Sex + Cookies 2.0 | Episode #3: “Consent Lies”

This is a guest column by Sex + Cookies 2.0, whose advisers include Feministe contributor Echo Zen and students who’ve been pushing sex-positivity since before Tumblr made it cool. We’re stoked to be Feministe’s first relationship vloggers.

A well-meaning mother****er at one of our schools recently suggested that integrating consent into sex education should prevent rape, because it helps date rapists to understand what consent does and doesn’t look like. Bollocks, we say. Whilst teaching consent does create a more feminist, hostile environment for rapists who try operating without being called out, it’s not the same as educating date rapists to recognise signs of consent – because rapists in fact know damn well what consent looks like, despite claiming they just didn’t realise their dates said no. And coincidentally, that’s the topic of this episode…

Sex + Cookies 2.0 | Episode: “Consent Lies”

Okay, someone emailed this message to us…

“You should make an episode on recognising the signs that someone doesn’t want to have sex. You know how most rapes are actually committed by acquaintances, who didn’t get consent.”

Now hold on a minute. We take issue with the notion that rape happens because a rapist doesn’t know how to read the signs. In fact, the vast majority of studies indicate the opposite is true.

According to the U.S. Justice Dept, almost 90 percent of (campus) rapes are committed by friends or family. Are all these attackers simply too clueless to realise their victims didn’t give consent?

In 2007, a study of male students found evidence to the contrary (O’Byrne, Hansen & Rapley). In the study, virtually all men reported recognising the signs of refusing sex, be it through body language or verbal cues. In fact, they would use these same signals to deny sex to women who made passes at them.

However, when confronted by women saying no to sex using these same signals, the men did a complete reversal. Suddenly they claimed body language and verbal cues weren’t enough. Unless a woman fought back or screamed no, it wasn’t sexual assault.

Instead, women who were raped because they didn’t protest strongly enough were responsible for their own rapes. Talk about victim-blaming.

The takeaway message here is that men (i.e. male rapists) do understand what “no” looks like. They just don’t care if women are the ones saying no, because their consent just isn’t as important.

Other researchers have found rape to be far from an accident committed by clueless friends. In fact, multiple studies involving thousands of everyday men support a more disturbing conclusion. Their findings indicate 5 to 10 percent of men engage in actions meeting the criminal definition of rape (McWhorter).

However, these men are responsible for over 90 percent of rapes against women in their cohort (Ibid, Lisak & Miller). When the average date rapist commits 6 rapes before stopping or being stopped, it’s impossible to argue it’s an accident.

Concisely, the idea that rapists rape because they’re naïve, clueless blokes who misunderstand what consent looks like… is bull****. And if we sound like angry bra-burning feminists today, it’s not because we ran out of bras to burn or because we don’t like when well-meaning teens ask questions.

Actually the real reason is more mundane. When we teach at schools, our (rightful) job is to be impartial and nonjudgmental. Thus, someone might say, “I don’t see the problem here… if she doesn’t want it, she should say no.” And rather than torching the wanker for victim-blaming, we facilitate the discussion so (women) peers can school him on how there are reasons girls can’t always verbalise no.

But a mistake we think we’ve been making with these initial episodes is applying that same impartiality to this vlog. True, in a school setting, we can’t expect everyone to know off the top of their heads that nice guys differ from Nice Guys™, or friend zones are a form of rape culture. But that’s not true of the blogosphere… or vlogosphere, or whatever. If someone mansplains on the Internet, then acts confused when called out on it and asks to be educated on what he did wrong, especially when Wikipedia is sitting right there… frankly he deserves all derision thrown his way.

Yes, Jill’s blog is educational, like uni, minus the absurd tuition (if you’re stuck in American college hell). But vlogging here should be… for fun. Nobody watches a vlog just for education, especially when it would be easier to read an article on the same topic. It’s something we think we lost sight of as we focused on the technical nuts and bolts, and of which we were reminded after the muted response to our previous episode.

So for the next few episodes we’ll try experimenting with a shift in tone, away from stuffy English detachment (though we can’t fire our English narrator till we find an alternate), toward a more sarcastic, profane attitude. Maybe it’ll be for the better, or end up being a bad idea – our adviser thinks sarcasm is a terrible advocacy method, even if it works online for Jezebel. But there are no sacred cows we can’t touch (yet), so we’ll see how it goes…

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219 Responses

  1. ldouglas
    ldouglas October 14, 2013 at 10:19 pm |

    I can’t even begin to describe all that’s wrong with this.

    Of course many, many rapes are committed by people who chose to ignore or override a lack of consent. The idea that every one of them is, is stupid.

    Your argument that

    The takeaway message here is that men (i.e. male rapists) do understand what “no” looks like. They just don’t care if women are the ones saying no, because their consent just isn’t as important.

    is utterly ignorant. Rapes don’t only happen when someone says no, they sometimes happen when someone doesn’t say yes. Of course people know what a no looks like. That doesn’t mean they know to ask for a yes, instead of thinking ‘I didn’t hear a no, which means yes.’

    Maybe people should know that, or be able to figure it out. Guess what? A lot of people are stupid. A lot of other people are not stupid, but are ignorant. A lot of people have been told that women who say no are playing ‘hard to get.’ A lot of people believe — and call them stupid, or ignorant, or misogynistic, or whatever you want, but they believe – that sex with your sleeping partner OK, because they consented to sex at any time by consenting to be your partner. And while there are some people in these categories who will not stop believing these things if you explain consent to them, there are some people who will change their minds. I know because, before someone explained consent to me, I was one of them.

    In other words, by teaching these lessons, you will stop rapes from happening. Is your ideological purity more important to you? Speaking as a survivor, I will probably hold that against you.

    If that doesn’t explain it clearly enough for you, let’s try the specific instead of the general.

    At one point in my life I went home with someone I found attractive, and who was very drunk but very actively trying to have sex with me. And as I was in the process of getting ready to have sex, the thought crossed my mind that hey, this person is really drunk, and despite the fact they seem to want to have sex, I’ve been told over and over that this isn’t good enough to count as consent. And so I didn’t have sex with them. And thank god I didn’t, because as it turned out, they were not only drunk but blackout drunk. I consider myself a fairly good person. I try to live by the moral code that makes sense to me. But if I didn’t have a clear understanding of consent at that point, I absolutely believe I would have ethically- if not legally- been guilty of rape.

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm |

      In other words, would teaching about consent stop all, or even most, rapists? No. But it would’ve stopped my ex from thinking I’d like it if they performed oral sex on me while I was sleeping. And I think many, many rapes are like that– violations of consent. Not the ones that get reported, or make it into studies, probably.

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra October 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm |

        Thank you for saying everything I was thinking in the first comment.

    2. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah October 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm |

      I agree with this, to a point. I do think that there are young men and women who really do NOT understand about the need for enthusiastic consent and think that reading body language, waiting for a no or verbal cues to a no is enough. I honestly had a four plus hour conversation with two young male relatives (20 and 18) about this and it was agonizing for me. It hurt pretty badly, as a woman, to hear what they thought was consent and to hear some of their victim blaming. At one point we were talking about how they had never even met someone that was sexually assaulted by a friend, so how do we know that it REALLY happens that frequently and I had to tell them…yes, you do know someone. “I am sitting right here. You know me.” It was so awful. BUT, the end game was that I THINK they understood by the end of the conversation that what they should be doing is having open communication with sex partners and potential sex partners about what that person is comfortable with and what their expectations are regarding the relationship or lack thereof. I THINK that they came away with the idea that it is never okay to assume that the lack of a no means yes or that a person getting naked means yes. We discussed different ways to talk about whether the other person wants to have sex (“Should I get a condom?”) and we discussed how you don’t want an encounter to be one that someone regrets, on either side, so if you are in doubt as to whether the person is sober enough to consent…don’t do it. These are really not bad guys, but they are totally immersed in rape culture. I think there is a place for that kind of discussion and I am glad they had it with me and not with women that are younger and that shouldn’t have to deal with the hurt and anger that comes up when having to explain something that feels like it should be obvious (and I think it should be obvious…but it wasn’t to them so…there you have it).

  2. Adams
    Adams October 14, 2013 at 11:32 pm |

    I wholeheartedly agree with the above poster. A huge amount of men understand that no means no. But many of them don’t understand that it takes a yes to mean yes. I can’t understand how teaching that it takes a yes to mean yes is a bad thing. It just seems too dogmatic to be against teaching men more about consent.

    1. EG
      EG October 15, 2013 at 8:20 am |

      Nobody is saying that it’s a bad thing to teach in, say, a school sex ed setting. In fact, the OP specifically says that’s a good thing. But this is a different context and these videos have a different aim and a different target audience.

  3. Pseudonym
    Pseudonym October 15, 2013 at 3:17 am |

    I think that relatively few rapes happen due to sincere misunderstanding of consent (including perhaps those situations in which someone is unable to give consent), but those are “legitimate” rapes too, dammit.

    1. EG
      EG October 15, 2013 at 8:17 am |

      The OP notes that. If 90% of rapes are committed by 5-10% of men, men who are predatory assholes, that means the other 10% are not.

      1. ldouglas@gmail.com
        ldouglas@gmail.com October 15, 2013 at 10:59 am |

        The study explicitly defined rape in a way that includes only a) violence or threats of violence and b) people who are totally incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, to the point they can’t resist. And now, it’s being cited as applying to ‘all’ rapes.

        This is so fucked up it hurts. Yet again, people are making arguments about rape in a way that excludes huge numbers of survivors (one of whom is me), because it makes for better political rhetoric. I guess I should have gotten used to internet feminists preferring ideological purity over actually helping people, but the sting never quite goes away.

        1. Ally S
          Ally S October 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm |

          Yet again, people are making arguments about rape in a way that excludes huge numbers of survivors (one of whom is me), because it makes for better political rhetoric.

          And what are you basing that on?

        2. Ally S
          Ally S October 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm |

          Sorry, the unbolded sentence was the one that was supposed to be bolded.

        3. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

          Still getting my thoughts in order for a fuller response to the OP and this thread, but I wanted to say two things.

          1. @ldouglas – While I think I see what the OP was aiming at and trying to do, and am mostly in agreement with certain specific things as they apply to many but not all rapes/rapists, I do want say I hear you. As another survivor of assault that doesn’t fit the standard categories neatly and that probably wouldn’t find itself included in these studies, I hear you on the sense of feeling left out yet again. The universalizing language in the OP turned me off too.

          2. @Ally – I can’t speak for ldouglas, so this is just from my perspective: but your comment is making me uncomfortable as a survivor. I sincerely doubt you intend this (and maybe I am being hypersensitive right now), but the gesture of accusation/’prove it’ I can’t help but hear in the comment, directed at a rape survivor regarding their experience of being a rape survivor in rape culture, is…getting near a tender spot? Rubbing me the wrong way? I’m not sure how to phrase it properly right now as I’m tired and feeling a bit triggered. (I’m trying not to be ranty at you here, since I know you as a regular commenter and am taking you on good faith. But I want to be honest here.) But can you see why that might not be the best gesture to meet a rape survivor’s expression of hir feelings with? (And maybe you didn’t intend that gesture there at all. But as written it rings that way to me.)

          As I said above, I think I get what the OP is going for, and I’m not entirely disagreeing with it – just with the fairly universalizing way in which it presents things. So I can see that there may perhaps be no actual intention of ‘ideological purity’ at work there (not sure I fully agree with that reading, but I can see it).

          But regardless of the intentions behind the OP, given the fact that survivors here and elsewhere repeatedly face blowback for critiquing the standard model of rape that is a feature of the video/OP, I can totally see why ldouglas would suspect a similar dynamic to be at work here. And recalling the recent nastiness on the Rape and Power thread in particular, I have to say that’s hardly an unreasonable way to feel, regardless of the OP’s intentions – or the intent behind the defenses of it in this thread, which are leading me to feel a bit the same way myself. Sometimes I just want to hear someone simply say ‘you know, even if we didn’t intend it that way or thought the context justified speaking that way, we hear you on feeling left out/too-universalizing language. We’ll do better. We’ll make a better model with you.’ Period. Why does it have to be a debate every time about whether or not survivors are justified in raising a critique of the model in this or that particular context/instance? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to focus on making the model more inclusive even in contexts where the need for that isn’t the central issue? So I think I get where ldouglas is coming from.

          Are we going to suggest that every rape survivor who feels left out of a discussion of rape needs to prove that their interpretation of why they feel this way is the correct one? Or can we maybe recognize the fact that they feel left out and work on correcting this, even in cases where their individual suspicions as to why might be totally off-base?

          Again, just my POV as a survivor, not attempting to speak for anyone else. ldouglas, if I’ve intruded here or anything, I’m sorry. But I wanted to say I’m with you.

        4. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon October 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm |

          Feeling some serious ‘Rape and Power’ thread deja ju, but thank you moviemaedchen.

        5. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

          Feeling some serious ‘Rape and Power’ thread deja ju, but thank you moviemaedchen.

          This. Why is this a perpetual problem in this space?

          Not all rapists are evil monsters with an agenda. It makes it really easy to simplify it to black and white when everyone makes a “no” sound like it’s happening in some monochromatic scale. Using language that universalizes the “typical” rapist erases experiences, and it’s kind of like conflating people who, say, kill their children in cold blood with women who are incapacitated with postpartum psychosis. The actions are reprehensible, and while some people who, IMO, lack critical thinking, want to use these factors to mitigate the crime, it doesn’t actually help the victim.

          But going in the opposite direction and acting like every rapist is a violent criminal who hides in the shadows while cackling – I’m not certain what that does for anyone.

          But here’s the part that kills me – so teaching consent won’t help victims of 90% of rapes? So what, the last 10% of victims of sexual assault (some of whom are on this thread, one of whom is me) are so fucking unimportant that you abandon the idea of education as posed in the question because you have to make a point about violent criminals? Fuuuuck that. And fuck anyone who thought that was a good idea.

        6. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 15, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

          And a quick follow up? If the point of the vlog is to address that question, here’s another option:

          Point out the stats you want to point out, but then answer the question. Will education help the remaining 10%? Why or why not? What would that education look like?

          And frankly, I want people so informed about sex, consent, and rape that it’s fucking embarrassing for a rapist to say, “But she didn’t say no.” That’s my ideal view of consent education. I want people to react to rapists the way we react when people have unprotected sex and catch an avoidable STD – we expect them to deal with the consequences because this shit has been spouted at you since you were 10 (with allowances that not everyone had my exact experience).

        7. Ally S
          Ally S October 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm |

          can you see why that might not be the best gesture to meet a rape survivor’s expression of hir feelings with?

          I understand. While I was only reacting negatively to the assumption of bad faith among the people citing that study (I’m used to seeing that among a lot of anti-feminist/MRA trolls), I can see that my comment was very inappropriate despite my intent.

          ldouglas, moviemaedchen, and anyone else who may have found my comment upsetting and insensitive: I’m very sorry for making that comment.

        8. theLaplaceDemon
          theLaplaceDemon October 15, 2013 at 11:17 pm |

          Thanks Ally. Can’t speak for anyone else, but I really appreciate it.

        9. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm |

          So what, the last 10% of victims of sexual assault (some of whom are on this thread, one of whom is me) are so fucking unimportant that you abandon the idea of education as posed in the question because you have to make a point about violent criminals?

          That is the source of my comment re: ideological purity.

          Thank you, Ally. And thank you, everyone else who responded.

        10. EG
          EG October 16, 2013 at 10:07 am |

          So what, the last 10% of victims of sexual assault (some of whom are on this thread, one of whom is me) are so fucking unimportant that you abandon the idea of education as posed in the question because you have to make a point about violent criminals?

          No. The OP doesn’t abandon that idea at all–the OP actually says it would be a good idea in the context of a school sex-ed class. Is it a good idea in the context of this particular vlog, is the other question, or does it get a separate episode of its own, to emphasize that it’s really not the same issue at all? Given the length of a vlog, and the fact that you can’t force somebody to sit through all of it like you can a school sex-ed class, it’s a different answer.

        11. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |

          – @Ally: Thank you. I appreciate the apology.

          — As to the question of not/abandoning education and maybe doing another episode about that or whatever…. A lot of my frustration I think is coming from 1) the fact that that does nothing about the current problem of universalizing language in the OP , which is not a new problem in this space by any means, and 2) somehow whenever the issue of rape comes up in this space, it’s always about the standard model and the same two studies, and any space or attention devoted to survivors who don’t fit those neatly has to be clawed out by them. Somehow it’s never actually about us, no matter how many times a line may be shoved in somewhere about “most not all” or “yes that’s important too” (back to ignoring the issue).

          My question is, if the standard model and the standard ways of talking about rape keep running into the same problems with people feeling excluded, maybe we need to just sit down and think about why that is, and if need change the fucking model so that it doesn’t encourage people to think in exclusionary ways. Because even if technically there is ‘room’ in the model for other experiences, if people keep talking about it and using it in the same exclusionary ways, then maybe the model encourages that behavior even without necessitating it. (That or there is some other dynamic at work around the model that needs to be teased out and looked at, and that also is not going to happen unless we look at what is actually going on and asking hard questions.)

          And if that’s so, then the thing has to go and something new put in its place. I for one am tired of going through same shit-show every time where survivors are told that no, this time it really is ok that they are yet again being left out, because xyz context. Sure it’s true that you can’t put everything into one vlog post or make someone sit through it, but that’s not exactly the only thing going on here. Looking at what makes it into such posts again and again, what patterns exist in the treatment of the subject and of survivors, is also fucking important. Why is it more important to once again talk about what gets talked about in virtually every piece on rape here, than it is to talk to and about survivors and situations that don’t usually make it into those pieces? Why are we always an afterthought, instead of being a real part of how the issue of rape is handled from the outset?

        12. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

          I just went back and read the ‘Rape and Power’ thread, and holy shit, it’s the exact same thread all over again.

        13. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |

          @ldouglas

          Yeah, it’s like getting stuck in a really shitty time warp. Post about rape? Here we go again. This time with bonus strawmanning and implying that rape survivors are coddling rapists by asking to be included in discussions of rape!

        14. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon October 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

          But going in the opposite direction and acting like every rapist is a violent criminal who hides in the shadows while cackling – I’m not certain what that does for anyone.

          This is interesting to me because I always feel a bit left out in feminist discussions about rape and assault BECAUSE all of my assaulty experiences have been stranger encounters (violent or non-violent). And then when I read things on feminist blogs, I feel somewhat shut out because the number of stranger rapes is presented as so vanishingly small that it’s not even worth talking about, and that doesn’t jive with my personal experience at all (not just thinking of myself, but other people I know who have the experience of the violent, random attack).

          But I also understand that, statistically, the stranger-in-the-bushes isn’t the way it happens, and I understand why discussions happen this way. But at the same time, I feel like in feminist discussions it’s often, like, the thing that happened to me is presented as so supremely unlikely that talking about it is basically a nonstarter, like it’s basically mythic.

          I dunno, I’m not actually too fussed about this but it’s interesting to think about

        15. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 6:27 pm |

          @Computer Soldier:

          I’m sorry you also feel left out in these discussions, and it’s good that you bring up the other side of what often gets left out of the ‘rape is done by non-strangers who consciously ignore consent’ push – those survivors whose experiences fit that particular narrative of stranger rape that is dominant in rape culture and which the above narrative pushes against. I don’t think any particular experience of rape ought to be left out of the range of conversations or always treated as a nonstarter, no matter how small the percentage. Even in situations where one or another type of rape is not being directly discussed, simply avoiding universalizing language about “rape [unqualified] is” can at least make room for those survivors and those experiences to exist.

          I’m curious to know if you have any suggestions for how pushing for inclusion of experiences like mine, ldouglas’, etc. can specifically also include or at least be sure to leave room for experiences like yours, as well as those of survivors whose stories do fit the current feminist model. (If you feel like giving suggestions, that is, I don’t mean to make a demand.) And if anything I’ve said in particular has led you to feel excluded, I’m sorry.

        16. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon October 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

          I’m curious to know if you have any suggestions for how pushing for inclusion of experiences like mine, ldouglas’, etc. can specifically also include or at least be sure to leave room for experiences like yours, as well as those of survivors whose stories do fit the current feminist model. (If you feel like giving suggestions, that is, I don’t mean to make a demand.) And if anything I’ve said in particular has led you to feel excluded, I’m sorry.

          Oh no, not at all! Like I said, I’m really not too fussed – my experiences are the ones that are Definitely Recognized by the wider culture and this is really only a thing for me in specific circles. I mean, no one I’ve ever told IRL has been like, ‘are you SURE that was assault?’ (although I have gotten the lecture about drinking/walking alone at night/whatever), because it “obviously” was and no one is going to deny that.

          And I’m still thinking a lot about this stuff. Like, posting in this thread is basically thinking aloud, working it out as I go. The only thing I would like to see done differently – and I don’t even care if the violent stranger scenario is only mentioned as an aside – is to treat it with maybe a little more, I don’t know, decorum? It can definitely rub me the wrong way when people sarcastically bring up the CACKLING BUSHES STRANGER like it’s some kind of Boris Badenov-y mustache-twirling unreality.

        17. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah October 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm |

          This time with bonus strawmanning and implying that rape survivors are coddling rapists by asking to be included in discussions of rape!

          Wait. Who implied that rape survivors were coddling rapists? No one even implied that there were rape survivors that shouldn’t be included in the discussion of rape. Everyone has said that consent is an important topic.

        18. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

          It can definitely rub me the wrong way when people sarcastically bring up the CACKLING BUSHES STRANGER like it’s some kind of Boris Badenov-y mustache-twirling unreality.

          That’s not what I meant when I said

          It’s like the feminist community has bought into the idea of “rapist hiding in the bushes” but has allowed the rapist to do other things that don’t involve bushes or hiding.

          and I may not have been clear. I didn’t mean to make light of those people who experience stranger rape at all. I meant to highlight the fact that this is the only kind of rape that some people (and what often feels like most of the media) will acknowledge as rape, that feminists seems to be willing to take that thesis only one step further (i.e. still “cackling,” but now willing to say you might know them and may have even been “tricked” into befriending them), but will then stop there. After that, experiences in this community seem to become invalid. I’m not certain if that’s unclear or is still rubbing you the wrong way. In any case, nothing about what I said was intended to be sarcastic or light at all. There’s nothing funny about what you experienced.

        19. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah October 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm |

          AHHHHHHH! My mistake…I was only reading SO FAR and didn’t see the end of the thread. Now I see what you mean.

        20. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon October 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm |

          and I may not have been clear. I didn’t mean to make light of those people who experience stranger rape at all. I meant to highlight the fact that this is the only kind of rape that some people (and what often feels like most of the media) will acknowledge as rape, that feminists seems to be willing to take that thesis only one step further (i.e. still “cackling,” but now willing to say you might know them and may have even been “tricked” into befriending them), but will then stop there. After that, experiences in this community seem to become invalid. I’m not certain if that’s unclear or is still rubbing you the wrong way. In any case, nothing about what I said was intended to be sarcastic or light at all. There’s nothing funny about what you experienced.

          I get why it’s brought up and when I was responding to movie I really wasn’t thinking of your post, so, no worries on that front! I was thinking more generally. But like I said, I know that my experience is, like, The One True Rape in the eyes of the media / many people / the larger culture, so it doesn’t really even hurt my feelings. But sometimes in feminist discussions I do feel like ‘wait, but that does happen though.’ I know the reality is that everyone in the conversation does understand that, but it can give me kind of a twinge and sometimes I do feel defensive.

        21. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

          @Computer Soldier Porygon:

          It can definitely rub me the wrong way when people sarcastically bring up the CACKLING BUSHES STRANGER like it’s some kind of Boris Badenov-y mustache-twirling unreality.

          I hear you; thanks for responding.

        22. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |

          I’m glad you said something, CSP. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did find my phrasing trigger-y, and I absolutely do not want that.

  4. Tamen
    Tamen October 15, 2013 at 5:57 am |

    So the “Teach rapist not to rape” slogan is now passé?
    Is it really useless to even attempt as all rapists are willfully ignoring women’s “no”?

    When the average date rapist commits 6 rapes before stopping or being stopped, it’s impossible to argue it’s an accident.

    If they do so of a warped picture of what consent is it is pretty clear that not challenging/educating them on their warped conception leaves to continue having their warped picture of reality and to continue on acting accordingly – thus repeating and repeating raping.

    If I recall correctly a lot of the men in those survey who admit to having done acts that meets the legal requirement of rape will answer “no” to the question of whether they have raped someone.

    What does this tells us? That there is a disconnect between what these men did and their perception of what they did. Aligning what they did with what it actually is may stop some repeat offenders from continue raping.

    I assume The O’Byrne, Hansen & Rapley 2007 study referred is this. It is a qualitiative study with a self-selected sample size of 9 men who were interviewed in two focus groups and according to the authors it

    suffers from being based not on actual (sexual) refusals, but rather on participants’ talk about such refusals in a social setting with peculiar interactional demand characteristics

    Extrapolating the findings of that paper to the general population like this:

    The takeaway message here is that men (i.e. male rapists) do understand what “no” looks like. They just don’t care if women are the ones saying no, because their consent just isn’t as important.

    is unsupported as the study only tells examine the disconnect between how these 9 men would signal non-consent and how they would read non-consent from women. The study says nothing about prevalence as a self-selected sample of 9 is useless in that manner.

    I’ll just note at the end my dismay that yet again the term “rape” is used in a manner which excludes a lot of rape victims and rapists.

    1. EG
      EG October 15, 2013 at 8:16 am |

      What does this tells us? That there is a disconnect between what these men did and their perception of what they did.

      That’s an assumption. It could just as easily tell us that they’re not willing to admit that what they did was rape.

      1. Tamen
        Tamen October 17, 2013 at 5:05 am |

        That’s an assumption. It could just as easily tell us that they’re not willing to admit that what they did was rape.

        The question remain; to whom are they unwilling to admit this besides the surveyors? Are they also unwilling to admit this to themselves. Education can help those realize this.

        I was raped in a way which has been and often are excluded from the term rape and I am pretty sure that the likelihood of my rapist raping me would’ve been less had she known more about consent in all it’s permutations. I say this based on the experience that I had to learn and embrace the importance of my own consent to finally realize and come to terms with the fact that I had been raped. So the fact that even I didn’t know that my own consent was paramount makes it hard to believe that it’s impossible for the perpetrator to not know this.

        Teaching about consent isn’t just about preventing rapists form raping, it’s also about giving survivors a tool vital (at least for me it was) to heal.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |

          Teaching about consent isn’t just about preventing rapists form raping, it’s also about giving survivors a tool vital (at least for me it was) to heal.

          This. So much this, thank you. Reading up about consent was enlightening for me, too, and was crucial to my being able to understand why I felt violated, how it was that I could have been raped when the evening started after I said yes. It was crucial to my being able to recognize and claim my experience and start to heal, like you. So I hear you – you make an excellent point.

    2. EG
      EG October 15, 2013 at 8:18 am |

      Is it really useless to even attempt as all rapists are willfully ignoring women’s “no”?

      The OP didn’t say “all.” But the 5-10% of men committing 90% of the rapes? Yes, it sure seems that way.

      1. Tamen
        Tamen October 17, 2013 at 5:16 am |

        Any reduction in the remaining 10% (of male perpetrated rape) is a win in my view. I can’t see any reason for leaving any stones unturned to achieve even this.

        The statistics you refer to is from research looking at M->F rape. Calling that “the rapes” – as in all rapes – is erasing a significant number of male and female victims.

      2. (BFing)Sarah
        (BFing)Sarah October 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

        You know…I’m beginning to get really irritated by this thread. 90% of all rapes is somewhat significant, I think. I appreciate your push back, EG, because I think I was engaging genuinely in the beginning but it is starting to feel like…I don’t even know the word for it, really. I feel annoyed. Yes, some people do still need to know to look for a ‘yes.’ I’m glad sex ed includes that info. I’m glad to inform people that that is what they should be looking for and, although it hurts, to do that kind of educating that kind of feels like you are banging your head against a brick wall.

        HOWEVER, wider society really does pull the “they didn’t know that there was no consent when she said no/pushed him away/cried/shook her head/laid there silently/said ‘please don’t'” bullshit. That isn’t over. That still happens. I was in a conversation where it was argued, over and over, that sometimes a non-verbal ‘no’ is unclear and that’s why rape sometimes happens. These kids did have sex ed, so apparently it wasn’t emphasized enough that NO…that is NOT usually why rapes happen. So, I do think it is important to victims of the type of rape that is, apparently according to this thread, mostly talked about in feminist circles (hadn’t noticed this), to say that MOST of the time the rapists DO KNOW that the person is not consenting and they do not give a fuck. I think that’s important for victims to hear. It makes me feel a little less like I should have done more to emphasize my ‘cues’ that I wasn’t consenting. I feel better about it to think, “Nope. He was just an asshole. He just wanted to have sex and he didn’t care that I didn’t.” I’m glad it is being emphasized because it feels like we are mostly discussing how to let people know what is consent and what is not consent, instead of recognizing that MOST OF THE TIME, the person knows and doesn’t care.

        1. Combray
          Combray October 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

          Yes, but there are survivors in this thread saying that in their experience, some rapists rape because they don’t understand consent and that such instances of rape might be avoided with consent training. The OP is making them feel excluded, because there’s an implication, however unintended, that since the instances of rape that could be avoided with consent education form such a small percentage of all rape, it’s not that important to waste effort on them. The focus is, yet again, turned to the rape narrative that already gets most of the attention in feminist spaces (rapist who knowingly violates consent) at the expense of different scenarios that are mostly ignored as it stands.

        2. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 18, 2013 at 11:44 am |

          90% of all rapes is somewhat significant

          It’s not 90% of all rapes.

          It’s 90% of the subset of rapes where victims were either a) beaten/ threatened with violence or b) unconscious/near-unconscious from drugs or alcohol. There are other scenarios.

          Please stop repeating this. It’s not true and people have pointed it out over and over.

    3. Janipurr
      Janipurr October 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

      I agree with EG. These men aren’t experiencing a “disconnect” between their actions and their perceptions of their actions. They just don’t want to admit what they did was rape. That’s why when you remove the “R” word, they admit to committing assault. Admitting that they were rapists, however, would be admitting that they committed a crime.

  5. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar October 15, 2013 at 10:02 am |

    There is no downside to teaching about consent. For the population of rapes committed by the repeat offenders, it won’t tell them anything they don’t know, but it will make the people around them less sympathetic to their exculpatory narratives, reducing or revoking their social license to operate. For the population of rapes committed by rapists who actually fail to understand that the other person is not consenting (whatever the size of that population; we need not resolve that argument to know what to do about it), education might actually change behavior. Either way, it’s an improvement.

    I’m one of the most vocal people on the “it’s almost all the predators, we need to identify them the stop them” side of the argument — and it is an argument, particularly when the problem is that within tight social circles, people are invested in the idea that the rapist “just made a mistake and knows better now,” even after the second or third time. But any way you slice it, anything that normalizes consent as affirmative, instead of only no means no, is a move in the right direction.

    1. theLaplaceDemon
      theLaplaceDemon October 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm |

      That was very well stated. Thank you.

    2. Miriam
      Miriam October 15, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

      Isn’t that pretty much what the OP said, though? They didn’t argue against teaching consent, and they said it would be good to do for exactly the reasons you stated in very similar language (Whilst teaching consent does create a more feminist, hostile environment for rapists who try operating without being called out).

    3. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      This. Also the OP is rather sloppy in handling the question of education in that it completely fails to distinguish between young teens in jr high/high school and college students, when those are very different environments in key ways with different populations. Unless everyone talking about sex-ed is assuming that we’re only talking about sex-ed courses given by colleges/universities and I missed the memo, then IMO we need to make that distinction clear. Kids in grade school who are getting sex-ed classes absolutely need to be taught very clearly about consent, and it’s unlikely that the vast majority of potential rapists in those classes are already hardened serial rapists who know about consent but just don’t care. In college, on the other hand, with older students, that is more of a potential issue. But talking about how sex-ed is pointless can be ignored when we talk about rape because “rapists” (who? the jr high kids? the college students? in general?) already know and just don’t care, and so the classes won’t have real results – um, does not compute. If that were made clearer then the OP wouldn’t be running into such a snag there.

  6. a lawyer
    a lawyer October 15, 2013 at 11:23 am |

    Whilst teaching consent does create a more feminist, hostile environment for rapists who try operating without being called out, it’s not the same as educating date rapists to recognise signs of consent

    Damn right it isn’t.

    Want to know why?

    Because people who are taking a sex education class in school are very young, and are not likely to be rapists. They are, in all likelihood, in middle school or perhaps high school.

    Prevention is easier than the cure–MUCH easier. The mistake you’re making is to conflate these folks (many of whom are probably virgins and few of whom are likely to be rapists) with date rapists. You’re trying to reduce future violations of consent; you’re not trying to re-educate current violators.

    This is the same error as if you were discussing obesity and conflated programs which were designed to reduce current obesity (“encourage the obese folks to lose weight”) and those which were designed to prevent future obesity (encourage non-obese people not to gain weight.”)

    Suggesting that “consent training” won’t serve to reduce the behavior of adult rapists is valid.

    Suggesting that the above statement is a rational reason to believe “consent training” useless to reduce the as-yet-untested behavior of adolescents is plain old stupid.

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 15, 2013 at 11:36 am |

      *golf clap*

    2. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie October 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

      Lots and lots of high schoolers rape.

      Also: “date rape” vs. “rape-rape”? This again?

      1. a lawyer
        a lawyer October 16, 2013 at 11:32 am |

        For chrissake.

        Rape is not all the same. It’s the same so far as it’s all “rape.” But that’s about it.

        For example, date rape is
        -more prevalent than “stranger in a dark alley” rape;

        -Arguably harder to prosecute than “stranger in a dark alley” rape;

        -Mostly committed by people who have similarities to the “dark alley” rapists (Men! Entitled!) but also some very crucial differences; and most importantly

        -Can probably be deterred by different methods than would/wouldn’t work to deter “dark alley” rapists.

        It makes no fucking sense at all. Every time that you start actually talking about ways to potentially LESSEN the # of rapes (step in the right direction, right?) you get people complaining that the solution is imperfect; won’t stop enough rapes; fails to address every single potential social issue at once. Why?

        No: teaching middle school or high school kids about consent won’t stop rape. But it’ll probably stop SOME of them, and it probably won’t make things worse.

        tinfoil hattie October 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink | Reply
        Lots and lots of high schoolers rape.

        Yes. But most of them don’t. As they age, the %age of people who commit sexual assault will go up, not down. Why are you, and others here, apparently opposed to stopping it earlier, rather than later?

        Also: “date rape” vs. “rape-rape”other types of rape? This again?

        Yes, at least as edited.
        Most people who commit date rape do not commit stranger “dark alley” rape. We may not know what it is precisely, but there’s something distinct about those two things. If you aren’t capable of distinguishing between different types of rape (and rapists) and aren’t willing to consider that different situations might respond to different types of deterrence, then perhaps you should reconsider whether you are adding value to discussions that are focusing on deterrence.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 11:53 am |

          Why are you, and others here, apparently opposed to stopping it earlier, rather than later?

          Because it might work, a_lawer, and then some people might have to consider whether they were wrong.

        2. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm |

          While I get what you are saying here, I do want to point out that there is a problem with people often categorizing things as “date rape” so as to distinguish them from “real rape,” and using that language can thus also unintentionally send a message of exclusion. I get that that is not how you are trying to use the term here, but it has that baggage, which may be what tinfoil hattie is reacting to. A strikethrough won’t erase that baggage from the term.

    3. Miriam
      Miriam October 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm |

      That’s not a mistake the vloggers are making. That’s the mistake made in the prompt. I feel like people are skipping over the opening of the post that identifies it as a response to a person who recently suggested that integrating consent into sex education should prevent rape, because it helps date rapists to understand what consent does and doesn’t look like. I agree with the OP that that’s a BS problematic statement. Per the available data, date rapists generally know that what they’re doing is date rape and the idea that consent is just so darn confusing is one of those myths that are why date rapists get the benefit of the doubt so often. For an example of that reasoning in action, just go back to Alyssa Royse’s defense of her poor confused good guy friend. (I’m sure many people here have, like me, also seen this in action in our personal social circles).

      I’m not sure how to push back against this without appearing to argue that no rape happens due to a perpetrator not understanding consent. I don’t think the OP was trying to argue that literally every single rape fits into a single model. For a site like Feministe where qualifiers are common, I think it would be fine and effective to insert a disclaimer or more explicit qualifying language. But for a general audience (as these vlogs are intended), what I’ve seen is that kind of hedging just muddies the waters. It certainly doesn’t accomplish the vloggers goal of having a more passionate, engaged voice. Perhaps simply inserting a “most” in the first response so that it will read ” We take issue with the notion that most rape happens because a rapist…” would be all that’s needed.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

        Yes, even a “most” would help. Because the universalizing language is a problem even though the OP isn’t consciously trying to argue every single rape is xyz. Sure, it can be a difficult balance to strike between being not-overly-universalizing and not-too-hedging, but it’s worth taking the time to at least try to find a middle ground instead of just going with the same old universalizing language. Some of the people out there seeing this kind of stuff who aren’t feminist superreaders will also be survivors who that language doesn’t fit. There are ways of tackling the BS in the original prompt (I fully agree that it’s there) that don’t involve falling into the same old patterns of exclusion. If doing that properly would be too complex for one 2:30 video, then perhaps do a series of linked videos around the same prompt, making clear from the beginning that it’s being handled that way. Or something.

  7. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll October 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

    You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t hold my breath. Nothing suggested here hasn’t been brought up before and the male response to ” not hearing no doesn’t mean yes” in the comment section of sites that have tried to teach this lesson is rife with whining about how that means dudes won’t get laaaaaaaiiiid as much. I wasn’t raped because I didn’t teach my ex how to ask. He raped me because I was a hole to him and you don’t bother asking holes for consent because holes aren’t people. That’s not ideology that’s reality and until women are viewed as people and not sex slot machines, you can’t teach how to ask for consent. How to ask for consent is currently viewed as a c–k block.

    1. TimmyTwinkles
      TimmyTwinkles October 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

      Totally agree. There always seems to be a disturbing amount of rape apology underlying the consent discussions. In my humble opinion, focusing on consent is often just a plain old red herring. The issue should never be why did the rapist misunderstand the consent signals, did the woman give the proper consent signals, are we teaching the theory of consent properly.That’s distracting bullshit. Noone, ever, should need to be educated on when its okay or not okay to commence sexual relations. I know when a woman wants to have sex with me. Or not. Aint that hard. Consent too often distracts from the real problems, ie what pheno said.

    2. tinfoil hattie
      tinfoil hattie October 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

      + A million for this comment.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 12:43 am |

        Also- how fucking long have feminists been teaching about consent? 40 years? The problem isn’t not teaching about consent or teaching it the right way, the problem is that the rape culture teaches the opposite, and serves that particular lesson up on a 24/7 basis. Teach Boys Not To Rape is so well received isn’t it? Hard to teach people who refuse to learn because they might not get laid.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 12:55 am |

          The problem isn’t not teaching about consent or teaching it the right way, the problem is that the rape culture teaches the opposite, and serves that particular lesson up on a 24/7 basis

          So the lesson is not to give up, it’s to win.

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 1:42 am |

          The lesson is that the problem is bigger than bullshit confusion over consent. Funny how those people too stupid to grok it over sex manage to grok it over every other human interaction, innit? Not that many confused car thiefs claiming ” well I didn’t hear a No when I asked to borrow someone’s car” or people in jail claiming ” they didn’t SAY I couldn’t take their wallet when I asked to borrow money”. Or what do you mean it was wrong to pour coffee in her mouth, she didn’t say No when I offered her a cup! You don’t see many instances of people buying the house some really drunk person tried to sell them, either. No one would believe them if they tried. But they will when sex is involved and its not due to stupidity or misunderstanding. You don’t believe a lie unless it serves to your advantage. So making it about consent is just another way to avoid the root of the problem. And focusing on it alone won’t win shit. Neither does differentiating between rape and date rape. That’s like saying in a house rape and in a car rape. I’m really to my soul tired of excuses trotted out for rapists and their intent or motivation. It’s not as if it unrapes anyone.

        3. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 16, 2013 at 5:01 am |

          Hard to teach people who refuse to learn because they might not get laid.

          Hope I did the block quotes right, but YES to the above.
          My ex-girlfriend was date-raped in college. Except fuck the date part, she was RAPED. Maybe I’m being over-sensitive but making date-rape its own little subset of Rape seems to me like a passive-aggressive way of suggesting that the woman bears some degree of complicity for going on the date in the first place. Which is evil. And also a suspiciously effective way of shielding white college students (who in my experience are usually the perps here) from the kinds of consequences and stigma associated with real Rape. But maybe thats too cynical.
          Anyway, she had the audacity to assume that girls can partake in drugs and alcohol too, so at the end of the night, when she was basically passed-out, some sub-human piece of garbage raped her. And he did it because he wanted sex, he wanted it right then, and most of all because for too many men the default setting is always: she consents! The thinking there is have sex at all costs. That’s what girls are good for anyway. She’d say yes if she was awake. What’s the big deal? She said she wanted to party. I guarantee she was into me. And on and on the rationalizations go.
          That narrative is not theoretical by the way. Until my mid-20’s I was closely associated with the Greek/SEC preppy/polo-wearing southern good old boy contingent. I didn’t then, nor have I ever kept friends who would rape a woman, but I damn sure heard about this type of thing alot and I know how these guys talk when noone but a peer is around and i know how they self-justify.
          So I guess my point is, to basically echo pheeno: how can teaching consent do anything if the guys doing or soon to be doing the raping are not confused or misinformed even a little bit. In fact, they know good and well a girl who is passed out cant give consent. They just dont give a shit. They think rape culture is a joke. PC nonsense. That most rape accusations are just the girl waking up in the morning and regretting who she slept with. Some abstract model of what constitutes consent just doesn’t factor into it. But it does give MRA’s and other rape apologists a gray area to shift blame to victims and explain why this or that rapist isn’t really a bad person. And to people that do the latter i say unequivocally: fuck you and fuck your piece of shit rapist friend. You HURT survivors when you engage in blatant rape apology. You make them feel complicit. And they’re not. Ever. Make your friend the rapist feel better about himself on your own time.
          The discouraging thing is, I don’t know what to suggest that would affect positive change. The best idea i could ever come up with was to look up Mr Rapist himself and confront him about what had happened, but my ex-girlfriend was and is far wiser than me and talked me out of it for several good and sundry reasons. Sorry about the long post. Wish I had more to offer. But I maintain that, even in the absence of new things to do, we can still be careful to NOT do things that hurt survivors. I dont understand why anyone would argue that the feelings or experience of the rapist should come into the equation. Fuck them. They and their water carriers can seek redemption far far away from any space occupied by survivors.
          And i still find myself wishing Mr Rapist and I had been able to get together for a heart-to-heart over just what kind of man would inflict that kind of pain and trauma on an innocent woman.

        4. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 10:18 am |

          Funny how those people too stupid to grok it over sex manage to grok it over every other human interaction, innit?

          Right, because rape culture. With sex, people are taught that a lack of a no means yes. The same doesn’t go for coffee. And working to counter that teaching is critical.

          My ex raped me. They thought it would be sexy and cute to wake me up with oral sex I hadn’t consented to. They were horrified by how upset that made me, because in their head they had a model of consent where sleeping-oral-sex was one of the normal, sexy things that people do when they’re dating. Teaching people about how consent works won’t stop all rapists, but it will stop a lot of rape.

          But you know what? The majority of feminists who’ve heard my story (and many, many stories like it) have reacted, not with consideration or empathy, but with anger, because they want to be able to promote a model where rapists are evil villains hiding in the shadows and all rapes are committed out of sadism and hatred for women, and any piece of data that suggests the truth may be more complicated is dangerous.

          This isn’t feminist bashing. I am one. But there’s something sick about the way the movement- or perhaps just the white mainstream online version- discusses rape.

        5. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 10:20 am |

          I’m really to my soul tired of excuses trotted out for rapists and their intent or motivation.

          And I swear, if this was meant for me or any of the people pushing back against universalizing rape narratives, you are a legitimately terrible person.

        6. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 11:11 am |

          Dittoing ldouglas, but doubling down to point out that not a single person on THIS thread has made an excuse for a rapist. Not one. So I’m not even sure where this is coming from. People DO make excuses for them all the time – it’s best if we all saved our energy for that fight when it actually happens.

        7. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 11:19 am |

          Did I not just say rape culture teaches a different lesson 24/7? Why yes. Yes I did. And guess what? Normal living and interaction with other human beings also teaches that consent doesn’t always come in the form of yes. It also teaches people how to mean no without speaking the actual word. Further, people know this. Not only do they know this, they refrain from giving consent in the exact same ways. What you’re arguing is this- people who know what a wave hello means suddenly stop knowing it when sex is involved. It means hello in every encounter they’ve ever had, and they used it to say hello without speaking the word hello themselves. But a person they want to fuck waves and now that wave means punch them in the face. Because they were never taught a wave doesn’t mean punch someone in the face.

        8. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 11:32 am |

          The comment about excuses for rapists is a societal excuse. I’m sick of the coddling, the benefit of the doubt, the excuses, the victim blaming, the lack of consequence, the outright protection and hand wringing over their poor poor ruined futures. I’m sick of the racism that often go hand in hand with it. Just recently an entire town ran a rape victim out. And then burned her house to the ground. Burned her fucking house to the ground. So sorry for being sick to death of this shit and not making you the center of my comment universe.

        9. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 11:41 am |

          I wish I shared your optimism about how weak the indoctrinating effects of rape culture are.

          Let me ask you this- how many magazine articles have you seen that openly promote rape? There’s one in almost every Cosmo- ‘wake your man up with a blowjob’ type stuff. The equivalent absolutely exists in men’s mags. Now, maybe it’s possible that everyone who reads those articles, and then does what they suggest, is a diabolical mastermind who just wants to violate their partner. But I’d guess a significant percentage were told ‘this is sexy, my partner will enjoy this, this is what people do in relationships,’ and then do things like perform oral sex on their sleeping, not-consenting partner, which is rape.

          You know, it takes a special kind of asshole to accuse rape survivors, who are trying to defend the validity of their lived experiences, of defending rapists. I mean, that’s one of the more openly abominable things I’ve encountered today.

        10. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |

          I’m sick of the coddling, the benefit of the doubt, the excuses, the victim blaming, the lack of consequence, the outright protection and hand wringing over their poor poor ruined futures.

          Yes, because pointing out I was raped too and so were others and it didn’t fit your neat picture is exactly the same as coddling rapists, giving rapists the benefit of the doubt, saying it was the victim’s fault, crying over the rapist’s future…

          Oh, wait, it’s not. It’s not saying “that isn’t really rape, she asked for it” it’s saying the fucking opposite. That ABC is rape, and so is XYZ.

          FOR FUCK’S SAKE. Has everyone on Feministe forgotten the fucking difference between a causal explanation and a moral excuse, or is it just fun to kick rape victims when they’re down?

          You know, it takes a special kind of asshole to accuse rape survivors, who are trying to defend the validity of their lived experiences, of defending rapists. I mean, that’s one of the more openly abominable things I’ve encountered today.

          THIS. My ability to take people on this thread on good faith is fucking done.

        11. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm |

          Has everyone on Feministe forgotten the fucking difference between a causal explanation and a moral excuse

          Honestly, I don’t think this is a skill anyone had in the first place.

          It reminds me a lot of the “if you try to understand why the terrorists attack us, you’re a terrorist-lover!” sentiment that seems to occasionally overtake the USian political landscape.

        12. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

          movie, in the line before what you quoted from pheeno, she says she’s talking about society, not this thread.

          Pheeno, this

          So sorry for being sick to death of this shit and not making you the center of my comment universe.

          is not fair when you’re ignoring the context in which many of us are operating. This is like the 80th thread in the last few months where Feministe has erased the existence of victims like us. It’s like the feminist community has bought into the idea of “rapist hiding in the bushes” but has allowed the rapist to do other things that don’t involve bushes or hiding. And it sucks.

          What happened is a question was posed that could theoretically help the 10%. And instead of treating that as a fair and legitimate question, we immediately recentered on the 90% and how we can’t do anything to help them. WTH. Why isn’t this subgroup important enough for just one flipping moment?

        13. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

          Agree with the above, and while we’re talking about percentages, let’s just pause and note that the 10% figure comes from a study which explicitly defined rape as only occuring if a) physical violence or threats of violence were used or b) the victim was unconcious or near-unconcious due to drugs or alcohol.

          So it’s not just 10% of people in that study, it’s also all the other people who that study doesn’t even include as rape victims because they weren’t beaten, drunk, or drugged.*

          In reality, I think we’re talking about way more than 10% of survivors.

          *Incidentally, this isn’t a criticism of the study; I get the need to limit your experiemental population in some well-defined way. It’s a criticism of people using it as if it applies to all rapes, and not just a narrow subset.

        14. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

          I’m not saying that rape culture is weak. I’m saying people know theyre justifying their actions, because rape culture gives them the handy excuse. But she didn’t say No is a fucking excuse. They know it and even go so far as admitting it when the word rape is removed. They use it as plausible deniability because who the hell is going to cop to something when they can excuse it with bullshit? It’s a choice. You yourself made the choice to apply something you already understood to a sexual situation. Are you suggesting that if previous to learning about drunken sexual consent you weren’t aware that it would have been wrong to purchase a car if they had actively been trying to put the keys in your hand? If that person you were attracted to had been drunk when they handed you the keys and said ” no, really. Take my car, it’s yours now” that you would have taken their car and registered it as yours? If not, then you damn well understood consent, you chose to also apply that understanding to sexual situations. Would any of those rapists try to take off work early and tell their boss “well I didn’t hear a no “? Of course not. They’re admitting they justify it. When you flat out ask rapists if they would commit rape , but use the word sexual assault, AND THEY SAY YES then there’s no confusion about consent. There’s confusion about the definition of rape. And an unwillingness to admit to it. Romantic partner rape fits into that too. What they do not know is the definition of rape applies to romantic partners too. Those stupid magazines? Those writers and editors know what consent is. They know what lack of no is and they know it doesn’t default to a yes. What they don’t know ( or care to ) is that it also applies to romantic partners, and all sexual situations. Somehow sex becomes the singular exemption to every goddamn rule on social interaction known to mankind. That’s not ignorance at work. There’s effort behind that. And no, that doesn’t mean all rapists are evil cackling monsters. Education on consent has been around for awhile now. People are choosing (not always consciously) when to ignore it or misapply it. Take a look at the response to ” don’t be that guy”. It worked, briefly. Now it’s just a c–k block or lying women regretting drunken sex and ” don’t be that girl” is the response.

        15. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |

          Take a look at the response to ” don’t be that guy”. It worked, briefly. Now it’s just a c–k block or lying women regretting drunken sex and ” don’t be that girl” is the response.

          Alternate theory: more date-rapes or “gray rapes” (ugh) are being reported because women now feel more comfortable reporting being raped in those ways.

          And by the way, I’m glad you can ignore a 6% net drop in rape. I’m happy 6% of people no longer being raped is such a meaningless thing to you! I’ll be sure to call up all the people in Edmonton who might have been raped in circumstances that campaign dealt with and inform them that that was a fluke and they need to give being raped a shot in order to preserve your universalising ideology, which, as we all know, is the REALLY important thing in this situation.

        16. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

          All absolutely fair, ldouglas. I didn’t want to get into it, because frankly, it’s still abominable even if it is that low.

        17. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |

          100% agreed.

        18. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |

          @PrettyAmiable: Ok, fair enough. The comment says that. However, when that phrase comes right before this

          So sorry for being sick to death of this shit and not making you the center of my comment universe.

          and as part of a comment chiming in in support of a thread about how all of the pushback from survivors about not being included is so much “rape apology” and “distracting bullshit,” I find my ability to take that first line about it being just about “society” in good faith rather diminished.

          Yes, I’m tired of the victim-blaming, racism, punishing of survivors and everything too. I’m horrified at Maryville too. I also make that heartfelt cry. And why the fuck does that cry have to be aimed at me for wanting to be acknowledged as a rape victim too? Because that’s exactly what that comment in this context does with that cry: turns it into a suggestion that by trying to be included I am somehow supporting that goddamn victim-blaming rape culture. The same goddamn victim-blaming culture that happily steamrolls over me every goddamn day and which, until I was able to move away from the party line standard model, had me thinking that my own rape was my own fault.

          If that’s not what pheeno intended with that comment, what was intended? Because I can’t find another relevant reason for writing what was written, not in this thread where exactly 0 people have suggested that any rapist whatsoever is not morally at fault or the victim deserved it.

          I may have to step away from this thread soon for a bit, because I am getting really angry. And maybe I’ve been too triggered by the bullshit on this thread to be able to read any more of it in good faith. But one line about talking about “society” doesn’t for me undo the rest of that bullshit comment, which you and I are in agreement about being unfair given the Rape and Power debacle. I’m probably coming across as really ranty at you right now and I’m sorry. I just can’t take this shit yet again.

        19. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm |

          I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not claiming all rapes are x. What I’m saying is that I do not buy the accidental rapist who just didn’t understand consent, when they use some form of consent in every day interactions, every damn day of their lives. Consent education surrounding ” get a yes” has been around long enough for that message to be clear. It turned into a joke about having lawyers present, for fucks sake. And then feminists had to stop the conversation yet again to explain various forms of enthusiastic consent that did not involve ” Do you consent to the sexual acts we are about to perform, if yes please speak loudly and clearly, using the words yes I do consent “. There are memes on getting legal sex consent forms signed all over the internet. So who the fuck hasn’t been taught this lesson? And how, by the way, does that mean what ldouglas experience wasn’t rape? I certainly believe it was rape. I just don’t buy the ” but I didn’t knoooooow” excuse to commit rape. I do not buy that people aren’t aware that ” I didn’t hear a no” is a way to get around something in order to get what you want. In what situation would ” I didn’t hear a no” be accepted as a valid reason to go ahead and do something? Sex. That’s it. And I do not agree that it’s just a matter of cluelessness to cherry pick one interaction out of all interactions to change the rules. Oh and @ Mac- bull. Shit. Pointing out that a campaign worked for a brief time before being subjected to a vengeance filled anti message is NOT saying that drop didn’t matter. It’s saying people already knew those things, and once again decided their wanting to get laid trumps all. How is that a matter of ignorance? The lesson was taught, but it didn’t stick.

        20. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

          @ movie- Where have I said your rape was not rape? I haven’t because I believe your rape was rape. I do not believe RAPISTS ,when they claim ignorance or innocent intentions. In other words, when a person who has committed rape acts horrified and all blinky eyed innocence about it, they’re liars. They’re lying. They may even be lying to themselves too, but it’s still a stinking lie. You were raped. Period. Your rapist was a cherry picking full of shit excuse making liar. Who did not grow up on mars and just magically managed to avoid absorbing a lesson that’s been taught over and over, sung about, been on tv a gajillion Times,made into after school specials, shown on popular sitcoms with their nauseating ” special episodes tackling the sensitive issue of rape” shown on other tv shows as exaggerated jokes, been the subject of campaigns to stop rape, been the subject of internet memes, been on Dave chapelle to parody consent etc etc etc etc. The rape culture sends one message, the counter rape culture sends another. Consciously or unconsciously, people are choosing which message they want to believe.

        21. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm |

          I wish I lived in this magical land where education about consent reached such ubiquity, because where I live, it’s pretty damn rare for someone to even have been exposedto that idea, let alone understand it.

          In other words, when a person who has committed rape acts horrified and all blinky eyed innocence about it, they’re liars. They’re lying. They may even be lying to themselves too, but it’s still a stinking lie.

          Thank you for explaining the circumstances of my rape for me. I definitely did not put any thought into that topic myself.

        22. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

          movie, I took issue with that same quote. We’re absolutely on the same side with everything, I think. Please let me know if there’s something specific I said that makes you doubt that so I can reword it to be more clear. I completely support everything you’ve written in spirit, if not clearly in writing.

        23. Esti
          Esti October 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |

          Your rapist was a cherry picking full of shit excuse making liar.

          Pheeno, you need to sit down. You are now directly telling survivors that they are incorrect in their explanation of their rapists’ behavior, and that you know more about their rapists than they do. Seriously. Sit. Down.

        24. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

          If people are as stupid and ignorant as you say they are about consent, then why should I believe they’re insightful about their own motivations? And if they’re smart enough to know how to get around the issue, what, they’re too dumb to know they did? And since you think it’s all ideology, please explain why the fuck I should trust a rapist when they proclaim innocent intentions or lack of knowledge? That shit just sets me up to be in a room with a fucking rapist while I’m burdened with giving him the benefit of the doubt. And just so you know, MY rapist was also my intimate partner who claimed he believed consent once meant consent forever. That’s how he started off at any rate. He was clueless …..until he wasn’t. So lovely. Rapists have many motivations, but I don’t have to believe them anymore than I have to believe a rattlesnake won’t bite. The responses to being taught consent and its true form don’t leave me with any indication otherwise.

        25. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm |

          A quick thank-you to PA, ldouglas, and Esti. I am writing out a fuller response to Pheeno now.

        26. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm |

          @PrettyAmiable: I hear you – thanks. I know we’re basically on the same page. I just got…really triggered I think.

          Posting this in two parts for length.

          @Pheeno:

          You know, I actually agree with most of what you said in your latest comment above, with two exceptions:

          1) Not telling me what my rapist did or did not think when you were not there; and

          2) Not applying it to *every single rapist in every single instance of rape ever,* period. The majority? Absolutely. Abso*fucking*lutely. I do not, at all, believe that 99 percent of *rapists* who attempt to use those things as excuses/defenses are actually being honest. They’re trying to use an out rape culture gives them, yes. An out that is granted superficial false legitimacy by the fact that there are in fact some instances in which people are actually raped in circumstances that do NOT fit the standard model. People like me and ldouglas and PrettyAmiable, among others.

          Here’s the important thing, which I think has really fucked up the dynamic of the conversation in this thread. We aren’t talking about X Y and Z rapists who attempted to weasel out of punishment with consent as an excuse. We are talking about the lived experiences of *survivors,* from the point of view of *survivors,* survivors who do not feel included in discussions of rape that repeatedly universalize a common but not actually universal model of rape. Rapists and people attempting to defend rapists are NOT the ones leveling critiques in this thread. SURVIVORS are. Those are two very different things, survivor critiques versus rapists’ excuses. That makes this thread a fundamentally different space, a significantly different context, in which to discuss the nature and problems of current models of rape and consent. Because the model DOES have problems, and the fact that *some rapists who get caught* will attempt to use that as an excuse does not detract from, or have anything much to do with, the fact that there are some survivors out there who don’t fit the model, whose specific rapists were possibly not the sociopathic monsters they are told ALL rapists are, and who need to be able to think of their rapists as something other than fucking Voldemort *in order to understand their experience as rape at all.*

          Going into a thread where people are arguing that lack of education about consent means X Y or Z rapist isn’t really responsible/the victim should have been clearer/etc., and posting the comments you and Timmy posted above?* That would be one thing. I would be right there with you pushing back against the BS, though even there being too universalizing in describing survivor experiences can be a problem. Coming into a thread where the critiques being leveled are coming from survivors who say the model is not inclusive *enough,* and posting those comments? Sounds very much like you are saying that critiquing the current model of rape as a survivor is “rape apology” and “distracting bullshit” and therefore survivors who don’t fit the standard model should just shut the fuck up instead of giving rapists excuses.

          When a theme of those critiques is survivors not feeling included in implicit or explicit definitions of rape, it also sounds very much like they are being told to shut up because their rapes don’t count. If they counted as rape, surely anti-rape advocates sincerely wanting to stop rape would hear out their critiques in order to better the model, right? But if saying rape also happens in XYZ situations is somehow “rape apology” and a distraction, well then those people can’t have actually been raped – so goes the implicit logic for a rape survivor like me, when the response to saying yet again that the model doesn’t include me is a thread full of comments about how awful all the distracting rape apologia and victim-blaming excuses about consent are. Yes those are awful things. *Why are they being specifically decried in response to rape victims saying the model should be *more* inclusive, in a thread where nobody has suggested that rapists are not at fault or that victims deserved it, in a manner which does not at all attempt distinguish that sort of BS from the legitimate critiques by survivors?* The careless juxtaposition implies that it is the rape survivors critiques that are being decried.

        27. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

          Sitting here, and doing my sincere very best to go back through this thread and read you in good faith, I am deeply puzzled. I do not – honestly do not – understand why, in a thread in which rape survivors are saying they do not feel included in yet another discussion of rape, you feel the best response to those survivors is to say things like this:

          So sorry for being sick to death of this shit and not making you the center of my comment universe.

          and to chime in in support of comments that apparently (before Timmy posted a very needed clarification below) suggested that rape survivors saying they are not included is “rape apology” and “distracting bullshit”.

          It’s not that you literally stated I was not raped. It was that every comment of yours on this thread has been about how awful the victim-blaming and rape apologia are, even though nobody on this thread has attempted to defend rapists or blame victims and the debate has been whether or not people like me and ldouglas and all are justified in critiquing the current model of rape and consent. Either you are reading a different comment thread that is invisible to me where people are defending rapists; or your comments are meant as responses to the critique I and ldouglas and co have been putting forth – a critique grounded in our lived experience of being raped, in which case the set of implications above is triggered; or you aren’t responding to our critique at all, but you are completely ignoring the context in which you are posting those sentiments that I otherwise 99% agree with and are thus *in effect shooting at me* because you aren’t looking where you are shooting. And given that we went through exactly the same thing a month ago on the Rape and Power thread, both my patience for being accidentally shot at and my capacity for good-faith believing it to be accidental are both very low.

          I sincerely appreciate you clarifying that you do not doubt my experience of being raped; thank you. But my experience to understand in my own way – telling me what my rapist did or did not think is not really yours to say, however well-meant. (And I do believe it is well-meant.) It is my experience to define. As Esti said: when you are telling survivors you know more about their experiences of rape and their rapists than they do, it is time to sit down and *listen.*

          Again, in many other contexts I would have little to object to in much what you say, were it stated in a less universalizing fashion. But in this specific context your comments have played into a very hurtful dynamic that is yet again suggesting rape survivors sit down and shut up because talking about their experiences is somehow distracting BS and equivalent to rape apology. Even if that is not at all what you or Timmy or anyone intended, that is how those sort of comments function in this context. And that bullshit needs to stop. right. now.

          The standard model is broken. It needs to be fixed and updated. What is NOT needed is for ANY rape survivor to be told explicitly or implicitly to sit down and shut up instead of expecting to be thought of and included from the beginning. But that is what happens ever. fucking. time. we talk about rape here. *Everybody on this thread needs to get it through their skulls that a lot of us rape survivors who don’t perfectly fit the current model have no more patience and no more good faith to give in these discussions.* We used it all up on the previous 863452 run-throughs, and we have nothing to show for it but bruises. Could we get just a little good faith and patience handed our way, for once?

          *I am referring to the comments specifically as they read without the additional context Timmy just posted below.

        28. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm |

          Long comments in mod.

          I wish I lived in this magical land where education about consent reached such ubiquity, because where I live, it’s pretty damn rare for someone to even have been exposedto that idea, let alone understand it.

          THIS. I went to college at a school that prided itself on being alternative, queer-friendly, sex-positive and all the rest, and part of that was an attempt to pay a lot of attention to different models of sexuality, giving decent sex-ed, talking about consent, etc. and I still found (find) a significant portion of the information and theory in feminist and anti-rape discussions mind-bendingly new. I don’t even want to think about what the actual sex-ed landscape looks like at the far more conservative school where I’m doing my grad research, which has had major trouble with assault and Title IX/hostile environment issues lately.

        29. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm |

          The lesson was taught, but it didn’t stick.

          Pretty sure the net rate did drop, as indicated by the stats. Can the crap and actually look at the stats. If it dropped 9% or so the first year, and rose 3% the second, that’s still a net drop of 6% from the beginning of the campaign, so clearly the lesson seems to be slightly more adhesive than you want to believe, the ranting of neckbeards and misogynists aside. Math better next time.

        30. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah October 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm |

          Thank you. I wasn’t sure how to articulate it above, but this is what I see as problematic. Somehow it feels like rape is still someone else’s fault. The people who didn’t teach about consent, or those that said teaching about consent wasn’t the number one most important thing in the world ever. Okay, it is important. I agree. But, it doesn’t always work. I wouldn’t say don’t teach it, but it DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK so it is not going to stop rape, but prevent it. Preventing it is good, but it is also good to acknowledge that people will still get raped by other people who DID know that there was no consent and who just didn’t care. Because people are still raped and those victims still deserve to know that they are not at fault. Prevention would be super awesome, but since we can’t prevent everything, I think discussing how many rapes are not due to consent misunderstandings is important as well.

        31. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

          I wish I shared your optimism about how weak the indoctrinating effects of rape culture are.

          Let me ask you this- how many magazine articles have you seen that openly promote rape? There’s one in almost every Cosmo- ‘wake your man up with a blowjob’ type stuff. The equivalent absolutely exists in men’s mags. Now, maybe it’s possible that everyone who reads those articles, and then does what they suggest, is a diabolical mastermind who just wants to violate their partner. But I’d guess a significant percentage were told ‘this is sexy, my partner will enjoy this, this is what people do in relationships,’ and then do things like perform oral sex on their sleeping, not-consenting partner, which is rape.

          You know, it takes a special kind of asshole to accuse rape survivors, who are trying to defend the validity of their lived experiences, of defending rapists. I mean, that’s one of the more openly abominable things I’ve encountered today.

          Look, I’m not denying your experience at all, I clearly believe that you were raped.

          However, you are basically calling my wife a rapist, and implying that I don’t know that I’ve been ‘violated’ by her and every one of my exes who ever woke me up with oral sex. Your middle paragraph implies that EVERYONE woken up by oral sex is violate and cannot consent. I believe that you did not consent, I just want to have the right to consent.

      2. ldouglas
        ldouglas October 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm |

        Steve- I absolutely apologize for not wording it more carefully. This is a really tricky linguistic area- hopefully I do better here.

        I absolutely think people can preconsent to sex-while-sleeping. At the same time, I think magazines that recommend sex-while-sleeping without explicitly saying “make sure to get preconsent first” are advocating rape, even if some people who end up not preconsenting are OK with what happened and didn’t mind.

        Does that make any sense?

        1. Andie
          Andie October 18, 2013 at 8:21 am |

          As much as I loathe “rape as sex” tropes, consent within relationships will vary based on pre-set boundaries. Some couples are a-okay with being woken up to sex. Some people are not. Nobody should ever assume that their partner is okay with this before asking “Hey, how would you feel if one morning I woke you up in this particular manner” or the other partner saying “hey, would love it if you etc etc” and an agreement reached that this is okay behaviour within the confines of their relationship.

          It’s kind of like how some couples are a-okay with one partner going into the other’s wallet and grabbing a twenty if they need it. Some are not. But no one should assume their partner is okay with this just because their in a relationship. There should either be an explicit, well-talked out agreement, or each partner should ask every time.

        2. Andie
          Andie October 18, 2013 at 8:30 am |

          Rape as theft. Sorry, it’s early.

        3. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          @Fat Steve,

          thank you for also pointing out how important it is to preserve the ability of people to define their experiences as not being rape, because that is also important. Nobody should have their right to define their own experiences in this area taken away from them, intentionally or not.

  8. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve October 16, 2013 at 12:40 am |

    When I started college in 1986 (only lasted until 88, but thats another story) I took a class in which consent was taught and regardless of the effect it had on the men in the class the effect on the women was of importance. So many women in the class did not know or did not agree things like that being blackout drunk meant you didn’t consent, or at least that’s what they said. Many excused date rape for any number of reasons.

    I hope things have changed and women are much better educated in consent issues, but it was a class that had a big effect on me though one might argue I never would have been a rapist anyway.

  9. Bronstein
    Bronstein October 16, 2013 at 2:05 am |

    A relevant data point:

    In 2010, the organization Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (SAVE) launched an ad campaign focused on informing about consent and directed at men. The ads said things like “Just because she isn’t saying no… doesn’t mean she’s saying yes” and “Just because you help her home… doesn’t mean you get to help yourself”.

    In the year following the roll-out of the campaign, Vancouver saw a 10% reduction in sexual assault. Prior to that year, the rate of sexual assault had been going up for several years. So it’s plausible that the campaign had something to do with the drop.

    1. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 2:20 am |

      And it went back up again the very next year. And this year, posters about regretting a one night stand isn’t rape have popped up in a direct attempt to copy the don’t be that guy campaign.

      1. Bronstein
        Bronstein October 16, 2013 at 7:36 am |

        And it went back up again the very next year.

        Actually, I’m not seeing that in the year-end comparison data available from the Vancouver police website here. In 2012, sexual offences went down by 2.6%. Not the steep 9.8% decline seen the previous year, but a decline nonetheless.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 11:34 am |

          It went back up in Edmonton. Then the don’t be that girl posters came out.

        2. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |

          Right, the patriarchy fights back. But (likely, though not provably) as the result of this campaign, fewer people were rape and sexually assaulted. That’s a win in my book.

          The fact that the patriarchy is resilent is a reason to fight harder and to win, not to throw our hands up and just say ‘rape is this evil thing that inevitably happens and any attempts to stop it are doomed to fail, because if they succeed that would demonstrate my assumptions about rapists are wrong.”

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

          OK, so the rates didn’t stay as low as they originally plunged, because of the anti-campaigns. So should we just write the campaigns off as a loss because they didn’t prevent as many rapes as anyone would like? By that count, let’s toss out seatbelts because people are still dying in car crashes. Let’s stop administering medications that save fewer than 100% of people who take them. Yay!

          Fucking hell, the ideological crap all over this thread.

        4. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm |

          Thank you, mac.

        5. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |

          Fucking hell, the ideological crap all over this thread.

          +1000

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

          And I’m not saying toss it out of the toolbox either. I’m saying those ” I never learned any consent lessons ever in my whole God forsaken life that are applicable to sexual situations” type rapists need to be scrutinized, because never ever ever being exposed to any sort of consent lesson ever in their damn lives ( sexual or NOT) is pretty implausible. If a person can recognize when their offer of coffee is being turned down verbally with a no, verbally without a no, non verbally and with zero response at all, then they can damn well recognize when their attempts to have sex are being turned down verbally or nonverbally, with or without a no being spoken.

      2. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

        Holy fuck. The point of that is to show that yes, the rape culture fights back AND ITS NOT FUELED BY IGNORANCE. Those posters show pretty clearly it isn’t a matter of not being taught. It’s a matter of disagreeing with the lesson,because the lesson means they might get laid less.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm |

          Nobody is saying ALL rapists, or even MOST rapists, are driven only by ignorance, or that consent training ALONE will stop rape. We’re just asking to keep it in the fucking toolbox, actually USE it, and when we discuss rape and how to prevent it ALSO INCLUDE those survivors whose rapists were NOT part of the majority and possibly were ignorant. We’re pushing back against the idea of a one-size-fits-all approach, not fucking advocating one!

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

          My comment is posted above this. I clicked the wrong reply button. Believe it or not, you and others aren’t the only ones upset or affected negatively by this conversation.

        3. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

          Where did I say only a few of us were negatively affected? I’m sorry this conversation is hurting you, and if I’ve crossed the line at some point and said something unacceptable. As I have said, these discussions make me deeply angry and that is not always a clear space to be writing in.

          As to this:

          I never learned any consent lessons ever in my whole God forsaken life that are applicable to sexual situations” type rapists need to be scrutinized

          Where, exactly, in this conversation are the rapists who are saying this? Or their apologists? I see 0. As PrettyAmiable said above, we need to fight those fights when and where they actually happen, instead of turning every fucking conversation about rape here into one more round of using the fact that some rapists will attempt to lie their hearts out as an excuse to step all over rape survivors. Context fucking matters! I don’t know how to put it more clearly than than. Context context goddamn context.

        4. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

          Wow, movie. That is what my first post was about. How people who have committed rape are not so stupid, ignorant or oblivious that they do not know what no looks like, even when it’s not spoken outright or comes nonverbally. Because we all do it. We all say no without saying the word. Want to come up for coffee? Oh…I have to get up early for work in the morning. That? That’s just one example of how we express No without specifically uttering the word. Yet, it’s understood the request for coffee was declined. When that interaction involves sex though, men suddenly have no idea that’s a declining of an offer. My point this whole time is that those people are not just being stupid or ignorant of consent. So when they justify their actions ” I didn’t hear a no so that means yes” ( what ldouglas said some people think) I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it because they know it’s a no for every single other situation. It’s how they decline without saying the word no. It’s not unknown to them.

        5. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

          Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick, do you know what the words “context” and “this conversation” mean? I’m not stupid. I understood your post. My point was that the argument of your post was directed at people (rapists and their apologists) who are not. participating. in. THIS. conversation. and in arguing as you did you ignored the fact that some of your shots were hitting rape survivors. Yes there are rapists OUT THERE who make those excuses, and (as you will see that I agreed in my long response above whenever it finally comes out of mod) when THOSE RAPISTS make those excuses TO AVOID PUNISHMENT then 99.9999% they are lying assholes, yes. Those people are not the ones pushing back in this thread. Lying asshole rapists are not the people you are conversing with here! And yelling at rape survivors here with that argument, as if they were the ones who need to be told that, is having the effect of implying that rape survivors who want to be remembered as survivors when rape is discussed are the equivalent of fucking rape apologists. Which is appalling and harmful, whether it was meant or not.

          I don’t know how to break it down any more simply. Rapist =/= rape survivor. Rapist and rape apologist =/= who you are talking to in this conversation. Critique of the standard model of rape as not inclusive ENOUGH of survivors DOES NOT FUCKING EQUAL saying rapists who got nonverbal refusal aren’t really rapists or any shit like that. Show me one place in this goddamn thread where anyone has suggested that one single rapist ought to be shielded, one single victim deserved it, one single instance of rape was not really rape. THAT is what I challenged you to show me, because it is NOT. HAPPENING. HERE. Certainly it happens somewhere in the fucking world every day I’m sure, but this thread on Feministe =/= the entire fucking world, and treating it like it was is hurting survivors right here and now. CONTEXT.

          Do you grasp the goddamn difference between a rapist saying “she didn’t say no!” and a rape survivor saying “actually when I was raped it didn’t go like that”? You are arguing against an argument that is NOT BEING MADE HERE by people who are NOT ARGUING HERE. Go argue against it where it IS being made if you like, and stop stepping the fuck all over rape survivors here.

        6. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm |

          Again- I’ve not said if rape doesn’t meet X it’s not rape. Nor have I said anyone here is claiming rapists who ignored know verbal cues aren’t rapists. I’M NOT SAYING THAT, HAVEN’T SAID IT AND I’VE REPEATEDLY AGREED THERE ARE MANY RAPES THAT DON’T FIT THE GODDAMN CURRENT STANDARD. Got it? PHEENO NO CALL ANY ONE HERE RAPE APOLOGIST. SO STUFF IT BECAUSE I’M A RAPE SURVIVOR TOO AND DON’T TELL ME I HAVE TO BELIEVE SOME RAPISTS BULLSHIT EXCUSE BECAUSE YOU DO.

        7. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm |

          DON’T TELL ME I HAVE TO BELIEVE SOME RAPISTS BULLSHIT EXCUSE

          Nobody has said you have to believe what your rapist told you about your experience of being raped. NOBODY. I explicitly said to you that I agree that rapists often attempt to use that excuse and they are BS-spouting assholes when they do. I explicitly distinguished between rapists’ attempts to excuse their actions and SOME survivors’ understanding of THEIR OWN experiences. NOWHERE did anyone say ALL rapes fit that model or that yours must have. NOWHERE did I say that rape victims who hear those excuses from their RAPISTS have to believe them. I am sorry you were raped, and I do not question for a moment that you were WHATEVER the circumstances and HOWEVER you see your experience. I am sorry a rapist asshat treated you that way.

          But you are reading something into this conversation here on this thread that DID NOT HAPPEN. Show me where I said anything whatsoever that implied that YOU have to believe something a rapist said to you about YOUR experience and I will eat my goddamn boots. I spoke about MY experience and those of those PARTICULAR survivors who have similar experiences. NOT ALL SURVIVORS. NOT ALL. How many times do I have to say it?

          And this

          BELIEVE SOME RAPISTS BULLSHIT EXCUSE BECAUSE YOU DO

          is so fucking off-base you are on goddamn Saturn. Not to mention so far over the line of acceptable you can’t even see the line anymore. Here you are explicitly interpreting MY experience for me, telling me what I believe. And you are factually incorrect. My rapist never attempted to excuse what he did to me the way you are telling me he did; I didn’t buy some bullshit excuse. I did not even bring up the subject with him. The people telling me I wasn’t raped are the people who keep insisting that every single rapist on the face of the earth absolutely knew and knows what they were doing, because that idea means my experience of being raped by someone who did not and quite possibly STILL does not understand that he was raping me DOES NOT COUNT FOR THEM. Every time that is talked about as the ONLY way rape happens I am excluded. As A way that rape happens? YES, totally fine and valid. The ONLY way? NO.

          I have repeatedly advocated here and on the previous other goddamn rape threads for accepting ALL survivors’ account of THEIR OWN experiences as valid and making room in discussions for ALL of them. THAT was my fucking problem with the OP in the first place. So don’t you DARE tell me I have told you only one way of understanding rape is valid or interpreted your particular experience at you when I have not. DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE, not when you turn around and do EXACTLY THAT TO ME.

          I give up. I FUCKING give up.

        8. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm |

          DON’T TELL ME I HAVE TO BELIEVE SOME RAPISTS BULLSHIT EXCUSE BECAUSE YOU DO.

          Holy shit. I can’t even begin to… holy shit.

        9. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

          DON’T TELL ME I HAVE TO BELIEVE SOME RAPISTS BULLSHIT EXCUSE BECAUSE YOU DO.

          We need a giraffe here.

          [thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

        10. Ally S
          Ally S October 16, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

          DON’T TELL ME I HAVE TO BELIEVE SOME RAPISTS BULLSHIT EXCUSE BECAUSE YOU DO.

          WTF? Wow.

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

          Pheeno, that was pretty far over the line. Whoa.

        12. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 9:57 pm |

          I cannot trust the word of a rapist in regards to their motivation. Can’t. If a rapist told me the sky was blue, I’d go out and check for myself before believing them. I don’t know how else to explain it without continuously hurting people or fucking it up. I can’t trust their word. I can’t trust them. I’m sorry. I don’t know how else to say it. I’m done trying to say it and I’m done commenting because damage is being dealt on both sides here.

        13. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm |

          I cannot trust the word of a rapist in regards to their motivation.

          No one commenting here is [an admitted] rapist. You’re refusing to trust rape victims.

      3. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

        Seriously, you are so offbase, I don’t know what to say to you, and I will drop it after this last comment: it is disgusting to me that the people with whom you are arguing don’t question your rape narrative and you insist on questioning theirs (ours). What you’ve thrown around here is heinous.

        1. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

          sorry, this is in response to Pheeno here.

    2. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll October 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm |

      Also- Where in the fuck did I say to just give up or stop teaching consent? WHERE WHERE WHERE. I ‘ve said LACK OF TEACHING IT ISN’T THE GODDAMN PROBLEM. NOT WANTING TO LEARN THE FUCKING LESSON IS THE PROBLEM AND NOT WANTING TO LEARN THE FUCKING LESSON IS A GODDAMN CHOICE. AND THEY ARE LYING WHEN THEY CLAIM IGNORANCE. The people behind those posters weren’t taught about consent? Are you shitting me? Just where do you think they got the idea for the posters?? They didn’t pull a mocking parody out of thin air.

      1. a lawyer
        a lawyer October 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm |

        what’s your requirement, pheeno?

        Should we stop talking about teaching consent because it might only stop 5% of potential rapes by the students? Or is your limit 10%? 3%? I mean hell, you seem entirely convinced that this is a shitty waste of time so presumably you’re certain that there’s no good coming from it AT ALL. Right?

        Otherwise, why the fuck are people complaining about a RAPE PREVENTION STRATEGY? I mean shit: I can see making an argument that it actually is bad. Whether or not you agree with it, at least it would be rational. But you’re not even doing that! All you’re doing is trying to preventing people from talking about consent because you don’t like the particular focus. It’s insensible.

    3. Hermione Stranger
      Hermione Stranger October 17, 2013 at 1:03 am |

      Yes, but the campaign also did other things that impacted the drop in sexual assault rates.

      The reversal in the trend related to sexual assaults reflected the impact of the new education program, better training for police officers and more effective investigation and enforcement.

      So, we don’t really know how much of an effect the posters have, except that it’s really unlikely that they are entirely responsible for the whole 10% drop. Better training for police and better investigation and enforcement almost definitely played some part.

      What we also don’t know is how much of the posters working is from them reeducating rapists, and how much of it is from giving bystanders a line (“Don’t be that guy”) they can realistically use on people they otherwise consider to be decent people and maybe even their friend.

      1. TMK
        TMK October 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm |

        Better investigation and police training certainly play no part in drop of rape prelevance, since they are not preventive measures.

        1. Willemina
          Willemina October 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

          I’d need to dig back through previous threads but there is a link between criminal actions and expected police response. So while police training is not directly preventative there is a deterrent effect.

          The fallacy usually thrown around is that severity of punishment is the strong deterrent, when in fact the likelihood of getting caught is.

          Quick google found this paper on certainty v severity and their leverage as deterrents.

        2. TMK
          TMK October 20, 2013 at 1:09 am |

          Yes, if that improvement of police actions would result in better response, the deterrence could result in the lowering. I actually considered adding a caveat that the police improvements wont lower the rate only in short term perspective, but decided against it, since the case discussed was obviously short-term (the following year, right?).

          Apparently i should have, so i would not have to write this lenghty reply ;)

          And yes, it is true what you say about the probability vs. severity, i know it and it is common knowledge in social sciences, although sadly it is the opposite when it comes to the public (and political) knowledge. At least in my country, but i suppose it is not different in USA.

  10. Funty
    Funty October 16, 2013 at 9:34 am |

    Anecdote ahead…Had a flatmate who wanted to be a model. Or a backup dancer. Either.
    But she needed a better portfolio, so, available aesthete on a dull week night that I am, I stepped in to help. Thought the photographs were quite good, spiffy lighting, layout and she looked damn well fantastic .
    Only she didn’t like them.
    Said the eyes were “wrong”, weren’t “sexy”enough.
    So okay then, learning curve. Lets do it again and this time, err…think what you’re gonna do with your boyfriend when he comes back home?
    She didn’t like those either.
    “So show me, what is it you want. What do you think “sexy” looks like?”
    And she did.

    Got out the wank mag shots. Faces like rabbits in headlights or slack jawed vacancy. The defiant and fierce ones belonged to women already crumpled and cowering on the floor.
    And this is what she thought “sexy” should look like and was going through some effort to achieve. From the volume of women in photo shoots like these, from school girl efforts at sexting, she was hardly alone.

    Yes. Rapists are heartless, stone cold bastards.
    Yes, these are neoliberal times when men are punished, not rewarded for showing empathy.

    But, these are still times when a number of young women think that in order to look sexy, they should look afraid or vacant and that is a concern.

  11. ldouglas
    ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

    Anyone who is complaining that some survivor’s are pushing back against a post that marginalized them needs to sit. down.

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

      I apologize for the apostrophe.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

        I had to read twice to understand your second comment – I’m so angry I’m surprised I can still spell. This goddamn thread.

  12. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune October 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

    I really really want to not get into wank but this fucking thread, man, this fucking thread, I can’t believe people are talking about consent education being useless.

    Look. Here are a short list of things I have believed because authorities told me so:
    1) My dog’s puppies died because I should have prayed for them to live calmly instead of crying.
    2) If I take a proper bath I can just wash off sexual abuse and be 100% okay to interact with my abuser afterwards.
    3) I literally willed this one guy into getting cancer.
    4) People who are murdered are only murdered because they don’t have enough willpower to make the universe send their attacker away.
    5) Any illness I had was because I wasn’t cheerful enough.
    6) By wearing pants I was responsible for any sexual abuse/assault I endured.
    7) My female family members had the right to make me undress in front of them whether I wanted to or not.
    8) I was a sexual predator for wrestling with boys (hilarious because fuck me my sexuality is only tenuously male-interested, a world of not-hilarious because I genuinely for years felt like a sexual predator for wrestling with a kid who was the closest thing I had to a little brother).

    I know I’m not Einstein, but fuck, I’m not stupid. I believed this shit because I was taught it young, or because I was punished for not believing it, or because it was just so universally agreed-upon that it genuinely didn’t occur to me that those things might be wrong until I bumped up against differing worldviews, and then felt much better or like shit, depending on what the thing in question was.

    I’m not saying all rapists don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not even saying most rapists don’t know what they’re doing. But I can’t help but think of how many other kids have come up in worse situations, in houses filled with rape and trafficking, in churches led by clinically insane fundamentalists, in houses where they’re beaten for not agreeing with their male family’s misogyny, in any place where consent is a fucking joke. I can’t help but remember how sincerely I believed these things, I can’t help but remember how terrifyingly easy it was to believe these things, how easily I could have believed other, worse, more rapey things. And you know what? If one potential rapist in the history of ever attended a course on consent education and came away going “holy shit I believed some heinous fuckery, what was I thinking”, that’s how many people saved? Worth it, in my book. Even if 10% of rapists could be taken out of the rape-related pool, isn’t that a partial win? Obviously other things have to be done about the 90%, but holy shit, since when is it cool to toss some rape victims under the bus because others are numerically superior?

    1. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah October 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

      Except pheeno just said that she didn’t want to stop teaching consent. She just doesn’t believe that it works that well. That is her opinion, but she expressly said she never said they should stop teaching consent. She is not throwing other survivors under the bus. It could be that, due to her own experience, she is feeling attacked by all of the “consent prevents rapes” types comments on this thread. I know that I am and I 100% agree that consent education is necessary and I am in a place where I can be a part of that…and part of the reason I can be a part of that consent education is hearing that my sexual assault was rape. I’m not being very clear…but it does help me to hear that MOST rapes do not occur because of consent confusion. I know there are some that occur because of consent confusion and for that reason, consent education needs to continue. But, we also need to keep telling people that rape does still happen and that consent education won’t fix everything because that helps victims as well.

      1. Esti
        Esti October 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

        Sarah, I think the problem people were having with pheeno’s comments was that she repeatedly and explicitly said that every rapist, including those who raped people commenting on this post, knew what they were doing was rape and so any further discussion of consent education was totally irrelevant to reducing rape. For example:

        In other words, when a person who has committed rape acts horrified and all blinky eyed innocence about it, they’re liars. They’re lying. They may even be lying to themselves too, but it’s still a stinking lie. You were raped. Period. Your rapist was a cherry picking full of shit excuse making liar. Who did not grow up on mars and just magically managed to avoid absorbing a lesson that’s been taught over and over, sung about, been on tv a gajillion Times,made into after school specials, shown on popular sitcoms with their nauseating ” special episodes tackling the sensitive issue of rape” shown on other tv shows as exaggerated jokes, been the subject of campaigns to stop rape, been the subject of internet memes, been on Dave chapelle to parody consent etc etc etc etc.

        No, pheeno did not advocate for stopping consent education. But she did say, over and over, that right now everyone in society is exposed to enough discussion of consent that every single rapist knows what they are doing is rape, and that any additional consent education is useless as a result. Even though several survivors on this thread explained that they were raped by someone who did not know what they were doing was rape, and that there are in fact people who are not being reached by current consent education programs/types of assault that current consent education programs are not addressing.

        I agree–as does everyone posting here, I think–that a huge number of rapes, probably by far the majority of rapes, are perpetrated by people who know what they are doing is not okay. I think the people pushing back about consent education have done an admirable job of emphasizing exactly that point even as they, while triggered and very upset, explain that that narrative does not capture their own assault. The reason you’re seeing so much talk about consent confusion is not because anyone thinks that’s the majority of cases, but because people are having to defend the fact that it occurs AT ALL, and that for some commenters is what happened in their own rape.

        1. Esti
          Esti October 17, 2013 at 3:34 pm |

          Ugh, I screwed up the block quotes. The second paragraph is pheeno’s, the rest is mine. Mods, could you fix?

        2. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen October 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

          It’s fixed now.

        3. Esti
          Esti October 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

          Thanks very much!

        4. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm |

          Esti, thanks for chiming in in support on this thread. It means a lot.

          And this

          The reason you’re seeing so much talk about consent confusion is not because anyone thinks that’s the majority of cases, but because people are having to defend the fact that it occurs AT ALL, and that for some commenters is what happened in their own rape.

          is EXACTLY it. Thank you.

        5. Hmmm
          Hmmm October 20, 2013 at 8:12 am |

          But why is there an assumption that survivors are somehow granted infallible knowledge of their rapists’ intentions? They certainly have the right to define their experience in a way that helps them come to terms with it, but why do other people have to believe that the survivors’ interpretation (of the psychology/motivations of their rapist, not the actual event and their feelings of course) is factually true? This isn’t an assertion that they are somehow “biased” or inherently wrong, their interpretation is as valid as anyone else’s interpretation of another person’s innermost thoughts. But it’s just that- an interpretation.

          Moreover, why should a debate about the motivations and beliefs of rapists be dictated by survivors’ beliefs on it? Yes, the point of anti-rape action is to benefit survivors and ensure that fewer people end up having to survive rape in the first place. What benefits survivors is naturally determined by the needs they articulate. But in this case the articulated need is “find out the causes of rape in order to stop it”. This doesn’t require adhering to any one survivor’s view of what the causes are. For one thing, different survivors have different interpretations of their own rapist’s motivations and the generalized cause of the decision to rape. And that’s just what the discussion here is- some survivors arguing with another survivor about whether ignorance is a primary cause of rape, and getting upset because the other person believes there is more significance to a certain cause. There is no more reason to uncritically accept what ldouglas and others are saying than there is to uncritically accept Pheeno’s suggestions: they are both survivors and they have conflicting ideas. I admit that the video and Pheeno appear to use more universalizing language that makes their intentions look worse than they are. They are both pretty rhetorically aggressive about the point which they are making, which is simply this: wilful and psychological avoidance by rapists of their intellectual knowledge of consent is overlooked as a cause of rape in favour of the widely-held belief that most rapists lack that knowledge to begin with.

      2. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable October 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm |

        But, we also need to keep telling people that rape does still happen and that consent education won’t fix everything because that helps victims as well.

        Who denies this? Seriously, please quote one person on this thread who has denied this.

  13. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune October 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |

    Adding to a comment in mod…

    And frankly, this goes back to my statement on a previous thread that I never ever believe myself <inherently incapable of rape, simply because I can’t know with 100% certainty that I’m not engaging in rape. I know my wife wants to fuck me, I know her body language, I get consent, she seems happy before and after, so I’m like 99.9999% sure. But 100? 100 is fucking complacency. It’s saying I COULD NEVER PERIOD and you know what, that scares the shit out of me because it’s one tiny tiny step away from me looking at someone who says I raped them and going “nope you’re a liar because I could never rape somebody”, because obviously the rapist’s feeeeeelings are what determines rape. I won’t lie, it scares the shit out of me when people say that, and it makes me feel somewhat less safe around them, because if they violate my boundaries in any way, I know they’ll wrap themselves in the armour of their God-or-Dawkins-given certainty that they could never, and so I must be a liar.

    And the complacency I see in “all rapists know what they’re doing” is a similar 100% complacency. It’s a total fucking willingness to chuck everyone under the bus. I mean, fuck, look at ldouglas’ story. How many women do you maybe know (of) who’ve done something that could be experienced as rape because Cosmo/their pastor/their parents/society told them men always want it, men like it whenever, men are X or men are Y? I also imagine a pretty big chunk of cis female rapists are really really unthinking about it simply because they’ve never been exposed (even in the creepy cissexist transphobic bigoted way that trans women are) to the notion that they are CAPABLE of raping anyone, much less a cis guy, who they’ve probably never thought of as CAPABLE of being raped. Hooray, the perfect intersection of rape culture, cissexism and heteronormativity! I hope y’all are proud.

    Moviemaedchen, ldouglas, Pretty Amiable, I’m so sorry for the shit you’ve been through.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

      Thank you, mac. And word on everything you said. A really fucking creepy and insidious part of rape culture is how it creates a definition of rape that not only is nearly impossible to attain when trying to convict rapists of rape, but also is so narrow that whole categories of rape like the female-on-male rape you bring up don’t even get considered and talked about as rape at all. And then feminists and anti-rape advocates who are legitimately trying to push back against certain very real, very harmful parts of heteronormative cissexist rape culture start shooting themselves in the foot by conflating all serious critiques of the current model with bullshit ‘critiques’ aka trolling by MRAs and the like. When those MRAs would have less fucking cover to use if serious critiques from survivors were actually given real consideration and the model adjusted as need be.

      It’s like there’s a fear that abandoning model B (current) means we have to go back to A (victim-blaming BS rape culture) instead of, you know, forward to C (better more inclusive model). Which I don’t get.

    2. Hermione Stranger
      Hermione Stranger October 17, 2013 at 1:15 am |

      I mostly lurk, but I really enjoy reading your comments, and this particular comment is exactly why I keep reading what you have to say.

    3. Alexandra
      Alexandra October 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

      Great comment.

  14. TimmyTwinkles
    TimmyTwinkles October 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

    Just to clarify my position, not that it’s of any particular importance, i totally agree that there’s nothing wrong with teaching consent early on and that it could make a positive impact. My issues with consent education are with the college age group, and that’s mainly because of how various groups hijack consent to victim blame and white wash the perpetrators. But that happens within certain spaces, and in regards to a specific survivor experience. The same experience my loved one had, which is why i posted at all. I truly apologize if i made anyone feel universalized. Since universalizing the experience is fundamentally how rape apologists victim-blame survivors like my loved one, I have done something dreadfully wrong if this is the case. Which is always entirely possible. I intended to speak only to consent within a certain context, and my anger is towards the people and issues causing pain within the survivor space I am personally invested in. But regardless, if through sloppy writing or poor use of language i caused anyone to feel universalized, the fault is mine.

    1. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |

      Thank you for this, Timmy. I appreciate your apology and adding of context. Your earlier comments were among those that really hurt me – none of the context you just described was at all clear, so it read as if you were just saying that the pushback in this thread, by rape survivors who wanted to be included in definitions of and discussions of rape, were the ones engaging in “rape apology” and “distracting bullshit” by voicing their critiques.

      With this added context, now I can see you did not intend that even if that is how your comments read to me. And I hear you on how in certain situations rape apologists will hijack conversations about consent for purposes of victim-blaming – that’s truly nasty stuff when it happens, and I am sorry for your loved one that they had to endure that vicious crap. It’s equally important to both fight against that and to make sure that in doing so we aren’t shooting down actual survivors too. Yes, universalizing is one more way that rape culture shuts down survivors and blames the victim, I fully agree. And when we are doing it to each other something has gone wrong. (An aside: I’m really curious to know why this same pattern of shooting at each other happens around the standard model so often – I do think that deserves a serious look sometime.) So I really do appreciate you stepping up here to say this.

      If I have said something off-base and hurtful to you or anyone, I am sorry. Going through repeated rounds of the same crap here has…taxed my ability to stay calm and clearheaded in these discussions.

      1. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles October 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm |

        You haven’t said anything that could be even remotely construed as hurtful by me. And I really appreciate your gracious response. And I def want to mull over the points you raised cause they’re really good ones that need discussing. But at this instant, and please don’t feel obliged to respond, I owe you a personal apology that my negligence/laziness in tossing out vague posts with no context caused you hurt. That’s not right. And despite the fact that i’ll be more mindful of what i throw out in the comments, that in no way shape or form compensates for the hurt i caused you. I’m so sorry.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm |

          Thank you; apology accepted. I’m glad to hear I didn’t get out of line in response to you, given how angry these threads make me. I think we are good now, yes?

        2. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

          Totally good.

  15. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen October 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm |

    Given that it is 1am where I am and that I am now seriously triggered, I think I’m going to have to bow out for the time being. I have comments still in mod, so at some point tomorrow I will check back in on those.

    Esti, ldouglas, mac, PrettyAmiable, thank you.

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

      Right back at you, and everyone else you listed. And I’m sorry you had to deal with this.

    2. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm |

      I’m sorry I didn’t do more (though I’m at work, and hope you and others understand it’s hard to get deeply involved when that’s the case). I’m very lucky in that I’m in a really good place with regards to what happened to me, and when stuff like this gets spouted, it’s relatively easy for me to brush it off (though I tend to think unkind thoughts towards people who perpetuate it). A big part of that has been coming to understand my assault, which included a “sympathetic” assaulter (I’ll likely write a little more when I get home), and coming to understand that we he did to me was terrible, deeply negatively impacted me, and I don’t have to forgive him or wish him well if I don’t choose to do so (spoiler: I don’t). And when people act like it’s not a thing, it made it harder for me to heal.

      I’m sorry you were triggered, and I really feel your pain. And I’m sorry pheeno was triggered too. Genuinely sorry. I’ve felt very few things as terrible as my anxiety attacks which have finally subsided after five years (three of therapy, one on drugs). But I’m pretty sure we all have a chorus of people telling us we misinterpreted our assaults, and it’s not okay to join in.

      1. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen October 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

        though I’m at work, and hope you and others understand it’s hard to get deeply involved when that’s the case)

        I totally understand, no worries. Thank you for speaking up to whatever extent you can.

  16. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable October 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm |

    Content note: discussion of my assault, and some inevitable violent fantasy.

    I moved in with three guys after I graduated from a top university in a major US city. I got along really well with all of them – I typically got along with nerdy guys, and these guys were scientists. They had a friend, and I was convinced this guy was gay. I’m not even sure how that thought occurred to me, but it did and it stuck. It wasn’t derogatory – I knew it the way I knew that he was originally from the area, or that he knew my roommates from college.

    In college, he was in SAPAC. He got into arguments with me that I didn’t want to have because I was raised Republican and hadn’t had the critical thinking skills to realize that I vehemently disagreed with social conservative ideology. He was the kind of guy you’d find at Comic Con, and as I read on the internet, socially awkward men don’t rape.

    At some point, I realized he had a crush on me. The worst kept secret in our group of friends is that I was on the verge of sleeping with this other (incredibly beautiful) guy. And I made it clear I wasn’t interested.

    One night, we were out drinking with a group of our friends. I was so incapacitated that I threw up on the hot guy’s car while trying desperately to stick my head out the window (he, incidentally, was drunk driving us home). I browned out portions of this night, but what I remember is this:

    The doucheface asked if he could crash on our couch. He had done this a million times before and I don’t remember having any qualms about it. And the next thing I remember is him climbing into, or out of, my bed completely naked.

    I ran out of the house with my cell phone and nothing else. I was so drunk, I threw on my PJ pants inside out. I didn’t want to go inside to get cash to get away, so I called my best guy friend one town over to see if I could come over and sleep there. I then called the beautiful guy, bawling, asking him if I could borrow cash for a cab. He pointed out the flaw in my drunken logic (i.e. if I could walk to his place, and he was up, I should just crash there), and he met me in the pouring rain because I was such a mess. (I only mention this because I can’t help but love him a little for this moment).

    Before that, while I was on the porch calling everyone I thought might be up, the [attempted? I still don't know] rapist came out, having thrown on an open flannel shirt, though he was otherwise still naked. He cried and wrapped his arms around me. It took me five years to not have a panic attack when I was spooning with someone if they constricted my arms at the elbows. Literally – the last guy I slept with was the first person who held me that way and let me feel safe.

    Our friends sided with him; all I got to hear about for the next month was about how he didn’t know exactly what had happened (they thought, and told him – not the other way around – that I could have wanted it), and that he was suicidal. The evidence? My roommate had a gun. His room was ransacked after I left. His gun was locked up, so no splattered brains wherever they were to be splattered.

    He wasn’t the stereotypical criminal who got off on having power over me. He cried that night, tried to convince his friends that at a minimum he assaulted me and contemplated killing himself thereafter. He is not one of the rapists who escaped the bushes and walked into the frat houses. He was some delusional kid who managed to convince himself that I wanted it and freaked out when he realized he was wrong.

    And I hate him for it. None of that excuses him or what he did. Having suffered from suicidal ideation and wishing that on no one, I honestly do not give even a single fuck that he wanted to die. Not one. And the day last year I found out he was MARRIED, I hated him more, because if I’m not happy, I sure as fuck don’t think he deserves to be. And then I wondered if his wife knows about me, and what I would say to her were I to meet her, and if she does know about me, how fucking bleak her prospects must have been (and how deeply she must fear being single) to have married a known [attempted?] rapist.

    I hope he dies an early and painful death. I do. Every time I return to that city, I imagine running into him and just decking the asshole in the face. I imagine enlightening his wife, if she doesn’t already know. And the only thought I have that helps alleviate the hatred I feel when I think about the fact that he’s married and I haven’t been able to have a relationship in the five years since is that half of all marriages end in divorce. And maybe it’s a living nightmare. He’s not exactly a winner, right?

    1. theLaplaceDemon
      theLaplaceDemon October 17, 2013 at 9:07 am |

      Thank you for sharing that, Pretty Amiable. I am really sorry that happened to you, and I hope that you are healing and processing in whatever way is best for you.

      Threads like these are very, very hard for me to participate in (and I apologize to everyone who did the heavy lifting in this thread while I hung in the background with meek thank yous – I am really, really grateful for all of you).

      (Content Note: Bad consent, discussion of suicidal ideation)

      I don’t know what the word is for what happened to me, but like Pretty Amiable, in involved someone who would be very, very upset if he ever found out he violated my consent. I don’t feel comfortable calling it rape. I don’t even know if “assault” is the proper word. I said yes. I said yes to a lot of sex I didn’t want to have, a lot of sex I wanted nothing to do with, because the consequences of saying no were way, way to high. When I was a teenager, I had a partner who had some deep issues, some serious self-loathing and some deep shame surrounding sex. If I said no to having sex with him, or said no to a particular sex act with him, he would get visibly hurt, visibly sad. About 75% of the time it would trigger a major downward spiral, where he would become immobilized in our bed, talking only about how horrible and evil his sexuality was, how he was bad and good for nothing. He would fantasize about self harm, about cutting his genitals. He would take my hand and start hitting himself in the face with it, because that he what he thought I should want to do to him…all because I had said I was too drunk and tired for sex, or because I wasn’t turned on by a particular activity.

      So I stopped saying no, to everything. Twenty minutes of unpleasant sex was better than hours and hours of trying to convince him that there was nothing wrong with his sexuality, worrying that he was going to hurt himself if I left him alone.

      It is possible that I sometimes reacted badly when he asked me for something I didn’t want to do – I don’t think I did, and I actively tried to be non-judgmental regarding sex with everyone I knew, but it was a long time ago and much earlier in my feminist education, so I can’t be sure that I never did anything to increase his feelings of guilt or shame.

      And I guarantee you that this man would be horrified if he knew that I had been terrified of saying no to him, terrified of the self-loathing and suicidal ideation that would trigger.

      I don’t feel comfortable calling what happened to me rape, but I can understand why someone else might want to use that word if it happened to them. And that’s why threads like these always scare me so much, always upset me so much, because I know there are whole groups of sexual assaulters out there who are not driven by a desire for power, or a desire control. There are plenty of circumstances, no matter how uncommon any individual one may be, that can lead to a violation of someone’s consent. What makes something rape, or makes it sexual assault has nothing to do with the rapist or assaulter’s internal state – it is about the violation of consent. And as long as we hang onto the “rape is all about power” narrative, there are plenty of rapists out there who have just been let off the hook, because they know deep down that when they violated someone’s consent, it wasn’t about power. And there are plenty of survivors who will once again get the message that their assault wasn’t real, because it wasn’t some asshole with a knife on a power trip.

      You can have the best intentions in the world and still violate someone’s consent. I really like what Mac said, above, about only being able to be 99.9% sure you aren’t raping someone, and how scary it is if someone says they are 100% sure. If anything good came out of that awful, horrible relationship I was in as a teenager, it is that I am very conscientious now about my capability – anyone’s capability – to unknowingly make it difficult for a partner to say no.

    2. Alexandra
      Alexandra October 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |

      I didn’t want to have sex with him, but I didn’t say no. A year and a half later, after a year and a half of dating him, I finally fully explained to him what I’d felt and thought at the time, and he wept as he apologized to me… I thought at the time that he really got it; now I wonder. But I haven’t seen him in years, so who knows.

      My friends know what happened to me, they’ll talk about it as a shitty thing that was done to me, but they won’t call it rape and they still see my ex-boyfriend socially, won’t cut him off socially for my sake. After all, it happened so long ago, and didn’t we part as friends? Didn’t I forgive him?

      Can you unforgive a person? I don’t know. I know he was selfish and myopic when he hurt me, and that he saw me as a means to an end; I know he came to feel something deeper for me later; I thought at the time he understood what he’d done to me, but how can I know? I cannot make a window into his soul, or into anyone else’s.

      I had no legal case for rape, and many people tell me that ethically he didn’t do anything wrong except assume the frightened, inexperienced teenager in his bed must be consenting because she was too petrified to speak… and I had no reason to be afraid because he hadn’t hurt me or threatened me, so it was my fault I got hurt. This is what I have been told time and time again. I don’t believe it was so; I know years later he told me that he thought if we had sex I would date him, and he didn’t think I’d date him otherwise (which was true). I know he was trying to manipulate me, and he succeeded. And I know – or think I know – that his attitudes toward me changed over time as we dated, his attitudes toward women changed. I desperately needed to believe it while I was with him, and now he is a stranger, so what do I know about him now?

      I have never felt included in the predator theory of rape, never felt comfortable with it. Never felt comfortable with the prevailing narrative about domestic abuse either, but that’s for another time and place.

    3. EG
      EG October 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

      This guy sounds like a gaslighting asshole. How convenient for him that the gun was locked up. I loathe him and I’m so sorry he hurt you, PA.

      1. PrettyAmiable
        PrettyAmiable October 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm |

        I honestly don’t think he was. His (our) friends? Absolutely. They were terrible. But he tried to convince them that he had assaulted me. That’s not gaslighting.

        He’s screwed up. Super, ridiculously screwed up. But in spite of the fact that he’s not some evil monster, I have no pity for him. None. And I have no guilt over this.

        Here’s the issue I have with acting like all rapists are some variants of a monster (and I’m not saying any particular person on this thread buys this, but I feel like this is the source of the monster narrative, sometimes): there’s an implication that I have to empathize with someone if they aren’t completely inhuman. Why? There are – what – 7 billion people on this planet? And every single one of them is screwed up or screwed over in some way? I don’t have the emotional capacity to empathize with 7 billion people. Why would I waste any energy feeling for this guy?

        1. EG
          EG October 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm |

          Well, of course not! Everybody’s a human being–and some human beings are total assholes. And I don’t have to empathize with any of them.

    4. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable October 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm |

      Thanks for sharing your stories, theLaplaceDemon and Alexandra. I hope others find comfort in sharing.

      I liked what mac has said as well. It makes me wonder if any of my partners have ever felt coerced, or scared to say no, or any other terrible thing. It’s a powerful and important thought that means more to me on this side of my life-to-date experiences.

    5. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

      Thank you, PrettyAmiable, Alexandra, LaplaceDemon, for all of this. And I am sorry for what you went through.

  17. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve October 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |

    I’m curious to hear Echo Zen’s opinion on the discussion the film has generated on here thus far.

    1. Echo Zen
      Echo Zen October 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm |

      Normally I’m more involved in the comments section of posts I’m somehow connected to — but these next couple weeks won’t be conducive to my usual commenting, between business at Planned Parenthood and research deadlines at university. Nonetheless, lest you assume I’m ignoring this discussion, that’s not the case — my mates and I are having discussions nightly behind the scenes, on what to do differently next time to avoid in-fighting over stuff where most of us would agree on 99% if things were worded differently.

      That’s one mistake we made in this post, failing to clarify if we were talking secondary school or university students. (We teach both, but right now that’s beside the point.) Granted nothing in the original post suggests we oppose teaching consent in uni — whilst most rapists will have hardened their behaviour patterns by then, teaching consent still matters because it creates “a more feminist, hostile environment for rapists who try operating without being called out”. But since we didn’t elaborate or put more emphasis on that point, it was overlooked.

      Next time I’d avoid making that mistake. And the same can be said of how many seem to conflate our talking about “90 percent of rapes” with universalising about *all* rapes. Again, not clarifying this point is why everyone’s disagreeing with everyone about intents and purposes. I think I need to blog here more so I can catch onto these things ahead of time…

      1. ldouglas@gmail.com
        ldouglas@gmail.com October 17, 2013 at 7:27 pm |

        And the same can be said of how many seem to conflate our talking about “90 percent of rapes” with universalising about *all* rapes.

        You missed (one of) the point(s). The study you cite to get the 90% figure itself explicitly excludes all rapes that were not committed with a) physical violence or threats thereof or b) where the victim was so drunk/high they were unable to resist. So it’s not that we’re stupid and unable to distinguish 90% from 100%, it’s that you got it wrong even when talking about the 90%.

        Thanks for being a condescending ass about it.

      2. Echo Zen
        Echo Zen October 17, 2013 at 8:11 pm |

        That’s also a mistake on our part, being nonspecific with the studies we cited, i.e. parameters and definitions. This is the first time we’ve tried citing studies in a casual video, so clearly we need to do better next time.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm |

          Thanks for saying that.

          What really rubbed me the wrong way was the language you used on your non-apology apology. Saying we “overlooked” the part where you addressed our concerns, saying things like “many seem to conflate;” that’s on the same frequency as “I’m sorry if you were (unreasonably) offended.”

          We didn’t overlook something you said. We didn’t foolishly conflate two things that weren’t the same. We responded directly to the actual honest-to-god text of your post. And it sounds like you’re acknowledging that now, but in your first post, it did not.

        2. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

          Thank you ldouglas for this. And thank you Echo Zen for acknowledging the need to do better.

  18. Alexandra
    Alexandra October 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |

    I guess I don’t really understand the difference between telling people that they don’t understand their experiences and need to conform to rape culture and then telling people that they don’t understand their experiences and they need to conform to the fashionable feminist ideology of the day.

    It has frustrated me for a while that the online feminist circles I read and participate have so quickly and unquestionably seized upon the results of a handful of excellent, but nevertheless limited, studies. I am frustrated that feminists are once more pushing this homogenizing narrative about the fundamental nature of RAPISTS who must be cast as monsters and predators somehow fundamentally different from the rest of mankind. We have gone far beyond the results of the study, from the realm of social science, into dogma. And dogma hurts those who won’t conform.

    1. EG
      EG October 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm |

      But what if they are fundamentally different? Manipulative sociopaths exist, and rape is not like other crimes, as we keep pointing out whenever assholes try to make stupid analogies. Perhaps the people who perpetuate it are not like other people.

      1. Alexandra
        Alexandra October 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

        And what if they aren’t? I mean, seriously, it is bad science to extrapolate from a handful of limited studies to the entirety of human existence. You’re leaving the realm of inquiry and fact and entering into blind ideology when you insist upon making people conform to comforting narratives that are useful for political organizing but which alienate people who cannot convince themselves that their own experiences fit within the dominant narrative.

        Just as I don’t buy that “boys will be boys”, men can’t help themselves, and that women are usually partly at fault for being raped – the dominant narrative in broader culture – I also don’t buy the homogenizing bullshit feminism keeps trying to sell me, that says that all scheming sociopaths fundamentally different from normal human beings. It is too pat, too convenient, and based on too little evidence, for me to accept it.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm |

          THIS.

      2. theLaplaceDemon
        theLaplaceDemon October 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

        EG, I think this ties back in with the conversation upthread.

        It is totally possible that most rapists do have some fundamental difference from other people. I don’t know if that hypothesis has been tested, but it doesn’t sound that crazy to me.

        But as with any other sweeping statements about The Way Rapists Are, you run the risk of excluding the few exceptions where the rapist wasn’t that way, and you have people (like many in this thread) who feel their experiences are being invalidated. Human behavioral data is rarely that clean; there are almost always exceptions to generalizations.

      3. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 17, 2013 at 7:40 pm |

        EG, I talked in the #spillover thread about something that could be classified as a sexual assault that I experienced at the hands of a female family member. I haven’t been able to go reread and I don’t want to go dive into the olympic-sized pool of anxiety writing that incident out gives me for a secound time a month, but the story is there if you want context. The tl;dr – and I really hope it’s not offensive to extrapolate from sexual assault to rape – is that I absolutely believe that sexual assault can be sincerely not perceived as such by the assaulter. And I don’t think it’s a majority of cases, but the idea that 100%, every last one, of rapists knows exactly what they’re doing doesn’t ring true to me. It doesn’t make them not rapists or not culpable; it just means society fell asleep at the job. (IF you can classify the safety of women as part of society’s job; I wouldn’t, but meh.)

      4. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |

        But what if they are fundamentally different? Manipulative sociopaths exist, and rape is not like other crimes, as we keep pointing out whenever assholes try to make stupid analogies. Perhaps the people who perpetuate it are not like other people.

        I am sitting here reading and re-reading this comment, and I am flabbergasted. Utterly flabbergasted. I feel like I’m Ingrid Bergman in Gaslight here. Or maybe that I’m at a climate change conference and someone invited the Tea Party. Because the complete disregard of history, context, fact and basic logic is making my head spin.

        Part of it is the ridiculous assertion that, because “manipulative sociopaths exist,” therefore rapists by definition, ALL rapists, must be manipulative sociopaths and thus fundamentally different from the rest of humanity. Alexandra hit the nail on the head here – it’s bad science. Even a five year old is capable of better logic than that.

        Sure, there are rapists out there who are manipulative sociopaths. I see nobody disputing that point. But the fact that some of them are that way does not mean that all of them must be. I wasn’t raped by a manipulative sociopath who is fundamentally different from the rest of humanity. I was raped by a goddamn human being capable of the same spectrum of behavior and riddled with the same biases that every other human being on this planet is prone to. And there are other survivors on this thread who, like me, have already explained how their rapists and experiences of rape do not fit that idea of What Rapists Are Like and What Rape Is. Do we not exist, or are you deliberately choosing to ignore us while you implicitly redefine our experiences for us?

      5. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

        But the part that really gets me, that really stings my heart, is hearing this sort of universalizing bullshit from the same person who just a month ago said the following to me after the previous iteration of this exact same fucking argument:

        I’ve read your comments, movemaedchen, and I want to apologize to you for my part in hurting you. I think that my working definition of sadism is more elastic than I’m finding is the case for other people, and that led me to the generalization that is hurting you. It’s not fair to you and you shouldn’t be excluded from these conversations. I’m very sorry.

        At the time I believed, and I am clinging with my fingernails onto still believing, that when you made this apology, EG, you were speaking genuinely and in good faith. So I have to ask: did the guys from Men In Black come with the little memory gadget and mindwipe you between then and now? Has another person taken over your account and been writing in your name on this thread? Do you not understand how defining all rapists as manipulative sociopaths is part of exactly the same goddamn generalization that defining all rape as sadism is? Let me quote what I said last time we had this argument, what I thought you had actually understood:

        The intent of the rapist does not make anything better, does not remove the survivor’s pain, and does not justify anything he does. It’s not magic. But if (general) you have to be able to call your rapist a sadist in order to call him a rapist at all, it can make it that much harder to call what he did rape instead of “your own fault” – because sometimes women [and other people] are in fact raped by people who they don’t perceive as sadists or clear power-tripping consent-ignoring assholes. And trying to force their rapist into that mental box can be difficult, if not impossible, for a whole host of reasons.

        So are you implying that I am wrong about my own experience of rape? Did you lose your memory? Is it that, despite your pretty words last time, you actually do not care about some rape survivors enough to try and avoid erasing them? I’m trying hard to believe that you aren’t deliberately fucking with me and other survivors here.

        1. moviemaedchen
          moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm |

          Gah, the middle bit was meant to be a blockquote of my post on spillover.

      6. moviemaedchen
        moviemaedchen October 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm |

        Or maybe the way we think and talk about rape in feminist spaces like this is so flawed and so broken that it encourages even people who have previously realized that it’s flawed from remembering that, encouraging them to think and talk in ways that inherently exclude entire categories of survivor. In which case we need to change the goddamn model, and we need to start that work right now while the problem is still on people’s radar. Because make no mistake, if we don’t start now, then the problem will vanish from most people’s attention again the way it does every time. And then next time the subject comes up, we will have to start all over from square one, and survivors of other kinds of rape will have to yet again fight to convince people that they exist and maybe should be let in the door, and it will go only that far, and nothing will actually change.

        EG, I’m not singling you out because I have some sort of particular beef with you specifically. I focused on your comments because they so perfectly illustrate the larger problem here, and the reason why so many survivors find it difficult to trust anyone talking about rape. Even people who genuinely seemed to get it last time still can turn around and spout exactly the same bullshit, at the same group of survivors, without any apparent flicker of doubt. (And then go on to argue, without an apparent sense of irony, that the entire town of Maryville is involved in that atrocity. Which is it? Are rapists another species, fundamentally different from ordinary people? If so, what’s up with Maryville – is everyone there also part of that other species, in some sort of freak occurrence, that they are so invested in protecting rapists? Or are rape and rape apology part of larger social dynamics that are more complex than just a set of inhuman manipulative sociopathic monsters running around terrorizing us normal totally always non-rapey folk?)

        If you respond to this EG, which is totally up to you, please don’t give me an explanation of how ‘all rape is -sadism- done by manipulative sociopaths’ can be fitted into ‘rape culture is a real and complex thing we’re all part of’ if one is willing to do enough logical backbends. I don’t want to hear that. I want you, and everyone else making the sort of arguments you are making, to sit back and listen to yourselves. And listen to us. Ask yourselves why you are so fucking invested in contradicting, not only the lived experiences of rape survivors and basic logic, but your own goddamn words from the last round of this.

        Because right now there are rape survivors who are wondering why the fuck they should ever trust anyone talking about rape in feminist spaces. Why should we trust, when even the ones who seem the most well-intentioned turn around and repeatedly do exactly the same thing they apologized for last time?

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

          Holy shit.

          Sorry, I’m less forgiving. Fuck EG. Fake apologizing for erasing rape survivors when it becomes awkward not to, and then doing the exact same oppressive bullshit a month later because you think you can get away with it this time?

          She can go to hell.

        2. EG
          EG October 18, 2013 at 9:56 pm |

          Because rape and rape culture are two different things. That logic too twisty for you?

          My comments on this thread were “what if they are” and a reiteration of the 90% stat. When the flaws in the latter were pointed out, I accepted that. Personally, I’m willing to entertain the proposition that there’s something different about rapists; I’m not going to dismiss it out of hand. We can disagree about that.

          As to apologies: I apologized for what I said in that thread, and I meant it. I don’t make fake apologies because…why would I bother? Seriously, ldouglas, what would I get out of it? It’s not like moviemaedchen is an essential component of my social or emotional life, or in control of my employment or something. And I don’t get paid by the apology, either.

          Since I didn’t actually say anything about all rape or all rapists or all survivors in this thread…no, I don’t see that it’s the same thing at all. Most of what I said was pointing out that Echo Zen, in zir response to teaching consent, was referencing this specific context, and in other contexts, was pro-teaching consent.

          Seriously, I just did a ctrl-F on “EG” and re-read my comments, and that’s what I’m coming up with–that and calling speculation about the motivations behind survey answers speculation. I kept my comments to a minimum in this thread specifically with the last one in mind. I really do not see how what I said in this one is like that one. At all.

          And fuck you, too, ldouglas. Just by the way.

  19. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll October 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

    After a sleepless night and ativan, I want to say I am sorry. All I could hear was the voices of his ( once mine too) friends saying he didnt know, he thought it was okay, how could he rape his own girlfriend ( with a gun. That’s how.) And it was literally their voices in my head that I heard when I read the posts. But that’s not your problem and I should not have made it your problem. I’m sorry.

    1. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

      Thank you.

    2. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen October 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm |

      I was literally in the middle of drafting a comment for this thread when I saw your comment, so I am glad I get to reply directly to you with some things I have been needing to say. I also had a hard time sleeping.

      First, I give you my sincere thanks for saying sorry, and for explaining why you reacted that way. I have been telling myself I did not need to hear it but it turns out I really did, deep down. Consider that apology accepted.

      Secondly, I am sorry that you had a sleepless night, and that those were the voices you heard during this exchange. I am sorry and enraged for you that anyone dared say such things to you or deny you the right to claim your own experience. I am sorry and incandescent with rage at what your boyfriend did to you, that you had to suffer that.

      Thirdly, I am sorry for whatever I said that triggered those voices, and for any pain my comments caused you. A big part of my heartbreak over this thread – and I am heartbroken – has to do with the fact that my attempts to claim the validity of my own experience somehow led to me causing another survivor pain, or sent the message that I did not accept your account of your own experiences.

      Because I firmly believe that every survivor has the right to define their own experiences, and the right to sit at the table and have a voice when rape is being discussed. I only ask for that same courtesy to be extended to me too, instead of having to beg and claw for it and end up clawing other survivors in the process. I too was hearing hurtful voices from other conversations as part of the mix in this thread – voices telling me that I wasn’t really raped and voices telling me maybe I technically was but not in a way that meant I should be listened to.

      I want to say clearly, in case I was not explicit enough or not early enough in the conversation: I believe you when you say you were raped. Period. I do not question that for a moment, and I do not stand behind anyone who does. I do not believe that you should buy such bullshit excuses made by people attempting to deny that you were raped, or that any survivor should buy such bullshit from a rapist or rape apologist, when your/their own experience of your own rape contradicts it. If you felt that you were raped, that is your call to make and I do not question it. I am sorry I ever gave the slightest impression otherwise, however unintentionally. And even though I did not until the very end have even an inkling what you were actually reacting to, I believed and believe that the pain you were feeling in this thread was and is real, and if I suggested it was not, I’m sorry.

      I do wish you well, pheeno, I genuinely do. As a fellow survivor I want you to feel you have a seat at any table I do in these discussions, if you want it. I want to have you and all the other survivors who want to be there at the table with me, instead of us kicking each other. That is part of what I am trying to ask for when I push back in these discussions, and that that turned even for a moment into sending the opposite message is a cruel thing.

      If there is something you need to hear from me that I have not said, and you feel up to asking for it, I am listening.

    3. moviemaedchen
      moviemaedchen October 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm |

      Pheeno, I have a longer reply to you in mod now.

      The key parts of it are:

      One, thank you. I needed to hear this, and your apology is accepted.

      Two, I am sorry for whatever I said that triggered those voices, and for any pain my comments caused you. A big part of my heartbreak over this thread – and I am heartbroken – has to do with the fact that my attempts to claim the validity of my own experience somehow led to me causing another survivor pain, or sent the message that I did not accept your account of your own experiences. I believe, unquestioningly, your account of your experiences. I am genuinely sorry.

  20. moviemaedchen
    moviemaedchen October 17, 2013 at 8:05 pm |

    There are things I want to say, and things I need to say, but reading everything that has been added has put so many new thoughts into my head and roused so many feelings again that I am still unable to formulate a coherent written response to it all that would be shorter than a novel. And I don’t have the energy to write a novel about anything right now, much less about this subject.

    Something I realized today about how being triggered works for me: it often comes as a mix of anger or rage, an inability to see just how angry I am, and an inability to let the triggering material/event/post go. I think that happened here. It is still happening a bit for me, as there are still things being said that are hurting me, so other than giving pheeno my reply above, I think I should step out again for a while rather than going back into triggered mode.

    So, I am not ignoring this thread or the new comments. But I am still processing it, and I am exhausted from it. And I am, as I said to pheeno, heartbroken. Heartbroken at this entire thread in a way that is different from the more usual rage and hurt I’ve felt in the aftermath of the last thousand rounds of this. I don’t want to be kicked in the face in every discussion of rape, the way I have been. And I also don’t want to be part of a cycle of discussions of rape in which other survivors get kicked in the face, or to be one of the ones doing the kicking, even if it is because I’m trying to defend myself. I want to be part of discussions about rape where no survivors get kicked. But that seems to be impossible with the way rape is currently handled here.

    The way we talk about rape is broken. And I don’t know what to do about it.

    1. a lawyer
      a lawyer October 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

      You can’t, at least not most of the time.

      That’s because there are two types of rape discussions.

      SURVIVOR FOCUSED. These generally discourage significant dispute. They focus on feelings and personal experience; they rarely go into details of the rapist’s motivations or experiences. They generally treat anecdotes as equivalent to data. They prioritize the needs of the past (survivors) over the future (people who may or may not be raped) and when they discuss the future it’s often in the context of “future survivors.”) They rarely use hypotheticals; don’t generally question narratives; and generally attempt to avoid personal offense.

      Taken to its extreme, this type of group wouldn’t be willing to even discuss things that potential victims could do in the future to reduce their risk. This would be considered “victim blaming.” The potential benefits to the future “people who might not be raped” are not considered, or are given almost no weight. This type of group never, ever, discusses people who may have been incorrectly accused. When it comes to the end result, “this has a bad effect on survivors” has the functional effect of a veto: the group will almost never say “… but the overall benefits are worth it.”

      Survivor focused groups prioritize what is in front of them. If you had a proposal that would reduce overall rapes by 10% but which would trigger the survivors who happen to be in that thread, it will often be avoided. The feelings and opinions of the particular victims in the thread are given more weight than those who aren’t in the thread.

      PREVENTION FOCUSED. They prioritize prevention (avoiding future rapes) over those rapes which cannot be prevented (protecting the feelings of people who have already been raped.) As part of that, they often are willing to discuss the rapists’ motivations and desires. They generally reject anecdotes as inferior to data. They rely on hypotheticals to consider the effect of their proposals on those who may be incorrectly accused, especially in the context of changes to policy, law, or procedure. They attempt to provide space to question major issues and orthodoxy, with the idea that the end result of “rape reduction” remain as the primary goal, even if that is offensive to some participants.

      This type of group does concern itself with the feelings of survivors in the end result. But it does not concern itself with the feelings of survivors during the discussion process, since doing so would prevent it from achieving its goal. When it comes to the end result, “this has a bad effect on survivors” is relevant, but not determinative. Moreover, the benefit of “preventing a rape which has not yet occurred” is given significantly more weight than addressing the interests of survivors.

      Prevention focused groups prioritize statistics and future rapes. If you had a proposal that would reduce overall rapes by 10%, that would be a good thing: everyone is equal, and the fact that a thread member might end up in the 90% or the 10% doesn’t change the overall benefit. In the context of the larger policy discussion, each individual victim is a statistic. That’s considered to be OK.

      YOU CAN’T HAVE BOTH TYPES AT THE SAME TIME. The future and the past are in conflict. If you demand that we pay attention to rape survivors and if you demand that their interests get priority, then discussion will be more limited in its ability to prevent future rapes. OTOH, if you demand that you attend to the future and if you want to do that efficiently, you can’t easily address the interests of survivors.

      As an example:

      On survivor site: “I was wrongfully accused and convicted” = “these laws should be changed.”
      On prevention site: “I was wrongfully accused and convicted” = “well, the law can never be perfect and we always expected some convictions of innocents. Maybe we can change the laws; maybe not.”

      On survivor site: “My rapist was not convicted” = “these laws should be changed.”
      On prevention site: “My rapist was not convicted” = “well, the law can never be perfect and we always expected the acquittal of guilty folks. Maybe we can change the laws; maybe not.”

      Perhaps Feministe should just have two different types of threads. In survivor threads, everyone can be careful and supportive; if you aren’t certain that you won’t offend survivors then you shouldn’t post. In process threads, it would be expected that survivors will self-protect and people would be allowed to discuss things without worrying about offense.

      1. TimmyTwinkles
        TimmyTwinkles October 20, 2013 at 1:28 am |

        Spot on, brilliant analysis. That both conversations can’t happen simultaneously had been nagging at me, but you just nailed it.

        PS I enjoy your posts, every site needs a good healthy dose of legal reasoing and pragmatic analysis, and despite my own highly vaunted legal education they damn sure don’t get it from me

        1. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 20, 2013 at 2:14 am |

          One caveat: while I still think the point about 2 conflicting rape discussions happening simultaneously was extremely well-made, after reading Ally S’s response I strongly concur that your statement: “this type of group wouldn’t be willing to even discuss things that potential victims could do in the future to reduce their risk”, is extremely ill-advised. In my opinion, any language that questions what a rape victim should or should not do/have done is way too close to victim-blaming to justify its inclusion in a discussion on rape prevention. Otherwise, I think this was an extremely insightful comment.

      2. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune October 20, 2013 at 1:53 am |

        Wrote a long comment, then deleted it. tl;dr, you’re positioning the two as “offended victims wanting to be offended” vs “noble rational threads discussing objective benefits to potential and current victims” and it’s bullshit, there isn’t such a simple dividing line. I understand that it’s really tempting to plop your dick down in a discussion and classify everything by which side of it it falls on, but kindly stop.

        1. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 20, 2013 at 2:20 am |

          Damn i assumed a lawyer was a woman, not really a dude’s place to weigh-in so heavily on a rape thread in a women’s space. Which doesn’t change my opinion on the comment but i would have kept it to myself and not put in my buck-o-five

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 20, 2013 at 3:09 am |

          Meh, I don’t care what gender anyone is when weighing in on rape, not like it doesn’t happen to everybody. But cis guys are more likely not going to think deeply – and are more likely to spout off like they thought deeply – so when they bullshit, it’s rooted in male privilege, which does annoy me.

        3. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 20, 2013 at 4:00 am |

          Yup, I’ve def been known to spout off when what i should have done was remove fingers from keyboard and take 10 to think it through. It’s actually precisely this kind of thing where ive personally seen privilege manifest itself outside of the theoretical. Meaning, i have a marked tendency to take for granted that my opinion or analysis of whatever is being discussed is clearly bursting with insight, if not the definitive word on the subject (maybe not QUITE as bad as that, but pretty bad). Not only that, I assume that everyone involved is interested, nay dying, to know how I’ll weigh-in. And it’s basically sub-conscious, i don’t actually explicitly think these things at the time. Looking back and applying the theory of privilege, I can see where I’ve been deferred and catered to and made to feel special my entire life. I assume importance because society has convinced me i’m important. Both culturally and through personal interaction. Despite having studied intersectionality years ago, when i first encountered social justice i thought privilege was a pretty sound theory but bullshit on the ground. Which isn’t to say i accept all or even most of the methodology i see used in sj circles, there’s more substance to the theory than i thought. Not that i believe Feministe has collectively been holding its breath awaiting validation from someone posting under the name timmytwinkles (or do i?).

        4. a lawyer
          a lawyer October 20, 2013 at 11:08 am |

          macavitykitsune October 20, 2013 at 1:53 am | Permalink | Reply
          you’re positioning the two as “offended victims wanting to be offended”

          Er… no I’m not.

          I work with plenty of victims. They need (and should have) a means to discuss things in a space which is safe to them. The reality is that some victims are triggered by certain things. If you don’t want to be the trigger (and especially if you’re talking with folks who are relatively sensitive to it) then you have to be more careful in the conversation.

          There’s nothing wrong with taking offense, or being triggered, or being careful. It is what it is. But it obviously has an effect on the conversation.

          vs “noble rational threads discussing objective benefits to potential and current victims”

          There’s nothing “noble” about it.

          Look, it’s as if you had 100 hours to volunteer for cancer issues: some folks think it’s preferable to spend the time in support groups; others in treatment clinics; others in research labs that focus on prevention. Each is valid but they have different goals.

          I’m personally more in the “prevention” camp, but I don’t think it’s better than the other ones.

          it’s bullshit, there isn’t such a simple dividing line.

          Not built of stone–but yeah, there’s a pretty clear dividing line.

          I understand that it’s really tempting to plop your dick down in a discussion and classify everything by which side of it it falls on

          Speaking of dividing lines…

          w/r/t victims, my perspective is irrelevant. I am not a victim–though many of my friends and family are. One of my family members died as a result.

          However, with respect to future policy and tactics, my perspective is perfectly relevant. I’ve spent a fair bit of time discussing this, Moreover, law and policy is what i do for a living.

          Let me be blunt: in the context of policy and prevention, the facts/theory matter and the perspective does not. So the opinion of a cis male regarding prevention and policy can easily be more relevant than an opinion of a survivor.

          To continue with the cancer analogy: the fact that someone has/had/may have cancer doesn’t make their opinion more valuable with respect to prevention policy. It may be that a cancer-free researcher is far more qualified.

          but kindly stop.

          Hell no.

          I have two daughters; many family members; lots of people who I love who have been or might be raped. I have just as much of a vested interest in protecting them as anyone else.

          Moreover, I’m a victim-sympathetic, anti-rape, feminist, highly trained lawyer. Why the fuck would you or anyone else want to stop working on things that I think are important (which conveniently includes anti-rape stuff) just because someone cares about my penis or the fact that I am primarily concerned for the fate of others than for myself?

          I value the future over the past; prevention over reparations. That’s not the only choice, but it’s mine. If it comes to arguing policy in a way that is more effective, versus a way that is less effective and more protective of survivors, I’ll choose the future every time. But I have no interest in deliberately or accidentally hurting the feelings of survivors, which is why I think that the discussions should be separate.

      3. Tony
        Tony October 20, 2013 at 3:52 am |

        it would be expected that survivors will self-protect

        Is that like “self-deport”?

        I’m confused by your comment because I thought that people in this very thread arguing for the feelings of survivors have been among the same ones discussing prevention strategy, discussing rapists’ motivations, and questioning orthodoxy? Having read this thread, then how can you say the two are always exclusive?

        Regarding ‘anecdote’ vs. ‘data’. An anecdote indicates a single data point, whereas ‘data’ refers to the plural of the same thing. Usually people look down on something you call an ‘anecdote’ because people telling them try to take one data point as if it were many. But that’s not what happened here. The discussion here (and on the same topic before) has shown that you only need one relevant counterexample to tear down a universalizing statement. If anything it proves the value of ‘anecdote’ (e.g. a single piece of data) against the negative reputation the word has.

        The past and the future is well connected in this thread. People have brought up events from the past (both data and anecdote) to illustrate the effectiveness of potential educational strategies to prevent future rapes.

        I also agree with Ally and mac that what you wrote sounded condescending to survivors– as if their feelings were somehow fundamentally incompatible with prevention focused discussions. That’s pretty fucked up.

  21. Ally S
    Ally S October 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

    1) I don’t know where you have been, but very few of the major survivor-focused discussions I’ve seen are like what you described. I have seen survivor-focused discussions on places like Yes Means Yes where the motivations of rapists, non-anecdotal data, rape reduction, etc. are all very important.

    2) Talking about how women can do things to lower the risk of being raped is victim-blaming. It’s that simple. Shifting the burden of rape prevention onto rape victims (either fully or partially) is victim-blaming. And the reason those “benefits” you speak of are given little to no weight is that victim-blaming is strongly opposed.

    And of course such discussions don’t focus on false accusations. How is that a problem? Do you think MRAs are onto something important when they barge into discussions of rape and scream “But what about the innocent men being accused?”

    Also, in case you may have forgotten, ending rape culture implies the need to be compassionate towards survivors, so yes “It will have a bad effect on survivors” is a valid reason to reject a proposal. I find your (presumably espoused) utilitarian justification for such proposals very troubling.

    3) Oh please. Survivor-focused groups are more diverse than that. And such proposals are often shot down because they are triggering to many victims, not just the ones in the thread. Where did you get the idea that most people in these discussions are only concerned about survivors in the thread? And again, there is a focus on rape prevention in survivor-focused discussions – it’s just that the focus on prevention itself is solely on perpetrators and the forms of privilege that support perpetrators.

    4) I think excluding survivors from certain discussions (in practice, because that’s what would happen if your idea was implemented) is highly reprehensible. All survivors have every right to be a part of rape prevention discourse. I want to give you the benefit of doubt here, but so far you sound like you’re saying “I want to be able to say things that may make me sound like I’m marginalizing victims without ever being accused of marginalizing victims.” You can’t have it both ways, I’m afraid.

    It really does seem to me that your suggestions, if followed, will inevitably lead to doublespeak bullshit towards rape victims. In one little thread, we’ll tell victims who were passed out from being drunk that it’s not their fault, and in another little thread, we’ll say to others that women should stop drinking so much in order to lower the risk of rape. Dishonesty all around. How do you think a survivor here would feel about one commentator telling hir that ze isn’t at fault for being raped and then peeking into a rape prevention thread in which that same person says “People need to be more careful with their drinking!”?

    I’m not exaggerating when I say that your comment immediately brought to mind the rape apologia that so many MRAs engage in. I’m not even a survivor, and I found this comment very upsetting. And of all threads you post it in one in which some major unintentional victim marginalization has happened.

    1. Ally S
      Ally S October 19, 2013 at 10:37 pm |

      That comment was in response to “a lawyer.”

    2. ldouglas
      ldouglas October 19, 2013 at 11:01 pm |

      Talking about how women can do things to lower the risk of being raped is victim-blaming.

      Oh, good. So basically, even if we knew for a fact that behavior X would reduce my daughter’s likelihood of victimization, I should purposefully keep her in the dark, because Feminism.

      Bullshit.

      There’s a difference between how the world should be and how it is. And there’s a difference between blaming victims for being raped, and educating people on risk-minimization.

      And I’m not going to sacrifice the people I care about on the altar of ignorance (paraphrasing Macavity here).

      1. Ally S
        Ally S October 19, 2013 at 11:16 pm |

        [Trigger warning: victim-blaming, rape apologia]

        Oh, good. So basically, even if we knew for a fact that behavior X would reduce my daughter’s likelihood of victimization, I should purposefully keep her in the dark, because Feminism.

        Bullshit.

        It has nothing to do with being committed to feminism. It’s about avoiding something that perpetuates rape culture.

        Nevertheless, I understand why parents would want to give their children helpful advice on rape prevention. So I do feel conflicted. In the end, I’ll say this: one of the reasons I’m against blaming rape victims is that many of these victim-blaming rape prevention tips don’t even help. If there was something that could be done to significantly lower the chance of being raped, I would tell my (hypothetical) child about that. But all of the rape prevention tips out there are nonsense.

        And there’s a difference between blaming victims for being raped, and educating people on risk-minimization.

        I’m sorry, but I really don’t see a meaningful difference between “If she didn’t drink so much, she wouldn’t have been raped” and “If she didn’t drink so much, she may have avoided the rape.” Can you please elaborate on what you believe the difference is? I’m not being disingenuous here; it’s just that I’ve seen this point made countless times and I have yet to see a convincing argument that there is actually a difference.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 19, 2013 at 11:44 pm |

          “If she didn’t drink so much, she wouldn’t have been raped” and “If she didn’t drink so much, she may have avoided the rape.”

          Ally, with all due respect, that’s disingenuous as fuck, and that’s NOT what I’ve said here, or anyone else. The message I have given is this: predators and rapists have been known to take advantage of drunk people, and you need to keep that in mind when picking where and when you want to get drunk. Those drunk people are every bit as raped as sober people would be, and it is 100% not your fault if you are raped or assaulted, but in the interest of helping you figure out how safe or unsafe you are in a situation, here are the facts about what rapists are most likely to look for in potential victims. This is both so you can weed out potential rapists in your social circle, and so you know that if someone “had sex” with you while you were drunk and out of it, you were raped, they are a rapist, and you have every right to every bit of support and validation and criminal procedure as a sober raped person.”

          If there was something that could be done to significantly lower the chance of being raped, I would tell my (hypothetical) child about that. But all of the rape prevention tips out there are nonsense.

          Really? First, you’re not a parent, so maybe try being responsible for the sexual integrity and health of another human being before you theorise. Second: all rape prevention tips out there are nonsense? What’s your definition of nonsense? There is no one tip that will protect you 100% from rape, so if that’s your criterion, then yeah. It’s all nonsense.

          Otherwise, I’d really like you to tell me how the following red flag information I’ve given my child are all nonsense:

          1) Don’t trust people who make rape jokes.
          2) Don’t drink around people who have sex with drunk people.
          3) Don’t fuck someone who’s drunk; you can’t know they’re consenting.
          4) Don’t trust someone who wants you to get drunk for sex. Or drunk period.
          5) Don’t trust someone who violates your physical boundaries in non-sexual ways; they’re more likely to violate your sexual boundaries.
          6) If someone says someone else is a rapist, they’re probably not lying; don’t make yourself vulnerable to that person.

          Go right ahead and tell me these aren’t useful tips.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm |

          It has nothing to do with being committed to feminism. It’s about avoiding something that perpetuates rape culture.

          Also? Telling someone how predators work is perpetuating rape culture?

          I guess I shouldn’t tell my kid to look both ways before crossing the street so I don’t perpetuate drunk driving culture.

          And bullshit it’s not about ideological purity. I don’t think my daughter’s health is less important than the right of someone to get their moral jollies. Ally, you are so damn wrong on this.

        3. Ally S
          Ally S October 20, 2013 at 12:05 am |

          Mac, I apologize for misrepresenting that position. I…just feel really uncomfortable with prevention tips aimed at victims regardless of the intent behind them because I’m used to anti-feminists and MRAs saying shit like “I’m not blaming victims; I’m just telling them to lower their risk of being raped!” And I’m not comparing you to those folks at all – I’m not opposed to you telling your child about those things you listed above. It’s just that I’ve rarely seen rape prevention advice in a context that isn’t heavily biased against victims.

          I admit that I lack a lot of perspective here (e.g. I’m not a parent), and I find this difficult to talk about because, on the one hand, I’m against anything that looks victim-blamey, and on the other hand, I don’t want to be foolish and insensitive.

        4. Ally S
          Ally S October 20, 2013 at 12:21 am |

          Also? Telling someone how predators work is perpetuating rape culture?

          No, you’re right. I can’t see how that could be reasonably equated with blaming people for being raped. Your position is much clearer to me now. I still feel that there’s a blurry line between reasonable advice like that and victim-blaming bullshit, but that doesn’t mean they’re equivalent or that reasonable advice doesn’t exist. I hope you understand that I have a knee-jerk reaction to these things because of all the victim-blaming MRAs I’ve argued with, although I understand if you see me differently and I won’t derail the thread to make it all about me.

          I apologize for coming off as sanctimonious and dismissive. I should lurk more and listen to what others are saying before opening my mouth. I can occasionally barge into a conversation and have no idea what I’m talking about, and that needs to stop.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 20, 2013 at 1:44 am |

          Ally, no worries. I’m sorry I got so angry, too, I just get really het up about educating potential victims (which is all of us), mostly I think because I spent so long being abused because I had no idea that support was a thing I could even expect, or knew to ask for. I apologise if I hurt you or upset you; I think I’m just pretty frayed by this thread, even though it shouldn’t really get to me personally, since I’m not a rape survivor.

        6. Ally S
          Ally S October 20, 2013 at 2:25 am |

          [Content note: physical abuse, abusive anger, abuse apologia]

          @mac

          I just remembered that learning about the red flags for abuse has really helped me out with regards to my dad. This week has been one of learning how abusive my dad was towards me and finally being able to say, among others things, “Yes, it wasn’t right for him to restrain me and bite my arms and legs against my will.” He called it “tough love” (a term that makes me fucking shudder to this day), but I recognize that one sign of abuse is the tendency from the abuser to minimize it and/or make it sound sweet and innocent.

          Of course, I’m not a rape survivor, so I don’t want to accidentally make a false comparison here, but I can see how learning about red flags can be helpful not just for safety, but also for coping and understanding past abuse. And so that means I have yet another reason to apologize – I just completely overlooked an inconsistency in my own views. Like I had no self-awareness whatsoever.

          And I’ll be honest; reading your responses did hurt. It’s not your fault at all, and I believe your anger was completely justified. But as a result of having to deal with my dad’s intense and abusive anger on a regular basis, I can’t help but feel scared and hurt when anyone, regardless of their motivation, gets angry at me. It’s something I need to work out with a therapist. You’re obviously nothing like my dad; it’s just that his behavior has conditioned me to associate all anger directed at me with his own anger. And these days I am especially sensitive to all anger. I have no idea why.

          I don’t know if that’s bordering on being a manipulative tone argument, and if it is I’ll take back what I said and apologize. In any case, I appreciate your apology.

        7. TimmyTwinkles
          TimmyTwinkles October 20, 2013 at 2:28 am |

          Mac, not that you probably care, but as a guy i thought the rape avoidance tips you listed above were really on-point. Some of them i touched on when having this kind of discussion with my little sister years ago, but i would read your list off in a second if i had to have that discussion all over again.

        8. Donna L
          Donna L October 20, 2013 at 2:59 am |

          “Yes, it wasn’t right for him to restrain me and bite my arms and legs against my will.”

          God, that’s horrifying. I’m so sorry. And no, it wasn’t right. Not at all.

        9. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 20, 2013 at 3:07 am |

          @ally I’m a glass of wine down and slepey, so sorry if I’m not terribly clear in this comment. Just wanted to say: it’s perfectly reasonable for you to be anxious/hurt/triggered by my anger, even if I wasn’t intending to abuse you. And it’s also not some tone argument, because you did own your mistakes. I’m sorry I got ranty and angry, and that I hurt you in the process. And I knwo you’re probably not in need of validation on that but holy shit your dad was so way over the line it’s fuckingobscene. So. Sorry, again.

          @timmy thanks, dude

        10. Ally S
          Ally S October 20, 2013 at 3:52 am |

          @Donna, Mac

          Your words mean a lot, actually, because even when I think about that abuse now, I still feel shame and self-blame. Hearing someone stand up and say “That was wrong” is validating to me and helps me fight back those feelings of shame and self-blame little by little. It helps to know that there are people who are on my side, you know. So thank you.

        11. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 20, 2013 at 3:57 am |

          Ally, there’s no way you were at fault. My father has been incandescently angry with me without ever hitting me, much less biting me like that! The only time he ever even laid a hand on me was to snap me out of a panic attack. Anger is no excuse for physical abuse, ever ever.

        12. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve October 21, 2013 at 3:54 am |

          Otherwise, I’d really like you to tell me how the following red flag information I’ve given my child are all nonsense:

          1) Don’t trust people who make rape jokes.
          2) Don’t drink around people who have sex with drunk people.
          3) Don’t fuck someone who’s drunk; you can’t know they’re consenting.
          4) Don’t trust someone who wants you to get drunk for sex. Or drunk period.
          5) Don’t trust someone who violates your physical boundaries in non-sexual ways; they’re more likely to violate your sexual boundaries.
          6) If someone says someone else is a rapist, they’re probably not lying; don’t make yourself vulnerable to that person.

          Go right ahead and tell me these aren’t useful tips.

          These ARE useful tips. However, when I see a list like this I understand how certain ‘feminist’ male predators, who know how to avoid all the aforementioned rape signals get away with murder…

    3. TMK
      TMK October 20, 2013 at 1:18 am |

      1) I don’t know where you have been, but very few of the major survivor-focused discussions I’ve seen are like what you described. I have seen survivor-focused discussions on places like Yes Means Yes where the motivations of rapists, non-anecdotal data, rape reduction, etc. are all very important.

      Thats complicated. On one hand, it is true that Millar is very into dissecting the rapist mind and modus operandi, while still being very strict with comments. On the other hand, he is also not very patient when faced with dissenting voices – google up his conversation with, for example, Janet Hardy. Or Toy Soldier.

      That said, Yes Means Yes is great site and i respect Thomas Millar a lot.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S October 20, 2013 at 1:25 am |

        I haven’t really read the argument between Thomas and Janet Hardy, but I really don’t think Toy Soldier is anyone worth arguing with, so I can’t blame Thomas for being impatient with him. There was one thread in which TS accused Thomas of never talking about female-on-male rape victims even though the article associated with that thread explicitly talked about the marginalization of female-on-male rape victims.

        1. TMK
          TMK October 20, 2013 at 1:37 am |

          I dont know. Although i only read several TS blogposts, and some comments, TS strikes me as a reasonable person. And he is FM rape victim, so i am understanding his writng about it differently to what i would think of some MRA saying the same thing.

          You dont happen to remember what specific post that conversation happened?

    4. a lawyer
      a lawyer October 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

      Talking about how women can do things to lower the risk of being raped is victim-blaming. It’s that simple.

      No, it’s not. In order to have victim blaming you need to have a victim; my goal is to avoid victim blaming by reducing the #s of victims. Preferably to zero.

      Telling a rape victim “you should have done that differently” is victim blaming.
      Telling someone who else “this is something you can do to reduce your risk” is not victim blaming; it’s prevention.

      Shifting the burden of rape prevention onto rape victims (either fully or partially) is victim-blaming.

      No, it is not. You can’t shift prevention onto victims because it’s too late.

      And the reason those “benefits” you speak of are given little to no weight is that victim-blaming is strongly opposed.

      Or stupidly misconstrued to include things which don’t involve victims and aren’t actually blaming anyone other than the rapist.

      And of course such discussions don’t focus on false accusations. How is that a problem? Do you think MRAs are onto something important when they barge into discussions of rape and scream “But what about the innocent men being accused?”

      No. False accusations are pretty rare (at least in this context); they’re pretty much only relevant in the context of policy discussions, as in “there oughta be a law…” or “how can we change this procedure to convict more rapists?”
      Not to side track, but IMO the appropriate response to “what about false accusations?” is “well, no system is perfect. Some folks will get wrongfully convicted, just like some folks will get wrongfully acquitted. It’s a tradeoff.” If they don’t recognize the balance or if they think that they can effect one side without changing the other (i.e. MRAs who think that they can prevent “false” convictions without letting more rapists go free; or feminists who think that they can convict more accused without also convicting more innocents) they just don’t get it.

      Also, in case you may have forgotten, ending rape culture implies the need to be compassionate towards survivors, so yes “It will have a bad effect on survivors” is a valid reason to reject a proposal. I find your (presumably espoused) utilitarian justification for such proposals very troubling.

      I don’t really care. I mean, I think you’re making a mistake just like you think I’m making one; I am troubled by your perspective as well. So we’ll just have to disagree.

      more specifically: it’s easy to get distracted by rape culture because it apparently encompasses almost the entire society. I think it’s perfectly fine for anyone to choose to work on that; it’s their choice.

      But they’re different, and it’s not my choice. Just like “ending smoking culture” and “finding a cure for cancer” are different. Just like “ending privilege” and “giving to the food bank” are different. “Compassion for survivors” and “trying to avoid having the group of survivors get any bigger” are also different.

      Why are you so distressed by my choice?

      3) Oh please. Survivor-focused groups are more diverse than that. And such proposals are often shot down because they are triggering to many victims, not just the ones in the thread. Where did you get the idea that most people in these discussions are only concerned about survivors in the thread? And again, there is a focus on rape prevention in survivor-focused discussions – it’s just that the focus on prevention itself is solely on perpetrators and the forms of privilege that support perpetrators.

      That is not a focus on “rape prevention.” That is a focus on a particular subset of rape prevention. Limited both by the one-party issue, and also by the particular lens which you apply.

      Here’s how you focus on rape prevention, generally: Analyze whether something will prevent more rapes than it causes. If yes, it prevents rapes. If no, it does not. THEN you can ask the “is it worth it?” question.

      4) I think excluding survivors from certain discussions (in practice, because that’s what would happen if your idea was implemented) is highly reprehensible.

      What you are saying amounts to this:
      1) Survivors shouldn’t ever be excluded.
      2) Survivors can’t deal with certain types of content discussion (since it would “practically” exclude them.)
      3) Therefore we should limit content of discussions to accommodate survivors, irrespective of whether it limits the effectiveness of those discussions.

      Again: if you have the choice between “discuss rape in a way that may not accommodate survivors but which will reduce rapes” versus “discuss it in a matter which will accommodate survivors even if it is not as good at reducing rape” then apparently you’d choose option #2.

      Well, that seems pretty reprehensible to me, so I guess the disagreement is mutual. But to each her own.

      All survivors have every right to be a part of rape prevention discourse.

      They have a right to be a part of life just like anyone else. They don’t have the right to limit any conversation they choose, directly or indirectly. They are capable of choosing whether or not to participate; they are free agents like the rest of us.

      Again: I have two daughters, many nieces, sisters, etc. Why should their interests in avoiding rape be subject in any way, even in the slightest bit, to the interests of someone who has already been raped (which cannot be undone, no matter how we try?)

      I want to give you the benefit of doubt here, but so far you sound like you’re saying “I want to be able to say things that may make me sound like I’m marginalizing victims without ever being accused of marginalizing victims.” You can’t have it both ways, I’m afraid.

      Honestly, I don’t care what you think that I sound like I may think about the marginalization of someone I’ve never met.

      I am soundly confident that I’m working towards a good goal: fewer rapes. My willingness to move off of “fewer rapes of any kind” as my single-minded goal in this arena, just to satisfy your bona fides, is pretty much zero. Would you seriously expect otherwise? Hell, would you seriously think it was BETTER if I was happy to make the tradeoff?

      It really does seem to me that your suggestions, if followed, will inevitably lead to doublespeak bullshit towards rape victims. In one little thread, we’ll tell victims who were passed out from being drunk that it’s not their fault,

      We will? You mean to tell me that even when I’m speaking in general terms it’s considered anti-feminist pro-rape MRA anathema to point out that the connection between “drink a shitload” and “pass out” has been known for millennia?

      This is ridiculous.

      Of course it’s not anyone’s fault if they get RAPED, since they don’t rape themselves. But absent secret druggings (which are quite rare) passing out is usually the result of voluntary drinking. This is a bad idea for many reasons.

      and in another little thread, we’ll say to others that women should stop drinking so much in order to lower the risk of rape. Dishonesty all around.

      I’m happy to be honest about it. Aren’t you? Or will you quickly trade honesty for good feelings all around?

      Here: drinking makes you a more vulnerable target. It doesn’t make rape your fault, but it increases the chance that you’ll be the victim which is selected. In some instances (where there are not alternate victims) it also increases the overall chance of rape occurring at all, i.e if there was not as much alcohol there might not have been a rape. If you don’t want to tell people that then you’re the one pushing the dishonesty, not me.

      How do you think a survivor here would feel about one commentator telling hir that ze isn’t at fault for being raped and then peeking into a rape prevention thread in which that same person says “People need to be more careful with their drinking!”?

      I don’t know. Do you? Are you sure? Of the victims that I encounter (which include survivors of some pretty nasty shit, not limited to rape) there are quite a few who cannot stand being tiptoed around all the time: they don’t want to be blamed but they don’t like to pretend that reality isn’t real. There are some who expect deference. There are some in the middle.

      I’m not exaggerating when I say that your comment immediately brought to mind the rape apologia that so many MRAs engage in.

      Again: that is simply ridiculous.

      There is not a single thing in a single one of my posts which can possibly be interpreted as similar to the position of an MRA. I’m just as anti-rape as you are and it is obvious from the contents of my posts. Moreover, there are certainly many women who share this type of perspective; I work with a few.

      You’re just associating me with an MRA because I’m male: that’s your problem, not mine.

      I’m not even a survivor, and I found this comment very upsetting. And of all threads you post it in one in which some major unintentional victim marginalization has happened.

      There is no rape thread where that doesn’t happen, because there is no rape thread where people don’t try to mix the narratives and end up running into this exact problem. Go ahead: try to find a serious rape thread which discusses things in detail and which doesn’t contain either heavy moderation or some offense. Good luck.

      1. Ally S
        Ally S October 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm |

        I’ve reconsidered and changed some of my views, as you can see up-thread. I still disagree with you on some points, but I don’t want to bring up my objections because I’m really not feeling well at this time. And I’m just done arguing in this thread.

        All I will say is this: I didn’t even know you were male until you said so. I have no idea where you got the idea that I associated you with MRAs because you’re male. Nevertheless, I apologize for sounding that way to you. I made that judgment purely because of what you said and not because of some assumption about you as a person.

      2. BBBShrewHarpy
        BBBShrewHarpy October 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm |

        I find this approach problematic in more ways than those surrounding the experience of past victims of rape.

        If preventing rape is centered on a handy-dandy-guide-to-not-getting-raped then future rape victims are even more likely to be blamed for their rape if they act in any way contrary to these guidelines. As if that didn’t already happen, I know, I know. This is despite the fact that they themselves, as you say, are absolutely not to blame. So no, I’m not willing to throw the future victims of rape under the bus in order to reduce the overall number of rapes by encouraging the modification of behavior of potential rape victims.

        Your approach is entirely different from macavity’s tutoring of her daughter, which is personal rather than institutionalized.

        1. ldouglas
          ldouglas October 22, 2013 at 12:02 am |

          So no, I’m not willing to throw the future victims of rape under the bus in order to reduce the overall number of rapes by encouraging the modification of behavior of potential rape victims.

          As a survivor, I would take a 10% chance of not having been raped over a 100% of chance of being shamed less afterwards. I realize not everyone would make the same choice. But please don’t speak for everyone.

        2. a lawyer
          a lawyer October 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

          BBBShrewHarpy October 21, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink | Reply
          I’m not willing to throw the future victims of rape under the bus in order to reduce the overall number of rapes by encouraging the modification of behavior of potential rape victims.

          And that is entirely fine. To each his/her own. But can you at least recognize the tradeoffs?

          Look at that sentence in general:
          I’m not willing to do ______ in order to reduce the overall number of rapes.

          It sounds like that that sentence is true for you as soon as “______” becomes “use language which might have the result of hurting victim’s feelings.”

          See, for me, there is ALMOST NOTHING that you can put in there which would make that statement make sense. That’s because I value “preventing a rape” way, way, WAY, above “preventing harm to a survivor by voicing an opinion.”

          I understand some folks feel differently, though I think they’re wrong. But no matter how you feel, it’s important to own the consequences. I own the consequences that I might occasionally hurt the feelings of survivors as I work towards my goal. If my actions are shown to hurt the feelings of survivors, I would accept that reality, and own my actions: I don’t like the result, but I consider it an acceptable tradeoff.

          Are you willing to own the consequences of your decisions? If you are accused of failing to prevent a rape–i.e. if someone ends up being raped who wouldn’t have been raped absent your position–are you willing to own that? Would you stand up with your back straight and say “I don’t like the fact that someone was raped, but I consider that an acceptable tradeoff?”

          If not, perhaps you should reconsider.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune October 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm |

          See, for me, there is ALMOST NOTHING that you can put in there which would make that statement make sense.

          I have a question for you. If the ____ was filled with “strip women of all rights and confine them to individual cells for the entirety of their lives”, how would you feel about that?

          Because, you know, that’s been the logical endpoint of most rape prevention tips the patriarchy feeds everyone.

        4. a lawyer
          a lawyer October 22, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

          Is that serious or rhetorical? Hopefully you’re not serious.

          I wouldn’t be OK with that, of course. I have heavy priorities but I’m not an absolutist. I’m also sure that BBBShrewHarpy isn’t an absolutist either, whether or not the post was qualified.

          But in a general sense: I admit that my approach is likely to hurt the feelings of some survivors in an effort to prevent rapes. S/he should admit that em’s approach is likely to result in some extra rapes in an effort to protect the feelings of some survivors.

          Honesty is good. All of us should own our position–both the positives AND the negatives.

        5. Miranda
          Miranda October 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

          But in a general sense: I admit that my approach is likely to hurt the feelings of some survivors in an effort to prevent rapes. S/he should admit that em’s approach is likely to result in some extra rapes in an effort to protect the feelings of some survivors.

          You are being disingenuous. “Hurt the feelings of” sounds reductive and trivial; it is *trivializing.* What actually happens plenty of the times is re-traumatization, which compounds PTSD and increases the likelihood that it becomes a chronic condition. We are talking potentially long-lasting, life-lasting harm, not just “I went home and cried in my pillow because a mean lawyer said something that made me uncomfortable.”

          This is just one example in which your diction is working to position yourself as the “noble noble man who is coming in and doing all the brave things that all the tear-jerky, emotional, non-logical women/survivors are afraid to do.”

          You need to stop. Your comments are consistently patronizing, and the way that you continuously swoop into spaces and condescend to impart and impose vast judgments and generalizations is obnoxious, offensive, and reeking of male privilege.

  22. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune October 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm |

    Are you all fucking seriously telling me that I should refuse to provide my child with information that might allow her to avoid being raped, so that, once raped, she can feel hypothetically less guilty?

    Because, of course, people who were raped are never ever made to feel guilty by anyone outside the feminist community, and so if I don’t tell her anything that could be construed as victim-blaming in the course of giving her predator information, clearly no one else would. Because if I tell her nothing, she’s only imbibing creepy rape apologia from the rest of society, and it is going fucking unchallenged! Because I want to accidentally not blame her! Because providing any information, any at all, is blame.

    Fuck. You. All. Fuck you. Fuck you.

    1. TimmyTwinkles
      TimmyTwinkles October 20, 2013 at 2:34 am |

      Posted about this upthread but meant to put it here. In case you don’t see the other one, for whatever it’s worth i thought that the avoiding rape tips you listed above are really perceptive. I’d tell my own hypothetical daughter every single one of them.

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