Good work, University of North Carolina! It’s worth noting, too, that the student didn’t even use her alleged rapist’s name; she just detailed her struggle with reporting the rape and stalking she experienced, and how UNC’s honor code wasn’t all that helpful....read more
In 2009, a tour of the overflow evidence storage facility for the Detroit Police Department turned up 11,303 untested rape kits. While the police were quick to offer handwaving “justifiable reasons” for not testing many of them, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has made it a personal initiative to test every one of the kits and establish a protocol to help other states process their own backlogs of kits....read more
For Valentine’s Day, I wrote about the One Billion Rising movement that is staging actions around the world today to bring attention to the epidemic of violence against women. I was initially unconvinced; here’s why I came around:...read more
That is a thing that happened. I mostly agree with John Patrick Shanley here (and not just because I like his plays): The Church’s concentration of power among an elite group of white men and its wholesale hostility toward women makes its modern success impossible. That said, I actually think it’s great that the Pope is stepping down, and not just because I think he’s a kind of a bad dude. We need more people in positions of power to know when it’s time to throw in the towel. No doubt the Pope’s stepping down is related to the release of 12,000 pages of internal documents related to child sex abuse in the church, and his role in the cover-up. But stepping down when it’s time to go? I wish more leaders would do that....read more
Feministe friend Clarisse Thorn has an excellent investigative piece up at the Yes Means Yes blog about rape at Burning Man. Go read....read more
I haven’t had the stomach to write about the horrific Indian gang rape that left a woman dead, but this NYT op/ed by Sohaila Abdulali is worth a read. My favorite part:...read more
As someone who was raped after a party, I often find myself falling for rape-apologist language. The guy that raped me would be most likely be horrified if I had accused him of rape. The guy that raped me is a good person. In fact, the guy that raped me was someone I found sexually attractive and had been flirting with for several weeks. I remember accepting his invitation for a ride home from a party. I don’t know what I was thinking. I do know that as a chronic drinker it is nearly impossible for others to tell when I’ve had too much. So, doesn’t my drinking to excess, and accepting a ride home from this guy make me at least a little culpable? If I’d driven home in that state and killed someone in a car accident I couldn’t use the excuse that I was too drunk to make the right decision about getting behind the wheel to not be charged with vehicular manslaughter. I’d have made the decision to drink and drive. Period. Impaired judgment would never enter the conversation....read more
I know I’ve been beating this one into the ground, but it’s been bugging me. I took a few days to think over why I’m so hung up on this, and what I came up with is basically: These narratives enable rape. There are numerous studies that show adherence to rape myths (men who commit rape are just confused, women bring rape upon themselves by sending “mixed signals,” acquaintance rape is just a miscommunication) actually increases rape proclivity. So when articles like the ones at GMP are published, they not only enable rapists or would-be rapists to justify their behavior, but they increase their propensity to rape. It’s not “just” starting a conversation when you send those kinds of messages. What I also found in the research is that when men with already-high acceptance of rape myths either see or believe that other men are coercing women into sex and perceive that sexual coercion is common, they interpret that as “normal” and are then increasingly likely to do the same thing. So publishing an unrepentant rapist? That makes the men who are already likely to assault even more likely to see their actions as normal and justified. These aren’t just “conversations.” This is playing with women’s bodies and our physical safety to get page views. And that’s why I’m so pissed about it, and so hung up on it. Over at the Guardian I detail why “we’re just starting a conversation” isn’t a good reason to write about sexual assault in a way that perpetuates rape myths. The GMP editors may have been well-intentioned at the beginning, and I’m even willing to accept that their defensiveness is a result of feeling attacked (although as an aside, some of them have had really obnoxious MRAs who I banned from Feministe long ago do the “heavy lifting” of going after me on Twitter, but that’s another story). But I hope they read this column and the linked research and see why this is important, and why good intentions and “just starting a conversation” don’t outweigh the serious damage done when you publish what they published. A bit of the Guardian piece:...read more
Joanna Schroeder at GMP put up a post defending the decision to give the drunk rapist a platform, and in the comments one thing she’s done is try to distinguish the research that Lisak & Miller and McWhorter have done on “undetected rapists” — those who have not been caught or disciplined, but whose responses on surveys are concessions to having raped, though they don’t call it that. This is in part a discussion about that research, and I cover it in Meet The Predators, which is among the most cited posts here at YMY — I’ll assume familiarity with it.
As what lawyers call a “threshhold issue,” Schroeder thinks the studies don’t support my post, but she’s not just arguing with me. She’s arguing with Lisak about his own research. David Lisak has said:
“This is the norm,” said Lisak, who co-authored a 2002 study of nearly 1,900 college men published in the academic journal Violence and Victims. “The vast majority of rapes are perpetrated by serial offenders who, on average, have six victims. So, this is who’s doing it.”
I’m not putting words in his mouth when I say that Predator Theory (my term for the conclusions drawn from his and similar research) is the explanation for the vast bulk of the rapes that happen. That’s what he says his findings mean, too....read more
So here’s the thing about the Good Men Project: I really want them to be good. I do. I was an early promoter of their work, linking to them here and on Twitter. They had some great early writers, and interesting (if male-centric, given their mission) feminist analysis. And my brand of feminism is firmly in the camp of, “breaking down gender stereotypes is good for men too, and I hope more men will do the work amongst themselves to further the goals of gender equality.” And lo, I thought the GMP was doing that.
Then things started to change....read more
They put up this piece by a self-identified rapist, saying that he would rather keep partying and raping than take responsibility and stop (obviously trigger warning on the rest of this piece). I’ll tell you now: There’s nothing particularly insightful or interesting about the piece, which I’m not linking to because GMP is not getting any traffic from me (the relevant bits are copied and pasted below). It’s by a dude who parties a lot, and says that because he’s so inebriated and his partners are so inebriated he just doesn’t know when he has consent or not, so he is probably a rapist (and in fact one woman told him he raped her), but also he’s a good dude and doesn’t really know and this is all so messy, and he likes partying and has just come to realize that a little raping is the price of entry to his lifestyle.
Good Men Project editor Joanna Schroeder then actually manages to make the publication decision more indefensible and despicable by publishing her explanation of why the GMP published a rapist’s story. Again, there’s nothing particularly insightful about it. It’s that Joanna thinks that alcohol and drugs cause rape. Partying makes things confusing, she says, and it’s not a rape victim’s fault exactly, but it’s apparently not a rapist’s fault exactly either. Because these things are so confusing and messy and murky! And we must talk about it and figure out why rapist rape!
Good Men Project editor Joanna Schroeder then actually manages to make the publication decision more indefensible and despicable by publishing this, her explanation of why the GMP published a rapist’s story. Again, there’s nothing particularly insightful about it. It’s that Joanna thinks that alcohol and drugs cause rape. Partying makes things confusing, she says, and it’s not a rape victim’s fault exactly, but it’s apparently not a rapist’s fault exactly either. Because these things are so confusing and messy and murky! And we must talk about it and figure out why rapist rape!...read more
This piece by Alyssa Royse of the Good Men Project, printed at xojane, may be the worst thing I have read about rape all year — and that’s including the GOP’s pre-election Rape Philosophers. In it — and trigger warning for sexual assault and victim-blaming — Royse discusses her male friend, a “nice guy,” who spend an evening flirting with a woman who fell asleep next to him. Before falling asleep, there was drinking. The woman flirted hard. She talked about her past as a sex worker, and her sexual exploits, all while looking this Nice Guy in the eye. Then she fell asleep. And when she woke up, he was penetrating her. She says he raped her. He is “devastated” and confused. It’s not her fault, Royse says, but it’s not exactly his fault either; it’s our fault. The culture’s fault. Because she sent mixed messages, and it’s so unfair that it’s taboo to talk about that....read more