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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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108 Responses

  1. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova July 27, 2012 at 9:37 am | *

    I think the scariest bit is this one.

    By a serial rapist.

    Who’s not all that remorseful, it would seem.

    Everything he writes is manipulative as hell.

  2. Noadi
    Noadi July 27, 2012 at 9:52 am |

    In a way, some of the posts there make me hopeful. Some of the posters that are expressing how terrible they feel about what they did and the guilt they’ve dealt with for hurting someone else. It reminds me that people can change and empathize with others.

  3. Noadi
    Noadi July 27, 2012 at 10:00 am |

    @Natalia Antonova – I hadn’t read down that far yet, holy shit that guys is scary and cancels out some of the hope for humanity the other posts gave me.

  4. EG
    EG July 27, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    Natalia, would it be at all possible for you to sum up what the serial rapist says? I’m…too frightened to click on the link, sad to say. If it’s not possible, don’t worry about it.

  5. EG
    EG July 27, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    Thank you, Jill.

    I hope he dies painfully and soon.

  6. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte July 27, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    The problem, as that thread demonstrates, is that the only rapists or would-be rapists willing to tell their stories are those who have the most socially acceptable ones, i.e. the guys who got drunk and lust took over. (Though even then, I think they’re fudging a bit on how powerful it feels to dominate another person.) These guys are a tiny minority of sexual assailants. The majority of rapists are unapologetic serial rapists who think women are beneath them and available for abuse. Most rapes, the rapist had a clear idea that the victim said no or opposed the sex, but they didn’t care.

    I worry this will reinforce the myth that not raping someone is hard to do and most rapists are nice guys who just got a little horny. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The one that Natalie links at comment #1 is much closer to how the majority of rapists think. It’s almost never “she said yes and mumbled no later and I didn’t hear, but as soon as she froze up I stopped”. If only that was our problem. :( That’s easier to fix than guys who believe, to quote the more typical rapist, “So, anyways, after a while it became boring to go after the sluts and sorority girls that would easily throw their cunt after you.”

  7. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 27, 2012 at 10:23 am |

    …So can some badass hacker find out who that is and report him? He said it himself, right? He said/she said?

  8. latinist
    latinist July 27, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    I don’t know if anyone even needs this pointed out, based on that summary (I don’t think I have the stomach right now to go read the site itself), that we shouldn’t assume that that guy’s account is entirely honest. I mean, in particular, the part about how he was so good-looking that he slept with so many sorority girls that he got bored of it sounds quite a lot like somebody’s self-serving fantasy, and I wouldn’t rule out at least some of the part about the rapes (or about his later marriage and standing in his community) being fantasy as well.

    Obviously, there’s no interpretation where that guy isn’t a horrible disgusting person, but I just want to caution against taking his facts as necessarily all accurate.

  9. LC
    LC July 27, 2012 at 10:45 am |

    latinist, I had a similar reaction. Mind you, he seems to go on to respond to people (Not those who call him names, though. He finds those boring).

    He said he created a drop account for it, so I’m not sure how much even a hacker could track him down. (I guess if he’s still using his home computer, you could find something.)

  10. mxe354
    mxe354 July 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    I had to stop reading once I stumbled upon some awful victim-blaming comments like questioning whether someone can know if someone is raping another person without verbal consent and advising women to avoid being around drunk men because their libidos are uncontrollable. Reddit is full of shitheads like those people, though, so I can’t say I’m surprised.

    And Christ, that serial rapist story made me sick to my stomach.

  11. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova July 27, 2012 at 11:23 am | *

    Wrt the serial rapist,

    The only part that seemed genuinely off to me is a later comment, in which he describes a “best friend” who helped set him straight and, like, “tackled” him when he saw him try to leave with some girl (this was when our hero was already seeing his future wife, apparently). A bit dramatic, that bit, and possibly embellished or a flat-out lie.

    But the way he describes picking his targets and his general modus operandi – that’s some chilling stuff right there, and it’s very believable.

    And all of those people saying, “Go you! You’ve changed!” are failing to read between the lines, I think.

    And of course there’s a handful of people going, “But that’s not rape! That’s just good game!”

  12. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |

    Normally I click through everything, regardless of trigger warnings. This is one case where, unless someone parses through a story to dial back the storyteller’s arrogance and condescension (like Jill did a few posts ago), I’ll have to pass. :-/

  13. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte July 27, 2012 at 11:50 am |

    @9 & @10: Rapists tend to be narcissists. He probably got laid normal amounts but blew it out of proportion because of his ego. But I believe the story. It comports well with the research showing that most rapists are repeat offenders and that they groom their victims and create situations where they’re unlikely to be caught. They really think it through.

  14. Lauren
    Lauren July 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    they groom their victims and create situations where they’re unlikely to be caught. They really think it through.

    This also jives with clinical narcissism.

  15. Melissa
    Melissa July 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |

    I love Reddit, but I avoid its discussions of rape like the plague. I only got a few comments into this thread before my blood started to boil. But I’m glad other, perhaps more patient feminists are willing to sift through all the crap. Thanks for posting this.

  16. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova July 27, 2012 at 11:59 am | *

    Also, he loves the attention, he loves being able to manipulate people, he loves terrifying and offending them:

    I’m going back to my main account to do normal reddit looking at cats and posting pictures of bacon, and I think it’s kind of funny that no one will ever know if the person they’re talking to on reddit, or someone who moderates their subreddit, is me on my main account… just food for thought.

  17. roymacIII
    roymacIII July 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    I’m with you, Natalia. He claims remorse at the beginning, but he doesn’t sound like someone who actually regrets what he’s done. One commentor pointed out

    He manages to be fucking self-righteous about his story. It reads like this: “I was in control, I was untouchable, I never would have been caught. And despite my invulnerability, I renounced my ways. From this experience, I have grown, and become a better person, look at what I have accomplished.”

    which is very true. He’s not sorry for what he did. He’s fucking bragging about it.

  18. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte July 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

    In comments, he answers some questions. It’s really interesting, and you can find them by Ctrl-F the word “deleted”, which is his handle. He explains how he remorselessly lies to his wife about this, including alienating her from a friend who told her the truth. He also explains how he’s definitely heard other men brag like he does about rape, but most of them aren’t self-aware enough to call it rape. He admits that he still considers raping women, and he basically tries not to go out without his wife so that he’s not tempted. He’s kind of trying to portray it as a compulsion like an addiction, but that’s a bit self-serving. But he’s actually less self-serving in many ways than most guys in that thread who try to shift blame to the victims for not saying no enough. He is upfront that he knew they had signaled no.

  19. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova July 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm | *

    Also, he describes the wife as a real Angel in the House type. You know, she saved him from himself, because of her, he is a Reformed Man. Except she has no idea as to his past – so the wife he allegedly loves is living a lie. And he’s totally cool with that, because anything else would inconvenience him terribly.

    I’ve known a number of men like this. They never change. Change requires at least some form of facing the music. At least to the people you claim to love and have a genuine connection to. After all of these years, the dude is still a manipulator – he’s just gotten better at it.

  20. bleh
    bleh July 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    @ Lauren “also jives with clinical narcissism” Can you say more? Not intending to derail, but what type of victimization is involved for narcissists? Seems like bullying, but I want to be sure.

  21. White Rabbit
    White Rabbit July 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

    Also, he describes the wife as a real Angel in the House type.

    Based on my extensive reading on domestic abuse and pathological narcissism (particularly Lundy Bancroft’s exhaustive literature domestic abuse), that sounds like a huge red flag. He’s putting his wife up on a pedestal, as pathological narcissists are wont to do with their partners early on in relationships. Given the other characteristics this guy has displayed, I would venture that it’s only a matter of time before he starts devaluing and emotionally abusing her – that is, if he hasn’t already.

    Anyway, this is obviously speculation given how little we know about this guy, but I wanted to toss this into the mix, as I have a knee-jerk reaction of wanting to educate others about domestic abuse warning signs.

  22. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb July 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

    I am not an unlocked car with a $50 bill on the seat. I am a human and my vagina isn’t free game if I am drunk.

    My favorite quote on that rather awful thread.

  23. Adaquinn
    Adaquinn July 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm |

    I feel for his wife, not only for being married to a manipulative jerk, but because if he likes it MORE when the women he raped squirmed and indictated no I doubt that’s changed because he’s married.

  24. umami
    umami July 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

    And all of those people saying, “Go you! You’ve changed!”…

    And of course there’s a handful of people going, “But that’s not rape! That’s just good game!”

    FUCK. They’re saying this about the serial rapist whose story you paraphrased? (thank you for that, by the way, I just couldn’t go to that thread.)

    That angers and upsets me more than the rapist’s story itself. The fucking pieces of shit who made those comments, especially of the “good game” variety, I hope something terrible happens to each and every one of them. [specific fantasies redacted.] Redditors are outstandingly disgusting even by “anonymous people on the internet” standards.

    Oh well, at least this thread exists as a simple demonstration of what “rape culture” means, for the benefit of the next troll who starts saying it isn’t a thing.

  25. Chiara
    Chiara July 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    Redditors are outstandingly disgusting even by “anonymous people on the internet” standards.

    i think thats the thing about anonymous internet stuff though

    how many of those people sayn date rape is ‘good game’ actually believe it to be true? probably very few of them, and if they were confronted with a person like that in real life theyd probably think none too highly of them.

    but when people are just having a laugh browsing the internet, especially yr average middle class kids these days with nothing really to care about and an amoral culture, it’s fun for them to just post hateful stuff on the internet, especially if they know it’s gonna get a rise out of other ppl.

    today we know god is dead as they say, and we know evolution has bred us to be killing machines, to kill everything and everyone else in order to make sure our genes are the ones on top. so it’s understandable where these other commenters are coming from. logically they have no reason to be compasionate or emphathetic. i mean dont get me wrong mr serial rapist guy can go die in a hole but I dont think the commenters making their callous jokes and bad people at heart.

  26. Noadi
    Noadi July 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    The majority of rapists are unapologetic serial rapists who think women are beneath them and available for abuse. Most rapes, the rapist had a clear idea that the victim said no or opposed the sex, but they didn’t care.

    That’s a nice story to tell ourselves but not really the case. While some rapist are repeat offenders who don’t care about women, a larger number (even of the repeat offenders) are the ones who convince themselves that “lust took over” and they assault someone they know and may have had plenty of consensual sex with like a girlfriend or spouse. They’ve been fed a toxic message around sexuality and consent, how sex is something men get some women instead of something to be shared.

    This is why a rape culture is such a terrible thing, we’ll probably never get rid of the sociopathic rapists (because they don’t care if they hurt anyone) but the people who do care about women can be reached. That’s why I posted before how some of the stories were hopeful, because some of the men understand why what they did was wrong and that’s a step forward because so many people still think it’s not.

  27. seisy
    seisy July 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

    I seem to remember reading about a study that quizzed a bunch of young college-going men about their sexual histories and partners, and that they found that there was a very small percentage of them who were responsible for a huge number of rapes, and who admitted to such (as long as the word rape wasn’t used). The standard MO was to pick a target, make sure she was drunk enough to pass out, and then rape her, and that this was a calculated, pre-meditated action, as they preferred it to consensual sex. Does anyone remember what the paper/study was? I seem to recall it getting a lot of discussion?

  28. seisy
    seisy July 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  29. Katniss
    Katniss July 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

    I haven’t read the actual thread (just lots of people summarizing on various blogs) so maybe I’m missing something that would change my mind, but I have a really hard time believing that the confessed rapists in that thread saying that they feel remorse actually have changed significantly. To me, being willing to rape a person illustrates a basic and immutable lack of empathy and it’s hard for me to imagine many people recovering from that lack. This might be the fact that I’m a survivor speaking, but I could never have someone tell me “I once was a rapist, but now I’ve changed” and believe them. Crossing that line just labels a person irredeemable to me.

  30. OutrageandSprinkles
    OutrageandSprinkles July 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

    @Katniss, I think that’s completely understandable. Especially since you are a survivor, I mean I don’t think I could ever believe a rapist had changed if I were in your position. I would be willing to bet that a lot of people agree.

    I think for me personally, I could believe that someone who was maybe drunk or high and raped someone could potentially change if A. They recognize it was actually rape, and not just a “misunderstanding”, B. They understand what that means. They understand what they did and how horrible it is and how horrible it was for the other person, and C. They don’t hide from it. They don’t deny it if accused, they don’t try to keep the victim quiet, and they actually seek help. That’s just a possibility though, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with me.

  31. SydneyKait
    SydneyKait July 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    This is off topic but I figure this is the best place to ask. I’m getting my carry and conceal soon (knife) and I was wondering about this. Is it legal to kill someone who is trying to rape you? im sure theyll talk about it in the class im going to take but….

  32. SydneyKait
    SydneyKait July 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm |

    This is off topic but I figure this is the best place to ask. I’m getting my carry and conceal soon (knife) and I was wondering about this. Is it legal to kill someone who is trying to rape you? im sure theyll talk about it in the class im going to take but….

  33. jennygadget
    jennygadget July 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    Katniss

    For me the issue is more…how are they saying it? What other actions have they taken. Have they turned themselves into the police? Do they speak out at times other than when they can be assured anonymity? Do they shut down people who bolster rape myths? Are they talking about their crime in order to convince others not to do the same? Do they shy away from getting “credit” for doing any of this?

    None of which appears to be on display in any of the confessions I read at reddit.

    And even then, yes, I have reservations. Plus, believing that it’s possible does not mean I’m going to trust them.

  34. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

    SydneyKait, if you’re talking about the Stateside context, we often use a concept called the “use of force continuum,” which ranges from hands to lethal force. The idea is your response is proportional to the threat you’re facing — for instance, a 15-year-old trying to snatch your purse wouldn’t warrant more than punches or slaps to defend yourself, but a 20-year-old boxer would warrant a proportionally higher response. Of course your response would change if it were a 10-year-old thief with a gun, since the continuum is entirely context-sensitive.

  35. Matt
    Matt July 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

    Anyone who has committed more than 2 or 3 rapes over more than a couple years is unlikely to change their behavior for moral reasons. I am perfectly prepared to believe that as they become more popular/important they cut down or renounce these activities in order to switch over to their new source of power and thrill. Knowing yourself that you have power and importance in people’s lives, albeit in a negative way, is no substitute for other people knowing it.

  36. yes
    yes July 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

    @Sydney

    Depends on a lot of things. Situation, location, you and your attacker’s skin colors, etc.

  37. elena
    elena July 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm |

    I can’t help but feel that the root of narcissism at this level is really founded in a complete incapacity to criticize oneself. Somehow, when this guy was young, it hurt so much to look at himself with any blame or sense of fault in any situation, that out of necessity he developed the habit and then the ingrained personal trait of looking at everyone else as stupid, wrong, or incapable. From there everything snowballed and what worked for him in youth grew to a full-blown complex, and altered him into this monster.

    Of course, who the hell am I to assume what would cause someone to lose all morals. I’m just speculating.

  38. LongHairedWeirdo
    LongHairedWeirdo July 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    I was reading some of the stories, and what one of them – the “looked in her face and realized it was going badly so I stopped” – kinda made me think about cops who shoot someone they thought had a weapon.

    On the one hand, no, that’s not the most awful thing in the world, there was no malice, etc.. On the other, malice or not, that’s a lot of damage done, malice or not. Does the lack of malice make it hurt any less, in the moment?

    And now, what I think about is… I heard of a martial arts teacher who made his brown belts swear that they would not under any circumstances get into a fight, period, the end, because they were now strong enough to kill someone, and lacked the skill to avoid doing so.

    I wonder if some version of such a promise should be made with teens… I mean, without having to make sex into the great, grand high mucketymuck, never do it until you’re married bullshit. Just, look, it’s powerful juju, not to be misused.

  39. Natalia
    Natalia July 28, 2012 at 12:38 am |

    That’s a nice story to tell ourselves but not really the case. While some rapist are repeat offenders who don’t care about women, a larger number (even of the repeat offenders) are the ones who convince themselves that “lust took over” and they assault someone they know and may have had plenty of consensual sex with like a girlfriend or spouse. They’ve been fed a toxic message around sexuality and consent, how sex is something men get some women instead of something to be shared.

    Well, I think the Lisak study (linked above) is probably indicative of some major societal trends. A small amount of men commit a helluva lot of the rapes out there. They know what they’re doing – like Amanda said – and they couldn’t give a shit about what it does to the victim.

    I think that there are, of course, obviously those men who fit the definition you describe and go on to rape someone. Plenty of them on the Reddit thread. Yet those are the ones who are also most likely to talk at length about their experiences – because, I think, they have some doubts about what they did. Even if “she was drunk and passed out and lookin good,” you know? Underneath the bluster, they’re aware that something’s wrong with the picture they’re presenting.

    But I think the serial rapist dude on that thread paints a truer picture of the majority of sexual assaults out there – in that they were premeditated to one degree or another.

  40. Algeria Touchshriek
    Algeria Touchshriek July 28, 2012 at 8:07 am |

    The reddit thread is a really, really appalling. It’s not just the initial rape confessionals, many of which seem insincere or geared around getting the confessor’s rocks off, but the victim blaming and false equivalencies that line the responses.

    I can potentially see remorse in scenarios when the rapist was addled out of his/her mind on drugs, but that’s about it. I have a difficult time accepting ANYTHING as truth from the guys with conscious knowledge that the acts they were committing were wrong. And the idea of serial offenders going through some epiphany over their actions is even less credible.

  41. Annie D
    Annie D July 28, 2012 at 8:15 am |

    Sydney, you should probably ask for advice specific to your jurisdiction. I know in my state in Australia it’s really restrictive, and stuff like planning to have a knife and use it if attacked could deny you the defence even if a knife is a proportional response (solely because you planned it). Sticking your keys out between your fingers and swinging a punch while yelling fit to pull the house down is probably a much better bet.

    Like someone else has said, juries when considering proportionality like to refer to stereotypes about the way people act. You might fall prey to acting in an impermissably unfeminine way by defending yourself with force, so I would really recommend knowing the law and sticking well clear of the gray areas.

  42. Azalea
    Azalea July 28, 2012 at 11:38 am |

    Re: people who prefer to rape drunk people

    As most of us can agree the consensus amongst those rapists is “it wasnt rape, they never said no, or they were turned on (wett/hard) or they wanted it.” I think that makes them some of the most manipulative assholes on the planet.

    If a man or woman has rejected or or never enthusiastically consented to sex with you while sober you shouldn’t be a rapist jerk and force it on them when they are inebriated and unable to consent to sex, or drive a car, or walk a straight line or maintain consciousness! Obviously if this is someone you’ve maintained a healthy romantic/sexual relationship with and they’ve enthusiastically consented to sex before and things are going that way again just whilst drunk- that’s a judgement call- a careful one but a judgement call nonetheless.

    However these people who are singling out others they KNOW to be intoxicated and therefore incapable of legally making any decisions should be thrown in jail. If someone is trying to use physical force while you’re sober if you have a weapon you have a chance. But if someone is a predator in waiting whilst alcohol makes one defenseless there is nothing that could really be done.

  43. matlun
    matlun July 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

    As most of us can agree the consensus amongst those rapists is “it wasnt rape, they never said no, or they were turned on (wett/hard) or they wanted it.” I think that makes them some of the most manipulative assholes on the planet.

    Some of them actually believe it. They want to believe the victim really enjoyed it because they are trying to affirm their own power and it fits their fantasy.

    And of course drunken sex can be a judgement call, but it is not that bloody difficult. I am very skeptical to most claims of “rape by mistake”.

  44. Monoidal Category
    Monoidal Category July 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

    I don’t understand why anyone would think sex with a drunk person is a good idea. Having an ASD, it’s hard enough for me to read the intentions and social cues of sober people. I couldn’t imagine being able to tell whether or not a drunk person is consenting or not. I know other people lack my disability, but still, how do you really know whether a drunk person is genuinely consenting or not?

    Of course, a lot of rapists specifically target drunk people, and in those cases, consent clearly doesn’t matter to them. But then there are people who seem too stupid to understand the idea of impairment altering someone’s capacity to consent. These are probably the same people who drive drunk.

  45. Azalea
    Azalea July 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

    And of course drunken sex can be a judgement call, but it is not that bloody difficult. I am very skeptical to most claims of “rape by mistake”.

    That only applied to instances where one or both partners are drunk and they’ve been in a healthy, loving/mutually respectful romantic/sexual relationship where consent has been consistent, otherwise the default should just be no. Went out on a first hot date, had some drinks to calm your nerves, the other person should avoid sexual contact with you until you’re sober and can actually consent. Just met someone no history- definitely predatory to “sit and wait” until their drunk to make moves to get into that person’s pants. Even if it’s someone you’ve known as a friend for years if they have shown interest in you or never shown interest it doesnt matter- the presence of alcohol should default to mean the absence of consent.

  46. Chiara
    Chiara July 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    um? cant rly get behind that azalea

    if both people have had a few why is it assumed that the drunk woman is now incapable of giving consent but the drunk guy is expected to not only be able to consent but also determine whether the woman is drunk enough to consent or not? that’s bull and infantilizing.

  47. William
    William July 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    SydneyKait:
    Just a general disclaimer, if you know this stuff already I’m sorry. I’m not trying to assume ignorance.

    If you’re stateside I’d strongly advise against carrying a knife if you get a carry permit. Knives are poor defensive weapons because it takes a long time for a determined assailant to be incapacitated from a knife wound, because the imbalance of physical strength involved in most violent crimes is still very much in play if you’re trying to use a knife, because effective knife use requires a lot of training, and because a knife requires that you be a lot closer to an assailant for it to be effective. Theres also the problem that knives are often perceived as offensive weapons even in defensive situations. Some states will allow firearm carry but not an edged weapon. A determined prosecutor is also more likely to ask all sorts of questions about why you chose to carry a knife when a gun was even theoretically available to you and you’re going to have a whole new area for victim blaming. Unless you’re in a Stand Your Ground state theres a slim chance that using a knife instead of a gun could be read as not taking reasonable steps to avoid danger. Finally, an attacker is a lot more likely to live through being fended off with a knife than with a gun and the unfortunate truth is that a situation like that puts you in a much more dangerous legal space because the attack becomes a he-said/she-said situation.

    That said, if you decide that a knife is the right choice for you (for whatever reasons) then any good CCW class should go over use of force rules. Just keep in mind that those rules aren’t objective, that depending on context your actions could well be questioned, and that both the police and prosecutors could well end up aligning against you in a self defense situation. That happened not too long ago in the CeCe McDonald case with some pretty horrific consequences. Theoretically you should be able to defend yourself against rape, but theoretically rape is also illegal and we all know how tough it is to prosecute. As with any CCW situation, pursue training, practice your draw, familiarize yourself with your weapon, and be vigilant of your surroundings. The unfortunate reality is that, as a CCW holder, you’re going to be stepping into a whole new world of suspicion. And stick with a fixed blade.

  48. William
    William July 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    Can you say more? Not intending to derail, but what type of victimization is involved for narcissists? Seems like bullying, but I want to be sure.

    The important thing to remember about narcissism, clinically, is that what narcissists do is fundamentally driven by a need to feel superior to others. Narcissists don’t really think they’re perfect, they feel they’re deeply impotent and so they do things to compensate, they’re always trying to disprove the little voice in the back of their head that says they’re worthless and weak. As a result, a narcissistic rapist isn’t likely to just grab someone off the street and rape them because it plays into stereotypes that would likely make them feel bad about themselves and doesn’t provide any boost to self esteem. Instead they’re going to rape in ways that are likely to make them feel not just powerful but more intelligent and competent than their victims and the surrounding systems.

    You can see that pattern in what the serial rapist talked about. He claimed to be bored with easy sex, targeted women who he believed would see him as superior but who he saw as inferior, groomed them in order to maintain the sense of superiority for some period of time, then finally manipulated his way to rape in such a way as to get the maximum boost in self-image. It isn’t sadism driving the narcissist, but a desperate need to be better than someone else. The objectification of the Other is of a slightly different tone and the need to get away with the rape as important as the rape itself. It really is kind of the ultimate example of rape not being about sex but about power and insecurity.

  49. grampmk
    grampmk July 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

    ” the presence of alcohol should default to mean the absence of consent.”

    I agree 100%. Back in the day meeting women in bars while drinking and having sex later was the norm. But these days, young men have to completely forget about having sex with a woman that has had even 1 drink. Unless they have an ongoing relationship, the rule should be no booze at all, for either party. And consent must be an enthusiastic verbal yes. Anything less is rape.

  50. grampmk
    grampmk July 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    @Amanda Marcotte said ” the myth that not raping someone is hard to do ”

    No woman needs intercourse; few women escape it.
    Andrea Dworkin

    Only when manhood is dead – and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it – only then will we know what it is to be free.
    Andrea Dworkin

    All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.
    Catherine MacKinnon

    In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.
    Caterine MacKinnon

  51. im
    im July 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    This is off topic but I figure this is the best place to ask. I’m getting my carry and conceal soon (knife) and I was wondering about this. Is it legal to kill someone who is trying to rape you? im sure theyll talk about it in the class im going to take but….

    I think it varies. In some cases the aftermath might help idiots be convinced that you were serious about not wanting to have sex, in others it might be really bad. Just the mindset might help, and there is also the threat itself.

    In some states at least lethal force is acceptable against a present danger of death, forcible sodomy, or forcible rape (as opposed to statutory) (aren’t those both just different kinds of rape?) and in some cases it’s a valid threat to capture for arrest an escaping rapist, other times not.

    I imagine that rape would rapidly become less common and less tolerated if this were a risk to the perpetrators.
    (context: Tosca yells ‘ This is the kiss of Tosca’ at the secret police chief who has coerced her by offering to let herself and her boyfriend escape)

  52. mxe354
    mxe354 July 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm |

    No woman needs intercourse; few women escape it.
    Andrea Dworkin

    Only when manhood is dead – and it will perish when ravaged femininity no longer sustains it – only then will we know what it is to be free.
    Andrea Dworkin

    All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.
    Catherine MacKinnon

    In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent.
    Caterine MacKinnon

    I smell a troll. >_>

  53. DonnaL
    DonnaL July 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    grampmk appears to be an MRA with a penchant for posting on Dartmouth-related boards.

    An example of one of his comments, on another forum. Draw your own conclusions:

    grampmk
    July 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks for letting me post on your blog. I’ve been to man hating sites before, but this is the first that is honest about it. I’m just a senile old fart that spends about 6 hours a week on the computer doing mental exercises trying to stave off dementia. And I do have a question. What exactly is ” happily promiscuous, kinky, geeky, sex positive feminist”? I don’t know what you mean by sex positive? Is that anything like AIDS? I’m just curious. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. So if you find the time, I would appreciate your answer.

    Thank you and have a nice day.

  54. matlun
    matlun July 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    I smell a troll. >_>

    I would certainly hope it is a troll, and no one would actually write that seriously. But then I felt much the same about Azaleas post above, so who knows?

  55. mxe354
    mxe354 July 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

    Not even a good troll. =[

  56. L
    L July 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    The reddit thread is a really, really appalling. It’s not just the initial rape confessionals, many of which seem insincere or geared around getting the confessor’s rocks off, but the victim blaming and false equivalencies that line the responses.

    I can potentially see remorse in scenarios when the rapist was addled out of his/her mind on drugs, but that’s about it. I have a difficult time accepting ANYTHING as truth from the guys with conscious knowledge that the acts they were committing were wrong. And the idea of serial offenders going through some epiphany over their actions is even less credible.

    I agree; I felt that many of the confessionals were still focused on the perpetrator — his feelings, his circumstances.

    Having read books by both Lonnie Athens and Anna Salter (respectively a criminologist and psychologist who have both conducted interviews with incarcerated sex offenders and take a less than rehabilitative view about their behavior), I think many rapists are adept at the confessional game, the same way that they were successfully able to manipulate their victims, family and friends. Some actually target an audience with their ‘confessionals’ and enjoy the attention.

    While they likely do have partial insights into why they raped, they frame the narrative of their crimes in a manner that portrays them in a more sympathetic light. It just reinforces the notion that rapes are a gray area of misunderstanding and lack of effective communication, when most rapes are premeditated by serial offenders. Maybe it’s just me, but I get the feeling that Reddit just got played.

  57. DonnaL
    DonnaL July 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm |

    He’s probably a former editor of the Dartmouth Review; the level of intelligence and writing talent is about right.

  58. karak
    karak July 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

    There are several accounts of young men, trying to live up to some kind of sexual ideal, without realizing how much they’re hurting the person they’re with until that moment or until hours or days later.

    I’m not excusing it, I’m not saying, “Yeah, it’s okay you sexually assualted someone because you were young!” but there is something to be said about how this bullshit PUA crap affects men–it makes them unable to be good partners and feel saddened and sickened by the people they have been become.

    Patriarchy, and rape-encouraging masculinity hurts women, no doubt. But this is proof that this shit hurts men too, fucks them up and fucks up their identity.

    So, when people ask me “oh, what in feminism for men?” I can say, “A sense of self-worth and pride based on how you actually treat people instead of being a dancing monkey in a cruel gender performance play”.

  59. SydneyKait
    SydneyKait July 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm |

    William and everyone else, thank you for taking the time to enplane it to me. I go jogging a lot and iv run into quite a few creepers.

  60. SydneyKait
    SydneyKait July 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    William and everyone else, thank you for taking the time to enplane it to me. I go jogging a lot and iv run into quite a few creepers.

    *one of which tried to get my to drink something, of course when I reported this to the police, they barely listened to me and didn’t even look into it.

  61. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

    Right now on Mashable, they’re reporting the same thread, but with the headline, “On Reddit, Rapists Say They’re Sorry” ( http://mashable.com/2012/07/28/rapists-reddit/ ). Are the rapists who’re posting their stories actually saying they’re apologetic, or is the reporter just conjecturing? One paragraph in particular caught my attention…

    One of Friday’s top comments came from a self-identified “post-college aged male” who admitted to raping “several women through use of coercion, alcohol, and other tactics over a course of 3 years.” He went on to write that he feels bad and has since changed his ways, adding that he’s now a “fervent volunteer in the community.”

    For those with the stomach to read the thread, can you tell us what kind of volunteering this “post-college aged male” does? Unless he’s in violence prevention, I won’t be terribly impressed. (And even if he were, I might not be impressed either. Stabbing a stranger and then doing first-aid on another stranger who’s already been stabbed doesn’t exactly balance out one’s morality, to put it mildly.)

  62. mxe354
    mxe354 July 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

    So, when people ask me “oh, what in feminism for men?” I can say, “A sense of self-worth and pride based on how you actually treat people instead of being a dancing monkey in a cruel gender performance play”.

    This x 1000

  63. JLondon
    JLondon July 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm |

    I find it telling and creepy how many people took out of the serial rapists’ post that it was a post we could at least appreciate as a lesson on what to look out for as if you can find red flags before someone who is incredibly skilled at seeming nice suddenly rapes you. I’m reading the thread and wondering what signs we can see in his behavior that they’re talking about. From what I can tell, the situation he sets up is geniusly planned precisely because it seems safe; it seems like an ordinary date with someone you have started to believe you know and then it turns horrifyingly violent without much warning at all. One commenter even went so far as to post that we should be self-examining our behavior if we seem like either the rapist or the victim. What am I really supposed to get out of that story to protect myself? I get some insight into his mind and methods, but his methods sound like setting up a typical movie date to me. Should I just never date anyone who seems nice ever? I disagree with a lot of commenters on Reddit as to it’s usefulness to victims. It’s not so helpful as a method of self-defense and it mostly sounds like advice of the, “don’t walk alone at night variety” except for avoiding date-rape by never dating. I would be curious if anyone here could identify actual red flags in his approach, because the commenters on Reddit never get terribly specific when they’re lauding how useful a lesson this is for potential victims.

  64. Kivan
    Kivan July 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |

    Why do we even talk about this? I mean, they’re rapists, right? There shouldn’t be grey areas about this.. I’m confused. There seems to be some people in the blogosphere who are considering some of their statement, like, whether they’re really remorseful or not. IMHO shouldn’t we by default not believe them at all? They’re self-admitted rapists. They should be in jail, not posting their babble on reddit :(

  65. Natalia
    Natalia July 29, 2012 at 5:30 am |

    I would be curious if anyone here could identify actual red flags in his approach, because the commenters on Reddit never get terribly specific when they’re lauding how useful a lesson this is for potential victims.

    The comments on Reddit are just trying to cope with his confession, I think. “Well, at least he confessed! He’s opened our eyes! He’s not a total fuckwad!”

    Except that he is. And I didn’t notice any specific red flags that he mentioned. The reason why these guys are able to rape a lot of women and get away with it is that there are no red flags.

    Of course, there are gut feelings you can have about someone. I’ve had them save me, once or twice – as it turned out. But it’s not all men you have gut feelings about. The whole reason why betrayal and rape are even a thing is because some men are simply good at it. There was a guy back in college – totally fun, handsome, cool, but not in a dull “pillar of the community” sense. We hung out at the same parties, he dated a friend of mine for a while. Years after graduation, I found out that he raped at least two women on campus. And must have really planned out his actions – both of these women, one of whom I used to know well, he lured to his apartment.

    I’ve looked back and considered if there were any warning signs. Perhaps if I had known him better, there would have been. But as an acquaintance, he seemed like a perfectly decent, even cool kid. Both of his victims (and once again, there are probably more we didn’t hear about), trusted him 100% when they were invited to come over. They’d also known him for several years, at that point. Not as a best friend, or anything, but, once again – as a perfectly normal-seeming acquaintance.

  66. jupitaur
    jupitaur July 29, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    “I don’t know if anyone even needs this pointed out, based on that summary (I don’t think I have the stomach right now to go read the site itself), that we shouldn’t assume that that guy’s account is entirely honest. I mean, in particular, the part about how he was so good-looking that he slept with so many sorority girls that he got bored of it sounds quite a lot like somebody’s self-serving fantasy, and I wouldn’t rule out at least some of the part about the rapes (or about his later marriage and standing in his community) being fantasy as well.”

    I have no reason to doubt his account. Good looking and successful people rape, too.

    In fact they are probably more likely to get away with it. Many people will assume he has no need to rape, because he could get anyone he wants, so it must be a false accusation. She’s probably just mad because he didn’t fall in love with her, or now she realizes she looks like a slut and wants to cover it up.

  67. Krake
    Krake July 29, 2012 at 10:22 am |

    Rapists are a small handful of men who are serial rapists. They rape many, many women and they are experts what they do. They pick their prey carefully. They groom them. They set up safe places for their attacks, non-descript rooms, nothing to later identify the place. Friends calling the rapist by a fake name. Alcohol, when used to rape, is now considered by law enforcement to be a weapon, no different than a gun. If the survivor is taken somewhere else and raped, a car is also considered a weapon.

    The first six months for a woman newly enrolled in school are known to rape crisis advocates and police as “the Red Zone.” Campus rapists often refer to them as “fresh meat.” One, speaking in shadow said he, too, likes it better “when they squirm” because it’s easier to get their clothes off. He said he pins them down with his arm across their chests, but while he was saying this, he lifted his forearm across his throat.

    More and more is being learned about this small handful of monsters. They are usually also wife/girlfriend beaters and child sexual predators in their neighborhoods.

    As horrific as it can be, it is extremely important to report a rape to law enforcement. If he raped you, there’s a big chance you are not the first (you certainly won’t be the last). Others may step forward, or the next survivor who does will link to his name, his MO. He will be caught eventually.

    If you are raped, get to an ER immediately. Bring a change of clothing as your what you are wearing will be taken as evidence. Take a friend with you. Request a sexual assault nurse for your exam and a rape crisis advocate, who can help support you. Do not shower. Try not to pee, as that is where a rape drug shows up in your system, but is usually gone within 24 hours.

    The rape exam may feel like an attack all over again, but a good nurse will help you through it. Remember. If reported, the rapist is picked up by the police right away, and his rape “exam” is not done by a caring medical professional. Because he, too, loses his clothes and has pubic hair combed and plucked for evidence, not gently, and not by a medical professional.

    The sooner you get to an ER and press charges, the better it is for you, because not only are you doing the right thing for others, you are immediately taking control of your life again.

    If a cop or nurse/doctor is not completely respectful of you, demand somebody else work with you. Demand a woman if available.

    REMEMBER IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. YOU DID NOT ASK FOR THIS, INVITE IT, LOOK FOR IT. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX OTHER THAN POWER OVER AND HUMILIATION OF THE SURVIVOR THROUGH THE ACT. IT IS A VIOLENT AND SERIOUS CRIME.

    99% of convicted rapists are the guy in a mask who jumps you on a dark street with a knife. 99% of acquitted rapists are known by the survivor. They are usually acquitted by women jurors, who think things like, but he’s such a nice young man, or, he has his whole life ahead of him, he just lost control. but the main reason women tell themselves these things is because IF IT TRULY WASN’T YOUR FAULT, IT COULD HAPPEN TO THEM, and they don’t want to think such a thing.

    More education (and not on Reddit) is sorely needed, for police, prosecutors, and the public if we’re committed to putting these monsters away. I can never serve as jury in a rape trial because I’ve had training as a domestic violence/ rape crisis advocate.

    I was “groomed,” and I was only five years old. He was 14, and his name is Philip Le’Claire of Chicago, IL. Don’t know if he’s still around, but that’s his name, because if he’s still alive and not in jail, he’s raping someone, somewhere

  68. Krake
    Krake July 29, 2012 at 10:31 am |

    If possible, do not go to a Catholic hospital. Remember to ask for ER CONTRACEPTIVES and drugs to help prevent STD (though a good nurse will offer before you have to ask). A catholic hospital may deny the ER contraceptive. If a nurse in a regular hospital denies you, SCREAM for a sane nurse.

  69. LC
    LC July 29, 2012 at 11:44 am |

    @EchoZen

    For those with the stomach to read the thread, can you tell us what kind of volunteering this “post-college aged male” does? Unless he’s in violence prevention, I won’t be terribly impressed.

    He doesn’t say. He’s the serial rapist mentioned above, and he explicitly says that the volunteering and community work were going on while he was raping people, and that was part of why he knew no one would believe the women instead of him. He was a well-liked pillar of the community, it was part of his “mask”.

    Mashable is mis-reading in saying he took up volunteer work in the community out of remorse.

  70. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen July 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    Yeah, that’s why I was suspicious when I read that on Mashable — it didn’t jibe with what other commenters on Feministe were reporting. Thanks for the (depressing) clarification.

  71. bekabot
    bekabot July 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm |

    “…there is something to be said about how this bullshit PUA crap affects men–it makes them unable to be good partners and feel saddened and sickened by the people they have been become…”

    Most of the bullshit PUA crap is harmless and some of it is even funny, but at its worst…yeah, I agree. At its worst the bullshit PUA crap has the potential to ruin the lives of fair-to-average guys, in the sense that it can turn them not just into bad partners, or into sorry penitents, but into criminals who are, if it’s really not their luckiest day or week, subject to prosecution by the law. Or to being unmasked and deserted by their friends. Or to being clobbered half to death by somebody’s outraged Dad. Or to being found out and shunned by their families. Or to blackmail or divorce, or to sundry other threats. The guy who brags about conning and disarming and then raping vulnerable college women also admits that he has to spend significant time and energy guarding against just such an outcome. And this is a guy who also maintains that, when he was active, nobody would have been able or inclined to stop him, and who can make out a good case for his claim. He, IOW, was a successful rapist, one who did get away with it. But now he’s stuck with a past as a successful rapist, which is the only past he’s got, and which now he has to spend the rest of his life covering up. Not a great prospect for the men who think they’re only doing as the Bro Coterie instructs them to do, and who are less predatory and resourceful than he.

  72. William
    William July 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    <blockquoteThere are several accounts of young men, trying to live up to some kind of sexual ideal, without realizing how much they’re hurting the person they’re with until that moment or until hours or days later.

    I’m not excusing it, I’m not saying, “Yeah, it’s okay you sexually assualted someone because you were young!” but there is something to be said about how this bullshit PUA crap affects men–it makes them unable to be good partners and feel saddened and sickened by the people they have been become.

    I’m not sure I buy that, at least not entirely. While I’m certain there are some men out there who have been thus affected, the general idea of rape-by-misunderstanding really doesn’t strike me as compelling. For all the hand wringing and willful confusion, consent really isn’t that hard. We have to navigate consent in our lives from preschool onwards. We learn that taking something that isn’t yours is stealing, we learn that hitting people is wrong, we learn that lying to get what you want is deceitful, the basic groundwork is already there long before puberty hits. There really isn’t anything special about sex which somehow makes sexual consent more difficult or confusing than any other interaction.

    I think that the idea of consent in sexual situations being somehow fuzzy, confusing, or obfuscated by rape culture and patriarchy is itself a tool of rape culture and patriarchy. It allows rapists and the people around them to muddy the waters, to imagine ways in which maybe the intent to rape or the knowledge of transgression wasn’t there, it provides cover which allows us to move the responsibility (and thus the consequences) of rape away from rapists and to some larger system that is unlikely to change.

    PUA isn’t a cause of rape culture, but a symptom of it just as bullying is a symptom kyriarchy and hate crimes are a symptom of racism. PUA stems from a fundamental sense of entitlement and a willingness to treat other human beings as prey in order ward off your own sense of impotence. Losing sight of that is a big part of why the serial rapist we’ve been discussing was able to manipulate women so easily and why he was so confident that he wouldn’t face any consequences for his actions. We’ve given so many passes to so many people for so many reasons that we’ve normalized predatory behavior.

  73. karak86
    karak86 July 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |

    @William:

    My point is that we live in a culture that basically tells men in order to be “real men” and complete sexual beings, they essentially have to be rapists. And, I believe, most men aren’t rapists, but like most people, will listen to the Voice of Authority, “I don’t feel comfortable, this isn’t right… but isn’t this how it’s supposed to be?” I’m sort of pulling from the Stanley Milgrim experiment, where you could convince perfectly normal people to murder another human being if they were told to. 1/3 of the participants believed they murdered another human being. Now, what else will normal people do if that’s what they’re told they’re supposed to do?

    Asking for consent isn’t hard, but it becomes harder when you’re explicitly taught that consent is implied, or isn’t important, or that consent is anything but fighting and screaming.

    Again, this isn’t an excuse about how it’s okay that men rape, it’s just proves that tackling the narrative around male sexuality is a great way to stop rape, and how this narrative is harmful and cruel to men, as well as women.

  74. Alexandra
    Alexandra July 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

    I was raped at sixteen, during my first week at college, by a man four or five years my senior, an upperclassman. I’d met him during a tour of the school as a prospective student, and had struck up a tentative friendship with him during my first few days of school. At a mixer, he invited me (along with two of his friends, who are now my closest friends in the world) back up to his room. After his friends left, he played some music for me, then kissed me.

    At a few points in the evening, I tried to push him away from me, but did not have the mental skills to say “no” clearly and effectively (my homelife was a bit messed up). Additionally, I had never dated, even kissed someone before, and had no experience at all.

    It was emotionally devastating, but I had to pretend everything was normal for my own sanity. That afternoon I went to his birthday party (I remember he got angry at me for being mopey and depressed, heh) and I went on to date him for several years.

    By the end of our relationship nothing worked: I couldn’t have sex with him without feeling a rage I didn’t understand, since I refused to understand it; he dealt with my rage with profuse apologies, which I believe were sincere (though how can one really know what’s in the soul of another person?).

    I have had a history of worse and worse relationships since; he’s been happily dating a nice woman for the past four years. I hope he’s kind to her. I hope I learn to get past it.

    But the thing is, this guy was nothing like the Successful Serial Rapist we’ve been talking about – he was shy, socially awkward, and he suspected he might be on the autism spectrum. He had many wonderful attributes, and he was drunk the night he raped me. I did not express myself verbally, and I came to learn he had no ability to discern emotions not clearly spelled out for him — it wasn’t that he COULDN’T empathize/sympathize – he just couldn’t read people’s facial expressions, their body language. I still love him as a friend, and because there were good times when we were dating. I wish him well, I really do. I hope he was sincere when he repented.

  75. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable July 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    Alexandra, your story is touching. I cannot bring myself to call it beautiful because I cannot find someone’s rape narrative beautiful, but I do find myself thinking that you are.

    I get that people are fascinated by stories of rapists, especially those who are being honest, to whatever degree. But these guys? They are always getting heard, whether it’s the truth they are willing to share behind some bullshit screenname or the lies they tell when they get caught. It is heartening to see a bunch of people who read those stories and saw through their bullshit.

  76. xenu01
    xenu01 July 30, 2012 at 1:30 am |

    These are the reasons why I have been wading through that thread going on three days:
    1) I think we need to bring about a conversation about acts of rape and sexual assault versus The Rapist, because the idea that rapists are shadowy figures (and let’s admit it- poor men of color, yeah, that’s who we are always led to imagine even though a huge amount of actual rapes are perpetuated by white men of privilege) leads to circular discussions which end in halpful advice on how to Avoid Being Raped, because We Always Blame the Victim.

    example:
    Billy raped Lauren at the party last night. She was drunk and couldn’t consent.
    Oh, but Billy is really nice, volunteers at the animal shelter, won a Nobel Prize on being kind, and knits scarves for war orphans in his spare time! Also, he has a girlfriend, a nice apartment, and pale skin. He’s not a rapist!
    You’re right; he’s a nice boy. Lauren probably confused him. Consent can be confusing! Besides, they were drinking!
    And scene.

    —-
    Also:
    2) Some of the confessors are young women, which is heartbreaking to see, but also says something about painfully slow but changing definitions of rape and who can be a rape victim.
    3) Some of the confessors (many of the ones who are women) were themselves victims of sexual assault, and in turn coerced another person.
    4) Some of the confessors are young men who did not “commit rape” in the traditional, pre-recent definition (ie, coerced PIV or maybe oral sex), but they are still aware that what they did was rape.
    5) There is, or was, a strong amount of activism to balance out the rape apologists. Someone linked to a support network for sexual assault and abuse survivors who feel or felt guilt and shame afterward.

  77. William
    William July 30, 2012 at 10:26 am |

    Karak86:

    My point is that we live in a culture that basically tells men in order to be “real men” and complete sexual beings, they essentially have to be rapists. And, I believe, most men aren’t rapists, but like most people, will listen to the Voice of Authority, “I don’t feel comfortable, this isn’t right… but isn’t this how it’s supposed to be?” I’m sort of pulling from the Stanley Milgrim experiment,

    Except that isn’t really what men are taught. Even with douchebags like Daniel Tosh and the rise of sickening things like gonzo porn I think we’re lying to ourselves when we try to look for what makes rape in masculinity. I think rapists hide behind masculinity, sure, but I think that what makes them rape is less about what is masculine and more about a fundamental disrespect for the rights of others which pervades the human experience and transcends cultural expectations of gender.

    I’m not sure Milgram comes into play here, either, because social learning is a lot different from what Milgram learned about authority. A central feature of Milgram’s study was that the voice of authority was present and immediate, prompting (and even ordering) participants to continue. More importantly, virtually everyone questioned the experiment at some point and even those who finished showed signs of significant distress. Its also worth noting that Milgram’s experiment physically separated participants from the person they were supposedly torturing and that follow-up experiments which adjusted proximity yielded less compliance. These are important factors when we’re talking about the social learning aspect of rape because the things which produced compliance are absent in rape and the things which reduced compliance are present.

    Asking for consent isn’t hard, but it becomes harder when you’re explicitly taught that consent is implied, or isn’t important, or that consent is anything but fighting and screaming.

    Thats just it, though. “Harder” as compared to what? I’m just not seeing the mechanism by which meaningful consent becomes difficult rather than disregarded, I’m not seeing how a potential rapist could be confused rather than malicious. As fucked up as our society’s attitudes about women and sex are we’re nowhere near universal dehumanization or a lack of competing ideas. We don’t have an epidemic of stranger rapes. Most rape is acquaintance rape and involves either grooming behaviors (like the serial rapist we’ve talked about) or substance use designed to reduce the ability to resist. That, to me, shows intent.

    The amount of mental gymnastics required to imagine that a man was somehow so confused that he missed clear signs that sex wasn’t wanted (take reciprocity as one glaring piece of data) or that someone was so socially trained that they didn’t understand that wearing a miniskirt to see a movie in your apartment didn’t mean implied consent once resistance starts beggars belief and requires a startling lack of agency in men.

    My point isn’t that we don’t have harmful cultural messages, my point is that those messages are justifications which are used after the fact by rapists rather than causative factors of rape itself.

    Xenu01:

    Some of the confessors (many of the ones who are women) were themselves victims of sexual assault, and in turn coerced another person.

    I guess thats why I have so much trouble with the idea that somehow people are trained to rape rather than choose to. On paper, I really ought to be a rapist. I have an early history of having been sexually assaulted, an antisocial streak, I gain the trust of others easily, I have the capacity to be manipulative, I’ve good at reading people, good at slipping into roles, there were periods of my life in which I was quite depressed and during these periods I both drank too much and was pretty aggressive as a baseline. I even liked to fight. I was a member of the Greek community and had the extensive access to people who were too drunk to defend themselves and the social standing to likely avoid any accusations. I’m white, middle class (although I grew up working class with a heavy dose of rape culture and saw the world through that lens long after the outward signs identified me as middle class), well educated, and well liked. I wasn’t particularly socially conscious until my wife became heavily into feminism in college and I realized that either I had to start engaging with these ideas or I wouldn’t be engaged for much longer.

    And yet, for all my personal struggles and the places I’ve ended up (at least partially because of my own rape), I’ve never found myself becoming sexually predatory. When I’ve had patients who have been predatory there has always been the matter of choice.

    I know its not the most popular view, and I know its tempting to take what we know from intersectionality and social justice and try to apply it to rapists because it gives us some hope, but the bottom line for me is that life comes down to choices. Lots of things can influence the choices we have in front of us, lots of things can influence how we make our decisions, but every rapist (barring, I suppose, some extreme outliers that feel a lot like the myth of the violent madman) is ultimately presented with a choice: rape or don’t rape. Rape doesn’t flow from a lack of opportunity or education or privilege, it isn’t the product of past abuse, it isn’t the result of some uncontrollable impulse, it isn’t sickness or unreason or brokenness. Rape is ultimately very simple and happens for a disgustingly common reason: theres always some portion of human beings who are willing to abuse and consume other human beings because they can. There are always some people who choose to be evil. As a society we’ve chose to fill prisons with people who smoke pot instead of the monsters in our own communities.

  78. mxe354
    mxe354 July 30, 2012 at 11:15 am |

    My point isn’t that we don’t have harmful cultural messages, my point is that those messages are justifications which are used after the fact by rapists rather than causative factors of rape itself.

    But isn’t it the case that rapists perpetuate cultural messages that justify their actions, and those same messages at least encourage others to rape by normalizing it?

  79. mxe354
    mxe354 July 30, 2012 at 11:24 am |

    I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, William, but it almosts sounds like you’re saying that it’s pointless to fight rape culture because rapists will always exist. I think that rape will always exist, but it can at least be reduced significantly by eliminating rape culture.

  80. LordJiggy
    LordJiggy July 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    Rapists are vermin viruses, who ruin lives. They know what they are doing is wrong and they do it anyway. We shoot rabid dogs or wild animals who have no higher reasoning power, and we need to remove these human predators from our midst with the same ruthless efficiency. No second conviction for rape. 25 years for the first solid conviction (and, by the way, in the rare cases of false accustation, 25 years for the perjurer, as well), and an automatic death sentence for a second conviction. These animals need to understand that there are severe consequences for their actions.

  81. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb July 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

    mxe, My take-away from William’s comment was that rapists shouldn’t be given a free-pass because of “rape culture,” which I would have to agree with. Rapists know what they’re doing, and they know they have rape culture as a fall-back if they get caught. We should absolutely work on abolishing rape culture, because if they know they can’t explain it away with “society” and “mixed-messages” they may be less inclined to act, knowing society won’t pardon them so easily.

  82. LC
    LC July 30, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

    William, just because your background didn’t lead you to rape, surely you don’t think it couldn’t lead someone else to? (There’s not one right way to react to abuse, people don’t have push-button responses.)

  83. EG
    EG July 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

    I think the problem with rape culture is not that it produces rapists; I agree with William that rapists are not hapless victims of culture. The problem with rape culture is that it allows rapists to camouflage themselves among men who aren’t rapists, but figure that hey, that joke is totes funny and OK to laugh at.

  84. matlun
    matlun July 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm |

    I think William is pretty much spot on.

    I think that when discussing rape culture it is important not to exaggerate the effect or to over complicate our view of rapists. Rape is a choice to act on your own selfish impulses while ignoring the wishes of the victim. While a deeper analysis can sometimes be productive, the simplest explanation should not be discarded without good reason.

  85. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb July 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

    The problem with rape culture is that it allows rapists to camouflage themselves among men who aren’t rapists, but figure that hey, that joke is totes funny and OK to laugh at.

    What I was trying to say, but much more succinct ;)

  86. roymacIII
    roymacIII July 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    Related to that, I think that our culture not only lets rapists hide themselves, but it gives an excuse to their behavior. I don’t think that rape culture is going to turn people into accidental rapists, but it does let rapists try to justify themselves by saying “Well, it wasn’t really rape, because X, Y, and Z.” In that way, I think it also lets people convince themselves that what they’re doing isn’t wrong or is less wrong. They’re still making the choice, and they’re still assholes, but they’re making the choice because they’re convincing themselves “Well, it’s not really rape, it’s just… I’m taking advantage of this person a little, is all.”

    It’s easier to do horrible things to people when you think of them as less valuable than yourself, or when you define what you’re doing as something less bad. In rape culture, we’ve got the double whammy of thinking that women are worth less than men, and that rape is only really rape if the victim did the “right things” to prevent it.

  87. William
    William July 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    Mxe354

    I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, William, but it almosts sounds like you’re saying that it’s pointless to fight rape culture because rapists will always exist. I think that rape will always exist, but it can at least be reduced significantly by eliminating rape culture.

    I’m not saying its pointless to fight rape culture. There are a lot of good reasons to fight rape culture, I just don’t think that reducing rape culture is going to reduce rape. Fighting rape culture is fighting for survivors by reducing stigma, by increasing access to justice and services, by demanding that police take rape seriously, by fighting victim blaming, by making rapists less able to navigate social spaces and push victims into the margins, and by reducing re-trauamatization through rape shield laws. Its desperately vital work that might have some halo effect of reducing the incidence of rape, but thats hardly the central goal.

    Rapists will still rape with less rape culture, but it will be easier to identify and punish them and survivors will be able to live their lives with less bullshit.

    EG

    William, just because your background didn’t lead you to rape, surely you don’t think it couldn’t lead someone else to? (There’s not one right way to react to abuse, people don’t have push-button responses.)

    I absolutely don’t think theres some kind of push-button response. What I was trying to get to was the element of choice that tends to get left out of discussions. I’ve got a lot of the factors that go into someone becoming a rapist, so do a lot of men. A comparatively small number of men become rapists. My position is that it comes down to a matter of choice. Some people choose to hurt others for personal gain and there really isn’t a Les Miserables scenario for becoming a rapist. You become a rapist by making a conscious choice to prey on other human beings for your own comfort. There is no right way to react to abuse, but there sure as hell are wrong ones.

  88. saysay
    saysay July 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

    I would be curious if anyone here could identify actual red flags in his approach, because the commenters on Reddit never get terribly specific when they’re lauding how useful a lesson this is for potential victims.

    From the story:

    [Trigger warning here for the actual text from Reddit, beyond Jill's more sanitized summary. -C]

    After a while, we’d talk some more, and I’d start edging my hands around the under strap of the bra, or maybe a bit into her pants, just kind of playing on the edge to gauge her response. Some girls would stiffen up a little, and that’s when you knew they didn’t like what was going on. We were in my studio apartment, so the bed served as the couch, and it was easy to start sliding down throughout the movie so we’d be laying down. It was then that I could turn around and get on top of her. The girls usually didn’t know how to respond. Some of them were into it, and those nights were usually consensual and boring sex, sometimes followed up by a few more nightly visits before getting the boot. However, the great nights were the ones who squirmed, ones who didn’t want to give in. I’d have to shush them down, and try to work on them slowly enough so they didn’t know what was going on until it was pretty much already happening.

    He sounds like a lot of rapists – he violated their physical boundaries and expected them to remain in the situation and not leave when they told / indicated to him that they were uncomfortable.

  89. LC
    LC July 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm |

    They’re still making the choice, and they’re still assholes, but they’re making the choice because they’re convincing themselves “Well, it’s not really rape, it’s just… I’m taking advantage of this person a little, is all.”

    I think this is actually where that crux lies. We all take advantage of people a bit from time to time in small, basically harmless ways. There is a range of “acceptable taking advantage of” that goes on in a culture, is influenced by who is doing what to whom, what the situation is, etc.

    Rape culture expands the field of what is “acceptable taking advantage of” in the sexual scenario, allowing for all those “yeah, I’m pushing it, but it’s not rap justifications.

  90. mxe354
    mxe354 July 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    @EG

    I think the problem with rape culture is not that it produces rapists; I agree with William that rapists are not hapless victims of culture. The problem with rape culture is that it allows rapists to camouflage themselves among men who aren’t rapists, but figure that hey, that joke is totes funny and OK to laugh at.

    I also agree, but things like the sexualization of violence and patriarchal norms also lead to pro-rape attitudes, so that’s another way reducing rape culture can reduce rape. It’s true that they aren’t hapless victims of rape culture, but that doesn’t mean that attacking that culture won’t lead to less rape.

    And if we can’t reduce rape by reducing rape culture, then how else can we reduce rape? Perhaps I’m just being narrow-minded here, but I cant think of any other way. I can’t just sit with the notion that rape will always be common because of human nature. Surely socialization has much to do with the widespread incidence of sexual assault.

  91. mxe354
    mxe354 July 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

    Rape is a choice to act on your own selfish impulses while ignoring the wishes of the victim.

    Does this malign desire to act one one’s selfish impulses originate from human nature or social norms? Or both? I have a hard time believing that it’s only either one way or the other.

  92. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb July 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm |

    One of the things that really makes me ill reading the reddit thread is reading how someone figured since a girl was drunk, she was fair game. Am I supposed to be greatful that none of my highschool guy friends ever tried to rape me while I was drunk? Never even hit on me, or acted inappropriately towards me?
    Maybe it’s because we’d all known each other since gradeschool, maybe it’s because they all knew I preferred ladies anyway, maybe it’s because my brother was always part of the partying, too (though usually passed out sober long before the rest of us had even gotten drunk)….. Maybe it’s just that my friends weren’t rapists. And that seems like the most plausible answer. (It’s not that none of them found me attractive, later in life several commented how “hot” I had been as a teen)
    I mean, on one of the only three occasions I actually overcame my high alcohol tolerance with sufficient amounts of vodka and blacked out, I ended up in just my underwear in my friends bed (I’d vomited on myself, he’d fallen asleep on the sofa and I didn’t want to hang out near-naked in the living room). He apparently tried to get into his bed later, only to be surprised when he climbed onto me in the dark instead of his mattress. Upon realizing his bed was occupied, he

    hopped up and went back to his sofa

    .
    I hadn’t even thought about that in years, since it never occurred to me or my friend that he could have just “taken advantage of the situation.” He’s just not a rapist, it wouldn’t have occurred to him as an option. But reading some of that gross-ness on reddit makes me feel like I should be glad I was not raped by my childhood friends as a teen. And it’s messed up that a lot of people probably would count that (not getting raped by a friend while drunk) as “lucky” instead of just “normal.”

  93. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb July 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

    hopped up and went back to his sofa

    should have been hopped up and went back to his sofa

  94. mxe354
    mxe354 July 31, 2012 at 12:49 am |

    He sounds like a lot of rapists – he violated their physical boundaries and expected them to remain in the situation and not leave when they told / indicated to him that they were uncomfortable.

    But he had already corned them into a vulnerable situation through deception. They probably could’t tell that he was a rapist judging by those signs until it was too late.

    Again, there’s no reliable way to tell if someone is a rapist.

  95. matlun
    matlun July 31, 2012 at 3:39 am |

    Does this malign desire to act one one’s selfish impulses originate from human nature or social norms? Or both?

    I guess I would say it originates from the nature of the person making the choice. How much that person has been shaped by nature and how much by nurture is often hopelessly complicated to answer.

    That question can be (and has been) asked for pretty much any violent crime.

  96. William
    William July 31, 2012 at 9:56 am |

    Mxe354:

    Again, there’s no reliable way to tell if someone is a rapist.

    With one major exception: previous rape allegations. Previous behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. This is one of the big reasons why rape culture needs to be addressed. If survivors can speak out then rapists can be identified. That won’t do anything to stop predatory behavior, it won’t do anything to remove the desire to rape, but it increases the possibility that people targeted by rapists will be able to avoid identified rapists.

    Matlun:

    That question can be (and has been) asked for pretty much any violent crime.

    While I see a lot of similarities between rape and other crimes I feel rape is something of a special case. Desperation and circumstance can easily lead to theft, rage to assault or murder, politics or boredom or pain to drug possession, social decay to drug trafficking and the violence that stems from it, but its a lot more difficult to imagine a scenario in which someone is “driven” to rape. It really does seem to be something of a pure act of sociopathy.

  97. saysay
    saysay July 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

    But he had already corned them into a vulnerable situation through deception. They probably could’t tell that he was a rapist judging by those signs until it was too late.

    Again, there’s no reliable way to tell if someone is a rapist.

    He admitted that he targeted vulnerable people who were unlikely to stand up for themselves. I have a lot of sympathy for them.

    But someone upthread asked what red flags he was displaying, and that’s one. Fundamentally, a rapist is willing to ignore your personal physical boundaries (in order to rape you) in a way that most men will not; they frequently indicate their willingness to do so by ignoring other, smaller personal physical boundaries, sometimes even before they’ve gotten you alone.

    Which is in no way to say that it’s the women’s fault or that there’s a way of reliably 100% of the time determining who a rapist is – but there are sometimes red flags and warning signs.

  98. Natalie
    Natalie July 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    One thing about the thread that I haven’t seen a lot of discussion about and rather surprised about is the “I almost raped someone” stories. Quite a few are: I was about to put my dick in her but then I looked at her face and saw she wasn’t into it. And then all the comments are pretty much saying “way to go on not raping someone” What the hell? I was sexually assaulted and almost raped and it has caused so much damage and fucked-up-ness in my life. Would have it been worse if he completed the rape? absolutely. But it’s total bullshit that these guys don’t feel guilty or worse are congratulated for almost raping someone.

  99. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb July 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    agreed, Natalie, although I wouldn’t go so far as to say it would have been “worse” if they’d actually raped them. It can be just as traumatizing.
    But like you said, these idiots need to stop congratulating near-rapists for managing to notice at the last minute that shit wasn’t okay. If they’d been communicating and paying attention to their partners from the get-go they’d never have gone so far.

  100. LC
    LC July 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

    I don’t know. The amount of congrats there is a bit much, yes, but I think what is coming out of that is actually something interesting. Society pretty much tells men “don’t communicate or pay attention, be goal oriented, its her job to stop you” etc. And they are doing that, but they take a moment to check in, and realize what they’ve done. The ones I’ve read (I haven’t read the whole thread, it is exhausting) seem to have had this moment of “all that shit I was told to do is fucked up and bullshit” clarity.

    So yes, bending over backwards to give them congrats is fucked up, but those stories to me are actually somewhat hopeful that it *did* stick.

  101. Natalie
    Natalie August 1, 2012 at 8:59 am |

    I mean I did have the sense that after that aha moment it was unlikely that they would rape or try to rape another person, but there semmed to be no sympathy for the victim or any realization that she or he was a victim. There seemed to be this idea of well I didn’t actually complete the rape so everything is fine, no everything is not fine.

  102. Natalie
    Natalie August 1, 2012 at 9:07 am |

    And just for clarification I wasn’t trying to say that completed rape is always worse than attempted. I was just saying in my particular situation I believe it would have been worse if the man who assaulted me had suceeded in raping me. Not sure if I am wording that correctly sorry if there is any confusion I can’t seem to find the right language to describe what happened 2 me.

  103. LC
    LC August 1, 2012 at 9:49 am |

    Natalie, I think you’re being clear. And I do agree, there was way too much “everything is fine” back-patting. If anything, I thought the men confessing were being better at not downplaying the seriousness of what they had done than the commenters, who were way to quick to rush in with the kind words.

  104. The Wednesday Weigh-In: Reddit rape thread edition

    [...] at Feministe, Amanda notes that since this thread features rapists who are willing to talk about their experiences, it likely [...]

  105. Shoggoth
    Shoggoth August 18, 2012 at 6:06 am |

    I misread that first paragraph and was wondering “Why would anybody ever go to reddit to talk about getting raped anyways?” but then I reread it and sighed because it made sense, but not happy sense.

  106. /r/apeculture « Blunt Object
    /r/apeculture « Blunt Object August 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

    [...] makes reddit’s golden age of cultural relevance the better part of a millennium in the past), reddit hosted a “rapists explain themselves” thread.  Everyone put on their Serious Hats and frowned concernedly and furrowed their brows, because [...]

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