when I was all riled up by Ceres…I don’t think you meant to come off as a ‘drinking by young women causes rape’ person. I honestly not sure if you *did* come off that way, or if it was all in my head.

    I do appreciate the stats for the alcohol effect, but when I was reading them (before and just now again) I found them sorely lacking in detail, as well as probably skewed due to the number of unreported rapes and the under reporting of underage drinking as well.

    I just get really upset when anyone talks about anything that the victim could have done ‘better’, which to my mind is the logical flipside of a caution to ‘not’ do something.

  214. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm |

    Thomas MacAulay Millar: Drew,untilwefixtheblamingproblem,thereisnowaytohavetherecommendationconversationthatdoesn’tfeedtheblamingproblem.That’swhyitisimportantnotonlytosay,“theblameisontherapist”,butalsotonotthensay“but…”Wehavetojuststopthere.Theblameisontherapist,thebestapproachtopreventingrapeistolearntoidentifyandstoptherapist.Thisissomethingwecanallcontributeto.

    I agree with most of your post, but I disagree a little with the second to last sentence. Of course I think it’s important to learn to identify and stop rapists – but I think its equally important, as we do that, to examine the overarching circumstances that led that person to becoming a rapist in the first place. Just dealing with the rapists is treating the symptom, dealing with the rape culture is treating the problem.

    This is just my opinion, and I’d like some thoughts on it: I believe the main contributors to rape culture are sex negativity, poor communication, and the weaponization and/or transactionalization of sex (with the exception of actual sex work).

    I also agree that we can all contribute to moving away from rape culture – mostly by avoiding the above examples.

    What do you guys think?

  215. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    Sera: Thankyoufrommetoo,J,forputtingsowellthethoughtsthatweretumblingaroundinmybrains,butdidn’tgettoescape.IamreallysorryDrewthatIattackedyouwhenIwasallriledupbyCeres…Idon’tthinkyoumeanttocomeoffasa‘drinkingbyyoungwomencausesrape’person.

    Its okay, I can understand where you were coming from. I really should have considered that, even if I did not intend for my comments to be used as victim-blaming, they easily could.

  216. zuzu
    zuzu December 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    Drew: Just dealing with the rapists is treating the symptom, dealing with the rape culture is treating the problem.

    And you don’t deal with the rape culture by focusing on the behavior of the victim class. In fact, you perpetuate rape culture by doing so.

  217. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    @Katya. I agree with all of your post – your advice is what I meant when I made the comment about women being careful when they go out drinking.

    I wrote a short list of Rape Prevention Tips (For Guys) – posted it on the feministing community blog. One of the first points was that guys need to not try to manipulate girls by making them feel “rude” if they decline a drink or invitation or anything.

  218. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    zuzu: Andyoudon’tdealwiththerapeculturebyfocusingonthebehaviorofthevictimclass.Infact,youperpetuaterapeculturebydoingso.

    This is true, and another good point. I’m sorry for my participation in that.

  219. J
    J December 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Drew, thank you for actually listening and responding gracefully – a bit refreshing after the Ceres debacle. And you are quite right that we need to focus on both stopping rapists and dismantling rape culture, since they support each other.

    To your list of supports for rape culture, I would add a widespread lack of understanding about true consent/perpetuation of very flawed models of consent that rely on the absence of ‘no’ instead of the presence of ‘yes.’ This, especially when combined with drinking on the part of one or more parties involved in an encounter, can play a huge part in allowing someone to rape without thinking they are raping. And the cries of ‘girls, don’t drink! You could be raped!’ echoing in the public sphere do nothing to effectively deal with this problem.

    Katya and zuzu, I quite agree. And Sera, word on the “you could have done X better” thing. It’s just another way of putting the onus on the victim instead of the rapist.

  220. EG
    EG December 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

    Drew: This is just my opinion, and I’d like some thoughts on it: I believe the main contributors to rape culture are sex negativity, poor communication, and the weaponization and/or transactionalization of sex (with the exception of actual sex work).

    No mention of misogyny or sexism?

  221. J
    J December 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    Good catch, EG.

  222. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    EG: No mention of misogyny or sexism?

    I think misogyny, misandry, and sexism are part of the effects rather than the causes.

  223. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

    Drew, draining the swamp of rape culture is the way to stop the rapists: maybe to prevent them from being created in the next generation, but right now to deny them what I call the “social license to operate.” You linked to my post, Meet The Predators, above — the end of that post is my thinking on that, and the follow-up Predator Redux includes concrete thinking about how to stop rapists from operating effectively.

    I don’t think that “miscommunication” plays as much of a role as is often supposed. I’ve written on that, relying on conversational analysis research, in Mythcommunications. (BTW, for anyone who remembers that piece, it will be republished in a forthcoming edition of an anti-rape newsletter for practitioners and academics, “Sexual Assault Report.”)

  224. Cat
    Cat December 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    I’m a survivor and I am so FUCKING TIRED of people like Ceres and their comparisons of rape to objects being stolen. No one cares that supposedly things have been stolen from you, especially when we’re talking about rape. You fail to grasp the seriousness of the physical and emotional assault that happens to survivors when you compare rape to some object being stolen.

    I’ve gone to the police twice for rape and both rapists got off on bullshit like lie detector tests (which anyone can pass), being the son of a cop, and apparently crying and screaming and begging your rapist to stop is not enough because I don’t remember saying “no.” I probably said no, I can’t remember word for word because I was being raped and it’s extremely traumatizing. Because the trauma affects my memory, two rapists are walking around free while I’m still trapped in my mind thanks to PTSD. It must be nice to be them to not have nightmares or crippling fear when you meet new people. Yep, I got the message loud and clear that the police don’t give a damn, that if you break one of the rules on the list it’s a get out of jail free card for rapists.

    My story is not that unique, and that’s a fucking tragedy. I’ll never go to the police again if I’m ever assaulted again because I know I’ll be blamed. I’m disabled too so I’m sure by the same logic of people like Ceres, I should not “look disabled” so rapists don’t target me since my splints are a big sign of muscle weakness and inability to put up a fight. I’m sure if I’m unable to defend myself it means I must have wanted it too. Being a disabled female means an even greater list of restrictions and “advice” is dictated to me by men, which is even more insulting because apparently not only are women not allowed to be free, but us disabled folk just need to seriously stay inside. *sarcasm*

    It’s MUCH easier for men to dictate to women what we should and should not do than it is to completely prevent rapists from raping. Instead of holding rapists accountable (which we don’t considering the conviction rate of rape is like 6%.. 6% for a crime that’s happening to 1 in 5 people!) it’s much easier to blame the victim.

    I don’t believe for a minute that a campaign focused on telling rapists not to rape is even going to do much BECAUSE rape is not about sex! It’s about POWER. BUT campaigns that dictate the rules for what women should do for “safety” just make it much much easier for rapists, like the ones who raped me, to go unpunished. It doesn’t matter what kind of laws are on the books, prosecutors will not prosecute if you’re a woman and you broke one of the rules on the ever changing list of “ways victims need to keep rapists from raping.”

  225. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    Drew: I think misogyny, misandry, and sexism are part of the effects rather than the causes.

    I think misogyny and sexism cause things like sex negativity and
    “the weaponization and/or transactionalization of sex (with the exception of actual sex work).” Because if you view women as lesser it’s easier to make an object of them. Either way they just perpetuate each other.

  226. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

    librarygoose: Because if you view women as lesser it’s easier to make an object of them. Either way they just perpetuate each other.

    I agree, they do. And, while it would be useless to argue which came first and which causes which, I think it’s reasonable to examine how they play off of each other.

    I think the reverse of your quote is true as well: when you make an object of women, its easy to view them as lesser.

    I don’t even know that I think “objectification” is the heart of the issue, though — I think, more generally, it’s the cultural idea that men and women are pitted against each other – with sex as a tool each uses to dominate or control the other. Women aren’t objects, women are the enemy (or so the society teaches young men).

  227. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    Drew: And, while it would be useless to argue which came first and which causes which,

    Agreed.

    Drew: I don’t even know that I think “objectification” is the heart of the issue, though — I think, more generally, it’s the cultural idea that men and women are pitted against each other – with sex as a tool each uses to dominate or control the other. Women aren’t objects, women are the enemy (or so the society teaches young men).

    Hmm, I’m not sure I agree with this.

  228. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm |

    What I’m about to say is not nice. These are not pleasant things for me to think about. They are horrific. But I believe they are reality, and are all around us whether we recognize them or not.

    I think there’s almost an endless number of supports for rape culture, since it’s such a pervasive part of our culture, and everything in society is interconnected. But I think victim blaming is one of its greatest supports. Victim blaming is more than just something people do because they are insensitive or trying to shift responsibilty. In my opinion, when people say things like “she had it coming,” they genuinely mean it, literally. Many men, maybe most (and quite a few women also), believe that nonconsenual sex (“rape” in feminists’ minds, but not necessarily theirs) is sometimes appropriate. It’s sometimes appropriate because men’s needs being met is more important than women’s needs being met (in the minds of such people) so when the two conflict, it’s necessary for the women’s to be disregarded. There’s something called Social Dominance Orientation, and people who exhibit it think that the hierarchy of society is justified because the people at the top of it are just inherently, naturally better than the people at the bottom, and therefore explotation is appropriate and natural. I think this mindset is in a chicken/egg relationship with hierarchy itself, both causing and being caused by not just patriarchy, but also white supremacy, capitalism, etc. So basically, I think some version of rape culture will always exist in a hierarchical society.

    The fact that all those things I’ve described are actually true disgusts and enrages me, although when I stop and think about it, I have to concede I’m not entirely apart from it and hardly immune to it.

    Now what I’m about to describe is something I don’t think is generally intentionally designed by individuals. But functionally, rapists serve to “give cover” to other men. If women associate men in general with rapists, they are more likely to subconsciously go along with and be subservient toward men generally, whether in sexual situations or in any situation, in order to avoid getting raped. Because rape is constructed as a punishment for doing “bad” things–not following religious dogma, being “uppity,” being too independent, refusing men sex, not respecting men’s implicit efforts to “buy” sex through drinks, paying for dates, etc. So women are going to be circumscribed, they are not going to be able to develop to their full human potential, they are not going to completely stand up for themselves, because they are afraid of getting raped by any man at any time (very, very understandly so, but the fear is still harmful to women). Basically, rape is a terrorist campaign that upholds male privilege in all areas of life by intimidating women into not challenging said privilege.

  229. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm |

    Cat. . .that’s a really horrifying story. I read things like that and I just have a sinking feeling. That you are still having nightmares, you still can’t trust people, and all because of what some fucking exploitative assholes did to you. And a corrupt system that enabled it. I also feel sick and ashamed because I’m an ordinary guy, and I grew up as you’d expect, if not making many rape jokes certainly laughing at them, thinking rape wasn’t serious compared to “real problems” like starvation, war, global warming, whatever the fuck. And I don’t believe the sexist programming in my head will ever completely go away, although I believe the passage of years can r(and have) certainly led to unlearning and transcending of a lot of it.

    I’m so sorry and disgusted by what men have inflicted on you, and I think your analysis is spot on.

  230. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  231. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    Stephanie: This is the kind of rape prevention advice we need.

    I think it’s cool they are turning a common cliche on its head. I’d say as satire of existing rape prevention advice it’s good. That said, people who “think they are going to rape someone” aren’t going to want a buddy around to stop them. Rape is not a mistake; it’s normally premediated. And alcohol may lower one’s inhibitions enough to do it, but that’s intentional on the rapist’s part, a way to steel his nerves to carry out what he already wants to do.

  232. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm |

    Sorry on further reflection I and watching the other clips I realized it is satire and I didn’t need to say all that crap.

  233. Katya
    Katya December 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Rape is not a mistake; it’s normally premediated. And alcohol may lower one’s inhibitions enough to do it, but that’s intentional on the rapist’s part, a way to steel his nerves to carry out what he already wants to do.

    True, but there are a lot of guys who will admit to raping a woman if you phrase the question so as not to use the word “rape.” In other words, guys will say that rape is bad, but they define rape pretty narrowly. If you can get them to see that Behavior X (sex with a girl so drunk she can’t say no, for example) is rape, you might prevent some rape. These are guys who might be really upset if you told them they raped someone, but who are swimming in a toxic stew of ideas about consent and sex and women that disguises the true nature of their actions. Eliminate the toxic stew, and you might get somewhere. (Maybe not, but it’s got to be better than nothing.)

    Some rapists get off precisely on the non-consensual aspect of it, and only enjoy sex if it’s rape. Some of the research I’ve seen suggests that there are a substantial number of serial rapists who aren’t looking to rape per se, but who decide that they are entitled to sex, and if they can’t get it consensually, they will get it anyway. It’s an attitude in which getting sex from a woman is the goal of the game–“if she says yes, fine, but no won’t stop me.” These are guys who see sex as a form of dominance and something that you take from women, willingly or not. If you could change that view of sex–as something to be taken from women, to which men are entitled–in even some people, you might change the incidence of rape. Again, maybe not, but it sure would be worth a shot.

    Which I suppose is all a long way of saying that while some guys will probably rape no matter what, fixing rape culture would go a long way to improving the situation.

  234. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |

    True Katya. I agree 100%.

  235. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm |

    librarygoose: Agreed.Hmm, I’m not sure I agree with this.

    Okay. Why don’t you agree with this?

  236. Drew
    Drew December 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm |

    Katya: These are guys who see sex as a form of dominance and something that you take from women, willingly or not. If you could change that view of sex–as something to be taken from women, to which men are entitled–in even some people, you might change the incidence of rape. Again, maybe not, but it sure would be worth a shot.

    I agree with this, and consider it an expression of the weaponization of sex.

    I think we need, as a society, to put an emphasis on the fact that sex should never be used as a way to harm, manipulate, or control someone else.

  237. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm |

    Drew: Okay. Why don’t you agree with this?

    I’ve been thinking about this. So my point is just that I don’t agree with a “versus” situation. I don’t think women are at a point yet where the conflict in society can be described solely in “versus” terms. That always implied to me more cultural equality than is generally granted to women. An issue of dominance, yes. But I don’t say it’s me vs. my dog when I reprimand him for behavior I don’t like. There is no me vs. him. there is only me fixing his behavior to meet my standards.
    I think the issue is exactly that women aren’t equal to men, so men feel entitled. This entitlement leads to conflict when it doesn’t meet someones expectations. It’s not “Ha Ha, now I have you ensnared in a dastardly plot” it’s “Why the fuck aren’t you doing what I want you to?”

  238. Girl-on-Girl Victim-Blaming Action (or, The Most Terrible Time of the Year) | PA Laws

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  239. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 20, 2011 at 6:33 am |

    Librarygoose, as a member of the dominator class, I gotta say that rings true from end.

  240. matlun
    matlun December 20, 2011 at 7:01 am |

    librarygoose: I don’t think women are at a point yet where the conflict in society can be described solely in “versus” terms. That always implied to me more cultural equality than is generally granted to women.

    Why do you feel that a “versus” narrative implies equality? Looking at the civil rights movement or the historical feminist movement, I certainly consider the struggle between groups to be the standard narrative, and I see no conflict between this view and the fact that one side is privileged.

    I guess I just do not understand your position.

    (Unless you literally mean that women’s position in society is on a level with that of dogs, which would be a very extreme position)

  241. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 10:56 am |

    librarygoose: I’ve been thinking about this. So my point is just that I don’t agree with a “versus” situation. I don’t think women are at a point yet where the conflict in society can be described solely in “versus” terms. That always implied to me more cultural equality than is generally granted to women. An issue of dominance, yes. But I don’t say it’s me vs. my dog when I reprimand him for behavior I don’t like. There is no me vs. him. there is only me fixing his behavior to meet my standards.
    I think the issue is exactly that women aren’t equal to men, so men feel entitled. This entitlement leads to conflict when it doesn’t meet someones expectations. It’s not “Ha Ha, now I have you ensnared in a dastardly plot” it’s “Why the fuck aren’t you doing what I want you to?”

    I think that your assessment is true in many cases, but I think it’s also not true in all. It has not been my experience that men feel “entitled” to women.

    I don’t think most men have a healthy relationship with, and understanding of, sexuality (both theirs and other peoples). One example of this poor understanding is that we’ve been sold on the idea that it’s possible to be able to bed any woman we want. On “Happy Days”, the Fonz always had girls falling all over him, James Bond never gets turned down, and now we actually have asshat “pick up artists” who claim they have sex with a different woman every night.

    I don’t think the male ideal has ever been the rapist, but the rooster; not that it’s okay to take sex, but, if you’re good enough, it will be given to you freely.

    So I wholeheartedly agree that its an angry “Why the fuck aren’t you doing what I want?”, but I think its also “What the fuck am I doing wrong here, this should be working!”

    So I don’t think the issue is so much that women are objectified, but that sex is objectified. Rather than being seen as a participatory, shared act, it’s either seen as something that men do to women, or that women give to men. One of my favorite protest signs on the subject says “Sex is something two people do together, not something one person does to another”.

    When you objectify sex, its much easier to consider taking it from someone. It’s no longer about their body, or their life, their choice, their safety and freedom… it’s about stealing a possession.

  242. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm |

    matlun: Why do you feel that a “versus” narrative implies equality? Looking at the civil rights movement or the historical feminist movement, I certainly consider the struggle between groups to be the standard narrative, and I see no conflict between this view and the fact that one side is privileged.

    From the point of view of the people fighting for their rights, of course it is equal, because that’s what they are trying to get. But from the point of view of the privileged class being challenged, I don’t think the “versus” thing holds.
    ALSO: I did not mean women are seen as dogs in the literal sense. I just want that to be clear. I just meant that the relationship was sort of the same. Maybe it was a bad metaphor, I judt can’t really think of a better one. Maybe parent and child. It’s not parent versus child when they are in conflict, it’s more “No. This is how things are done and will be done.”

    Drew: I don’t think the male ideal has ever been the rapist, but the rooster; not that it’s okay to take sex, but, if you’re good enough, it will be given to you freely.

    So they get pissed when it isn’t given, and what they feel is “good enough” may not be to many, many women. Then the question is why women are denying them something they “earned” through correct behavior. They feel they should get what they worked for, even if no one really wants to give it to them. This isn’t to say all men are rapists, just that there is a sense of entitlement.
    I think sex is objectified through women. At least in straight relationships. I can’t really speak to interactions in LGBT relationships. So this thought lacks certain dynamics.

  243. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    librarygoose: So they get pissed when it isn’t given, and what they feel is “good enough” may not be to many, many women. Then the question is why women are denying them something they “earned” through correct behavior. They feel they should get what they worked for, even if no one really wants to give it to them. This isn’t to say all men are rapists, just that there is a sense of entitlement.
    I think sex is objectified through women. At least in straight relationships. I can’t really speak to interactions in LGBT relationships. So this thought lacks certain dynamics.

    Yes, this.

    I just get a little uncomfortable with the term “entitled” being used – not that you’re misusing it, but I think it paints an incorrect picture to say “men feel entitled to women” as though we walk around thinking “She has to have sex with me because I say so, it’s my right to get sex from her.” Its more, like you said, “I’m jumping through all the right hoops, this had better work”.

    I apologize to those this offends, and would like to clarify that I do not say it to be offensive. And, of course, that by “women” I mean “some women, in some circumstances” – I am not making generalizations about all women all the time. But women objectify sex as well. Women use sex to reward men, women use a lack of sex to punish men (I had a girlfriend once tell me directly that she hated that I could go without sex, because she always liked having that to “hold against guys”), women use mens sexuality against them, to manipulate them.

    I’m, of course, not saying that a woman should have sex with a man she doesnt want to, or have sex when she doesnt want to. I’m saying women shouldn’t see sex as a bargaining chip – doing that is an extention of the objectification of sex, it makes sex less “something we do together” and more “something she gives to him if he’s a good boy”. Men are not dogs, and using sex to train men like dogs is insulting and plays into rape culture.

    Again, I’m not making generalizations about how all women act. I dont believe all women have such an unhealthy attitude toward sex, but I have also seen that many women do. And I think we live in a culture that encourages women to have that unhealthy outlook.

    As an aside, I think this article is spot on, (read; this article agrees with me lol): http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/strictly-moderated-what-i-mean-when-i-talk-about-rape-culture-part-two/

    Basically, that the way men are pressured act and think are EXACTLY the way rapists act and think. I often hear girls ask why men will shout things at them, or give them unwelcome compliments or advances – and I reply by explaining that, as a guy, I basically have two choices: Say something or be “afraid to say something”. (I’ve also often heard women say “I wish guys just wouldnt be so afraid to talk to me.”) Given the choice, most guys dont want to be seen as cowardly, so they go to far in the other direction, to harassment. This is, of course, off the main topic. Sorry for the digression.

  244. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    Drew: I think that your assessment is true in many cases, but I think it’s also not true in all. It has not been my experience that men feel “entitled” to women.

    Your experience has not been the experience of at least some of the women in this thread, most likely.

  245. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    Drew: Basically, that the way men are pressured act and think are EXACTLY the way rapists act and think.

    Yeah, I agree with you. This is why patriarchy sucks for everyone involved. Men are have gendered norms they have to conform to that hurt them and society in general as well.
    But I’d say women are conditioned to believe that sex is something they can control men with because all other options are bitchy or unfeminine.

    Drew: But women objectify sex as well. Women use sex to reward men, women use a lack of sex to punish men (I had a girlfriend once tell me directly that she hated that I could go without sex, because she always liked having that to “hold against guys”), women use mens sexuality against them, to manipulate them.

    I see this as a symptom of the objectification of women, all women have is their bodies, that is their value. So they exert control in the relationship by using them.

  246. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    Annaleigh: Your experience has not been the experience of at least some of the women in this thread, most likely.

    I’m not sure why you felt the need to make this comment.

  247. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    Drew: I’m not sure why you felt the need to make this comment.

    She felt entitled to?

  248. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    librarygoose: I see this as a symptom of the objectification of women, all women have is their bodies, that is their value. So they exert control in the relationship by using them.

    I think this is true. And sad, that women feel this way.

  249. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    librarygoose: She felt entitled to?

    Well, sure, she’s “entitled” to make the comment. I just dont undestand why she felt the need to.

    She either assumed I think my experience is the only valid one (I dont), or that I didn’t understand that other people have other experiences (I do).

    Or she had another motivation that I wouldnt have guessed.

  250. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh December 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    Drew: I’m not sure why you felt the need to make this comment.

    Because as a man your perspective is different, and if someone you know has a sense of entitlement to women it will be less likely to manifest to you than it will to women?

  251. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    Annaleigh: Because as a man your perspective is different, and if someone you know has a sense of entitlement to women it will be less likely to manifest to you than it will to women?

    Okay, thank makes sense, and thank you. I’m sorry for assuming you were implying something else.

  252. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    I don’t know if I’m reading the tone as harsh, but I don’t think it’s as bad as you’re making it. Her comment was a on topic as yours, was a direct reply and just pointing out a different position. We’ve been discussing our differences with a fairly cordial air, so your reaction to her comment was kinda off mark compared to your other comments. My comment was joke, but it was true.

  253. Drew
    Drew December 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    librarygoose: I don’t know if I’m reading the tone as harsh, but I don’t think it’s as bad as you’re making it. Her comment was a on topic as yours, was a direct reply and just pointing out a different position. We’ve been discussing our differences with a fairly cordial air, so your reaction to her comment was kinda off mark compared to your other comments. My comment was joke, but it was true.

    Yes, I took what she said the wrong way.

  254. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Yeah, I read your comment after mine posted.

  255. Poetree
    Poetree December 21, 2011 at 10:29 am |

    librarygoose: Yeah ,I agree with you. This is why patriarchy sucks for everyone involved. Men are have gendered norms they have to conform to that hurt them and society in general as well.
    But I’d say women are conditioned to believe that sex is something they can control men with because all other options are bitch yor unfeminine.

    I see this as a symptom of the objectification of women, all women have is their bodies, that is their value. So they exert control in the relationship by using them.

    I think the desire for either gender to exert control over the other, specifically and especially in a non BDSM sexual relationship where control is part of the deal, is a problem.

    I agree with you though that it is a symptom of the objectification of women and a way for women to utilize that objectification to their advantage. The manipulation on both sides, those who objectify women and allow for the use of sex as control thereby validating the idea that its a gift women give men and those who perpetuate that idea by using sex and sexual favors as a sort of relationship reward program is a by-product of sexism.

  256. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am |

    Drew: Or,they’relikeningoneformofcrime(whereinapersonviolatesanotherpersonsrights)toanotherformofcrime(whereinapersonviolatesanotherpersonsrights).

    Iknow,lifeisn’tmadefromsugarandcocoabeans,norisitprocessedinafactory–butsaying“Lifeislikeaboxofchocolates”doesn’tintendtoimplyeither.

    I just saw this.

    Metaphors like “life is like a box of chocolates” are obviously not the same as likening rape to robbery. “Life is like a box of chocolates” is not likening life to a box of chocolates, but rather saying that life is full of variety. Its just a cliched saying, that’s all.

    However, when people compare rape to robbery, they are trying to make a point by likening the two. And yes, the effect is that you’re likening a woman’s body to an object to be possessed. This plays right into the culture which objectifies women and sees their bodies as commodities.

    I’m not a criminologist or anything, but there are clearly different reasons for each crime. Robbery, I would assume, is an effect of capitalism. Some people want either money or a commodity that somebody else has–for whatever reason, whether they need to sell it for drugs, or whatever– and so they take it. Rape, on the other hand, is an effect of patriarchy. If women’s bodies weren’t seen as communal property which some men felt entitled to, rape wouldn’t be happening.

    Men are not being raped at the same frequency of women. Nor are men being targeted for sex the second they are unable to consent (e.g. they are drunk, unconscious). This is because men’s bodies are not seen as communal property to be commented upon, taken, raped, etc.

    The causes of rape and robbery are definitely not the same. So that’s the first mistake people make when likening rape to robbery. And yes, the analogy itself is straight outta rape culture.

  257. Poetree
    Poetree December 21, 2011 at 11:13 am |

    Stephanie,

    Although I agree wth you in general that robbery is not akin to rape for various reasons, including but not limited to the fact that rape is always a violation of one’s body while robbery is usually a violation of thing I disagree that robbery is *always* limited to taking a thing. Many people who are robbed or mugged are hurt, pretty badly in the process. being beaten is horrific, being shot or stabbed is horrific and is also a violation of one’s body. That violation not being a sexual one does not mean it isn’t a violation of someone’s body.

    Also, there is no excuse for robbery and it can’t be justified, neither could rape. During such tough economic times, stealing money from someone can have devastating efffects on them and their entire households. A person can be robbed and lose everything . I think the appropriatenes sof the analogy comes into play when we are discussing victim blaming. It is no more ok to take my money because you want or even feel that you need it more than I do (read “feel entitled to it”) than it is to rape me because you think I am attractive or you feel that you’ve “earned” it or I’m “flaunting” my sexuality in your face, whatever the reason may be for either crime, it isn’t ok and nobody asks to be robbed or raped.

  258. Li
    Li December 21, 2011 at 11:19 am |

    Stephanie: Rape, on the other hand, is an effect of patriarchy. If women’s bodies weren’t seen as communal property which some men felt entitled to, rape wouldn’t be happening.

    I think this is an oversimplification. Not all sexual violence occurs along a primarily gendered axis (though this is obviously a very significant part of most sexual violence), and a great deal of sexual violence occurs along additional kyriarchal axes to gender, such as trans*ness or disability. I think it would be more accurate to say that sexual violence overwhelmingly constitutes an exertion of power in a way that robbery does not, and that sexism is one of the primary (but not only) ways in which that power is organised.

  259. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    Stephanie: Rape, on the other hand, is an effect of patriarchy. If women’s bodies weren’t seen as communal property which some men felt entitled to, rape wouldn’t be happening.

    I disagree with your premise here.

    I understand why the analogies don’t work, in terns of severity – having my car stolen is unlikely to cause me PTSD, having my house robbed is unlikely to scar me for life. So I can undestand the offense to think the analogy is “A womans body is like the cd player in my car.” (Though, again, I dont think that was ever the intent of the analogy – anymore than the analogy librarygoose made intended to imply that women are at the level of dogs)

    However, I don’t think its true that womens bodies are seen as communal property. Just like the robber knows he isn’t supposed to break into the car, or break into the house, the rapist knows he isn’t supposed to be raping.

    To be frank, the notion that “Men think womens bodies are communal property” is really fucking offensive. Men don’t think that, and I disagree with the idea that even the men who rape think that.

  260. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 21, 2011 at 11:55 am |

    “However, I don’t think its true that womens bodies are seen as communal property. Just like the robber knows he isn’t supposed to break into the car, or break into the house, the rapist knows he isn’t supposed to be raping.”

    Not necessarily, especially if the rapist doesn’t understand that what he’s doing is rape. As Katya mentioned before, people (including rapists) define rape very narrowly. They don’t necessarily see what they are doing as rape, so no, they won’t understand that it’s something they shouldn’t be doing. Also, men on the street that harass women don’t understand what they are doing is harassment. Rather, they think they are paying the woman a compliment by screaming obscenities from their car, or at the very least, they think they are entitled to comment on women’s bodies.

  261. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm |

    @Poetree and @Li

    I agree that I was oversimplifying. My point was that Drew’s “life is like a box of chocolates” metaphor is not the same as likening rape to robbery. The causes and effects of both rape and robbery are complex, and they shouldn’t be compared when we are talking about crime prevention.

  262. LC
    LC December 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm |

    Drew: I don’t think the male ideal has ever been the rapist, but the rooster; not that it’s okay to take sex, but, if you’re good enough, it will be given to you freely.

    I’m going to assume, Drew, that you haven’t been around many Roosters. They run around and rape hens. There is no “given to you freely” in Rooster-world, there is “chase them down until they are exhausted and then rape them. Maybe bring friends and all take a turn”.

    So while I agree with what you’re saying here about the whole mentality of “why don’t I get my reward for doing the right things”, you need to think of a new comparison.

    Drew: Basically, that the way men are pressured act and think are EXACTLY the way rapists act and think. I often hear girls ask why men will shout things at them, or give them unwelcome compliments or advances – and I reply by explaining that, as a guy, I basically have two choices: Say something or be “afraid to say something”. (I’ve also often heard women say “I wish guys just wouldnt be so afraid to talk to me.”) Given the choice, most guys dont want to be seen as cowardly, so they go to far in the other direction, to harassment. This is, of course, off the main topic. Sorry for the digression.

    As a straight guy, I’m going to both agree and disagree with this. Obviously, as a general feature of “Patriarchy hurts men, too”, it is spot on. The whole thing is a trap. But at the same time, I don’t think that the only choice is to make advances according to that script. There’s far more of a gradient of approach and boundary negotiation than “afraid to say something” and “unwelcome advances”.

  263. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

    Drew, my lived experience has been that plenty of men do think that my body is communal property. That they have every goddamn right to shout crap at me as I walk down the street, to corner me in bars, to harass me online if I have the nerve to say ‘no.’ And if I say anything to anyone, it’s my fault (or women’s fault) because these poor dears are only trying to pay me a compliment/are socially awkward/can’t win for losing in approaching women/doing what came naturally.

    I am dog fucking tired of the trope that men can’t win. You are free to try to strike up conversations with whomever you want, but if you get shut down or if she’s not that into it, take your cue and leave her be. (I mean, FFS, women have to take the same cues when we approach people. Also? I’m tired of this whining that men can’t win. If I approach someone, I’m too aggressive. But I don’t and then it’s not fair to the menz who have to do all the work. Cry me a fucking river.) As far as “not winning” try this one on for size–I’m not “careful” in the ways the peanut gallery advises me and I get raped, and it’s my fault. I am “careful” in the ways the peanut gallery advises me and I’m a paranoid man-hater who needs to loosen up. Can’t fucking win. Problem is, the stakes are a fuck of a lot higher when it comes to populations who are targeted for assault.

    You can be as insulted as you want to be, but the reality is, women are treated like our bodies are public property. I am ordered to smile, get comments on my body, and get hassled by d00ds on a regular fucking basis. So sue me if I’m not handing you a silver platter full of hankies.

  264. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm |

    LC: I’m going to assume, Drew, that you haven’t been around many Roosters. They run around and rape hens. There is no “given to you freely” in Rooster-world, there is “chase them down until they are exhausted and then rape them. Maybe bring friends and all take a turn”.

    So while I agree with what you’re saying here about the whole mentality of “why don’t I get my reward for doing the right things”, you need to think of a new comparison.

    You’re seriously nitpicking the animal I named? Fucking seriously?

    You guys ever wonder why reasonable discussion rarely happens on the internet? Clue: its more important to split hairs over the fucking mating habits of fowl then to address the point being made.

    Yes, how dare I misrepresent the way roosters treat their hens. Swear to god some people could miss the forest for the trees in the middle of a forest fire.

    LC: As a straight guy, I’m going to both agree and disagree with this. Obviously, as a general feature of “Patriarchy hurts men, too”, it is spot on. The whole thing is a trap. But at the same time, I don’t think that the only choice is to make advances according to that script. There’s far more of a gradient of approach and boundary negotiation than “afraid to say something” and “unwelcome advances”.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the choice is so black and white – I apologize if it seemed that way. But it’s a common trend that when people are pressured to do things that go outside of their comfort zones, they go overboard. For example, if you put someone comfortable with being assertive and holding authority (a cop or bouncer, for example), they do the job well. If you take someone who is uncomfortable in that position, they are much more likely to use excess force. It’s often seen with people who take “assertiveness training” and become militant and overagressive.

    I think, if we let go of the myth that the guy *should* say something, guys would be less likely to harass women.

  265. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Drew, my lived experience has been that plenty of men do think that my body is communal property. That they have every goddamn right to shout crap at me as I walk down the street, to corner me in bars, to harass me online if I have the nerve to say ‘no.’ And if I say anything to anyone, it’s my fault (or women’s fault) because these poor dears are only trying to pay me a compliment/are socially awkward/can’t win for losing in approaching women/doing what came naturally.

    I am dog fucking tired of the trope that men can’t win. You are free to try to strike up conversations with whomever you want, but if you get shut down or if she’s not that into it, take your cue and leave her be. (I mean, FFS, women have to take the same cues when we approach people. Also? I’m tired of this whining that men can’t win. If I approach someone, I’m too aggressive. But I don’t and then it’s not fair to the menz who have to do all the work. Cry me a fucking river.) As far as “not winning” try this one on for size–I’m not “careful” in the ways the peanut gallery advises me and I get raped, and it’s my fault. I am “careful” in the ways the peanut gallery advises me and I’m a paranoid man-hater who needs to loosen up. Can’t fucking win. Problem is, the stakes are a fuck of a lot higher when it comes to populations who are targeted for assault.

    You can be as insulted as you want to be, but the reality is, women are treated like our bodies are public property. I am ordered to smile, get comments on my body, and get hassled by d00ds on a regular fucking basis. So sue me if I’m not handing you a silver platter full of hankies.

    So, we’re looking at a particular issue – that is (among other things), men harassing women.

    Your take on it seems to be that men harass women because they think the woman (and/or the womans body) is some form of communal property to which they have the “right” to act upon as they see fit.

    My take is that much of the harassment stems from the fact that many guys aren’t naturally comfortable approaching women, but feel social pressure to do so, and so end up going overboard, to the point of harassment.

    So we agree that it happens, and that it’s wrong, but we disagree about the primary cause.

    Now, here you are implying that I’m “crying” about the issue (cry me a fucking river, I’m not handing you a box of hankies) – simply because I’ve framed the issue differently.

    Perhaps more men don’t talk about feeling those social pressures *because when we do we’re told that we’re “crying” about it*.

  266. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Drew, do you know why we don’t have “productive” conversations with certain people on the internet? It’s because they hand-wave away the things women tell them about their lives, turn it into a lonelyhearts sobfest for men, and complain about how it’s unfair that men should be expected to be the aggressors. The last point is all fine and good, except a) plenty of men manage to meet romantic partners without harassing people or making them feel unsafe and b) guy would be less likely to harass women if women were seen as human beings.

    Also? It’s not exactly productive to take a thread about victim-blaming and rape culture and make it about the trials of being a man.

  267. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Drew: I think, if we let go of the myth that the guy *should* say something, guys would be less likely to harass women.

    Also the whole “women’s bodies are up for public assessment and commentary” thing.

  268. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Drew,
    I wonder if you think men aren’t viewing women as an entitlement, why are so many people telling you this is how they feel about it? I mean, if guys really are just harassing out of social pressure as you say, why then is it seen by so many to be a different scenario? If women feel men are treating them like they are just “communal property” isn’t that a fucking big issue too, no matter if that is how guys feel? It should merit some acknowledgment.

  269. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    And you’re right, Sheelzebub, the current system is a big “no win” for anybody.

    Don’t approach the girl? Coward. Approach the girl? Creep.

    Don’t approach the guy? You’re making him do all the work. Approach the guy? Scary and aggressive.

    Be frank and straighforward that you aren’t interested? You’re a bitch. Be polite and diplomatic? You’re leading him on.

    Accept a ride from a guy? You’re putting yourself at risk for rape. Don’t accept a ride? You’re unfairly assuming the guy is a rapist.

    I get it. I wasn’t saying “guys just can’t win”, so if you want to be mad at the trope, fine – don’t point that anger at me. I was saying “Guys dont do it because they’re evil/think they have a right to a womans body/think women are like dogs. Guys do it because they feel a lot of social pressure.”

  270. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

    Uh-huh. Drew, you guys have the big, wide world out there that has nothing but sympathy for you when you find it hard to approach women. Oddly enough, you seem to have no problems derailing a conversation we’ve been having about rape and victim blaming and making it about the feelings of men.

    You’re hitting a brick wall here because you’re doing what other men have done–turned a post about rape and harassment and victim-blaming into a thread about the trials and tribulations of being a man.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, can we FOR ONCE, have a conversation on a FEMINIST BLOG about issues that affect women without some guy coming in and pissing all over the comments section? Can we FOR ONCE have a goddamn conversation without having to do 101 bullshit for some guy who insists in coming in here and making it all about the menz?

    FOR ONCE I’D LIKE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT THINGS THAT AFFECT MY GODDAMN LIFE WITHOUT SOME GUY BARGING IN AND MAKING IT ALL ABOUT THE MENZ.

    You want to understand where we’re coming from, then lurk more and drop your fucking patronizing lectures about what our goddamn lives are like. You have power that women do not have. If you want to actually have a productive conversation, you could recognize that and maybe listen instead of lecture.

    I mean FFS, this is the first time a thread about rape or harassment was visited by some d00d who wanted to make it about how hard it is to be a man and meet women, and how it really wasn’t that bad for us because the poor menz feel pressured. It’s only happened, oh, every goddamn time we try to have a conversation.

  271. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    librarygoose: Drew,
    I wonder if you think men aren’t viewing women as an entitlement, why are so many people telling you this is how they feel about it? I mean, if guys really are just harassing out of social pressure as you say, why then is it seen by so many to be a different scenario? If women feel men are treating them like they are just “communal property” isn’t that a fucking big issue too, no matter if that is how guys feel? It should merit some acknowledgment.

    I think it’s seen as a different scenario because women don’t get those same messages. Men don’t generally talk about the social pressures they feel (because, when we do, we’re accused of “crying” about them).

    It’s more acceptable for a woman to say “I’m uncomfortable with unrealistic female bodies in the media because it gives females an unreasonable standard to live up to.” It’s less acceptable for a man to say “I feel uncomfortable with unrealistic male characters who give men unreasonable standards to live up to (say, House, for example).

    I am not trying, and in no way have tried, to justify anyone harassing anyone else. I’m not saying “It’s okay because men aren’t motivated by this, but instead motivated by this”. I’m simply pointing out a big part of the problem and suggesting that, if we could alter the social pressures exerted on men, we could reduce a lot of the harassment women face.

    I don’t think suggesting a different explanation means I’m not acknowledging (or trying to diminish) any other explanations.

  272. Bake Up, Little Suzy
    Bake Up, Little Suzy December 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm |

    @Sheelzebub *applause*

    Seriously.

  273. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    and how it really wasn’t that bad for us because the poor menz feel pressured. It’s only happened, oh, every goddamn time we try to have a conversation.

    When did I say anything to the effect of “it really wasn’t that bad for you”?

    You’re putting words in my mouth. That’s totally uncalled for.

  274. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |

    Drew: I don’t think suggesting a different explanation means I’m not acknowledging (or trying to diminish) any other explanations.

    You’re out and out denying it. saying “Pfft, all the men I know aren’t like that” in a confrontational way is NOT acknowledging how women feel and experience their every day lives. I’m not saying that how men are socialized isn’t an issue, it is. But you won’t allow for women to tell you that women feel like they are only seen as objects or a that women are seen as “communal” and that is a major factor in harassment.

  275. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm |

    librarygoose: You’re out and out denying it. saying “Pfft, all the men I know aren’t like that” in a confrontational way is NOT acknowledging how women feel and experience their every day lives. I’m not saying that how men are socialized isn’t an issue, it is. But you won’t allow for women to tell you that women feel like they are only seen as objects or a that women are seen as “communal” and that is a major factor in harassment.

    But that’s not what they’re doing.

    They’re not saying “When I’m harassed, I feel as though I am(/my body is) being treated as communal property, to which someone else has a right to act on.” This would be a statement about how they feel.

    They’re saying “Men harass women because they think a womans body is communal property to which they have the right to act on as they choose.” This is a statement claiming to know what someone else thinks, or the reason someone else has for doing something.

    Do you agree that there is a big difference between an “I feel” statement and a “You think” statement?

  276. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    I’m not denying or ignoring that women feel that way when harassed. I’m not even dying that *some* men actually do think they have a right to a womans body.

    I’m saying I don’t think it’s a common perception among men (that a womans body is communal property or that they have a right to it). Also, I don’t think most cases of harassment come from said perception.

  277. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    er. “denying” not “dying”

  278. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    Drew: Do you agree that there is a big difference between an “I feel” statement and a “You think” statement?

    You know what? I’m not having a semantics argument. I feel and think men act like entitled pricks, not all of them and not all the time. But a vast fucking majority. I’ve put up with enough harassment from strangers to assess the fucking situation. You want some safe, soft assertion that *maybe* you know…*sometimes* in *certain* situations men can behave *as if*… Well fuck that. As i love to say and love to hear, Intent is Not Fucking Magic. Guy in bar just wants to talk to me and be nice? Well, drunk asshole, I don’t want to. Nice Guy gets upset, why am I such a cold bitch? Well, drunk asshole, you’re making feel and think I am unsafe. GO AWAY.

  279. Poetree
    Poetree December 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm |

    Stephanie:
    @Poetree and @Li

    I agree that I was oversimplifying. My point was that Drew’s “life is like a box of chocolates” metaphor is not the same as likening rape to robbery. The causes and effects of both rape and robbery arec omplex, and they shouldn’t be compared when we are talking about crime prevention.

    I definitely agree they are incomparable when it comes to prevention. Howvever, I was thinking more along the lines of victim-blaming. In that sense, I believe the “you asked for it” meme is wrong for a person who is a victim of either crime. That’s where I thought the analogy was coming from. Please pardon my misunderstanding.

  280. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    librarygoose: You know what? I’m not having a semantics argument. I feel and think men act like entitled pricks, not all of them and not all the time. But a vast fucking majority. I’ve put up with enough harassment from strangers to assess the fucking situation. You want some safe, soft assertion that *maybe* you know…*sometimes* in *certain* situations men can behave *as if*… Well fuck that. As i love to say and love to hear, Intent is Not Fucking Magic. Guy in bar just wants to talk to me and be nice? Well, drunk asshole, I don’t want to. Nice Guy gets upset, why am I such a cold bitch? Well, drunk asshole, you’re making feel and think I am unsafe. GO AWAY.

    Its not semantics. Describing how you feel about something is one thing. Making a sweeping generalization that “Men think…” is another.

    But, lets look at your example; guy comes up to you in the bar. You’re defensive and “cold” because you feel unsafe.

    However, the guy takes your actions and assigns a different motive (that you’re a bitch, that you’re snobby, etc).

    Is it fair for the guy to say “She snubbed me because she thinks shes better than me” (which would be a statement about what YOU think)? How about a general “Women are pretentious bitches”?

    You’d probably be a bit offended too, if a guy responded by making a sweeping generalization about all women.

  281. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable December 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |

    Drew: Also, I don’t think most cases of harassment come from said perception.

    Then entitled to our attention? Entitled to a smile and a pat on the back when we’re harassed? You’re arguing semantics here.

  282. Poetree
    Poetree December 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    Drew:

    With specificity to a man’s beloved woman-relatives (mother, sister, daughter favoritie aunts etc) no, women’s bodies are not communal property. Women who are of no relation however are fair game to be objectified and that obnjectification is often rationalized and jsutified amongst their male friends and social circles. The dynamics change dramatically when the woman is a relative.

    I was watching a television show and like most sitcoms, the “bro code” of not dating a friend’s adult daughter/sister/mother/cousin/aunt was portrayed. It’s where entertainment meets reality. There are plenty of guys who can bounce back from dating the same woman, even having a sexual relationship with her and then smeer her reputation or discuss intimated details about her amongst each other. However, a female relative is sacred because her body is her own and they dont want you to hurt her, or use her for sex. They do not want her objectified..but all other women..fair game.

    If you “have sex” with (rape) a man’s drunken sister you took advantage of her and the only high five you’d get would probably be a closed fist one across the face.

    If you “have sex” with (rape) a woman who is not related to any of your friends who was drunk, you will get pats on the back for “scoring” or taking advantge of a “good” situation.

  283. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

    Jesus H. Christ.

    Drew, you’re making this about the feelings of men. You’re drowning out the voices of women by taking over the comments section and making about the menz.

    You’re complaining that men are derided for not being able to talk about their feelings (ignoring the fact that you all have inordinate institutional, economic, and cultural power) and basically equating it with the fact that their behavior makes women feel unsafe (and is often quite violent towards women).

    Like librarygoose, I don’t give a fuck why a guy is making a shitty comment about my body, or ordering me to smile, or not taking no for an answer, or getting in my face and screaming at me for the horrible crime of wanting to catch up with the friend I went to the bar with instead of let him hit on me. I am tired of men like you making these threads about the feelings of men. I’m not putting words in your mouth; your behavior throughout this goddamn thread has been completely dismissive of what women go through–yes, it’s terrible, but it’s because men are socialized that way and they don’t mean it! They’re afraid to talk about their feelings because Sheelzebub made a crack about crying and hankies after I derailed the thread about rape into what about the menz territory. It’s ridiculous.

    You bark at us about how insulted and offended you are, how our behavior in our space is uncalled for, yet you never pause to reflect on how YOU’RE coming across, how what you’re doing is part of a dynamic that has a long history of men derailing discussions on feminist blogs, even after it’s been quite bluntly pointed out to you.

    librarygoose: You know what? I’m not having a semantics argument.

    Especially considering the fact that he got all pissy when LC pointed out his rooster analogy didn’t hold. Good lord.

  284. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |

    Drew: You’d probably be a bit offended too, if a guy responded by making a sweeping generalization about all women.

    They generally do.

  285. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    librarygoose: They generally do.

    And does it offend you, when they do?

  286. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm |

    Drew: And does it offend you, when they do?

    Sad truth? Nope. I’ve come to expect it. It’s part of the interaction. Nice Guy has a tantrum and accuses all women of being “bitches who only want a man with money/abs/who is an asshole…ad nauseum.

  287. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |

    Sheelzebub: Jesus H. Christ.

    Drew, you’re making this about the feelings of men. You’re drowning out the voices of women by taking over the comments section and making about the menz.

    You’re complaining that men are derided for not being able to talk about their feelings (ignoring the fact that you all have inordinate institutional, economic, and cultural power) and basically equating it with the fact that their behavior makes women feel unsafe (and is often quite violent towards women).

    Like librarygoose, I don’t give a fuck why a guy is making a shitty comment about my body, or ordering me to smile, or not taking no for an answer, or getting in my face and screaming at me for the horrible crime of wanting to catch up with the friend I went to the bar with instead of let him hit on me. I am tired of men like you making these threads about the feelings of men. I’m not putting words in your mouth; your behavior throughout this goddamn thread has been completely dismissive of what women go through–yes, it’s terrible, but it’s because men are socialized that way and they don’t mean it! They’re afraid to talk about their feelings because Sheelzebub made a crack about crying and hankies after I derailed the thread about rape into what about the menz territory. It’s ridiculous.

    You bark at us about how insulted and offended you are, how our behavior in our space is uncalled for, yet you never pause to reflect on how YOU’RE coming across, how what you’re doing is part of a dynamic that has a long history of men derailing discussions on feminist blogs, even after it’s been quite bluntly pointed out to you.

    librarygoose: You know what? I’m not having a semantics argument.

    Especially considering the fact that he got all pissy when LC pointed out his rooster analogy didn’t hold. Good lord.

    The difference between an “I feel” statement and a “You think” statement is not semantics. One is a statement about how the speaker feels. The other is a statement where the speaker assumes to know what another person thinks.

    I’m not trying to “Make it about the menz”. I’m not “crying that men have these social pressures”. I’m not suggesting that “its not so bad for you” (you still have yet to show me where I said anything to that effect). I’m not suggesting that women should accept harassment, or that it’s wrong for women to feel like they’re being treated as communal property when they are harassed.

    Nor am I trying to equate men not feeling like its okay to talk about their feelings with men making women feel unsafe.

    I’m not dismissing what women go through, or how they feel, when they are harassed.

  288. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    You are making a thread about rape and victim blaming into a hair-splitting orgy over how it’s unfair to assume that men think women’s bodies are communal property (even though they act this way). Your actions–your insistence on making this about the men, on ignoring the actual original issue we were talking about, and on taking over this thread with your concerns actually does show that you don’t think this is a big deal for women. It’s a big old way to pooh-pooh what we’ve been talking about.

    Again, you’re not exactly concerned how YOU’RE coming across here, so save your lectures on behavior for someone with whom you’ve a shred of credibility. Your actions haven’t given you anything in the way of that here.

  289. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    librarygoose: Sad truth? Nope. I’ve come to expect it. It’s part of the interaction. Nice Guy has a tantrum and accuses all women of being “bitches who only want a man with money/abs/who is an asshole…ad nauseum.

    So you can see where its offensive for a person to take an incident, assign the motivation for that incident as being inherently linked to another persons gender, and make a sweeping generalization.

    A “Nice Guy” saying “Women think they have the right to treat men like shit” implicates all other women (as though ‘thinking they have the right to treat men like shit’ is a quality bound up in their womanhood). It means librarygoose thinks she has the right to treat men like shit, and sheelzebub thinks she has the right to treat men like shit.

    I’m simply stating a different viewpoint – that, in my experience, the notion that a womans body is communal property is not a commonly held belief, and that men are motivated by factors other than “They think a womans body is communal property”.

  290. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |

    Drew: I’m not dismissing what women go through, or how they feel, when they are harassed.

    Yet you’ve denied that it is what they experience by saying it wasn’t happening.

  291. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |

    Sheelzebub: You are making a thread about rape and victim blaming into a hair-splitting orgy over how it’s unfair to assume that men think women’s bodies are communal property (even though they act this way). Your actions–your insistence on making this about the men, on ignoring the actual original issue we were talking about, and on taking over this thread with your concerns actually does show that you don’t think this is a big deal for women. It’s a big old way to pooh-pooh what we’ve been talking about.

    Again, you’re not exactly concerned how YOU’RE coming across here, so save your lectures on behavior for someone with whom you’ve a shred of credibility. Your actions haven’t given you anything in the way of that here.

    I am concerned with how I’m coming across, which is why I’ve repeatedly stated what I’m saying and what I’m not saying.

    I’m not trying to “make this about the men”. I’m not trying to drum up sympathy for men or excuse their actions when they harass a woman. I’m not saying “Its not so bad because men are doing it for this reason, instead of that reason”.

    When men harass women, it makes women feel like they are being treated as communal property. I’m getting that message loud and clear.

    Men should not harass women. No matter what the reason, men should never do that. I’m totally on board.

    But, just for a second, consider that much harassment may be the result of social pressures men feel. Wouldn’t it be in everyones best interest to recognize and go against those social pressures, which would, then, result in women being harassed less?

  292. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    librarygoose: Yet you’ve denied that it is what they experience by saying it wasn’t happening.

    That’s not true.

    I disagreed that men, generally, think womens bodies are communal property.

    I disagreed that it’s fair for someone to say “Men do this because they think X”. Its just as unfair when someone says “Women do this because they think Y”.

    I’m sorry that it seemed I was trying to say “When you are harassed you aren’t being treated as communal property.”

    What I am trying to say is “If a man harasses you, it does not necessarily mean he thinks of you as communal property. He may have other motivations, such as social pressure to go outside of his comfort zone in approaching you.”

    Again, this doesn’t mean that he has a right to harass you, or that you don’t have a right to feel like you’re being treated as communal property, or that you need to be understanding and polite and diplomatic or let him harass you. It doesnt mean that you aren’t being treated like communal property.

    I’m saying that I think it means stopping those social pressures would help to reduce the incidence of harassment. Which would be good, right?

  293. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

    Drew, men might not be consciously thinking “I can corner this woman in a bar, or make lewd comments to that woman walking down the street, because women are communal property.”

    No, its not that simple.

    However, men are socialized to see women as objects they are entitled to. This doesn’t mean that all men see women this way. But when a dude makes some nasty remark to a woman walking down the street, or hell, even says hi to a woman walking alone on a deserted street at night (which has happened to me, and it scares the shit outta me), he’s doing it because he feels he has the right to do it. He’s not thinking about what the woman, as a human being might feel about that kind of comment or behaviour. Rather, he sees a woman that he might feel attraction towards (although its important to note that not all harassment stems from sexual attraction), and uses his agency to intrude upon somebody else’s personal space and right to freedom. This is entitlement. And even though he’s not thinking consciously that “this woman is communal property”, his actions signify that this is the reason behind his–and all guys that sexually harass women–behaviour. Because if women were not seen as communal property, if their bodies weren’t objectified to the point where men feel entitled to comment upon them, then this shit wouldn’t be happening.

  294. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |

    Drew: But, just for a second, consider that much harassment may be the result of social pressures men feel. Wouldn’t it be in everyones best interest to recognize and go against those social pressures, which would, then, result in women being harassed less?

    Just to get back to the topic of the article, how do you think this relates to victim blaming? Are men socialized to think it’s their job to have sex with unconscious women? If then, how do you relate this to the bigger picture of how women who are survivors get treated by the general public? If it’s not about men being entitled, why are women described as being “dressed too sexy”?

  295. Esti
    Esti December 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |

    Drew: It’s more acceptable for a woman to say “I’m uncomfortable with unrealistic female bodies in the media because it gives females an unreasonable standard to live up to.” It’s less acceptable for a man to say “I feel uncomfortable with unrealistic male characters who give men unreasonable standards to live up to (say, House, for example).

    This is completely off-topic, but I thought this was a really good example of the use of “females” as a noun. Two sentences right next to each other, both of which begin by using the adjective female/male, but end with different types of nouns (“females” instead of women, which would be the parallel choice to men). We’ve discussed this issue around these parts before, and I tend to agree with the view most people had — although I can’t totally put my finger on why, the use of female as a noun skeeves me out a little because I’ve only seen it from people who are otherwise saying things about gender or women that I find troubling.

    Slightly more on topic: Drew, in general, I get where you’re coming from. (And thus far, you’ve been pretty polite and respectful, and I appreciate that.) I think you’re probably right that most men don’t consciously think “women’s bodies are communal property, and I’m entitled to have any of them I want.” But the thoughts you’re framing — I did things right, so this should result in sex — have exactly that meaning. The idea that if you do things right, you will get sex is itself the problem — it suggests that women are not autonomous and that all that matters is how you act, like you’re playing a video game and if you hit the buttons in the right order, the other person is programmed to respond with sex. That thinking is the root of a huge part of rape culture, and recognizing how bizarre and dehumanizing it is — even if it wasn’t explicitly intended that way — is a necessary first step.

    I mean, do you ever approach a guy you want to be friends with and think “okay, I’m going to casually ask him if he wants to get a beer and watch the game, and he better say yes because guy friendships are hard and I’ve done everything right”? I’m willing to bet that although you may have some of the same angst about wanting to not be rejected for male friendship, the work you put into figuring out how to navigate potential-friends never leads you to think that you are owed another guy’s friendship. I’m also willing to bet that if an invitation to watch the game gets the response “sorry, I’m exhausted, I’m going to go home and crash”, you don’t assume that the dude is playing mind games or reacting to social conditioning or even that it’s a judgment on you as opposed to him just being tired and wanting to sleep. I also really don’t think that if you asked your male roommate to come out for a beer and he told you that you’d been leaving the apartment filthy and he wanted you to clean it before he’d go hang out that you would refer to that as commoditizing friendship or using friendship to teach you like a dog.

    Yes, rape culture has led to all kinds of bad things, and some of those bad things affect men. But one of the bad things that rape culture flowed from, and has now reinforced, is the assumption that in any given situation, harm to men is more important than harm to women. That’s why there’s so much fearmongering about false rape accusations and very little concern about all the rapes that aren’t reported. That’s why there’s so much hand-wringing about how stifling political correctness is, and so few people talking about the damaging effects of street harassment or sexual harassment in the workplace. And that’s why coming into a discussion about how rape culture hurts women to talk about how much it hurts men to be told that they should be super studs is problematic. It’s not that you’re wrong. It’s that by centering the conversation on how women withholding sex contributes to rape culture, you are engaging in exactly the same kind of prioritization process that leads guys to concentrate on how much they deserve sex instead of considering the feelings and desires of the woman they’re with.

    And with respect to your suggestion that men harass women because they’re overcompensating for not knowing how to make their interest known, I have only this to say: I am absolutely certain that despite the pressures and weird social conditioning surrounding male friendship, men never overreact to their fear of putting themselves out there by yelling “nice hat, wanna hang out?” at friendly-looking men they drive by on the street.

  296. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    Ditto to Esti.

  297. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    This next post is going to continue focusing things on teh menz, unfortunately. Being a man, I know more about us than about women, and I feel motivated to counter some of Drew’s points based off my personal experience. Sorry if this is further derailing; I think the victim blaming discussion is really important, too.

    ****TRIGGER WARNING****

    I’m a man who has sexually harrassed women on the street. It was really disgusting, and I’m ashamed I did it. All the same, for about a year during college it was something I did periodically with friends. It mainly consisted of yelling sexually charged or other harassing things at women walking on the sidewalk out of our car windows.

    I disagree with Drew that, at least from personal experience, this had anything to do with wanting to pick up women, but not knowing how, and therefore going overboard or some such shit. The conventional feminist analysis that it is about power is correct. I’m not sure if we literally thought of “women’s bodies as communal property,” I mean, that’s pretty verbose and most of us weren’t exactly intellectuals. But I’m pretty sure none of us thought this behavior was gonna lead to any sorts of dates or sex. We did think it was funny. We did get a kick out of seeing the women look uncomfortable or angry. It was a power rush because we could say whatever we wanted, and there was never any negative consequences for us. We enjoyed the homosocial bonding over our shared misogyny and our belief that this behavior was justified by the (not actually true) fact that women had power over us in society, sex, dating, relationships, etc. So we were sort of “striking back” against them. Indiscrimately harrassing women (they were all the same, after all) in retaliation for the crimes of all womankind.

    What a load of shit. It was actually more of a terrorist campaign to keep women in their subordinate position, but like most oppressors, we thought that we were actually the ones that were victims. I can’t apologize enough for having done this, it’s been about five years, and I sure as hell better never do it again.

  298. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm |

    librarygoose: Just to get back to the topic of the article, how do you think this relates to victim blaming? Are men socialized to think it’s their job to have sex with unconscious women? If then, how do you relate this to the bigger picture of how women who are survivors get treated by the general public? If it’s not about men being entitled, why are women described as being “dressed too sexy”?

    I think it relates to the original topic because, as the linked article points out, the ways men are socialized to act are exactly the ways rapists act.

    I think that, instead of making generalizations about men, or about women, or framing the problem as “Men do this” and “Women do that”, that we’d make a lot more progress by framing the problem as “Men are socialized to do this, women are socialized to do that.”

    Jacyln points out, in this article, that discussions about rape often turn into “Girls who followed the rules vs girls who didnt follow the rules.” And she rightly points out that, while each side focuses on each other, they are not focused on the rapist.

    Likewise, if we’re doing the same thing, but with men and women, we’re not focusing on the problem. The problem is rape culture. The problem is that men and women are both socialized badly. We should focus on that.

    Men being pressured to approach women, and, as a result, harassing them, is an example of rape culture. Its an example of something both men and women can fight against.

    Women who are survivors are treated unfairly because many of the “risky” behaviors are behaviors our society pressures her to have. Women have social pressures to put “being nice” and “not hurting peoples feelings” over their own safety.

    I think, also, to your last point, that women are pressured to be as sexy as possible. Women are also pressured to have as few sexual partners as possible. So women, following these pressures, end up with the idea that “I should be sexy but not have sex.” Men don’t always understand this, so they see a girl in a short skirt and think “She must be looking for sex or attention – because that would be the reason I’d be wearing something sexy”.

    So a man is pressured to approach every woman he sees, lest he be a coward. A woman is pressured to be as attractive as possible. So a woman wears something attractive, and the guy thinks it means she wants him to approach her. However, not feeling comfortable, he overdoes it. The woman feels threatened or unsafe, and he feels tricked and insulted.

    I’m sorry for the long post.

    My point is, I’m uncomfortable with any explanation of “The problem is men” or “The problem is women”. I think “The problem is bad socialization.”

  299. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    Drew: I think, also, to your last point, that women are pressured to be as sexy as possible. Women are also pressured to have as few sexual partners as possible. So women, following these pressures, end up with the idea that “I should be sexy but not have sex.” Men don’t always understand this, so they see a girl in a short skirt and think “She must be looking for sex or attention – because that would be the reason I’d be wearing something sexy”.

    So a man is pressured to approach every woman he sees, lest he be a coward. A woman is pressured to be as attractive as possible. So a woman wears something attractive, and the guy thinks it means she wants him to approach her. However, not feeling comfortable, he overdoes it. The woman feels threatened or unsafe, and he feels tricked and insulted.

    I’m sorry for the long post.

    My point is, I’m uncomfortable with any explanation of “The problem is men” or “The problem is women”. I think “The problem is bad socialization.”

    Wait, to clear this up, are you saying men who rape women are just “over doing” it? Because I completely whole heartedly fucking disagree.

  300. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |

    Drew you make some good points, but power is totally missing from your analysis. Yes, gender roles are confining and result in a lot of harm. But a lot of that toxic socialization has at its root cause the reality that men have more power than women and are trying to keep it that way. I believe that, ultimately, men are victims of their own ignorance because patriarchy hurts men as well as women. But women are hurt by patriarchy far more. You can’t paper over the fact that one class explits, and the other is exploited, even if there are a lot of nuances and individual differences. as well.

  301. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |

    “the fact that one class explits” should read as “the fact that one class exploits.”

  302. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |

    Good post, Esti.

    And I agree: the idea that things like “The game” and other “how to pick up women” shit are acceptable, in the “here’s a step by step outline of how to get a woman to have sex with you”, is atrocious.

    The idea that any person ever thinks “This other human being SHOULD have sex with me” for ANY reason is awful.

    My intent wasn’t to say how much rape culture *hurts* men. I don’t think men deserve sympathy when they harass women, when they do it for any reason. My point was never “But what about how men feel?” my point was “I think a big part of the problem is X (social pressures) and by fixing X, we can fix a good deal of the problem”

  303. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm |

    Rape culture doesn’t happen in a vacuum–it is a result of patriarchy. And patriarchy gives power to men. It is men who benefit from this power.

    Sure, take away the socialization to be aggressive, but you still have the idea that women have no rights to our own bodies, our own space, or our own agency. The dude screaming in my face when I was sitting with my friend in a bar wasn’t just being forward and awkward. The dude screaming epithets at me when he drove by in his car wasn’t just being “brave” and living up to expectations. The dude who made gross comments about my body when I passed him by on the street was alone; it’s not as if he had his bros to egg him on. But he went ahead and did it anyway.

    TRIGGER WARNING: Likewise, the rapists in the OC Pack Rape case weren’t particularly afraid of rejection but still brutally gang-raped a passed out girl. And at that point, my sympathy for bad socialization goes right out the window, because one person was raped in some brutal and horrific ways (and on camera, to boot)–she was derided as a slut, a whore, a pig, and was slandered and harassed for having the nerve to have been assaulted. That wasn’t a matter of men or boys taking an approach too far, that was a matter of a brutal assault–which they apparently felt entitled to do, and felt confident in their entitlement, since they filmed it and showed it to their friends.

    It’s not a matter of “bad socialization,” it’s a matter of power. When one group of people can do shit like this constantly and get away with it, it’s power. Not socialization. Not awkwardness. Not dating woes. It’s power, coupled with misogyny. And yes, when you do whatever you want no matter what the woman you’re targeting says or does, that’s pretty misogynist.

    I am all out of nice when it comes to this shit. Feeling awkward about approaching a woman isn’t nearly the problem that rape and assault and harassment presents. And really, I dispute the idea that it’s about approaching women and feeling pressure to do so or whatever. There are plenty of men who don’t do that (but who still excuse the ones who do).

    The problem is patriarchy. The problem is men have power to do this shit and largely get away with it.

  304. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    librarygoose: Wait, to clear this up, are you saying men who rape women are just “overdoing” it? Because I completely wholeheartedly fucking disagree.

    No, of course not.

    I’m saying, for example, the guy who keeps trying to chat you up at the bar (after you’ve given him every signal that you aren’t interested and you’ve shown every indication that you didn’t want to be approached in the first place) is overdoing it.

    Of course, not respecting ANY of someone elses boundaries is NEVER okay. I’m not saying its okay that he’s overdoing it, or that you should accept it, or “what about his side of it?”.

  305. Esti
    Esti December 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    Drew: Men being pressured to approach women, and, as a result, harassing them, is an example of rape culture.

    I think you are misunderstanding rape culture. It is not a descriptor for all behavior or beliefs related to sexual conduct. It describes things that go in one direction — towards normalizing rape, towards excusing the thoughts and behaviors that accompany and support rape, and towards building a society that is not concerned with or not inclined to take action against rape. The part of your post I quoted would be accuracte if it said “Men being pressured to approach women, and, as a result, harassing them, and that being viewed as okay or not that bad is an example of rape culture.”

    Rape culture is not “she said she wouldn’t have sex with me unless I did the dishes, and that made me view sex as a transaction.” Rape culture is “because I’ve been taught that my sexual desires are all that matter, when she treated sex like a transaction I responded by raping her.”

  306. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    I would like to sincerely apologize. After reading sheelzebubs post, it’s more clear to me that we’re all talking about extremely different things.

    I did not mean, in any way, to reduce the importance or impact of rape, victim blaming, patriarchy, or other power structures.

    I do think that some men end up harassing women because they feel social pressures to approach women. And that reducing these pressures would reduce the instance of those types of harassment. But after reading sheelzebubs post, I get that, while I’m talking about rudeness and incompetence, the other commentors have been talking about rape.

    I can certainly understand why many of my comments would be read as they were, and I apologize for miscommunicating the way I did.

  307. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    Thank you, Drew. :)

  308. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |

    Esti: I think you are misunderstanding rape culture. It is not a descriptor for all behavior or beliefs related to sexual conduct. It describes things that go in one direction — towards normalizing rape, towards excusing the thoughts and behaviors that accompany and support rape, and towards building a society that is not concerned with or not inclined to take action against rape. The part of your post I quoted would be accuracte if it said “Men being pressured to approach women, and, as a result, harassing them, and that being viewed as okay or not that bad is an example of rape culture.”

    Rape culture is not “she said she wouldn’t have sex with me unless I did the dishes, and that made me view sex as a transaction.” Rape culture is “because I’ve been taught that my sexual desires are all that matter, when she treated sex like a transaction I responded by raping her.”

    You’re right, I did have that misunderstanding about rape culture. Thank you.

  309. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    To clarify, though – I never meant to say or imply that a man harassing a woman was okay.

  310. Esti
    Esti December 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm |

    Drew, thanks again for engaging in this discussion the way you have. This can be a hard forum to come into if you’re not already well-steeped in certain language and ways of thinking, and it’s really nice to see this discussion remain civil even as people have disagreed.

  311. librarygoose
    librarygoose December 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    I want to thank you too Drew. Though contentious at times this discussion never went down the rage filled insult path. (Which is only fun sometimes.)

  312. Drew
    Drew December 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    Esti: You’re welcome. I try not to take anything too personally, because I know this is an extremely emotionally charged topic. And, being a member of the dominant group, my intentions and underlying beliefs are always to be suspect.

    Its not fair, but neither is the fact that a woman has to worry about being raped while I don’t. For me to pretend that those are equal would be ridiculous.

    Further, I think I have a rough grasp on the idea of “safe space” making. I say I think because I’m a white, male, heterosexual-presenting, cisgendered person. I’ve never *needed* a safe space, as such.

    However, I do see a bit of an issue – and I dont say this to judge anyone, or start a fight, or anything like that – in that outsiders often feel attacked and unfairly misjudged. I’m not saying anyone here has to be nicer or have more patience with outsiders. Hell, its good that you have a place that you DON’T have to do that.

    For me, though, I do want to concern myself with others who are like me – how to get other members of dominant groups on board is a worthy endeavor. How to get Ceres, for example, to move away from the “What a woman can do” model, more to a “What can we all as a society do” model, would result in one more person geared toward solving these problems rather than harboring a bitter resentment.

    Please, please understand that I’m not saying you all should have been nicer to Ceres. I’m not saying that you all need to prostrate yourselves for every guy who comes along with a list of things women should do to avoid rape.

    I’m saying that, just like I can call my mom a bitch but you can’t, its not my place to say what a woman should or shouldn’t do, but it is my place (as a guy) to say what a guy should or shouldn’t do.

  313. J
    J December 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm |

    Thank you for apologizing, Drew.

    You are correct that it is not your place to say what women should/not do. This includes telling them how to interpret the behavior of men they encounter. No, we don’t know for certain exactly what a guy is consciously thinking when he behaves as if he feels entitled to women’s bodies/attention/etc. (Nor do you, I must point out. Your earlier comments for the most part were phrased generally, not “some men,” making those comments sound – to me at least – like “you’re wrong *I* know what men are like, you don’t!” rather than something more nuanced.) But going from “this guy is behaving *as if* he feels entitled” to “this guy thinks he is entitled” is quite a reasonable leap – one we all make everyday regarding other behaviors. Beyond the fact that the effect on women is the same no matter why the guy is doing it, how about also acknowledging that women – for whom this is lived experience, with all kinds of guys – can in fact at times be correct in their interpretations?

    Each time you responded with “but I’m not saying XYZ, I’m just saying guys don’t think that way” it communicated to me that you were not concerned with the lived experience of women OR with the possibility that they may, in fact, be correct now and then and that you are not necessarily an expert on everyone’s experience. It seemed as if you were entirely concerned with coming out on top, proving yourself right. It may not have been what you intended, but that was the effect. Along the way you sounded to me as if you were trying (perhaps unintentionally) to explain women’s experiences to them and were discounting their knowledge and ability to interpret behavior. You could not simply say, “Maybe you’re right, and some guys at least do think this way.” When challenged on this, instead of stopping and thinking or trying to really listen, you then derailed with an argument that, within this context, was basically semantic in function. (“He acts as if he thinks X” often becomes “He thinks X” – a shortcut that is not always wrong, especially when dealing with repeated behavior.)

    You also repeatedly moved attention to the feelings of men, in a thread devoted specifically to the impact of things upon women and their feelings. Whether or not you were trying to say that they are equivalent, your action of shifting attention indicated that hypothetical men’s feelings were, in that moment, more important to you than the feelings of actual women you were interacting with. *This* is precisely the kind of crap that shuts out women’s voices and tells them that they are not worthy of attention.

    I’m telling you all of this so that you will have some input to reflect upon. I’m glad that you stepped back, thought, and apologized, but it wasn’t clear to me that you fully realized all of the problematic aspects of your earlier comments.

  314. The Soapbox: On Rape, Alcohol, Victim-Blaming & Feminist In-Fighting |

    [...] of the sanctimonious women’s studies set”) and an article entitled “Girl-On-Girl Victim Blaming Action (Or The Most Terrible Time Of The Year,” by Jaclyn Friedman. Friedman is the co-author of Yes Means Yes: Visions Of Female Sexual [...]

  315. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 4:46 am |

    You’re right, J. Thank you.

  316. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 8:04 am |

    I disagree with Drew that, at least from personal experience, this had anything to do with wanting to pick up women, but not knowing how, and therefore going overboard or some such shit. The conventional feminist analysis that it is about power is correct. I’m not sure if we literally thought of “women’s bodies as communal property,” I mean, that’s pretty verbose and most of us weren’t exactly intellectuals. But I’m pretty sure none of us thought this behavior was gonna lead to any sorts of dates or sex. We did think it was funny. We did get a kick out of seeing the women look uncomfortable or angry. It was a power rush because we could say whatever we wanted, and there was never any negative consequences for us. We enjoyed the homosocial bonding over our shared misogyny and our belief that this behavior was justified by the (not actually true) fact that women had power over us in society, sex, dating, relationships, etc. So we were sort of “striking back” against them. Indiscrimately harrassing women (they were all the same, after all) in retaliation for the crimes of all womankind.

    This, or at least part of this. Generally speaking, the men who harass me aren’t trying to pick me up or even talk to me. The interaction is designed to end in a blind alley. They’re trying to get a rise out of me. And yeah, a lot of guys harass me a lot more when I seem busy, hurried, harried, or upset. It’s not an aggressive pickup. It’s more diffuse aggression. I don’t know if I buy that it’s retaliatory for most guys, but it’s definitely counting coup. And saying that these men are interested in getting to know me, or even getting to sleep with me, misreads the dynamic completely. This, then, is why I disagree with definitions of “rape culture” that fold men’s entitlement into transactional sexual gratification. It’s about establishing superiority.

    Also…the idea that women use sex as a reward for good male behavior is offensive and misogynist. Women have sex because they enjoy intimacy and pleasure, okay? They don’t usually go to bed with men to treat the man. They do it because they like and want that man.

  317. J
    J December 22, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    Piny – word on everything you said. Sure, there may be occasions when a man harrasses a woman because he feels entitled to sex with her, and so pressures/tries to pressure her into it despite an initial ‘no.’ But there is also harrassment meant purely as an expression of power, an exhibition of their supposed entitlement to women’s bodies, time, attention, etc.

    piny:
    Girl-on-Girl Victim-Blaming Action (or, The Most Terrible Time of the Year)
    Also…the idea that women use sex as a reward for good male behavior is offensive and misogynist. Women have sex because they enjoy intimacy and pleasure, okay? They don’t usually go to bed with men to treat the man. They do it because they like and want that man.

    QFFT.

    Drew – I’m glad you didn’t take my comment as an attack; thank you for handling this well. We all mess up sometimes and get defensive, but you’ve handled it better than many commenters I have seen. Kudos for that.

    Sheelzebub is right, the root problem is patriarchy. Sure, socialization like that you describe doesn’t help men, and feeling the need to “say something” may play a surface role in *some* instances of harrassment, but it is not the root cause of this behavior. Also, the behavior itself when looked at critically reveals the role of patriarchy here too: why socialize men to display *that* behavior? It’s teaching men that they can, and in fact need to, visibly and verbally assert their dominance over women. That they have the right to look at women as objects, to expect certain behavior from them, to comment on their bodies, to demand sex from them, and to assert themselves over women, and that exercising this supposed right is essential to being a man.

    Entitlement lies at the root of the very behavior you describe. It’s not just a matter of consciously thinking “I have the right to do XYZ” – it’s such a fundamental part of the mindset men are socialized into by patriarchal society that it doesn’t *need* to be conscious. It’s rendered invisible because it’s assumed to be natural, it’s a fundamental part of the worldview men pick up from how they are taught to relate to women and doesn’t need to be spelled out. The hard part is *making it visible* so that men can stand back and reflect on it, and hopefully work to disengage it from their thinking.

  318. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 11:28 am |

    piny: Also…the idea that women use sex as a reward for good male behavior is offensive and misogynist. Women have sex because they enjoy intimacy and pleasure, okay? They don’t usually go to bed with men to treat the man. They do it because they like and want that man.

    I did not mean for my comments about some women using sex transactionally to be representative of all women, or even of a common mindset (to varying degrees) of women. Some women do use sex as a reward or punishment. As another commenter pointed out, it happens sometimes because women feel that is the only thing they have in the relationship, so it’s all they have to exercise any control.

    I did not bring the issue up to bash women or make unreasonable claims. As yet another commenter pointed out, I was misunderstanding the term “rape culture”. I had taken it to mean (more or less) “Social systems and habits that lead to rape.” I get now that “rape culture” deals with the accepting, condoning, and rationalization of rape.

    Also, I was not saying something to the effect of “Women get raped because they use sex to control men, its their own fault.” The argument I was making was “Sex is often objectified, by both sexes (of which an example is the reward/punishment model), which is unhealthy and can lead men to identifying with sex as an object, and therefore make them less likely to understand the severity of rape (such as, say, getting a girl drunk so she’ll sleep with him).”

  319. J
    J December 22, 2011 at 11:52 am |

    @Drew – sex itself may be objectified, which, yes, is unhealthy for all. However, I don’t think this necessarily rules out the objectification of women by men. Rather, the interaction of both may contribute to the problem, in my view.

  320. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm |

    J: Entitlement lies at the root of the very behavior you describe. It’s not just a matter of consciously thinking “I have the right to do XYZ” – it’s such a fundamental part of the mindset men are socialized into by patriarchal society that it doesn’t *need* to be conscious. It’s rendered invisible because it’s assumed to be natural, it’s a fundamental part of the worldview men pick up from how they are taught to relate to women and doesn’t need to be spelled out. The hard part is *making it visible* so that men can stand back and reflect on it, and hopefully work to disengage it from their thinking.

    Good post.

    I think thats a fantastic way to frame it: What gives a guy the right to make a girl feel unsafe? Moreover, why isn’t he considering that he’s making her unsafe, and that its a legitimate concern for her (rather than the harmless prank he may think it is).

    I apologize for any way I’ve “derailed” this thread – these are good issues to talk about, though, and I haven’t had many forums on which to discuss them.

    I agree that it is patriarchy. I think a major part of the stew, more broadly, though, is the “sex divide” (for lack of a better term). Its the idea that men are on one team, and women are on the other. Of course, if people are conditioned to believe that they are somehow pitted against the opposite sex, they will do what they can to ‘win’.

    Of course a problem with the “harassment” exchange we had was the example I was thinking of (generally nice guy misses clues that girl isnt interested) as opposed to what the other commenters were talking about (yelling obscene things, unwanted touching, etc). My problem there is that I was talking about the guys probable thought process in one situation, while they were talking about his probabl thought process (or, at least, showcased attitude) in another. In the case(s) I was speaking about, though, part of the problem is that, for a guy to back off a girl, is often seen as “losing”.

    I think the economic theory of sex is really interesting. From what I gather, you basically have each individual trying to increase their personal “value”. A mans value is in how many women he can bed, a womans value is in how many men she can attract but not sleep with. For either side, we’re conditioned to see other people as a means to be used for our own gains. If a man wins (gets sex) the woman loses. If a woman wins (flirts but doesn’t have sex), the man loses.

    I think working towards moving away from the “men vs women” model and more toward a “men and women” model would be helpful in eliminating patriarchy. What do you think?

    I feel this is related to the topic at hand because (I think) it is part of the culture that leads to sexual harassment and rape. I apologize if it seems like a derail, or if it is, in fact, a derail.

  321. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm |

    J: @Drew – sex itself may be objectified, which, yes, is unhealthy for all. However, I don’t think this necessarily rules out the objectification of women by men. Rather, the interaction of both may contribute to the problem, in my view.

    I didn’t mean to imply that men don’t objectify women. I’m sorry if it seemed like that was my intent. I was, like you said, pointing out another aspect of the situation which contributes to the problem.

  322. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm |

    Also, I was not saying something to the effect of “Women get raped because they use sex to control men, its their own fault.” The argument I was making was “Sex is often objectified, by both sexes (of which an example is the reward/punishment model), which is unhealthy and can lead men to identifying with sex as an object, and therefore make them less likely to understand the severity of rape (such as, say, getting a girl drunk so she’ll sleep with him).”

    I also disagree with that other commenter; I don’t think this is such a common problem, and I don’t think reward/punishment is a system women use. I think that sex, generally speaking, is offered by people who trust each other. People definitely withhold intimacy from partners they don’t trust, and so women in and out of relationships certainly do offer intimacy to partners who treat them well, but this is not the same as a transactional attitude towards sex. Women do not trade sex for good treatment or good behavior; they don’t treat sex as something that men may get out of them. Women enjoy sex themselves, and engage in it for its own sake.

    Women are exposed to the idea that men are rapacious, and internalize a social obligation to accomodate that attitude. That doesn’t mean they think of themselves or their bodies in a mercenary way, and it doesn’t mean they feel either obligated to offer sex as a reward or privileged to negotiate a trade-off. It’s just not how disadvantaged groups view their position in a hierarchy.

    Aside from all that, I don’t think it has anything to do with male entitlement either. I think that male entitlement exists independent of women’s behavior towards men, because it is not a learned or rational response. Women do not teach men to view them as cold-blooded fellatio exchequers, and can’t really teach them not to.

  323. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

    piny: Aside from all that, I don’t think it has anything to do with male entitlement either. I think that male entitlement exists independent of women’s behavior towards men, because it is not a learned or rational response. Women do not teach men to view them as cold-blooded fellatio exchequers, and can’t really teach them not to.

    Exchequelers is a damn good word. Also, this is a very good point. Thank you.

  324. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    I agree that it is patriarchy. I think a major part of the stew, more broadly, though, is the “sex divide” (for lack of a better term). Its the idea that men are on one team, and women are on the other. Of course, if people are conditioned to believe that they are somehow pitted against the opposite sex, they will do what they can to ‘win’.

    That is, this is not right. Men and women are described as different kinds of people in a sexist society, but they’re not on opposite teams. This is because there aren’t two teams. It’s patriarchy: everyone is on the men’s team, and everyone is supposed to work together to ensure that men win. Women are encouraged to accomodate patriarchal visions of purity and patriarchal priorities of sex–they are burdened, in other words, with responsibility for male control and male desire. They’re not encouraged to go out and get some, whether we define that as social capital, economic capital, or sexual gratification. The only transient benefit they get from rules governing conduct towards women is actually a side effect of a system that sees women as property under patriarchy. The only goals they can score are own goals.

  325. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm |

    I said something about thinking that miscommunication is a big part of the problem men and women have in relating to each other. Thomas, I think, mistook (in a fit of unintentional irony) what I said as “Sometimes men dont understand when a woman is saying no”. I meant it a bit more broadly, though.

    In the case of harassment, as LotusBen described, it sounded like (please correct me if I’m wrong, Ben), Ben had the attitude that it wasn’t a big deal. Akin to, say, throwing a waterballoon at someone – sure, they dont like it, but its not like any *real* harm was done, it’s just a harmless prank. But from a womans perspective, it’s anything but harmless. It’s legitmately scary, demeaning, and hurtful.

    Or you have the typical “short skirt” scenario: a common expression among men seems to be the idea that “She’s wearing a short skirt to get attention, I’m just giving her what she wants”. When, in reality, there could be numerous reasons she’s wearing that skirt that DON’T include “I want strangers to show me attention.”

    Or, even, for instance, flirting. I cannot say that I know this, because I’m not a woman, but its a perspective I’ve put on flirting that has allowed me to be more comfortable with it: women seem to view flirting as an activity onto itself, while men view flirting as a means to sex. This perspective is directly related to the sexual economics theory, where a night of flirting that doesn’t result in sex is a “win” for a woman but a “loss” for a man. So when a man is flirted with, he interprets it as “I want to have sex with you”, when, in reality, the message can just be “I want to flirt with you.” So I think *in some cases* its not that the man feels “entitled” to sex, so much as he thinks he’s been told the girl wants sex.

    I’m not saying women shouldn’t flirt, or women shouldnt wear short skirts, or women need to “understand that the guy isn’t trying to be scary.” I’m saying better communcation between men and women is, I think, an integral part of working through these problems.

    This is the part where I blush, a bit, because I realize that the commonality in each of these examples is a reflection of the fact that men aren’t listening to women. Sure, there is an element of women not seeing it from the guys perspective, but the dangers there just aren’t similiar (a woman “coming off as a bitch” isn’t nearly the problem of a man making a woman feel unsafe). I really wish I had seen that earlier, and I apologize that I didn’t.

  326. Andie
    Andie December 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    Drew: women seem to view flirting as an activity onto itself, while men view flirting as a means to sex.

    Some view ‘flirting’ as ‘being friendly’.

  327. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm |

    piny: Women are encouraged to accomodate patriarchal visions of purity and patriarchal priorities of sex–they are burdened, in other words, with responsibility for male control and male desire.

    This is an honest question with no ulterior motive or insinuations: Do you mean this in the sense that men are free to express their sexuality and women are considered responsible for directing and controlling that sexuality?

    i.e. the “Men are mindless beasts, its up to women to civilize them” trope?

  328. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm |

    Well, it’s complicated–that is, women under patriarchy are conditioned into this system that gives their bodies a kind of proprietary value, including in sexual, romantic, and reproductive capacities. But it’s not as simple as saying that they can trade on that, either in a relationship or when seeking one. Because–okay, this is why I kind of hate economic models for bodies and sexuality anyway–that proprietary value isn’t vested in the woman herself. Historically, it was something the woman held in custody for her male relatives and then her husband. And for patriarchal society itself. It was improper for a woman herself to take an explicitly mercenary attitude towards her own body, especially with respect to the male partner she was supposed to eventually offer herself to.

    So even if you wave away all of the complications of intimacy and trust, it’s not as simple as to say that women may withhold sex. You can’t have transactions between two people who aren’t really partners, especially when one of them traditionally derived social value not only from her status as property but from her willingness to commit to the idea that she was property.

    We don’t stone adulteresses here anymore, but those values are still somewhat in force. And thus, women don’t exactly think of sex as something to be traded. Patriarchally speaking, there are words for women who offer sexual services in exchange for other things, and they’re not very nice.

  329. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm |

    Piny, I dont mean to say that you’re advocating that trope, I mean to ask if you’re referencing it.

  330. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm |

    piny: You can’t have transactions between two people who aren’t really partners, especially when one of them traditionally derived social value not only from her status as property but from her willingness to commit to the idea that she was property.

    I feel like this is a sentence I should really try to fully absorb. Thank you.

  331. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm |

    This is an honest question with no ulterior motive or insinuations: Do you mean this in the sense that men are free to express their sexuality and women are considered responsible for directing and controlling that sexuality?

    It’s more complicated than that, and I don’t agree with the bit about men being animals; that part isn’t necessary to the standard, and is actually a relatively new stereotype. The idea is this: male desire, like everything else pertaining to men, is of paramount importance; female desire, like everything else pertaining to women, is relatively unimportant. In a nutshell, sexism. Therefore, sexual morality is based on protecting what men want and ignoring what women want. And both sexes have to follow that basic rule. That means that, yes, women are pressured to define both restraint and gratification in male terms.

    And this is why the team framework just doesn’t work; it would make as much sense to think of racism as Team White People against Team Everyone Else. Jim Crow was not about pitting two groups against each other, but about establishing one group on top; so are sexist rules governing interactions between men and women. We are on a hierarchy, not in competition.

  332. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm |

    And, um, you’re welcome. Thank you for being so respectful; I appreciate it.

  333. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    piny: It’s more complicated than that, and I don’t agree with the bit about men being animals; that part isn’t necessary to the standard, and is actually a relatively new stereotype.

    I dont know, I always got the impression that it was implied. “Of course men do nothing but chase skirts, they’re horny beasts” or “Women need to be careful because men are mindless savages the second they see breasts”.

    piny: We are on a hierarchy, not in competition.

    I agree that it is a hierarchy. I think you’re saying the same thing ladygoose was: that to call it a competition implies that there is a level of equality (which is actually lacking).

    I just think, in a lot of cases, the conclusion that “Men are superior” first starts with the premise that “It’s men against women”, followed by “Men seem to be winning”, then, “Therefore, men are superior”.

  334. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    Way to quote correctly, Drew.

  335. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm |

    Heya Drew. . .thanks for sticking with this.

    Just wanted to chime in here WRT flirting–I flirt with men and women, although I’m (pretty much) straight. Also, there are men who have flirted with me pretty hard but never did so with the hope of sex–they are just flirts.

    Also, you all, now I’ve got a visual in my head now of a pink desk with a sign over it that says Exchequer of the Blow Job.

  336. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

    I agree that it is a hierarchy. I think you’re saying the same thing ladygoose was: that to call it a competition implies that there is a level of equality (which is actually lacking).

    Pretty much–that is, leverage doesn’t really work within an unequal system. When one group has more power, one group will tend to be able to drive any negotiation towards their terms. And usually, the disadvantaged group can’t just go, “Okay, I give you x if you give me y,” because the advantaged group can just demand or even just expect y. I think entitlement is a better rubric than leverage.

    I also believe that intimacy wins out most times–I think that people tend to connect to each other on a human level in relationships, even when inequality is much more pronounced. But even when they don’t, I don’t think that women really have the sense of entitlement that would give them the privilege of withholding or controlling an aspect of the relationship on that level. This isn’t to say that women don’t make decisions in their personal lives, just that sex as reward for good male behavior accords men a status that doesn’t track with patriarchal attitudes towards men.

  337. J
    J December 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

    Drew: I just think, in a lot of cases, the conclusion that “Men are superior” first starts with the premise that “It’s men against women”, followed by “Men seem to be winning”, then, “Therefore, men are superior”.

    I disagree. Maybe some individual men interpret things that way (I haven’t personally encountered any who indicated they thought that way, so no clue there). However, as regards patriarchy itself, no. Patriarchy starts with the simple assumption that men are inherently better, more important, than women. Rationalizations for this may be tacked on as “justifications” (see, for example, the old idea that women don’t have souls), as means for getting the system to continue every time a possible challnge is mounted. But they come later. It starts with the position (conscious or not) that men matter and not-men do not matter.

  338. J
    J December 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm |

    That is to say, it’s not a logical process. It starts with an illogical assumption privileging one kind of person over another (or rather, over all other kinds of people, since gender is not in actuality limited only to man and woman).

  339. LC
    LC December 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm |

    I’m kind of swamped at work, but I’m really very happy that this conversation seems to have kept going in a productive (if sometimes strained) manner.

    I will also add that I am notorious for being a shameless flirt who flirts for the sake of flirting, despite being a man. I have absolutely no idea where the theory that a night of flirting and no sex is a “win” for a woman comes from. Like I said, I flirt because I enjoy flirting. That is different from “hitting on” someone. (I’ve never really liked that phrase.)

    There is REALLY no gender breakdown on flirting. I’m quite sure of that.

  340. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    I agree with LC. Women also often flirt because they’re trying to get someone to sleep with them. And we’ve already talked about social flirtation from men. That’s what catcalls are. They’re not friendly, exactly, but they are flirting as communication rather than sexual strategy. If they were goal-oriented, they wouldn’t be designed to appeal to at least some women. And I know a lot of men who flirt in a bantering way.

    Women are often socialized to be nice, friendly, and receptive–and to manage male egos–but that doesn’t mean that they’re trying to attract but not sleep with men. Sex is something most people want. It isn’t something that men try to get out of women and women consider giving men. It’s something people negotiate with each other for mutual benefit.

    The problem with applying “economics” to gender is that it’s a shallow application of economic theory. As any disadvantaged group could tell you, value is not the same as wealth or power; value without power is not strength. “Sexual economics” uses only one transactional analogy: business to business, two relative equals negotiating trade goods. Men and women are not equals under patriarchy. It isn’t that men own all the money and women own all the blowjobs; it’s that men have more power in relationships men and women arrange for shared reasons.

    That’s why “sexual economic theory” is so baffling and infuriating to feminists: it ignores the power disparities inherent in sexist systems, and thus frames sex in simplistic transactional terms that don’t hold. In effect, it forces a demand-supply valuation on sex and romance: if men want it, women must therefore have it. Hence the idea that flirting is something men do to get sex and women do to…not get sex.

  341. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    LC: I have absolutely no idea where the theory that a night of flirting and no sex is a “win” for a woman comes from.

    From the idea that men increase their perceived value by having as many sexual partners as they can, while women increasue their perceived valute by attracting as many men as possible but not having sex with them (for a woman, its both a sin to be ‘unattractive’ and a sin to be a ‘slut’).

  342. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm |

    There’s no single set of behaviors that will make a woman just attractive enough, and so there’s no way that a woman can nail down a concrete value for herself. A woman can also be attacked for being a prude or a tease. We don’t generalize a woman’s perceived value in the way you mean; women can’t trade on sex as though it were wealth.

  343. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    piny: There’s no single set of behaviors that will make a woman just attractive enough, and so there’s no way that a woman can nail down a concrete value for herself. A woman can also be attacked for being a prude or a tease.

    I can see how this “no win” situation plays into the idea of male entitlement (“Shes a tease, she deserved it” or “She’s a prude, she just needs to loosen up a bit” or “She’s a slut, she probably liked it” or “She’s ugly, she was probably just happy to get some attention”).

    I’m not saying any of these are reasonable assertions (they sure as hell aren’t) or that the majority of men conciously think this way. Just that I can see how they could be used as a part of rape culture.

  344. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    I understand. And yes, they absolutely are.

  345. LC
    LC December 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm |

    Drew: From the idea that men increase their perceived value by having as many sexual partners as they can, while women increasue their perceived valute by attracting as many men as possible but not having sex with them (for a woman, its both a sin to be ‘unattractive’ and a sin to be a ‘slut’).

    But I know of very few human beings who actually believe or behave like this.

  346. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm |

    LC: ButIknowofveryfewhumanbeingswhoactuallybelieveorbehavelikethis.

    You havent heard men brag about how many sexual partners they’ve had? Or heard men belittle each other for having too few sexual partners, being a virgin, or being “afraid of sex”?

    You haven’t heard women call each other sluts? Or ugly? Or men refer to women they judge as having too many sexual parters sluts or whores?

    You haven’t come in contact with the notion that a woman having too many sexual partners, or being “too easy” (read: not making men work hard enough to get sex from her) ‘don’t respect themselves’?

  347. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm |

    I don’t think you have to dispute the fact of slut-shaming or sexual double standards to dispute the free-market rationality idea being imposed on them by well-intentioned amateur sociologists. Women are definitely punished for being sexual (or too sexual or not sexual enough), but the point of that is not to assign a specific value to a woman–or even a behavior. The point is to control women; they’re being punished for being women. And although men are praised for being studs, they’re also praised for being stable family men–or, sometimes, archbishops.

    People don’t really treat sex like a market. I think that’s what people are calling inhuman: the idea that men or women can be sexual capitalists, or that they really go around assigning value to others based on their ability to get laid.

  348. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    piny: I think that’s what people are calling inhuman: the idea that men or women can be sexual capitalists, or that they really go around assigning value to others based on their ability to get laid.

    I disagree. I can think of several examples of men famous for their ability to get laid (Hugh Hefner, Wilt Chamberlain, the guy from The Game, the guy with the fuzzy hat from that other book that was just like The Game).

  349. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub December 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    OK, I’m confused, Drew, how is that like sexual capitalism? They’re getting praise for fucking around, but solid family men get praised for being solid family men.

  350. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    Three of the four are literally sexual capitalists: they present themselves not as dudes who have a lot of sex, but as dudes who will give you sex and help you figure out how to have a lot of sex. They’re sexual performers as well as entrepreneurs. They’re not really impressive because people want to sleep with them (or even because they’re generally attractive) but because they’re skilled manipulators. You can put sexual celebrities like Heidi Fleiss and Traci Lords in this category.

    Wilt Chamberlain (and Wayne Beatty, et al.) are legendary for their ability to get laid, but it doesn’t actually buy them a lot of social prestige. They’re dirty jokes. And we don’t think of these guys as especially attractive male celebrities because they bedded half of Hollywood; their sexual histories don’t make them sexier. All of your examples are as notorious as they are famous.

    None of these people have especially high status as partners–no woman thinks, Ooooh, I wish I could marry a man like Wilt Chamberlain! If only Magic would sweep me off my feet!

  351. fearfull
    fearfull December 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    Drew: You havent heard men brag about how many sexual partners they’ve had? Or heard men belittle each other for having too few sexual partners, being a virgin, or being “afraid of sex”?

    Heh, I don’t know about you, but I get / have been shamed for that stuff FAR more by women than men. Actually it’s pretty common I get hit with comments like that from women.

  352. piny
    piny December 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm |

    Eep. Warren Beatty.

  353. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm |

    Sheelzebub: OK, I’m confused, Drew, how is that like sexual capitalism? They’re getting praise for fucking around, but solid family men get praised for being solid family men.

    I think it’s like sexual capitalism because it presents sex as a “thing men want” rather than an “act people share”. So when these men are getting a lot of this “thing”, they are being ‘better’ (have a higher value) than the men who are unable to get that thing.

    The fact that solid family men are also praised, I think, still works within that framework – they’re praised because, despite the obvious fact that they want to be running around bedding lots of women, they are doing the “right thing”. They’re showing ‘self control’ and being ‘civilized’.

    Note: the use of obvious in this comment was entirely sarcastic. No actual uses of the word obvious were harmed in the making of this comment.

  354. Drew
    Drew December 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm |

    piny: Three of the four are literally sexual capitalists: they present themselves not as dudes who have a lot of sex, but as dudes who will give you sex and help you figure out how to have a lot of sex. They’re sexual performers as well as entrepreneurs. They’re not really impressive because people want to sleep with them (or even because they’re generally attractive) but because they’re skilled manipulators. You can put sexual celebrities like Heidi Fleiss and Traci Lords in this category.
    Wilt Chamberlain (and Wayne Beatty, et al.) are legendary for their ability to get laid, but it doesn’t actually buy them a lot of social prestige. They’re dirty jokes. And we don’t think of these guys as especially attractive male celebrities because they bedded half of Hollywood; their sexual histories don’t make them sexier. All of your examples are as notorious as they are famous.
    None of these people have especially high status as partners–no woman thinks, Ooooh, I wish I could marry a man like Wilt Chamberlain! If only Magic would sweep me off my feet!

    Good post. I’m really enjoying our exchanges, Piny. You make a lot of good points.

    Totally an aside, but, is Magic the fuzzy hat guys name?

  355. Cara
    Cara December 23, 2011 at 2:53 am |

    However, people told me that there are things that I can do to prevent my shit from getting stolen in the future. Locking my car door is a start. I know now to be extra careful to keep my laptop under the seat, lock the car door, maybe even get some onstar for it. I do everything in my power to keep my stuff safe. Is it foolproof? absolutely not. Did i know to do that from the start? absolutely not. It’s because someone had the common sense to tell me ways to reduce my risk.

    Oh, what utter nonsense. As if women and girls really need more of this “education” spouted at them. Do you genuinely think these ludicrous, sputtering “But…but…drinking! With boys! Danger! Danger!” speeches are a) helpful, b) educational, or c) NECESSARY!!?!

    What person older than 12 REALLY thinks girls AREN’T FED THIS CRAP FROM THE TIME THEY CAN UNDERSTAND SPEECH?

    Sheesh.

  356. Drew
    Drew December 23, 2011 at 3:36 am |

    Cara: Oh, what utter nonsense. As if women and girls really need more of this “education” spouted at them. Do you genuinely think these ludicrous, sputtering “But…but…drinking! With boys! Danger! Danger!” speeches are a) helpful, b) educational, or c) NECESSARY!!?!
    What person older than 12 REALLY thinks girls AREN’T FED THIS CRAP FROM THE TIME THEY CAN UNDERSTAND SPEECH?
    Sheesh.

    I said things like this before I really attempted to understand the severity of the impact of sexual assault on the victim.

  357. Drew
    Drew December 23, 2011 at 4:16 am |

    I think – I think some groups of people have experiences that make them sensitive to certain issues, and some groups have experiences that make them insensitive towards those same issues. The dominant group experience breeds insensitivity.

    I think most people, from either group, don’t understand that what they see is so much different from what the other person sees. They know their experience, and see that as “real” and, on some level, assume that everyone else must know that their perspective is the real one.

    On another comment thread, LotusBen described how he had harassed some women (years ago). He said that, to him, it was more or less harmless fun (from what I gathered). I think we can reasonably assume that, to the women who were being harassed, it was scary, and demeaning, and really quite harmful.

    I think (let me stress that this is all just what I think) that, to some extent, while he was doing that, LotusBen thought that the women *must* have known that it was just a prank. She *must* have known that she was actually safe, that he wasn’t going to harm her or anything. And I think, to any of those women, LotusBen *must* have known that what he was doing was scary and demeaning and harmful.

    This goes back to what we had discussed earlier with the difference between “I feel” and “you think”. It has been playing at the back of my mind because I think misdiagnosing the cause of the problem can lead to improper treatment. If LotusBen really wasn’t thinking “This womans body is communal property”, then saying to him “Look man, that womans body isnt communal property” isn’t likely to get him to change his behaviors — it’s more likely to get a reaction of “Yeah, of course, I didn’t think that anyway. I was just having fun.” If he really does think it’s just harmless fun, getting him to see that its *not* just harmless fun for the women involved may be more likely to alter how he acts.

    But, the thing is, I don’t blame him for being insensitive. Because I understand that his experience, as a guy, is one that breeds insensitivity toward issues like street harassment. I’m not saying it was okay for him to do that, or any of the “What about teh menz” stuff. I’m saying that because I believe the first step toward getting people to change behaviors is to frame the situation not as “This person is a bad person”, but “This person is doing a bad thing”.

    I’m certainly not saying “You ladies need to be more sensitive and try to see it from the guys point of view”. Not at all. You all have every right to express intense emotions on these subjects, even if someone takes it as an “attack” (Ceres). Its good that you have a place where you dont have to shut up and listen – and if that means that, when I come here, I have to shut up and listen, so be it.

    I’m saying, I guess, again, that better communcation between people is a big part of working on these problems. Getting men to see that things are totally different from a womans perspective, I think, is a good place to start.

  358. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. December 23, 2011 at 5:10 am |

    @Drew,

    What you’re dancing around there is empathy. Yeah, privileged people often don’t demonstrate it and consequently they hurt people that they didn’t explicitly intend to harm. Part of privilege is being able to walk around *without* considering other people’s feelings. That’s not okay…on any level…and people who do it need to knock it the fuck off.

  359. Deepika
    Deepika December 23, 2011 at 5:17 am |

    drew, read again what lotusben said:

    “We did get a kick out of seeing the women look uncomfortable or angry. It was a power rush because we could say whatever we wanted, and there was never any negative consequences for us. … So we were sort of “striking back” against them. Indiscrimately harrassing women (they were all the same, after all) in retaliation for the crimes of all womankind.”

    it wasn’t just a harmless prank to them – they knew what they were doing was making women extremely uncomfortable, and not in a ha-ha-made-you-look kind of way. he specifically mentions the “power rush” and lack of “negative consequences.” and note the words used: “striking back” “harassing women” — they knew it was not just a prank, and they knew the women did not perceive it that way.

    so when you say:

    “If he really does think it’s just harmless fun, getting him to see that its *not* just harmless fun for the women involved may be more likely to alter how he acts.”

    i disagree. the fact that it wasn’t harmless fun was what got him, and still gets thousands of other, off in the first place.

    maybe what you’re saying applies to SOME men – but none discussed on this thread. so why do you keep derailing to these poor, misunderstood dears who just want to be luuuvvved?

    “Getting men to see that things are totally different from a womans perspective, I think, is a good place to start.”

    seriously? a good place to start?? you mean feminists haven’t even started this yet? wtf?! well then come on ladeez, what are we waiting for – we’ve finally got a plan of action from our friendly neighborhood dudebro!

    drew, i reckon it is time for you to, as you say, “shut up and listen.”

  360. piny
    piny December 23, 2011 at 7:53 am |

    Totally an aside, but, is Magic the fuzzy hat guys name?

    Yes–the tactic is called “peacocking,” intentionally dressing in a ridiculous way to attract attention.

  361. matlun
    matlun December 23, 2011 at 8:24 am |

    Kristen J.: @Drew,

    What you’re dancing around there is empathy. Yeah, privileged people often don’t demonstrate it and consequently they hurt people that they didn’t explicitly intend to harm. Part of privilege is being able to walk around *without* considering other people’s feelings. That’s not okay…on any level…and people who do it need to knock it the fuck off.

    I guess it depends on what you mean with “considering other peoples’ feelings”.

    For example, almost any meaningful discussion would upset some people. There is little point if you are only saying things that are anodyne and uncontroversial enough not to upset anyone.

    The question is when, not if, it is Ok to hurt the feelings of others.

    A question which is very apropos the original discussion here which was about whether it is Ok to give out safety advice even if it can feel like victim blaming.

  362. Drew
    Drew December 23, 2011 at 11:05 am |

    Deepika: drew, i reckon it is time for you to, as you say, “shut up and listen.”

    Okay.

  363. LotusBen
    LotusBen December 23, 2011 at 11:24 am |

    Well I see people are debating the meaning of something I said. That’s always fun! Well–you’re both wrong!

    Seriously though, it’s a bit hard to remember what I was *really* thinking back then because my perspective is so different now. But Deepika is right it wasn’t just a harmless prank for us; we were being willfully callous, and there was an element of sadism to it. That said, I’d agree with Drew that we really didn’t understand what it was like for the women (or at least I didn’t). I seem to remember always thinking they were “overreacting” if they looked upset about what we were doing. So even though I was trying to make them upset; I didn’t really understand why they were upset and thought it was stupid of them to be upset. I eventually stopped the street harrassment, partially out of guilt (even as I had enjoyed it I still had felt conflicted and guilty about it), partially just because I drifted away from the group of friends who were my collaboraters. But it wasn’t until a couple years later I fully began to realize how bad what I’d done was. It wasn’t until I read feminist blogs, actually, that I learned how frequent it was for women to experience things like being creepily hit on in public all the time, being told to “smile,” being yelled at, harrassed, wolf whistled, etc. The couple times in my life I’d been harrassed, personally, by a bunch of guys driving by in a car, it was unpleasant, but I wasn’t that upset because I could just write it off as a bizarre and random incident. For me, such incidents weren’t part of a pattern of systematic harrassment that was always at risk of happening when I went out in public. So my privilege had blinded me in a certain sense. Even though I’d known what we were doing was mean, I didn’t realize HOW mean it was until years later, and part of how I came to that realization was learning more about how women experience daily life.

    Just want to say again it makes me really sick to think back on these things I’ve done.

  364. Deepika
    Deepika December 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    lotusben – thanks for the clarification, and for sharing your story.

  365. nobody
    nobody December 24, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    I interpreted the set of rules for preventing rape (don’t wear short skirts, don’t go out unescorted, stay inside after sunset, don’t drink, don’t flirt, etc.) as a set of prescriptives for keeping women safe from blame. Naturally, I then guessed that men raped women to punish them for being “bitches” and “whores” (being too assertive or otherwise being out of line). Of course, I then thought that the only way to stay safe was to be completely submissive and good at all times. If I were assaulted, I would expect other women to blame me as a matter of course. Until my mid-twenties, I expected to be slapped or knocked to the ground for defiance. (NOTE: I was never hit or threatened in my life. I picked this up from American culture.)

    Eventually, I grew out of that line of thinking as far as rape is concerned. I still fear being punished in other contexts whenever I defy authority, especially if that authority is male, for being male, he is of course stronger than me and expects me to defer to him because I am female. (Yes, I know this is not logical or sane, but I still believe this on a visceral level.)

  366. Drew
    Drew December 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

    Honest question: would it be offensive to suggest that, along with the term “victim blaming”, the term “victim focusing” also be used?

    Because, I think, what was happening with me, wasn’t that I was saying “The victim is responsible”, but I was saying “What did the victim do?” And just the fact that my focus was on what the victim did, rather than what the rapist did, was problematic – and, even if it, in an of itself, “victim blaming”, it played into and supported “victim blaming”.

    I think using the term “victim focusing” could, for some, more quickly get them to see what is problematic about their approach to the issue.

    What do you guys think?

  367. Drew
    Drew December 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm |

    That should say “Even if it was not, in and of itself, “victim blaming” …”

  368. Ellie
    Ellie December 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm |

    What about other prevention messages that are aimed at “one gender”? For example, breast cancer prevention? (Men get BC also). A message of prevention does not automatically equal a message that the “victim is at fault.” (For cancer, for rape, for petty theft, etc). A message to one gender, in some cases, is MORE effective, if that gender is the one disproportionately effected by an event (rape or Breast Cancer). Sometimes, prevention is practical. I don’t live a “limited, less fulfilled or smaller life” because I lock my doors and avoid shampoos with parabens in them. My efforts to protect myself from crime or an STD do NOT mean that I accept fault if my purse is stolen or a get the clap. There seems to be an inappropriate linking here of FAULT and PREVENTION. Also, PREVENTION is not the same thing as a SOLUTION.

  369. Ellie
    Ellie December 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Do you have a young daughter or girl in your life? Please think about not only the ways you will empower her (by talking about the way the world SHOULD BE, and giving examples of strong women working to make it a better place) but also how you will help her protect herself, in the WORLD THAT IS – a world that isn’t a safe place. Will she wear a bike helmet or will that make her “world small” and “limit her possibilities”? Will she use the cross-walk at school? Will you teach her that being passed-out drunk at a Frat party isn’t a safe place to be, because your chance of rape just increased by 10?

  370. matlun
    matlun December 25, 2011 at 4:15 am |

    Drew: I think using the term “victim focusing” could, for some, more quickly get them to see what is problematic about their approach to the issue.

    I doubt it. In that scenario the discussion would just become whether “victim focusing” is bad. I think there is a honest difference of opinion here and not just a failure of communication. Changes of wording will change little of substance.

    What will need to end are the cultural tropes of slut shaming and “real” victim blaming (in the classical sense of explicitly dismissing crimes against “impure” women). Once these are not part of the general picture, it will be much easier to discuss these matters. Today, in our current culture, I think it is simply impossible.

  371. Drew
    Drew December 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    So, um…

  372. Cock Care | Rick Perry Claims To Care About "Life" but His Policies Suggest the Opposite

    [...] many rape cases engage complicity on a victim’s part, and that she shouldn’t have been drinking or wearing a brief skirt or operative as a hotel lassie with an iffy immigration status, or whatver a latest forgive is. [...]

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