They put up this piece by a self-identified rapist, saying that he would rather keep partying and raping than take responsibility and stop (obviously trigger warning on the rest of this piece). I’ll tell you now: There’s nothing particularly insightful or interesting about the piece, which I’m not linking to because GMP is not getting any traffic from me (the relevant bits are copied and pasted below). It’s by a dude who parties a lot, and says that because he’s so inebriated and his partners are so inebriated he just doesn’t know when he has consent or not, so he is probably a rapist (and in fact one woman told him he raped her), but also he’s a good dude and doesn’t really know and this is all so messy, and he likes partying and has just come to realize that a little raping is the price of entry to his lifestyle.
Good Men Project editor Joanna Schroeder then actually manages to make the publication decision more indefensible and despicable by publishing her explanation of why the GMP published a rapist’s story. Again, there’s nothing particularly insightful about it. It’s that Joanna thinks that alcohol and drugs cause rape. Partying makes things confusing, she says, and it’s not a rape victim’s fault exactly, but it’s apparently not a rapist’s fault exactly either. Because these things are so confusing and messy and murky! And we must talk about it and figure out why rapist rape!
That question of “why do rapists rape?” has been the defense that both Joanna and Alyssa Royse have trotted out to explain the GMP’s victim-blaming rape-apologist spree recently. They aren’t trying to justify rape — they are calling rapists rapists!, they cry — but they’re trying to figure out why rape happens, and why the rapists do it. Which is why they have written and published a series of stories insisting that rapists are often just confused or inebriated, and are decent dudes who would not have done what they did without alcohol and without mixed, confusing signals from the women they raped.
The thing is, though, anyone with even an ounce of personal or journalistic integrity would do a five-minute Google search. If they did, they would come across this. And this. And many other articles that involve actual researchers and not half-witted internet pontificators examining why men rape, and how they get away with it. And what that research has found is that it’s a small number of men who commit large numbers of rape. And that yes, they do use drugs and alcohol — but they use them to incapacitate their victims, and they know that a rape-apologist society will make the exact arguments that Joanna and Alyssa have made about alcohol making this all very fuzzy and the rapist is really a decent guy and maybe if the victim hadn’t done x, y or z this wouldn’t have happened. Which is largely why I’m so angry at Joanna and Alyssa. I don’t think that they’re being intentionally awful here, but they are being exceptionally lazy and irresponsible, and they’re promoting well-known rape myths under the guise of “wanting to know why rapists rape.” You want information? You want to learn something? Look it up. Look at the research. Do your homework. It is there. Don’t put your rape-apologist hand-waving theories in our faces and then act shocked when people who have been doing this work for a long time are offended and are asking you to please learn a little something before you spout off this dangerous nonsense.
The Good Men Project has been a men’s-rights misogynist hellhole for a while now, and the fact that Alyssa and Joanna continue to write for them when everyone else with even a semblance of decency or commitment to women’s rights has left might tell you all you need to know. But for the love of God, GMP, can you just stop talking about rape? Please? You are wrong on every level, and you’re essentially breeding a community of men (and some women) who are seeing their own view that rape is confusing and maybe rapists aren’t wholly culpable for their actions publicly affirmed. That’s dangerous. It’s bad for the majority of men who are not rapists. And it’s particularly bad for the women and men who will have to deal with your rape-apologizing audience in the real world.
As for me, I obviously will not be reading or linking to the Good Men Project, and I will be similarly avoiding websites and publications that feature GMP rape-enabling employees like Schroeder. Won’t read ‘em won’t link ‘em won’t write for ‘em.
The relevant pieces of the GMP posts, so you don’t have to click through:
I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying
Alcohol and drugs dissolve clear boundaries of consent. Mostly that works out okay. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Editor’s note: This is a difficult article to read, and to publish. It is a frank, open confession about a certain commonly-accepted form of rape culture, and readers with rape triggers should probably avoid reading it. We at the Good Men Project do not endorse or support the author’s worldview, but it does speak to a very common experience that is often taken for granted and rarely talked about, except in vague and theoretical terms. We thank the author for being willing to speak openly about it, and share his struggle with his own experiences, though we want to make very clear that we do not agree with his conclusions.
When you party, when you move in party circles, you accept certain tradeoffs.
I swear to God, it is only after the fact that you start figuring out that one of the tradeoffs you’ve accepted is a certain amount of rape. The way crooked businesses accept paying fines for their infractions as the cost of doing business, you gradually, an inch at a time, realize that some of the stories you’ve heard, some of the stories you’ve lived, didn’t involve what they call good consent nowadays.
With what I’ve learned as an adult, I’m pretty sure I’m technically a rapist. Technically nothing. One woman told me herself. Our encounter was years before—I’d been in a drinking contest and she’d been drinking and flirting with me (yes, actually flirting) all evening. As blurry and fucked-up as I was, I read her kiss of congratulation to me as a stronger signal than it was, and with friends hooting and cheering us on, I pressed her up against a wall and… well. Call it rape or call it a particularly harsh third base, I walked away with the impression that it had been consensual, if not really sensible. (She had a boyfriend at the time, but their boundaries were fuzzy.)
Years later, she was in a recovery program—not for alcohol, ironically—and she got in touch with me during the part where she made peace with her past. She wanted to clarify that what had happened between us was without her consent, that it hurt her physically and emotionally, that it was, yes, rape.
We talk about who is and is not a rapist, like it’s an inextricable part of their identity. “I’m a Libra, a diabetic, and a rapist.” That doesn’t work, though. Evidently I walked around for years as a rapist, totally unaware. Nobody stuck that label on me, I certainly never applied it to myself, even now it only feels like it fits when I’m severely depressed. The label, the crime, simply coalesced for me one day, dragging years of backstory behind it.
That is the damnable thing. We all cluck our tongues at those evil bastards who force themselves on girls—or guys—who are insensibly passed out. At the same time, we all acknowledge that a glass or two of wine helps pave the way for a lot of good times. And in the trackless, unmappable gray swamps in between, we cough and change the subject.
In the real world, especially among experienced drinkers, being blackout drunk doesn’t necessarily look like being passed out on the floor, helpless prey for any passing predator. It can look like being drunk, but fully in control. It can look like being passionately excited. It can look like being a great dancer. It can look like being very sexually aggressive.
It’s not just booze, of course. Ecstasy makes everything incredibly tactile and you want to touch everyone. Weed makes some people insatiably horny. I had to fend off a young woman recently who was talking a mile a minute and sliding her hands inside my shirt, I was still together enough to tell she wasn’t all there, on what turned out to be a mixture of acid and cocaine. There is plenty of fun stuff out there, but mostly it’s booze. For the majority of people, it’s going to be drinking they have to watch out for.
A friend of mine once told me about a girl who he knew for a fact had only had two drinks. He didn’t know she was on prescription medication that amplified those two drinks beyond all measure. He thought she was just very horny when she wouldn’t leave him alone or take “Are you okay?” for an answer. It wasn’t until she kept calling him by the wrong name and couldn’t remember the right one that he realized she was not able to consent, and called a halt to things before they went any further. He says he had to dissuade her from pursuing things further, because she was really into it, apart from not knowing who he was or where she was.
“Can you imagine?” he tells me in horrified tones. “I was almost a rapist.”
How do I tell him that I was in a similar position and made a different call? How do I tell him that I am what he’s terrified he almost was?
Here’s the plain, awful fact: people can have more and better sex drunk than they can sober. Some of the best, most fulfilling relationships of my life have started out with joyously drunken sex. I’ve had amazing times, orgies sometimes, where it’s simultaneously true that everyone’s consenting and having fun, and that they wouldn’t be consenting and having fun if they were stone sober.
Those aren’t the times that bother me. The ones that bother me are the ones where I got loaded, had some fun with a lady, and then she never wanted to contact me again. Messages go unanswered, social contact is dropped.
There are men, rape-apologist pieces of shit, who will tell you that women cry “rape” every time they have sex they later regret. I carry no brief for those assholes. What eats at me is that there’ve been cases, more than one and less than six, in my life where either explanation would seem plausible. If a woman had consensual sex with a guy because they were both drunk, and later she decided he was a loser and she regretted it, she might refuse to have further contact with him because, hey, awkward. But if a woman was raped by a man who thought she was still capable of consent when she was too far gone, she might refuse to have further contact with him because, hey, rapist.
Some might think it’s monstrous of me to keep drinking, keep partying. But I have had so many good, positive, happy experiences because I took a chance and altered my state and connected with someone else sexually, it seems crazy to throw all that away. Do people who’ve been in car accidents give up driving?
When I sit down and think about it, it seems like I’ve accepted a certain amount of rape as the cost of doing business, and so have most of the people I know. And that seems like the most sick, fucked-up, broken solution to anything ever. And maybe finding it livable-with condemns us all to hell. I don’t know. I can’t even talk about it under my own name.
This is Why We Published a Rapist’s Story
Joanna Schroeder explains why it’s so important to understand the link between the partying lifestyle and sexual assault.
“I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” is an addict’s story.
If you’ve never truly known an addict, you may not know that at his or her worst, an addict doesn’t really care what happens as a consequence of their actions. As a friend, lover, or family member of the addict, it’s a dangerous and heartbreaking place to be. You wait for the call, the one that says your friend is dead or in a hospital or jail because of being drunk or high. It’s so common it’s become trite. But I’ve been to too many funerals of good men with bad problems to worry about sounding trite.
Today I want to talk about some of the things that people do when they’re drunk, high or otherwise living a party lifestyle. Things they may never do if they were sober.
“I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” is the story of a man whose partying has led him to do some very bad things. He admits to having raped a woman, and fully recognizes the fact that he may have raped others. Most of the time, he doesn’t feel like a rapist, because he never intended to commit rape.
Instead, he explains how the partying lifestyle creates a scenario where the already-confusing world of sexual consent is so blurry that it’s almost indecipherable. For instance, if a woman is begging for a man to have sex with her, and he knows she has only had two drinks, is there a possibility that the sex they have is rape?
In our anonymous writer’s story, the answer is yes. Seems crazy, right? She’s coming on to the man, she’s only had two drinks. But she’s disoriented and can’t remember his name, and she doesn’t know where she is. Turns out that she was on a medication that greatly amplified the effects of alcohol. So, while he would have been having sex with a woman who was saying “yes”, she was not in a condition to give actual consent.
It’s confusing. In fact, I’d call it a mess. It’s hard to ignore the sheer number of stories about people—both men and women—who have been raped in a “party” environment. Alyssa Royse’s controversial piece, “Nice Guys Commit Rape, Too” is about a man and woman who were partying together, flirting, and passed out together.When the woman woke up, the man was penetrating her. In the piece, we recognize that this is rape. It seems like simple basic knowledge that a person cannot consent to sex while sleeping, but somehow the man in Alyssa’s story didn’t know that, and his judgement was probably clouded by the alcohol and drugs involved.
That doesn’t make him less responsible for committing the rape, but the two confounding factors—the alcohol/drugs and the lack of understanding about consent—are so common in stories about sexual assault that they cannot be ignored.
Is it victim-blaming to say that alcohol and murky messages about consent may have contributed to these rapes? Many say “yes”, that a rapist is a bad person only out for his or her own gain, and that context is irrelevant.
But the real world is a harsh, cold place full of mixed messages, drunken desire, Ecstasy-fueled touching, and the rush of cocaine. The real world is a place where “no means no” simply isn’t enough.
The anonymous man who wrote this story is deeply troubled. He recognizes that as long as he continues to party like he has been, he is running the risk of being raped, and of committing more rapes. And yet he seems committed to continuing with that lifestlye. The writer needs help, and perhaps he is on the precipice of getting it. But as of now, he seems to think that most people who live this partying lifestyle also recognize the risk to their safety, and the safety of others, that goes along with excessive inebriation.
But do they really recognize that risk?
I think most of them do not. I would venture to guess that most of them do not expect to wake up being penetrated by a man they did not give consent to. I don’t think they expect to be pushed against a wall and so violently groped that it physically hurts. I think that’s just a story that this particular addict and rapist is telling himself to make it okay for him to continue partying—and raping.
But he’s not the only one. No, he’s far from the only one. People, particularly young people, are putting themselves in dangerous situations on a regular basis because of their partying. A few hours, weeks, or years down the line, the hurt and pain caused by these scenarios might become very real to them and they will start to see the ways in which they were taken advantage of—or took advantage of others.
We know that alcohol and drug use does not make anyone responsible for his or her sexual assault. However, we cannot continue to ignore the context in which many so-called “date rapes” and “acquaintance rapes” happen. (For the record, all rape is rape. Calling it “date rape” doesn’t make the crime any less horrific.) When you are drinking or drugging, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, your judgement is impaired. And for many, sexual desire is heightened.
This puts you at risk of becoming a victim, but also at the risk of becoming a perpetrator, as your inebriation may make it unclear whether the consent you feel you have is actually consent. The anonymous man who told the story we published today never set out to be a rapist, but because of his partying, he became one. As did Alyssa’s friend in “Nice Guys Commit Rape, Too” and Maria in “Why It’s Dangerous to Say Only Bad Guys Commit Rape”. Three people, who up until that one moment, had considered themselves good people, harmed others because of a mix of their own boundary issues, society’s messed-up messages about consent, and alcohol or drugs.
We cannot ignore this reality any longer. Dismissing all these folks as “bad guys” only serves to feed the problem, because the reality of rape is that most often it does not look like what we think it does—a psychopath with a weapon and intent to do harm. More often, it looks like what happened with Alyssa’s friend, or Maria, or this guy, who believes that the risk of rape is a part of the partying lifestyle.
When will we truly start to discuss the role alcohol and drugs play in sexual assault? When will we explain—without shaming or victim-blaming—to young people the risk they are taking when they over-indulge?
As long as we continue looking at people who commit rape through this black and white lens of “good” and “bad”, we won’t be able to see how close many of us are to becoming victims… or even rapists.
- Why the Good Men Project debacle matters. by Jill December 18, 2012
- The Absence of No: Re-considering the Yes focus in critique of rape culture by Guest Blogger June 15, 2010
- BDSM’s Rape Problem And How To Fix It: Summary Of “There’s A War On” Series by Guest Blogger June 20, 2012
- How Do We Stop Rape? by Jill April 11, 2006
- Women Speak on Rape by Lauren June 16, 2005