What in holy hell is this?

This piece by Alyssa Royse of the Good Men Project, printed at xojane, may be the worst thing I have read about rape all year — and that’s including the GOP’s pre-election bout of Rape Philosophy. In it — and trigger warning for sexual assault and victim-blaming — Royse discusses her male friend, a “nice guy,” who spend an evening flirting with a woman who fell asleep next to him. Before falling asleep, there was drinking. The woman flirted hard. She talked about her past as a sex worker, and her sexual exploits, all while looking this Nice Guy in the eye. Then she fell asleep. And when she woke up, he was penetrating her. She says he raped her. He is “devastated” and confused. It’s not her fault, Royse says, but it’s not exactly his fault either; it’s our fault. The culture’s fault. Because she sent mixed messages, and it’s so unfair that it’s taboo to talk about that.

Within the community at large, there were much harder discussions centering on how it was that he thought penetrating her while she was asleep was okay, but any discussion of her behavior leading up to it was taboo. Any suggestion that her behavior may have led to — NOT JUSTIFIED OR EXCUSED — the rape was met with screams of “victim blaming” and “rape apology.”

But to run from this part of the discussion is to let the problem stagnate and fester.

There are two simple truths here:

1. She had every right to do everything she was doing and fully expect to be safe from rape. (She was right.)

2. He believed that everything she was doing was an invitation to have sex. (He was wrong.)

The problem is not that she’s a “slut.” The implications of that word make my brain shrivel when sprinkled with the salty insinuations that so often accompany it: that a woman who exhibits a fondness for her own sexuality is somehow inviting anyone who sees her to have sex with her.

The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist.

The problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the mixed messages about sex and sexuality in which we are stewing. And no one is taking responsibility for teaching people how the messages we are sending are often being misunderstood.

So here’s the thing: Royse is right that yes, we do live in a totally fucked up sexual culture. However, even in our totally fucked up sexual culture, I come across very few genuinely “nice guys” who think it’s ok to sexually penetrate someone while that person is sleeping.* From Royse’s telling, it sounds like the woman who was raped was sending this guy signals that she was sexually interested in him. But if she was sexually interested in him, she was probably interested in engaging in some sort of sexual activity — not in having sexual activity done to her like she’s some sort of blow-up doll while she’s unconscious.

Royse writes that “He believed that everything she was doing was an invitation to have sex,” and that while he was wrong, his belief that it’s ok to penetrate a sleeping woman if she smiled at you earlier is our culture’s fault. But that right there is where her argument goes off the rails. He probably did believe that the woman he raped was, to some degree, sexually interested in him. But there is no way that he actually believed her flirting with him meant that she wanted him to wait until she passed out and then have sex with her. What he almost certainly believed is that her flirtation would help him later on to justify what he did — which in his head he may not have called “rape,” but which he surely knew was a major sexual violation, and did because it was a major sexual violation. What he almost certainly believed is that a rape apologist culture would use the very things Alyssa Royse so helpfully points to in order to make a clear-cut situation seem “murky.” To make it seem somehow plausible that a “nice guy” like him would ever do something like this. To make people like Alyssa Royse believe him when he says he thought he had an invitation to sex which he chose to accept as soon as the woman in question fell asleep and couldn’t say yes or no, and now he’s just so confused.

That’s why, even though Royse says this was rape and rape is wrong, her piece is rape apology. Because she uses the same narratives and excuses that rapists have always used to get away with raping. She says she wants to talk about our culture and how it enables rape, but then she uses the exact same cultural memes to act like rape is at all fuzzy, and rapists don’t actually know exactly what they’re doing.

Royse seems very concerned with figuring out “why men rape.” The thing is, we know why men rape — Royse was just too lazy or too dogmatic or too interested in defending her friend to do five minutes of research before she wrote this awful piece.

This case has literally nothing to do with “mixed signals.” Even if the woman’s signals weren’t mixed at all — even if they signaled exactly what she wanted to do — he did something that in no universe is considered acceptable or anywhere within the realm of consensual. This isn’t a “we were messing around and she didn’t say yes but she didn’t say no either.” This is, “She was passed out, but because she flirted with me, I thought it was ok to stick my dick in her in a time when she couldn’t say yes or no and certainly would not be enjoying the experience.”

I’ve written this before, but one thing I find helpful when talking to people who seem not to totally get it when it comes to acquaintance rape is encouraging them to think through when they’ve been in similar situations. I have, many times over, been in bed with sleeping men and sleeping women. I have, many times over, been in bed with a sleeping man with whom I had sexual history, and with whom I was almost 100% certain would consent to sex with me in the morning, or even if I woke him up at that very moment. Never once did it even occur to me to have sex with or sexually penetrate any of those sleeping people while they were asleep. To think about actually doing that — not waking them up and then having sex, but intentionally fucking them while they were asleep without their consent — makes me feel ill. To think about someone doing that to me makes me feel ill. And in all the times I have fallen asleep next to men, there have been more than a few times when I was woken up in the middle of the night so that we could have sex. But they woke me up. And they didn’t wake me up by penetrating any part of my body; they woke me up with touches and kisses and normal sexy-time “I’m in the mood are you?” stuff. In all of the times I have gone out and gotten drunk with a boyfriend and came home and passed out, not once did any of them rape me in my sleep — even though we had had sex before, even though I was almost guaranteed to say yes when I woke up in the morning.

Not because they were all “nice guys,” although they mostly were. But because they weren’t fucking rapists.

Royse continues:

To a large degree, my friend thought he was doing what was expected. And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse. Many people watching it unfold would have thought that, too.

Of course they would all be wrong. But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck? Our binary language of “yes means yes” and “no means no” doesn’t address the entire spectrum of both spoken language and body language, which mean different things to different people.

Again, sex might have been the logical conclusion of their social intercourse. But what happened wasn’t sex, at least not in the way that one would “logically conclude” a night of heavy flirting might end. One logical conclusion of their night is that they would go home together and have sex. Not that he would rape her in her sleep. Flirting and sexual innuendo and touching and “walking like a fuck and talking like a fuck” (dear god) are, sometimes, the lead-ups to sex between two people. Those actions are sexy because they imply “I find you sexually attractive and I am touching you in this way that makes you think I might touch you like this when we’re naked.” When one person is passed out asleep, they clearly aren’t doing any touching or sexy-making. They certainly aren’t talking or walking like a fuck.

Also? I do not know a single woman who has not, at some point, been dressed up all foxy and flirted with a dude and had fun but did not at the end of the night have sex with him. And I do not know one dude who has not also flirted and been flirted with and at the end of the night did not have sex with their flirtation partner. Not having sex with someone you were flirting with happens all the time. It isn’t that confusing. Even being in bed with the flirtation partner gets significantly less confusing when they pass out asleep.

Alyssa, if your friend says “didn’t know” if he raped someone, that is because your friend is not a nice guy. He is a master manipulator who is fucking with you, too. Nice guys — not even nice guys, just non-rapist guys — do not have sex with sleeping women, even if there was a flirtation. Even if they’re in a relationship. Even if they’ve had sex a thousand times before.

Our culture has a problem with sex and with sexual assault. But right now, Alyssa? By looking for any reason to justify your friend’s decision to rape a woman, you’re a part of the problem. By pretending this is about “nuance” when in reality this is one of the least-nuanced acquaintance rape situations I’ve ever read about, you are part of the problem.

The problem is that your friend is a rapist. And I suspect he knows it but cares more about being perceived as a nice guy than actually being accountable or changing his behavior. And what’s sad and scary is that women like you, and women’s publications like xojane, and “good men” websites, will join you in an effort to make things even easier for rapists like your friend, and even more difficult for women who were raped but who are still kinda-sorta blamed and shamed and told that your remarkably limited understanding of “nuance” is more important than actually ending rape.

____________________________________________________
*Usual caveat: Some couples negotiate for sexual penetration while sleeping, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Author: has written 5276 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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527 Responses

  1. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    This article should really be titled “I refuse to believe my friend is a rapist and want to make my ambivalence a cultural narrative about THAT WHORE OVER THERE!!!”

  2. EG
    EG December 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |

    Holy fucking shit.

    The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist.

    Yes, yes it is. That is exactly the problem. And the other problem is people like this writer, who make excuses for “nice guys” and add to the stew of rape culture we’re soaking in.

    I have flirted extensively with men with whom I have had no intention whatsoever of sleeping with, and those men managed not to stick it in while I was unconscious or my attention was otherwise distracted. I have flirted extensively with men with whom I did intend to have sex–sex that I could remember and enjoy and that I was actively engaged in. I have never, ever in my life, flirted with the intention of waking up with some non-consensual dick in me.

    But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck?

    The point at which she is not giving consent because she is asleep. This is not a difficult point to ascertain (“Hey, sweetie…are you awake?”).

    1. Dan
      Dan December 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

      Hm. Interesting take.

      It reminds me of this other time that someone was sleeping and woke to unasked-for intercourse:

      http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/09/19/is-it-rape-if-you-dont-mean-for-it-to-be-rape/

      But that time it definitely wasn’t rape. Well, not Rape-rape.

      And before someone throws up the straw-man “But that was different!”, no it wasn’t. In one situation we have an assertion by the rapist that the victim made “consent-y hand motions” and in the other we have no details at all about a story that’s already second-hand. The facts, in both cases, are one person was asleep and another had sex with them without establishing consent.

      And at the time, it seemed like there was quite a lot to talk about (333 responses).

      My point is, if that situation fell into a gray area, where “it might have been rape, but she wasn’t a rapist”, then a gray area exists. If a gray area exists, then we shouldn’t bash people for talking about it. It’s one thing to say you disagree about where the gray area is, it’s another to call some one an ignorant rape-apologist just because they’re discussing it.

      1. igglanova
        igglanova December 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm |

        Whoa. Did you really lurk here for 50+ days, just waiting to spring this feeble gotcha argument the minute you saw the words ‘rape’ and ‘sleep’ in a post again?

        1. Dan
          Dan December 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

          Nah, I actually just read both sites and managed to remember something posted 50 days ago

          (or however long it was, I haven’t checked)

  3. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil December 8, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    OMG, the piece is actually called “Nice Guys Commit Rape Too.” Um, no, NO THEY DO NOT. Rapists aka criminals commit rape. Dear heavens. I can’t believe that even needs saying.

    1. Jadey
      Jadey December 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

      Well, nice guys *do* commit rape. It just doesn’t make it any less of a rape or them any less rapists.

      I do think that’s there a fucked up narrative around what sex looks like to the point that there are people who think that sex looks like what rape actually is and that in their own minds they are not committing rapes. (For one, I know that when I was being socialized about heterosexual sexuality, my perception of what sex was supposed to be like was a fuck of a lot more like rape, from the victim’s perspective, than I am comfortable remembering.) What I don’t believe is that this makes them less culpable or more victimized than the people who are *being raped*.

      If some of these people actually stopped to think critically about what they were doing rather than following along with what they’ve been told is okay, they probably would not commit rape. (Other people would, of course, because they know better and *don’t care* or actively prefer it. But a subset of people probably wouldn’t do something they thought of as rape for whatever reason – morally opposed, fear of consequences, etc.)

      But socialization aside, I will still hold people morally responsible for their failures to think critically and empathize. (While also criticizing the social narratives which attempt to obscure what rape is.)

      1. Phil Perspective
        Phil Perspective December 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

        Well, nice guys *do* commit rape.

        In what universe? Nice guys don’t commit rape, period. If you think he’s a nice guy, and he commits said act, you might want to re-evaluate.

        1. nerfulness
          nerfulness December 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

          I think that this idea that ‘nice guys don’t commit rape’ may actually be part of the problem. The truth is, nice guys (or at least, guys who appear nice) do commit rape. And those guys have friends, who think they’re nice, and so when they hear their friend accused of raping someone, they think, “But that can’t be right! My friend is really nice. He helped me move, and got me a really nice present for my birthday, and I know he volunteers at the Humane Society. He can’t possibly be a rapist, because nice guys don’t commit rape.”

          I know that what you’re trying to say is that once a man commits rape, he can no longer be considered nice. And I agree with you on that. But I think that perpetuating this narrative that “nice guys don’t commit rape” just makes it harder for women to out rapists who are seen as nice guys by their communities. Instead, we should be trying for an increased cultural awareness of the fact that seemingly nice guys do, in fact, commit rape, and that we can’t let their niceness blind us to that.

      2. FashionablyEvil
        FashionablyEvil December 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

        By my definition, if you commit rape, you are not nice. Jadey, normally I agree with you, but this is not a subtle situation here. This is a man who specifically chose to rape a woman rather than have sex with her (which seems like an entirely plausible outcome given what others observed.) He made a calculated choice to remove the possibility of consent from the situation. Manipulative and charming he may be. Nice and good? Definitely not.

        1. Jadey
          Jadey December 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

          I think the rape is in the act, not the intent, so someone’s “niceness” doesn’t really enter into it at all, for me. Someone could be genuinely sweet and kind in all other ways, and it wouldn’t make them any less of a rapist if they had sex with someone without their consent – I’m pretty sure we agree on that front. But I also don’t think the calculation is imperative either – someone could commit a rape while honestly believing that what they are doing is *not* rape (because people can have incredibly strong but totally fucked-up beliefs) and it would not make me inclined to think of them as any less of a rapist. That is what I am driving at.

          Because people will always turn around and say, “Well, so-and-so does A and B and C and those are all nice and wonderful things so how could they be a rapist?” And I can fully agree that A and B and C are nice things and that doesn’t make them any less of a rapists. Actions don’t cancel each other out. That is my point.

          And, again, this is partly coming from my own recognition that for a long time I confused sex with rape. I did not know what consensual sex was or looked like or what consent really meant. As a woman, this put me in a more likely position to be raped than be a rapist (though I could conceivably have raped someone). If I had been raped, I might not have recognized it as such, but it still would have been rape. If I had raped someone, I might not have recognized it as such, but it still would have been rape.

          As for, “By definition, if you commit rape, you are not nice”, well, yes, that’s hard to argue with, but the problem is that people can do all kinds of things all over the spectrum of niceness. You could say, “By definition, if you risk your own life to save someone else’s, you are nice” and that would also be hard to argue with, but then you run into the trouble of deciding which action epitomizes a person’s character for the rest of their life when you find someone who has done both definitively “nice” and “not nice” things, which is exactly why essentializing is a dead-end.

          I don’t believe that there is anything a person can do which prevents them from some day in the future doing something different, but it works both ways – doing a lot of “not nice” actions doesn’t preclude you from doing something “nice”, but neither does doing a lot of “nice” things immunize you from ever doing something “not nice”.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

          But I also don’t think the calculation is imperative either – someone could commit a rape while honestly believing that what they are doing is *not* rape (because people can have incredibly strong but totally fucked-up beliefs) and it would not make me inclined to think of them as any less of a rapist.

          Okay, that’s fine, but that’s not what happened in this story. This story was a calculated rape. Bringing up “oh but some guys–!” is just more water-muddying.

        3. Jadey
          Jadey December 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

          I don’t think I muddied anything. I very clearly said that it doesn’t matter what the explanation is – it was rape and it is indefensible. There was no, “But some guys!” My entire point is that Royse’s premise, “But some guys!” is completely irrelevant. I didn’t bring it up – she did. I’m just rebutting it.

      3. abra
        abra December 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

        I think the problem in this discussion is some of the underlying assumptions:

        – I know I have been explicitly taught that rapists don’t rape because of lust or attraction but out of a desire to control/humiliate/etc.
        – Therefore being a rapist is clearly mutually exclusive from being a “nice guy” in other circumstances because someone who wants to do that to another person cannot be “nice.”

        I think this is true of many, many rapists — they may be violent, manipulative, even charming but they are not “nice.” This is a slightly more evolved understanding of rapists and the circumstances of rape than the menacing stranger in the dark alley scenario.

        However, and I think this was the point the author was originally trying to make and that Jadey was trying to back up, we are socialized to think that men in particular are entitled to sex at a certain point — that is what rape culture is all about, no? And because men are socialized to think they are entitle to sex (to a degree), sometimes guys rape in “grey” situations without the intent to control/humiliate/etc. but, instead, just because they want to get off… it probably has nothing to do with the victim, it isn’t about attraction or lust, it is just feeling entitled to achieve orgasm via another person’s body, and he choose to interpret whatever signals she is sending out as a green light to do so.

        Does that make him a rapist – absolutely – because no one is entitle to sex. To be perfectly clear: this thinking and behavior is really, really wrong and there is no excuse for it. But the pathology is not the same as the sociopath and maybe not so mutually exclusive of being a “nice guy” in other contexts.

        Do genuinely nice guys do this, no, but genuinely nice guys are mature enough to have come to understand there is very little in this life that they are entitled to. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that falls far short of insisting men mature to that point.

        1. Dense Winters
          Dense Winters December 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

          because men are socialized to think they are entitle to sex (to a degree), sometimes guys rape in “grey” situations without the intent to control/humiliate/etc. but, instead, just because they want to get off

          How is this not about control? The underlying reasoning is a belief in a right to women’s bodies (as you even point out) and a decision to gain access to someone’s body without consent and with a total disregard for their consent. That is a fundamental issue of feeling entitled to control and power over someone else’s body, and an ability to view them as an almost insentient object to begin with. So yes, the intent to control is there, it is what makes the actions possible. The only way I can even make sense of your assertion that it is not about control for them, is that the intent to control is not there because the assumption of control already is. Control is something they think they have to “intend” to gain because they presume they already have it.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L December 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

          I don’t like the concept of “grey rape” in the first place, but there’s nothing “grey” about penetrating someone who’s asleep. It’s as clear as anything can possibly be.

        3. tomek
          tomek December 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

          i suspiscos of thought that rape is only of power and not of lust or rape is just of lust. my opinion both sides are drive by idealogy and not by truth.

          it depend on csae. but i think rape is about the power and the sex. because male sexuality is of power. i know this is not popular opinion but uncomfrotable as it be, it is likely true

        4. abra
          abra December 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

          I agree, there is nothing “grey” about penetrating someone who is asleep. And when everyone is on the same page about what constitutes rape, there will be very few “grey” instances at all because everyone will understand that if they didn’t ask and receive an explicit affirmative, they don’t have permission and it would be rape.

          Unfortunately, there are plenty of men who don’t appreciate that and, while they would be just as happy with a consensual encounter, feel entitled to an encounter nonetheless. For them it involves control but it is not primarily about control — rape is a means to the end of orgasm not a means to the end of control. It is a toddler’s understanding of bodily autonomy — “I want it therefore it is mine” without any consideration of the other person’s wants or desires. Whereas the rape as means to control is about violating/overriding the other person’s wants and desires.

          Despite the fact that my mom worked with sex offenders when I was young (maybe because of it, actually, if you were caught and convicted of sexual assault int he 1980s, it was pretty cut-and-dried), the caricature I carried in my head for a long time wouldn’t have allowed for the former and it took some work to expand my understanding to include guys who I would be friendly with, maybe even friends with. (Having gotten married very young to the love of my life, I don’t generally think of potential partners… and my husband was so assiduously careful about getting full consent at the beginning I found it a little frustrating — as in, ‘I said “yes” already!’ But it was far more respect than any of my previous encounters had entailed).

        5. Left Me No Choice
          Left Me No Choice December 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm |

          I think the “gray rape” discussion is one worth having. No, there is no gray area here as to whether she consented or not– she didn’t, and he penetrated her, so it was rape.

          But the reason we have people writing articles like this and calling acquaintance rape “gray rape” is because of the socialization that abra outlines very well: Because rape culture teaches guys– even relatively normal, relatively well-adjusted guys– that if a pretty lady flirts with them and comes to bed with them, they get to have sex with her.

          And yes, it’s about control, and it’s about getting what you want, but I understand– to an extent– why the guy in this situation is confused. He’s confused because in all likelihood he’s spent way more hours in his room watching porn alone than being in there with real women (assuming he’s a relatively mainstream guy who had access to the internet after age 14). And if his brain has been bombarded with a million situations where women flirt with guys and then have sex with them, and if he’s not particularly good at picking up on subtle social cues, then I can see how he’d be confused. Ish. He probably shouldn’t have skipped that day in high school health class/college orientation where they scare the bejebus out of all the freshmen guys with “she can’t consent when she’s drunk OR ASLEEP.”

          This socialization, plus (generally) dangerous amounts of alcohol, lead to situations like this on college campuses every single weekend: most of which are never reported because the women have been socialized to think they brought it on themselves by drinking and flirting too much. (“Always have a drinking buddy!”)

          We call this “gray rape” because capital-R Rape is committed by bad guys with weapons in alleyways in the middle of the night. And it’s hard to square that boogeyman image–which is inextricably intertwined with the word “rape” itself–with the slightly skeazy/socially awkward but generally acceptable dude on the lacrosse team.

          This is not the same thing as holding a knife to a woman’s throat in an alley, and it’s important to moving the conversation forward that we recognize that.

          But just because it isn’t the same scenario doesn’t mean that the non-consensual sex here was any less rape.

          In fact, in many ways, this is worse. Because she trusted the guy enough to get in his bed, and might have even been looking forward to maybe having sex with him when he came in. And if you trust someone enough to get in their bed, you probably trust them enough to sleep with them (Note: this is not the same as consenting to sleep with them). If you trust them enough to sleep with them, then you probably think he’s a good enough guy to trust that if you do pass out before sex happens, he’ll be a good enough guy to either wake you up or leave you alone til morning.

          And the trauma that results from the violation of that trust is just as bad — and arguably way worse — than the trauma of the knife/alley situation. Because women are not supposed to feel safe in dark alleys. We are supposed to be able to feel safe with guys we’ve flirted with and are planning to sleep with.

          In the end, this is not about “mixed” signals. It’s about the fact that even if there are crystal clear signals, sometimes people who lie down in a bed fall asleep before sex happens. And that sucks for the one who’s still awake and was looking forward to getting laid, but it sucking doesn’t give that person a license to penetrate the one who passed out without consent. If you can’t wait to get off until she wakes up, go masturbate in the bathroom. Don’t rape the girl in your bed. It’s pretty simple.

        6. Dense Winters
          Dense Winters December 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

          @Left Me No Choice,
          Therefore he did not wake her up because….. The idea that men can not tell the difference from reality and fantasy and that might explain why he did not seek her consent sounds like more apologism to me. And knowing to not have sex with someone who is not conscious really does not constitute a subtle social cues.
          And no, the “gray rape” discussion is not worth having because there is no “gray rape” and it should not be called such, period. And there are already discussions on rape that occurs when the rapist is someone known or met and not a complete stranger. That conversation is already happening and has been happening for years. It is the reason women are told to cover their drinks at bars and parties, to not go out alone, to drink responsibly, etc. It is the reason why op-eds are being written blaming women who are raped and harassed for going to certain kinds of parties, or going out at all.
          Same thing on the conversation around rape when the person is known. And these conversations have been happening for years. I do not think anything is advanced by falling over ourselves to explain how of course not all rapists are lurking in an alley, especially when those conversations have been happening for years. We are well beyond the only idea of a rapist being some gun-wielding masked figure in an alley.
          What really seems to be happening is that instead of holding men accountable for their actions, society is blaming women by default, because even when rape admittedly occurs, it is on the woman for “sending mixed messages.” Everything goes back to being the fault of anything and everyone except for the complete fault of the rapist.
          No, there was no weapon involved, but her ability consent was not honored. And that is rape, and it is not rape different from holding a knife to someone’s throat, or purposely getting them drunk. Her ability to consent was knowingly taken away from her by him, and that does not and should not get its own special category of “gray rape” just like the term “date rape” should not categorize some forms of rape from others.
          You even point out in your post that schools are teaching at orientation that having sex with someone who is unconscious is rape, so how the hell are we not having the conversation around it never being okay to sleep with someone who can not consent? We have recognized in training that rapes other than strange in ally occur, there has been a barrage of campaigns targeted toward men and women on drinking, drug use, and consent. But that isn’t enough?

        7. Left Me No Choice
          Left Me No Choice December 8, 2012 at 11:26 pm |

          @Denise Winters,
          I’m not apologizing for him, or saying we need to have the “gray rape” conversation because it’s actually a gray area. At all. What he did was wrong, period. As I said, “If you can’t wait to get off until she wakes up, go masturbate in the bathroom. Don’t rape the girl in your bed. It’s pretty simple.”

          But we need to have the conversation because for whatever reason, *he* and many others like him don’t necessarily understand, pre-being called out for the rape they committed, that they shouldn’t do that.

          Yes, we who read Feministe know that rape is rape and consent is consent and if you don’t have consent it’s capital-R rape. We, who think about these issues a lot, ARE well beyond the only idea of a rapist being some gun-wielding masked figure in an alley. But not everyone thinks about this as much as we do, and these conversations are generally not being had with the people who need to hear them, namely, with guys like Alyssa’s friend.

          And that’s why I use the “gray rape” terminology, because the people who are raping their acquaintances generally think they are in a gray area because she sent “mixed signals”, even though we know that rapists are never in a gray area. I know this terminology is not helpful to the idea of whether it’s rape at all, but I think it is helpful to talk about the spectrum of situations that are rape, to try and get as many of these entitled jackasses as possible to understand what consent is and why it matters *before * they find themselves tempted to rape the girls in their beds.

          The conversations are starting, at many college orientations at least, but the key points aren’t necessarily reiterated often enough, even in the barrage of campaigns that are already out there. Maybe we need to petition to get “rape is rape, get consent” printed on every red Solo cup sold within 20 miles of any college campus.

          And then we need to get colleges to start actually disciplining the creeps who do this on their campuses, and publicizing the statistics, so they stop thinking they can get away with it.

        8. Dense Winters
          Dense Winters December 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

          And the need for a “gray rape conversation” seems especially appalling to be called for in this case where the person writing the piece admits that it was rape. She doesn’t act like it was anything less than rape, and doesn’t express disbelief that her friend could rape someone. Instead, she tries to blame “mixed signals” as a mitigating factor.

        9. piny
          piny December 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

          I suppose I agree with your understanding of the banality of rape, but I think this is a weak definition of evil. Nobody freely does anything they can’t justify somehow. No man ever commits a rape he can’t on some level explain to himself as something other than unforgivably evil, and most people do bad things out of a lack of kindness rather than out of true sadism.

          And in most other moral contexts, we define “nice” as active kindness, not just an absence of cruelty. We wouldn’t say someone is nice because they refrain from sucker-punching the elderly. We wouldn’t call someone a nice father because he doesn’t beat his children, or a nice boss because he doesn’t cheat his employees.

          Our low standard for “nice” behavior towards women is itself a form of cruelty, and men who buy into it are being cruel towards women.

          I think your definition of “control” is also too narrow. Control can also mean a desire to objectify someone, to treat them without regard for what they want, to take control. That’s what this guy was doing: he waited until the situation was out of her control so that he could use her. That is just as manipulative, and just as selfish, as raping out of a desire to humiliate or hurt the victim.

        10. Dense Winters
          Dense Winters December 9, 2012 at 12:05 am |

          And that is where we will disagree, because I think it is bullshit to say they do not understand what they are doing is wrong. In this case, she was asleep. Asleep. And I also disagree that the conversations are just beginning when campaigns, especially against “date rape” have been going on since the 90s at least.
          When women are raped, instead of blaming the rapist they become enabled with talk of “mixed-signals” and “she should have known better” and “a nice guy like him wouldn’t rape someone therefore she is lying or led him own while drunk.” Because of expectations about what men are entitled too, how men are expected to behave, and what women constitute “pure victims” and in what situations, instead of recognizing rape for what it is, we end up with rape and “not really rape.” Even when men admit to purposely getting women drunk in order to sleep with them, it is turned into a joke and something “she deserved.”
          These same men would not even treat the property of other people with this degree of entitlement, but when they treat women as their personal playthings, it becomes the responsibility of women to educate them that you should ask before touching, let alone fucking. Are we really suppose to assume that they have a hard time understanding you can’t just take something because you want it? That at some point they weren’t chastised for “borrowing” without asking?
          No, the problem with Alyssa’s friend is that he’s a rapist with a support system that enables rape and rape apologism by arguing there is ever a “mixed-signal” in terms of consent. He has a support system that will argue his actions were driven by anything other than a sense of entitlement to a woman’s body that wouldn’t be excused towards someone else’s wallet. It all goes back to why he wouldn’t wake her up first if he really didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. He just happened to think this woman wanted to have sex with him and decided to rape her unconscious body instead of waking her up so she could actually participate? And I’m sure a downgraded version of rape will make those men who purposely get women so drunk they can not remember their own name in order to rape them will realize the error of their ways with the conversation framed as “gray rape” as oppose to the decades long conversation of “date rape”, because, yeah. Sure, “gray rape” it is, “date rape” is so 90s anyway.

        11. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

          The monthS. The months that passed since.

      4. Amanda Marcotte
        Amanda Marcotte December 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm |

        Nope.

        Bet that guy couldn’t wait for her to fall asleep so he rape her. I bet he was thinking, “Shut yer yap and pass out so I can get my rape on.”

        1. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm |

          Exactly.

          Given how much conversation took place before she fell asleep, he had plenty of time to show *her* the non-mixed signals that would indicate he wanted sex and allow her the option to consent or decline. That consensual sex was very obviously not what he wanted.

        2. EG
          EG December 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

          Agreed. If he hadn’t wanted to rape her, he could have made a pass during one of those intense flirtation sessions Royse seems to think were so inviting.

        3. abra
          abra December 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

          I really don’t think this is productive. If we insist rapists must be manipulative/violent/opportunistic boogey men, then people will continue to resist understanding what some “nice guy” did was rape.

          When we focus on the rape and say it really doesn’t matter whether he meant to dominate/control or “misread the signals,” penetrating someone without her explicit consent is rape.

          I am not arguing that there is not something very wrong with some guy who finds himself in bed with a sleeping/drunk/otherwise unable to consent woman and proceeds to penetrate her because at the very least he is lacking in some basic empathy.

          But I think that I am covering more bases by saying I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that this was misinterpretation of signals or whatever, people can do some pretty horrible things to other people just simply by forgetting/ignoring the other person is in fact a person. It doesn’t matter, it is still rape.

        4. Alexandra
          Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

          I think the salient point is that a lot of men are so lacking in basic empathy for women (the whole women =/= people problem) that they’re willing and eager to do a whole lot of manipulative, coercive shit in order to “get laid”, because – I mean, bitches, right? She was totally flirting with me man. She wanted it.

          And these guys probably don’t go around kicking puppies for sport. But who cares whether they’re “nice” or not? I don’t think these men are monsters, any more than people who murder are monsters or people who coerce the labor of others are monsters – but I believe they’ve willingly degraded their own souls through their lack of empathy.

        5. EG
          EG December 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm |

          Except if we grant “he misinterpreted signals,” we’re tacitly conceding that there are, in fact, situations in which penetrating a sleeping woman who has not explicitly asked for such treatment is a reasonable response, that there are signals that can be reasonably interpreted to mean that that’s OK. And there aren’t.

        6. Alexandra
          Alexandra December 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |

          @ EG – I agree.

          I think the “misinterpreted signals” argument is just a screen people who rape use to excuse the fact that they made no effort to obtain explicit consent.

        7. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 12:18 am |

          Exactly: ambiguity is not really a problem. Women aren’t liars, men aren’t stupid, and rapists know that they don’t have consent. You can’t posit that consent is super confusing without accepting that rape is inevitable. And I don’t accept the latter, and I don’t believe the former.

        8. abra
          abra December 10, 2012 at 1:11 am |

          No, I don’t think saying “I don’t care if you ‘misinterpreted signals,’ it is still rape” is necessarily letting someone off the hook. And I should have made that more clear. Context: I spend a lot of time telling my children that it really doesn’t matter what they *intended* to do, if they hurt someone, they need to take responsibility and apologize. I say this because I recognize that they often claim that they “didn’t know” or “didn’t mean to” when they really did and I communicate to them very clearly and consistently that that doesn’t let them off the hook (even if they didn’t know or didn’t mean to, it doesn’t let them off the hook).

          Basically, I am saying that it is beside the point to argue about intent when establishing that there was rape – if there was no consent, it was rape and rapist is responsible. In this case, he is responsible because not in spite of being so devoid of empathy that he would be able to “misinterpret” signals from a sleeping woman. That *is* part of the crime.

          My point is whether he set out to rape her or whether he decided that raping her was an acceptable way to get off (rape was primary or secondary), he failed to meet his primary responsibility of any sexual encounter — getting consent. And when we insist on arguing rape must have been primary, we push people to excuse cases when people (men) insist the non-consensual aspect was secondary/incidental/accidental.

          I do think that it is worthwhile to talk about *claimed* intent in order to establish that even “nice guys” can do it — are they really “nice guys?” no. But they are guys that you don’t necessarily perceive as laying in wait to rape someone and who manage to convince a fair number of people, possibly including themselves, that what they did/do is not really rape.

        9. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 1:22 am |

          I get what you’re saying–it’s the “intent isn’t magic” approach. The problem is that in allowing it, you get Royse. Royse, who says that she and her rapist friend had “painful and beautiful” conversations through which he learned a lot, who has no problem splashing some poor woman’s rape all over the internet, whose rapist friend has moved away and “lost contact,” no doubt to pull this shit again. And again. And again. Each time claiming to learn. Picking out a woman whose “signals” would make it miserable for her to go to court. Convincing the people around him that it was all just a misunderstanding. Conveniently falling out of touch so that these friends don’t meet each other. And “learning,” every time, and everybody knows he’s such a nice guy, he just misinterpreted signals, there’s no need to smear his name or call the cops, now he’s learned, and he feels so baaaaaad.

          And no. The only response to “I misinterpreted signals” is “No, you didn’t.”

        10. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 1:58 am |

          Yeah. I think this is part of the discussion–not that men are collectively mystified by concepts like “soft refusal” and “unconscious”–but that women have the right to feel safe and that men have the obligation to not threaten even if things are weird.

          Some aspects of sexual intimacy and communication are complicated! Sometimes misunderstandings happen! (They don’t involve accidental rape.) Women have the right to respect and even when it’s more complicated and less extreme than, “Don’t have sex with someone who is out cold.” And difficulty doesn’t absolve anyone of the responsibility to care for their partner.

          But then again, it so quickly turns into, “But not committing rape is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard,” and then you get pieces like this.

        11. abra
          abra December 10, 2012 at 2:06 am |

          When you don’t make the fault contingent on the intent, you don’t start down some slippery slope ending is rape apology (sure, you can end there but you don’t have to).

          In my experience, telling people what their intent was is counter-productive. Whether you are right or not, they can use your insistence as “not understanding the situation.” So saying, ‘fine you “misinterpreted signals” (note the scare quotes), you still raped her,’ is the logical equivalent of saying, fine, you “misread the stop light,” you still ran a red. From a legal perspective, it doesn’t matter if you “thought” you saw green, if it is was red, you still are responsible for having run the red light. If you genuinely thought you saw green, you are probably not fit to drive, you don’t get a free pass to run red lights.

          So, if I grant that someone may have “misinterpreted signals,” I would say you not only failed in your responsibility to get consent, you failed in your duty to make sure you were informed and otherwise prepared to engage in sexual activity. Negligence is not an excuse, it is an additional offense.

          Conceding the ground that they may have “misinterpreted signals” is an opportunity to assert that is not an excuse and reaffirm that there are no acceptable signals beyond a coherent “yes.” Saying “no, you wanted to rape her” is going to automatically engage this story that we all have in our heads of the menacing stranger in the alley — keep in mind, that for many people that is the only kind of rape there is. And, when that doesn’t match with the “nice guy” in front of them, a lot of people won’t reject the menacing stranger story as inaccurate but the real-life rape story as inaccurate, seeking to justify the “nice guy’s” actions, usually through victim blaming.

          But, I genuinely hope that this guy has some deep and intense (beautiful? ehhh…) conversations with some people who helped him grow because he obviously wasn’t prosecuted, probably not charged. That being the case there is no way that women in his new city are going to know that he has “trouble reading signals” and/or is an opportunistic rapist.

        12. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 10, 2012 at 2:45 am |

          In my opinion, rape is almost always a deliberate act that’s motivated by an extreme sense of entitlement–an extreme sense of entitlement that’s not likely to subside within the rapist’s lifetime, although as ze gets older ze may switch to other ways of expressing hir feelings of superiority. So I think it’s a waste of time to consider the best way to communicate with rapists. I personally don’t want to have anything to do with rapists, and I don’t want to communicate with them. If I came to realize that someone in my network of acquaintances was a rapist, I would cut off contact with hir rather than talk to hir about hir history of rape (which has only happened to me one time, and it was disturbing because I had considered the guy a friend, albeit a troubled, somewhat sketchy one. But yeah, never talked to him again after I learned what he did).

          So I think the reason to say that rapists rarely are “misinterpreting signals” is not to communicate anything to the rapist. It’s communicate to other people to whom the rapist is spewing hir misinformation. If people believe that rapists actually do misinterpret signals, it makes them seem more sympathetic, and people are more likely to side with rapists over rape survivors. Clearly stating that, no, rapists know what they are doing, therefore, is necessary if we are going to convince otherwise well-meaning but not particularly anti-rape-culture people to move in the right direction and not side with rapists.

        13. abra
          abra December 10, 2012 at 11:48 am |

          @LotusBecca –

          I totally understand where you are coming from and think that is totally within your right to do so. I dare say I would do the same thing (more on that later). However, because my mom has worked with sex offenders (both convicted and not) since I was a small child, I understand that someone is going to continue to be in contact with sex offenders — not just the paid professionals but family members, vulnerable parties, even their victims. They have shown some proficiency at getting people to trust them enough to be a position to rape them – most of the time not in a dark alley. So, hoping that they can and will learn is hoping that they will not re-offend.

          Because my mom worked with juvenile sex offenders, I’ve know a little bit about young offenders and think there is a case to be made that it is possible for people to outgrow the “extreme sense of entitlement” that allowed them to justify doing really terrible things before they were emotionally/cognitively mature. There is not a lot of point in doing the kind of work my mom does if there isn’t that possibility.

          This is not to say that all of them will or that it is any one’s responsibility to rescue and rehabilitate a nave. Or that any given person is has any obligation to forgive a person who claims to have learned. It is just a hope that because so few sex offenders are caught, charged, and convicted we do not, for better or for worse, exile established sex offenders that they may come to see the error in their ways.

          (When my mom was working with the juvenile offenders, it was in a residential facility so we had some exposure — totally safe for us and we never knew details about their offense — versus when she worked in out patient clinics and at jails and just knew the types of cases she worked with. So, I knew some people who I knew were not safe… but they weren’t all on-the-surface abhorrent people so I know I can be friendly with someone like that. However, there is a difference between knowing that about someone beforehand and finding out about it afterward, particularly if it involved an offense against a friend/acquaintance in the recent past.)

        14. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 10, 2012 at 11:16 pm |

          @abra

          Thanks very much for your reply. I think I’ve got a better feel of where you’re coming from now. And in large part, I agree with you. I actually totally forgot this until just now. . .but back in 2010 I actually worked for about six months at a residential program for sex offenders who also had intellectual disabilities. So I was cooking for them, giving them their medications. . .interacting with them in a very close way on a daily basis. It was something I had serious problems with doing. . .but I needed work, and I understood someone had to help them with their daily tasks, as most of them had never been formally convicted of anything so couldn’t go to prison, and they were incapable of living independently.

          And yeah. . .some of them really were abusive assholes and were manipulative and verbally abusive to me, but some of them generally treated me with respect and seemed “nice” enough. So I didn’t necessarily hate or dislike most of them, even as I was repulsed by what they’d done. Since I was aware they almost all had been sexually abused as children, and they were disabled, I suppose that allowed me to be more sympathetic also.

          And while I’ll stand by my point that very few adult rapists can change, you’re right I think that some juvenile rapists can reform themselves as they mature. So it can be worth it to know ways in which to talk to these people effectively. Of course, I still think that Ms. Royce (and many people in our culture) put way too much emphasis on communicating with rapists. I think it’s really messed up how she stood by her rapist friend in the way she did. In general, we need to call a spade a spade and keep saying how the large majority of rapists are manipulative abusers and know exactly what they are doing.

        15. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 11, 2012 at 3:48 am |

          abra

          there are no acceptable signals beyond a coherent “yes.”

          Well, I often read stuff like this, and I can’t say I totally agree with this formulation. Actions can say alot. Women have agency, too.

          Not to dwell too much in TMI territory, I’ll just say that I rarely had to undress myself before sex.

          Focusing on the verbal “yes” carries the assumption that sex is something that men do and that women have done to them.

        16. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 11, 2012 at 4:58 am |

          @ Schmorgluck

          I don’t know what world you live in, but if someone does something sexual to me without positive consent, it is rape. If I were to do something sexual to a partner without their positive consent, it would be rape. Nothing changes this. My gender, and my partner’s gender is irrelevant. The status of our relationship is irrelevant. From a casual hook-up to within marriage a coherent, positive consent is required, otherwise, yes, it is rape. Coherent, positive consent has nothing to do with who is having what done to them. The only other option is allowing exceptions like “the way she was acting invited me” or “men can’t say no to sex” i.e. rape culture. So yes, your view IS the view of rape-apology.

        17. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 11, 2012 at 5:33 am |

          Focusing on the verbal “yes” carries the assumption that sex is something that men do and that women have done to them.

          I don’t think too many people here are focusing on a verbal “yes.” The specific way unambiguous consent is communicated is not the issue. Obviously, it will probably involve some form of “yes” for English speakers, some form of “si” for Spanish speakers, and the appropriate sign for ASL signers. But if two people mainly communicate through facial expressions and body language, that could work, too. We’re not here trying to regulate other people’s consensual sexual habits. The point is that if a person doesn’t know for sure that the other person is completely OK with their sexual advances, they should not proceed. This applies regardless of gender, as Sophia pointed out. And really, “yes,” in and of itself isn’t sufficient either. If the “yes” seems insincere–that’s not good enough. If a person says “yes” because they are being pressured to say it–that’s not good enough. Someone really shouldn’t want to have sex with a partner unless their partner truly, genuinely, unambiguously also wants to have it. . .that defeats the whole point. Sex needs to be a mutually beneficial experience for all partners involved.

        18. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 11, 2012 at 7:06 am |

          The only other option is allowing exceptions like “the way she was acting invited me” or “men can’t say no to sex” i.e. rape culture. So yes, your view IS the view of rape-apology.

          Not considering doing anything sexual without my partner’s willful and active participation is rape-apology? Mmmkay…

        19. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 11, 2012 at 7:18 am |

          See, I do think that many adult rapists can change. I think that adults are capable of looking at their worst urges and not acting on them. I think they’re capable of developing a more fully-human picture of women. I think the vast majority of people are able to do that.

          Well, I certainly agree with that, Jill. I don’t think there’s anything inherent in the psychology of adult rapists that predestine them to continue raping people. Virtually any urge can be controlled and any habit can be changed. I think the reason adult rapists rarely change is simply because they don’t have sufficient motivation to change. . .they don’t have sufficient motivation to develop a more fully-human picture of women. And this is a social/cultural/political problem. Male rapists’ sense of superiority over women is the extreme version of the sense of superiority over women that most men feel under patriarchy. And they will continue to view their extreme sense of superiority as unproblematic so long as it’s somewhat validated in the broader culture.

          Basically, I just think spending a lot of time trying to reform rapists is bad tactics if we want to help women most significantly or eradicate rape in the long term. Rapists are some of the most hardcore enemies of equality and justice. . .just like neo-Nazis or right-wing Christians. I think it makes more sense to try to change the people who are more moderate on the issue of rape culture while focusing on marginalizing the most violent and abusive people. People of color shouldn’t dialogue with Nazis. I, as a trans woman, shouldn’t dialogue with the kind of people who post on GenderTrender. Women shouldn’t dialogue with rapists either, in my opinion. It’s think it’s more effective, more empowering, and less personally triggering to focus on turning the culture against them.

          Just my opinion, of course, and I recognize a lot of smart people will feel differently, which is perfectly OK by me.

        20. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 11, 2012 at 7:20 am |

          No. I said saying “Well, I often read stuff like this, and I can’t say I totally agree with this formulation. Actions can say alot.” in response to “there are no acceptable signals beyond a coherent “yes.” is rape-apology. It is stating that there are actions that leads to situations in which which consent is not required, and there are NEVER situations in which consent is not required.

        21. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 11, 2012 at 8:03 am |

          Oh, I see what I did wrong in my initial post, then, I should have expanded more. I thought the example in my second paragraph made my meaning clear, but it was apparently insufficient.

          By “actions” I didn’t mean “gestures” or “signals”, I actually meant, well, actions, deliberate actions, explicit actions. The example I gave was of my partner undressing me. I could go for other examples, but they would be too… graphic.

          Of course it’s a step-by-step process: consent at one step doesn’t prejudge of what will be consented to at the next. Consent isn’t a whole package. Getting naked together doesn’t imply intercourse.

        22. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

          I spent some time in the past few days reading further into stuff about Rape Culture, in particular on the Yes Means Yes blog, and I must retract my previous statements about verbal “yes”. Now I see its importance in most situations.

          My statements were based on my sexual history, which doesn’t represent a significant sample: four times, of which only two involved intercourse – and I let my partner take the lead in the latter ones, at least at first. So there wasn’t real ambiguity and the situations were simple, but I aknowledge it’s not always the case.

          I find it liberating, actually: I’d been afraid of being too blunt or clumsy when it comes to verbal interactions about sex, but after all this reading I’m more afraid of the alternative. Combined with what I learned about myself last time I had sex and during the month that passed since, it globally makes me more confident. I think.

        23. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

          I actually meant the monthS that passed since.

          (sorry about the misplaced duplicate)

      5. Philip Finn
        Philip Finn December 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

        I believe this IS a conversation we need to continue having, because as Dense Winters pointed out, it is a conversation we’ve been having all along, but the fact we are still arguing over terms like “grey rape” shows we are ahead on concepts but lagging in vocabulary needed to even HAVE “the conversation”, much like “the conversation” on race society needs to have but can’t even begin without resorting to a lot of hyphenated Legowords like “African-American”, and “post-racial”…

        I think piny is on to something with the Arendtian concept of “the banality of rape”. As one who has spent a lot of years studying the phenomena of war crimes, especially the “key to my neighbor’s house” concept, I still find myself asking, at what point does one still not understand one is doing wrong to another human being? When one puts the shovel in their hands and tells them to dig, is that when? Or perhaps when they tearfully beg us between spadefuls (a half hour, forty-five minutes maybe longer) not go through with this, is that when? Or maybe when one makes them kneel next to the hole, and having abandoned all hope of dissuading us they beseech outloud to their deaf god, is that when they finally become human? Or maybe is it once one ratchets a cartridge into our .45 or the report shatters our ears or the blood spatter laps at our face? Is that when we finally wake from our “mixed signals”, our “grey area”, our”misunderstanding”? No, because like Ms. Royce’s friend the sex criminal, we didn’t, as a war criminal, consider anyone else’s point of view, any need, any humanity beyond our own, a theory of mind, just as he didn’t – even after apparently hours of personal conversation and contact with his victim – until someone (in this case a victim who survived simply because there was no ongoing ideological support for killing her, or – perhaps more probably – he rolled over and fell asleep) called him on it.
        Then, it’s the old, “What? I did what? No. I couldn’t have. You just don’t understand the situation, I don’t understand the situation…I’m not a person who does things like that!” tired old de facto revisionism that simply won’t give up.

        I don’t even like using the word “rapist”, preferring us to get used to the word “criminal” …the suffix, “-ist” implies a suffix, “-ism”, and whether there is an ideology of rapism to go along with the banality of rape is a conversation we’re not ready to have, yet. We don’t even have the words…

        1. Alexandra
          Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

          Good stuff. Very good stuff. The radical lack of empathy which we’re all capable of never fails to astonish me.

        2. Jadey
          Jadey December 10, 2012 at 10:14 am |

          Just an etymological point, but “-ist” doesn’t always refer to an “-ism”. It looks like the same suffix because it uses the same letters, but suffixes can be homonyms too. Your “dentist” isn’t an adherent of “dentism” after all.

          So there’s nothing wrong at all with calling someone a “rapist” – “criminal” is far too broad a category, given the breadth of defined crimes in society.

  4. jemima101
    jemima101 December 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

    This has been causing all sorts of rape apologism over at The Good Man Project. She seems unable to understand that rape is not just committed by evil men in dirty raincoats. In the comments she continues to defend her friend, and her belief that mixed signals were given out, it is horrific to read.

    The problem is she is unable to separate her self image, as someone who “cares” from the fact she knew a rapist, but millions of women could have told her rapists can be husband, brother, boyfriend, father, nice guy. She insults every single one of them by suggesting it is not about enthusiastic and informed consent.

    1. Computer Soldier Porygon
      Computer Soldier Porygon December 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm |

      Oh, I’m sure the Good Men are all really happy to hear about this. Fuck that website.

  5. Peter
    Peter December 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

    Any suggestion that her behavior may have led to — NOT JUSTIFIED OR EXCUSED — the rape was met with screams of “victim blaming” and “rape apology.”

    I feel like if you’re writing a piece and write that sentence… maybe stop writing it?

    gah, the screams were for a good reason.

    1. piny
      piny December 8, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

      What the fuck is the difference between “lead to” and “justify or excuse” in this context? Does the writer point out that if she had lived in a different city, she would not have met this particular rapist? Is there a long digression into one’s tendency to meet rapists at parties, or in groups of men? No? I wonder why that is. Could it be that the writer is only interested in analyzing behavior that’s different from her own?

      1. Kat
        Kat December 9, 2012 at 1:17 am |

        “Now I’m not blaming the victim, but why can’t we just acknowledge that if she had twisted her ankle and missed her bus that evening, causing her to hang out at her #2 spot on the other side of town, she would not have been victimize? It’s just simple cause-and-effect logic, people. I don’t understand why feminists are so resistant to my rational inquiry.”

        1. Lindsay Beyerstein
          Lindsay Beyerstein December 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

          Yeah, and if she’d never been born, she never would have been raped. QED. Sheesh, feminists.

    2. brianpansky
      brianpansky December 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm |

      I can’t believe that author:

      “Any suggestion that her behavior may have led to”

      It is not her behavior that “led to the rape” (how can she not be fine that people are upset at that “suggestion”?)

      I think it is something of the following which led to the rape:

      -his interpretation
      -his disregard for consent
      -his ignorance of consent (which is actually a very basic concept)

      how hard can this be for a councilor?

      1. brianpansky
        brianpansky December 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm |

        (more ranting)
        how can this warrant any mention of “her behavior”? Any attempt to include “her behavior” in conversation can be replaced with the line “he failed to negotiate any consent for any aspect of the particular action he took” and this can even be said if this had happened in an already-sexually-active relationship! Yes, this means the behavior actually is irrelevant.

        The only possible area to discuss is how/why this man didn’t negotiate any consent for any aspect of the particular action he took. Such a discussion with him personally would probably require responding to him (when he says “her behavior”) with “so out of all the things she could have been signalling she wanted (like a date, a phone number, a negotiation of petting or sucking her) you decided she wanted you to penetrate-her-without-asking? While she was asleep?” and then watch his nice sweet jaw drop.

        Would wife rape be a place to suggest “her being married to him may have led to her being raped”? This writing boggles my mind.

  6. Combray
    Combray December 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |

    Yeah, what the fuck.

    2. He believed that everything she was doing was an invitation to have sex. (He was wrong.)

    Nothing is an invitation to have sex with someone while they’re asleep, except for the words “have sex with me while I’m asleep.” So yeah, he was definitely wrong and even in our fucked-up sexual culture, that shouldn’t be unclear. Moreover, I wasn’t invited to the meeting where we decided that you can’t blame both the culture and the actual rapist.

    The moment you see sex as something you do with someone instead of to someone, any confusion over whether penetrating a sleeping person qualifies as sex is dissolved. You can’t do anything with a sleeping person.

    1. piny
      piny December 9, 2012 at 12:01 am |

      “She told me she gave generously to charity, and that Siddhartha was her favorite book, so when she fell asleep I stole her wallet and her shoes.”

      This is just–one of these people was right and one of these people was wrong, so how dare you go on and write a bunch of slimy bullshit about how they’re just two equally benighted people, him with his blithe assumption that rape is okay and her with her naive belief that she won’t get raped?

      1. Lindsay Beyerstein
        Lindsay Beyerstein December 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

        Even if she said she wanted to go to the movies, it still wouldn’t be okay to wait until she fell asleep and carry her to the Cineplex.

  7. Donna L
    Donna L December 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

    This is disgusting. There’s no ambiguity here, no “mixed messages,” nothing of the kind. I don’t care if someone announces that they enthusiastically consent to having sex with you; that doesn’t mean they’re signalling that they want you to penetrate them while they’re asleep. That’s not “having sex”! I can’t even imagine a circumstance in which I could possibly have thought that it was OK to do anything like that when I was living as a guy, and can’t imagine anyone acting in good faith interpreting anything I said or did now as consenting to something like that. Yes, I’ve put my arms around someone who was asleep next to me with whom I was in a relationship, and have had the same done to me. This is different.

    I’m so sick of the apologism.

    Fashionably Evil, I think what people mean is that men who seem to everyone to be nice guys commit rape.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L December 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

      Upon reflection, I should add, on the subject of putting my arms around someone who’s asleep and the reverse: I wouldn’t even do that unless it were made clear to me that it was something that was welcome; in fact, I’ve disappointed people by saying that I don’t really like sleeping intertwined with anyone, because it makes me feel claustrophobic. But nobody’s ever done that after being told not to, just as I never would. Still, I think it’s qualitatively different from penetrating someone without consent.

      1. Philip Finn
        Philip Finn December 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm |

        Exactly. Sleep has its own rules, and occupies its own space. It’s the one place anyone can go and be away from anybody else and have complete control. There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is a major control tool. You can share a bed the size of a football field, and if they, in their sleep, want anything, they’ll find you. If the bed is the size of a postage stamp, and sleep wants to be alone, they’ll wake up hanging from the chandelier…
        Only an assassin or rapist sees opportunity in a sleeping figure.
        ” But if she was sexually interested in him, she was probably interested in engaging in some sort of sexual activity — not in having sexual activity done to her like she’s some sort of blow-up doll while she’s unconscious. ”
        Why is this so difficult?
        Why are we even having this discussion?

  8. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve December 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

    You know, I was about to do a point by point takedown of why this was an out and out case of rape and why there no mixed signals whatsoever, but then I realized that the OP by Ms. Royse was not about this case at all. It was about Ms. Royse telling us how much smarter and better she is than a woman who does not realize how ‘fucked up’ this world is and therefore sends out ‘mixed signals. I didn’t read the full post, just Jill’s excerpts, but it seems unbelievably trite and stupid. I am unfamiliar with Ms. Royse or her organization, but I shudder to imagine what the Good Men Project is if this is the sort of nonsense they produce.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L December 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm |

      Didn’t Hugo Schwyzer have something to do with the Good Men Project at one time?

      1. DouglasG
        DouglasG December 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

        He did, but, if memory serves, left of his own accord after the owner/founder/president/whatever wrote or said something sexist and made it worse in some incredibly long, multiple-party Twitter conversation or something I remember reading. The subject matter isn’t coming to mind, but I think Ms Barr and perhaps Ms Marcotte as well were among the participants.

        1. Amanda Marcotte
          Amanda Marcotte December 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

          I wrote for them before I realized they were using real feminists like me for cover to run articles like this. I’ve since publicly denounced them. This lady likes her rapist friend, I’m sure, but doesn’t mean he’s not a rapist.

      2. Megan
        Megan December 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm |

        He’s also been defending Alyssa on Twitter. They’re buddies. As someone else already said in the comments “with friends like these…”

      3. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl December 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

        I thought Schwyzer TGMP left after he wrote about raping an ex-girlfriend in some pretty effed circumstances. (They were on a drug bender and she was passed out or something disturbing like that. He also fooled around with students of his while he was a professor, which is also pretty dubious in the integrity department). Maybe I’m misremembering all the brouhahas, I’m sure someone will chime in to set the record straight.

        There was also some sort of Twittering related controversy recently with Roseanne Barr and others, but I hate the Twitter so I don’t know the deets on that.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

          Crap, I did misremember, not that what Schwyzer actually did is any better. Schwyzer admitted on his blog that he attemped to kill both him and his ex-girlfriend during a drug bender. He also describes having a pretty messed up sexual encounter with the ex-girlfriend that same night right after she was apparently raped by her dealer. So, still some slippery consent issues there.

          Schwyzer has also admitted that he fooled around with some of his students, I didn’t remember that incorrectly.

        2. jemima101
          jemima101 December 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

          The thing is that is so different, learning, growing involves accepting our past mistakes. The idea someone cannot be rehabilitated is bollocks, the problem with the original article is not what happened, but the excusing of it. He is a threat to all women until he confronts his behaviour.

          This is so challenging, and why restorative justice gets so little attention, a nice guy cannot rape, but a rapist can become a decent human being.

        3. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

          I think we are in agreement here. Schwyzer did plenty of talking about and excusing what he did, but all of that still seemed completely oblivious as to how he was so, so wrong or how he could learn and grow from those circumstances. Never mind making actual amends or doing better in the future.

        4. EG
          EG December 9, 2012 at 10:51 am |

          And also, when he woke up before she did, convinced everyone it was a suicide pact so that nobody would believe her.

        5. Amelia the Lurker
          Amelia the Lurker December 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

          Actually, there was a separate incident too, so you’re not making it up; Schwyzer wrote about a time when his girlfriend (not sure if it was the same one he tried to kill) told him, “You know, there are times I haven’t wanted to gave sex,” and he was (rightfully) horrified he hadn’t properly obtained consent. http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-accidental-rapist/

        6. Amelia the Lurker
          Amelia the Lurker December 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

          Correction: It wasn’t same girlfriend. Not sure if it was before or after, though. He said he was 19. I can’t remember how old he said he was when the murder-suicide attempt happened but I think he was older…which makes this so much worse. Here he is talking about how shocked he was to have not noticed he wasn’t getting enthusiastic consent, and then he would go on several years later to do something just as bad or worse…

        7. Niall
          Niall December 12, 2012 at 10:18 am |

          While I don’t want to go into too much detail about Hugo because he’s yesterdays news, I do want to say that I’m glad the feminist blogging community has made an effort to distance themselves from him. What surprises me is that it took as long as it did. Even before he revealed that he attempted to kill an ex girlfriend along with himself, there was plenty of other evidence that he was of questionable character before then. Not just the affairs with his students, but last April he wrote a blog post basically defending and justifying a female sexual predator having sex with an underage boy. Worse still, when commenters called him on it, he got very defensive and hostile.

  9. Megan
    Megan December 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    There was much more rape apology in the comments on the GMP site than on xojane. Scary! The Good Men Project actually posted a follow-up response defending Alyssa for defending her rapist friend. The comments section there is also terrifying.

    The original blog (on the other site): http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/nice-guys-commit-rape-too/

    Joanna’s response defending the original blog: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-its-dangerous-to-say-only-bad-guys-commit-rape/

  10. Wordwizard
    Wordwizard December 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    Inability to say NO is also inability to GIVE consent. Being passed out under the influence of alcohol/drugs is inability to give consent. Even Cary Grant in The Philadelphia Story refused to explore having sex with a woman who was willing, but tipsy, and that was ages ago in the make-believe land of film! This is not hard to understand!

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm |

      My boyfriend required mucho assurances of consent the first time I had a (single!) drink before sex. I basically had to tell him “I’m intending to have sex with you tonight after having a glass of wine. Now I’m having a glass of wine, and I’m not at all drunk. I still want to have sex with you. Now I want to have sex with you right now. I promise that my glass of wine is not impairing my judgement” and he still wasn’t fully convinced until he saw me neatly performing some tasks requiring good eye-hand coordination. :p Then we had sex and it was lovely. And totally enthusiastically consensual. But he felt he had to make really sure he wasn’t taking advantage of me in any way first. Because my boyfriend is a decent fucking human being.

  11. matlun
    matlun December 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    WTF. Yes, when it comes to rape there can be some gray areas and bordeline cases. But from the article

    Which is to say that she was asleep when he started to penetrate her. She did not consent prior.

    This is not one of those cases. This is simply a clear case of rape.

    She may have been leading him on and might have been open to sex at some other time and context. In what possible way is that even relevant to the situation in question?

  12. herbsandhags
    herbsandhags December 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    The good men project is full of whiney men with an over-developed sense of entitlement. I’m not surprised they printed a load of rape-apologist whining.

    Yuk.

    1. Philip Finn
      Philip Finn December 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

      I get the sense they want to have it both ways rather than simply finding integrity and peace within themselves whether anyone else recognizes it, you know, we used to call it virtue, and it was its own reward…and the appearance they have of wanting to be recognized as “good men” (enough to all but award themselves when there are none to award them withal) tells me they have created a “good man” archetype in their own image and likeness, and want someone to sacrifice at their idol ….pretty much the m.o. of patriarchal religion, which got us in this mess in the first place. A sort of “priesthood” with the religion on back-order. Kinda like if you want to be known as a “promise-keeper” you keep promises, not wear the T-shirt. The point is, there’s a construct, and with it an implied contractual obligation, whether women or anyone else signs on to it or not, with built in social padding and a cadre of available defenders like Alyssa Royse (the sexual version, at least in this case, of Trotsky’s “Thin Veil of Sympathizers”) and if that isn’t a brief history of patriarchal domination in the West if not the whole planet, well…

      “You [men] are not our protectors…. If you were, who would there be to protect us from?” ~Mary Edwards Walker

      1. Philip Finn
        Philip Finn December 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

        “That having been said…”

        In the “Nice Guy” rapist’s defense – not enough for an acquittal, mind you – I think he may have met his match. We only have the discredited (at least in this matter) Ms. Royce’s interpretation of “Nice Guy” ‘s version of events:
        “The woman flirted hard. She talked about her past as a sex worker, and her sexual exploits, all while looking this Nice Guy in the eye. Then she fell asleep. And when she woke up, he was penetrating her.” But there had to be more to it.
        It sounds to me like “Nice Guy” was being warned up front someone had a past, experience, and their own rules…
        This doesn’t surrender her autonomy, clearly she felt secure in it…too bad “Nice Guy” ‘s only response was to wait until she was harmless and unthreatening and helpless, perhaps that’s why he waited patiently through the life story the way his colleagues often sit through a “chick flick” or other “Nice Guy” filter hoping to evade detection.
        There’s a difference between a “Nice Guy” and arrested development, clinical or otherwise, especially when it manifests itself as “entitlement”, although I’m tempted to think more of this case as the role of “punisher”…

  13. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage December 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

    Writing and publishing that article tells me all I need to know about the writer, the GMP, and xoJane.

    Given a choice between holding her friend to account for his sexual assault on an unconscious person and seeking a reason to excuse him, the writer chooses the latter, proceeding to engage in the same denial of rape and rape culture that far too many friends and relatives of rapists and abusers also engage in. The writer would rather absolve the friend than acknowledge the victim.

    This is so common, and so infuriating.

    *sigh*

  14. dc
    dc December 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm |

    2. He believed that everything she was doing was an invitation to have sex. (He was wrong.)

    “consenting”, while asleep??
    asleep….what is he telepathic?
    beyond bullshit excuse.
    hello “crime”
    (wow the lengths we go.,,,)

  15. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage December 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    With friends like these…

  16. dc
    dc December 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm |

    The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist.

    i beg to differ
    wake up, girlfriend.
    (truly mind boggling…..)

  17. dc
    dc December 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

    Many people watching it unfold would have thought that, too.

    then there is a word for that.
    it’s “idiot”

    Of course they would all be wrong. But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck?

    it?
    wow.

    I do not know one dude who has not also flirted and been flirted with and at the end of the night did not have sex with their flirtation partner.

    apparently men get that option

  18. Dominique
    Dominique December 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

    It looks like she will have an open and shut case, since 1) he admitted she was sleeping (ergo, non-consent) and 2) he has done so publicly so that there’s a witness for the prosecution. That guy is going to jail, because judges are better-versed in the law than this particular blogger and her “nice-guy” friend. For once, justice may well be served.

    I am assuming that rape in the United States includes any situation in which the victim in unconscious. This is the case in our criminal code in Canada.

    1. Alara Rogers
      Alara Rogers December 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

      It does, Dominique, but unfortunately, both in the US and Canada, sometimes open and shut cases aren’t, because rape culture.

      If I recall correctly, there was a case in Toronto where a man followed a woman off a bus and raped her in the street, and the judge let him off lightly because “sex was in the air” and “mixed signals”, even while acknowledging that in fact the woman didn’t consent. And there have been zillions of such cases in the US. So unfortunately, there are judges and juries who will react exactly like this guy’s friend did — the victim was flirting, therefore the accused couldn’t possibly guess that she didn’t want to have sex while she was asleep, therefore he didn’t mean to be a rapist, and why ruin a nice guy’s life over the accusations of a flirtatious slut?

      I very much hope that that’s not what happens, and the fact that the guy has admitted to penetrating his victim while she was asleep is in fact taken as the open and shut evidence of rape that it is, but there are no guarantees.

      1. auditorydamage
        auditorydamage December 9, 2012 at 12:48 am |

        One province over, in Manitoba.

      2. rain
        rain December 10, 2012 at 12:12 am |

        I remember that case, Alara. A newspaper linked to the ruling, and I had read quite a bit of it. Pages 73-75 describe the circumstances leading up to the rape. It’s simply horrendous that the judge thought this was a case of misread signals. Among other unambiguous “signals” such as a clear rebuff at the beginning, there’s the fact that when she told him he was hurting her, and asked him if he was going to kill her, he told her it would only hurt for a little while. When you read the details, it’s stunningly obvious that when the victim returned his kisses, etc., things the judge found to be “inviting” behavior, it was her trying to stay alive.

        What’s especially galling is that the judge agreed that the rapist was unremorseful.

        Anyway, just wanted to set the record straight. Your point, that open and shut cases aren’t when it comes to rape, is spot on. And that judge’s decision is a stellar example.

    2. Anon21
      Anon21 December 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

      It looks like she will have an open and shut case, since 1) he admitted she was sleeping (ergo, non-consent) and 2) he has done so publicly so that there’s a witness for the prosecution. That guy is going to jail, because judges are better-versed in the law than this particular blogger and her “nice-guy” friend. For once, justice may well be served.

      From the way Royce describes the aftermath, that doesn’t seem very likely. Perhaps this would be a slam-dunk winner in court, but the victim would still have to endure having her behavior towards the rapist dissected on the stand (in all likelihood), so it’s not too surprising that she apparently didn’t choose to go to the police.

  19. Alison
    Alison December 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm |

    Thank you for this, Jill. I just could not even with this fucking piece. And the thing is, when I just saw the headline I thought it was going to go in a different way…like, “Hey people, even those guys who seem really nice and sweet can also be rapists, they aren’t all scary monsters hiding in dark alleys”. Then I read the subhead…and started reading the article…and my eyeballs were about to pop out of my skull with the sheer force of the waves of disgust my brain was sending out. I could hardly even form a response.

    Though, as I said on Twitter, it’s more confirmation that Alyssa’s home site should be called The All Men Are Good No Matter What They Do Project. I mean…any site claiming to be about “good men” that published The Very Much Not a Good Man Who Shall Not Be Named isn’t worth shit, IMO.

    1. jemima101
      jemima101 December 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

      I feel somewhat the same, I want to like TGMP, but it seems to be either fucktards wanting praise for being a tiny bit less oppressive or articles like this…the thing is the men I know are a million miles away from either.

      1. king ten butts
        king ten butts December 9, 2012 at 1:18 am |

        (let’s not use words like “tard” though please)

        1. jemima101
          jemima101 December 9, 2012 at 8:29 am |

          Wow…I had never considered the entomology of that word…thank you for calling me on it.

  20. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet December 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    Congrats, Alyssa, not even the most atrocious MRAs have been willing to come right out and say that people can “ask for it” in our sleep. Hope you’re proud of yourself. I would call you an embarrassment to feminism, but you’re really an embarrassment to the human race.

    (No) Love,

    Someone Who Was Repeatedly Molested As A Child, In And Out Of Sleep

    1. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie December 10, 2012 at 8:34 am |

      I’m so sorry, gratuitous_violet.

  21. Colin
    Colin December 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

    What’s going on here? Do ‘nice guys’ believe that the average woman has some kind of sleep sex fetish? Maybe what’s going through his head is some kind of narrative where women are entirely passive in the act of sex itself and just lie next to men to offer up their body for their partner to use as a toy. But I don’t think anyone with an ounce of empathy can sincerely believe this. It’s conceivable that she made some ‘sexy movements’ in her sleep – it’s not uncommon and it means absolutely nothing about that person’s desires, but it can be confusing if someone lying next to you is doing it. But for goodness’ sake, check your partner is awake before doing anything.

    Most likely, he didn’t think at all beyond ‘she wants me’. The sad truth is that pretty much everyone thinks of themselves as ‘nice’, no matter what they’re doing. With most evil acts, the perpetrator gets to feel ‘innocent’ because he/she refuses to put two and two together.

  22. Alphabet
    Alphabet December 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm |

    I assumed the woman had been blacked out but talking, so she seemed awake, or something. But no, she was straight up asleep. And the mixed messages weren’t from five minutes ago but five days ago!

    There is no such thing as cumulative consent!

    How is this even a question?

  23. formersexworker
    formersexworker December 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

    Not that flirting would justify raping her in her sleep, obviously, but I don’t think she was even necessarily flirting – I mean there are other reasons besides that one to DO that (talk about her sexual exploits)! Not that it’s not ever flirting, but it’s not necessarily so.

  24. formersexworker
    formersexworker December 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    Actually I think “past sexual activities” is a more accurate phrase than “sexual exploits.”

  25. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve December 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

    I went and read the full article on xojane and it was, as I feared, just an attempt to show how clever the author was with her explanation of the situation.

    I will say that I was really impressed by the overwhelming negativity of the comments, some of which were so awesome it almost justified the posting of the original article.

  26. Ally Fogg
    Ally Fogg December 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm |

    Well said Jill. Couldn’t agree more. Indeed said so a few days ago [apologies for self-promotion but you might be interested].

    You should probably also know there was a second piece run on GMP a couple of days ago, in which another writer attempted to defend the original from exactly this type of criticism.

    I’ll let you form your own view of the shitstorm that unfolded beneath. Suffice to say I’ve had better days.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve December 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

      You should probably also know there was a second piece run on GMP a couple of days ago, in which another writer attempted to defend the original from exactly this type of criticism.

      You know, I am starting to think that the point of pieces like this is to make criticism of rape culture look ridiculous. As in ‘YOU feminists keep saying we live in a rape culture that society promotes, so YOU are saying that rapists aren’t to blame.’

  27. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm |

    Ugh. Disgusting.

    …unsurprising, too, though. There’s a reason I stopped reading “no seriously what about the menz” once they teamed up with the GMP. It’s thinly veiled misogynistic rhetoric with the occasional sop/asscovering thrown in, usually by Ozy.

    1. hellkell
      hellkell December 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm |

      Word. I like Ozy on Manboobz, but I cannot stomach NSWATM, and GMP is awful.

      This article by Ms. Royce can go take a long walk off a short pier.

  28. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla December 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm |

    This:

    But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck?

    has to be the most disgusting, offensive piece of rape apologism I’ve ever seen. The victim wasn’t a “fuck”, she was a *human being*, for G-d’s sake.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm |

      Wait, women are people?

      MIND. BLOWN.

      1. spongleflipper
        spongleflipper December 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm |

        bah. next there will be people running around claiming that blacks or native americans are people.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:23 am |

          Now you’re just being silly.

        2. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

          I’ve even heard that WOC exist, but I’m not sure if that’s just a myth…

  29. Ami Angelwings
    Ami Angelwings December 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

    If he truly honestly thought she wanted to have sex with him, why would he wait until she was unconscious? Wouldn’t he have asked her while she was awake? After all, the whole defense is “HE REALLY REALLY THOUGHT SHE BADLY WANTED SEX WITH HIM” right? So… why wait until she’s unconscious and unable to say “no”, resist, fight back, etc?

    I think the author of this piece is right, the other writer’s friend sold her a bill of goods and she bought it.

  30. A4
    A4 December 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    It is absolutely horrifying that this writer feels okay spreading the narrative of someone else’s rape experience in order to tell us her Deep Thoughtz about what parts of her friend raping this woman were also “society’s” responsibility.

    That’s a really despicable thing to do.

    Do not write explanatory pieces exploring another person’s rape experience unless you have… can you guess?

    THEIR CONSENT

  31. Miss S
    Miss S December 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |

    And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse.

    Well, why didn’t this ‘nice guy’ think to initiate sex when she was awake? This is so hard for me to wrap my mind around –that someone could be this clueless- that I feel like it’s not real.

    1. Amanda Marcotte
      Amanda Marcotte December 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

      Because he likes raping, and if she was awake, she might have ruined the fun by consenting.

      Realizing rapists like rape is the most important missing piece in this conversation. They have a fetish for non-consent.

      1. Miss S
        Miss S December 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

        Because he likes raping, and if she was awake, she might have ruined the fun by consenting.

        Right but this is so incredibly obvious that I can’t figure out how someone could be so clueless as to sincerely suggest that waiting until someone is asleep to initiate sex is a perfectly reasonable and “nice” thing to do. How, exactly, is this person defining nice?

        It’s just really bizarre.

      2. TomSims
        TomSims December 12, 2012 at 8:14 am |

        “Because he likes raping, and if she was awake, she might have ruined the fun by consenting.”

        “They have a fetish for non-consent.”

        Are there any peer reviewed studies on this subject?

    2. SunlessNick
      SunlessNick December 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

      Yeah. Royse, and those defending her article, keep talking about how we need to have “the conversation” about “mixed signals.” But as you and others say, if she was that obviously into him, then why not try going for sex while she’s awake and able to respond? The only plausible reason is that somewhere in the mix was a signal that suggested she might say no, and he didn’t want to give that signal a chance to count.

      The “conversation” we really do need to have is the one about how not raping people is actually bloody easy. Anyone can do it.

      Or perhaps instead, the conversation about how if signals, consent, and rape-refraining really is difficult, then isn’t it telling when the take-away from that is “well, then that kind of excuses me/mine bypassing consent” rather than “well, then I guess me/my should maybe make extra sure.”

      1. EG
        EG December 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

        The only plausible reason is that somewhere in the mix was a signal that suggested she might say no, and he didn’t want to give that signal a chance to count.

        You know, like Amanda, I actually think it’s the reverse. It’s not that she might have said no; it’s that she might have said yes, and then he wouldn’t have gotten to rape her. The only way he could ensure it would be rape would be to bypass her consent completely. I agree with Amanda; rapists like to rape. If they wanted to have consensual sex, most of them could do that as easily as the rest of us can.

        1. Miss S
          Miss S December 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

          It’s not that she might have said no; it’s that she might have said yes, and then he wouldn’t have gotten to rape her.

          For some reason, this idea is more terrifying. Like, really, really terrifying.

          If some men enjoy the act of rape so much, it makes me feel like these conversations are… pointless? If it’s some sick urge that some men have, as opposed to the idea that it’s socialization, then it’s never going to go away.

        2. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

          You know, like Amanda, I actually think it’s the reverse. It’s not that she might have said no; it’s that she might have said yes, and then he wouldn’t have gotten to rape her. The only way he could ensure it would be rape would be to bypass her consent completely. I agree with Amanda; rapists like to rape. If they wanted to have consensual sex, most of them could do that as easily as the rest of us can.

          You two may both be totally right about his motives, but in terms of the discussion about Royse’s article I think it i loathsome enough on face value that we don’t even have to assume that she is describing things inaccurately for the piece to be completely horrendous and without merit. Let’s take her 100% at her word and trust in her ability to discern the truth form her ‘friend’ and take it as read that he did not know what he was doing was rape. That does not make him both a nice guy and a a rapist. It makes him both a fucking idiot and a rapist. Society is not to blame for making someone such a fucking idiot that they can’t make the simple equation that rape equals lack of consent and an unconscious person can’t consent. I challenge Ms. Royse to come up with any other example of an occasion where her friend (or herself or anyone she knows,) received consent for ANYTHING from an unconscious person.

          That much is clear cut. Now for the comment about ‘mixed signals.’ Had the woman said ‘I love to be fucked when I’m unconscious,’ shortly before she passed out, that would be an example of a mixed signal which a very insensitive ignoramus might misinterpret as a pass to penetrate the woman. However, that would still be a clear cut case of rape.

        3. EG
          EG December 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

          I do think that for rapists, yeah, these conversations are pointless. But not for the other men, the men who are socialized to think that rape jokes are OK, to identify with some poor “nice guy” who raped a woman “by accident,” to believe that false rape accusations are a thing. If we can change that culture, the rapists won’t be able to hide themselves as easily.

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 10:07 am |

          But not for the other men, the men who are socialized to think that rape jokes are OK, to identify with some poor “nice guy” who raped a woman “by accident,” to believe that false rape accusations are a thing

          As this article proves, some of those men are women.

        5. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

          Had the woman said ‘I love to be fucked when I’m unconscious,’ shortly before she passed out, that would be an example of a mixed signal which a very insensitive ignoramus might misinterpret as a pass to penetrate the woman.

          If someone did that to me, I’d shake the confusing bugger back awake and be like “was that an invitation or are you just big on giving out pre-naptime irrelevant facts? CLARIFY. o_O” And I’m not into necrophilia fucking unconscious people anyways, so that’d still be a no-go on my end. But even if sleeping beauty were my idea of sexytimes I’d want a form in triplicate where she spelled out exactly what should happen in every step of the process just so I wouldn’t screw it up. Because even consensual sex with an unconscious partner removes all of their signals and responses from the equation, so how would you even know you were doing it right? The logistics… the mind boggles.

        6. jemima101
          jemima101 December 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

          Slight derail, but there are many types of non consent play. However they can only procede, in my opinion, in a relationship that has passed far belond the mixed signals stage. When BDSM moves beyond safe words/ signals it is all about the level of knowledge the participants have of each other.

      2. Miss S
        Miss S December 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

        Yeah. Royse, and those defending her article, keep talking about how we need to have “the conversation” about “mixed signals.”

        Also, why do people become downright frantic when trying to justify the actions of men who commit violence against women? Like, they would rather make a bullet point list of what the woman did wrong (flirting, drinking, dancing), than point to the obvious thing that the man did wrong- RAPE.

    3. SunlessNick
      SunlessNick December 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

      Yeah. Royse, and those defending her article, keep talking about how we need to have “the conversation” about “mixed signals.” But as you and others say, if she was that obviously into him, then why not try going for sex while she’s awake and able to respond? The only plausible reason is that somewhere in the mix was a signal that suggested she might say no, and he didn’t want to give that signal a chance to count.

      The “conversation” we really do need to have is the one about how not raping people is actually bloody easy. Anyone can do it.

      Or perhaps instead, the conversation about how if signals, consent, and rape-refraining really is difficult, then isn’t it telling when the conclusion from that is “well, then that kind of excuses me/mine bypassing consent” rather than “well, then I guess I/my should maybe make extra sure about that consent.”

  32. Kat
    Kat December 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm |

    And no one is taking responsibility for teaching people how the messages we are sending are often being misunderstood.

    Give me a break. I highly doubt there was any misunderstanding involved here. If this dude had been the one to wake up from a deep sleep to find himself being nonconsensually penetrated, I can all but guarantee you he’d be outraged six ways to Sunday (and rightfully so). It seems far more likely to me that he understood “the messages we are sending” all too well: That if you pick a victim society looks down on, even if she is fucking unconscious, you can legally rape her and even convince your “feminist” friends that it wasn’t your fault somehow. Gross.

    Any suggestion that her behavior may have led to — NOT JUSTIFIED OR EXCUSED — the rape was met with screams of “victim blaming”

    Fuck off, you victim-blaming piece of shit. Oh wait, was I supposed to scream? FUCK OFF, YOU VICTIM-BLAMING PIECE OF SHIT.

    1. SunlessNick
      SunlessNick December 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

      Give me a break. I highly doubt there was any misunderstanding involved here.

      Not to mention how “signals can be misunderstood” is the comment I see about rape more often than any other. Hordes of people step up to the “responsibility” of talking about women’s signals are the reason they’re raped.

      1. EG
        EG December 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

        Also, if you really don’t want to rape somebody, and there are “signals” involved, rather than, oh “Let’s get it on, baby”? You can clear up any potential miscommunications by saying with your words “I’m really into you, you turn me on so much. I’m wondering if we could go to bed together,” and then, during the bed-times, you can check in every so often: “God, you’re so hot, I just want to blah blah blah” and paying attention to what your partner says/does in response. This “mixed signals” crap is…crap.

        1. shfree
          shfree December 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm |

          Gah, the mixed signals thing is such bullshit. If someone is talking with you, it is because they want to talk to you, don’t assume anything more. Same for flirting, kissing, getting handsy, etc. etc. Isn’t it just par for the course in LIFE in GENERAL that if one is confused by something, one asks for clarification?

  33. Katie
    Katie December 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm |

    Is anyone else tired of people attacking feminists for saying rape is about power and violence? “No it’s not, because a man gets an erection to penetrate, therefore sexual, therefore not violence! Your argument is invalid, feminazis!”

    First of all, power/violence and sex are not mutually exclusive, and the ways in which masculine sexuality are bound up with ideas of mastery, aggressiveness, hunting, conquering, and overcoming could take an entire thesis to completely tease out. Power feels sexy and sex feels powerful. When this power is coercive, it’s rape and it’s always bad, no matter how sexy the rapist is feeling.

    Secondly, when can we stop talking about how the rapist felt? He was turned on/he wasn’t doing it to harm/he feels awful now are not excuses, they are feelings. And the victim has feelings too, which ought to be centered and prioritized in the aftermath of a rape, which is exactly what calling rape a form of violence does.

    GAWD.

    1. Philip Finn
      Philip Finn December 11, 2012 at 3:05 am |

      Also, rape isn’t simply about getting an erection and using it…it’s been known for decades that many men who commit sexual assault or sex crimes are incapable of getting an erection…

      And we continue to talk about how the rapist felt for the same reason racism is referred to as a black “problem”…the same institutional forces are at work in our culture setting the agenda, and controlling the conversation.

  34. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia December 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

    No positive consent = rape.
    It’s that simple. Period.

  35. karak
    karak December 8, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

    I once read this report on rape, wherein X amount of male responders said they’d masturbated onto a sleeping partner. I then walked into a room of eight male friends and my boyfriend, and asked if any of them would do this.

    The answer was instantaneous, with express of repulsion and disgust. A few said they didn’t even know what that would entail. All of them agreed that sleeping women were not okay to sleep with, and recounted instances of sleeping with people when drunk or staying over and totally not touching the other person or masturbating on them.

    Sticking your dick and masturbating yourself in an unconscious person is rape, it’s fucked up, and it shows how fucked up this guy is. It wasn’t an accident. Fuck that guy and I hope that woman is okay and reports his ass.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:38 am |

      Because there’s discussions of “gray rape” across the thread, um, I feel the need to point out: it doesn’t apply to this case. Not even a little bit. There’s highly specific circumstances under which there can be such a thing as “middle ground” of any kind, much less gray rape. The woman who wrote in to Prudie a while ago who thought she was consensually fucking her boyfriend until he woke up and flipped out and asked her to stop (and she did) is a good example. So is, say, when two incredibly drunk people in an LTR have sex, and they’re both past the point where a third party would say their consent is impaired, but they’re both sorta fuzzily consenting, and neither can remember it in the morning. Or a BDSM scene where someone fucks up and crosses a boundary, or pushes too far, but stops immediately once they’ve realised something’s wrong. In all these cases, the person(s) wronged is perfectly within their rights to feel violated, traumatised, but whether they want to call it rape or not is up to them and there’s mitigating circumstances and genuinely good intent on the part of the other partner. So how they want to react to it depends on a case by case basis; it isn’t necessarily rape, though it could easily be.

      This? He waited until she was asleep to fuck her. She woke up and reacted immediately negatively. There was no sexual history (such as negotiated sleep-sex kink scenes) that would remotely justify his actions. She’d indicated interest in sex with him while awake and able to consent but he deliberately waited until she was asleep and unable to consent to initiate contact. And about all he has to hide behind is “oh, well, she’s a slutty slut slut.”

      Yeah, no. That’s rape. As rape as rape gets. Rapey, rapetastic, rapeful rape.

      And fuck Alyssa Royse with a tree for suggesting there were “mixed signals” there.

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 4:10 am |

        Hey, mac – not looking to start anything, but maybe in a conversation about rape culture, saying “fuck Alyssa Royse with a tree” is the wrong way to phrase things. This makes me angry as hell too, but…

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

          Ack. Fair enough.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:40 am |

      Fuck. I meant to post a separate comment but it turned up as a reply to yours. It’s in mod. Sorry!

      Also, I wanted to say go you for hanging out with a good bunch of guys ^__^

      1. karak
        karak December 9, 2012 at 5:31 am |

        I’m fortunate to be surrounded by decent men, and no worries about the mis-commenting, it does happen.

  36. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage December 9, 2012 at 12:43 am |

    Yet more grossness: she talked about having been a sex worker and past sexual encounters, so she must have been inviting him to abuse her?

    Like… WTF? I know people who were sex workers, and I never confused “I did sex work” with “penetrate me while I’m sleeping”.

    My God, it’s full of fail.

  37. DSJ
    DSJ December 9, 2012 at 1:49 am |

    “we need to stop denying that we sell sex as the reason for everything — from what car to buy, to why to work out to what clothes will help us “get ahead.” In our world, sex is the end game. We use other’s people’s assessment of whether or not we are “hot” to feel good about ourselves.”

    Really? Does anyone else out there not inhabit the same world being described here?

  38. Julian
    Julian December 9, 2012 at 2:14 am |

    I’ve never thought it was ok to penetrate a woman while she is sleeping.

    Apparently that is a unique trait now

  39. Emma
    Emma December 9, 2012 at 2:52 am |

    GallingGalla, that particularly disgusted me, as well. She’s not even a human; she’s ‘a fuck’. It would be difficult to find more dehumanising terminology. Ugh.

  40. Alexandra
    Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 2:53 am |

    This woman is a viper, writing poison, just poison.

  41. Alexandra
    Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 2:59 am |

    Alyssa Royse is not a feminist, because feminists are too mean for Hugo Schwyzer.

    Fuck this woman. Seriously, fuck her. I think if I saw her I would spit in her face.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable December 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |

      That article literally tells you everything you need to know about her. Between Hugo and her rapist bro, she’s having a hardcore case of “Not my Nigel.”

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl December 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

        Seriously.

        That post from Royse’s blog is gross, I don’t even know how else to describe it. The tone deafness and utter cluelessness tinged with a hint of sanctimony is just awful. And the boohoos for poor, misunderstood and unfairly maligned HS? Yuck, she clearly doesn’t get it any better than HS did when that whole controversy exploded earlier this year.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

          BUT HUGO SCHWYZER IS FEMINIST JESUS.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

          I know, Mac, cuz us Feminists are continually crucifying him, CRUCIFYING HIM!, for past sins both real and imagined.

          Jesus wept, indeed…

        3. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |

          You folks will be happy to hear that I totally checked out her facebook after trees posted downwind about it. She reaches out to Hugo via facebook for his advice on dealing with the people at Feministe as he’s particularly adept. NMN, indeed.

          Alyssa – or any of her friends who are reporting back about Feministe – I truly feel for you if you’re getting threats and hope you’re getting the police involved, if that’s the case. But frankly, if you’re freaking the fuck out because no one agrees with you, I hope you strongly consider the possibility that you’re wrong. Because it’s NOT everyone else. It’s you.

        4. Li
          Li December 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

          She reaches out to Hugo via facebook for his advice on dealing with the people at Feministe as he’s particularly adept.

          *snort*

          If Hugo Schwyzer is your benchmark for how to deal with feminist critics, you really need to take a hard look at your life. Hot Tip: there can only be one Feminist Messiah, and Hugo’s got that one all sewn up himself.

        5. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm |

          Always looking for new nard pourers, though.

    2. PetraLorre
      PetraLorre December 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

      Well I guess we mean mean feminists are also too mean for her blog. It’s private now and you need an invitation to access it.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl December 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

        Well, isn’t that interesting. I just accessed Royse’s blog earlier this afternoon, so either she’s already getting a ton of negative feedback for her posts or she is preemptively askeered that an army of feminist meanies is about to storm her site en masse.

        Not because she’s wrong in any way, mind you, but because everyone and anyone who possibly disagrees with her is a meany…

    3. ruggers ban
      ruggers ban December 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

      soo… i’m extremely upset and angry about alyssa’s hatefulness as well, but like mac’s “fuck [her] with a tree” up there, i think using phrases like “fuck so and so, fuck her” is part and parcel of rape culture. you’re essentially just saying she deserves to be fucked, or raped, for what she’s said/done etc. i really don’t agree with this. i normally never comment, but had to in this case. can people stop using phrases like this? in all else i agree with you alexandra!

  42. Empathy for the devil « It's Just A Hobby

    [...] is this relevant this weekend? Well, two reasons, One was the furore summed up by this excellent article at Feministe. The other was hearing a useful idiot on radio arguing that we could all empathize with the [...]

  43. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova December 9, 2012 at 5:10 am | *

    This may come as a shock to Alyssa Rose, but you can genuinely like a guy and desire him physically – and still end up getting assaulted by him.

    I was with someone I really liked, once. I kissed him first, I remember that. But then he hurt me. Several times. He was hurtful and rough with me, and when I asked him to stop, he didn’t listen. When I cried, he couldn’t give a crap. And when I tried to get away from him, he wouldn’t let me.

    When things started, we were in a situation where two consenting adults were involved. By the time it was over, I was a mess. He had raped me. I couldn’t make peace with that for a very long time. I wouldn’t use the word “rape.” I’d say that what happened was a “mistake.” We sat up in bed and talked afterwards. Calmly. He gave me writing advice. It was all fine.

    The truth was, I was so afraid of him hurting me some more that by the time it was over, I had decided that I would pretend as though things were fine. And I was so ashamed of having let my guard down with him, that I entered full-blown denial. I was also just trying to be smart. I was far from home, we were alone, I didn’t know how far it could go – if he had hurt me like he did, could he take things further? There was no way to be 100% sure.

    And then afterwards, in the light of day, after I had left, I would not admit that anything bad had happened to me. It was cool, he was my friend, he’s a famous man (yep), I have to keep up appearances, I would never tell the truth about what happened that night – not even to close friends, or to myself.

    To this day, very few people know. Publicly, we are still friends. He has tried to make amends with me, but that doesn’t make me certain that he won’t do this to another woman. My husband, whom I started seeing after that horrible experience, has spoken to him about it and he swore that something like this would never happen again, but whatever. I can’t warn women about him without exposing myself to a whole lot of scandal, so I get my husband to do it instead.

    And then of course, there is the fact that the Alyssa Roses of this world would defend the guy who did this to me tooth and nail. Because he’s such a nice guy and because I talked like a fuck and walked like a fuck. Obviously.

    1. BBBShrewHarpy
      BBBShrewHarpy December 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

      Sorry for what you went through.

      Possibly the fact that you didn’t actually keep quiet but shared this with your husband, who then let your rapist know he was onto him, might protect other women from your experience. You’re just one step from going public, which may be enough.

      1. Natalia
        Natalia December 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |

        Thank you – I hope you’re right. The fact that I couldn’t do anything public is still the sort of thing that bugs me when I let myself think about it (let alone discuss it).

        One of the more sickening aspects of this entire debacle is the fact that he has daughters. The one time we managed to have something akin to an honest conversation about what he did to me, he seemed pretty blase about the fact that this sort of thing could, eventually, happen to his own children.

        My husband can be intimidating if need be, and damn if I didn’t rely on him to be just that when talking to this guy. It’s only the very basic fear of getting his ass kicked, I believe, that truly reins someone like him in. Not all that surprising, when I consider his character. And this is someone who is brilliant and celebrated, of course. I guess in a world where we have the likes of Polanski avoiding prison for most of his life, this shouldn’t be all that surprising.

  44. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
    The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 9, 2012 at 5:24 am |

    I just can’t get my head around what sort of “nice guy” wants to shove his dick into an unconscious woman in the first place. Is she really just not there for him? Is she really just an inconveniently noisy (even if she was making the “right” flirty noises) life-support system for a vagina? Or is he so entitled/unthinking that it’s a sort of “Well, she wanted it anyway, why shouldn’t I do it now … ” even though she’s getting nothing good out of it at all?

  45. anonymous
    anonymous December 9, 2012 at 7:05 am |

    Forgive my attempt at anonymity. I’m uncomfortable talking about my sexual history publicly for reasons unrelated to this article or the content of this comment. I’m speaking as a white male from atop a mountain of privilege, but I hope that I can offer some information from my personal experiences that might provide some insight into the difficulties that some males have navigating sexual ethics, which is a landscape far more complex than I think many current-generation feminists are willing to admit (or, perhaps, willing to entertain as a possibility).

    I have no special insight or information about this particular case, and I don’t presume to know what happened. My assumption is that the man knowingly raped the woman. My inclination is to take her side. If I had to push a button, I would play the dramatic odds in the woman’s favor. So, what I’m saying here should not be taken as a comment on this instance – only as an aside that might be helpful in considering the other side of the argument.

    I have gone to bed with three separate women whose particular kink it was to pretend to be asleep. I slept with none of them. Two of the three women complained that I was not sexually assertive afterward, one of them stating outright that she “obviously wanted to be forced.” The third woman never brought it up again, but went on to date a guy I know who intimated to me that this was the case with her as well – that she liked being forced.

    Now, fortunately for me, I’ve been exposed to articles like this and voices like this author’s. I feel that I am fairly well educated and up-to-date on the feminist perspective, particularly with regard to issues of rape and abuse. This is not the case with all men, however. Some of us are operating strictly on experiential knowledge. And I promise you that we all have stories like mine. I’ve never had a “crazy ex” conversation with any sexually active man who didn’t have one or two of these.

    When these women – a clear, but pronounced minority – recoil from our failure to press on, they often delight in rubbing it in and making us feel cowardly, sexually inept, impotent, and inadequate. Now, it is better that we should feel that way than that a woman should be raped, but that is a determination that must be consciously made by a man who has come across this particular fetish – and it’s something that he contends with, not only with the specific encounter, but in all future borderline encounters.

    Again, I’ve been fortunate in my exposure to feminist thought. It’s given me the tools to navigate these situations. For those who have not had that exposure, and who might, for various reasons, be particularly vulnerable to feelings of shame and inadequacy, this sort of encounter can be tremendously difficult to process. Some fail, and in failing become impossible to discern from heinous, monstrous villains.

    It is impossible to pick them out and help them to do better. They are lost to us. But the point is that “No means no” is a good phrase to live by, and every wise man should take it to heart, however there are women out there who undermine that message every single day, and some of them are a boy’s first or most-formative sexual experience. That can’t be ignored. We can’t pretend that sexual courtship is simple, and that every case of rape is rooted in the assailant’s clear intent to commit rape. And, I’m sorry, but some distinction should be made there. Not a legal distinction, as that would undermine the victims’ rights – but any academic discussion on the topic should at least acknowledge a difference, however slight or meaningless, between the two.

    1. piny
      piny December 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm |

      I think this just fell through the cracks of the discussion.

      Let’s just say for the sake of argument that this information is accurate, that it is statistically significant and that it is relevant to this story. Even though all the women on this thread have said the opposite and even though the woman in this story gave her rapist no reason to believe that she wanted to be forced. Let’s say that you’re right: some women get off on the idea of coercion, and like it when men push against their refusals. Let’s just start from there, even though those are some pretty hefty assumptions.

      What you are left with is a group of women who might enjoy the idea of being coerced or “forced” to have sex, mixed in with all the other women. And you can’t argue that most women are like this, or that men can reasonably believe most women are like this, when we’ve all been exposed to a whole lot of women like the ones in this thread who are horrified by the idea that a guy might try to coerce them and who hate the idea of sexual aggression.

      The only way to deal with that is not to play along. Either you are maybe giving these women what they want and committing a whole lot of rape in the process or you are disappointing some women with a fetish. Those are the only options. In order to not commit sexual assault, you have to treat no as sacrosanct, you have to seek and honor explicit freely-offered consent, and you have to pay careful attention to signs that your partner might be unhappy. You can’t sexually assault a woman and hope that maybe she actually wanted you to hurt her, that she was just pretending not to want it. This is true even if women like that actually exist.

      You also don’t get to care when women insult you for not raping them: this is not a reason not to honor their refusals or to see any woman as a liar.

      This shouldn’t even need explaining.

      But the thing is, this is not true, and it’s not relevant.

      Women, being people, are not turned on by sexual violence. No woman wants to live in a world where rape is commonplace. No one, even someone who has fantasies about risk, wants to live with terror. It’s like the difference between dinner theatre and watching one of your friends get stabbed to death. It’s like watching Rambo vs. actually living in a war zone. It’s not a rational way to seek out excitement. In fact, the high risk of sexual violence makes it a lot harder to have sex!

      It’s also not true that women think sexual aggression is hot. Look around you. Maybe you have a tiny number of anecdotes about women who’ve actually said that. You also have a multitude of women who say that sexual violence terrifies them. You have a multitude of women who say that the sexual assault they suffered–usually in a context just like the one you describe–was the worst thing that ever happened to them.

      And you have overwhelming consensus that women are afraid of men and that they want men to stop making them afraid. I don’t care if one or two women have complained that you are not aggressive. It makes no goddamn sense to conclude that they don’t deserve respect. Any man who believes otherwise is a rapist looking for an excuse, not just an ignorant man who needs to read feminist thinkers.

      In other words, this does not follow, and this is shameful apologism for sexual violence.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

        See, I didn’t get any of that from his comment. I think it sounds like he ran into a couple of people with sleep-sex kink who don’t know how to go about getting their kink needs met ethically.

        Women, being people, are not turned on by sexual violence.

        These women weren’t, yes. They were turned on by the appearance of sexual violence in the context of a consensual relationship. That’s rape fantasy. It’s a thing in the world.

        It’s also not true that women think sexual aggression is hot.

        …thank you for speaking for all women everywhere! I’m sure that the millions of submissive women out there who think consensual sexual aggression (and if all these women disclosed a kink and then got angry with anon for not fulfilling it, they were definitely after consensual sexual aggression) are either imaginary or not human beings. That’s not a narrative kinksters hear all the time or anything.

        tl;dr quit universalising your ideas about what women are/do/want. In the frame of a consensual relationship women want quite radically different things from each other, thank you. It goes with the whole not being a monolith thing.

        1. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm |

          You’re being absolutely horrible. This is a repellent way to respond to my comment, especially in the context of his comment, which was about how there’s some non-nugatory level of rationality in extrapolating from some women like rough sex to sometimes rape is committed in good faith.

          It was not about sleep-sex fetishes or whatever: it was not about encountering fetishes. There are people who post videos of themselves playing with nail guns on Youtube. Should we experiment with shooting random people with nail guns? Does that make any sense at all? This guy excused the same reasoning with regard to rape, because rape happens to women.

          Did I dismiss the idea that some women might actually get off on fantasizing about sexual violence, or role play, or whatever the fuck? No.

          I drew a distinction between enjoying thrills and living with terror. There is a categorical difference between fantasizing and role play and living with the actual likelihood of sexual violence, just like there’s a big difference between a weekend game of paintball and a civil war.

          Women do not get off on the knowledge that they’re at risk for rape. They do not like it when men rape them. They do not encourage that dynamic or celebrate it. And they understand the difference between playing with fire and arson. I do generalize here: people do not like being violated. Kinksters are not an exception to this rule.

          And don’t, don’t ever, in the context of a discussion about forgiving unambiguous rape of an unconscious woman in part because she wasn’t badly injured, assume a definition of “sexual aggression” that includes any kind of consensual sex.

          For fuck’s sake.

        2. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 10:41 pm |

          And it fucking well was not a reference to consensual anything:

          Two of the three women complained that I was not sexually assertive afterward, one of them stating outright that she “obviously wanted to be forced.”

          That’s not negotiation. That’s complaining that someone didn’t read your mind and ignore your behavior.

          Now, it is better that we should feel that way than that a woman should be raped, but that is a determination that must be consciously made by a man who has come across this particular fetish – and it’s something that he contends with, not only with the specific encounter, but in all future borderline encounters.

          Remember how this comment is about how some men really do sincerely believe that having sex with unconscious women is okay?

          He’s saying that it’s not clear whether a woman does or doesn’t want to be forced to have sex or penetrated in her sleep. That is not a reference to explicitly asking for something beforehand. He’s saying okay, all women go to sleep, but some women secretly want you to have sex with them while they’re asleep, and how are you supposed to know which ones those are?

        3. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

          In fairness, Piny, I did read your post the same way mac did, as denying that any woman anywhere could have a different feeling from you about sex and violence. I accept now this is not how you meant it.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

          Wait, what?

          It was not about sleep-sex fetishes or whatever: it was not about encountering fetishes.

          Well…anon says:

          I have gone to bed with three separate women whose particular kink it was to pretend to be asleep.

          Sounds like a fetish to me!

          There is a categorical difference between fantasizing and role play and living with the actual likelihood of sexual violence, just like there’s a big difference between a weekend game of paintball and a civil war.

          Yes…yes, yes. There is. I’m pointing out that anon is talking about one and you’re instantly leaping to the other.

          I do generalize here: people do not like being violated.

          Yes…? I didn’t say they did, I said some like to fantasise about it. I don’t see what’s so repellent about my comment, unless you’re somehow eliminating every second word in it to better suit your rage.

          And don’t, don’t ever, in the context of a discussion about forgiving unambiguous rape of an unconscious woman in part because she wasn’t badly injured, assume a definition of “sexual aggression” that includes any kind of consensual sex.

          Excuse me? If consensual sexual aggression (in the form of negotiated sex between established partners) is impossible, then congratulations, you’ve just called me a rapist. You’ve just accused me of systematically, repeatedly, deliberately raping my wife. Well, that’s interesting. And kind of massively fucking insulting.

          Also, you don’t get to bloody order me around and tell me what to do. I’m not your darkie servant, I’m not your sub and I’m not your dog. So how about you brew yourself a steaming cup of shut the fuck up, round it off with a reading comprehension cookie, and then please don’t address me ever again?

        5. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm |

          Then you’re also reading this guy as something other than a rape apologist and I have a huge problem with that.

          Macavity, did he say that these women said anything to him? No. He simply said that they had this fetish. He didn’t explain how he learned that information. He did not say that they asked him to have sex with him while they were asleep, just that they wanted him to. It’s possible that he only found this out later.

          In fact, that is much more fucking likely, because he goes on to say that men cannot possibly distinguish between women who have sexual fetishes and women who do not. That would seem to indicate that he is not constrasting women who say, “Hey, I have this fetish: I want you to have sex with me while I’m asleep,” with women who don’t say that, because it’s really quite easy to tell those two groups apart. And it’s very easy to avoid having sleep sex with women who don’t explicitly ask for it.

          I honestly don’t know why you’re still selling this bullshit about consensual sex play (kinky or otherwise), when this guy’s whole argument is that you can’t tell consent from no consent. That’s rapey bullshit, and it doesn’t fit into any framework that honors consent and it has nothing to do with sexual negotiation.

        6. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm |

          Yes…? I didn’t say they did, I said some like to fantasise about it. I don’t see what’s so repellent about my comment, unless you’re somehow eliminating every second word in it to better suit your rage.

          Because, you ignored every single reference in my comment to fantasy and thrills–and you ignored every reference in this guy’s comment to, y’know, men actually accidentally committing fucking rape. Consensual sex is not sexual aggression: in a thread about rape, this is not an unclear statement.

        7. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm |

          And something else–you have every right to call out racism where and when you see it, but you have no right to sexualize a conversation like that. That’s fucking offensive. And as someone who ostensibly takes sexual negotiation seriously, and respects kink, you should know better than to introduce that language into this conversation.

          Which, again, is about rape.

        8. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

          Then you’re also reading this guy as something other than a rape apologist and I have a huge problem with that.

          That’s funny. I have a problem with being addressed as a rapist. I guess we both have huge problems here.

          He did not say that they asked him to have sex with him while they were asleep, just that they wanted him to.

          Anon: ” three separate women whose particular kink it was to pretend to be asleep. ” Comprehension fail. They were awake.

          because he goes on to say that men cannot possibly distinguish between women who have sexual fetishes and women who do not

          Yes, he did. That’s his point, you empty-skulled frothmouth: that he avoids sleeping with these women because he can’t tell.

          And it’s very easy to avoid having sleep sex with women who don’t explicitly ask for it.

          Anon: “I slept with none of them. ” Sounds like he has that down! Whee!

          I honestly don’t know why you’re still selling this bullshit about consensual sex play (kinky or otherwise), when this guy’s whole argument is that you can’t tell consent from no consent.

          Well, neither can you, with your fucking generalisations. Congratulations on achieving equivalent levels of creep in different directions.

          I was replying, specifically, to your bullshit “women don’t” and “people don’t” generalisations. I don’t give a flying fuck what his argument is (and apparently neither do you, since you neither read it correctly nor responded to it fairly), I care that you’re telling me my sexuality isn’t real. Pointing that out led to you ordering me around like a high-handed little shit, and essentially calling me a rapist.

          Because, you ignored every single reference in my comment to fantasy and thrills

          Did I? Maybe it wasn’t clear, but your comment very clearly (and BBBShrew says likewise) indicated that there was no such thing as a fantasy of sexual violence or thrills. I also ignored your statements about the digestive habits of unicorns, because – like the other things you say – you didn’t actually write them.

          Consensual sex is not sexual aggression: in a thread about rape, this is not an unclear statement.

          Consensual sexual aggression is not rape: in a thread using English, this is not an unclear statement.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm |

          you have no right to sexualize a conversation like that

          o_O What? Now I’m hitting on you? Honey child, believe me, I would sexualise the Bog Of Eternal Stench before I sexualised you. Fuck.

          oh, wait, I said fuck. Am I sexualising this comment too? Oh, damn it. Wait, the devil has sex with people! Goshdarnit I did it again.

          Oh, hey, Feministe, ban me! APPARENTLY I RAPE ALL THE PEOPLE.

        10. Alexandra
          Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

          Um, I’ve re-read this comments thread a couple of times, and while I can’t find any reference in Piny’s original comment to fantasies and thrills, I also can’t find anything in her subsequent comments accusing you of being a rapist, mac.

          I’ve got some interest in kink as well, but I completely get where Piny’s coming from about the inappropriateness of bringing up women who have a sleepsex fetish in a discussion of a woman who was raped while asleep.

        11. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm |

          Frothmouth? You sound like Theresa MacNeil Hayden. What next, insults in ancient Norse?

          I’m not calling you a rapist, because I do not agree that you and he are doing the same thing. I mean, I assume you’re saying you ask women before you have sex with them, right? Your wife included? Then you’re not a rapist!

          And he does not say that he knew these women were only pretending. He only says that they complained afterward: that they subsequently said they wanted to be forced. That doesn’t sound like a negotiated sleep-sex fetish. It sounds like they pretended to be asleep. He didn’t have sex with them because he thought they were asleep. Not because he knew they weren’t.

          And then he contrasts this scenario with men who are trained to be rapists by women who insult them for listening to “no.”

          Now, it is better that we should feel that way than that a woman should be raped, but that is a determination that must be consciously made by a man who has come across this particular fetish – and it’s something that he contends with, not only with the specific encounter, but in all future borderline encounters.

          Again, I’ve been fortunate in my exposure to feminist thought. It’s given me the tools to navigate these situations. For those who have not had that exposure, and who might, for various reasons, be particularly vulnerable to feelings of shame and inadequacy, this sort of encounter can be tremendously difficult to process. Some fail, and in failing become impossible to discern from heinous, monstrous villains.

          It is impossible to pick them out and help them to do better. They are lost to us. But the point is that “No means no” is a good phrase to live by, and every wise man should take it to heart, however there are women out there who undermine that message every single day, and some of them are a boy’s first or most-formative sexual experience.

          Borderline. Borderline is not a reference to negotiated consensual sex. “Women who undermine that message every single day” is not a reference to a woman who explicitly asks for sleep sex or rough sex. It is a reference to a woman who creates confusion by not being honest about what she wants, thereby making men believe that rape is good.

          Yeah, GallingGalla read his comment the same way I did: he is not talking about negotiated consensual sex. At this point, you’re still not a rapist, but you’re a rape apologist. You cannot honestly confuse this with a description of negotiated consensual kink.

          Reading me as defining “aggression” as including negotiated consent, in a comment on a thread about rape in response to a rape apologist blurring the line between consent and no consent is also dishonest. In context, it was an obvious reference to rape, after a string of other references to rape.

        12. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

          I didn’t say you were hitting on me. I said your use of sexual language –“not your sub”–was inappropriate, especially in a conversation about sexual violence, and especially for someone who claims to know from kink.

          Honey, you thought I was trying to fuck you? I wouldn’t fuck you with a barge pole! is a deeply inappropriate (and inappropriately sexualized) way to respond to someone saying that your language is inappropriate.

          But it’s good to know.

        13. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm |

          Alexandra, I said this:

          No one, even someone who has fantasies about risk, wants to live with terror. It’s like the difference between dinner theatre and watching one of your friends get stabbed to death. It’s like watching Rambo vs. actually living in a war zone.

          After I talked about rape and terror. In context, I’m obviously not talking about kink. And, again, this guy wasn’t really talking about kink either, except insofar as he could use it to define some nonconsensual sex as consensual.

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

          Alexandra, piny said “And don’t, don’t ever, in the context of a discussion about forgiving unambiguous rape of an unconscious woman in part because she wasn’t badly injured, assume a definition of “sexual aggression” that includes any kind of consensual sex.” And she wasn’t responding to the article, she was responding to my comment in the context of anon’s statement.

          Since I’ve said specifically that I engage in aggressive consensual sex (and I’ve talked about this on previous threads), well, I guess that the fact that the sex I have is consensual isn’t relevant, is it? Thus, rape. And that’s really fucking offensive. Oh, and her little jabs about my “ostensible” interest in taking sexual negotiation seriously. And then accusing me of sexualising my conversation with her because I pointed out that I won’t take orders from a jumped-up little pompousbot like her.

          the inappropriateness of bringing up women who have a sleepsex fetish in a discussion of a woman who was raped while asleep

          I agree; that’s inappropriate. It’s still not a reason to call someone a rapist (or rape apologist) for explicitly not raping women, and then call someone else names that amount to rapist for pointing out ridiculous generalisations.

        15. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm |

          No, dude, I was the first one to use the phrase, “sexual aggression,” remember? You insisted that I was smearing consensual sex. I insisted that in context I was not. When I said, “Don’t use that to mean this,” I pretty clearly meant, “Don’t you fucking dare read me as talking about consensual kink when I’m excoriating a fucking rape apologist who says that some women seem to want to be raped.”

          You can call what you do in bed whatever the fuck you want, but that interpretation was completely baseless, and in context it meant providing cover for a rape apologist, i.e. the guy I was talking to.

        16. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 11:56 pm |

          It’s still not a reason to call someone a rapist (or rape apologist) for explicitly not raping women

          Alyssa Royce explicitly doesn’t rape women. Is she not a rape apologist? This guy was apologizing for other rapists.

          And “call someone a rapist (or rape apologist)” is out of line. There’s a huge difference between the two epithets, and you know it.

        17. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |

          And then accusing me of sexualising my conversation with her because I pointed out that I won’t take orders from a jumped-up little pompousbot like her.

          No, because you said that you weren’t my sub. That’s not saying you won’t “take orders” from me (as if that’s a reasonable interpretation of what I said in the first place) that’s saying that we aren’t in a sexual relationship. You didn’t mean “subdeacon.” We’re both kinky; using “sub” in this context is fucking gross.

      2. Valoniel
        Valoniel December 10, 2012 at 12:12 am |

        You know…I’ve read this guy’s comment and yours, and leaving aside whatever merits either one does or does not hold…I just can’t see how what you’re saying is a response to what he said.

        I’m not going to engage in the argument because I think it’s just become a monster at this point, but I honestly think that you’ve done anon a disservice in responding to statements that he didn’t make.

        Your choice, of course, and I assume that you won’t agree, so save your energy for other things.

    2. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla December 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

      So let me see. Supposing that, for the sake of argument, 1 out of 1000 women “like to be forced” (and I’d think that a women truly interested in engaging in that fantasy would, y’no, negotiate with their partner exactly how it’d be ok to do so in a safe manner). So what, you’re demanding to have that kind of sex with any random woman on the off chance that she’s that one of a thousand? And you don’t care that there’s a 99.9% chance that you’d be raping her.

      As for your poor wounded fee-fees because those meany women upbraided you for supposedly not forcing them, maybe that goes with the territory of NOT RAPING PEOPLE. Because what’s worse – your poor fee-fees, or raping a woman? You seem to think hurt fee-fees are equivalent to rape.

    3. Thomas MacAulay Millar
      Thomas MacAulay Millar December 10, 2012 at 10:55 am |

      People who like to roleplay coercion have to negotiate that. Guessing who does and doesn’t like to roleplay coercion is … not an approach that there is any merit to; no merit at all. People who cannot bear to discuss their kinks with their partners need to grow up before they try to do kinky things with other adults, and we must not make predation easier for rapists because someone’s delicate fee-fees might get hurt if that had to actually say, “here’s what I want.”

      This argument is a complete fucking dead and intellectually and culturally, and that’s that.

      1. Amelia the lurker
        Amelia the lurker December 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

        Co-sign. The original post is just bullshit because if you have a kink, you negotiate it, full stop. “Forcing” a woman who happened to want that is not a best-case scenario, it is horrific responsibility. So what if these women make fun of their partner for not guessing their kink? That just makes them irresponsible assholes. You move on to someone more mature, not take away some message of “damn, next time I need to try and guess what she wants!”

        1. Amelia the lurker
          Amelia the lurker December 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

          *horrifically irresponsible

        2. Amelia the lurker
          Amelia the lurker December 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

          P.S. By original post I mean the one anonymous wrote, not Jill’s very original post.

    4. Cara
      Cara December 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

      I hope that I can offer some information from my personal experiences that might provide some insight into the difficulties that some males have navigating sexual ethics, which is a landscape far more complex than I think many current-generation feminists are willing to admit (or, perhaps, willing to entertain as a possibility).

      So, what I’m saying here should not be taken as a comment on this instance – only as an aside that might be helpful in considering the other side of the argument.

      I have gone to bed with three separate women whose particular kink it was

      Yes, yes, this one time at band camp, blah, blah, baloney.

      The *landscape* isn’t too *complex* for us poor dumb broads to navigate. Ye gods. Don’t all magazines have an online component now? Penthouse must have an online forum for you to frequent.

      1. Moebius
        Moebius December 17, 2012 at 8:51 am |

        Cara, the next time you think about writing a comment like this – don’t do it. Really, don’t. It does no good and therefore it a waste of time.

        Anon wrote a carefully worded comment about how he disagrees with Royse’s conclusion that her friend was a nice guy and did not have the mindset of a rapist (and I, too, think her notion is utter bullshit), but that deduced from his experience there may well be examples of men who are not sure what’s the right way to act. He shares personal experience in order to make a thought-provoking contribution.

        And the only answer you can come up with is Yes, yes, this one time at band camp, blah, blah, baloney followed by misrepresenting his posting (where the fuck did he write about women being unable to navigate the landscape?). And sorry, but that’s a clear F for debate-style. But hey, as long you write something positive about women in between insults, you’re almost safe from being called upon that. At least here. And neither that nor your posting are great advertisement for the indespensible (not sarcastic, I really mean that) movement of feminism.

  46. anonymous
    anonymous December 9, 2012 at 7:29 am |

    I want to clarify what I was trying to say above:

    I feel that there is resistance in the feminist community, particularly in blog posts and comments, to discussing the motivations of rapists. There seems to me to be an unspoken fear that anything but outright dismissal might legitimize the terrible act itself.

    On those grounds, I respect the linked article to some degree, for trying to shed light on some unpopular realities. Whether it did this well or poorly is a different question, and one that I’m not really interested in addressing right at this moment. I will say, though, that it was clearly aimed at an educated audience, and not at the general public. It’s meant to be a candid discussion among like-minded people, and not a permission slip for the Todd Akins out there to go about their business. In that context, I think the writer should be given a bit more leeway on imprecise language.

    1. Ally Fogg
      Ally Fogg December 9, 2012 at 8:04 am |

      I don’t identify as feminist so I’m not speaking on behalf of anyone but myself, but I have two big problems here.

      The first is, as the original article amply displayed, people who are “educated” and “right-minded” can also commit rape or sexual assault. Without getting into stats numbers games, if that GMP/xojane article is read by, say, 10,000 people, it is almost certain that some of them have or will commit rape or sexual assault, or maybe struggling to control urges to do so.

      Royse’s article will have been a salve to the conscience of every one of those, who will breathe a sigh of relief and say “see, it wasn’t really my fault, she shouldn’t have led me on like that.”

      I might also speculate that there are people with abusive tendencies who browse sites and articles like that looking for understanding and explanation of their own behaviour. They’ve just been given a moral trumpcard.

      The second problem is that if we do want to understand sex crimes and abusive behaviour (and I’m totally on board with that) it is a really bad idea to attempt to do so by extrapolating out from a single case in which we are intimately emotionally involved.

      Royse thinks she is perfectly placed to understand this behaviour because it has been explained to her by a “dear friend” who is also a rapist. I’d suggest that’s precisely why she’s the worst placed person to do so.

      One final thought I cannot shake in this is a simple question: suppose both the rapist and the victim in this case happened upon Royse’s article (not entirely unlikely, since she’s an (ex-) friend of theirs.

      Who do we think is likely to feel more comforted and assuaged by it -the rapist or his victim?

      I think we can then safely broaden that to the same question applied to all rapists, and all their victims.

      And yes, the question is rhetorical.

      1. anonymous
        anonymous December 9, 2012 at 8:40 am |

        Those are excellent points, and I don’t disagree. I feel like the more we demonize anyone, even people arguably deserving it, the more we corner ourselves into framing any more rational or clinical discussion about such people as apologism. There’s a sort of arms race to hate certain offenders more than the next guy does, and I don’t think that’s productive.

        Thanks for the insight. You make an excellent case.

        1. Cara
          Cara December 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm |

          And I feel the more effort someone’s putting into being *rational* and *clinical* when it’s not their flipping job to do so, the more they’re looking to feel superior to the poor irrational little people who actually get angry, tsk tsk, about things that are done to them. Like, oh, I don’t know, being told to go to the back of the bus to sit because they’re not good enough to sit up front. Or, hm, maybe being held down and having something shoved inside them.

        2. Moebius
          Moebius December 17, 2012 at 9:06 am |

          If a discussion is not the place to be rational and clinical, then what is?

          Yes, the fact that there is rape should make everyone angry, particularly because anger is a great motivator to do something. But anger is worse than useless when it’s about figuring out how to make things better, because anger clouds judgement.
          I’ve met people who voiced their opinion that feminists were “a bunch of angry women who simply lack judgement”. Wanna guess what kind of people gave them such a cheap excuse to dismiss feminism?

          Please, don’t be one of them.

    2. jennygadget
      jennygadget December 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |

      “I feel that there is resistance in the feminist community, particularly in blog posts and comments, to discussing the motivations of rapists.”

      Clearly you missed every single post and comment ever that mentions Lisak & Miller’s work on the topic. Which is rather odd since it’s been discussed often and in depth since the study came out.

      Feminist blogs aren’t shy about discussing the motivations of rapists. We just tend to reject discussions of them that center rape myths rather than factual research. This includes rape myths that paint rapists as monsters waiting in the bushes rather than friends, neighbors, coworkers, and partners. It doesn’t, however, include discussions that focus on how men are led astray by individual women. Because they aren’t. Yet, when most people want to “shed light on some unpopular realities” this is what they think that phrase means, rather than looking at research on how men who rape think and act.

      1. Ally Fogg
        Ally Fogg December 9, 2012 at 11:44 am |

        this is true. I’ve seen a lot of forensic categorisations of rapists.

        none includes the Whoops-sorry-it-was-a-misunderstanding rapist.

        1. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm |

          Actually, if you mean the “Whoops-sorry-it-was-a-misunderstanding” rapist, scare quotes intended, there has been some recent blog work on that. Evidence seems to suggest that men don’t accidentally commit sexual violence. They usually know exactly what they’re doing, at least in terms of creating coercive situations. And they usually aren’t incapable of parsing nonverbal cues. Like this guy who had hours and hours to try to have sex with an alert woman, but mysteriously chose to wait until she was unconscious.

          But it sounds like that’s what you’re saying, that this is bullshit on the date rapists’ part?

        2. anon
          anon December 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

          The man who “accidentally raped” me told me several years later that he’d forced sex on me because he figured he was more likely to be able to persuade me to have a relationship with him if he’d already fucked me. I’d gone for years believing him when he said it had been a simple misunderstanding of my desires – but no, he wanted to manipulate me.

      2. anonymous
        anonymous December 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

        I’m sure that I’ve missed many such posts. Obviously there are gaps in my knowledge, and I can only speak to what I’ve seen. Thank you for pointing me in this direction.

    3. Amanda Marcotte
      Amanda Marcotte December 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

      No there isn’t. Rapists like to rape! They eagerly rape. They spend hours—in this rapist’s case, weeks, according to his friend—working on victims, looking for a way to get them in a compromised position. I bet this guy specifically waits for his dates to fall asleep so he can rape them.

      1. anonymous
        anonymous December 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

        By “This guy,” do you mean me? I think you may have misread my experience. I never slept with any of the women I spoke of. I knew better and extricated myself from those situations.

        1. anonymous
          anonymous December 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |

          Sorry, that was obvious from what was said. I misread the comment at first, somehow.

    4. Valoniel
      Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

      There seems to me to be an unspoken fear that anything but outright dismissal might legitimize the terrible act itself.

      Because, to a certain set of mind (ie: rapists and abusers), it does.

      Until the understanding of society and the law become absolutely unequivocal about the fact that there is no real mitigating factor – that rape is always rape – we can’t even begin to talk about the ways in which society truly props up rape culture or the nuances of any given situation. It’s not our fault or our preference, but we’re not about to go handing out defenses to rapists in the meantime.

      And yeah, there’s a difference between explanatory factors and mitigating factors, but as a society, we haven’t yet reached the point where that difference is entirely clear. With just a little twisting, it becomes an out.

      In theory, I agree with you about that discussion being necessary, but this is, very simply, not a world in which it’s safe to have it.

      1. anonymous
        anonymous December 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

        I can’t really say that I disagree with you. As someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in free will, I have a hard time ignoring the reasons that people do the things that they do – particularly when attempting to address preventative tactics. However, you’re correct that offering rapists what might be perceived as an ignorance shield is an ill-conceived approach.

        1. Valoniel
          Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

          I have a hard time ignoring the reasons that people do the things that they do – particularly when attempting to address preventative tactics.

          Oh, do I hear you on that. I think it’s a prime frustration of my life, that I would like to address things which, due to the structures around them, are rendered essentially untouchable. This isn’t because the structures are in any way wrong. It’s just that the fact of having the conversation I want to have quite often winds up having the accidental effect of pulling support beams out of the framing rather than adding to it as intended, which gets to bad places in a big hurry. I have to do the triage between address and preservation fairly often; I’m a naturally analytical and detail-oriented investigator, and my particular approach isn’t very conducive to the effect that I wish to achieve. It gives me quite a sad.

  47. Gretchen
    Gretchen December 9, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    I’ve read, and re-read both Ms. Royce’s piece, and this one to try to untangle this situation. I guess I am a bit at a loss on what the Feministe’s issue is, and, specifically, why Jill feels the need to attack so vehemently.

    Here’s how I see it, please, correct me if I’m wrong:

    Ms. Royce’s position: rape is wrong. always. no exception.
    Your position: rape is wrong. always. no exception.

    Ms. Royce’s position: there is no one profile of a rapist.
    Your position: there are rapists, and non-rapists.

    Ms. Royce’s position: flirting, no matter to what extent, does not equate to consent to have sex.
    Your position: flirting, no matter to what extent, does not equate to consent to have sex.

    Ms. Royce’s position: we live in a fucked up sexual culture.
    Your position: we live in a fucked up sexual culture.

    Ms. Royce’s position: we need to have more discussion around these topics, so that men and women are not the victims of rape.
    Your position: I’m assuming that it is the same?

    My point, I believe you have the same positions, the same end goals, but for some reason, you chose to interpret her piece as a justification piece. I didn’t read it that way. At all. In fact, I read it the opposite – that no matter what the profile of the person, if you have sex with someone without complete, clear consent, it is rape. No matter who you are. To me, those were some pretty clear boundaries that protect the human rights of all of us.

    Which brings me to my final point. I have read many of Ms. Royce’s pieces. Not just the one that was, in my opinion, totally taken out of context and ripped apart for sensational reasons on this site. If you as an audience take time to read Ms. Royce’s pieces, you will find she clearly, at all times, unequivocally, sides with protecting human rights. Take the time to research who you are judging. In full. And then, take the time to ask questions, discuss what you believe are the points of difference in opinion. Have a healthy, productive discussion. And, if you’re really set on fixing the problem, discuss options to work together where goals align to use the gifts you’ve been given to make a difference together. That’s what true leaders of a belief system do.

    1. brianpansky
      brianpansky December 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm |

      “Ms. Royce’s position: rape is wrong. always. no exception.
      Your position: rape is wrong. always. no exception.”

      Yes, she says things which are on the right side of all the right points. That is not being disputed.

      But what would happen if yo took a perfectly agreeable essay and…slipped a few things in here and there? Add a few wrong things, who would notice? By your method, no one, because all the good writing would still be there.

      That is how this piece by Royce is. She says good things (as you point out), but there are bad things as well.

  48. Gretchen
    Gretchen December 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |

    I’ve read, and re-read both Ms. Royse’s piece, and this one to try to untangle this situation. I guess I am a bit at a loss on what the Feministe’s issue is, and, specifically, why Jill feels the need to attack so vehemently.

    Here’s how I see it, please, correct me if I’m wrong:

    Ms. Royse’s position: rape is wrong. always. no exception.
    Your position: rape is wrong. always. no exception.

    Ms. Royse’s position: there is no one profile of a rapist.
    Your position: there are rapists, and non-rapists.

    Ms. Royse’s position: flirting, no matter to what extent, does not equate to consent to have sex.
    Your position: flirting, no matter to what extent, does not equate to consent to have sex.

    Ms. Royse’s position: we live in a fucked up sexual culture.
    Your position: we live in a fucked up sexual culture.

    Ms. Royse’s position: we need to have more discussion around these topics, so that men and women are not the victims of rape.
    Your position: I’m assuming that it is the same?

    My point, I believe you have the same positions, the same end goals, but for some reason, you chose to interpret her piece as a justification piece. I didn’t read it that way. At all. In fact, I read it the opposite – that no matter what the profile of the person, if you have sex with someone without complete, clear consent, it is rape. No matter who you are. To me, those were some pretty clear boundaries that protect the human rights of all of us.

    Which brings me to my final point. I have read many of Ms. Royse’s pieces. Not just the one that was, in my opinion, totally taken out of context and ripped apart for sensational reasons on this site. If you as an audience take time to read Ms. Royse’s pieces, you will find she clearly, at all times, unequivocally, sides with protecting human rights. Take the time to research who you are judging. In full. And then, take the time to ask questions, discuss what you believe are the points of difference in opinion. Have a healthy, productive discussion. And, if you’re really set on fixing the problem, discuss options to work together where goals align to use the gifts you’ve been given to make a difference together. That’s what true leaders of a belief system do.

    1. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

      I’ll give you only this quote, because it’s the one that made me stomach roll:

      But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck? Our binary language of “yes means yes” and “no means no” doesn’t address the entire spectrum of both spoken language and body language, which mean different things to different people.

      Something. It. She refers to another woman as an IT.

      We do live in a fucked up culture. A fucked culture where a man considers it appropriate to fuck a sleeping woman. This is not a case of miscommunication, of mixed signals, of body language meaning different things to different people. She was asleep. That negates any sort of confusion regarding the signals she might have sent when she was awake.

      1. trees
        trees December 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

        This is not a case of miscommunication, of mixed signals, of body language meaning different things to different people. She was asleep. That negates any sort of confusion regarding the signals she might have sent when she was awake.

        This, very much This. Using this particular incident as a jump off point for a discussion of the dysfunctional sexual culture functions as rape apologism, plain and simple, cut and dried. It’s really not that complicated. Mr. Nice Guy did something to the body of a sleeping woman, miscommunication is not the issue here.

      2. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 9:06 am |

        Something. It. She refers to another woman as an IT.

        I sincerely only hope to calm your stomach: She simply refers to the duck test and just replaces “duck” with “fuck”. So I’m positive she does not mean disrespect to a particular woman or women in general by writing it.
        Although we can discuss about it being insensitive, mistakable or bad writing.

        1. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 9:20 am |

          Yes, thank you, we are familiar with the phrase. It is not obscure. Royse chose to dehumanize a woman who has already endured rape by referring to her as “a fuck,” so she could go with the cheap joke. That’s supposed to be a defense?

          Your defenses of Royse all come down to “she’s a lousy writer with terrible judgment.” If that’s the case, she needs to stop writing for public consumption. Because when you do, you’re called to account for your writing, not what your supporters hope you meant in your inmost heart.

        2. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia December 10, 2012 at 9:43 am |

          Referring to a woman as “it”…
          It doesn’t matter if she didn’t intend disrespect, it was horribly insulting to any woman who has ever been sexually violated, and to every woman in general.
          If this is hard to understand, you need to ask yourself why you are o.k. with referring to women as “it”.

        3. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 10, 2012 at 9:58 am |

          So nice of you to worry about my stomach issues. Unfortunately, your apologia of a rape apologist doesn’t exactly help.

          I do know the phrase. In this particular article, on a topic where dehumanization of women plays a large part, where the author of the article plays on a lot of other tropes about rape victims it is really an incredible coincidence that she also uses a sentence that calls a woman a thing.

          If the author is a shit writer, that’s not my problem. What she wrote was dehumanizing.

        4. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 10:03 am |

          Your defenses of Royse all come down to “she’s a lousy writer with terrible judgment.”

          Close, but not on the mark. Her error in judgement was mainly that she mixed a real problem with an example that was a clear-cut rape case. The parts that she wrote about society’s problems with signals and about the false assumption that EVERY case of rape (or sexual assault) is about power and violence were good writing and valuable.

          And I wrote

          we can discuss about it being insensitive, mistakable or bad writing

          meaning it is debatable. NOT meaning it is the case.

          About the rephrased duck test: I disagree with your interpretation that “it” and “a fuck” referred to the woman. It referred to behaviour. Therefore I considered it not to be disrespectful and dehumanizing. And now we can discuss whether I give to much benefit of doubt or you to little :-)

        5. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 10, 2012 at 10:17 am |

          Oh come one. The fuck was the woman. It was already said that she was “flirting aggressively”. She was hot, she talked talked about her sexuality openly. It is absolutely obvious that the fuck in that sentence was referring to the woman.

          And you can take that smiley and stuff it.

        6. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 10:44 am |

          Oh come one. The fuck was the woman.

          Well, let’s look at the article.

          To a large degree, my friend thought he was doing what was expected. And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse. Many people watching it unfold would have thought that, too.

          Of course they would all be wrong. But if something walks like a fuck and talks like fuck, at what point are we supposed to understand that it’s not a fuck?

          Now, the first “it” is part of “watching it unfold” and clearly points to the “weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo”, which I would (and did) subsume under” behavior”.
          Now where between that first “it” and the “something” or the second “it” is a reference to the woman? Nowhere. Which makes my interpretation at least a legitimate point of view.

        7. Jadey
          Jadey December 10, 2012 at 10:52 am |

          Here’s an another example of why intent doesn’t matter:

          She wrote something awful. It doesn’t matter why she wrote it or what she was intending to convey, because what it actually conveys is terrible and dehumanizing (based on a reasonable number of interpretations – it doesn’t matter if some people interpret it differently, because that the other interpretation is *even possible* is bad enough) . She wrote it, she presumably read it again before posting it, she is responsible for it. Isn’t accountability wonderful. There – no derailing discussion required.

        8. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 11:38 am |

          Behavior does not walk or talk, and there is no custom in English of referring to “behavior” as “a fuck.” There is, however, a custom of referring to women that way. As you say you’re not a native speaker, you’re going to want to take my word for that.

          Her error in judgement was mainly that she mixed a real problem with an example that was a clear-cut rape case.

          So her problem, as you see it, is that she took an absolutely clear-cut case, and used it to illustrate an argument about confusing cases based on miscommunication. Well, that is terrible writing. Not just good writing with an “error,” but terrible writing. It’s the equivalent of deciding to write about fish and using whales as your example. Further, given that her actions, as she reports them, clearly demonstrate that she thinks that her buddy’s rape of this unfortunate woman falls into this category of confusing borderline cases, I see no reason to think she meant anything other than what she wrote. If she did, she’s had ample opportunity to clarify.

        9. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:53 am |

          there is no custom in English of referring to “behavior” as “a fuck.” There is, however, a custom of referring to women that way.

          I don’t even have to take your word for it, since I’m actually aware of that. But I understand her words as a try to change as little as possible of her duck-test wordplay (underminded by the grammar as I wrote above) and you understand it as a clear referrence to the victim (undermined by the fact that behavior is generally not referred to as an entity). So I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree and in the immortal words of CNN to leave it there

          So her problem, as you see it, is that she took an absolutely clear-cut case, and used it to illustrate an argument about confusing cases based on miscommunication.

          “Confusing cases” is an odd way of putting it, but yes. Still, I think that, to stay with your example, she did write about fish and used a whale as an example while you are angry at her for writing about whales and frequently referring to fish.
          There, too, we have to agree to disagree and leave it there.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

      Yeah, see, I agree with you nominally that Royse isn’t intending to write a horridly misogynistic piece. I see her points on the fucked-up conditioning men are put through to see women as objects. Actually, if she’d written the article without this example, I would probably have been pleasantly surprised, since I don’t like Alyssa Royse.

      But.

      1) As Beatrice pointed out, she dehumanised the hell out of that poor rape victim.

      2) She wrote an article about the rape victim without mentioning having gotten consent from the rape victim. Without consent, she wrote about an incident in fine enough detail that, if you know any of the people involved, easily identifies the victim. And her sexual history. And her behaviour. You really think that’s not going to be out there on the internet forever, branding her with the scarlet W? Even if she doesn’t want to be?

      3) She chose to turn an absolutely clear-cut case of rape – because really, it IS clear-cut – into a discussion on “social interpretations of mixed signals”. That’s a little like turning Trayvon Martin’s murder into a discussion about “actual young black thugs and what a danger they are”.

      4) I can’t bloody put my finger on it but that piece, like everything else she writes, reeks of internalised misogyny. I didn’t, for example, get the same vibe off the follow-up article that someone else posted a link to here, where the same issue was discussed without the obfuscation or Nice Guying or tarring a rape victim.

      So, while Royse might well have accidentally stumbled on a point or two in there, it’s rather like pointing out the nice red cherry on the shit sundae. I mean, sure, it’s a nice cherry, but I’m not going to shovel shit into my mouth in the interest of tasting it.

      1. trees
        trees December 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

        @macavitykitsune

        We must have been posting at the same time; your third point is what I was hoping to convey.

        3) She chose to turn an absolutely clear-cut case of rape – because really, it IS clear-cut – into a discussion on “social interpretations of mixed signals”. That’s a little like turning Trayvon Martin’s murder into a discussion about “actual young black thugs and what a danger they are”.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

          No shit,right?

          I mean, if she’d used an ACTUAL example of communication gone awry… I gave some examples upthread, like a BDSM scene that went on just a bit too long but the sub wasn’t taken seriously, or a sexsomniac, etc. But using this incredibly clear example of rape comes across a hell of a lot skeevier than that; like it’s trying to mitigate instead of explain. While I’m all for explaining, and actually really interested in predator theory (love Thomas Millar for that), I don’t think Royse was actually doing that. I’m sure she thought she was, but the end result is fairly, uh, not that. Like, over in the next galaxy not that.

      2. piny
        piny December 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm |

        Yes, exactly. Saying she didn’t intend to write a misogynist piece, as in, she wasn’t sitting there wringing her hands and chortling, “What a scathing denial of this poor woman’s humanity! I have certainly done my part to hurt women today!” is to rely on the same definition of intent that excuses rape. Nobody says to themselves, “I will unfairly demonize a group of people with a bunch of bigoted, tendentious non-arguments.” She thinks she’s right, of course.

        She did set out to blame this woman for her sexual assault, to attack her sexual behavior and trust, to argue that it is a collective moral failing to not hold women responsible for the sexual assaults men commit, and to assert that men cannot be expected to listen to what women say, or ask women for permission to fuck them.

        Those are all very misogynistic arguments: together, they mean that women do not deserve safety or respect, and that women should accept a status quo that exposes them to horrible violence, and that men are right to treat women more or less like things.

        She did not intend to be misogynistic according to her own definition of misogyny, but she did consciously attempt to prove out hateful assertions about women. She did do her part for woman-hating. And as with the bumbling serial rapist, it’s clear that she knows she is excusing sexual violence, that her position seems deeply cruel, and that rape apology is a bad thing.

        I mean, Jesus, we can’t use the rapist’s definition of rape to figure out whether the rapist is a rapist. And we can’t let a sexist off the hook because they think that sexism is something they aren’t doing.

        1. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm |

          She did set out to blame this woman for her sexual assault, to attack her sexual behavior and trust, to argue that it is a collective moral failing to not hold women responsible for the sexual assaults men commit, and to assert that men cannot be expected to listen to what women say, or ask women for permission to fuck them.

          And that is where you – in my opinion – run off-track. I don’t think she did any of those, neither explicitly nor implicitly. But that is a difference of interpretation and is discussed at length elsewhere in this thread.

      3. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

        She wrote an article about the rape victim without mentioning having gotten consent from the rape victim. Without consent, she wrote about an incident in fine enough detail that, if you know any of the people involved, easily identifies the victim. And her sexual history. And her behaviour. You really think that’s not going to be out there on the internet forever, branding her with the scarlet W? Even if she doesn’t want to be?

        That is a very good point. Thank you! Because looking elsewhere (thinking about the social implications of the article) I did not see that. Although I still don’t consider the article to be mysogynist, what you point out is completely unacceptable behaviour.

        She chose to turn an absolutely clear-cut case of rape – because really, it IS clear-cut – into a discussion on “social interpretations of mixed signals”.

        Correct. That is a part of the article I initially disliked but saw no need to point out, since everybody else had done it already. My bad.

    3. EG
      EG December 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

      You want to know the problems?

      The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist.

      Yes. This is the problem. This is how rape-apology works, by finding some way that the rapist isn’t to blame, that the rapist isn’t the problem. But he is. Any attempt to sidestep that fact is bullshit.

      The problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the mixed messages about sex and sexuality in which we are stewing.

      Who is supposed to take responsibility? Which mixed messages? What message, mixed or otherwise, is responsible for a man deciding to fuck a sleeping woman without getting her consent?

      And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse.

      “Sex” is not what happened here. Sex takes place between two active, consenting adults with agency. What he did was stick his dick into an unconscious woman. How is that the logical conclusion of any social intercourse?

      Our binary language of “yes means yes” and “no means no” doesn’t address the entire spectrum of both spoken language and body language, which mean different things to different people.

      Really? What kind of spoken/body language can be reasonably thought to mean “stick your dick in me while I’m sleeping and can’t give consent”? How is this a reasonable misunderstanding?

      And the fault is not hers, it’s ours — all of ours — for not explaining what these signals DON’T mean

      No. It’s not. Because nothing means “penetrate me while I am sleeping and cannot give consent” except those exact words.

      With him, the conversations were painful and beautiful, and he understood. He claimed it, at least to me, and learned a hard lesson

      What bullshit. Let me tell you something, as somebody who was involved in a situation regarding a predator recently: they lie. They claim to have learned; they claim to be sorry; they fucking well lie. And the idea that these conversations are “beautiful,” that other women, that feminists should give two shits about the “beautiful” learning process of such a predator? Fuck that sideways.

      any discussion of her behavior leading up to it was taboo. Any suggestion that her behavior may have led to — NOT JUSTIFIED OR EXCUSED — the rape was met with screams of “victim blaming” and “rape apology.”

      But to run from this part of the discussion is to let the problem stagnate and fester.

      It’s not “taboo.” It’s bullshit. Because there is no behavior that can “lead to” this or any rape except the behavior of the rapist. She may well have been flirting. She may well have wanted to have sex with him. Sex. Sex in which she was an active, engaged participant of the kind she had described herself to be. Not rape, in which she was an unconscious piece of warm flesh for this asshole to stick his dick in.

      In order to get to that answer we need to first abolish the idea that all rape is about power and violence. It’s not. Some rape begins as the earnest belief that sex is going to happen, and that it should.

      Again, note the easy elision between “sex happening” and “sticking his dick in a sleeping person.” Note what this easy elision means: it means that, at best, he doesn’t see the difference between a woman who actually wants and is taking part in sex, and a sleeping body; at worst, it means he prefers the sleeping body that can’t express desire of its own. How is that not about power and violence? He is violating somebody because her consent doesn’t matter to him, or because it matters and he prefers her to be non-consenting. That is what power is.

      So while the individual rapist is solely responsible for the rape he committed, we all — as a society — are responsible for the culture that created the confusion.

      Again, here she is buying into the idea that “confusion” causes rape. But what is the confusion here? Did he think she was awake? Surely she would have mentioned that. So he’s “confused” about the difference between sex with a willing partner and raping somebody who trusted him enough to fall asleep in his presence. That’s not confusion. That’s being a manipulative asshole.

      Rape is what happens when we aren’t allowed to discuss sex and sexuality as if it were as natural as food, and instead shroud it in mysterious languages and grant it mysterious powers and lust for it like Gollum after the ring. Rape is what happens we don’t even understand what sex and sexuality are, but use them for everything anyway.

      No. Rape is what happens when (largely women’s) sexual consent is seen as irrelevant, unimportant, and unnecessary.

      I haven’t heard from her either, though we were never friends and I’m sure that my willingness to explore the nuance was seen as excusing him.

      When a survivor of rape understands what you are doing as excusing her rapist, that’s something you should damn well pay attention to. It’s just possible that her perspective matters more and is more accurate than yours.

      And no, it’s not as simple as the fact that he put his penis in her.

      It is precisely that simple. She just doesn’t want it to be, because the guy was her friend. That’s very sad for her. But the fact that her friend claims not to have understood the difference between an awake woman who wants to have sex with him and a sleeping one who can’t make her preferences known is manipulative bullshit, and the fact that she’s decided that believing that is more important than supporting a woman who has been raped is precisely what is so offensive about this piece.

      1. Beatrice
        Beatrice December 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm |

        Everything you have written here, EG. QFT.

        1. mxe354
          mxe354 December 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

          Seconded

      2. Alexandra
        Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm |

        The most dangerous lies are the lies we half-believe. The most dangerous lies in rape culture are the lies rapists tell themselves (and others) – “She wanted it.” “I didn’t have to ask, she’d been telling me with her clothes and the way she walked.”

    4. Alexandra
      Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm |

      You know what? I’ve never been a big than of the predator theory of rape that’s become accepted here at Feministe because of my personal history with sexual assault. I completely buy the notion that because of how engrained rape culture is, many men engage in coercive or outright violent sexual behaviors, believing those behaviors to be within the realm of acceptable sexual behavior.

      However, instead of talking about how our culture allows – nay, encourages – men to take anything as a hard “No” as a yes (and even then, if a woman says “no”, it doesn’t necessarily count if she’s a certain type of woman ) – instead of talking about how frickin’ screwed up rapists are — Royse decides to talk about how women need to take responsibility for the mixed messages they’re sending.

      Because of course it’s important to police women in order to prevent men from raping. Women, of course, are the people ultimately responsible for rape culture, so of course it’s up to us to prevent rape! Presumably by walking around wearing cardboard boxes and never ever flirting with people we aren’t 100% sure we want to have sex with (or be penetrated in our sleep by).

      I mean, what?

      1. formersexworker
        formersexworker December 10, 2012 at 3:51 am |

        I don’t think this is inconsistent with the Lisak research. Both can be true.

        That was a survey asking men about acts of sexual violence. Men as deluded as you describe could easily still exist out there and not have been picked up in the survey with the other “undetected rapists.”

      2. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 8:58 am |

        I don’t think that that’s what Alyssa Royse means. IMHO her point of view is not “the woman should control her signals” but “the guy should be able to correctly interpret her signals” and “some guys can’t because the way our society deals with sex is so fucked up”. She’s just very wrong in that the case she describes is not an example for this.

        1. jemima101
          jemima101 December 10, 2012 at 9:31 am |

          But that is rape aplogism! You are saying she didnt and now are using the same argument, It is not down to signals, it is about believing asking “Do you want to have sex with me?” is a question that can be omitted!

        2. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 10:32 am |

          I quote her article

          the ONLY thing that counts as consent to have sex is the word “YES,” accompanied with any form of “I would like to have sex with you.”

          I take it we agree on that.

          If anybody heard this message time and again, would it reduce the number of rape cases?

          If yes, the logical conclusion would be that some perpetrators do not understand how to make sure that what’s gonna happen is consensual sex and not rape. And Alyssa Royse would be right that

          Some rape begins as the earnest belief that sex is going to happen, and that it should.

          If no, why is it so important to feminists to further campaigns sending this very message?

          Now, maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe I’m drinking the kool-aid of rape apology somewhere. But I sincerely don’t see where. If I am wrong, I’d like to ask for your help in pointing it out. And I’ll keep asking and discussing until I really understand it. It’s too important not to.

        3. Beatrice
          Beatrice December 10, 2012 at 10:38 am |

          Moebius,

          I would suggest you read all the comments here then. People have already explained a lot of what is wrong with the article.
          I would especially recommend EG’s comments.

        4. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 10, 2012 at 10:46 am |

          It’s pretty simple, Moebius. Only have sex with people who want to have sex with you. Understand? Would you force food down the throat of someone who didn’t want to eat it or force food down their throat when they’re passed out drunk? Probably not. The same principle applies to violations of another person’s sexual autonomy.

          Rapists don’t rape people because they don’t understand what they are doing. They rape people because they understand what they are doing and just don’t care and, in fact, they sometimes actually enjoy that they are forcing someone to have sex against their will. Rapists don’t need education. They need to be outed, shunned–and if they still pose a likely threat–retaliated against.

        5. jemima101
          jemima101 December 10, 2012 at 11:19 am |

          Other than the vaugueness of retaliated against, I agree with this. Knowing that people may or may not consider your actions rape is not what stops rape, caring about consent does.

          Slightly cheeky, but we covered this on Hobby. http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/empathy-for-the-devil/

        6. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 10:53 am |

          Beatrice,

          I read all the comments. I really did. And I did read EG’s answer. But I respectfully disagree with her that every word Alyssa Royse wrote should be viewed as a point about the rape case she told. I understand the quotations EG talked about as article parts in which AR tried to make a general point. If I didn’t view it that way I’d agree with you, without any doubt. But I do, and therefore I don’t.

          It is not my intention to apologise rape, something that cannot be apologised. I simply disagree with the way you understand the article as a whole.

        7. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:27 am |

          LotusBecca, you’re preaching to the converted (can I use that phrase if I never had to be converted to that rule?).

          Rapists don’t rape people because they don’t understand what they are doing. They rape people because they understand what they are doing and just don’t care and, in fact, they sometimes actually enjoy that they are forcing someone to have sex against their will.

          Bought, hook, line and sinker, for most rapists. No doubt about that. But as I wrote before

          When Royse states that rape is not simply and not always the evil man in the dark alley, or the evil (step-)father forcing himself on his daughter, or the husband not taking “no” for an answer, then she is, of course, right. There is the college student who genuinely thinks a slurred “yes” from a drunk girl is a real yes. There is the naive couple who engages in role-playing without a safeword. There is the stupid teenager who thinks performing oral sex on the naked yet still-asleep acquaintence form last night is “doing something nice” and not sexual assault. There are cases when it’s about sex and not about power or violence but when IT IS STILL RAPE.

          If I’m wrong, please explain my why, and why the examples do not apply.

        8. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 11:41 am |

          I understand the quotations EG talked about as article parts in which AR tried to make a general point.

          Do you have textual evidence for that idea, that those points are supposed to be about a general idea that is not the case she’s specifically discussing? She specifically says that she wants to be able to discuss how this woman’s behavior “led to” her rape. She specifically says that the problem is not that her friend is a rapist.

          As I would say to a student, can you find any support for your interpretation in the actual text?

        9. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

          Moebius, it’s worth repeating the message of “this is rape, don’t do it!” not because some huge number of rapists are “accidental” rapists and will be cured, but because it may affect the jurors, friends, family, judges, lawyers and media to finally finally call a rape a rape instead of calling it a “misunderstanding”, which only facilitates that majority of rapists who explicitly enjoy raping. It might not get rapists to change their ways, but it might help put them behind bars more frequently and for longer, and chip away at their huge support system of rape allies.

        10. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |

          If I’m wrong, please explain my why, and why the examples do not apply.

          You know what? Fine, Moebius. There’s 7 billion people on this planet, and a lot of improbable things happen every day. I’m willing to acknowledge that somewhere there are probably rapists who accidentally rape people and feel really bad about it afterwards. But I would guess the percentage of such cases is infinitesimally small. Let’s take your examples. Most drunk college girls who are victims of acquaintance rape are intentionally raped by guys who know what they are doing (nothing like the hypothetical you describe). Most times a person is raped in the kink community it’s not an accident, but it’s the work of a predator who has specifically gotten into the kink community as a cover for their desire to rape people (nothing like the hypothetical you describe). And I’m not even going to touch your oral sex example because I’m too repulsed.

          Basically, your examples don’t apply because they are hypothetical, and there is little evidence that things like this ever actually happen and certainly no evidence that they happen in any great number. And the reason your argument is fucked up and oppressive is because what DOES happen is rapists CLAIM these things are happening. Rapists CLAIM they accidentally rape people. But if rapists can rape, I think it’s pretty clear that they can also lie about their motives, and in fact, all evidence points to the fact that they do lie about their motives. You are being offensive because you keep bringing up hypothetical situations that rarely actually happen and, in effect, are giving credibility to the actual rapist predators (like people who knowingly have sex with unconscious women) who tell lies and intend to have non-consensual sex.

        11. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

          @Bagelsan: Okay, so from your point of view it’s to make abhorrent tactics like sluttificating the victim impossible. Fair enough. That also made me think that making people understand may lead to more good persons intervening and stopping actions that may well lead to rape (let’s say the drunk girl in the bar who is felt up by the guy next to her). And it may also lead to guys being less pushy because they don’t think that “she’s on the brink of consenting” any more. Okay, I still think I have a point about some people not knowing where the line is, but I’ll reassess this point’s importance.

          @EG: When I started to write this reply, I copied several blocks of text to state my case. Then I realized that we would both keep looking at those text blocks from our point of view and shouting “look, it’s right there!”.

          So, let me take the quotes you took:
          The second directly follows the first, so I’ll combine them.

          The problem isn’t even that he’s a rapist. The problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the mixed messages about sex and sexuality in which we are stewing.

          Who is the “we” group? The last group she mentioned three paragraphs ago is “the community”, presumably the feminist community. Is that community particularly prone to “stewing in a mixed message”? No. Therefore she talks not about “the community” but about society as a whole, leading from one example to the general problem she then discusses for the next four paragraphs without reference to the particular case.

          And while he was wrong, weeks of flirting, provocative dancing and intimate innuendo led him to believe that sex was the logical conclusion of their social intercourse.

          After that, two paragraphs about insufficient communication about sex in our society that also include your fourth citation. Only one short reference to the particular case. Same schematic: From example to general.

          Your next quote is a part of

          This is a “some signals, they read so wrong” story. And the fault is not hers, it’s ours — all of ours — for not explaining what these signals DON’T mean, even if we don’t know exactly what they DO mean.

          She explicitly says the fault lies wthin our society. General statement.

          Next one is the first quote entirely about the particular case. Fair enough.

          Next one is the beginning of a large text part beginning with and ending with the three hash keys in a row. It starts with the particular case and then complete switches to a discussion about society as a whole.

          Next three quotes are about society as a whole without references to the particular case.

          Next one is the second quote entirely about the particular case. Fair enough.

          Last one is debatable: It’s the closure of the story that you consider to be the main subject and that I consider to be the hook. If you start with a hook you frequently end with the hook.

          I also find it telling that she starts her article with many details about the particular case and the further you read, the less percentage of the current text part is about the particular case and the more about general issues within our society.

          That’s my textual analysis. You’ll probably disagree with parts of it. But I hope that I stated my case well enough for you to see that I didn’t pull my statements about the text out of my ass.

        12. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |

          I just re-read my last comment, and I remembered how people here have been pointing out that penetrating an unconscious woman is not “having sex with her” because she is in no way participating in the violation. So I apologize for my wording in the last sentence. I would like to amend my last sentence to read:

          “You are being offensive because you keep bringing up hypothetical situations that rarely actually happen and, in effect, are giving credibility to the actual rapist predators (like people who knowingly violate an unconscious women) who tell lies and are intending to be do something non-consensual.”

        13. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

          You don’t understand how writing works. When you open up with an anecdote and then segue into a more general discussion, the entire point of the anecdote is that it functions as an illustration of the general discussion, particularly when you continue to interweave details of the case study with the discussion. You don’t write “with respect to the anecdote I mention above” each time, because you don’t need to. You’ve already established a strong associative connection in your reader’s mind. That’s how that particular rhetorical strategy works. If Royse doesn’t grasp that, she’s not only a piss-poor writer, but a rather sloppy thinker (and that is the generous way of putting it) whose opinions on rape culture aren’t with shit.

        14. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm |

          @LotusBecca: First of all, thank you for your answer. I really mean that. You took some of your time and wrote that answer although you probably think I am a moron, a sexist, an overall asshole or all of that and more. So thank you for taking my request seriously.

          [I rewrote this posting several times. Here were two paragraphs that I deleted because I now think they were partly wrong and partly irrelevant.]

          Up to right now my point of view was probably too theoretical, because I kept thinking “What difference does it make if he didn’t know it was rape? He committed rape, therefore the law says he must be punished. The only difference is that if he’d known it was rape he might not have done it.”
          Don’t ask me what part of your posting made me right now realize this is bullshit. It’s bullshit and offensive because people not just claim they didn’t know but because they actually get away with it, is that correct? (And logically because of that rape happens far more often than it would otherwise.)

          So thanks again for sincerely answering me.

        15. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:21 pm |

          Another thing learned: Mens rea is in the US (and the UK, too) far more important than in Germany. Therefore it’s far more important in the US and UK that the guy actually knew he committed rape.

          Well, now I guess I really know why several posting of mine were offensive and/or considered rape apology. They wouldn’t be where I live, but they are where you live. Damn.
          I really have to apologize to several people (and the lack of mens rea doesn’t make a difference *g*).

        16. Moebius
          Moebius December 11, 2012 at 12:13 am |

          You don’t understand how writing works.

          Well, I never got the hang of this style of writing, so no. I’m not good at using anecdotes. The style of writing I actually earn money with is dry and straightforward explaining of facts, similar to medical writing. And when I tried anecdotal openings in my free time, it took me forever to get started and my anecdotes were either made up or were not close enough to what I wanted to discuss.

        17. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 11, 2012 at 1:01 am |

          Moebius, I appreciate you being willing to reconsider your views. And don’t worry, I don’t think you are a moron, or an asshole, or very much of a sexist, even. I just think you are someone who doesn’t have a very advanced understanding of rape culture and also has a fair amount of unexamined privilege. But that’s alright. . .we all have to start somewhere, and the important thing is to remain open to self-reflection and the perspectives of others. That’s how I advanced in my awareness of rape culture, at least.

          And I’m glad you realized that what you were saying is bullshit. And you’re right that it’s bullshit because it allows rapists to get away with rape more easily. Most rapes are never brought before the law anyway. But yeah, it makes it easier for them to get away with it legally, and it also makes easier for them to get away with it socially. There are so many situations when a woman accuses a man of rape, and the two of them have a bunch of shared friends, and the friends side with the RAPIST rather than the rape victim. They actually shun the rape victim and stop being friends with her because she is “badgering” her rapist who is a actually a “nice guy” and just made a “mistake.” This is made possible thanks to beliefs such as the ones that you were articulating earlier, beliefs that maintain a significant number of rapists are just making accidental mistakes. If they are, in fact, just making mistakes, it is much easier to have sympathy with them.

          Finally, I just want to stress that what you were saying earlier was inappropriate, not just because it isn’t helpful, but also because it isn’t very accurate. Very few rapists “accidentally” rape people; they almost always know what they are doing. I think that’s important to keep in mind.

          But anyway, thanks for being open to what I was saying, and I appreciate you being cool with me about this.

        18. Moebius
          Moebius December 11, 2012 at 11:35 am |

          LotusBecca, I very much appreciate for your posting and your being open to the possibility that my offending may be ignorance. As for having unexamined privilege – well, despite carrying my own package I am a heterosexual white male aka on lowest difficulty setting.

          About who to side with if a woman I know accused a man I know of rape and he pleaded ignorance on rape: I’d still decide on a case-by-case basis whether to believe him, but the very least I’d do is support the woman and praise her for her courage to speak out whereas telling him “even if I give you the benefit of doubt, how could you be so unbelievably stupid and lacking of consideration for her well-being? Now do anything you can to mitigate the damage you caused at least a tiny wee little bit!” And if he didn’t I’d probably badger him until he either did or broke contact. But that’s a) just the very least and b) a no-brainer and I would probably have said the same before participating in this discussion.

          And if he denied any sexual contact? I’d talk to both and try to make my own picture but whatever I’do do I’d feel horribly guilty because whatever I’d do the very real possibility of me being horribly unjust to a friend of mine would remain. Yes, barring any indicators I’d believe her more than him. But probability is not enough to make such a decision.

          Finally, I just want to stress that what you were saying earlier was inappropriate, not just because it isn’t helpful, but also because it isn’t very accurate.

          Yes, and I’ve been asking myself why I kept talking about this small to miniscule minority of cases. I think it’s for two reasons: 1) I like having all cases covered and feeling I’ve not forgotten any exceptions. Too many discussions where people latched onto the exceptions and all we ended talking about were those (yeah, yeah, and here I end up doing the same – although Royse’s text was a lot about exceptions). And if they didn’t there were often misunderstandings. 2) No one talked to me or afaik any of my male friends were the line was. It was assumed everyone would know and every case was clear-cut. But at the latest when I spent time informing myself about the subject rape I had to think about the few exceptions and felt empathy for the guys. (Do I have to mention explicitly that my heart goes out to every rape victim regardless of the perpetrator? I should, just to cover all bases, as I like to do.)

          And btw, I sincerely think it is my place to thank you for being cool with me about this.

      3. EG
        EG December 10, 2012 at 9:16 am |

        I don’t think that that’s what Alyssa Royse means.

        And yet that’s not what she wrote.

      4. Jadey
        Jadey December 10, 2012 at 10:33 am |

        You know what? I’ve never been a big than of the predator theory of rape that’s become accepted here at Feministe because of my personal history with sexual assault. I completely buy the notion that because of how engrained rape culture is, many men engage in coercive or outright violent sexual behaviors, believing those behaviors to be within the realm of acceptable sexual behavior.

        I really like the predator theory of rape and find it useful. What I don’t find useful is the insistence that this theory explains all instances of rape ever, because that’s absurd and that’s not what it’s meant to do.

        (As someone with forensic social science training myself, I think Lisak, the original author, probably wouldn’t endorse that interpretation – he studied a particular *type* of rape occurring in a particular setting. While I believe it’s a very strong theory that probably explains a lot of rapes, *especially* serial rapes committed by a group of people who are not usually criminally prosecuted, the idea that we can generalize it to all rapists ever is absurd and not what his research was designed to do. No social scientist with any decent training and common-sense would ever attempt to generalize like that.)

        What I said above was that I think regardless of means, mechanism, or intent, rape is rape. It doesn’t matter how or why it happens – it’s rape. I think the insistence on a particular universal explanation for all (or 99.9%) of circumstances does more to hurt than help our cause because A) we are setting ourselves up for a logical failure down the line if a contrary case is presented (which is why social theories usually become more complex over time as more conditional factors are incorporate, parsimony aside), which only makes our otherwise valid arguments appear weak and give the opposition something to latch onto to derail the conversation (which is what Royse does, basically), and B) we ignore and erase the experiences of victims who rapists didn’t fit this exact pattern, which seems like what has happened to you with this theory.

        So I think we do need to keep talking about rape and why it happens and the multiple individual (on the part of the rapist) and socially-contributing factors. We can just do a hell of a lot better job of it than Royse did.

        1. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |

          So I think we do need to keep talking about rape and why it happens and the multiple individual (on the part of the rapist) and socially-contributing factors. We can just do a hell of a lot better job of it than Royse did.

          QFT

  49. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte December 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

    If a guy waits until you fall asleep to fuck you, he’s a rapist. If he wanted sex, why wait until you’re asleep? Duh.

  50. mxe354
    mxe354 December 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    Words cannot sufficiently describe how outraged I am. I’m literally shaking right now. Fuck.

  51. timberwraith
    timberwraith December 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    I read the article. Oy.

    I haven’t read most of this comment thread and so, I hope I’m not reproducing something that has already been said.

    I think the author was stunned that a presumably “normal, everyday, nice guy” did something so reprehensible that she is now searching for ways to keep her understanding of human relations in tact. In the process of formulating her “understanding”, she drops short of the mark… really short. Sadly, much of society does in these situations. I think she was correct in questioning how larger society plays a role in these instances. However, she veers away from questioning socially approved lines of power and tries to find a more “neutral” solution.

    We still live in a world in which cultural norms lay down a common pattern for gender roles and heterosexual relationships: men are assumed to be more dominant and women less so. Men are assumed to have full autonomy over their lives and bodies and women are expected to compromise their autonomy for others. These assumptions permeate cultures everywhere. Children are raised under these assumptions from birth and then grow into sexually active adults whose intimate relations are informed by these assumptions.

    Yes, presumably “normal, everyday, nice guys” do indeed commit rape without a thought because they developed their beliefs, behaviors, and identities in a world which says autonomy and power is naturally and rightfully theirs and this birthright trumps women’s needs. This autonomy and power is specifically incorporated into the context of heterosexual relationships and consequently, is encoded into people’s assumptions about what is sexually attractive and sexually normative (and what is not). People have spent their entire lives stewing in a culture which codes male as equivalent to dominance & power and female as equivalent to being receptive & yielding. These notions are readily extended as sexually normative patterns of interaction. This is so common place that few are conscious of how deeply these influences run.

    And so, the potential for men to take sexual intimacy by power, control, or force is coded directly into people’s assumptions about male identity, female identity, and sex… so much so, that people make excuses for rape when it happens. Comprehending that everyday gender roles are responsible for the common place nature of rape is unthinkable for many people because they assume imbalanced gender roles are part of the normal, immutable texture of life. This imbalance is dismissed as a facet of natural, healthy identities and intimacy. And so, this normative imbalance is rendered invisible and thus, unquestionable. Surface level sexism is open to inquiry but scratch deeper than this and people dismiss such efforts as absurd.

    And so, “average, everyday guys” commit “average, everyday rape”, and people wonder how this is possible. How could he have done this? He was so normal. Isn’t that the problem, though? Dominance, control, and power are normal facets of male gender roles. Hence, rape is a “normal” consequence of imbalanced gender roles iterated across billions of lives and billions of relationships.

    Question the very fabric of how men and women relate to each other, and you question what people privilege as “normal”. You are rendered anti-sex, anti-love, and anti-family. You are a troublemaker, a man-hater… and quite dreadfully, a feminist. And thus, you have the anti-feminist tone which crept into the original article.

    1. Valoniel
      Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm |

      THIS.

      Well said.

    2. Jadey
      Jadey December 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |

      +1

    3. AK
      AK December 10, 2012 at 11:27 am |

      See, this is how you talk about what causes men like Royse’s friend to rape. No excuses, no roundabout victim blaming (“mixed signals” indeed), but talking about the cultural trends which lead to it without minimizing the assault that was committed or removing the rapists’ responsibility for their actions.

      I’ve found feminists overall to be extremely receptive towards talking about what causes date rape, actually. It’s just that the conversation is not one that a lot of people want to have. As you said, examining how genders relate to each other and how our culture removes agency from half the population is not something that a lot of privileged people want to discuss.

      As for talking about Royse’s friend’s situation in particular, here’s what I have to say: “If you think that any sort of signal gives you permission to have sex with an unconscious person, you are a dangerous rapist and should not be dating.” Seriously, that’s like Consent 101.

      1. AK
        AK December 10, 2012 at 11:32 am |

        And by “what causes date rape,” I mean the kind of conversation Royse doesn’t think feminists want to have–the underlying causes that influence so many men to believe they are entitled to a woman’s body. Obviously the first answer to “what causes date rape” is “rapists.” Just to be clear.

    4. Cara
      Cara December 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm |

      I think the author was stunned that a presumably “normal, everyday, nice guy” did something so reprehensible that she is now searching for ways to keep her understanding of human relations intact. In the process of formulating her “understanding”, she drops short of the mark… really short. Sadly, much of society does in these situations.

      Exactly. She’s doing what most people do–rationalize how their friend is really a good person. After all, what does it say about HER if she doesn’t want to stop being friends with a rapist? No, no. Better get that dissonance re-nanced tout de suite.

      Melissa at Shakesville writes about the regrettable bargain. Maybe this woman’s just never had it thump her in the head like this before.

  52. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm | *

    [Trigger warning for loss of all faith of anything good in the world]

    As if the article were not bad enough by itself, there are people in the comments ADMITTING TO RAPE and saying they IDENTIFY WITH THIS RAPIST.

    Humanity is doomed.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

      See, I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. If 100 rapists confess and even two go “fuck me that’s awful, I am an awful human being who should work hard to never let this happen to me or my partners or anyone ever again” it’s more of a positive than 100 rapists nodding along and going “well, but that’s not rape lol”.

      Of course, the context…yeah.

      1. Radiant Sophia
        Radiant Sophia December 10, 2012 at 7:56 am |

        Exactly. Well spoken.

      2. AK
        AK December 10, 2012 at 11:40 am |

        Kind of reminds me of the infamous Reddit “I am a rapist” AMA. There was a lot in that thread that made me absolutely sick, but there were also some responses that described past rapes they’d committed and talked of their guilt and how they’d realized how wrong they were and tried to atone for it by speaking out and teaching other men. I kind of liked reading those (in that context, obviously I’d rather no one rape). Those were a breath of fresh air in calling out the posters who acted like rape was normal and okay, and sadly it’s one of those situations where a potential rapist probably isn’t going to listen to a victim talking about how much it hurt her, but may listen to another rapist talking about how wrong his actions were.

  53. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

    How did this horrible douchebag become a rape crisis counsellor? How did she become a journalist?

    Do either the victim or the rapist know she’s posted this smear on the internet? Did they have the opportunity to deny consent? Isn’t she breaking confidence by discussing his case at all? Does the victim want her sexual history splattered all over the internet for the gawping pleasure of GMP, a fairly well-known misogynist hellhole?

    Just ARGH. Somebody get this shitlord fired already.

  54. Valoniel
    Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

    It’s really unfortunate that this woman is bringing up this discussion, because she may have some good points, but her internalised misogyny and general asshattery basically mean that she’s coming at it from an angle that makes the discussion impossible.

    http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/attachments/f241/27824d1228216416-spider-behind-clock-clockspider1.jpg

    Her points are the clock. It’s a very nice clock. But you’re not looking at the clock because OMFG SPIDER!

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

      Yep. The original stopped clock, lol. I detected about three points in that essay that actually seem worth exploring/discussing in an actual feminist context, but like I said above, cherry on a shit sundae.

      1. Valoniel
        Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

        Yup, that was pretty much my reading of it. There’s stuff, all right, but I’m not talking about it in a context that someone like her has provided.

    2. EG
      EG December 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm |

      I think it’s more like the reverse, a gigantic spider sitting on the face of the clock. You’re interested in what time it is, but you can’t really focus on telling time, because OMFG spider the size of a facehugger blocking the view!

      1. EG
        EG December 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

        Or maybe, now that I think about it, a facehugger sitting on the clock. Has there ever been a better movie metaphor for rape, after all?

        1. Valoniel
          Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

          Fair enough, yup.

          And since Alien is the only movie I’ve ever seen admitted to as a giant, ongoing metaphor for rape, I think it’s perfect.

  55. hellkell
    hellkell December 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    Even the follow up piece is garbage. I’ve never seen people work so hard to excuse behavior. I would need a nap after trying to do all that heavy lifting.

    And the crap about society is just that. “Society” didn’t stick it’s dick in a sleeping woman, a rapist did.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

      “Society” didn’t stick it’s dick in a sleeping woman, a rapist did.

      Well, but society made it hella easy for him to do it without feeling bad, didn’t it? Made it simpler for her to hush up than press charges. Made it easy for him to avoid consequences, social/legal/moral/wev. Society didn’t make him stick his dick in anything, it just told him it was okay, told him he’d be just fine, and told her to shut up and deal, you deserve it.

      THAT’S what we need to talk about. I think it’s even what Royse thinks she wants to talk about, except her ass misogyny’s showing.

      1. EG
        EG December 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

        I agree with this. I don’t think rape culture/our society makes non-scum men into rapists, but I do think that rape culture/our society makes it possible, even easy, for rapists to get away unpunished, to camouflage themselves among non-rapist men, and to find support.

        Including from Royse.

        1. Valoniel
          Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

          See, and I agree with that, but I also think that there’s an underlying (and connected) issue, which is that society makes it very difficult for good boys to make it all the way to being good men. They sure as hell aren’t rewarded by the world at large for it.

          But that’s a whole other discussion.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

          I don’t think rape culture/our society makes non-scum men into rapists

          Honestly? I do think that. I think there’s a whole lot of people out there fucking with consent in very shady ways because they’ve been told repeatedly that a) it’s fine, b) it’s expected and c) it’s what women really really want. I think that there’s men out there who would never rape who are nonetheless supporting rapists, because they’ve been bombarded with the message that drunk girls/stoned women/sex workers/underage girls/gay boys/queer kids/trans people are fact asking for it by existing. I think that there’s boys who have been “boys will be boys”ed until they can’t tell the difference between pulling a girl’s hair and grabbing a girl’s ass because they’ve modeled themselves after glorified assholes (celebrities, sports stars), been trained to be assholes and rewarded for being assholes by a licentious society that doesn’t really give a shit if women are traumatised and brutalised, as long as the end result is that women are submissive.

          It doesn’t excuse them. It explains them. And it’s not women’s responsibility to fix that mess, but claiming that the mess – the support system, the control system, the cycle of permissiveness and violence – doesn’t exist in the first place is a dangerous ideological stance that I simply can’t agree with.

        3. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl December 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm |

          I think there’s a whole lot of people out there fucking with consent in very shady ways because they’ve been told repeatedly that a) it’s fine, b) it’s expected and c) it’s what women really really want.

          Sadly, ITA with Mac here. My college years were spent with a whole lot of people who were raised with and continued to hold some pretty traditional and retrograde notions wrt to gender and sex like these. I also saw a whole lot of messed up sexual encounters go down between people who had not one iota of a clue as to how they could or should negotiate such a thing in a mutually respectful manner.

          Granted, some of that was simply because of their relative youth and inexperience, but a lot of that was also a direct result of being socialized with messages like sex is something men take and that women (in order to remain good girls) are supposed to guard with extreme caution, or that guys can’t help themselves when it comes to controlling their sexual urges, and that because they shouldn’t even be having sex in the first place the rules of such an encounter should never be discussed prior to doing so. Even now it’s all too common a message that a woman is somehow asking for it if she fools around with a guy and gets raped, even if she never wanted or intended to have piv sex with him.

          I also agree that it doesn’t excuse the behavior to explain the root cause of it. If anything, it illustrates how shamefully our society treates the subject of rape by continuing to traffic in all these mixed messages wrt to sex. Hence the term rape culture.

        4. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

          Honestly? I do think that. I think there’s a whole lot of people out there fucking with consent in very shady ways because they’ve been told repeatedly that a) it’s fine, b) it’s expected and c) it’s what women really really want.

          I’m totally with EG here. I can only use myself as an example, but I have spent the last 20 years sleeping next to a woman who I know loves having sex with me and the idea that anyone thinks it would be ok for me to get on top of her and penetrate her while she was sleeping makes me physically ill. I don’t care whether it’s one person or all of society.

          It’s not like I was brought up in a different society than these rapists. I can honestly say I don’t ever remember having a conversation with my parents about consent, nor was I ever taught about consent in school, because it wasn’t necessary. Mac, I know this is not your intention, but if you step back, can’t you see how your attitude about ‘shady’ people does at least make excuses for these sociopaths a bit?

        5. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 10, 2012 at 2:11 am |

          I guess my personal attempts to undermine rape culture are motivated by two objectives. I think in the near term, we can change the minds of the less-bad rape apologists in the media, the court system, the government, and our personal circle of acquaintances. I think it’s more or less impossible, however, to change the minds of the more hardcore apologists in these institutions, as well as the minds of rapists themselves. But I think in the long term, we can begin a process whereby society changes so much that people with personalities prone to hardcore rape apology and to committing rape won’t exist in the first place. None of us currently reading this in 2012 will be alive to see that day. . .but as for future generations, I don’t think there’s anything in the human genome or laws of physics that mandates that there must always be rapists in every human society. Granted, we’ll need to make radical changes all over the place, but I think it’s possible to abolish rape and make it so that little kids don’t grow up and become rapists. Of course, our government, our religion, our economy, our entertainment, our media, our educational system, our childcare techniques, and our sexual values will all have to be completely restructured for the end of rape to happen, but I think it’s possible, and I think it’s worth it.

        6. catfood
          catfood December 10, 2012 at 6:20 am |

          they can’t tell the difference between pulling a girl’s hair and grabbing a girl’s ass

          Wait, there’s a difference? More than just degree?

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

          …they can’t tell the difference between pulling a girl’s hair and grabbing a girl’s ass

          Must admit I can’t discern a huge the difference myself, at least inasmuch as both are strictly unacceptable in my view.

      2. hellkell
        hellkell December 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

        I totally agree with you. I think that Royse using this example is where the fail happens. These societal things do need talking about, just not in this case.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

          You’ll get no argument from me there!

          (Also, your icon is fucking adorable, just saying.)

        2. Valoniel
          Valoniel December 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

          Yeah, I think that whenever a specific case is cited, the discussion’s already sabotaged. It becomes incredibly difficult to sever the conversation from the case, which undermines the whole endeavour.

        3. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 9:13 am |

          I’m not sure I agree, Valoniel. I want writers to cite specific cases so that they don’t spin off into things that just don’t happen. (“What about if a woman says she wants to have sex, and acted like she was into it, but she meant oral, but she never says anything when you have vaginal sex, and then afterwards she tells everyone you’re a rapist?” “What if a woman invites you back to her place, and the two of you are fooling around, and then her boyfriend jumps out of the closet where he’s been hiding, so she says you were raping her?”)

  56. Weekly Feminist Reader
    Weekly Feminist Reader December 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    [...] Jill tears apart this awful piece by Alyssa Royse of the Good Men Project about how a rapist is “just a person who may genuinely not realize that what he’s doing is rape.” [...]

  57. AJ
    AJ December 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm |

    Even before reading the Royse piece (which I knew would be horrifying) when I saw the title, I thought, “If a guy can rape people and still be ‘nice,’ doesn’t that render whole concept of ‘nice’ essentially meaningless? What does it mean for someone to say you’re ‘nice’ if that does not preclude, among other things, you sexually assaulting other people?”

    1. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |

      “In all fairness, while I was preoccupied with raping that woman I wasn’t killing any puppies. I’m so nice!”

  58. trees
    trees December 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

    The push back to Royse’s article is being categorized as an act of terrorism, among other things, on her facebook page. There’s talk of police involvement. Might she be receiving personal threats, or is any critique of her pitiful apologism being considered bullying?

    1. jemima101
      jemima101 December 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

      Having seen what happened at GMP, and over on ally foggs blog, (mentioned above) any criticism is seen as an attack, because she cares!

      The fact that her inability to accept she may have made bad choices and not known her friend is at the heart of this, so it is no surprise she continues that belief on facebook.

      There is a simple way to stop any criticism…stop defending rapists!

      1. trees
        trees December 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm |

        I see. Well maybe she can work a book deal out of all of this, and maybe Hugo Schwyzer can write the foreword. I’m simply incredulous and I just wish this didn’t irritate me so. Even in the face of the sad reality, I always expect people to do better.

    2. piny
      piny December 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm |

      The problem isn’t that she’s receiving death threats. The problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the mixed messages about lulz and flamewars in which we are stewing. And while it’s wrong to post someone’s mailing address along with a photograph of them leaving for work, weeks of semi-professional trolling for pageviews, provocative “writing” and anti-feminist innuendo naturally lead readers to believe that violent rhetoric is the logical conclusion of social discourse.

      Really, if you blog at xojane, what do you expect?

      Nobody deserves death threats or harassment! But you know what? This fucking woman wrote an essay about how beautiful it was that her friend grew as a person that time he belatedly learned not to stick his dick into unconscious women, and how much better it would be if her other friend could get past harsh words like “rape” and “rapist” and understand the complex human dimensions of our passionate love affair with sexual violence. Try a little tenderness! You know the Chinese word for “opportunity” is a combination of the characters for “rape” and “shut up about your?” I read that in a Thomas Friedman novel.

      Like, fuck you, lady.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong December 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm |

        Really, if you blog at xojane, what do you expect?

        Nope! Bzzzt. Wrong.

        You don’t need to qualify ‘death threats are wrong,’ any more than you need to qualify ‘rape-apology is wrong.’

        1. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm |

          I think somebody’s sarcasm filter needs cleaning.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong December 9, 2012 at 9:13 pm |

          Whoops! Read again and got it.

          Apologies.

        3. piny
          piny December 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm |

          No problem. This fucking Being There II: Oops, I Committed Acquaintance Rapepost sets up a certain amount of atmospheric irritation, no?

  59. Moebius
    Moebius December 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

    (Please bear with me, I’m not a native speaker)

    When I read Alyssa Royse’s article, I thought she was onto something. When I read this rebuke, I agreed that her notion of her friend being a genuinely nice guy was weird. Nice guys don’t rape (ironically, German feminist icon Alice Schwarzer wrote in an article about a much-discussed rape case that “Occasionally, nice guys do rape. Regrettably.” I think she’s nuts.). But I still think Alyssa Rose is onto something. Why?

    Imagine you’re a journalist. Imagine you just had what you consider a minor epiphany and you want to write an article about it. But you need a hook for your article, preferably a personal story to start with. And then you screw up and select something that is not an example for what you want to tell. In my opinion that’s what Alyssa Royse did. She wanted to say something about how our culture fails to impress clear standards for rape or sexual assault on teenagers and young adults and started with a story about a clear-cut rape.

    Once my long-time girlfriend woke me in the middle of the night with oral ministrations because she wanted sex. I hadn’t consented before, but she knew I’d like it, she knew I’d want sex under the current circumstances, so it was definitely okay. And it would have been okay if our roles had been reversed in every detail.
    Now imagine Alyssa Royse’s friend had decided not to penetrate the sleeping woman but to go down on her. He would’ve had no prior consent, so that’d have been at least sexual assault. Now imagine she had woken first and initiated oral sex. Sexual assault, too.
    But in the latter cases, how many people in our society would have identified this as sexual assault? More than that, how many would have CONSIDERED it to be sexual assault (although it clearly legally is) and how many would have considered that claim outlandish?

    It’s not sticking your dick in a sleeping person where the line is blurred, but cases like those where too few people know where the line is drawn – because no one ever told them! And that is the problem Alyssa Royse was onto – at least that’s how I understood her article. (And even if I got her wrong, it still would be a no lesser problem.)

    In order to get to that answer we need to first abolish the idea that all rape is about power and violence. It’s not. Some rape begins as the earnest belief that sex is going to happen, and that it should.

    To these sentences I agree. When Royse states that rape is not simply and not always the evil man in the dark alley, or the evil (step-)father forcing himself on his daughter, or the husband not taking “no” for an answer, then she is, of course, right. There is the college student who genuinely thinks a slurred “yes” from a drunk girl is a real yes. There is the naive couple who engages in role-playing without a safeword. There is the stupid teenager who thinks performing oral sex on the naked yet still-asleep acquaintence form last night is “doing something nice” and not sexual assault. There are cases when it’s about sex and not about power or violence but when IT IS STILL RAPE.

    Drawing all those lines is important. Teaching all those lines is important to. But of course that would mean we as a society had to actually talk about sex openly – an idea that is anathema to many. Without Royse’s article I wouldn’t have spent time thinking about that problem. And therefore I may think she made a big mistake in starting her article with this clear-cut rape case, but I’m grateful for her article nonetheless. And I agree with Gretchen’s comment. We should not condemn Alyssa Royse for an article in which she wrote something that could be interpreted as excusing rape if not – with all due respect to anyone who disagrees – for those at least ten times she explicitly said that it was rape and horribly wrong.

    Royse writes

    I’m sure that my willingness to explore the nuance was seen as excusing him

    In some cases, there are nuances. Not in the case she mentions. But in some cases nonetheless. Occupying oneself with these nuances is essential to understanding the causation and to preventing it from happening again.

    1. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve December 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm |

      In some cases, there are nuances. Not in the case she mentions. But in some cases nonetheless. Occupying oneself with these nuances is essential to understanding the causation and to preventing it from happening again.

      Why on earth is it important to discuss the nuances of cases which you are not discussing and an article about a specific case? How is occupying oneself with the nuances of completely irrelevant incidents essential to understanding the causation of this incident and preventing it from happening again? I can think of one way…oh sorry, I meant I can think of zero ways.

      1. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 5:49 am |

        Why on earth is it important to discuss the nuances of cases which you are not discussing and an article about a specific case? How is occupying oneself with the nuances of completely irrelevant incidents essential to understanding the causation of this incident and preventing it from happening again?

        If Royse’s article was about this specific case, I’d agree with you. But I think it’s not. It’s about our society failing to explain people where consensual sex ends and where sexual assault begins. Royse just took the wrong case to illustrate that.

        1. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 5:54 am |

          In other words, Royse is actually the problem rather than the solution.

        2. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 9:06 am |

          Royse just took the wrong case to illustrate that.

          So Royse just took a woman’s trauma, splashed it in detail across the internet, and then misused it in a sloppy piece of writing to no good end whatsoever. Yeah, I can’t imagine why that perspective doesn’t make it all OK with us. If Royse is this poor a writer, she needs to acknowledge this immediately instead of doubling down. As she hasn’t, I’m going to go on blaming her, thanks.

          It’s about our society failing to explain people where consensual sex ends and where sexual assault begins.

          Oh, it’s so hard to know whether or not a woman is consenting. If only there were some way to find out. Some way to err on the side of not being a rapist. If only human beings had developed a system of communication, a system that could allow people to ask specific questions and understand specific answers. Thank goodness Royse is here, with her deft use of language, to dissect this problem.

          Find an example that isn’t clear-cut, and we can discuss it. Otherwise, no.

        3. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:21 am |

          @piny: No, that’s grossly oversimplified.

          @EG: To no good end whatsoever? No, I disagree.

          If I may quote my first posting (quote inside quote is from Royse’s article):

          In order to get to that answer we need to first abolish the idea that all rape is about power and violence. It’s not. Some rape begins as the earnest belief that sex is going to happen, and that it should.

          To these sentences I agree. When Royse states that rape is not simply and not always the evil man in the dark alley, or the evil (step-)father forcing himself on his daughter, or the husband not taking “no” for an answer, then she is, of course, right. There is the college student who genuinely thinks a slurred “yes” from a drunk girl is a real yes. There is the naive couple who engages in role-playing without a safeword. There is the stupid teenager who thinks performing oral sex on the naked yet still-asleep acquaintence form last night is “doing something nice” and not sexual assault. There are cases when it’s about sex and not about power or violence but when IT IS STILL RAPE.

          So, these not entirely hypothetical cases are clear-cut – for you, me and everybody else here. But I sincerely think there are people who don’t know where these lines exactly lie. Otherwise, what’s the point to those campaigns explaining people that it’s not yes when she’s blind drunk?
          I may be wrong about that. Maybe those people are not out there and maybe all of those campaigns are pointless. But if that’s the case, could you please explain me what makes you so sure that it is? Because I sincerely would like to know. I really would.

    2. Lily
      Lily December 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

      I got the same impression you did while reading the piece – she has a valid point, but completely undermines herself by using an example that doesn’t actually support her point.

      I think what she was trying to say is actually quite important. I’m not excusing this rapist or any other rapist, but, as a feminist who firmly believes (as I’m sure many of you do as well) that everyone, not just women, is affected and harmed by the patriarchy, I don’t think we can say that all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately. Men are not exempt from social conditioning just because they are in a position of power. Again, I don’t mean to excuse or downplay rape, but this article and the comments thread are veering far too close to victimizing individual men without taking into account that everyone is a victim of the patriarchy and rape culture in some way.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 12:29 am |

        I got the same impression you did while reading the piece – she has a valid point, but completely undermines herself by using an example that doesn’t actually support her point.

        I think what she was trying to say is actually quite important. I’m not excusing this rapist or any other rapist, but, as a feminist who firmly believes (as I’m sure many of you do as well) that everyone, not just women, is affected and harmed by the patriarchy, I don’t think we can say that all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately. Men are not exempt from social conditioning just because they are in a position of power. Again, I don’t mean to excuse or downplay rape, but this article and the comments thread are veering far too close to victimizing individual men without taking into account that everyone is a victim of the patriarchy and rape culture in some way.

        I would love to know exactly what Ms. Royse’s “valid point” is, because I absolutely can’t find it anywhere in the OP.

        I also must point out you had a small grammatical in your second paragraph. You wrote ‘I don’t think we can say that all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately,’ whereas the correct way of phrasing that comment would have left off the first seven words.

        1. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 6:21 am |

          Allow me to quote my first posting:

          In order to get to that answer we need to first abolish the idea that all rape is about power and violence. It’s not. Some rape begins as the earnest belief that sex is going to happen, and that it should.

          To these sentences I agree. When Royse states that rape is not simply and not always the evil man in the dark alley, or the evil (step-)father forcing himself on his daughter, or the husband not taking “no” for an answer, then she is, of course, right. There is the college student who genuinely thinks a slurred “yes” from a drunk girl is a real yes. There is the naive couple who engages in role-playing without a safeword. There is the stupid teenager who thinks performing oral sex on the naked yet still-asleep acquaintence form last night is “doing something nice” and not sexual assault. There are cases when it’s about sex and not about power or violence but when IT IS STILL RAPE.

          Drawing all those lines is important. Teaching all those lines is important too.

          That is the point.
          And if you insist that

          all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately

          that logically implies that if the perpetrator doesn’t realize it’s rape he’s not a rapist. I can’t believe that’s really your opinion.
          It’s easy to forget what patriarchy can do to a society. In Germany it wasn’t until 1997 that the law considered forcing yourself on your spouse as rape. In some countries it still doesn’t count as rape. But it is rape nonetheless, even though some of those rapists think they “just make the wife do her duty”.
          One has to be careful with black-and-white-statements. They give people the opportunity to declare even the darkest grey as white because hey, it’s not black, right?

        2. Natalia Antonova
          Natalia Antonova December 10, 2012 at 8:23 am | *

          Fat Steve, I understand you’re being facetious, but at the same time, I would argue that a lot of people just don’t define actual rape as, well, rape.

          This doesn’t make them “good guys who accidentally rape the ladies.” But it does point to enormous divides in how people think about rape, how they define it, etc.

          A lot of this has to do with how much premium one places on other people’s boundaries, both physical and emotional, and whether or not you even see potential partners as people.

          Some men have issues of self-loathing, for example, that result in them seeing women they interact with as nothing more than worthless, inhuman sluts. Because only a worthless, inhuman slut would deign to pay attention to them! And hey, if she’s a worthless, inhuman slut, then you can pretty much do anything to her. Anything at all. And sluts, of course, “can’t be raped.”

          Like you, my husband did not get lectures on consent from his parents. He also grew up in a pretty fucked-up environment – made even more fucked-up than usual by the strong presence of criminal gangs, poverty, violence, etc. Against that back-drop, rape was not only a fact of life, it wasn’t even defined as such.

          But forcing a woman to have sex with him, attacking her while she’s asleep, etc. – those were alien concepts. It wasn’t that he was some saint among barbarians, it’s that there was a lot about him, including his upbringing, that allowed him to see other people as human, and draw the appropriate conclusions.

          There are some classmates of his that, for example, can’t imagine the fact that I could say “no” to him on a given night and he would respect that. Because I’m the wife! I’m there to satisfy him! And anyway, when a woman says “no,” she’s just being coy, surely! It’s what their fathers taught them, it’s what many *women* will also say. As such, they don’t understand that women have boundaries, and that your wife shouldn’t have to fuck you on command.

          And while there is a part of them that understands the basic concept of violation, they are not consciously in touch with that side of themselves. Because understanding how other people can be vulnerable means understanding how they themselves can be vulnerable – and they won’t go down that road.

          Brutality breeds brutality, there is something very scary about it – something that people only begin to get when they start being honest with themselves, which few people are.

        3. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 9:00 am |

          that logically implies that if the perpetrator doesn’t realize it’s rape he’s not a rapist. I can’t believe that’s really your opinion.

          This may be a part where your language falls flat.

          If you shoot and kill someone in cold blood you have knowingly and deliberately committed murder. If you don’t consider it ‘murder’ has nothing to do with it. Same with rape. If you have sex with a woman without her consent, you have knowingly and deliberately committed rape, no matter how you personally define the term.

        4. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:08 am |

          Okay, I’ll try to explain it in a different way: The way I understand Alyssa Royse’s article, she thinks that some people are sure they know that someone else wants to have sex with them and therefore have given consent, although they never got explicit consent. I agree with her that some of those morons exist. You obviously disagree (because otherwise your statement that all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately would mean that those morons would not be rapists).

          To me it is important to explain to people where exactly the line between consent and rape lies, because I don’t think everybody really knows it; therefore we need to raise conciousness. If I get you right, you think that is not necessary because each rapist knows that he crosses the line. So the point we disagree about is an important one.

        5. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 11:50 am |

          To me it is important to explain to people where exactly the line between consent and rape lies, because I don’t think everybody really knows it; therefore we need to raise conciousness. If I get you right, you think that is not necessary because each rapist knows that he crosses the line. So the point we disagree about is an important one.

          NO NO NO, you do not get me right, I am NOT saying ‘each rapist knows that he crosses the line.’

          I AM saying that what the rapist knows what he is doing and whether or not he considers it ‘crossing the line’ or he considers it rape is entirely irrelevant. It’s NOT what about the rapist thinks, for fuck’s sake.

        6. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm |

          Okay, in that case we’re on the same page. The rapist’s opinion of a rape is of course irrelevant. The only thing I now don’t understand is why you wanted to point out that “all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately”. Because to me this statement and the statement “I am NOT saying ‘each rapist knows that he crosses the line'” are contradictory. Obviously to you they aren’t. So what do I not get? What do you mean by “knowingly and deliberately”? That he acts fully concious? That’s obviously the case, but that can’t be all.

        7. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

          Okay, in that case we’re on the same page. The rapist’s opinion of a rape is of course irrelevant. The only thing I now don’t understand is why you wanted to point out that “all rapists rape knowingly and deliberately”. Because to me this statement and the statement “I am NOT saying ‘each rapist knows that he crosses the line’” are contradictory. Obviously to you they aren’t. So what do I not get? What do you mean by “knowingly and deliberately”? That he acts fully concious? That’s obviously the case, but that can’t be all.

          I mean that the actions which we refer to as rape, are knowingly and deliberately done by the rapist, whatever his definition of rape is.

          If, as some men do, you believe a man cannot ‘rape’ his wife, and you were to hold your wife down and penetrate her against her will you would have knowingly and deliberately raped her despite the fact that you would only consider it ‘crossing the line’ if you raped a woman you weren’t married to.

        8. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

          Okay, lets’ shake hands, now I get what you wanted to make clear and we definitely are on the same page. I understood Gretchens words as “not in every single rape case the perpetrator wanted to be a rapist/knowingly crossed the line” and therefore was thrown off by your dissent.
          Concerning men believing “you can’t rape your wife” – I remember some of the “arguments” our German Conservatives brought forward in order to block the law that punishes rape in a marriage as rape. Sickening!

  60. Gretchen
    Gretchen December 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |

    Jill, right here in the comment section, someone says “and fuck Alyssa Royse with a tree” – pretty sure that is inappopriate, threatening, etc. A quick read through the comment section here makes it pretty clear that there are several voices that have gotten off topic, and have decided that this is a personal (or feminist?(aren’t feminists supposed to support fellow women??)) vendetta against Ms. Royse.

    To all:
    Different viewpoints – great – discuss (and for those of us who enjoy solving problems, not prolonging them, perhaps suggest common goals, solutions, etc.)

    Personal attacks – go find a new hobby – seriously people – Don’t you have a better way to use the gifts you’ve been given?

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

      o_O Saying “fuck someone” (and then walking it back immediately on someone pointing out that’s inappropriate) is a threat now? Wow. I feel so hardcore.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

        GAIZ I AM BROWN AND DANGEROUS. FEAR ME.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm |

          I heard you do terrible naughty things to your wife! Flee!

    2. RoryBorealis
      RoryBorealis December 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

      No, Gretchen, feminism does not mean it is our feminist duty to support other women when they are engaging in, for example, rape apologia. Royce wrote a seriously problematic, and indeed anti-feminist, article defending a rapist and now she’s receiving criticism and pushback for it. To suggest that we not engage in such critique because she’s a woman–now that right there is some seriously anti-feminist nonsense.

      1. Gretchen
        Gretchen December 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

        I guess I don’t read it the same. I wasn’t left feeling like she was apologizing for the rapist at all. In fact, I felt like she called out repeatedly that he was 100% wrong in his actions. The way I read it was that there was still work to be done. That there are still people walking around thinking that this type of behavior is ok when it’s clearly not.

        I did not get the impression at all that Ms. Royse was apologizing, or has any less conviction than you do that this was a clear cut case of rape. I took her point to be – why is it not clear cut to everyone? Are their nuances that some members of society believe are not clear cut? Why don’t they see them as clear cut? And what do we need to do to ensure they do see them as so much of this community does- as very clear cut? That’s the problem to fix in order to prevent everyone from sexual violence.

        1. EG
          EG December 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm |

          You’re accepting the rapist’s explanation of his behavior, accepting that he did this “by accident.” Why? Why is he such an unimpeachable source for you?

        2. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm |

          Gretchen, she appeared to be saying that her friend raped a woman because society taught him it was ok to read her so-called signals in a way that implied she was ready for sex. Many of us here (Amanda, EG, me to start) feel he raped her when she was asleep because he wanted to rape her. Others feel he raped her when she was asleep in order to remove the possibility she might not consent to sex. Either way, he raped her when she was asleep knowing he shouldn’t have. The reason for our being sure of this? He had ample opportunity to make a pass at her in the weeks leading up to the rape, or even in the hours they spent talking before she fell asleep… and didn’t. Ms Royse is being raked over the coals because she’s explaining away a rape act that was intentional as a rape act that was misguided but not meant as rape.

        3. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

          No, that isn’t what her article was about, and if that had been her point she wouldn’t be getting criticized. Her article managed to include every tired, sad cliche about how RapistFriend is really the victim because sticking his dick inside a sleeping woman’s vagina was an honest mistake that anybody could have made and how the poor man’s reputation–he’s totally a nice guy when he isn’t sticking his dick into unconsenting people’s orifices–might suffer if people called him a rapist just because he…wait for it…raped a woman. It’s the same old misogynist crap that plays out every time–how being accused of rape is so much worse than being raped and how the poor misunderstood rapist is just a victim of society. It’s frankly grotesque and retrogressive, and it’s grotesque to admonish feminists for calling Royse out for being a rape apologist.

        4. Donna L
          Donna L December 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm |

          I took her point to be – why is it not clear cut to everyone? Are their nuances that some members of society believe are not clear cut? Why don’t they see them as clear cut?

          Sorry, but I don’t buy for a moment that this wasn’t clear to her friend, or that he was confused, or genuinely believed that it was OK to penetrate a sleeping woman, or that this is a substantial area of confusion among men in general. I think he knew exactly what he was doing, knew it was wrong, got caught, and made up the “not clear cut” business after the fact, because he’d rather be thought of as a clueless idiot than a deliberate predator. Unfortunately, he got Ms. Royse to believe him, perhaps because she preferred to think of her friend that way as well.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L December 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

          Shorter version of comment in moderation: I don’t buy that it wasn’t clear cut to this guy; he knew very well that what he was doing was wrong, and made up his confusion after the fact to make himself look less like a predator. Because this is not area where there’s a lot of ongoing confusion among men; there just isn’t.

        6. Gretchen
          Gretchen December 9, 2012 at 11:39 pm |

          I guess I will just ask you to consider a couple of questions…

          1) why is your interpretation of the piece right and mine is wrong? are you sure you are clear on the author’s intent? Is it out of the realm of possibility that my interpretation is actually potentially accurate?
          2) have you asked for clarification on the pieces of the article that you have issues with to ensure you are properly judging?
          3) is the intent here one of searching to understand and to move toward a common goal or to move forward an agenda regardless of who is misrepresented in the process?

        7. Alexandra
          Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

          Oh my god, you know, I am usually all about the lack of assumption of good faith in feminist dialogue, but Alyssa Royse went out and wrote a long piece of rape apologetics on a supposedly feminist site. I am not interested in having a dialogue with her. I am not interested in getting clarification from her. She’s already proved she’s the “take my ball and go home type” as she’s scrubbing her online presence already.

          Her history of writing about feminism and sexual violence reveals her to be someone whose sympathies, ultimately, are with the “nice guy” rapists – that whether it’s the raped woman, or broader society, or whatever, she is going to find SOME WAY that it isn’t the violent man’s fault that he committed violence against a woman.

          Why would I want to talk to this person?

        8. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 9, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

          I love the condescending question game! Okay, I’ll play.

          1. Because I read the article. Did you? Because you clearly are reading things into it that nobody else here is seeing, and I doubt that the regulars here, a high percentage of whom are lawyers and academics, are collectively failing to give her article a proper close reading. Truly, living as a woman in this world is aggravating enough; we truly aren’t seeking out annoyance for funsies.
          2. No, sweetums. Don’t need to, as Royse has repeated her problematic points enough times to make it abundantly clear that she is, in fact, a victim-blaming rape apologist. As a writer, it’s on her to get her point across clearly. If she’s coming off as a rape apologist, it’s a sign that either she is in fact a rape apologist or that she did not express herself well, in which case it is on her to correct that. She’s been given ample opportunity in multiple fora to address the criticisms leveled at her, and unsurprisingly and in the usual rape apologist way she’s tried instead to redirect the conversation about how mean her critics are while not changing her tune.
          3. That would be a much more cogent question if Royse was being misrepresented. However, she isn’t.

        9. EG
          EG December 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm |

          1) I provided the textual support for my reading with the annotations explaining my reading. You have not addressed any of them. That is the evidence that convinces me that my reading is correct and yours is not. I don’t give two shits about the author’s intent; what she wrote is a rape apologia, and if she didn’t intend it to be, she should have written a follow-up in which she actually addressed the criticisms instead of dismissing them as “screaming.”

          2) No, I have not, and I will not. First of all, I’m not unclear on any piece of the article, so there is nothing to clarify. Second, it is not my job as a reader to track down authors who in a rather long article might not have properly communicated their thoughts. It is her job as a writer to communicate clearly. A piece of writing has to stand on its own, not require personal emails from an author to be understood. If it does, it is an incompetent piece of writing. Is it your position that Royse isn’t a rape apologist, but she is a terrible writer?

          3) I understand perfectly. And I don’t think I have many goals in common with Royse.

        10. shfree
          shfree December 10, 2012 at 12:17 am |

          Gretchen, setting aside all of the discussion she feels we, as a culture, should be having around the topic of rape culture and “mixed signals”, she still used someone else’s rape, someone else’s trauma as an anecdote as a jumping off point for her piece. Which is inexcusable. And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that that particular assault doesn’t remotely illustrate the points she is trying to make, but only paint her as a rape apologist.

          Gonna give a quick trigger warning for rape

          I couldn’t read it that closely, because I’ve had a similar experience, so I’ve only skimmed this thread. And rape really is normalized, because I don’t see my rapist as a criminal, just a really, really shitty person. I still make justifications–sure, it was rape, but it wasn’t traumatizing, he stopped immediately when I told him to, as if that should let him off the hook. But really, it shouldn’t. I call him a rapist, and I regret not outing him then, even if I would have been ostracized by my entire social network at the time. I don’t regret not doing anything legally, however, because I think that would have had yet another layer of negative consequences for me that would have gone beyond the maybe two seconds his dick was in my vagina without my permission.

          What would piss me off, and traumatize me more than my actual rape, is if someone took this story of mine, which I still consider to be very personal, and shared it to the world to make some sort of point regarding rape and/or rape culture, and this rape happened twenty years ago. I wouldn’t recognize my rapist if he came up and kissed me on the mouth even a year after he raped me, for fuck’s sake, but I still have regrets with how I dealt with him afterwards. For a third party to come along and speculate as to what my intentions were, my thought processes before and after the rape just as Royse does, would be infuriating, heart wrenching. I can’t imagine what the survivor must feel, if she has even been informed that her history has been exposed in such a manner.

          The fact remains is that our traumas belong to us, they are ours to share or not share. Royse took that woman’s rape from her without her permission to make a larger point. And that is all kinds of fucked up.

        11. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am |

          Rory, you’re wrong when you’re writing “no one else” is seeign things the same as Gretchen. I do. And I kindly ask you to give us one quote from Alyssa Royse’s article where she calls her friend the victim or where she writes that it’s the woman’s fault or where she even questions what the victim’s attentions were. I didn’t find one. But I found more than ten where she writes that what he did was rape.

          So please everybody, don’t call her article victim-blaming or rape-apology, no matter what horrible things you may it associate with in your mind. Don’t tell us that what Royse wrote is the same as saying “hey, that woman wanted it”. She calls a rape case a rape case. Is that what rape apologists usually do? You can say she should not have used the story of her friend and his victim to state her case (and reading shfree’s posting I realize she caused harm by doing it; thank you, shfree, and I’m deeply sorry that the same thing happened to you). You can say that Alyssa Royse is wrong, even horribly so. But PLEASE don’t equate that with being a deliberate rape-apologist. Because you’re alienating everybody who does not agree to your pure tenets.

          Frankly, reading some of your commentaries I got thoroughly pissed. Gretchen read the article not the way you did, and she wants to discuss this with you. And you start explaining her that what the guy did was rape. Duh. Gretchen wrote that. Alyssa Royse wrote that. Pretending they didn’t by explaining “hey that was rape” is borderline insulting and only deviates from the discussion instead of contributing to it.

          Yes, Alyssa Royse made the mistake of illustrating her questions about society’s norms about rape with a clear-cut rape case. That’s bad writing, no doubt about that. But please look beyond that and try to find the questions that are worthy of discussing! How many of you honestly think that if that guy, that rapist, had gone down on the woman instead of penetrating her and you asked people on the street about their opinion, that all or even most people would say “Yep, that was wrong, that was sexual assault”? Because it would have been sexual assault, no doubt about that. But many people wouldn’t realize that. Alyssa Royse’s article made me see this, and for this I’m grateful.

        12. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 10, 2012 at 8:19 am |

          Well bless your heart, you’re making a tone argument. I do believe we have bingo.

          Moebius, EG already did a point-by-point breakdown of all the ways Royse’s article is a victim-blaming piece of rape apologia earlier in this thread. i suggest you read her excellent analysis. We are calling her a deliberate rape apologist because, to riff on a phrase, if it walks like a rape apologist and talks like a rape apologist…

          And yes, if he had “gone down” on her instead of penetrating her, it would most definitely be sexual assault by definition. It is sexual assault to have any kind of sexual contact with an unconsenting person. So let’s not even pretend that you’re not engaging in rape apology yourself with that disgusting hypothetical.

        13. jemima101
          jemima101 December 10, 2012 at 9:29 am |

          I struggle to understand how anyone cannot see it as rape apologism. She said societies mixed messages led her friend to put his penis in a sleeping womens vagina. No they did not. He choose to have sexual contact with a woman who could not consent. No one is responsible for that choice except him.

          As for your horrible oral sex argument. Ignorance of the law is no defense. It is assault whether you think it is or not. That you might even countenance doing it says troubling things to me about your understanding of consent.

        14. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 8:54 am |

          Because you’re alienating everybody who does not agree to your pure tenets.

          It’s interesting that you think that we should care about that, but that instead of being alienated by Royse’s rape apologia, we should “look beyond” her crappy writing choices.

          No. She has alienated everybody who does not agree that her friend just must be nice guy who “misunderstood.” She has alienated everybody who is sick of hearing about somebody’s behavior “led to” her own rape. I see no reason to “look beyond” her victim-blaming bullshit.

          But please look beyond that and try to find the questions that are worthy of discussing!

          Name them. Name them instead of wagging your finger about how this isn’t really rape apology because she isn’t carrying a sign saying “Rape is OK.”

          You’re pissed reading the commentary? Well, guess what? We’re fucking pissed off by the whole essay.

        15. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 9:52 am |

          Rory, did you actually read what I wrote in the posting you answered to? I mean, ALL of it, not just bits and pieces?
          I used my hypothetical to illustrate that there are cases which are not as clear-cut as the one Royse chose. And you and I may well be aware that my hypothetical would be a case of sexual assault, but I’d bet my right arm on it that not everyone is.
          How that statement can be misinterpreted as rape apology is beyond me. But maybe I just encountered the feminist equivalent to Godwin’s Law ;-)

          And Rory, I did read EG’s answer. But I respectfully disagree that every word Alyssa Royse wrote should be viewed as a point about the rape case she told. I understand the quotations EG talked about as article parts in which AR tried to make a general point. If I didn’t view it that way I’d agree with you, without any doubt. But I do, and therefore I don’t.

          I read the article and I didn’t feel sympathetic towards Royse’s friend. My thoughts were rather “what a piece of shit”. And I didn’t and don’t think it was in any way the woman’s fault. But having some experience with misreading signals when it comes to dating I can understand that people can have problems with reading the signs when it comes to sex. That in this case communicating is the only right thing to is obvious to anybody on this site. But this site is not exactly represantative. And as I wrote elsewhere

          There is the college student who genuinely thinks a slurred “yes” from a drunk girl is a real yes. There is the naive couple who engages in role-playing without a safeword. There is the stupid teenager who thinks performing oral sex on the naked yet still-asleep acquaintence form last night is “doing something nice” and not sexual assault. There are cases when it’s about sex and not about power or violence but when IT IS STILL RAPE.

          If feminists forget that, who’s gonna hammer it in the head to these morons that, in Royse’s words

          the ONLY thing that counts as consent to have sex is the word “YES,” accompanied with any form of “I would like to have sex with you.”

          THAT is my concern. And that, EG, is imho the part that’s worth discussing – how society fails to tell these morons what they need to know about sexual assault and what we should do to change that. Otherwise this whole discussion is entirely academic and pointless. And yes, we should look beyond her crappy writing choices because we should be better, clearer and more concise, dammit.

          And I’m pissed about some commentaries because Gretchen really wanted to discuss the different point of views and some postings had nothing better to offer than name-calling. How is refusing a civilised discussion going to help anybody?
          You’re pissed about the article. That’s understandable. And if your interpretation is correct, it’s also with extremely good reason. But taking it out on someone who interpreted the article differentely is anything but productive.
          So, stone me.

        16. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

          Yes, Moebius, I did read your revolting rape apology, and I stand by my statements. You did not, in fact, describe a less clear-cut situation. Sexual contact with a sleeping person is by definition sexual assault because a sleeping person cannot give consent to that contact. Period. End of story. Words: they have meanings.

          You’re posting on a feminist site and delivering sanctimonious tone arguments while obtusely and repeatedly misinterpreting Royse’s article and our responses to it. Your circular logic of disagreeing because you disagree because you think we’re wrong and your overall rape apology and mansplanations are endearing you to no one. Why, exactly, are you determined to die on that bridge? Does it hit too close to home or something?

          You are not our school master and you don’t get to scold us about how meeeeeeean we are to poor Royse and her disgusting rape apologist bad-faith defenders like Gretchen. Nobody here wants to stone you–stop being so melodramatic just because we aren’t being demure submissive little ladies kowtowing to your superior man-knowledge and instead are calling you out about being wrong and asking you to support your arguments with textual citation, y’know, like EG did above. You’ve chosen to ignore us in favour of a completely made-up interpretation that is not at all supported by anything that Royse actually wrote. Royse, meanwhile, has doubled-down on the rape apologia in response while trying to paint herself as a poor beleaguered victim of the evil feminist hivemind. So no, we don’t actually owe anything to you, or her, or to any of her defenders. You’ve all had ample opportunity for a so-called “civilised discussion” and you’ve all managed not to.

        17. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |

          And that, EG, is imho the part that’s worth discussing – how society fails to tell these morons what they need to know about sexual assault and what we should do to change that. Otherwise this whole discussion is entirely academic and pointless. And yes, we should look beyond her crappy writing choices because we should be better, clearer and more concise, dammit.

          There is a difference of opinion on the boards, and it has come up in more than one place. As far as I am concerned, the informational campaigns you reference are about reaching non-rapists who would otherwise be taken in by rapists’ manipulative bullshit, as Royce was. These are not morons. These are rapists. They do what they do deliberately and repeatedly because they can get away with it. Informational campaigns are about making it harder for them to get away with it by changing the cultural context in which they operate.

          As for the idea that I should “look beyond” Royce’s rape apologia and/or her incompetent writing because I should be better than that…I am better than that. I have never, for instance, written and published a long piece of rape-apologizing nonsense, and then refused to understand what about it was victim-blaming garbage. I do not have to do other writers’ jobs for them. If Royce wishes to discuss rape culture, she should, if she is capable of it, write a non-victim-blaming article about rape culture. If she is not capable of that, it is not my job as a reader to divine her alleged good intentions and respond to them. I’ll stick to responding to what she actually wrote.

        18. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

          @EG: I still think that some (albeit few) of the rapists are rapists because they are morons who don’t know the line between consensual and rape or maybe who don’t know that there is nothing in between. But of course you have a very good point that

          the informational campaigns you reference are about reaching non-rapists who would otherwise be taken in by rapists’ manipulative bullshit

          I failed to see that reason for the campaigns till you (and someone else in a different posting) mentioned it.

          As for being better than that – we should be able to throw away the garbage, pick the good parts and bring them in context. But maybe I’m just writing this because I think I learned something from that article and if I can, so can other people. I’ll have to spend some time thinking about the article and the discussion here before I can make a definitive statement about that.

          And as for “responding to what she actually wrote” – you are aware that we both think we do that, right? ;-)

          @Rory: You were no-holds-barred honest and direct, so I’ll allow myself to be the same. I’ll only keep my anger cool where yours was fiery.
          My hypothetical is not less clear-cut for me and for you. But that doesn’t mean it’s the same for everybody. Go out on the street and ask people about whether the two situations constitute sexual assault. Do you really think you’ll get the same percentage of ‘yes’-answers for both cases? If yes, congratulations to living inside a beautiful bubble. If no, why do you feel the need to lecture and insult me? (And why do you not simply ignore me?) Do my words cause cognitive dissonance inside you? Just food for your thoughts, because I don’t care anymore.
          By the way: I’m not here to endear myself to someone. I’m here to discuss, to learn and maybe show new points of view. You obviously don’t want to discuss with me and after having read your posts I don’t think I can learn from you (not because I think you’re stupid, but because I consider your premises to be too flawed).

          And: My rape apology? Seriously? Of course you can be convinced to know my intent and motivation better than I do (and can therefore misrepresent what I write). I don’t even care whether you are unwilling or unable (in your case of course rather a mindset than an intelligence issue) to fully read and understand what I wrote.
          But I can’t help asking myself if you’d have reacted differently if you hadn’t known my sex. You’ll deny that, of course, but take a look at your own words.

          - your [...] mansplanations are endearing you to no one
          – stop being so melodramatic just because we aren’t being demure submissive little ladies kowtowing
          – your superior man-knowledge

          In these quotes you aim at me being male, implying that I consider myself to be superior because I am male. To quote Wikipedia: Sexist arguments are usually based on real or alleged differences between men and women. Yes, I consider your “arguments” sexist. And I think you are sexist, simply because you treat persons of different sex differently in discussions.
          What can I say? I feel stereotyped and I hate stereotypes with a passion. But I will admit to feeling superior to you – not because I’m male and you’re female, but because like everybody else I consider myself to have a clearer view on things than someone I disagree with, and because I am certain that I have a clearly better debate culture.

          Apropos, take a look: I have not ignored EG’s suggestion that I bring forward textual support for my interpretation but I have posted my text-based arguments. It was probably after the posting of yours I’m answering to right now, so I’m not saying you were factually wrong writing that, but you misread me and my intentions. I didn’t answer right away because I know it would take time and in the meantime I had friends coming over.

          I now suggested several areas where you might want to take a look at yourself. I am open to suggestions from your side, especially if you can list matter-of-fact reasons for it. And yes, my posting is at least partly passive-aggressive. There is only so much one can do if one considers someone else to be very wrong, very unobjective and very rude.

        19. Moebius
          Moebius December 11, 2012 at 12:55 am |

          I just found out I’ve been wrong about one thing: Though what I said would not be much of a legal rape apology where I live (mens rea is not as important in Germany as it is in the US and the UK) it would probably be where you live. So saying that someone didn’t know what he did was rape has far bigger consequences in your law system than in mine and lets rapists get of the hook. I really didn’t consider this possibility (and it still feels decidedly weird). So you probably thought with good reason that I’d be okay with rapists walking free. I’m not. I thought “who cares what the rapist thinks – a rape is a rape and he’ll go to jail because ignorance doesn’t shield one from punishment”.
          So there is a case where I judged you wrongly, and I want to apologize for that.

        20. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 11, 2012 at 2:05 am |

          There is only so much one can do if one considers someone else to be very wrong, very unobjective and very rude.

          Funny, I was thinking the same about you.

          If no, why do you feel the need to lecture and insult me? (And why do you not simply ignore me?

          I could ask the same of you. Of course, I’m not the person who came on a feminist website and engaged in rape apology and refused to engage with the textual evidence being critiqued. That part is all you. If you think this is me insulting you, Moebius, I’ve barely even begun to be testy. Frankly, I don’t need to insult you when you’re so busily undermining your own so-called points. And I’m not one to let unrepentant rape apology slide by without remark.

          As for me allegedly living in a beautiful bubble? I was a front-line police officer in a major North American city for over a decade and now I’m pursuing a career in law. I spent years and years of my life in the trenches putting away rapists and perpetrators of domestic violence and trying to get some kind of justice for their victims. Some beautiful bubble I’ve been living in! Your qualifications, OTOH, are what, precisely? Because I’ll tell you one thing–a lot of your responses are deeply problematic and very similar to those of the rapists and abusers that I used to put away, and those of their defenders. Shift the blame away from yourself, try to say those whose disagree with you are irrational, that boring old song and dance. Bitchez are crazy, amiriteguys?

          My rape apology? Seriously? Of course you can be convinced to know my intent and motivation better than I do

          Yes. Seriously. Intent is not magic, as we say in social justice circles. I do not care what your intent is; I care that you engaged in rape apology.

          I don’t even care whether you are unwilling or unable…to fully read and understand what I wrote.

          It is precisely your inability/unwillingness to fully read and understand Royse’s piece and our reactions to it that multiple commenters have pointed out as problematic.

          You continue to mansplain, you’ve made a transphobic “joke” for which you have not apologized in any way even approaching adequately, you’ve repeatedly refused to actually cite textual evidence to your claims, and you continue to apologize for the sexual assault of unconscious women re: that bogus foul hypothetical you put forth. We’ve wrung that one out, seriously. I can quote you chapter and verse of the criminal code for the offence you’ve described in Canada and several US states. It is a sex crime in every Common Law and in every Civil Law jurisdiction that I am am familiar with. What your imaginary people on your imaginary street do or do not imaginary think is not relevant to the topic, but it’s one heck of a logical fallacy and attempt at derailing.

          Yes, I consider your “arguments” sexist. And I think you are sexist, simply because you treat persons of different sex differently in discussions.
          What can I say? I feel stereotyped and I hate stereotypes with a passion. But I will admit to feeling superior to you – not because I’m male and you’re female, but because like everybody else I consider myself to have a clearer view on things than someone I disagree with, and because I am certain that I have a clearly better debate culture.

          Since we apparently have to go all Feminism 101 for you, sexism involves institutional power and the leveraging thereof. To wit, in patriarchy that would be men with that power. I happen to be a woman. I and several other commenters are calling you on your problematic statements and pointing out how your arguments are stuffed to the gills with male privilege in terms of not seeing your rape apologia and that of Royse for what it is. One of these things is not like the other. Another pro tip, because I am just that helpful: Wikipedia is not an accepted source for anything. Certainty is great, but in the grown-up world we cite reliable sources if we wish to properly engage in debate.

          you misread me and my intentions.

          Glad to hear it, but as we say in social justice circles, intent is not magic. You engaged in rape apology, even if you did not intend to, and it is not on we the commentariat to parse the deepest inner workings of your mind. It is on you to make your meaning clear.

        21. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 11, 2012 at 3:53 am |

          As an addendum to a longer, crankier comment stuck in the mod queue:

          So saying that someone didn’t know what he did was rape has far bigger consequences in your law system than in mine and lets rapists get of the hook. I really didn’t consider this possibility (and it still feels decidedly weird). So you probably thought with good reason that I’d be okay with rapists walking free. I’m not.

          That’s a simplification of mens rea, but it works for these purposes. Plus, law systems don’t exist in a vaccuum: rape culture is all-pervasive and it informs how laws are written, how they’re enacted, how they’re enforced, and how they’re interpreted by the courts. “No consent = rape” looks completely clear-cut, and should be completely clear-cut, but every level of the system goes through logical contortions to avoid punishing rape culture. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. So I didn’t think you were arguing to let rapists off without consequence, so much as…not being very familiar with feminist methods of analysis and critique. Confronting this stuff is hard, and confronting privilege is hard, and it’s a learning process for all of us who are trying to fix this patriarchal mess.

          I thought “who cares what the rapist thinks – a rape is a rape and he’ll go to jail because ignorance doesn’t shield one from punishment”.

          I want to live in that world. I’m not being sarcastic at all. I don’t know the stats offhand for Germany, but in the US and Canada rape is seriously under-reported to the authorities, and of that small percentage of rapes that are reported to police even fewer are fully investigated; of those, fewer still end in an arrest, of of those, conviction rates are abysmally low.

          So there is a case where I judged you wrongly, and I want to apologize for that.

          No worries. We’re cool.

        22. Moebius
          Moebius December 11, 2012 at 10:27 am |

          Rory, it feels weird to read your last two postings back to back because without seeing the author name I’d have bet money on it that they were not written by the same person (maybe you feel similar about my last two postings). Either way, your last posting shows me I underestimated the degree of open-mindedness you possess, and for that I want to apologize.

          Of course I feel a need to answer both of your postings and crankiness directed at me makes me cranky, but I’ll try to not make this an all too cranky posting.

          If no, why do you feel the need to lecture and insult me? (And why do you not simply ignore me?

          I could ask the same of you.

          Well, one reason I frequently get the “Wah, someone is wrong. On the internet! (xkcd.com reference)” reflex, coupled with the “I have to straighten this out” reflex. Another reason is that if I am here to learn and self-reflect it’s only fair to contribute to others having the same possibility. So, considering you to be very wrong, I felt you needed a thought-provoking impulse. (Arrogant? As arrogant as “I am right and the other one is wrong” is, yes.)

          If you think this is me insulting you, Moebius, I’ve barely even begun to be testy

          I wouldn’t want to underestimate your proficency with words.

          The bubble remark: One can life in several bubbles simultaneously, because there are so many of them. The moment one concentrates one’s information sources about a subject to people with a similar mindset, one enters a bubble (degrees obviously vary). One gets a) one-sided informations b) a false impression about what percentage of people share one’s views and therefore are “sensible” c) away with more biased BS (shares of a, b and c of “total bubbliness” obviously vary). For starters, there is the Republican bubble (big on non-facts) but also a Liberal one (big on “but surely any not-really-stupid person thinks that…”), a Christian bubble and an Atheist bubble,…, oh, and of course a Masculist bubble and a Feminist bubble.

          (Note: I do not equate masculism and feminism, because I’m more wary of the former than of the latter and because the latter is obviously much more needed and has a better sensible/BS-ratio. And under masculism I subsume the “advocacy of the rights of men” as well as “anti-feminism/machismo/chauvinism” idiocy, just as much as under feminism I subsume “equal rights advocacy” (which I support) as well as “female chauvinism” idiocy.
          And yes, advocacy-masculists sometimes do have a point: It’s a travesty that the UN resolution 1820 (passed 2008 for fuck’s sake!) includes not one reference to sexual violence against males during war-time and several times specifically speaks only about protecting women and children from war rape.)

          So, if you think that as many people would correctly identify a guy sticking his dick into a sleeping woman as rape as would correctly identify a guy going down on a sleeping woman, then imo you live in a bubble. And it’s a beautiful one because it’s a place where more sexual assault awareness exists than in reality. (And I was in a bubble where those points were obvious.)

          It is precisely your inability/unwillingness to fully read and understand Royse’s piece and our reactions to it that multiple commenters have pointed out as problematic.

          First: I understand your reactions (sorry, but that’s really not difficult) but I do consider several of them as justified.
          Second: I fully read and re-read Royse’s piece several times. And I simply do not understand it the same way you do because of 1) different previous exposure to experience and thoughts and 2) Hanlon’s Razor (“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”)

          Intent is not magic, as we say in social justice circles.

          No it isn’t. But neither is interpretation. You can’t simply say “you said that because I think you said that”. Now I’d be interested in which parts of my posting you consider to be rape apologist, but right now I suppose it would be sentences taken out of context (or, to be fair, sentences which I thought had obviously a completely different context than you thought). But maybe that’s simply my wishful thinking because I do not want to be someone who apologizes those bastards.

          you’ve made a transphobic “joke”

          1) Err… Yes, considering my history with trans persons (which of course you know nothing of, so fair enough) I am probably very transphobic…
          2) I do not consider using reductio ad absurdum to be the same thing as joking. I was not joking. And sorry, but therefore I will not apologize the way you want me to.

          Since we apparently have to go all Feminism 101 for you, sexism involves institutional power and the leveraging thereof.

          So e.g. saying “all women are whores” is sexist but saying “all men are rapists” isn’t? Now isn’t that handy. But hey, at least feminists have the power to define what sexism is. That’s a start, right?
          Or do you consider neither of those sentences sexist because there is no leveraging of institutional power? In that I case I consider your definition of sexism seriously weird but withdraw my sarcasm.

          Another pro tip, because I am just that helpful: Wikipedia is not an accepted source for anything.

          I am grateful for you being helpful (no sarcasm here!) and usually I’d agree, but in my experience Wikipedia has a better track record in defining words in its everyday use than dictionarys. And in my very small sample even when it comes to defining expert’s vocabulary. E.g. my loanword dictionary has an outlandish definition of ‘inflation’.

          Plus, law systems don’t exist in a vaccuum: rape culture is all-pervasive and it informs how laws are written

          Yes, but I’m don’t think rape culture is less pervasive in Germany than in the US or the UK. Which would have to be the case, if the general use of mens rea (and difference thereof) were caused by rape culture. Or did I run off-track somewhere?

          I thought “who cares what the rapist thinks – a rape is a rape and he’ll go to jail because ignorance doesn’t shield one from punishment”.

          I want to live in that world.

          So do I. I actually oversimplified my thoughts a bit, they were “who cares what the rapist thinks – a rape is a rape and if he stands trial he’ll go to jail”. The standing trial part is obviously a bad omission from my side, because Germany has the same problem at least with underreporting and low conviction rates (and probably with lack of investigation too, although I’d have to read that up).
          In German law there is the principle “ignorance does not shield from punishment”, the only (and rarely used) exception being in cases where the perpatrator had no way of avoiding ignorance. If he could avoid ignorance and this is ruled to be a mitigating circumstance, a ‘lifelong’ sentence may be reduced to a sentence of no less than three years.

          Coming back to the proportion of the problem here in Germany. It’s estimated we have a rape report rate of about five percent. Horrible does not even begin to describe this. In 2010/11 we had a much discussed (and much too public) rape trial during which a formerly very high-ranking law official publicly stated that “if my daughter was raped I would advise her against pressing charges. From my experience in my job I learned that in the end it’s always the woman who pays the higher price.” To say I was shocked is a grave understatement. The statement triggered the web project #ichhabnichtangezeigt (translated ididnotpresscharges) where survivors could tell what made them stay silent.
          Which brings me to a question that you can probably answer better than 99.9% of the populace: How difficult is it from a solely ‘technical’ point of view to prove rape? I have read many statements but few were detailed and none sufficiently enlightening. From what I’ve read I assume rape is extremely hard to prove but I hope I may be at least a bit wrong.

        23. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

          And yes, advocacy-masculists sometimes do have a point: It’s a travesty that the UN resolution 1820 (passed 2008 for fuck’s sake!) includes not one reference to sexual violence against males during war-time and several times specifically speaks only about protecting women and children from war rape.)

          Actually, this is something that feminists are increasingly addressing. Patriarchy hurts everyone; the same toxic cultural narratives about sex and about gender roles make it incredibly difficult for men who have been victims of sex crime to come forward and be believed, too. The answer, here, is more feminism–it’s about seeking equality for all genders.

          So, if you think that as many people would correctly identify a guy sticking his dick into a sleeping woman as rape as would correctly identify a guy going down on a sleeping woman, then imo you live in a bubble. And it’s a beautiful one because it’s a place where more sexual assault awareness exists than in reality.

          Cite sources. Again, your hypothetical does not work without proof.

          1) Err… Yes, considering my history with trans persons (which of course you know nothing of, so fair enough) I am probably very transphobic…
          2) I do not consider using reductio ad absurdum to be the same thing as joking. I was not joking. And sorry, but therefore I will not apologize the way you want me to.

          1) Which is on you to correct.
          2) Reductio ad absurdum is a logical flaw, and to use marginalized people as a punchline to make your point is deeply problematic.

          But neither is interpretation. You can’t simply say “you said that because I think you said that”.

          True. However, if someone’s words are being widely interpreted in a particular way that their author did not mean then there is a good chance the author did not make their point clearly.

          But maybe that’s simply my wishful thinking because I do not want to be someone who apologizes those bastards.

          That’s a good start, at least.

          So e.g. saying “all women are whores” is sexist but saying “all men are rapists” isn’t? Now isn’t that handy. But hey, at least feminists have the power to define what sexism is. That’s a start, right?
          Or do you consider neither of those sentences sexist because there is no leveraging of institutional power? In that I case I consider your definition of sexism seriously weird but withdraw my sarcasm.

          The first sentence is sexist because we live in a patriarchy and men have the institutional power. The second statement is…not one that I in any way agree with, but since women as a rule do not have the institutional power to discriminate against men, it is not sexist. If anything, a woman making that statement would be dismissed and ignored, while a whole body of social conditioning, popular entertainment, and common social and media tropes exist to prop up the first (“gold-diggers,” “bimbos,” etc).

          Which would have to be the case, if the general use of mens rea (and difference thereof) were caused by rape culture. Or did I run off-track somewhere?

          Yes, a bit. Mens rea is easy to sum up in a couple of words yet complex to understand, but it basically boils down to intent.

          This may help to clarify some of the push-back. It is section 265(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada. This subsection deals with consent in the context of assault (including sexual assault):

          “Accused’s belief as to consent

          (4) Where an accused alleges that he believed that the complainant consented to the conduct that is the subject-matter of the charge, a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defence, shall instruct the jury, when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accused’s belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief.”

          In German law there is the principle “ignorance does not shield from punishment”

          That expression is widely used in Common Law jurisdictions too.

          Coming back to the proportion of the problem here in Germany. It’s estimated we have a rape report rate of about five percent. Horrible does not even begin to describe this.

          IIRC, in the US and Canada the estimate is 1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted in some manner–25 percent.

          <blockquote.Which brings me to a question that you can probably answer better than 99.9% of the populace: How difficult is it from a solely ‘technical’ point of view to prove rape? I have read many statements but few were detailed and none sufficiently enlightening. From what I’ve read I assume rape is extremely hard to prove but I hope I may be at least a bit wrong.

          From a solely ‘technical’ point, it should be easy, i.e. no consent = rape , but thanks to rape culture it is indeed extremely hard to prove, for all the reasons discussed in this thread. Juries go through absolute mental contortions to avoid convicting; men accused of rape are seen as “more credible” than their victims; and in a lot of ways the system is broken. Victims in rape cases are so often treated worse than the rapists are. Going by the law official whose statement you quoted, things aren’t much different over here. It’s an area where much reform is needed.

        24. Moebius
          Moebius December 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

          The answer, here, is more feminism–it’s about seeking equality for all genders.

          That’s feminism as it should be, yes. Actually, that’s simply humanism as it should be. But I’m wary of simply more feminism being the answer because there are well-known feminists who imo do not seek equality for all genders. One example would be German iconic feminist Alice Schwarzer (yes, the one who wrote that “nice men do rape, too. Regrettably”).

          1) Which is on you to correct.
          2) Reductio ad absurdum is a logical flaw, and to use marginalized people as a punchline to make your point is deeply problematic.

          1) Which would be on me to correct, yes, but especially the trans person I’ve learned most from would not want it, and therefore I won’t sorry.
          2) I consider the difference between a logic contradiction and an obviously absurd condition to be miniscule, at least in an everyday discussion. But you are, of course, technically correct. And that I used trans persons as a punchline is your perception and nothing more. Yes, you can call me one using arguments that rape apologists use and therefore are considered rape apology. But no, you can not define whether I used something as a punchline (because that is about intention), only if you conceive it to be one.

          True. However, if someone’s words are being widely interpreted in a particular way that their author did not mean then there is a good chance the author did not make their point clearly.

          Fair enough. But that’s the difference between making a mistake and deliberately causing harm, the difference between doing something badly and being a bad person. In this case it comes down to where you as a reader draw the line of giving the author the benefit of doubt, where you stop saying “these arguments are central to rape apology” and “you’re a rape apologist”. So it tells us something about the author and about the reader.

          The first sentence is sexist because we live in a patriarchy and men have the institutional power. The second statement is…not one that I in any way agree with, but since women as a rule do not have the institutional power to discriminate against men, it is not sexist.

          Hmm. Okay, I’ll translate your statement as I understand it in examples in order to see if I got that. 1) If a male teacher disadvantages female students he’s sexist, because he has power over them. 2) If a female teacher disadvantages male students, she’s sexist, because she has power over them. 3) If a countrywide test disadvantages female student it’s sexist, because it’s the system and the system is partiarchic. 4) If a countrywide test disadvantages male student it’s not sexist, because it’s the system and the system is partiarchic.
          On a similar note: Do you consider it sexist when a female disadvantages females (the rationale being it’s the male system that drives her to it)? Do you consider it sexist when a male disadvantages males (the rationale being it’s a male system and therefore doesn’t drive him to it)?

          a whole body of social conditioning, popular entertainment, and common social and media tropes exist to prop up the first (“gold-diggers,” “bimbos,” etc).

          Hmm. Imo not a good example, because there are enough stories about male gold-diggers and the stereotype of the guy thinking only with his dick as the male version of the “bimbo”… but I get your point of view.

          Thank you for your citation, although to me it merely solidified things you made clear before. From what I understand, mens rea is not specific to rape, although far more often important in such cases, is this correct? So it would not be a part of rape culture per se, but would be a part of the instruments frequently used by it.

          IIRC, in the US and Canada the estimate is 1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted in some manner–25 percent.

          IIRC in Germany it’s 1 in 7, but of course the numbers vary depending on who you ask and I have not made a thorough research to find out which number is the most realistic.

          From a solely ‘technical’ point, it should be easy, i.e. no consent = rape , but thanks to rape culture it is indeed extremely hard to prove, for all the reasons discussed in this thread.

          Wow, so determining whether there was actual sexual contact (as a technical term, not to muddy the difference between sex and rape) and whether there was consent is not all that difficult? I thought especially the latter was far too often a case of “she said, he said, we can’t know for sure”. Could you explain a bit more how it is not so difficult to find out about the lack of consent?

        25. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 11, 2012 at 7:45 pm |

          First off, Derailing For Dummies. You may find it helpful in any future engagements in this space.

          But I’m wary of simply more feminism being the answer because there are well-known feminists who imo do not seek equality for all genders.

          Yeah, I’m getting that you’re not comfortable with confronting male privilege. Again with your opinion. Again, your proof is what? That occasionally a feminist makes a statement which in no way represents the majority of feminists? I mean, you’re a man–by that logic, you agree with men who make statements like “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” (Quote attributed to Richard Mourdouk, failed Republican candidate for the US Senate, on Oct 23, 2012.) But actually, I imagine that you find that statement repugnant. At least I would hope. So! Things said by one member of any group: not representative of all members of that group.

          1) Which would be on me to correct, yes, but especially the trans person I’ve learned most from would not want it, and therefore I won’t sorry.
          2) I consider the difference between a logic contradiction and an obviously absurd condition to be miniscule, at least in an everyday discussion. But you are, of course, technically correct. And that I used trans persons as a punchline is your perception and nothing more. Yes, you can call me one using arguments that rape apologists use and therefore are considered rape apology. But no, you can not define whether I used something as a punchline (because that is about intention), only if you conceive it to be one.

          1. So you’re standing by your transphobia. That is deeply problematic. Repulsive, even. This is a space dedicated to gender equality, not shoring up bigotry, of which transphobia is a pernicious form. Your personal issue with one individual of a particular marginalized group informs your views of all trans people everywhere? Really? You don’t see what is wrong with that? What if we swapped out “trans” for a member of a particular race or nationality? Would you then see why such views are not okay?

          2. Reductio ad absurdum is indeed a logical fallacy. Nor is your having used a trans person as a punchline “only my opinion”–multiple people here have called you out on it, and you have refused to apologize to the people you hurt with your words. Once more, with feeling: if multiple people are interpreting your words in ways you didn’t intend, you did not express yourself clearly.

          Okay, I’ll translate your statement as I understand it in examples in order to see if I got that. 1) If a male teacher disadvantages female students he’s sexist, because he has power over them. 2) If a female teacher disadvantages male students, she’s sexist, because she has power over them. 3) If a countrywide test disadvantages female student it’s sexist, because it’s the system and the system is partiarchic. 4) If a countrywide test disadvantages male student it’s not sexist, because it’s the system and the system is partiarchic.
          On a similar note: Do you consider it sexist when a female disadvantages females (the rationale being it’s the male system that drives her to it)? Do you consider it sexist when a male disadvantages males (the rationale being it’s a male system and therefore doesn’t drive him to it)?

          I’m going to pretend you’re engaging in good faith (though why, given your proud avowal of transphobia I’m bothering) and not just JAQ-ing off (which does appear increasingly likely):
          1. Yes, and something that girls and women in school deal with constantly.
          2. No. Problematic, but not sexist. Also highly unlikely.
          3. By definition, yes.
          4. What are you even asking? In what world has this ever happened?

          To answer your “similar notes”: In the first instance, yes, it’s a product of a flawed system, not unlike Royse’s internalized misogyny and rape apology. The second instance: you may wish to Google yourself the notions of kyriarchy and intersecting oppressions.

          Could you explain a bit more how it is not so difficult to find out about the lack of consent?

          For starters, by believing women when they say they didn’t consent. This is not a difficult concept.

        26. Moebius
          Moebius December 12, 2012 at 8:53 am |

          Okay, so obviously you think I tend to derail and I think you do. So we may sometimes exchange information and sometimes learn from each other but we probably will never have a really long and highly coherent conversation about feminist topics (I don’t consider our conversation up to this point as really long, and some parts were not highly coherent).

          Yeah, I’m getting that you’re not comfortable with confronting male privilege.

          Okay, Rory, try to imagine for a few moments that I might actually be a person who wants equal rights and justice for all (call it hypothetical if that’s the only way you can do it, I don’t care; and before you get started, no, I’m not transphobic, that was a misunderstanding, see below). I may not be aware of every male privilege and I may be worried that someone wanting to abolish the privileges of a group I belong to will go too far and not only abolish privileges but attack some actual rights (that occasionally has happened in history, as we both know). But I try to learn and to understand and even to do something to further equal rights and justice for all (with me it’s more about economics->class but sexism, but still). So what am I gonna do with these words of yours? Being me, I’ll assume they are your honest opinion and written in good faith. But from my (or in your opinion probably ‘hypothetical me’s’) point of view what they still point to is that you are really quick to judge and condemn and/or that you’re at least casual about misunderstanding at least some people.
          I’m not stating you are, don’t get me wrong. I’m just telling you how your words read to a person like me while still acknowledging that my understanding is just that.

          Again, your proof is what? That occasionally a feminist makes a statement which in no way represents the majority of feminists?

          That fact is not proof for anything (and I didn’t claim it was, btw!), it’s simply a reason I’m wary. And that is all I’m freaking saying here. It’s a personal statement about my personal point of view, period.

          By the way I can’t help but pointing out that your analogy is flawed. Being feminist means agreeing to certain statements. Being male does not (we can agree on that, right?). The least you’d have to have to link me to Murdock is me being a Republican/Conservative/Bible-Thumper/[insert some ideology he adheres to here].

          1. So you’re standing by your transphobia.

          Whoa! Misunderstanding here. I thought your “which is on you to correct” meant “it’s on you to correct the impression you’re transphobic”. Which I didn’t want to because it would have meant revealing some personal information about a trans person I’m friends with and that said person would not want to have revealed. And I thought my statement

          Err… Yes, considering my history with trans persons (which of course you know nothing of, so fair enough) I am probably very transphobic…

          was as obviously ironic as it gets. Apparently it wasn’t. So let me correct that. I do not have any issues with trans persons at all. I think trans persons have been dealt about the roughest cards there are, I think we should go out of our way to support them going their way, and I think anybody who discriminates against them is a $§(=&%$# and hasn’t got a clue. And I sincerely hope a haven’t left any possibilities for misunderstanding this time. If you’re not sure about what I mean with my words, please ask, and I will clarify.

          And of course you’re not the only to have misunderstood my words as punchline. As you pointed out several times, this is a feminist forum, so of course people will call upon a statement that somehow can be perceived to be discriminating against females or LGBT, because many you have grown very sensitive inner detectors for discriminating statements and anyone posting here has not to be simply filtered-air clear but vacuum-clear about it. Which I obviously wasn’t. But that does not mean I intended it be a punchline in any way, shape or form, because I didn’t, period. The thought it could be conceived as a joke simply did not cross my mind, okay? And now if you want to call me twenty shades or degrees of insensitive, that’s fine, but could we maybe simply can it and put it on the shelf?

          2. No. Problematic, but not sexist. Also highly unlikely.

          Okay, we can stop right there. Because a) you may consider it to be highly unlikely, but I’ve seen it happen, so it does exist and b) imo that’s a get-out-of-jail-free-card from calling a spade a spade. I now know what your definition of sexism is and I’m sincerely grateful you shared it with me, but this definition is something we won’t agree on, ever. And if this is a part of Feminism 101 I’ll stay wary and never ever call myself a feminist, no matter in how many other respects I may agree with feminism, its tenets and its actions. This is not me saying feminism is bad. This is only me saying there’s one particular flaw I can’t accept. And that is only me and my opinion.

          you may wish to Google yourself the notions of kyriarchy and intersecting oppressions

          Thanks for expanding my horizon (and just to be sure there are no misunderstandings: I’m not being sarcastic). I’m not sure how much I agree with the concepts but I consider them something to be kept in mind and evaluated.

          For starters, by believing women when they say they didn’t consent. This is not a difficult concept.

          My first thought was: Not difficult, but also not unproblematic. My second thought: Uuh, but wait, before I start getting off-track here: There are two ways to interpret your answer.

          1) We start treating every woman who presses rape charges with respect and say “Okay, we believe you and we’ll thoroughly investigate your complaint. We’ll not treat you as if you’re lying, not for a second. But we can’t convict him unless we have some way to prove it.” We change legal procedures so that attacking the victim’s character and painting her as a liar is not allowed anymore. The only thing allowed would be informing the judges of the number of previous rape accusations she made and the number of convictions made because of those accusations and furthermore of previous convictions of her if they involve crimes based on deception (I think that’s only fair and in most cases the numbers will be zero and zero). No more sluttification, and we simply do anything to prevent that a rape trial is a torture for the victim.
          Well, that’s a no-brainer: YES! Some masculist advocats may howl that it increases the number of false accusations (estimated to be around 3% of all complaints in the UK, so [irony] yes, biiiig problem there [/irony]), but even if it did increase the number a bit, hell even if it would double (which I’m sure would not be the case), that would be miniscule compared to the tremendous amount of good it would do. So yes, we definitely agree on that suggestion.

          OR
          2) You’re talking about reversal of evidence which would make it legally easier to prove lack of consent but of course not easier to find out what actually happened. When I asked you about proving rape I meant finding out that it definitely happened, not legal prove, but I wasn’t clear enough about that, so never mind.
          Would it be better if we abandoned “innocent till proven guilty” for rape cases? If we presume the percentage of false accusations would not change much, it’s still a no-brainer: It would be better, far few innocent lives would be destroyed. But one can only guess how much that number would change, how the legal procedures in rape cases would change to reflect that, what it would mean socially for women who succeeded at having their rapist convicted (how many would hear ‘oh, he’s such a nice guy, he’d never have done that and now you put that poor innocent man to jail’ and/or be ostracised?). It would be a huge experiment and I wouldn’t want to guess about the outcome. If I was told these were the only two options I’d answer “we have to find a better way”.

          I’m really interested in a further dialogue between the two of us, but part of me fears that our opinions and world views differ too much to keep it a peaceful discussion for the foreseeable future, so maybe we should try to wind it down or come to closing statements (by which I don’t mean ‘I said my piece, so let’s stop discussing now’ – I hated it when my dad used to do that and it’s piss-poor debate style). And no matter if you want to rip my head off now and/or start doing it during your next posting, I just want to say I’m grateful for what I learned during our discussion and I really appreciate you taking the time.

        27. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

          1) We start treating every woman who presses rape charges with respect and say “Okay, we believe you and we’ll thoroughly investigate your complaint. We’ll not treat you as if you’re lying, not for a second. But we can’t convict him unless we have some way to prove it.” We change legal procedures so that attacking the victim’s character and painting her as a liar is not allowed anymore.

          Exactly this.

          The only thing allowed would be informing the judges of the number of previous rape accusations she made and the number of convictions made because of those accusations and furthermore of previous convictions of her if they involve crimes based on deception (I think that’s only fair and in most cases the numbers will be zero and zero).

          Women can certainly be raped more than once, and women with criminal records can be raped, so no. Not this part.

          No more sluttification, and we simply do anything to prevent that a rape trial is a torture for the victim.

          We’re on the same page here, yes.

        28. Moebius
          Moebius December 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

          Women can certainly be raped more than once, and women with criminal records can be raped

          No doubt about that. Well, the pros and cons of my idea are obvious, so no need to discuss them.
          And the rest we agree on and that rest really is a no-brainer. These changes would make it easier for victims to speak out.

          Still leaves the question open what we can against the “she said, he said”-problem about consent, but this is really a tough one.

          Btw, I assume that your limiting your answer to this one point means you think nothing can or should be said about the other points (because it would lead nowhere) and that we simply agree to disagree there. So I’ll just say thank you for the discussion and your time and I wish you all the best.

      2. RoryBorealis
        RoryBorealis December 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm |

        Oh, bother. Modbot hates me today. Blockquote error in comment awaiting moderation.

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

      Scenario 1: Unnamed rape victim: gets her personal trauma, her sexual history, and the details of her rape splattered all over the internet.

      Royse’s reaction: ^__^

      Scenario 2: One commenter at Feministe tells Royse to go fuck herself.

      Royse’s reaction: TERRORISM WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I WILL PRIVATE-LOCK ALL THE THINGS PLEASE HUGO SCHWYZER GIVE ME YOUR PENISLY WISDOM ON DEALING WITH DEM BITCHEZ.

      Uh, yeah, okay, whatever.

    4. EG
      EG December 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

      Jill, right here in the comment section, someone says “and fuck Alyssa Royse with a tree” – pretty sure that is inappopriate, threatening, etc.

      No, “fuck her” is not a rape threat. Don’t be absurd.

      And just as it is not my duty to support Sarah Palin just because she’s a woman, so too is it not my duty to support women who make anti-feminist rape-apologia arguments. In fact, as a feminist, it is my duty to attack those arguments and call the woman making them out for the being a rape apologist.

      And guess what? Many, many people experience rape apologia as personal attacks, because rape is personal for them. It is a thing that happened to them, or to people they loved, and plenty of them experienced the people around them excusing the rapist and blaming the person (usually a woman) raped using just the arguments that Royse seems to think are so revolutionary and taboo.

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

        I’m not a fan of the phrase “fuck her with a tree” because while it obviously isn’t a threat, it’s still using the language of violent penetration to express anger.

        1. Alexandra
          Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

          @Jill – I agree. Hence why I said that it obviously isn’t a threat :-)

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

        But EG! I have hulk powers that make this threat a totally serious one! I throw sequoias at unsuspecting vaginas four days a week, and on weekends I take light days and just use juniper bushes.

        1. Donna L
          Donna L December 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm |

          Mac, you’re lucky you’re not trans women, is all I can say. There have been times I’ve been tempted here to say to or about people “go f**k yourself with a [whatever],” but I’ve always managed to restrain myself, because I know for a fact that any trans woman who says anything like that will be forever accused by certain groups of people, even years later of (a) proving herself to be a man, and (b) making a threat of violent sexual assault. The momentary satisfaction of saying something mean is so not worth it.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L December 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm |

          Actually, you’re lucky you’re not a trans woman, never mind trans women plural!

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm |

          Well, Donna, I’m being called a rapist upthread (by piny, who’s now backpedaling with a speed fit to win the Tour de France), so I guess being cis didn’t save me much :P

          (Not to minimise your pain and fear, just having a gallows humour moment.)

        4. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 12:26 am |

          Okay, one more time: I did not call you a rapist. Fuck you. Really, just fuck you.

          I said that women don’t enjoy being raped. I said that there was an enormous difference between fantasy and living with the reality of sexual violence. You know perfectly well that I wasn’t talking about BDSM. Would you describe BDSM as “terror?”

          You identified with Mr. “I’ve Never Accidentally Raped Women, But for the Grace of God, But Some Guys Totally Might, Because Bitches Cray-Cray,” insisting that he could not possibly mean that he knows women who seem to want to be raped and that he understands why guys turn into rapists, because he’s met some dangerously manipulative women who ruin consensual sex for everyone.

          Because obviously, all he meant was that he met some women who politely requested sleep sex and then got upset that he wouldn’t perform after they said pretty please.

          That scenario bears startling resemblance to raping a woman while she’s asleep, yup yup yup.

      3. trees
        trees December 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm |

        RoryBorealis said:

        Her article managed to include every tired, sad cliche about how RapistFriend is really the victim because sticking his dick inside a sleeping woman’s vagina was an honest mistake that anybody could have made…

        EG said:

        … blaming the person (usually a woman) raped using just the arguments that Royse seems to think are so revolutionary and taboo.

        This makes the whole shit storm all the more frustrating. This preposterous notion that the recycled bullshit “nuance” that Royse is slinging is some how a novelty, and ain’t no one done ever come up with this before. This is step one in the blame the victim handbook. There are ongoing discussions of the enculturation of boys, society’s fostering of miscommunication around sexuality, etc., but that Royse article most definitely is not that.

    5. Alexandra
      Alexandra December 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm |

      Wait, so bringing up the fact that Alyssa Royse has a history of excusing male friends’ shitty behavior toward women is irrelevant and off topic?

      Thanks for letting me know.

  61. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 9, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

    Well, fuck. That’s interesting. Apparently today I threatened a woman’s life and raped my wife and sexualised a complete stranger over the internet. Well, I feel accomplished! Maybe I’ll round the day off by killing a blind kitten.

    1. piny
      piny December 10, 2012 at 12:44 am |

      You fucking asshole, how dare you accuse me of calling you a rapist? How dare you keep this shit up? Do you understand that you are on a thread about sexual violence? A discussion about a woman whose rape was just flat-out fucking denied all over the internet?

      How much more explicit do I need to get? Saying that I throw accusations of rape around irresponsibly is REALLY MISOGYNIST and REALLY FUCKING OFFENSIVE. And in this context? A thread where women have come together to talk about the ubiquity of rape and the utter impunity of rapists? It should get you fucking banned.

      You should be ashamed of yourself. You should pull your head out of your kinky ass and think, for one fucking second, about how this thread fucking well is not about fake fantasy-based consensual ANYTHING.

      Again, this is what I said:

      And don’t, don’t ever, in the context of a discussion about forgiving unambiguous rape of an unconscious woman in part because she wasn’t badly injured, assume a definition of “sexual aggression” that includes any kind of consensual sex.

      That I was not talking about consensual sex.

      Excuse me? If consensual sexual aggression (in the form of negotiated sex between established partners) is impossible, then congratulations, you’ve just called me a rapist. You’ve just accused me of systematically, repeatedly, deliberately raping my wife. Well, that’s interesting. And kind of massively fucking insulting.

      You ran with that! You’ve been running with it ever since! Even though I also said repeatedly that I was not referring to consensual kink and did not consider you a rapist, and even though it has been pretty fucking obvious all along that I haven’t been referring to consensual kink.

      You also said that I was being dishonest by not including fantasies about fake sexual violence in my categorical statement about women not being turned on by THE REAL THING:

      Women, being people, are not turned on by sexual violence. No woman wants to live in a world where rape is commonplace. No one, even someone who has fantasies about risk, wants to live with terror.

      Sexual violence, rape, and terror. I’m not talking about fucking sensation play. But you just can’t admit that. Here’s you:

      These women weren’t, yes. They were turned on by the appearance of sexual violence in the context of a consensual relationship. That’s rape fantasy. It’s a thing in the world.

      Oh, appearance! Yes, it was wrong of me not to talk about appearance in reference to the actual thing itself. Yes, clearly: I am oppressing kinksters everywhere, including apparently myself.

      This is bullshit. Shame on you.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune December 10, 2012 at 12:56 am |

        Oh, calm the fuck down, this was in mod for two hours, I don’t have any control over how the modbot chews/releases its shit. If you don’t believe me, I’m sure Jill or whichever mod is about will verify.

        I’ve read your explanation, and if you say you’re not calling me a rapist, you’re not calling me a rapist.

        And by the way, if you’re responding to someone talking about badly communicated consensual kink, how am I supposed to know you’re actually talking about a rape that had nothing to do with his comment?

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune December 10, 2012 at 1:09 am |

        Okay, and I’ve tried to clarify my positions more calmly below, but naturally it went into mod. Again, if you say I’m not a rapist I believe you, and things have been in mod.

      3. piny
        piny December 10, 2012 at 1:10 am |

        I’m not going to calm down. You derailed a discussion about a woman who got raped into a discussion about how you had been unfairly labeled a rapist. And you decided, for no good reason, to take it personally when I attacked a rape apologist who wasn’t you. And then you argued that I had called you a rapist, several times, and then you called me a liar who makes false accusations and then “backpedals.”

        In a thread about rape. A thread about how rape happens all the fucking time, and women talk about it, and are not believed, you managed to position yourself as the victim of a false rape accusation.

        And now, look, I’m hysterical! I need to calm down and not take it so seriously when someone says I have falsely accused them of rape.

        That’s downright virtuosic bullshit.

        So again: fuck you.

        You know that I was explicitly describing actual sexual violence. And you know that this guy was describing, at least in addition to himself, actual rapists who went through the same “formative” encounters as him and emerged with the belief that rape is at least somewhat permissible. This is what he said:

        For those who have not had that exposure, and who might, for various reasons, be particularly vulnerable to feelings of shame and inadequacy, this sort of encounter can be tremendously difficult to process. Some fail, and in failing become impossible to discern from heinous, monstrous villains.

        It is impossible to pick them out and help them to do better. They are lost to us. But the point is that “No means no” is a good phrase to live by, and every wise man should take it to heart, however there are women out there who undermine that message every single day, and some of them are a boy’s first or most-formative sexual experience. That can’t be ignored. We can’t pretend that sexual courtship is simple, and that every case of rape is rooted in the assailant’s clear intent to commit rape.

        Right there, he drew a straight line between his experiences and men who rape. And this post was about men who rape women who are asleep; he was talking about that, not negotiated consensual kink. That was what I was responding to. I shouldn’t have had to explain that in the first place, and you had no right whatsoever to say that I had falsely accused you of rape by saying that that right up there is fucking rape apology.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 10, 2012 at 1:39 am |

          You derailed a discussion about a woman who got raped into a discussion about how you had been unfairly labeled a rapist

          Anon’s comment contained no women who were raped. Anon didn’t speak to any women who were raped. Anon didn’t talk about the main article in his fucking comment. I was under the impression you labeled me a rapist, and can you really blame me for reacting to that? I’m a survivor, you fucking asshole. I’m a survivor whose sexuality was systematically erased when I came out, and my own goddamn mother told me she was worried I was a pedophile for saying I was in love with my wife. I’m a survivor who has repeatedly been labelled promiscuous and “sexually aggressive” through no goddamn fault of her own and who’s been repeatedly victim-blamed, so maybe you wanna take that into account when considering why I might get a little angry at the thought.

          A thread about how rape happens all the fucking time, and women talk about it, and are not believed, you managed to position yourself as the victim of a false rape accusation.

          You have this notion that I am not a woman. Correct it.

          You know that I was explicitly describing actual sexual violence.

          I knew you were. I only pointed out that you were doing so in a manner that erases kinks surrounding sexual violence. You were the one who decided to label me repellent and horrible and shout at me about it.

          And this post was about men who rape women who are asleep; he was talking about that, not negotiated consensual kink.

          He was talking about women who have a kink for pretending to be asleep! Pretending! He says so right there in his comment, you duplicitous douchebag!

          you had no right whatsoever to say that I had falsely accused you of rape by saying that that right up there is fucking rape apology

          What?!?! That is patently not what I thought you were accusing me over! Goddamn it, I said several times that it was the comment about sexual aggression that led me to think that. You bolded that comment in your own answer!

        2. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 2:20 am |

          I know you’re a woman, and I stand by my statement that you’re being a misogynist asshole, and that this accusation is profoundly insensitive. And you are wrong about his comment not containing any raped women:

          We can’t pretend that sexual courtship is simple, and that every case of rape is rooted in the assailant’s clear intent to commit rape.

          He starts out by talking about kink, but then he makes the explicit argument that this kink–sleep sex–might make some men think that some women want to be raped. Then he goes on to talk about rape. You keep acting like he’s talking about bad negotiation between a fetishist and her boyfriend. He’s not. He’s talking about rape. And he’s blaming those kinky women for the prevalence of rape.

          And again: this is not a thread about BDSM. It’s a thread about rape. Even if he doesn’t explicitly say that he’s referencing this scenario, it’s part of his context. It’s dishonest to pretend that it’s not important to an interpretation of his comment.

          I did not erase kink by specifically attacking that argument. I did not erase kink by calling that rape apology. I did not erase kink by referring to actual sexual violence and not fantasies about sexual violence.

          You jumped into my comment and argued that I was erasing kink, when what I was actually doing was refusing to allow that rape-apologist asshole to conflate kink and rape. You ignored his rape apology and ignored that I was responding to that–and ignored several clear references to (a) real sexual violence and (b) fantasy.

          And don’t call me duplicitous when you refused, several times, to acknowledge any clarification on my part.

        3. piny
          piny December 10, 2012 at 2:27 am |

          And “reacting?” I immediately and repeatedly responded to tell you that I didn’t mean any such thing, and you doubled down and then called me a liar–among quite a few other things.

          You’re saying you were just a wee bit overemotional?

        4. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |

          You’re saying you were just a wee bit overemotional?

          Piny, that’s a douchey thing to say.

          Now seriously, I like and respect both of you guys and this argument is bullshit; you’re on the same side and you’re just speaking past each other so please stop.

        5. Donna L
          Donna L December 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

          Ditto.

  62. Dense Winters
    Dense Winters December 10, 2012 at 12:47 am |

    There is nothing in the post to suggest a discussion on nuance, nothing whatsoever. Nuance is not a factor when the “mixed-signals” are flirting and the end outcome is penetrating an unconscious person. No nuance here, so acting like that is what the writer wanted to open a dialogue on is bullshit.

    Royse could have talked about how male privilege and assumptions about how men and women should approach sex leads to some men thinking it is okay to proceed, with a conscious woman, in the absence of no. Or, Royse could have talked about how there is a pervasive message that turns sleeping with someone you know is totally wasted into a joke. But those conversations are, and have been happening, and Royse trying to insinuate that they aren’t is ridiculous. But that was not the point of the article, because otherwise she would not have used a case where the woman was asleep.

    This piece is nothing more than a badly thinly veiled attempt at mitigating a friend’s behavior. And that is what is troubling about trying to create “gray rape.” Because when you qualify rape what you get is a type of rape that is bad (stranger rape in alley or use of ruffies) or rape that really isn’t considered rape (she was drunk and made a bad decision and now regrets it, or she was sending mixed signals) by people who are willing to undermine women’s autonomy. Because no matter how many pretty little modifiers you add to rape to differentiate from the unseemly legitimate sort, people do not like labeling certain men as rapists. And if that means painting a scenario where an unconscious woman sent mixed-signals, then so be it.

    And that is why I find the arguments on here that Roysen wanted to open a genuine dialogue on what really constitutes consent to be completely unwarranted. It is like some of the commentors are trying to turn a conversation on bananas into one on apples. Roysen used a situation where there is no nuance or misunderstandings, absolutely none whatsoever, yet people on here are trying to make it seem her intentions were to start a conversation, a conversation already taking place, about seeking consent. The hell? This was nothing more than an apologist screed. Even when she wasn’t defending buddy-boy her post equated flirting to wanting sex (“if it walks/talks like a fuck”). How do people even defend something as having good intentions that includes a line that is one of the most egregious lines of “she asked for it” ever committed to writing? If she had any intentions other than defending the rapist by mitigating the circumstances, why would she include that the woman talked about her past as a sex worker? How does any of this relate to discussions of consent.

    And how is undermining that “yes means yes” and “no means no” helping anyone as she describes them in her piece? Absent of consent, there is nothing that invites sex, nothing. That consent can be given prior if someone is into sex when unconscious or it can be attached to nonverbal cues in an established relationship when mutually agreed upon by all parties. But to suggest that “yes means yes” and “no means no” are incomplete because things like flirting and talking about sexual history can be taken as legitimate invitations to fuck someone while they are sleep or passed out is disgusting an inexcusable. You would think she would champion reinforcing what consent means and what “yes/no means yes/no” is really about instead of suggesting that “if it walks like a fuck and talks like a fuck” it is sending mixed signals.

    So yeah, the arguments she should get a benefit of the doubt have no legitimate grounding on the basis of the work itself. Because when she says “walks like a fuck and talks like a fuck” what is really being said is that if “it exists as a woman with a certain history or in a certain state of being or in a certain location” then no can’t really mean no, and yes is not a prerequisite to fucking her while she’s unconscious.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra December 10, 2012 at 1:14 am |

      The whole piece reads as,

      I’m not blaming the victim, I just think she brought it on herself!

      I feel for Royse; I really do. There are an awful lot of people in my life who have let me down badly – family members who have behaved abusively, boyfriends who weren’t what they should have been. I get that it can take years to process the fact that someone you love has done terrible things, and to find a way to let coexist in your mind the loveable things about that person and the awful things about that person.

      But Royse has a platform. She has an audience. Hell, she makes her living as a sex writer and rape counselor! And so when she starts to go through the painful work of readjusting her mind to her new reality, and she does so publicly, she is being actively harmful. I know she’s a survivor herself; I know she cares, that this is something she’s dedicated her life to. But at this point I consider her a fundamentally untrustworthy source, because we now have TWO instances of her siding with men with predatory histories, and of vilifying any woman who would want to ostracize those men from feminist spaces.

      I note that nowhere in her article did she tell her rapist friend that he should, say, turn himself in to the police. Nowhere in her article did she talk about restorative justice. No, all she talked about was how badly the rapist friend felt.

      Royse is a person who sympathizes with the powerful, with the perpetrator, with the rapist, with the abuser.

  63. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 10, 2012 at 1:08 am |

    Okay, piny. I’m going to try communicating my position again, because that got really fucking ragey, and I was under the impression you were calling me things it turns out you weren’t.

    1) I didn’t think you interpreted anon correctly. I read him as saying “not all men are educated about complex sexual interactions such as consent-play type kinks and so they wind up raping through their own stupidity and ignorance”. I didn’t think he was saying that those women were leading anyone on/deserving of rape, I thought he was saying that the MEN in question were fucking clueless ignorant dipshits who decided it was better to go with the sex-having option than the careful-thinking option.

    2) I did not have an issue with 90% of your comment except where you generalised like crazy about what “women” want. I have a massive knee-jerk response to that and if you say you’re kinky, then fine, you should know to draw the difference, it just didn’t turn up in your comment very well, as multiple people didn’t see it. Not just me.

    3) If you say I’m not a rapist, I believe you. I’ve had multiple comments go into mod on this thread and I haven’t actually been posting since I went silent in reply to you on the thread above, which was in itself because I read your comment clarifying and calmed the fuck down.

    4) The THREAD we were on was not discussing the article. The rest of the threads on this post WERE. Does that clarify?

    5) I used “not your sub” in much the same way as “not your girlfriend”. I have no sexual interest in you (god, fuck, why am I even having to repeatedly say this). I have no interest in you, sexually, okay? Please stop saying I do, it is triggering as fuck to me to be repeatedly accused of sexualising someone I am not remotely interested in.

    1. piny
      piny December 10, 2012 at 2:44 am |

      Okay, let me see if I can clarify!

      First of all, I did not ever say that I thought you had sexual interest in me. In fact, I believe I said the exact opposite. I said that it was inappropriate for you to bring sexualized language into an internet argument. It was also really inappropriate for you to respond to, “Please don’t use sexualized language that way, it bothers me” with, “Ugh, ew, you think I’m hitting on you? I’d rather walk on my lips through raw sewage.” You say you’re kinky: you should understand why I don’t like it when you equate this discussion with a dom/sub relationship, even as a joke.

      And for fuck’s sake, you don’t have to be attracted to someone to use sexually inappropriate language towards them.

      That thread was just his comment, which was in direct response to the article. So, sorry, that thread was actually about raping women who are asleep. Here’s how he introduced his comments:

      I hope that I can offer some information from my personal experiences that might provide some insight into the difficulties that some males have navigating sexual ethics, which is a landscape far more complex than I think many current-generation feminists are willing to admit (or, perhaps, willing to entertain as a possibility).

      He is not talking about kink!

      That guy definitely did make reference to actual rapists, and absolutely did blame women for making them believe that some women want to be raped:

      however there are women out there who undermine that message every single day, and some of them are a boy’s first or most-formative sexual experience

      We’re being extremely literal today, but claiming that men grow up to become rapists because they’re initiated into sex by women who undermine consensual mores absolutely is blaming women for rape, even if he doesn’t use that word and even if he says that these men are still obligated to not rape. It’s still a misogynist statement, and it’s indefensible. Men don’t become rapists because they’re corrupted by mean kinky women. That is rape apology.

      And I did draw a distinction between sexual violence and fantasy; I chose not to accept his pretense that this was related to fantasy. I’m not the only one who read him as a rape apologist, and I’m really grossed out by your implication that references to aversions to “terror” and “a world where rape is commonplace” could be read as a description of kinky predilections. As someone who is kinky, I do not agree that this language is ambiguous; “terror” does not describe consensual play.

      And enough with the, “okay, that one was ragey but there’s a politer one in mod.”

  64. Aaron J
    Aaron J December 10, 2012 at 9:09 am |

    Obviously I don’t know the details of exactly what happened (none of us do), but I’d like to point out one thing:

    People can and do engage in sexual activity while unconscious and be otherwise indistiguishable from conscious people who are doing so. Thus, it is possible that the man in question had NO REASON TO BELIEVE that his partner was unconscious, and every reason to believe that she was an active, willing participant. It is also possible that the man himself was unconscious, and thus could not be morally or legally responsible for his actions. Either one would make him not a rapist, and what few details we have are consistent with either possibility.

    Of course, if this is what happened, then it probably should have been made much clearer that this is what happened.

    1. GallingGalla
      GallingGalla December 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

      What is this, I don’t even

      1. jemima101
        jemima101 December 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

        I don’t know the legal situation in Aarons homeland, but in the UK we call people who engage is sexual activity with the unconscious rapists.

        1. RoryBorealis
          RoryBorealis December 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |

          In the US and Canada too.

          This thread is really bringing all the rape apologists out of the woodwork.

      2. jemima101
        jemima101 December 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

        I don’t know the legal situation in Aarons homeland, but in the UK we call people who engage is sexual activity with the unconscious rapists.

    2. Jadey
      Jadey December 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

      No.

      1. Jadey
        Jadey December 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

        Hell, even Royse repeatedly acknowledges that this was rape, inclined though she is to redirect the conversation to why being a rapist is so unfair for her friend. She at least recognizes that he is a rapist.

    3. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

      Thus, it is possible that the man in question had NO REASON TO BELIEVE that his partner was unconscious, and every reason to believe that she was an active, willing participant.

      Does not compute.

      An unconscious person appearing to be an active, willing participant.

      Unconscious

      Active participant

      1. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

        Does not compute.

        An unconscious person appearing to be an active, willing participant.

        Unconscious

        Active participant

        He obviously means a sexual equivalent to a sleepwalker. I have no idea if such people exist and if their actions while sleeping are really that similar to actual consent.
        @Aaron: Do you have any links to credible sources?

    4. EG
      EG December 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

      People can and do engage in sexual activity while unconscious and be otherwise indistiguishable from conscious people who are doing so. Thus, it is possible that the man in question had NO REASON TO BELIEVE that his partner was unconscious, and every reason to believe that she was an active, willing participant. It is also possible that the man himself was unconscious, and thus could not be morally or legally responsible for his actions. Either one would make him not a rapist, and what few details we have are consistent with either possibility.

      And hey, you guys, what if aliens, space aliens came down, and with their mind-control rays forced Royse’s friend to rape the woman? Didja ever think of that before you rushed to judge? And what if actually he was trying to climb out of the bed, but got tangled in the sheets, and slipped, and his dick accidentally got stuck in her?

      Why are you automatically going with what the woman said happened, that he raped her, as the explanation? There are so many more likely scenarios.

    5. Cara
      Cara December 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

      People can and do engage in sexual activity while unconscious and be otherwise indistiguishable from conscious people who are doing so. Thus, it is possible that the man in question had NO REASON TO BELIEVE

      BRAAAP!!!

      Oh, I’m so sorry, that is INcorrect. Still, you’re not going home empty-handed; Vanna, show him what he’s won….

      Honestly. What next? Aliens from outer space has been covered. Perhaps the tank of tropical fish in the room was responsible.

  65. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers December 10, 2012 at 9:31 am |

    Regarding the whole thing with the guy who knew women who had a sleep sex kink:

    We live in a fucked-up culture. I can completely believe that there are a tiny percentage of women out there who are really turned on by the thought of sex just happening to them without them making any move for it to happen, where they take no responsibility whatsoever for the sex to happen, and in that context, sure, there may be women who flop down naked and pretend to be asleep so that the guy next to them will have sex with them. If that is true, these women are idiots. You *negotiate* that particular kink. Decent men who see you as a human being won’t have sex with you when you’re asleep, and while maybe it turns you on to imagine yourself being used by someone who doesn’t give a shit about you, there are also people who are turned on by the thought of being cut up and eaten, and if they want to survive, maybe they better be real careful how they explore that kink. You want a guy to fuck you while you pretend to be asleep, you tell him so ahead of time. And any woman who gives a man shit over the fact that he didn’t make a move on her, for any reason, is a total douchebag who really ought to wear a T-shirt that says “I buy into patriarchal norms and sissy-shame men for being decent human beings because I hate myself” so that decent men can avoid her.

    But this does not mean that it is excusable that a man might imagine that all women want to be forced while asleep.

    Women are not the vagina hive mind. To believe that all women want a particular kink because one woman did, or the first woman you slept with did, or even three women did, is to believe that women are not individual human beings. Even women who say “Men are pigs” or make grand pronouncements about What All Men Want Is Just One Thing are doing this on the basis of constant cultural messages, most of which are generated *by* men, that support her position. No woman, upon meeting one man who likes women to tie him up, assumes that all men want to be tied up. The entire reason a man could assume that all women want a particular kink because they met a couple who do *is* misogyny, *is* the belief that women aren’t unique human beings the way men are, *is* the belief that interaction with women can be reduced to algorithmic rules that will get you laid.

    If you think it’s possible that a woman might like to be woken up with intercourse, you ask her while she’s awake. You don’t assume it, even if you have been spending the last year and a half living at the Sleep Sex Kink Convention. Women who have that kink and want to explore it with you will appreciate you asking, because it’s kind of embarrassing to bring that up apropos of nothing when it’s your own kink. But even if you know for a fact that a particular woman has a thing for sleep sex, unless you have discussed it with her personally, you do not initiate it.

    At the risk of TMI… this is actually one of my particular kinks. And I’ve only ever engaged in it with my husband, who I trust to be able to tell the difference between “I’m really tired and want to sleep, go away” and “I’m kinda sorta asleep but not really and I’m totally into you making moves on me.” I would not trust anyone else to be able to make that distinction, so I would not be willing to engage in that kink with anyone else. If you heard that I like that sort of thing because you saw me mention it on a blog, that *still* does not mean I want to do it with you. And if you assume I want such a thing because you heard I like that, and you try to do it to me while I’m asleep, congratulations, you’re a rapist.

    Consent is situational. Ask a man “if you’re flirting with a hot woman who is totally into you and she indicates that she’d like sex, would you want to?” Most het or bi men who are not already in committed relationships will say yes. Then ask “What if you find out just as you start to have sex that she’s a spider alien who wants to bite off your penis and implant her eggs down your throat?” I’m pretty sure that in that context men can understand the idea that sex was a great idea up until the situation changed and then it wasn’t.

    A woman who wants to have sex with a guy and has practically painted HAVE SEX WITH ME all over her face, who then falls asleep, has to be assumed to be not interested in sex anymore, due to being asleep. I’ll bet she also does not want you to hump her while she’s drivng, trying to pass an exam, making a souffle, or in the middle of a major boss fight during her favorite video game. Women want sex when they want sex, but when the situation changes, one has to assume that they don’t want sex anymore, until they are once again in a sex-receptive situation, like maybe “just woke up and has started to fondle you”.

    A man has no excuse for assuming that women want men to have intercourse with their sleeping bodies. None. A bunch of women who actually do want that does not contra-indicate. Some men actually *do* want their penises bitten off but I’m pretty sure that if a woman did that on the grounds that she once knew a guy who had that kink, men in general would understand why her partner would be mightily pissed at her. It doesn’t matter how many women you know with a sleep sex kink, if you have not negotiated that with this particular woman, you don’t get to assume that’s her thing. Period. And assuming that one woman wants something that is considered unusual in society because you met another woman who wanted it is a symptom of failing to recognize that women are people, or else failing to recognize that people are people (you could be sociopathic enough to believe that all men want to commit rape, for instance, just because you do.)

    So is anon describing something that could really happen? Yeah, sure. Women are not immune to being douchebags, and I hear from enough men about women who sissy-shame men for decent human behavior that I believe such women exist. Does the existence of such women justify why a man might think it’s a good idea to rape a sleeping woman? No, it does not. If you think about it, if you fail to sex her up while she’s sleeping, and you’re wrong and it turns out that she both has that kink and is the kind of asshole who will shame you for not reading her mind, then congratualtions, you just deprived a total asshole who doesn’t deserve sex of the sex she wanted. You dodged a bullet, dude! Whereas if you do sex her up while she’s sleeping and she didn’t want you to do that, like approximately 99% of all women everywhere, then you are a rapist. Whch means that the solution of “don’t have sex with her while she’s sleeping” is always win! Maybe it doesn’t feel like win while she’s shaming you, but a woman who’d shame a man for treating her like a decent human being is a psychological minefield and if you would rather your life not turn into a living hell of nonstop drama, you shouldn’t be sleeping with her anyway. There are plenty of women who’ll prefer your strategy.

    The only reason to believe that a woman who has not said to you “I am totally into pretending to be asleep and having you have sex with me” wants you to have sex with her when she’s asleep is that you are a misogynist. Full stop. Either you really like raping unconscious women, or you have so little empathy for women that you can’t imagine why she would object to having sex with you ever once she’s indicated once that she’d like sex with you. And I certainly decry the forces within our society that turn men into misogynists, but once you’re an adult male misogynist, you don’t get to say “Society made me this way!” and avoid the blame. You’re part of society, you’re part of the problem, and you’re an asshole, and no one should cut you any slack.

  66. offfwhite
    offfwhite December 10, 2012 at 11:27 am |

    Full disclosure: I have not read the majority of the 309 comments preceding this one, so I’m sorry if I’m reiterating sentiments already expressed. I just want to engage in a discussion, and this is the most efficient way to go about it.

    Moving on…

    I feel like Jill missed the point of the article. In the same way that calling a sexual assault “rape” can alienate a survivor that does not identify their assault in that way, calling all rapists “rapists” and “bad people” alienates a lot of people who don’t realize that they may have sexually violated someone. And the point is to engage these people. The point is to help all people understand what consent is, and to make the areas that may seem gray to some totally black and white.

    One of my favorite signs I saw at a SlutWalk event said “My rapist doesn’t know he’s a rapist.” For me, this sign really drove home the point that lots of people don’t think through the nuances of consent, and don’t critically analyze rape culture. Lots of people believe gender norms, and believe that “hard to get” games are the rules. In order to engage the larger populace in discussion about how fucked up those beliefs are, we can’t give people a “this doesn’t apply to me” easy out at the beginning of the conversation.

    By undermining Nice Guys’™ self-concept, we drive them from the conversation, and lose the opportunity to engage them in an analysis of their beliefs that may actually reduce their likelihood of sexually assaulting someone.

    1. umami
      umami December 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

      Can I suggest that you read the 309 previous comments?

      And have a think about why “engaging in a discussion” was the important thing to you here. Why did you have time to talk but not to listen? Why did you care more about your voice being heard than about learning from what others had to say?

      Or maybe someone will have the patience to take you up on it. But yes, your points have already been covered in this thread.

      1. umami
        umami December 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

        Just saw Jill’s comment and would like to register my admiration for Jill’s patience, here. I am constantly wowed by your patience, grace and stamina in dealing with this place and this seems like a good place to write it out loud!

      2. offfwhite
        offfwhite December 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

        The implication that I somehow deem my comment more important than the ones that preceded it is presumptuous. I’m just at work, and wanted to hash this out without spending my whole day on it. Anyone who doesn’t want to help me out is free to move on to comments they deem more interesting or fruitful.

        This space often feels really attacky to me (see EG’s antagonistic intro below). Aren’t we supposed to be allies? When someone asks me for help with expanding their perspective, I don’t make them feel stupid for asking a question… I meet them where they are.

        1. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

          It is indeed better to be welcoming to new voices in a discussion, but can you appreciate how thinking you have something really new to add to a discussion that has already attracted 309 comments is already presumptuous? At this point in a discussion, most of the ideas are fairly mature and it is unlikely you will be adding a new perspective with your I-just-read-this-just-now-but-don’t-have-time-to-read-the-comments input, but reading other people’s comments and mirroring them often allows existing perspectives to be further developed, sometimes resulting in a valuable contribution.

        2. igglanova
          igglanova December 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

          The implication that I somehow deem my comment more important than the ones that preceded it is presumptuous.

          It is not presumtuous in the slightest. When you preface your comment with a note about how you didn’t bother to read any of the responses before it, we may accurately infer that you value your own input more than others’. Why should we care what you have to say when you cannot extend us the same courtesy?

          This space often feels really attacky to me (see EG’s antagonistic intro below). Aren’t we supposed to be allies? When someone asks me for help with expanding their perspective, I don’t make them feel stupid for asking a question… I meet them where they are.

          This is not a space for hand-holding and gentle encouragement. It is a forum for debate. Perhaps we refrain from coaxing you along because coddling is not our obligation, and we find it burdensome and tedious.

        3. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm |

          My reply was indeed antagonistic. Here is what you did:

          Scene: a room at a conference. A panelist has presented a paper, and now a number of people are discussing it. The discussion has proceed for quite some time and developed in rather complex ways when a stranger runs in and shouts “HEY EVERYBODY! I couldn’t be bothered to come and listen to all you had to say, because it wasn’t efficient for me. Even so, I have something really, really important to say! Listen to me!”

          Damn right I’m annoyed. That’s annoying behavior.

        4. offfwhite
          offfwhite December 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

          @EG

          Except this isn’t a conference, it’s a blog. There are literally dozens of conversations happening simultaneously, and none of them detract from each other. Your example is as bad as Royse’s.

          I offered the disclaimer to save people the time of having a redundant conversation, period. I mistakenly believed that someone might engage me in respectful debate, in which my opinions or theirs may evolve.

          I have now been accused of dismissing everything previously said, expecting hand-holding and coddling because I thought I may be treated with a modicum of respect, wasting people’s time with my tedious opinions, and stealing the single microphone with the demeanor of a belligerent child who demands to be heard. I did none of those things.

          (Note…. if you find my comment tedious, you are free to ignore it. Taking the time to tell me that I’m wasting your time doesn’t make you observant, it makes you a bully.)

          Everyone but Jill has just chastised me for a detail that I preemptively apologized for. I came here for insight, and was effectively told to hush while the adults are talking.

          I am embarrassed to call myself a feminist while prominent feminist spaces like this are so hostile and unwelcoming. I have things to learn, but this is clearly not a place to learn them.

        5. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

          offwhite, if you came here for insight and to learn but did not have much time available, might it not have been better to spend the time reading rather than writing? Why did you feel the need to express your opinion rather than absorb the ongoing discussions? Of course you’re free to do either and I don’t feel I’m chastising you in asking this. I’m just trying to understand what it is you hoped to gain, learning-wise, by not reading the 309 comments and instead writing down how you felt.

        6. igglanova
          igglanova December 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm |

          I have now been accused of dismissing everything previously said, expecting hand-holding and coddling because I thought I may be treated with a modicum of respect, wasting people’s time with my tedious opinions, and stealing the single microphone with the demeanor of a belligerent child who demands to be heard.

          Care to indicate where any of this happened? You are mischaracterizing our statements.

          (Note…. if you find my comment tedious, you are free to ignore it. Taking the time to tell me that I’m wasting your time doesn’t make you observant, it makes you a bully.)

          I can only speak for myself, but I objected to your original comment because it was rude, not because it was tedious.

        7. offfwhite
          offfwhite December 11, 2012 at 12:38 am |

          @BBBShrewHarpy

          I did a search on some key terms, didn’t find anything, and tried to start a dialog about the specific issue I was trying to hash out. The comments section here is conveniently arranged in threads, making it super-easy only to follow conversations in which you’re interested, and to ignore all others (as compared with a chronological list). With my disclaimer, I expected a lot of people to simply pass over my comment, and only those with a particular interest or perspective on its content to respond. I also disclaimed in the case that someone wanted to help me out and refer me back to an earlier comment that already addressed my thoughts.

          It occurs to me in retrospect that, had I not mentioned it, I don’t think my repetition would have made waves. With almost 450 comments currently, there’s a lot of redundancy here. And that’s ok… people make sense of things differently, and I think there’s a benefit in similar perspectives being stated in myriad ways. But I’m getting off track.

          Basically, I thought this was a safe space to engage other feminists in a conversation about an issue that I’ve been thinking about. How naive was I?

        8. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 11, 2012 at 10:36 am |

          offwhite, I think if you’d stated things like this to begin with your post would have been received more gently.

        9. EG
          EG December 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |

          I agree. That was not how it came off to me. I apologize for my misunderstanding and the subsequent antagonistic tone I took. However, part of my antagonism did come from what seems to me to be misreading of Royse’s piece that ignores the actual case study she is using in favor of accepting the very common excuse from rapists that they didn’t know that what they did was wrong, an excuse I see no reason whatsoever to believe. If calling a rapist a rapist alienates him, I don’t much care. Rapists are the last people whose feelings and allegiances I am concerned about.

    2. EG
      EG December 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

      I have not read the majority of the 309 comments preceding this one, so I’m sorry if I’m reiterating sentiments already expressed. I just want to engage in a discussion, and this is the most efficient way to go about it.

      You are reiterating sentiments already discussed. But you want to engage in a discussion, whether or not it’s productive to everybody else, so by all means, go on.

      So far, there seem to be roughly two groups. There are those, like me, who think that the great majority of rapists, no matter what they may claim to sympathetic friends like Royse, know full well that they are rapists, and take advantage of the “misunderstood signals,” “unclear what consent meeeeeeans” tropes to excuse and justify their behavior to other people. And there are those, like yourself and like others who have posted, who think that a significant number of rapists are genuinely confused and unaware of when and how they have raped women. Reasonably people can disagree about that.

      Regardless, the point of the article was that Royse’s good friend stuck his dick in a sleeping woman, but it’s so unfair that we won’t talk about how her behavior “led to” him doing that, and somehow he didn’t know that sleeping women couldn’t consent, and through a series of painful and beautiful conversations, now he’s learned and totes shouldn’t be loathed and excoriated because he’s such a nice guy. And that doesn’t fly with almost of any of us in either group. If he’d thought she was into it, he had ample opportunities to make a move while she was awake and flirting with him. He chose not to. There’s nothing unclear about unconsciousness.

      1. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

        Being a member of the latter group, my impression is that the main beef between the groups is whether Royse’s article is a) mainly about her friend and her trying to give reasons for his point of view or if it is b) about how our society leads to people committing rape and believing they didn’t – while choosing her friend as a horribly unfitting example, because what he did was clear-cut rape (something which both sides agree on).
        The longer we discuss, the more I get the feeling that the difference between our actual positions about rape is the alleged percentage of rapists who don’t realize that they are not doing something normal or at most borderline but outright evil.

        A general P.S. about how her behavior “led to” him raping her:
        I think many people, especially rape apologists, don’t get the difference between on the one hand cause and effect and on the other hand moral and legal guilt.
        Would Royse’s friend have raped her if she hadn’t flirted with him and slept in the same bed (cause and effect)? Probably not. Does this change the fact that he a) raped her in any actual, legal and moral term and b) she should not have to fear rape while sleeping in the same bed with an acquaintance (moral and legal guilt)? No. Her behavior may have been one of several cause-and-effect-steps but the moral and legal guilt is entirely his.

        To drive the point home, here are some other cause-and-effect points not meaning any moral or legal guilt:
        – not having died before the day the rape happened
        – not having worn a chastity belt
        – not having killed or castrated him
        – not having had a sex change

        The list is almost endless.

        1. BBBShrewHarpy
          BBBShrewHarpy December 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

          You appear to consider Ms Royse’s choice of her friend to make her point about society at large an unfortunate mistake, whereas I see the problem in reverse: she is using a larger point about society to excuse the inexcusable in the very specific example that is her deliberately chosen friend the rapist. I think what is really raising hackles here is that her defense of her friend (at the expense of the privacy of his victim) is not merely unfortunate, it is the crux of what is wrong with her argument. She simply cannot believe her friend is bad all by himself, therefore society must have made him do it. This is the wellspring of rape apologia.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L December 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

          not having had a sex change

          Not that that’s an appropriate term anyway, but how do you know?

        3. Kristen J.
          Kristen J. December 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |

          1) What causes we choose to focus on has meaning. He might not have raped her if he had eaten a poisoned grapefruit for breakfast that morning. He would not have raped her if he had been a car accident when he was 5. He might not have raped her if there was a full moon. Yet, those causes and effects are not discussed and analyzed ad infinitum. It is her actions, her choices that we endlessly interrogate. That is rape culture. Perpetuating it is not okay.

          2) Do not use trans* people’s experiences as a lolz example for any argument ever. Seriously. That was a shit move and you should apologize immediately.

        4. Sam
          Sam December 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

          Kristen J.,

          that is, alas, where Royse’s example goes *really* downhill, because a sleeping woman is clearly the worst possible example for what I think she’s attempting to express, something I don’t think is an entirely unreasonable suggestion: that sexual triggers (like behaviour or suggestive clothes) are more likely to cause rape from the kind of predators who don’t go out with the intent to rape, but can be triggered into raping,
          I’d call them “opportunistic” rapists, particularly if such triggers allow the “she wanted it rationalization”. Sure, anything *can* be a trigger for someone, but statistically, don’t you think that opportunistic predators are more likely to be triggered by misconstrued sexual communication than by, say, seeing a yellow car or having eaten a grapefruit?

        5. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

          Would Royse’s friend have raped her if she hadn’t flirted with him and slept in the same bed (cause and effect)? Probably not.

          This question assumes that rapists don’t seek out their targets and actively participate in constructing the scenario that will allow them to get away with rape. We know from the studies referenced above that the majority of rapists do that. If she hadn’t done that, he would have picked out another target, set up more scenarios that would have allowed him to shirk the responsibility, and waited for one of them coalesce.

          You keep assuming good faith on the part of a rapist. I see no reason to do that.

        6. Kristen J.
          Kristen J. December 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

          @Sam,

          No. I don’t think her “communication” had anything to do with he would rape her. I think he would commit rape any time he feels he has the opportunity. And opportunity is not about her behavior either. He had an opportunity because society says that this exact situation is *so ambiguous* *so complicated* *so difficult to understand.* He had the opportunity because people write articles like this one that foster the idea that you can still be a “good” man and rape someone.

        7. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm |

          that sexual triggers (like behaviour or suggestive clothes) are more likely to cause rape from the kind of predators who don’t go out with the intent to rape, but can be triggered into raping,

          You have got to be fucking kidding me. You are using language developed to describe the experiences of people with PTSD to describe the actions of rapists? Are you serious? When a trigger is pulled, you are unable to control the PTSD symptoms you experience. Are you trying to claim that there are rapists out there who simply can’t control themselves at the sight of a short skirt? It’s funny how they manage to control themselves when they’re in public surrounded by other people, then, isn’t it?

          Regardless of whether or not that’s what you mean, do you have any evidence whatsoever that these “opportunistic rapists” who are influenced by sexy clothing exist? Because every study I’ve seen says that the type of clothing worn by the target has absolutely to relevance.

        8. matlun
          matlun December 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

          that sexual triggers (like behaviour or suggestive clothes) are more likely to cause rape from the kind of predators who don’t go out with the intent to rape, but can be triggered into raping

          I think that is true, but I also think it is more instructive to look at it from the perspective of the victim in this case.

          She probably saw him as someone she was sexually interested in – which was the reason for the behavior of sexual invitation – and as someone she could trust. And then he raped her. That is the end of that story.

        9. Sam
          Sam December 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

          Kristen J.,

          I think he would commit rape any time he feels he has the opportunity.

          I’ve also read the research stipulating that most rapists are, in fact, serial offenders. So your intuition may very well be correct. However, does that rule out other possible causes? And while I’m rather sceptical of sexual miscommunication as cause in this case, it’s not like stories of miscommunication leading to rape are that uncommon. I remember a recent thread on feministe, in which a woman wondered whether she had raped someone who felt raped and what followed was a discussion about questions like “can there be rape without a rapist”. That said, my instinct in this case is the following: he didn’t want to rape her in order to rape her, he wanted to have sex, but at this point her consent just didn’t matter to him, and, yes, I believe a big part of that was an understanding that it would be possible to get away with it. But, yes, I believe it was more “opportunistic” than planned.

          EG,

          well, first off, I agree with you that such things usually don’t appear to matter for rapists. That said, I’m not a criminologist or endocrinologist, but I’ve seen articles in which some sexual predators who tried to control themselves, have been described as having been triggered, in fact, simlar to the way ptsd is triggered, by some sexual fetish of theirs. So, while the intentional predator appears to be the most common type of rapist, I don’t think it’s the only one. Do you?

        10. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm |

          @BBBShrewHarpy: Aptly put. We see different goals in Royes writing this text. We agree on that her friend is a rapist and that what he did is inexcusable.

          @Donna L: Sorry, I don’t know what the appropriate wording is. I’m not a native speaker and didn’t read specialed texts in English about the subject. What term should be used here?

          @Kristen J: 1) I did NOT interrogate her choices and actions, I took them as an example for my cause-and-effect vs. moral and legal guilt point. And I chose to use her actions because mixing them up is exactly the idiocy (or worse: the deliberate muddying) that happens on a day-to-day base.
          2) I do not consider a reductio ad absurdum to be a “lolz argument”. But if I hurt someone with my words I want to sincerely apologize and stress that it was not my intention. I know too much about the subject to consider it even rudimentary funny.

          @EG: We agree that the majority of rapists plan their actions. I just don’t want to generalize because I think there are cases like the student who doesn’t realize that a slurred yes is not really a yes. Imo our discussion is about those cases, not about people who like being a rapist (about the latter our discussion would probably be an endless list of statements we’d agree to).
          And by the way “if she hadn’t done that he’d picked another target” simply means that either way he’d committed rape. He can’t escape any responsibility by saying “oh, well if she hadn’t done that, I’d have raped someone else”. Not in my book, not in the book of any decent person.
          And even if Royse’s friend hadn’t committed the rape if she hadn’t slept in the same bed – that hypothetical still changes NOTHING. He deliberately penetrated a woman who did not and could not consent. That is rape, therefore, he is a rapist, period. End of discussion. And that is precisely my point.

          @Sam: Whoa! At least really bad wording. People may at the most be triggered into wanting to rape someone or thinking “I probably could…”. Wanting something can be a spontaneous reaction. Acting on it is not. Committing rape when you see an opportunity to do it and get away with it is still a long and complex series of actions and conscious decisions.
          Having said that there may well be “opportunist” rapists, meaning they take less time to plan and only act in cases when less planning is needed because he happens to meet someone he considers a possible victim in a setting that eases his crime. But even when having a naked woman sleeping in his bed, a guy has to take several actions and to make several conscious decisions before he actually commits a rape.

        11. Kristen J.
          Kristen J. December 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

          @Sam,

          You seem to have created this dichotomy between “planned” rape and “opportunitistic” rape. Why? Is one worse than the other? Is being raped less harmful if the rapist just took advantage of the situation?

        12. Sam
          Sam December 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

          Moebius,

          have I suggested anywhere that an “opportunistic rapist” is less responsible? Motivation may differ, the responsibility is the same.

        13. Donna L
          Donna L December 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm |

          @Donna L: Sorry, I don’t know what the appropriate wording is. I’m not a native speaker and didn’t read specialed texts in English about the subject. What term should be used here?

          Your extremely dated terminology was not my main problem with what you said. My main problem was (a) that you used the idea of someone being trans as a supposedly humorous example of anything, and (b) that you presented the idea that the woman who was raped was trans (she had “had a sex change”) as a humorous example of something that would have prevented her from being raped by this guy. So I said, “how do you know?” As in, how do you know she wasn’t trans? And, what makes you think that her being trans would have prevented anything?

          In other words, please don’t use being trans, or “sex changes,” as the punchline to a stupid joke, or as an example of something absurd, like wearing a chastity belt or whatever your other examples were. I won’t say FYWAT! to you, but I’m tempted.

        14. Sam
          Sam December 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

          Kristen J.,

          You seem to have created this dichotomy between “planned” rape and “opportunitistic” rape. Why? Is one worse than the other? Is being raped less harmful if the rapist just took advantage of the situation?

          no, the harm done is the same, of course, but the questions with respect to “why” are, I believe, different. People who intentionally seek to rape because they are aroused by non-consensuality will likely not be deterred by any ex-ante sex-positive discourse. I’m not so sure about the others.

        15. TomSims
          TomSims December 11, 2012 at 7:22 am |

          “But those men would be less likely to commit rape in the first place, because there wouldn’t be the social excuses for it, and they would know that they’d be met with swift retribution and legal action instead of excuses and hemming and hawing about “gray” situations and murkiness.”

          I agree completely

        16. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

          So, while the intentional predator appears to be the most common type of rapist, I don’t think it’s the only one. Do you?

          As I’ve said on these boards many times before, I play the odds. I’ll ask again: do you have any evidence for the existence of these “opportunistic” rapists?

          As for “trigger”–no. People cannot control their feelings. If the sight of a short skirt causes the urge to rape a woman to rise in a man, there is little he can do about that. But unless he is actually in a fugue state, his actions are not things that “happen” to him. This isn’t like absent-mindedly putting your pen down somewhere without being aware of it. This is rape.

        17. Donna L
          Donna L December 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

          Never mind. I take back the implied epithet; it’s not really even tempting. But please stop making transness a punch line, OK?

        18. Sam
          Sam December 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm |

          Jill,

          But it also seeks to re-shape a culture that enables rapists. Part of the reason that rapists rape isn’t because they can’t help it, but because they believe they can get away with it. In a less accommodating culture, there would still be men who get off on non-consent…

          I’m sure that that’s part of the equation. However, as I’ve already mentioned in reply to one of your comments way up, I think there, though possibly counterintuitive, that a big part of the problem is that fear of rape is such a huge deal for so many men that they’re so afraid of being accused of it that they will use every opportunity to keep a culture that will make it easier to get out. They may not be the problem, but they are afraid they could become the problem, and keeping up such narratives is a social hedging strategy, and given the way male sexuality is (in my opinion) usually discussed as at least latenly sociopathic, I understand that, and it’s unsurprising that guys get so defensive so quickly in these discussions.

          although honestly, if the Feminist Revolution succeeds, I think there would be far fewer, since masculine identity would be far less attached to aggression and dominance over women, but that’s for another post

          Well, I’d like to read that (the best about feminism and manliness is, I believe, Clarisse Thorn’s mega thread). No doubt masculinity is changing, but I believe that most feminists (at least publicly) find it hard to understand the challenges of performing given the double binds of modern masculinity, which is funny, in a way, given women have been dealing with this much longer. As for feminism, I believe one of the biggest problems of the “feminist revolution” is that it is confused about the strange persistence of both dysfunctional male and dysunctional female attraction patterns in the light of a theoretically more charming alternative… and that, as a result of that confusion, it largely ignores that crucial aspect of gender performance and peoples’ immense insecurity about it.

          But those men would be less likely to commit rape in the first place, because there wouldn’t be the social excuses for it, and they would know that they’d be met with swift retribution and legal action instead of excuses and hemming and hawing about “gray” situations and murkiness.

          You’re a lawyer, so I trust you’re not trying to abolish in dubio pro reo… even so, I’m not so sure it would actually be so easy, if you remember that thread you wrote about that Dear Prudie column possibly involving female rape and the discussion that ensued in the thread: the arguments were the same usually mentioned by guys who are getting defensive quickly in these discussions.

          I don’t think that’s a coincidence

          I agree.

        19. Moebius
          Moebius December 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |

          @Sam:

          have I suggested anywhere that an “opportunistic rapist” is less responsible?

          No, my concerns were about the “trigger” concept. Sorry, I should have explained that. I understood “trigger” as something causing an automatic reaction that can’t be controlled, just like a fly approaching your eye causes you to shut it. And since EG seemed to understand it the same way, I thought you had a weird concept of opportunistic rape. Another misunderstanding gone.

          A propos misunderstanding: I just found out that in the US and the UK mens rea is far more important than in Germany (where I live). So saying that someone didn’t know what he did was rape has far bigger consequences in your law system than in mine – and therefore some of my postings were rape apology where you live but not where I live.
          This feels so weird.

          @Donna L: 1) I really tried reductio ad absurdum for my argument. 2) I meant an F-to-M-change. 3) I sincerely did not try to use transness as a punchline, but in retrospect I should have refrained simply because there are too many possibilities for misunderstanding (I’m still thinking about your point and haven’t reached a conclusion yet).

          @Jill: Sexual assault rates have gone down as feminist thought has proliferated. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I agree, it’s definitely not.

  67. Athenia
    Athenia December 10, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    Serious question—how does our culture teach that it’s ok to penetrate a sleeping woman? I mean, outside Sleeping Beauty and even then–really?

    1. Jadey
      Jadey December 10, 2012 at 11:52 am |

      By teaching us that if you really love someone, then everything’s okay. By teaching us that women really like it when someone else takes charge and initiates. By focusing discussions on sex around never having it and never mentioning consent. By promoting normalized images of sexual aggression in non-negotiated scenarios. By teaching boys and men that their sexual gratification is much more important than thinking about what it means to who they’re making the object of their gratification.

      I could probably go on.

    2. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve December 10, 2012 at 11:58 am |

      Serious question—how does our culture teach that it’s ok to penetrate a sleeping woman? I mean, outside Sleeping Beauty and even then–really?

      That’s a serious question? At this time of year? Yeah, I can’t think of any notable occasion where a sleeping woman is subject to unwanted sexual intercourse. On a completely unrelated note…Merry Christmas.

      1. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm |

        Brilliant!

      2. Athenia
        Athenia December 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm |

        ROFLOL Thanks Fat Steve, I needed that! Like, whenever I have sex I basically have to shove the penis up in there so this whole “sex while sleeping” thing–I just can’t grasp the concept at all!

    3. EG
      EG December 10, 2012 at 11:58 am |

      Well, Edward breaks into Bella’s house and watches her sleep because he just loves her so much and she’s so beautiful that he can’t resist. I can see how you get there…

      1. auditorydamage
        auditorydamage December 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

        Just when I thought I couldn’t dislike the messages those books communicate any more. I haven’t read them (save about thirty pages of the first one, which obviously didn’t intrigue me enough to keep going), but between the movie plots I’ve been able to glean and the general theme of the series (he wants to kill her, but he loves her so much, and her him – love conquers abuse, girls!), my opinion of that series was already pretty low.

        I just… OMFG.

        1. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

          Did you know about the part where he doesn’t want her to go see a friend of hers, so he takes a part out of her truck?

        2. auditorydamage
          auditorydamage December 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

          @EG

          …no, no I did not. O. M. F. G.

          Edward sounds like the kind of guy my partner tries to help women get away from.

        3. yes
          yes December 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

          And that’s not even getting into the tacit race issues of the ethnic temptation werewolves that try to lure her away from her sparkly white boyfriend with their bestial, exotic appeal. Or later, fall in love with her psychic vampire baby.

        4. EG
          EG December 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm |

          And then they give the daughter to the werewolf, who has “imprinted” on her and so is destined to be her husband (she gets no say in this), to raise. I want to make this clear: the werewolf “imprints” on an infant, “falls in love” with an infant, and then raises her until she is of age, and then marries her.

          There is nothing about these books that isn’t appalling.

      2. Adaquinn
        Adaquinn December 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

        You know I always hated those books for just those reasons. That people couldn’t see how outside of the fantasy world, Edward’s actions were abusive, manipulative and stalkerish. If you re wrote those books and changed Bella’s reaction from “Oh He loves me SO MUCH” to “I’m not okay with this. This is creepy” they become Stephan King novels.

    4. Jadey
      Jadey December 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

      Content warning for description of rape pornography

      Seriously, actually, I remember finding some 80s het porn a couple of years ago that I thought was going to be kind of hilarious – retro hair and all that. It was advertised as far as I could tell as totally mainstream, no kink or fetish or anything. I’m pretty sure it had Ron Jeremy in it.

      It was one rape scenario after another.

      I mean, I’ve seen contemporary mainstream porn, and while there’s a lot of stupid degrading dialogue and stuff, most of what I’ve seen has basically been just clearly consensual fucking, unless specifically advertised as otherwise. This one started with a woman being chased down by a motorcyclist and raped (she struggled at first, and then got into it). Later on a guy molested two women who were sleeping (not briefly – it was the entire scene). I say again, as far as I could tell, this was mainstream porn. Not rape-fetish porn, no hint of kink anywhere in the labelling. I can totally picture a bunch of young guys (or women) watching this and thinking, “Okay, so this is what normal sex is. It is fun and consequence-free.”

      I am not against porn inherently. I think porn can be fantastic or at least benign when it is done in opposition to rape culture. But this was one of those terrifying examples of pornography normalizing rape, stupid 80s bouffants and all.

      1. Past my expiration date
        Past my expiration date December 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

        Seriously, actually, I remember finding some 80s het porn a couple of years ago that I thought was going to be kind of hilarious – retro hair and all that.

        “Retro”?!?! That hair was the coolest! I was there, and I know!

        (I know nothing about the porn, though. Sorry about the derail.)

      2. Athenia
        Athenia December 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

        I hear ya. I watched Pirates recently and there was a gang “rape” scene, but it wasn’t really rape the movie explains cuz 5 minutes in, the girl started to like it. *sigh* But at least she was awake, you know? *shakes head*

    5. Cara
      Cara December 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm |

      And Sleeping Beauty? Got a chaste kiss. TO WAKE HER UP. THAT WAS THE PRINCE’S GOAL.

      1. EG
        EG December 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

        Depends on the version. In some of the early versions, the prince, who has a wife at home, rapes her, and she gives birth to twins (still sleeping, mind you), and doesn’t wake up until one of the babies, mistaking her finger for a nipple, sucks out the splinter, and then the prince’s wife tries to kill her.

        The idea that the ideal woman is a passive doll with which you can do what you like is not so far from what that particular tale is working with.

  68. Ellen Eades
    Ellen Eades December 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

    I really don’t get the viciousness I’m seeing here. Women are attacking this woman, whose post clearly stated that she was not denying rape occurred. This woman is trying to dialogue about better ways to prevent rape, and you are tearing her apart because … why? In the name of the Goddess, aren’t there better targets out there for you? Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter for starters? Until they’re reduced to footnotes, you have no excuse for ripping this woman apart. I have been a feminist and a radical woman of color for going on 40 years now and I’m ashamed of you. You don’t represent me.

    1. Jellyfish
      Jellyfish December 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm |

      Royse wrote and article and published it online to start a discussion and people are responding by discussing it. Why is this such a shock? While Royse may think she’s starting a dialogue about rape prevention, many people here (myself included) disagree with the way she’s gone about it and many people here and elsewhere think that her angle is repulsive and that her argument is gross and heavily flawed. If you think her article has value then by all means tell us why.

      Also please stop with the ‘there are worse people in this world so stop picking on her you big meanies!’ If the only real defense you can think of for Royse is that she’s not as bad as Sarah Palin etc then… well that’s not much of a defense IMO. That’s just sad.

      1. Moebius
        Moebius December 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

        While Royse may think she’s starting a dialogue about rape prevention, many people here (myself included) disagree with the way she’s gone about it and many people here and elsewhere think that her angle is repulsive and that her argument is gross and heavily flawed.

        If I understand Ellen correctly, she says that there is discussion and then there is vitriol. And that in her opinion Royse is better suited for discussion and Palin, Coulter and Bachman are better suited for vitriol.
        This blog is an environment where you have many people with the same mindset. In such environments far too often a game of one-up(wo)manship develops, making the tone more vitriolic and the exchange less productive than it should be.
        I’ll leave it up to all of you and your self-reflection how much that is the case here. And I mean exactly that and not “and you are of course so aggressive, moronic, thought-police-like etc”. Because right now I am learning and re-evaluating about feminism and my points of view and therefore don’t feel knowledgeable enough to make a verdict for myself.

    2. Alexandra
      Alexandra December 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

      Yeah, and we’re dialoguing right back by telling her that her ideas – these innovative thoughts she has – are the same old garbage: blame women who drink for being raped, excuse the men who rape.

    3. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters December 11, 2012 at 5:08 am |

      This woman is trying to dialogue about better ways to prevent rape, and you are tearing her apart because

      her dialogue on “preventing rape” focuses on not “walking and talking like a fuck” and not flirting with someone and then falling asleep around them. Because her dialogue on “preventing rape” creates not a discussion on judging intoxication levels or seeking an actual yes instead of preceding in absence of a no, but one where flirting and discussion of sexual history send mixed signals that make raping a sleeping person seem reasonable. Because she plays into the notion that heavy flirting, and even heavy naked making out is a mitigating factor in rape, and takes that one step further by suggesting flirting and then falling asleep near someone is a mitigating factor for rape.

      I have been a feminist and a radical woman of color for going on 40 years now

      What is feminist or radical about arguing there are “mixed signals” that justify having sex with a sleeping woman without consent or the possibility of consent? What is radical or feminist about suggesting women who flirt and talk about sexual history are walking and talking like a fuck and are inviting sex without consent?

      and I’m ashamed of you.

      And not a fuck is given says this one who is not going to give a soft hand to someone who wants to mitigate rape and suggest that flirting is a mixed signal that mitigates rape. Who is not going to play soft with anyone who decides to post their opinion up looking for supposed dialogue. You want dialogue, that includes negativity and disagreement too. She can say that mixed-signals, like flirting and being a woman, mitigate rape, and people can suddenly say she’s a rape apologist more interested in finding excuses for why her “nice guy” friend raped someone than actually having a discussion on how nothing mitigates or excuses not seeking consent – not someone being flirty, not them being asleep, and not the rapists being intoxicated.

      You don’t represent me.

      I lose more sleep over not representing the lollipop guild than not representing anyone who defends not only this article, but seeks to hold anyone above the level of disagreement and criticism.

    4. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan December 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

      *hands you some pearls to clutch*

  69. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan December 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    “She mentioned getting dinner, so I waited until 9pm and then force fed her a cake.”

    “She asked me out for drinks, so I waited until she turned her back and then waterboarded her.”

    “She kept flirting, so I waited until she fell asleep and then stuck my dick in her.”

    Huh. None of those make any fucking sense do they.

    1. Beatrice
      Beatrice December 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

      But but mixed signals!

      Society teaches us that we have to drink 8 glasses of water every day. All those commercials show that woman’s skin can easily get dehydrated and that’s bad. And then this woman tells him she wants to go out for drinks. She might have even taken a bottle of water out of her bag when she was saying that! How could have that nice guy known where the limit is?
      Did I mention how sweet that guy is? He’s really sweet.

  70. TomSims
    TomSims December 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |

    “And I do not know one dude who has not also flirted and been flirted with and at the end of the night did not have sex with their flirtation partner. Not having sex with someone you were flirting with happens all the time.”

    Ain’t that the truth

  71. The Whole Thing Is A Trigger Warning | Julie Gillis

    [...] hard… On Twitter, in comments, and in other articles such as this one from Feministe, Alyssa has been called a rape apologist for her POV on the topic, for discussing possible reasons [...]

  72. The dreadful dangers of normalization: Why most men don’t rape (continued) « Heteronormative patriarchy for men

    [...] entitled Nice Guys Commit Rape Too. I strongly criticised the piece here, as others did here and here, and in the face of criticism, and presumably in the hope it will act as a trump card in the [...]

  73. Top 5: assassinations, rape, discrimination against women, baring your tittayz and how nice guys don’t just finish last, they also ‘don’t rape’ | the feminist agenda

    [...] And finally, a recent blog post (that has been harshly criticised) has stated that ‘nice guys can’t be rapists’ because if they rape, it is [...]

  74. F*#! You, Rape Culture – via Jezebel | shinycopperpig

    [...] is for Nice Guys. Nice guys don’t rape, but “Nice Guys” definitely [...]

  75. A Week of Reading:9-15 December 2012 | Z e t e o

    [...] I read the article in its entirety and all of the outraged comments, and then this response written on the blog Feministe. Royse tells the story of her friend who is truly a “nice [...]

  76. Lindsey
    Lindsey December 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    THANK YOU. Alyssa’s article was presented to me by my boyfriend as “interesting” and it made me sick. She twisted reality so much she had the man I loved (and knew as a staunch supporter of feminism) thinking that her friend really was a nice guy who just happened to accidentally rape someone. It’s been a long time since something made me so upset. There was no question of “was consent given” in this case. And as I for some reason have to keep pointing out to people, this guy’s crime WAS NOT PUNISHED. He “left town.” He should be in jail for the crime of rape. But he got away with it, thanks to Alyssa and all his other rape apologist friends.

  77. Why I Left The GMP – Ozy Frantz's Blog
    Why I Left The GMP – Ozy Frantz's Blog December 13, 2012 at 12:46 am |

    [...] What In Holy Hell Is This? and And Just When You Think The Good Men Project Couldn’t Get Any [...]

  78. Boycott the Good Men Project
    Boycott the Good Men Project December 13, 2012 at 11:02 am |

    [...] Feministe, What In Holy Hell Is This? and And Just When You Think The Good Men Project Couldn’t Get Any Worse. [...]

  79. Fuck You, Rape Culture! « Caught in the Cogs

    [...] for Nice Guys. Nice guys don’t rape, but “Nice Guys” definitely [...]

  80. The Good Men Project is being awfully sympathetic to rapists | The Ingram Report

    [...] for the mixed messages about sex and sexuality.” Feministe later described the piece as “the worst thing I have read about rape all year — and that’s including the GOP’s pre-election bout of Rape Philosophy.” But that was [...]

  81. The Good Men Project thinks men are bad, easily confused

    [...] wish I didn’t have to follow the current rape apology fustercluck with Alyssa Royse and the Good Men Project (which, admittedly, I never paid much attention to anyway). I do think we [...]

  82. Friday Links, 12/14/12 « Tutus And Tiny Hats

    [...] even worse than their usual linkbait: a Good Men Project cross-post which you can read about here on Feministe (trigger warning for rape). I am so tempted to boycott XOJane, but…I [...]

  83. Rex
    Rex December 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm |

    You presume that The Good Men Project is actually run by men for men. In recent memory there have been numerous allegations that the site is actually run by some feminists as a false flag operation.

    The first allegations I recall were about a feminist approach to define men as what women want rather than what men want for themselves.

    At this point it does not surprise me that the site now has rape appologist material. Maybe its the feminists trying to discredit men, again.

    1. Schmorgluck
      Schmorgluck December 15, 2012 at 2:38 am |

      As a man, I feel discredited by you!

      I won’t even accuse you of failing at basic reading skills, since you’re so obviously dishonest.

    2. Cara
      Cara December 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

      You don’t need any help from feminists to look bad, bud.

    3. Jadey
      Jadey December 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

      That’s right – all the bloggers, all the commenters making obnoxious contributions of their own – it’s just an elaborate hoax! You caught us.

      Also, the world really is flat and all of the world’s governments are part of an improbably complicated and elaborate (but totally factual!!) conspiracy to convince us that it is round (the rest of their in-fighting and general incompetence at keeping secrets is *actually* just part of the scheme to make us think that they are incapable of such a plot!). Mainly for shits and giggles, but partly to fuck with the penguins, evil little fish-eating bastards.

  84. Ann
    Ann December 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm |

    Thank you so much for writing this! When I read this original article I felt really alone and upset, thinking she was supposed to be an example of the current feminist movement. It’s good to know that there are people like you advocating for us.

    I’m not involved in any “movement” about rape, and I’m not a blogger or an active feminist like the people she is insulting for attacking her. I’m just a person who has been in numerous situations growing up as a troubled youth in a big city where guys have repeated tried to get me to engage in sexual acts that I didn’t want to commit. (Some succeeded, others didn’t.) I vocally protested, said “no,” attempted to hold my clothes on my body, pushed them away, and attempted to leave. These things have happened drunk and sober. I’ve woken up with an ex-boyfriend who I hadn’t been with in years anally (and painfully) penetrating me even though he knew that was something that I didn’t do, awake or asleep.

    I’ve never once called anyone a rapist or reported anything– for exactly the reasons this author outlines here. They probably got the wrong message from me; I like to dance, I can be flirtatious, I may have been drinking, I probably sent “mixed messages.” Articles like this are just more reason that I, and many of my friends, wouldn’t even try to confide in rape crisis people or report these guys for abuse.

    It makes me really upset that this author could potentially be answering a call that I could make in a rape crisis. Yes, she does call him a rapist, but she also keeps talking about what the woman wore, what she said, and how sexual she was being, “all while looking my friend straight in the eye.” Even though she keeps backtracking to say rape is never ok, she is giving him an excuse by blaming society.

    If I were raped while drinking, while sleeping, or by someone that I could have liked in the past, would that mean she would be thinking this in the back of her mind while consoling me? Her poor “sweet” friend ending up having to “leave town,” and the vindictive women that give “mixed signals,” –even if she so kindly tells us that she doesn’t like to call them sluts.

    The author also talks in the comments about drinking being “a decision that makes them more vulnerable to harm and should be reconsidered,” then points out that she was “raped, at gunpoint, dressed and stone cold sober, sound asleep in my own bed by a stranger who broke in.” Clearly she has sympathy for people who couldn’t possibly be accused of sending mixed signals, so maybe she should limit her rape-crisis advocacy to only victims of stranger-rape, then.

    Would she feel just as horrible as I do if I had written an article about how victims should think about living in better neighborhoods, having better locks, and how pajamas are obviously a potential aphrodisiac so it might not have been the “sweet” guy’s fault? How far should we take her reasoning on this one?

    1. Moebius
      Moebius December 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm |

      They probably got the wrong message from me; I like to dance, I can be flirtatious, I may have been drinking, I probably sent “mixed messages.”

      Some people will probably call it “mixed messages” when you simply look at them – meaning you can’t control what messages they interpret in your actions. So the responsibility and the “problem” of finding out what you mean is theirs, and theirs alone.

      You write that
      I’ve never once called anyone a rapist or reported anything – for exactly the reasons this author outlines here.
      and
      The author also talks in the comments about drinking being “a decision that makes them more vulnerable to harm and should be reconsidered,”
      which in my opinion are two good examples for a very fine and very important line – the line between a) cause and effect and b) moral and legal guilt. A lot of people mix those two up, although I’m not even sure if Royse is among them (her quote from the comments making me consider that she might be, but I reserve judgement).

      The legal and moral guilt part is clear: There are things that are okay to do and things that aren’t. No matter how skewed the signals one has sent may be – if you didn’t say “yes, I want to have sex with you” and he nonetheless commits sexual acts, you are innocent and he is a rapist, period. There is no discussion. Someone may say “hey, you led him on and that’s not nice” but even if that were the case it wouldn’t change the least bit – it’s rape and he is a rapist. He is guilty, you are not.

      The other thing is cause and effect: Maybe the rapist wouldn’t have noticed you if you hadn’t flirted. Or if you hadn’t been drunk. Or if you had worn a burkha. Or if you had locked yourself in a bunker. But does that mean that you are to blame because you didn’t lock yourself in a bunker? Hell no!
      So yes, drinking is “a decision that makes them more vulnerable to harm and should be reconsidered” in that it may increase the risk that you become the victim. But that does not mean that you can be blamed in any way, shape or form for his decision to do something he has no right to do, to commit a horrible crime.

      To take a different example: If I look at a thug, he may feel “provoked” and therefore beat me to bloody pulp. Maybe it wouldn’t have happended if I hadn’t looked at him, sure. But looking at him gave him no right to attack me, much less beat me to bloody pulp.

      But those who get cause-and-effect mixed up with moral and legal guilt will stay say “of course you’re to blame! one does not look at thugs”. And by doing that they stop looking at right and wrong and accept the fact that he is a brutal thug as a fact that can’t be changed and that therefore no one should try to change. They look at him being a brute and me being a peaceful person and don’t see a meaningful difference. Which is fubab (fucked up beyond any belief). The minute someone starts blaming the victim he/she also abandons any notion of good and evil, lawful and criminal.

      Having said that, I’m not sure that Royse is among these people. Most of the time she talks about the cause-and-effect-part without any notion of guilt from the victim’s side (as she should). But when she talks about her friend, she shifts too much blame on society. Yes, we should tell everyone where the line between consensual sex and rape lies. Yes, some (very few) rapists may not know when they force themselves on their victim. But a) Royse’s friend is almost certainly not among those (and if he were, he would be too stupid to peel a banana) and b) every one of these rapists is intellectually very challanged or does not care about his partner’s wishes and wellbeing (in nearly any case both). So they may not have decided to be a rapist, but most (if not all) of them still are horrible persons.

  85. “Legitimate Rape” and the Good Men Project

    [...] rapists as victims while simultaneously turning blame on the actual victims. This is bad.Plenty has been written on this already. What I want to do here is place what the Good Men Project is doing in a bit of [...]

  86. Not-So-Good Men Project & Enabling Rapists « Caught in the Cogs

    [...] What in the Holy Hell is This? Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  87. EvaO
    EvaO December 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

    Well, I didn’t have time to read through all the comments, but I tried to look at most of them, so sorry if this has already been addressed.

    First of all, I would like to say that I agree with you that the rapist did not actually believe his rape was a result of miscommunication, but is actually saying it to get sympathy. (Though I do believe that the rapist probably didn’t think what he did was rape.) I believe, as you suggested, that Royse was too entwined with her friendship with the “nice guy” that she didn’t bother to consider that he was lying to her. Though you didn’t mention it, I disagree with her belief that rape is not a crime of power and violence. (Though Royse does explicitly mention that it’s not sex.) I believe that the follow-up articles TGMP put out by the rapist and defending the article by the rapist are in no uncertain terms rape apology at it’s most despicable.

    BUT I don’t think this piece was victim-blaming. She does point out the actions that the girl did that are typical to point out in victim blaming pieces, but at no time does Royse say that the victim put herself at risk with this actions or that the victim shouldn’t have done those things or that if women would stop doing these things they wouldn’t be at risk for rape. She doesn’t say these signals mean the situation was murky, she says these signals mean the rapist thinks the situation was murky. (I disagree with her but still.) She does not slut-shame. She purposefully says the victim is not a slut and she is disgusted by the thought. She says many times that this is definitely rape. That it is the rapist’s fault, and nothing justifies or excuses his choice to rape.

    I do agree with her conclusion that we do need to fight the cultural messages that allow rapists to claim it was all just a misunderstanding, not because the rapists actually believe it was a misunderstanding like she assumes, but because it causes many people who don’t rape to believe that rape is just a misunderstanding, and because it causes people like Royse to believe that the rapist thinks it’s a misunderstanding. Many feminists talk about the problems with rape culture without being called rape apologists. Her reasoning is off, but her conclusion is solid.

    I don’t understand why we’re making such a big deal about a minor quibble that rapists think their rape is a misunderstanding. The conclusion of the piece is a call to fight rape culture, our society that enables rape. This feels like yelling at the kid who says “homophobia is retarded.” We can talk about the bad, but we should focus on the good. She’s on our side.

    I don’t understand the problem with Royse saying that nice guys rape. WE should be saying that nice guys rape to get this idea of of people’s heads that rapists are all psychopathic monsters who jump out of the bushes at you with a knife. Nice guys DO rape. Friendly people rape. Famous people rape. Charismatic people rape. Charitable people rape. Even feminists rape. (Obviously they’re not real feminists, but they show up and talk like they are.) In no part of her article did she indicate that because she was friends with the guy and he was nice and he didn’t really seem like a rapist that maybe he wasn’t. She said he raped. If we spend our time pointing out the obvious that rape isn’t nice and a rapist immediately loses his nice guy card the second he rapes, we lose time in telling victims that even if he’s charitable and popular and famous and charismatic and a feminist and you really liked him and would’ve had sex with him in different circumstances IT’S STILL RAPE and HE’S STILL A RAPIST.

    I really don’t understand why we’re having such a big problem with this.

    1. EG
      EG December 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

      This has already been addressed.

    2. librarygoose
      librarygoose December 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm |

      She said, “If it walks like a fuck and talks like a fuck…” How is that not victim blaming?

    3. Moebius
      Moebius December 18, 2012 at 6:57 am |

      Hi EvaO,

      many of these points have been adressed. I thought (and still think) that Royse stated some interesting points while going totally off-track by using her friend as an example – simply because he isn’t an example for what she wants to tell. EG pointed out that in this case she’s a “piss-poor writer” (I’d say she did a piss-poor job at choosing the example, but maybe Royse is more manipulative than I think). EG and I also discussed the actual meaning of the quote librarygoose cited.

      To sum it up: I’m with you on many things you wrote (though not all), but that makes me part of a minority here. Most consider Royse’s article to be horrible rape-apology and think that there is not much, if any, good to focus on. And essentially, the discussion is already over.
      But I’d still like to answer some parts of your posting.

      Though you didn’t mention it, I disagree with her belief that rape is not a crime of power and violence.
      In almost any case I’d agree with you. But I think there are some cases of rape that start with the thought “we’re gonna have consensual sex”. We can discuss how few and far between they are (my guess is they are rarely brought to the police and quite a few of them are even missed by dark field estimates), but I think they do exist.

      I agree that especially the rapist’s article at TGMP was despicable. It’s difficult for me to label it as rape apology because I don’t think it can be used as an apology in any way, shape or form (though I’ll admit that I don’t have much knowledge about what constitutes rape apology and what doesn’t). If your choice is “I’ll continue to party hard, even if that means I’ll hurt people horribly” then you’re not only a bad person but someone who should be kept away from society.

      I, too, consider Royse’s article not to be victim-blaming, although some of her sentences would be if they stood in different context and/or a different article. That probably makes many people think that it is victim-blaming (@librarygoose: EG and I had a discussion about the sentence you quoted which you might find interesting; I’d like to add that in my last posting there I mixed up “undermined” and “underscored” due me being tired and not a native speaker).

      I agree with you that the cultural messages need to be changed – though not only to deprive rapists of their hiding places, but also to sensitize people about the actual line between rape and consensual sex and to thereby weaken rape culture.

      The argument about Royse saying that nice guys do rape is probably an argument about the angle of view: You are saying that there are rapists among guys that are considered nice. The others say that a rapist is by definition not a nice guy. But IIRC there is an agreement that some rapists on the surface can seem to be nice guys.

  88. Rape is Rape: How the Culture of Shaming, Stigma, and Victim-Blaming is Hurting Us | Our Stories Untold

    [...] of her piece was “Nice Guys Commit Rape Too.” On Feministe Jill Filipovic described  it as “the worst thing I have read about rape all year.” Then to top it off, the next week The Good Men Project published an equally horrifying piece [...]

  89. Northern Free Thinkers
    Northern Free Thinkers December 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

    I am a radical feminist. I enjoy my body. I was not raised in stereotypes, I’ve been having sexual relations with males and females for 30 years.

    Let me be very clear, I VERY much enjoy being woken up to sex (whether BF, GF, lover, or 1-nighter), and let me ponder that with … usually. There have been occasional instances when I did NOT feel like having sex, maybe I just wanted to sleep more. So I say “no”, and it stops. The previous seconds of trying while I was asleep and before I said ‘no” DO NOT CONSTITUTE RAPE. I am in bed naked with a guy I’ve been flirting with is something I ONLY DO if I want sex. If we were too drunk for sex and fell asleep and we want to have intercourse in the morning, that is totally in the realm of OKness.
    “Yes” and “no” verbalised are not the only allowable language.

    However, once I say no it’s get the fuck off or things are going to get messy.

    There is no one-way street in human behaviour, everything has two sides. And as much as I hate rapists and would kill the rapist before I’d allow myself to be raped, we females are players in this drama and we have exactly half the responsibility. It’s my body and I’m responsible for it, the buck stops here.

    So girls, if we don’t want sex, let’s not get into bed naked with guys we are flirting with. That’s just basic intelligence and to teach anything else to youth is to infantilise women, it’s not helping us.

    1. EG
      EG December 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

      And what if she did want to have sex with him? While she was awake. Most people, upon waking in bed with a person we want to have sex with, do not go straight to penetration as the initial move. Because that’s not how to initiate sex with somebody who is asleep. Had she woken up to him kissing and caressing her, said “No, not now,” and he had stopped, we would not be having this conversation.

      And as much as I hate rapists and would kill the rapist before I’d allow myself to be raped, we females are players in this drama and we have exactly half the responsibility.

      “Allow myself to be raped”–nice phrasing. You realize that what makes it rape is that you do not allow it, and that makes no difference, right? And no, we don’t have half the responsibility. The responsibility for rape falls on the rapist. The rapist gets 100% of the responsibility.

      So girls, if we don’t want sex, let’s not get into bed naked with guys we are flirting with.

      No changing your mind! No wanting some kinds of sex but not others! No expecting a man you like and trust not to violate your boundaries by sticking his dick in you while you are asleep!

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

      …I hate to title drop, here, but what in holy hell is this????

      And you’re a radfem, you say? Sure. I’ll be right out to accept the papacy, then.

    3. shfree
      shfree December 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

      Oh, fuck right off. I had sex with my rapist before I fell asleep in the same bed with him. It doesn’t give him the right to penetrate me again.

    4. Moebius
      Moebius December 19, 2012 at 6:13 am |

      Northern, you have every right to draw the boundaries of your comfort zone in a different place than anybody else. But you can’t generalise from your limits to anybody else’s.

      So, you’re fine with being penetrated while you’re still asleep. Okay, but other women are not. And technically, being penetrated while asleep is a sexual act without consent and therefore rape. If you don’t feel raped because you would have given consent to him going that far, that’s great for you. Yet it says nothin about anybody else and that’s why I for one would never touch my bedmate sexually while she was still asleep, unless we had negotiated that it’s okay.

      Yes, you are responsible for your body. That’s why you give consent or you don’t – your half of the responsibility is that you give non-ambigious signals and respect his or her signals. Your bedmates half is exactly the same.
      And yes, being in bed naked with someone you flirted with but don’t want to have sex with is risky behaviour, simply from a cause-and-effect point of view. But you still have every legal and moral right to expect your bedmate to wait for explicit consent. You, Northern, can waive this right for yourself, but not for anybody else. So, while your way to deal with your sexuality is great, I strongly disagree with your posting.

  90. Why the ‘nice guys commit rape too’ conversation is not helpful | Seattle Free Press

    [...] including myself, pushed back on Royse’s narrative. In response, the Good Men Project doubled down (and then tripled and [...]