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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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114 Responses

  1. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte December 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    Ding ding ding! I’ve said this in relationship to the atheist harassment wars: Harassers are quite aware of how the myth of “just flirting” gives them social license to operate, so we shouldn’t be surprised when they spend tons and tons of time trying to convince everyone else that a woman who feels harassed is overreacted to a well-meaning overture. They need us to believe women send “mixed signals” that men are too stupid to interpret, because that’s how they don’t get in trouble. So if a self-confessed rapist—or his enabling friend—tries to claim his victim is to blame for sending mixed signals, remember this: They are speaking for the defense. And should be treated as such.

    1. Computer Soldier Porygon
      Computer Soldier Porygon December 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

      How much you want to bet that these men who just can’t read all the CONFUSING WOMAN SIGNALS can tell when a dog is nervous?

    2. AMM
      AMM December 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

      Just wanted to give a shout out to Amanda Marcotte’s Very Fine Post: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/12/18/why-progressive-mens-movements-are-bound-to-fail/
      which says what I’ve been thinking all along about the GMP and NSWATM and the various “men’s groups” I’ve participated in and the like.

    3. Scruggs
      Scruggs December 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm |

      The whole “mixed signals” argument strikes me as such BS that it’s depressing to me how often it’s used. You need consent before having sex with someone. If you ask someone some variation of the question “would you like to engage in sexual intercourse with me?” I feel like you will probably get an answer that will be hard to misinterpret. Unless of course you can’t get an answer at all, because she is unconscious.

      1. anne
        anne December 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm |

        “Unless of course you can’t get an answer at all, because she is unconscious.”

        The official ruling in the De Anza case from the DA and CA Gov Jerry Brown was that the victim was too unconscious to know whether she’d consented to sexual activity.
        It’s also, of course, a rationale I’ve read from Reddit rapists.

        How do you even begin to work with that shit-for-brains logic?

  2. EG
    EG December 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

    I have been really liking your Guardian pieces.

  3. TomSims
    TomSims December 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

    More and more men are groomed to rape? I just left this site below

    http://www.feminist.com/violence/vawnews11.html

    and to my knowledge it’s not an MRA site, and it shows the number of rapes way down since 1993. While rape is still a large problem, the trend is hopeful and I don’t think it realistic to think all rape and other crime for that matter, could be eliminated completely.

    http://www.feminist.com/violence/vawnews8.html

    1. megara
      megara December 20, 2012 at 7:58 am |

      The study the feminist.com link cites–the National Crime Victimization Survey– is widely criticized as being a very poor way to actually capture rape and sexual assault prevalence. There is much better data out there– the National Violence Against Women Study and the CDC’s recent yearly studies. I am very wary of concluding that rape has decreased on the basis of their data. In fact, I would be wary of concluding that rape has decreased on the basis of most data–decreases could be due to people being less willing to report that they were raped because of a victim-blaming culture.

      Gotta run, but can try and find a link to a critique later.

  4. Shannon Drury
    Shannon Drury December 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm |

    I’m glad you’re hung up, Jill, and I appreciate all of your work on this. Keep at it.

    1. margiebargie
      margiebargie December 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

      ditto.

      Thanks, Jill. Keep going.

    2. Phil Perspective
      Phil Perspective December 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm |

      +3

  5. Esti
    Esti December 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    What I also found in the research is that when men with already-high acceptance of rape myths either see or believe that other men are coercing women into sex and perceive that sexual coercion is common, they interpret that as “normal” and are then increasingly likely to do the same thing.

    This is what bothered me about the whole debacle. Alyssa’s piece (and all her subsequent defenses of it in various comment sections) kept repeating that the problem was a miscommunication: the woman thought she was just flirting and she actually didn’t want to have sex, while the man thought that the flirting meant she wanted sex. But that’s a total non-sequitor in this story, because he didn’t try to have sex with her. Alyssa never, that I saw, acknowledged that fact: that there is a fundamental difference between sex and putting your penis in an unconscious woman. And every time she posted, I imagined the men who would read that and do what she was doing: equate penetrating a sleeping woman with a normal sexual act. The kind of thing that could be a misunderstanding. The kind of thing that large numbers of men could be — and are — confused about. The kind of thing that all of society bears fault for not making clear enough.

    I don’t know about all of you, but I don’t know *anyone* who doesn’t understand that penetrating someone who is completely unconscious (assuming it wasn’t agreed to beforehand) is not normal and is not okay. And every time Alyssa insisted that what her friend did was wrong but understandable, I wanted to punch something. There are (limited) situations where I can get on board with the idea that people legitimately don’t understand consent issues and that what they are doing is wrong. But this isn’t “I didn’t realize she was that drunk, she was acting normal.” This isn’t “she never said no or tried to push me away, and I didn’t realize I needed to get an affirmative yes.”

    The woman in Alyssa’s story was asleep, totally non-responsive, and he knew it. Insisting that’s an honest mistake isn’t just willful blindness (though it’s that, too), it’s telling men that penetrating a sleeping woman is a tricky area, that there might be some reason to think that’s okay if she “looked like a fuck” (seriously, WTF) before she passed out, that most men have trouble knowing if they should go ahead in that situation. I don’t think that’s remotely true, as an empirical matter. And I think it’s unbelievably irresponsible to send that message.

    1. Kasabian
      Kasabian December 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

      Hear hear, it’s a fucked-up, damaged, and downright irresponsible message.

    2. Miriam
      Miriam December 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm |

      The other rhetorical strategy Royse used was to repeatedly describe the survivor as acting but the rapist as being acted upon. Per Royse, the survivor flirted and talked about her sexy sex work history and sat on the rapist’s knee. What was the rapist doing while all this was going on? We have no idea because Royse doesn’t tell us. She tells us instead that the survivor sent signals (active) whereas the rapist received them (passive). This is another way to mask the reality that the rapist was the one who consciously made the active choice to rape while the woman was the one sleeping an in an actual passive state.

      1. Saurs
        Saurs December 19, 2012 at 2:40 am |

        Really good points, Miriam.

    3. SomeGuy
      SomeGuy December 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

      And every time she posted, I imagined the men who would read that and do what she was doing: equate penetrating a sleeping woman with a normal sexual act.

      I can only give you my own male perspective, but reading the article, I never thought that. Given the valid criticism, I’m no longer certain of my own, more generous, initial interpretation of her article, but as far as I’m concerned, I certainly never got the message from the article that ‘penetrating a sleeping woman is a normal sex act’. I actually thought Royse made that part pretty clear in the article, even though she claimed ‘miscommunication’ for her friend.

      1. Miriam
        Miriam December 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm |

        IMHO, she portrayed it as normal to think that penetrating a sleeping woman is acceptable. She was clear that the act itself is rape and not okay, but the majority of the article was downplaying the significance of that. By focusing on the survivor’s actions instead of the rapist’s, talking about confusing societal messages that “read so wrong,” and never mentioning legal or social consequences she encourages her friend to face, she portrays both the act of rape itself and the act of raping were portrayed as minor, understandable misdeeds.

    4. Alara Rogers
      Alara Rogers December 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm |

      One time my friend was telling me about how much he’d like it if I made him a chocolate cake, so while he was asleep I baked him a cake, and then he was snoring, so his mouth was open, so I just stuffed some cake in it. I can’t understand why he’s so mad at me! He out and out *told* me he wanted me to give him cake.

      Another time, another friend said she’d like to go skiing with me. So when she was passed out drunk I bundled her up in ski clothes and put some skis on her feet and then carried her out to the mountain and pushed her down the course. She says that was assault because I shoved her down a mountain against her will, but I was confused! She *said* she wanted to go skiing.

      Then there was the time my cousin and I were talking about how much my cousin really wanted to buy a Porsche. So after I saw him take Ambien and then get up from his bed and start saying things that didn’t make any sense, I drove him out to the car dealership to help him buy his Porsche. Now he says that the contract shouldn’t be valid because he was asleep, and he’s furious at me because he didn’t have the money to buy a Porsche, but come on, he was telling me all about how much he wanted a Porsche. I did him a favor.

      None of these folks talk to me much anymore, but I’m thinking that maybe if Alyssa Royse explains on a blog, maybe they’ll understand how it wasn’t really my fault. She can tell them about how I was legitimately confused because they told me they wanted something and then I gave it to them while they were asleep and it’s so confusing that people can want something and then when they’re asleep they don’t!

      I’d love to talk to her, because she won’t ask me why it was I waited until these folks were asleep before doing them nice favors, like everyone else does. I hate it when people ask me that question.

      1. Andie
        Andie December 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

        I want to cross-stitch and frame this post as an example of the best analogies ever.

  6. matlun
    matlun December 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

    Gah. I had not heard about the Steubenville case before. I think the local police chief sums it up pretty well

    “The thing I found most disturbing about this is that there were other people around when this was going on,” Steubenville Police Chief William McCafferty said of the events that unfolded. “Nobody had the morals to say, ‘Hey, stop it, that isn’t right.’

    “If you could charge people for not being decent human beings, a lot of people could have been charged that night.”

    1. EG
      EG December 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

      You know what? I find it immensely heartening that the police chief sees it this way.

      And now I’m saddened that I find that notable enough to be heartening.

  7. PDA
    PDA December 18, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    I’m not going to link back, but Lisa Hickey is doubling (quadrupling?) down on the “YOU CAN’T SILENCE US WHAT DO YOU **WANT** THERE TO BE MORE RAPES” meme over there.

    I mean, I get that comments suck. It’s a big part of why I quit pro-blogging. I get being defensive and bullheaded. Hell, I’m Sicilian.

    It just seems like at a given point you have to recognize when you’re just using the same defense over and over and over again, and wonder if maybe you’re missing the actual argument.

    1. Kristen J.
      Kristen J. December 19, 2012 at 11:18 am |

      Yeah, that recent post was something wasn’t it? I’m too pissed off by it respond with anything more than a string of swear words, but it just goes to show that they simply don’t get it. I mean deep down they don’t understand that framing matters. It would be sad if it weren’t so angry making.

  8. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

    The Stuebenville case, if you substitute “football team” for “sheriff’s kid”, reads almost like a replay of the Haidl case in Orange County: young woman passed out drunk, high school boys making a party out of sexually assaulting her, complete with photo and video evidence, almost without a thought that this will become evidence against them later in a criminal prosecution. The thing is, the Haidl jury in the first trial hung. It took a second trial to get a conviction because the first jury bought a defense that was slut-shame from the word go.

    1. Christina
      Christina December 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

      “almost without a thought that this will become evidence against them later in a criminal prosecution.”

      The question is did they not realise that they were actually committing a crime because they are so used to the idea that this is an appropriate way to treat women or did they just not believe the case would ever make it to trial, calculating that the support of the community would be enough to shield them? (fwiw my money’s on the first: obviously they would have understood that they were harming the victim and in that sense they willingly and deliberately committed a crime, but I doubt that it would have occurred to them that the emotional and physical well-being of their victim was important enough to warrant protection by law).

      1. Thomas MacAulay Millar
        Thomas MacAulay Millar December 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

        I think part of it is that teens really have organic limitations to their impulse control and ability to evaluate future risks. And I think part of it is that they put it in the category of bad-but-not-that-bad. I think if we could stop them in the middle and survey them as to what consequences they expected, they’d say if the school finds out they’d get suspended. I think they know it’s “wrong,” but they don’t think it’s that serious, because nothing in the culture tells them it’s serious. I think they’d say that a guy who jumps out of the bushes and rapes a stranger belongs in jail, but I think they think that raping a passed out woman at a party is not okay, exactly, but less serious. They are already doing things they are not supposed to do, like drinking underage and getting stoned, that they expect they might be disciplined for if caught. And being surrounded by other people who act like it’s small potatoes reinforces the notion that it might be “wrong,” but not really wrong, because everyone else is acting like it’s ordinary misbehavior and not a serious crime.

        But I really, really strongly suspect that gang rapes of drunk victims start with a ringleader who is much more invested in it, and then snowball to follower types, and that the ringleader had different motivations and is a predator as I usually use the term. I can’t back that up with research, at least not yet.

        1. Christina
          Christina December 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm |

          I think they know it’s “wrong,” but they don’t think it’s that serious, because nothing in the culture tells them it’s serious.

          This is exactly what I was getting at. It’s in the nature of teenagers to experiment with adult behaviour and, in this culture, this is what adult behaviour often looks like. This is the logical conclusion of a lot of the messages they will have received about appropriate expressions of male sexuality and it’s unsurprising that they would tend to apply that in practice. So while I’m sure they’d realise that adults would likely disapprove, I can easily believe that they’d have trouble understanding that that would not simply be because it’s not considered age-appropriate behaviour.

          But I really, really strongly suspect that gang rapes of drunk victims start with a ringleader who is much more invested in it, and then snowball to follower types

          Isn’t that how most group behaviours in adults as well as teens tend to unfold?

        2. EG
          EG December 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |

          They are already doing things they are not supposed to do, like drinking underage and getting stoned, that they expect they might be disciplined for if caught.

          And I think their ability to assess what is really bad is not helped by a culture that tells them things they know to be untrue: that drinking beer when you’re 19 is bad, that consensual sex when you’re 17 is bad, that smoking a joint is bad. I don’t think this lets them off the hook–plenty of people manage to tell the difference between getting stoned and raping someone–but as long as we’re talking about culturally confusing messages, I thought I’d throw that in there.

        3. Thomas MacAulay Millar
          Thomas MacAulay Millar December 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm |

          Well, EG, true. But I think they’re able to tell the difference between degrees of wrong in other areas. I think teens know that there’s a difference between letting your dog shit in the neighbor’s yard and killing the neighbor’s dog. So adults undermine their credibility by telling teens not to have sex at 17, but I think that’s a small part of the mix.

          What I think is a very big part of the mix is that they’ve got sexual assault on a drunk woman somewhere in the mailbox-baseball category of adolescent hijinx, instead of the kill-the-neighbor’s-pet category of awful fucked up things that decent people don’t do.

        4. EG
          EG December 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

          Yes, you’re right.

        5. LC
          LC December 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

          What is true, researchers have found, is that cultural opposition to rape myths makes men less likely to commit assault, and acceptance of those myths makes sexual assault more likely.

          Reading this, and the conversation Thomas and EG are having, it seems like in a twisted way there really is a “miscommunication causes rape” story. But not in the “we didn’t understand what she was saying” way so much as in a “we don’t understand why that’s so wrong” way.

          Which, as was pointed out, might have been an interesting article and conversation, but wasn’t what Royse actually wrote.

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 11:25 am |

          But I really, really strongly suspect that gang rapes of drunk victims start with a ringleader who is much more invested in it, and then snowball to follower types, and that the ringleader had different motivations and is a predator as I usually use the term. I can’t back that up with research, at least not yet.

          This rings so very true.

      2. Miriam
        Miriam December 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

        With the Haidl case, I think there was a combination of privilege causing them to feel they would never be prosecuted and contempt for Alisa causing them to believe what they were doing was acceptable. Greg Haidl’s father is (was?) the sheriff. The others were wealthy. After conviction, one of the boys (Kyle Nachreiner, I think) gave a quote in which he said he understood what he did would have been wrong to another girl, but not Alisa. The boys and their families did their best to portray Alisa as a girl who somehow deserved to be transformed into an inanimate sex doll, and I think that’s because that is what they all actually believed.

        I’d bet a similar dynamic is at play in Steubenville… that sexual assault is only wrong when it’s done against a girl you like and respect. It’s okay when it’s done to a girl you don’t care about. And note that in both cases, the perpetrators were partially right. The Haidl case took two trials to convict because the first jury deadlocked despite video evidence of the boys raping Alisa with their bodies and then laughing as they assaulted her with found objects. In Steubenville a few of the players have been convicted (two, I think) but the majority have not… including per the Jezebel article, three who admitted on the stand to taking and sharing pictures.

        Which ties back to why what Royse, Schroeder, and the GMP is doing is so incredibly dangerous. Throughout Royse’s initial piece, I kept waiting for the moment where she talked about what those painful and beautiful conversations (her word choice, not mine!) with her friend, the nice guy rapist had revealed about WHY a man would think it was okay to perform sexual actions on a sleeping, non-responsive person. I do think an article about that could have been interesting and productive, especially if it ended with her advocating her friend turn himself into the police and truly accept responsibility for what he’d done. Instead, Royse just went to victim blaming and seemed to think her friend’s self-imposed exile was too harsh consequences for what he’d done. And per her bio, Royse is rape survivor’s advocate! It’s so depressing because it feels like, what hope is there when you have someone who is a rape survivor’s advocate essentially carrying water for someone like Greg Haidl or the Steubenville rapists!

        1. Thomas MacAulay Millar
          Thomas MacAulay Millar December 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm |

          To me the really shocking aspect of Royse’s piece was that it read, like I said in the other post, like a collection of opposing flashcards shuffled together. There are statements in there that come from totally incompatible worldviews, that can’t share a brain without compartmentalizing. It reads to me like, confronted with the reality of her friend’s act and the contrast with what she knows one must say about rape to be antirape, she chose neither to reevaluate her friend nor her politics, but instead basically toggled between general repetitions of a politics I agree with, and totally inconsistent sentiments of support for the rapist. I pulled her writing apart into literally two different articles from opposing views. I’ll probably publish that.

        2. Anon21
          Anon21 December 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |

          In Steubenville a few of the players have been convicted (two, I think) but the majority have not… including per the Jezebel article, three who admitted on the stand to taking and sharing pictures.

          Correction: two boys are being held in pretrial confinement, but no one has been convicted yet.

        3. matlun
          matlun December 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

          Correction: two boys are being held in pretrial confinement, but no one has been convicted yet.

          Right. The trial is scheduled for February.

        4. catfood
          catfood December 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

          To me the really shocking aspect of Royse’s piece was that it read, like I said in the other post, like a collection of opposing flashcards shuffled together.

          Yeah, the Royse article didn’t really make sense even on its own terms. That’s why feminists saw, well, what was there, while at the same time GMP defenders were able to point to the not-evil parts of the same article.

          It also made the article somewhat difficult to attack coherently. I know I had a lot of trouble explaining why it was so wrong–talk about mixed signals!

        5. Schmorgluck
          Schmorgluck December 19, 2012 at 3:37 am |

          one of the boys (Kyle Nachreiner, I think) gave a quote in which he said he understood what he did would have been wrong to another girl, but not Alisa.

          Interesting, it seems to combine with the dynamics of collective bullying: the victim is deemed as an acceptable target to actions that wouldn’t be okay to inflict to anyone else.

        6. John
          John December 19, 2012 at 5:35 am |

          Christ on a bike, none of my friends or I thought it was normal to degrade a woman in this manner when we were teenagers. They knew what they were doing was wrong yet just carried on because they are little Gods locally who can get away with anything, just because they’re on the football team. Meh.

  9. LotusBecca
    LotusBecca December 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    Am I alone in wondering why any of us still think that the people at the Good Men Project might have “good intentions” at some level? We don’t assume that Todd Akin had good intentions. Personally, I highly doubt anyone at the Good Men Project has what I would define as “good intentions”–they are an MRA site (albeit an MRA site for self-identified “progressives”) dedicated to defending patriarchy. They are not making unintentional slipups. What they have been doing this week with their rape apology is a fundamental reflection of their pro-rape-culture values.

    Just now, I briefly perused the Good Men Project website to see if I could confirm my hypothesis that they are anti-feminist and anti-women. Here are some of the articles I found in the “Sex & Relationships” section for this month:

    –”The Appeal of ‘Bad Boys’”
    –”How to Date Me: A Field Guide for Men”
    – An article responding to a Hugo Schwyzer (!!) post on Jezebel, critiquing it from the Right. The tagline? “Lori Lothian explores the evolutionary biology behind why men cheat, and why women forgive them.”

    And so on. Basically, the sort of stuff that could be found on any Pick Up Artist webpage. So I’m all for criticizing these people, but I don’t think we need to do it with any caveats. They haven’t provided any evidence of “good intentions” as far as I’m concerned.

    1. jennygadget
      jennygadget December 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

      No, you are not. In fact, I think giving them too much leeway in terms of assuming possible good intentions is just a variation of the same miscommunication myths about rape.

      Well, they didn’t mean to hurt anybody…

      Possibly they just didn’t know any better…

      etc.

      At this point, I don’t care. If they don’t know enough to know that doing something to a woman who is unable to communicate =/= miscommunication (above and beyond the issue of the myth of miscommunication), then they shouldn’t be setting themselves up as any kind of moral authority. And I’m not going to assume or even suspect good intentions when they continue to do so even after this glaring oversight has been pointed out to them.

    2. Colin
      Colin December 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

      To be fair, not *all* of the articles on the site are like this. For instance there was an OK article recently about rape culture (which actually appears to give Royse’s article as an example of ‘rape culture’, but unfortunately doesn’t give a definitive rebuttal). I don’t know if the site actually gives any consistent viewpoint overall – there are many writers and I doubt they have secret meetings to agree the party line. But that in itself is a problem: if you give people a range of arguments to shop from, they’ll just pick the one that is most flattering to their own beliefs and ignore the rest.

      1. theLaplaceDemon
        theLaplaceDemon December 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

        And offering different opinions and perspectives doesn’t mean you have to give voice to every opinion or perspective. GMP posting a good piece about rape culture doesn’t cancel out Royse’s article, because GMP is putting those two articles on equal footing/giving them equal endorsements. It would be like they published a “birther”* article, and then a separate article arguing that birtherism has racist undertones. By putting both of them up you are presenting them as both reasonable perspectives, and I think we can all agree that birtherism is not a reasonable perspective.

        *birther = someone who thinks President Obama’s birth certificate is a fake and he isn’t actually eligible to be president. Totally debunked.

        1. LotusBecca
          LotusBecca December 20, 2012 at 12:10 am |

          I see how it is. Actually, we all know that General Secretary Barack Hussein Obummer wouldn’t have been re-coronated in November if the Kenyan secret police hadn’t used their reptilian shapeshifting powers to show up as deceased elderly people and vote in Florida. And Ohio, too, I guess.

    3. Sara Dalton
      Sara Dalton December 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

      I can’t say anything about most of the writers, but the editor in cheif, Noah Brand, at least used to have good intentions. When he used to write at NSWATM he was brilliant and unappologetically pro-feminist, anti-MRA. Now he just sounds pragmatic and wishy washy, in the e-mails he’s sent back to me when I tried to explain my dissapointment. I think he still has good intentions, but they’re not helpful because he fails to see how he hasn’t yet fixed GMP

      1. theLaplaceDemon
        theLaplaceDemon December 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm |

        I was a huge Noah Brand fan in the early NSWATM days, and had a similarly disappointing email exchange with him.

      2. LotusBecca
        LotusBecca December 20, 2012 at 12:32 am |

        I dunno. . .I never read NSWATM very much, but I do recall one article Mr. Brand wrote for the website that seemed pretty sketchy. . .basically along the lines of “a lot of women when they first get into feminism go through this phase where they are pissed off about everything and super bitchy.” That and he never did much to rein in the MRAs who came to rule the comment section at NSWATM. I don’t know. . .maybe he has good intentions and just is uninformed or inept. But I tend to think in situations like these you reap what you sow. I know for damn sure I’d never allow any website I was personally in charge of to become an MRA hellhole, like Mr. Brand has allowed with his websites.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 20, 2012 at 1:21 am |

          “a lot of women when they first get into feminism go through this phase where they are pissed off about everything and super bitchy.”

          Honestly, I agree with that statement, though I don’t see it as a negative thing. I think that if someone’s just had their eyes opened to the ever-flowing ocean of shit that women deal with in their lives and they DON’T get really fucking pissed off at least for a while, they probably have superhuman patience and should be, like, canonised or something. Wrath is a natural human response to injustice – and fuck me do we face a shitton of it! I don’t see why we should be getting all pissed off for someone telling us we’re human; seems to me that’s sort of the central tenet of feminism.

          That said, the rest of the stuff you pointed out is 100% valid and damning IMO.

      3. Amphigorey
        Amphigorey December 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

        Noah hasn’t said anything public about the GMP debacle, as far as I can tell. He defended the Royse piece to me by saying, basically, that he takes Royse’s condemnation of rape at face value, but he didn’t acknowledge that the rest of her article was defending the rape. So I think he has good intentions, but he’s not very good at analyzing what went wrong, which is kind of a problem in an editor.

        I don’t really understand why he and Ozy allowed the comments at NSWATM to become such an MRA hellhole, and that was true even before they moved to GMP. They took a much more hands-off approach to the MRAs than I would have, but hey, it wasn’t my blog.

        Since Ozy left, Noah is GMP’s last, best hope. He’s made no public statements, so I really can’t tell what his perspective on all this is.

  10. Calioak
    Calioak December 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

    I know lots of people who think penetrating a sleeping person is okay. I don’t know anyone who is stupid enough not to see the difference between “I didn’t say no because I was unconscious” and “I didn’t say no because I wanted to have sex” once it’s pointed out.

    1. Donna L
      Donna L December 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

      You do? They’ve said this to you? Have they explained why? I continue to be astonished that anyone could possibly think that.

      1. Colin
        Colin December 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm |

        They’re probably the people who say “I’d love it if I woke up to my partner doing that to me,” and think this somehow means everyone should have the same preference.

        1. grendelkhan
          grendelkhan December 19, 2012 at 10:47 am |

          Darn it, that actually makes (horrible) sense. When you refuse to understand consent, there’s no daylight between “I would enjoy that being done to me in one particular circumstance” and “I can do that to anyone, any time, and it’s cool”.

          My next thought is wondering if they’d actually enjoy being woken up by someone they were not interested in (wrong sex, ludicrously unattractive, etc.) violating them, but I suppose that’s missing the point.

        2. jennygadget
          jennygadget December 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |

          I also suspect a lot of these people are imagining being woken up gradually by someone who is trying to wake up them up with kisses, touches etc.

          When what we are actually talking about in this specific instance is someone very deliberately trying not to wake the other person up so that they will not consciously notice when they are being penetrated.

          There are possible consent issues with the first, but it’s very much not the same thing as the second.

        3. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon December 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

          I mean, I know people who like being woken up by someone having sex with them. I know people who enjoy a great many things during sex most people would consider unpleasant, if not horrifying. That’s all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t change the fact that you GET CONSENT FIRST.

      2. Bonn
        Bonn December 19, 2012 at 2:41 am |

        I would guess that part of it is the common notion that once you consent to sex with someone once, you’ve consented to it on every occasion from that point on. Particularly if it’s your boyfriend/husband, but also if you just fell asleep on the same surface as that other person (which can read to them as an invitation). I think it’s a lot more common of an idea if the two are in a sexual or even just romantic relationship together. There’s this sense of ownership over the body of the other person, and it leads to the idea that sleeping + sexytimes = okay!

        (Of course there are folks who will say it’s okay or it doesn’t bother them when their partner masturbates with their partner’s body while the partner is sleeping. But the key is that this is something that should be established, not something that should be assumed.)

        And I think it’s worth pointing out that there are still a lot of people (men and women) who believe that it’s impossible to rape your spouse or someone you’re sexually involved with. I was watching a show on Youtube some weeks back and got absolutely frustrated with the comments section (I know, I know, don’t read the comments) because there was a woman on there insisting that a husband can’t rape his wife and that a woman should just suck it up and get over it if the husband wants sex and she doesn’t. It was … depressing. (The show was about women who survived abuse from their husbands.)

  11. Cultures of Violence | Julie Gillis
    Cultures of Violence | Julie Gillis December 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    [...] I read these pieces by Jill Filopovic from Feministe, one is about why the situation at GMP matters. One is at the Guardian UK and brings up a horrific rape and assault incident in Steubenville, [...]

  12. Kristina M
    Kristina M December 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm |

    Wow. Mea culpa.

    I say that in the sense that the GMP argument seemed really reasonable- until I read the links provided to the studies. How eerily and creepily the predator rapists’ rationalizations in the study mirrored the rapist’s rationalizations in the GMP article. It gives me the shivers.

    Thank you for this post. Seconding the sentiment that I’m glad this bugs you.

    1. PM
      PM December 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

      I breezed through the article (final exams week) and almost considered posting it to a feminist board that I frequent. I was at least smart enough to wait to see what people like Jill were saying and, upon re-reading, found myself horrified at the article. I stopped reading GMP because of it, even though a couple days before that I had nodded and said “yeah, kinda makes sense.” Nobody’s perfect.

      Thanks, Jill, Thomas, and Ally Fogg if you’re reading this. You 3 opened my eyes.

  13. Cosima
    Cosima December 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

    I completely agree. What I find disturbing too is the “assumption” that these men are “nice” and it goes unchecked on GMP. People are complex and can be “nice” at work and go home and beat their kids. Just because these nice guys have friends who think he is nice, doesn’t mean that he is a kind person in all aspects of his life. For example, people thought Ted Bundy was nice. John Wayne Gacy was a clown for kids parties and events – people liked him. Philip Markoff (the craigslist killer) “wouldn’t hurt a fly” by his friends’ and girlfriend’s descriptions. Just because someone is able to present themselves in a socially acceptable “nice” way doesn’t mean that they are nice. Truly nice men ask if there are confusing sexual signals – end of story.

    1. theLaplaceDemon
      theLaplaceDemon December 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm |

      Honestly, I think the whole conversation about whether or not you can be a “nice” guy and still commit rape is a total derail. If you define nice as “always kind and pleasant to ME!” (which is basically what Royse was doing) someone can be a nice guy and rape, if you define nice as “doesn’t do things like rape people” then obviously you can’t be a nice guy and rape someone.

      And given how vague the idea of being a nice person is, coming up with some sort of consensus about What It Means To Be Nice, and whether or not you can rape someone and ever fall into that category…totally distracts from the important conversation, which is DON’T RAPE PEOPLE.

      I get that people want to move away from the mistaken belief that people who are charming and pleasant in public, or kind and sensitive to some people can’t do horrible things like rape other people. I get that it is important to get rid of the mental image of a rapist as Evil Cackling Man Hiding In The Bushes Ready To Attack. But arguing about whether or not you can be a nice guy and still a rapist gets way past the point really quickly.

  14. MYCLuciferase
    MYCLuciferase December 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm |

    Of course ‘good men’ commit rape, just as ‘good men’ commit fraud or murder.
    It’s just that at the point when their lust or greed or hatred blurs their reasoning and they step over the line to do these deeds, they are no longer ‘good men’.

    Totally agree that by blurring the line, this line of thought about ‘good men’ is enabling of rapists, or at least an apologia for them.

  15. thefish
    thefish December 19, 2012 at 12:15 am |

    Wait, what attacks have you been getting on Twitter?

    1. Radiant Sophia
      Radiant Sophia December 19, 2012 at 7:16 am |

      Considering your insistence of categorizing Jill as a rape-apologist:

      “I assume you would also agree with the statement “there is no ‘nuance’ about sticking the dick of an unconscious man in you”.

      So what do we all think about this piece of rape apology from Jill http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/09/19/is-it-rape-if-you-dont-mean-for-it-to-be-rape/? Can we finally stop taking her seriously now too along with the GMP?”

      I’m left wondering what, exactly your agenda is. It is certainly NOT what you have presented on this site.

  16. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 12:27 am |

    Jill…I just wandered over to Twitter to see what’s going on there, and… they’re accusing you of being uncivil now? Really? The “angry feminist” trope? REALLY?

    Wow, guys, you’re really heading for that bingo with Terminatoresque resolve. *slow applause*

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 12:30 am |

      I mean, fuck knows I disagree with you often enough and loudly/rudely enough, but I didn’t see any “attacking” going on in any of the articles. Disagreement, sure, but good gods, if that’s their definition of terrorism/fatwa/lynching/other racially inappropriate whingeing, fuck do they need some perspective.

      1. karak
        karak December 19, 2012 at 2:10 am |

        Did you see the Warren Farrell protest hysteria? A female protester, in a calm, but angry, voice told someone trying to walk in that he was a misogynist and a rape apologist. She didn’t threaten him, didn’t suggest she hoped something bad would happen to him, scream, or touch him–she slightly invaded his personal space and dropped the F-bomb a few times.

        Apparently THIS IS HATE SPEECH WORSE THAN ALL OTHER CRIMES, and proof of the virulent, insane feminist agenda.

        Dude, if someone telling you you’re an asshole and saying “fuck” in an angry voice is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, you live in a land of fairytales and candy.

    2. Li
      Li December 19, 2012 at 9:50 am |

      Gosh Jill. If you could just sit there politely and let the self-professed rapist explain sexual violence to you we’d obviously all be better off.

  17. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    You know, whenever I hear people saying shit like rapists were just “in the wrong place at the wrong time”, I see this in my head:

    http://static2.fjcdn.com/comments/its+rape+time+_6dab2f7508f8e6fd5db6c779185caaed.jpg

    Oh, just look at the time!

    Wrong time my portly brown ass. If they didn’t want to participate, they didn’t even had to “stand up” – they could have just left. They chose to stay. They chose to rape. They chose to mass-communicate their rape. Fuck their apologies.

  18. Stella
    Stella December 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm |

    The laws are pretty solid. As soon as a woman says no means no no matter what signals she gave before. What rapists think of feel does not hold up in court.

    The only problem is the underreporting of rape. The laws are there if somebody can testify that he or she did anything against her will it is rape. There needs to be some sort of campaign to encourage girls to report rape, which they are less likely to do, if the rapist is an acquaintance.

    1. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable December 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

      So, you’ve literally never read about like a single prosecution of a rape case in the US, right?

      1. Stella
        Stella December 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm |

        If a guy gets away with rape its because its her word against his, when there were no witnesses.

        Oh I see, this is about the US, then I guess the verdict ends in whatever way the drunken jury votes.

        1. Jadey
          Jadey December 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm |

          Does Stella finally qualify for a ban or what?

        2. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

          If a guy gets away with rape its because its her word against his, when there were no witnesses.

          So… like most rapes?

          How the fuck do you think most rapes are happening? Do you think rapists solicit a studio audience before committing their crimes? FFS, literally nothing you have said has ANY support. At all. Shut the fuck up and read about the shit before you talk about it on a feminist site.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

          If a guy gets away with rape its because its her word against his, when there were no witnesses.

          Yes, Stella, I totally agree! We should say that no rape is rape unless there’s four objective male witnesses saying it’s rape. I’ve heard they do that, somewhere in the world in a feminist utopia.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

          PA, sorry to correct, but

          How the fuck do you think most rapes are happening? Do you think rapists solicit a studio audience before committing their crimes? FFS, literally nothing you have said has ANY support. At all. Shut the fuck up and read about the shit before you talk about it on a feminist site.

          I think that version’s better.

        5. Stella
          Stella December 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

          If its his word against his and there is no further evidence to bring to the table, then its in dubio pro reo. But seen as this is about the US it does not matter how many evidence is brough fort, if the jury feels the girl was a slut who had it coming they can just vote not guilty anyway. Or vote guilty with no evidence to support the verdict. It really comes down to whom you have sitting in the stand.

        6. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable December 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm |

          Hah, approve the correction, mac. Totally fair.

        7. Donna L
          Donna L December 20, 2012 at 1:27 am |

          If its his word against his and there is no further evidence to bring to the table, then its in dubio pro reo.

          Sorry, but no. No corroborating evidence is needed for a rape conviction, beyond the victim’s testimony. The jury’s role is to weigh credibility, and it’s certainly entitled to convict based solely on that testimony.

        8. thefish
          thefish December 20, 2012 at 5:01 am |

          Oh I see, this is about the US, then I guess the verdict ends in whatever way the drunken jury votes.

          Not really. First jury’s aren’t normally drunk. Two, if the jury returns guilty there are appeals and such. A not guilty verdict OTOH cannot be overturned barring some extreme situations.

          However, that’s how a jury trial is supposed to work. Better than a judge sadly.

        9. Stella
          Stella December 20, 2012 at 5:42 am |

          Who gets to decide about an appeal? A judge without jury?

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune December 19, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

      What the actual fuck. Is this performance art?

  19. When love spells become rape | Works of Literata

    [...] the wake of other examples of supporting rape culture, this is especially important to me. There is a big, bright, bold, clear line here. There is no [...]

  20. Jamie
    Jamie December 19, 2012 at 11:48 pm |

    Preach.

  21. This is what rape apologism looks like | Toy Soldiers

    [...] do not take either term lightly, and neither does Jill. It seems to have bothered her enough that she keeps bringing it up. I want to explain this just so [...]

  22. bekabot
    bekabot December 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    I was sexually assaulted twice when I was in high school (though not afterwards). And I can positively guarantee you that the two guys who attacked me had the same thought running through their heads, which was: “I can get away with it. I know I can get away with it because nobody’s got this girl’s back. She’s not popular. She doesn’t have friends so she won’t have defenders and besides that, she’s quiet to the point that she’s almost a mute: she’ll never talk.”

    The first guy was right; I never did talk about that assault. But the second guy was wrong: I knew him better and therefore his actions pissed me off much more severely, and therefore (long story short) I saw to it that he got into trouble and that the trouble he got into was pretty significant (thereby surprising a great many people, some of whom thought I was overreacting).

    (Side note: when I finally went to the police about assault #2, I was surprised at how helpful the male policeman was and at the extent to which he took my side. That wasn’t the reaction I had been trained to expect. But, moving right along.)

    Later on in life I went through an interval during which I got drunk and stoned (not frequently, but often enough) and hung around with men, not all of whom got paid off with sex for their time. I would hang out in their rooms and doze on their beds and smoke their weed, and not one of them caused me any physical annoyance or indeed, got into my space physically in any way without my indicating first that I wanted him to. Something about me had changed, and to this day I don’t know what. I wasn’t far past high-school age, nor were they. But the: “I can get away with this and I know I can get away with this because the expectations I’ve been brought up to tell me I can get away with this” recording had stopped playing in their heads. That’s what the real difference was, or so I believe.

    The problem with MRA-themed rape apologism is that it nurtures that narrative. Men adopt this behavior not because women are drunk or because women are stoned or because women are careless (although I suppose that one could make a case that none of that helps). Men adopt this behavior because they think they can make it play. They think they can pull it off; they think they can skate. And here they have an entire cottage industry telling them not only that they can skate but that it’s society’s duty to allow them to skate. Not the best possible message, IMO>

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 22, 2012 at 1:23 am |

      But the: “I can get away with this and I know I can get away with this because the expectations I’ve been brought up to tell me I can get away with this” recording had stopped playing in their heads. That’s what the real difference was, or so I believe.

      Or were they guys who wouldn’t have raped anyway? Ones for whom that narrative didn’t stick at all? Not rapists who’d changed, but just … not rapists? Might they have been men to whom it would never occur to rape someone, who’d actually be revolted at the thought?

  23. tenlittlebullets
    tenlittlebullets December 20, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

    I quite liked Alyssa’s piece when I first read it, because it struck a lot of chords with how I was raped–namely, rape is not ALWAYS a crime of power and deliberate predation. It can be, and all too often is, committed with no malicious intent by somebody who is filtering everything they hear through the lens of Wishful Thinking and makes an incredibly poor judgement call on when it is acceptable to be a bit of an inconsiderate jerk, and when it CROSSES EVERY MORAL BOUNDARY KNOWN TO MAN. Many, many date rapes are crimes of self-delusion.

    And you know what? That’s useful information on how and why certain rapes happen and on how to stop them. It’s information I wish my rapist had assimilated before the incident, because she was horrified when she realized what she’d done and I doubt she would ever have made such a stupid, selfish mistake if she’d gut-level understood that ignoring sexual boundaries is VERY DIFFERENT from pushing other kinds of social boundaries in its potential to cause damage. And to, you know, make you into a terrible person.

    So Alyssa’s piece is useful in that respect. Where it failed is that it set up “Rape isn’t always committed by monsters out to hurt people; here is how not-ill-intentioned people can be drawn into it by misreading signals” without following through with “and here is a nice, crystal-clear bucket of ice water to throw over that thought process’s head, because in the cold light of morning, YOU are the one succumbing to a disordered thought process and causing untold damage by opportunistically misreading signals that would not be remotely ambiguous in a non-sexual situation. Our fucked-up society might make it easy to give into the temptation of thinking the waters are muddy, but here, I will make it easy for you: your desire to have sex does not trump her reluctance to have sex. Listen to what she’s saying and not what you want to hear. Treat sex as an opt-in activity, not an opt-out. Figuring out and respecting boundaries is MORE IMPORTANT during sex than during other activities, not equal or less. Ordinary people can be led astray by the societal license to misbehave, but if you are actually an ordinary person with no desire to become a monster, when you find yourself thinking like this the onus is on you to step back and go ‘WHOA, that’s fucked up.’”

    Figuring out how ordinary people can be led to commit rape is Really Fucking Important, but the dangerous part is that if it’s not accompanied by a dose of reality to stop those processes in their tracks, it is vulnerable to the exact same kinds of self-excusing wishful thinking that allow people to rape. Instead of a blow to rape culture it can be co-opted into perpetuating it. That’s what’s wrong with Alyssa’s piece–I don’t find it to be an awful excercise in victim-blaming rape apologism, but much like a qualified or non-verbal “no” (i.e. STILL A NO), it can be willfully misconstrued as such by the Selective Deafness Brigade.

    1. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
      The Kittehs' Unpaid Help December 22, 2012 at 1:25 am |

      “Treat sex as an opt-in activity, not an opt-out.”

      THIS.

  24. On careless conversations about rape and the Good Men Project debacle « Trial of the Century

    [...] won’t get into it in great detail (you can read some accurate critiques here, here, and here) but on the most basic level I think they chose poor examples to illustrate the [...]

  25. Marina
    Marina December 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    It’s fairly simple to me: Get him or her to sign a document that expresses consent to sex or don’t bother at all. Make sure to record everything so you can’t be accused of forcing yourself onto your partner, and NEVER settle for anything less but a resounding “FUCK ME RIGHT NOW” or you’re liable to get accused of rape. The rest is just noise.

    There’s simply NOTHING to excuse rapists of ANY gender or sexual preference, short of strange situations like both parties being intoxicated to the point that neither can give meaningful consent.

  26. The Kerfuffle, Part II (NoH) | Feminist Critics

    [...] Jill Filipovic (and Yes Means Yes contributor Thomas Macaulay Millar) posted several responses, here, here, here, and [...]

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