the legislation will begin a paradigm shift in how college campuses in California prevent and investigate sexual assaults. Rather than using the refrain “no means no,” the definition of consent under the bill requires “an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity”
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.
This is a guest post by Thomas Macaulay Millar.
Allen’s idea is that rape is merely a sexual urge men cannot control. Leaving aside all the other evidence, this ignores the recent research into who the rapists are: they are not out of control. They are very much in control. Allen’s puritanical finger-wagging cannot hold up to the actual evidence.
Though the stranger rape remains entrenched as the paradigm of “real” rape, of rape that is recognized as such, it is not actually the norm. As most readers of feminist blogs know, acquaintance rapes are by far the more prevalent. In this area, understanding badly lags, and relatively recent research could change the understanding of exactly how acquaintance rapes happen, who commits them, and why. It is for this reason that I have been doing everything I can to popularize the work of University of Massachusetts professor David Lisak, and similar work by some of his colleagues.
Though the term is mine and not Lisak’s, the substance of the research can be summarized by the title of this post. Predator Theory is the theory that acquaintance rape as we know it is overwhelmingly caused by a relatively narrow portion of recidivist undetected rapists in the population, each of whom will have several victims, and that these rapists select targets based on the likelihood that they can rape without meaningful consequence, and favor alcohol and avoid overt force as tools to defeat resistance for just this reason.