Thursday, October 28, 2010

The People You Meet When You Write About Rape.

TRIGGER WARNING for rape and rape apologism.



Mr. What About The Men
"The real problem here is all these false rape accusations that are destroying our society! 90 million men are falsely accused of rape every second! A woman just has to sort of mumble a word starting with 'r' and a man instantly gets a life sentence! There are no instances on record of a woman actually being raped!"

Ms. Tough Girl
"If women would learn martial arts--70-year-olds and women with disabilities can do this if they put their minds to it, darnit--and carry weapons everywhere, no one would ever get raped! All you have to do is be ready to threaten your own friends and lovers with lethal force at any moment, any anyone who can't do that must be weak or something."

Mr. Model Victims Only Please
"The victim was no angel herself. If you look at her record, she's been arrested several times, she's a single mother, and she's living on welfare. So it's not like she was some innocent little virgin beforehand. None of this makes it right, but I'm just saying, let's not overreact like a good woman got ruined."

Ms. Fashion Police
"Did you hear what she was wearing? I'm sorry but that's just not common sense. If you go out looking like a piece of meat, you have to expect you'll get treated like a piece of meat."

Mr. I'm Not Blaming Her But It's Her Fault
"Rape is never the victim's fault, of course. But I just want people to admit that she has some responsibility. That she maybe played a part in it. That in an alternate universe where she'd done things differently and she lived in a steel Battlemech wearing a chastity belt, she wouldn't have gotten raped, and she did make the choice to not use a Battlemech. I just need people to acknowledge that."

Ms. Couples Therapy
"I dunno, seems to me like they both made mistakes. Maybe he just wasn't reading her signals, or maybe she wasn't communicating clearly to him. A lot can get caught up in an emotional moment like that and I bet they both feel really bad right now."

Mr. Offensive And/Or Baffling Metaphor
"Look, if you walk down a dark alley with a wallet stuffed full of money, sure it's still a crime when you get mugged, but what if the mugger is just trying to feed his family because he was laid off by an evil solicitor and the ghost showed him a lone crutch leaning in the corner?"

Ms. CSI
"If you put the pieces together, her story just doesn't wash. She claims that he ripped her pants off, but her pants have a button fly. Ha! And she waited a whole forty minutes after the supposed rape to call the police--who would do that?"

Mr. Troll
"lol bitch deserved it loooollll"

Ms. You Don't Just Get To Decide Whether You Consent
"She was seen earlier in the night drinking with this guy, talking to him, and even making out with him! And then she went up to his apartment! What did she think would happen? No one ever goes to a guy's apartment unless they're consenting to every sex act he could possibly want."

Mr. How Do I Not Rape Someone It Is So Difficult
"I just don't understand how to tell if someone is 'consenting' or not. What if she secretly decides she doesn't like it--am I a rapist then? What if she changes her mind midway through? Or afterwards? It's impossible to know what women want, so how am I supposed to know if they want to have sex with me or not?"

Ms. Traditional Values
"You know, back when women dressed modestly and simply didn't go out drinking with strangers or going home with people they'd just met, this sort of thing didn't happen."

Mr. This Wouldn't Happen If Women Would Just Fuck Me Already
"This sort of thing is inevitable when women constantly act as gatekeepers and doom beta males to a life of frustration and loneliness. Of course rape is horrible, but the pent-up rage felt by men cast aside just because they weren't billionaire underwear models has to express itself somehow."

Ms. Avoid The R-Word
"Wow, that is just not cool. Having sex under those circumstances--I mean, treating a girl like that--you know, being inappropriate with her--is a totally insensitive and downright mean thing to do."



This time I know I didn't nearly cover them all, but I have no energy (I've literally had to take mid-post naps) so this is what you get. If you want more, please send a fresh, healthy human liver, A+ or compatible, to my mailing address by certified overnight carrier.

227 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying these lists of yours. I hope you keep them up.

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  2. like omg this isn't a respectful adult decision!!!!! you should be nicer to people who aren't really clear on whether or not rape is a bad thing! you're just as bad as they are!!

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  3. I'd like to be quite clear on the following:

    ---It is never the victim's fault, and it is always the fault of the instigator. It's a simple question of responsibility: no action of the victim takes responsibility away from the rapist in terms of the act of rape. Translation: there is no way the choice to rape someone is NOT the instigator's responsibility.

    I would add, however, that it is possible for the victim to make tactical errors or mistakes. This does not put BLAME on the victim in any way, but tactical errors or mistakes can be dangerous to the victim and should be avoided. I'm not talking about preposterous things like "tempting" the rapist -- we are not sharks; blood in the water does not justify an attack. But there are other situations in which the victims CAN make tactical errors or mistakes that have an effect on the outcome of the event.

    Case in point: a friend of mine was attracted to a passive-aggressive man by the name of A. Hole. After describing Mr. A. Hole's behavior to me (and to her other friends), the unanimous response was that this fellow was Bad News and she should probably avoid him. She ignored us and went out to a bar with him; he got her drunk and fucked her when she was unable to give consent, which is rape.

    She called me in tears the following day. She somehow thought it was HER fault for ignoring us. I said, "Look: it may have been a mistake to ignore the warning signs from so many of your friends, but your choice to continue associating with him had NO BEARING on his choice to rape you. That has NOTHING to do with you." Now, whether it was our purview to advise her was a totally different matter, and it was entirely her prerogative to reject our advice. But when everybody you know gets the same bad vibe from someone, it might be time to consider alternatives.

    Which, once again, is NOT TO SAY THAT SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR BEING RAPED, no more than a soldier being killed in war is responsible for his own death. And though there are times in war when it's a bad idea to stick your head out from cover. But even if you do, and get killed: it's the enemy that kills you, not your choice: if the enemy chose not to fire, you'd still be alive.

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  4. Thanks for your contribution, Mr. I'm Not Blaming Her But It's Her Fault. (With a chaser of Mr. Offensive And/Or Baffling Metaphor!)

    Here's the thing that I've come to understand, working in emergency services: violent crime is almost never truly random and blameless. Leaving rape off the table, let's just talk about battery. Most people who come to the ER with their nose punched inside-out fall into one of the following categories:

    A) The victim provoked their attacker into a (usually drunken) fight, or let themselves be provoked into a fight.
    B) The victim tussled with a member of an enemy gang, or fell afoul of their own gang, or a drug deal went south.
    C) The victim is staying with their abusive partner or family member despite this being the umpty-billionth time this has happened.
    D) The victim was in the sketchy part of town alone and absolutely blind drunk at 3 AM and got mugged.

    So in all these cases, the victim shares some responsibility for their assault, and probably could have prevented it. But there aren't ASSHOLES falling all over themselves to insist that it is VERY IMPORTANT WE JUST ACKNOWLEDGE THIS. For some reason no one feels a deep psychological need to iterate in the finest lines possible that they don't blame Drunky McGangMember, but you MUST MUST MUST understand and admit that maybe he could've done something differently, right?

    If you don't think your friend was responsible for being raped, say that; don't say "of course she wasn't responsible but but but but but but but."

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  5. !!!

    I FINALLY FOUND YOUR BLOG AGAIN HI. I forgot what it was called until I saw it linked elsewhere. :(

    Hi again!

    Also I <3 this post, except that even though you're trying to be hyperbolic I've seen some of this typed word for word without a dose of irony (this is why you never read the comments, kids!).

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  6. There's no way to dig myself out of this one, so I won't even try. Instead, I will simply clarify: the rapists are the problem, not the victim's actions. I was only intending to acknowledge that since there are rapists in the world, the victim's actions can influence the situation and, therefore, caution is advised -- just as I would advise caution around, say, radioactive materials. But caution only goes so far, and who are we to judge the victims?

    Flame away.

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  7. This...is actually quite good timing. Tonight I attended a "Reclaim the Night" march against sexual (or racial or homophobic or children's) violence.

    When I say it's good timing, I don't mean it in a bad way.

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  8. Anonymous, "live in constant fear of men" is the advice implied by your philosophy, and it's not advice that I'd be happy following.

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  9. "Flame away" anon - The problem with your analogy is that people don't have to handle radioactive material in the course of their day-to-day dating, socializing, and general leaving-the-house activities. It's also far from clear which men are "radioactive" as they often fail to wear prominent nametags. The difference between a guy who seems creepy to some but is really a sweetie, and a guy who seems creepy because he's a rapist, is... really obvious in hindsight.

    It's easy to play the Rape Parallel Universe Game where if a woman had only gone home five minutes earlier, had only turned right instead of left, she wouldn't have been raped, but she had no way to know this. And not only is playing this game victim-blaming, it's rapist-non-blaming.

    You know the other reason rapists aren't like radioactive material? Radioactive material isn't a sentient human being with the ability and responsibility to make moral choices. Rapists don't spontaneously leach out of granite; they decide to rape, and I wish there was a little more "if only he hadn't..." in these discussions.

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  10. My father is a Mr. I'm Not Blaming Her But It's Her Fault with a side of Mr. Offensive and/or Baffling Metaphor.

    I have been occasionally known to be a Ms. No, Really, What About The Men?, but because the our campus anti-abuse group was planning to raise awareness of rape (male on female) and I felt we also ought to raise awareness of rape (male on male), rape (female on male) and rape (female on female).

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  11. I'm a Mr. No Really, What About The Men, in a sense. I think that male rape is massively underreported, under-prosecuted, and generally made fun of and treated like a non-issue. It sickens me.

    Thing is, I don't think that somehow makes the rape of women any less heinous; it just means that we need to reform our societal paradigm so that -neither- is acceptable, and so that the stigma for -both- lies entirely with the rapist, not the victim.

    We can't even know how common the rape of men is in our society, though, because the stigma is so strong that the vast majority don't report it... *mutters darkly* Stupid machoistic societal schema...

    TL;DR, the rape of men is exactly as heinous as the rape of women, which is to say VERY heinous.

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  12. Aaron - But do you feel compelled to turn every discussion of the rape of women toward "hey, men get raped too!", in an eerily competitive manner?

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  13. This is so well done I had to blog it.

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  14. Holly - No, but it's a very sensitive topic for me, because of what I'll just leave as personal reasons, so I'm often likely to jump in when I feel that people are trivializing it.

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  15. Gah. Which is not to say that YOU are trivializing it. I just realized after I posted that it could come off that way.

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  16. Aaron - Upon reflection, I'm going to zap that one from the list. While it's sometimes used in a "you can't have problems, I have problems" way, it's also sometimes a legitimate point--rape is not just a women's issue. And I don't want to trivialize the rape of anyone of any gender.

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  17. Ms. Tough Girl
    "If women would learn martial arts--70-year-olds and women with disabilities can do this if they put their minds to it, darnit--and carry weapons everywhere, no one would ever get raped! All you have to do is be ready to threaten your own friends and lovers with lethal force at any moment, any anyone who can't do that must be weak or something."

    I'm not saying women should need to do this, but I sure as hell wish they would do it. Obviously there are women who, physically, cannot defend themselves but, for the ones who can, I wish "we" didn't feel the need to fit into a neat little box that society wants us to be in. I wish more women were more comfortable Saying not only "no" but "Fuck no". I wish more women could tell someone to back the fuck off when that person was being a jerk and I wish more women could pick up a weapon or even a nice heavy skillet and knock someone in the back of the head who was threatening her safety because even the women who can do it physically, often can't do it because of the way she's been conditioned to be a "lady".

    To a certain extent, society creates an atmosphere where women are more likely to be victims in that we are taught to be polite and be "nice" and not makes waves. We need to get over not wanting to offend someone. We need to be able to look at someone who is being a jerk and say "You're being a jerk and I'm not going to tolerate it", and then actually follow through with not tolerating the jerkiness.

    Of course being more comfortable standing up for yourself isn't going to end rape but it may help a few women prevent a situation where an opportunistic man has the opportunity to rape.

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  18. Anon, I recommend you read this site:
    http://sequoiaredd.com/blog/2010/10/identifying-the-predator/

    Actually it's a good read for everyone and a fantastic example of how one cannot be expected to be equipped with 'rape-dar'.

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  19. Forgot to say, there are adverts on the above site that are NSFW.

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  20. I've taken classes in defense, I was motivated by the 'I can pretend like I'm Uma Thurman!' than the sense of self protection.
    But...
    There is still the fact that I don't *want* to hurt someone and I don't think I could. It takes more than my physicality to inflict that pain and I don't think I could bring myself to do it.

    Aside from that I weigh in at 8 stone and I doubt that I could tackle someone/s.

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  21. I'm going to add to that list:

    Ms. I Can Do What I Want
    "Women should feel free to walk down dark alleys naked and not worry about being raped, their behavior has absolutely no bearing on what happens to them."

    Ms. All Sex is Rape
    "Penetration is an act of dominance, sex itself is rape, and in a culture of patriarchy, it's not like she could ever consent anyways"

    Mr. Capital Punishment
    "We should just hang all the rapists until they're dead, that will stop them."

    Mr. Eugenics
    "Clearly she won't want the baby, and what with genetics and all, all rape babies should be aborted to prevent the rape genes from spreading!"

    Ms. False Rape Charges Don't Matter
    "99.9999% of all rape charges are real, and lots of rape is never brought to court because sometimes people are found innocent, so there shouldn't even be a trial, accusation is guilty enough for me."

    Ms. Rape is Simple
    "Rape is rape and it's always a simple open-and-shut case. There are never situations in which consent is ambiguous."

    Note that fundamentally it's a list of strawmen, however; the list doesn't address them, it only mocks them. And hey, look, you managed to mock a rape victim. (I probably did, as well, the difference is that I knew it in advance, and am not pushing these strawmen as valid criticisms of the opposition.)

    Maybe you should try addressing each of these viewpoints, but I don't think you understand them enough to do so. I suppose I shall start doing that, it will make an interesting post.

    What does your post add to the discussion, after all, except vitriol? Do you really think rape discussion needs more vitriol?

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  22. What does your post add to the discussion, after all, except vitriol? Do you really think rape discussion needs more vitriol?

    If Holly had posted this on some other blog - one made up of people who genuinely believe the ideas she's mocking - it would add vitriol (or maybe the audience would miss the mockery and simply agree with the post unironically).

    But Holly posted this here, where the commenters are mostly enlightened feminist folks who share her viewpoints. We all find the post apt and hilarious and are laughing too hard to summon up any vitriol.

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  23. "Rape is rape and it's always a simple open-and-shut case. There are never situations in which consent is ambiguous."

    I know, right? Sometimes I fuck a girl who's fast asleep or so drunk she can barely speak, and afterward when she's awake/sober she gets all hoity-toity, and I'm like, "Well how was I supposed to know I was doing a bad thing?"

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  24. Dear Orphan, here is a great Ze Frank quote:

    'Just say, "Well, it's a little more complicated than that," and the amazing thing is, no matter what you're talking about, you're probably right!'

    I found Holly's post a great way to spark thought and conversation on this topic. Can't see the mockery but perhaps I skimmed over a bit that read 'Rape: I did it for the lulz!'

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  25. Anonymous #1:

    Yes, she posted it here, where she promptly offended a rape victim, who found it very apt and hilarious.

    Generally the enlightened don't feel the need to laugh at their endarkened inferiors.

    Anonymous #2:

    Speaking of sleep sex, sometimes my girlfriend wakes me up with oral sex, which is legally defined as rape by the way; I would be happy to reciprocate, only she's an actual rape victim, and while I think 99% of the time she'd be quite happy about it, the possibility of her -not- being in the mood one morning - of it being rape in a very real sense - makes me feel physically ill about it.

    But yes. It's a simple open-and-shut case.

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  26. Sarah -

    She's making a list of people she apparently wishes would shut up.

    I'm not sure that is in any case a spark to start thought or conversation, particularly among those offended.

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  27. Ms. Hm, my blog isn't getting the hits it used to, I better whip out another "Men are bad about rape/Moral Outrage" post

    Haven't seen this one in, ohh, at least a week or two...

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  28. Orphan, ask yourself: is your anger with this post out of proportion with the anger you feel towards rapists?

    Which part offends you? Why? I'm not being sarcastic, I want to know. Holly has listed people that don't use logic, ethics or empathy. If I write 'some people defend murderers by saying they were really, really angry at the time', am I offending someone?

    Your whole sleep sex quandary could be solved by *talking* to your girlfriend about it. If you still feel conflicted, hooray, you thought a problem out and chose *not* to do the thing that went against your sense of right and wrong. And yeah, that is actually a pretty simple process no matter how specific and detailed the given example is.

    I don't read Holly saying 'shut up' anywhere. It's implicit that she doesn't agree with these views but I don't see why her position is offensive. If you look at the latest post by Quizzical Pussy, that covers this one here, she says that this kind of list is one of the reasons that she hesitates to write about her own experiences. It's a valid observation of what different responses are out there.


    On a final note, the word 'offended' holds no cache with me, so I don't think we'll see eye to eye on this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02dXAkxbyQg

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  29. Sarah -

    Considering I'm addressing her and why I think she's wrong, and the anger I feel towards rapists, like that I feel towards torturers, tends to involve "I wish I could get my hands on the fuckers so I can make their lives hell," no, it's not out of proportion.

    In truth, I suspect my anger towards -rapists- is out of proportion. I don't feel the desire to kill people who have in the past "merely" stabbed other people in the livers after all; I afford rape a special level of outrage that is probably disproportionate. I'm trying to work through the logical inconsistencies there.

    And yes. Look at the latest post by QP. She, like Holly, is -regretting the existence of the people discussed here-. She's suggesting their existence causes her to second-guess her decisions to create posts discussing rape.

    How else is that to be interpreted but that "Things would be better if these people weren't talking," which is in turn an implicit wish they'd stop?

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  30. Dear latest Anon,

    Yeah, when people write articles on an important issue that they KNOW will get a wide audience. Wow, those people are baaad.

    And moral outrage about rape? Oh lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

    How does one react to rape in the world? If you said 'by blinking slowly' then *EERRGH* you answered incorrectly. No stuffed animals for you.

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  31. I see it as an implicit wish that they would use rational thought. There is no logic behind any argument that puts blame on a rape victim. You have every right to being offended and giving your views but it's also my right not to give a shit.

    And if you think the person that is vulnerable in the Quizzical Pussy post is the gentle reader, then wow....just wow.

    And to yet again be a tart for a link (but by Jove, I know how to pick 'em.) Here's a very dandy link about blogging and sexism that feels very relevant.

    http://www.gabbysplayhouse.com/?p=1444

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  32. Anonymous and Orphan, I learned something in a previous episode of talking about ways women could avoid rape. I posted it over at Bayou Renaissance Man's blog, I posted it at my blog, I'm posting it here because I think it was a valuable lesson.

    What I learned in talking about ways women could avoid rape was the tremendous extent to which blame is commonly placed on the victim to avoid blaming the perp. People feel like the victim is only being blamed for being stupid, so it's not such a big deal. And then it's possible to escape fully dealing with the perp. Thing is, likely her parents know the perp's parents, or her friends know him; the people around her don't want to deal with the misery of actually calling the cops, giving them the story, the trial, asking people to be witnesses. People don't want to deal with it, and if they can wriggle out of it by focusing on her mistake rather than his evil, it's a huge relief. After all, all they have to accuse her of is a little imprudence. Doesn't seem that big a deal to them.

    Remember, if you were advising the victim, that the offender here isn't some stranger with a rap sheet as long as your arm. This is your neighbor's teenager or a friend of all your friends. Yeah, maybe he seemed a little off, but you help her go forward with this and you're going to keep seeing his friends at class and parties, or his parents that you always asked to watch the house when you were on vacation.

    And the people I was talking to, when I tried to make suggestions as to what could be done to prevent rape, had been through that experience as the victim. Where no one wants to hear it, they want to sweep it under the rug, they want to say that's just how the world is, she should have known. So the victims don't want to hear word one about what they should have done, and I see why. What I meant as a sensible warning in advance is commonly an excuse to worm out of dealing with the offender.

    I personally do everything that I recommended that women do to avoid rape, despite being a damn unlikely victim. I'm not convinced we can NEVER talk about prudent behavior. But I think we better bring up its use as an excuse every damn time. Every victim has a whole circle of friends and family. A lot more of us are going face the temptation to sweep it under the rug than are going to face the crime itself. There's a lot more of us that need to recognize the warning signs of wriggling out of handling a rape than will need to recognize the warnings of impending rape. We ought to be considerably better at recognizing those than recognizing what the victim did wrong.

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  33. I think I see it now. There is ALWAYS some way to pick a story apart, ALWAYS some way to say that the victim could have done something differently for a better result. Perhaps we do this to reassure ourselves: "If it were ME, it would have been different."

    So what the victim might have done differently is irrelevant -- what matters is that the victim isn't to blame, the perpetrator is.

    Do I have it right now?

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  34. I've lost track of Anons so I can't gauge the tone but yes: Rapists are to Blame for Rape.

    This is printed on t-shirts and bumper stickers that are available in the foyer.

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  35. Orphan - Every post you've made on my blog and other blogs I've seen you on has just demonstrated your (willful? oblivious?) ignorance of how human beings work. I don't have the energy to re-teach you our Earth concepts of humor and compassion right now. Go back to kindergarten and start with sharing your blocks and being quiet at storytime; I'll see you in 14 years or so if you aren't held back.

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  36. Holly's posts like these, and the comments which follow from the largely awesome people who also read this blog, make this rape (and domestic violence) victim feel a whole lot better and hopeful about it all. As does the way she handled it when she thought she might have been trivialising rape.

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  37. Forgot to add my last comment was meant for Orphan, mostly.

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  38. Awesome post, as usual. (Also: I hope you feel better soon.)

    You know what I always find interesting about this sort of thing? I've seen posts listing the common types of victim-blaming on a couple of blogs, and pretty much without exception at least a couple of people show up and start repeating those exact same lines. It's amazing.

    Also, Orphan--

    Pointing out that someone's arguments are stupid and irrational is not unnecessarily vitriolic, especially when those arguments go unchallenged fucking constantly. And having a girlfriend who was raped does not actually qualify you as the Grand High Arbitrator of Rape Discussions. Sorry.

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  39. And fine, I'll take your fucking bait, I got nothing fucking better to do:

    Ms. I Can Do What I Want
    "Women should feel free to walk down dark alleys naked and not worry about being raped, their behavior has absolutely no bearing on what happens to them."

    Um, yeah. Yeah we should. Alleys are public walkways and owned by the community, and in an ideal world, community members would in fact be able to use them.

    Anyway, most women aren't raped in dark alleys. Most women are raped in their own homes or an acquaintance's. SHOULDA KNOWN BETTER, HUH?

    Ms. All Sex is Rape
    "Penetration is an act of dominance, sex itself is rape, and in a culture of patriarchy, it's not like she could ever consent anyways"

    Yeah, okay, like five people actually say this, they're crazy, but they ain't exactly writing public policy.

    Mr. Capital Punishment
    "We should just hang all the rapists until they're dead, that will stop them."

    This guy is overreactive and wrong. I agree. See, even though I'm anti-rape and you're, uh, pro-rape (?), we still have some things in common!

    Mr. Eugenics
    "Clearly she won't want the baby, and what with genetics and all, all rape babies should be aborted to prevent the rape genes from spreading!"

    NO ONE FUCKING EVER SAID THIS ON EARTH SERIOUSLY. People do say that a woman should have the right to choose not to have her rapist's baby, but it's not about genetics so much as, you know, everything. And no one's forcing women to have abortions--fuck, women frequently have to save and travel and beg to get that oh-so-coerced abortion.

    Ms. False Rape Charges Don't Matter
    "99.9999% of all rape charges are real, and lots of rape is never brought to court because sometimes people are found innocent, so there shouldn't even be a trial, accusation is guilty enough for me."

    Yeah, no one actually says that. That's the paranoid fantasy of men who think that women are out to get them. The characters in my post may be exaggerated in some cases (although shit, not much), but they exist on Earth.

    Ms. Rape is Simple
    "Rape is rape and it's always a simple open-and-shut case. There are never situations in which consent is ambiguous."

    Yeah, like if a woman is blind drunk or if she lies there silently or if she agrees after you corner her and demand sex, HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY KNOW? CONSENT IS A FUCKING MYSTERY! Certainly waiting for a woman to give a happy, affirmative "yes, please!" is unrealistic because then you might never get laid!

    Rape actually isn't this big fuzzy "oh, they have different stories and who knows, better call it a learning experience" fuzzball. It's when a person fails to give a happy, affirmative "yes, please!" (or something a socially normal person would recognize as the equivalent) and you keep going. NOT COMPLICATED.

    And saying "oh oh it's so complicated who really can know in the end" is just another way to cut rapists a break. Why exactly is that something you want to do?

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  40. I've had nights where this has come up with friends. A few of the men and women have given reasons why it may have 'not been entirely his fault' and I would feel sick to my stomach and very alone.

    Thank you, Holly, for reminding me that I made the right decision when I sought out other friends and for making me feel less lonely.

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  41. Sarah - The thing that gets to me is when someone seizes on something that's technically true--sometimes rape victims do take risks, sometimes there are false accusations of rape--but far less important than the magnitude of the actual violent crime that occurred--and they just harp on it. It becomes clear that it's the most psychologically important thing to this person that you admit something negative about the victim's behavior, c'mon just say she wasn't perfect, SAY IT.

    That's creepy. And it, to me, suggests which perspective they see the story from.

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  42. I wish I could have said everything above at the time, instead of just going quiet and then crying in my room. I have to say, that's a big reason I read blogs like Pervocracy, Figleaf's Real Adult Sex and Quizzical Pussy. When you see something written that nails how you felt, it gives you the confidence to find a voice.

    Keep writing, Holly. Haters gonna hate.

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  43. An excellent post from Figleaf for all the Mr and Mrs 'Consent is Complicated' folks: http://www.realadultsex.com/archives/2010/07/discerning-date-rape-isnt-complicated-all-once-you-get-sex-shared-experience-betwee

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  44. Holly -

    "Certainly waiting for a woman to give a happy, affirmative "yes, please!" is unrealistic because then you might never get laid!"

    In fairness, a chick I hooked up with once was quite literally turned off by communication or explicit consent, no matter how framed (and I'm pretty sure you'd approve of how I framed it; my girlfriend's opinion of it was 'mrrrawr').

    She got over it for long enough to consent to [broad range of activities], but... she would have been happier had I just fucked her, I'm sure.

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  45. Aaron...that's the very specific exception rather than the rule and as far as I can tell, sort of irrelevant. Even if she's turned off by it, good on you for asking. It really isn't the last/only time you'll ever get laid if one person tells you "no".

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  46. Of course it's the exception. But it was kind of a striking exception; left rather a lasting impression on me.

    And not a positive one; I find it a rather disturbing trait.

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  47. Aaron - My rule is that if I've never fucked a person before, they have to either say "yes" in so many words or initiate the sex and ask me. If we have an established sexual relationship, I'll take enthusiastic physical participation as consent, but if someone won't give me verbal or physical signals of some sort, I'm sorry, they're just not getting laid by me.

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  48. I agree with this so hard that I reposted it.

    And every time I have the energy to weed through your comments section, I ask myself why you still allow anonymous comments. I'd go crazy.

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  49. Britni - I have a lot of valuable anonymous commenters, and I hate sites that force people to register. Even the anonyjerks don't really bother me--they're only showing the world what jerks they are, it doesn't reflect badly on me--except on the rare occasions when they really won't shut up, and I deal with those individually.

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  50. i'm a Ms What About the Men--meaning "why aren't we lobbying with good men who don't rape to help in the campaign against rapists?" its an angle people don't seem to take very often, and i feel like good men can put different social pressure on other men . this is only in the context of heterosexual rape, i guess, but its still a largely unspoken to group. And i feel like a lot of men would like to help with this cause, but sort of hang back because the figure take back the night et al is women's space. just a side note. otherwise , funny and insightful

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  51. Holly:

    You missed the point of my "bait." It wasn't there to bait you into a response; it was there to show you what these posts look like to people who don't already agree with you.

    I already -knew- the problems with those strawmen; that was the entire point of my post. It wasn't to challenge you to prove them wrong, it was to point out that just because you can phrase somebody's words to make them look like a fool doesn't make them one.

    What you're doing here is the very definition of the strawman. That is the point of the "bait."

    I'm dropping the other lines of conversation for irrelevance; they have ceased to address what Holly was discussing, and they ceased to address my original claims.

    Aebhel:

    Then fine. Point out that they are stupid and irrational. This is -not the same- as rephrasing their arguments to make them -sound- stupid and irrational, as I was seeking to demonstrate. (And no. My girlfriend has nothing at all to do with this. I was using a situation I've personally encountered as an example as to why things are not always simple, not to try to claim some kind of authority for myself, which is why I brought it up in the context of said demonstration, where it was relevant as it informed said decisions, rather than saying, say, "My girlfriend was raped, that makes me an authority, so you should listen to me.")

    And Sarah, for something I didn't address previously, as this has reminded me, I -have- discussed it with my girlfriend. She was mildly horrified to realize that those actions could amount to rape, that I might wake up and -not- want to have sex; that is, the idea of rape was not simple and obvious, but could include situations we take for granted. Most people are surprised when I mention this facet of rape, suggesting, again, that rape isn't always simple and obvious.

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  52. And i feel like a lot of men would like to help with this cause, but sort of hang back because the figure take back the night et al is women's space. just a side note. otherwise , funny and insightful

    The key thing we need these men for isn't attending rallies (although I have no problem with them doing so); we need men to call rapists out on their behaviour.

    Some huge percentage of rapes happen at parties; a guy finds a vulnerable-seeming girl, gets her alone (and probably drunk) and has sex with her that she didn't or couldn't consent to. Usually if the victim speaks up about this afterward, people will find a way to blame her for what happened or outright accuse her of making it up. Mutual friends of the rapist and victim will cut the victim out of their circle and keep on hanging out with the rapist as though nothing had ever happened.

    We need guys who will stop these "party rapists" from victimizing women; guys who flat out tell rapists that what they do is rape, not "scoring" or "partying" or however the hell they rationalize it; guys who will ostracize the rapists for their behaviour and encourage everyone else to do the same.

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  53. Orphan, I was hoping that the conversation would be more along the lines of 'How do YOU feel about it? Is it ok if I touch you when you're asleep?' Not a 'well you do *know* that this could be RAPE, right?'

    Congratulations on adding to your girlfriend's trauma.

    And yes rape is easy to define because consent is not complicated.

    Your posts on Quizzical Pussy clearly show you to be a man who can't trust a woman to make up her own mind about consent, so I guess the whole concept is beyond you anyway.

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  54. Britni, thank you for posting about the Men Can Stop Rape campaign. I've never seen anything like it and it kicks ass.

    http://britisshameless.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/tumblr_l6pks7lGKx1qabw8yo1_500.jpg

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  55. Orphan, I seriously don't even know what you're arguing anymore. It seems like "hey, let's give rapists a chance, because your anti-rape viewpoint doesn't account for how CCCCOOOMMMMPPPLLLLIIIICCCAAAATTTEEEEDDDD it can be to tell if a bitch is giving it up," but if I give you the benefit of the doubt, I guess it's more of a "your post contains irony and hyperbole and we do not have those on Planet Zorbax. Please state all your thoughts as direct logical propositions, human."

    Go back to fuckin' Zorbax.

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  56. It makes me a bit sad to see the comments and links about what men could or should do going around here; because it's mostly women talking to women. Have you noticed how few of the usual male commenters are saying anything? How defensive or antagonistic the few males are?

    I guess it's not obvious to most of the people who are commenting here what a hostile environment this feels like towards men. I think Orphan doesn't deserve a lot of the shit he's being accused of, even though he tends to be infuriating. I'm not at all happy about saying anything myself. And I think men are going to be seriously unlikely to look for a Men Can Stop Rape campaign mentioned here. I'd assume it's probably full of veiled accusations about what you're probably like because you have a dick.

    Possibly the most common attitude in men about rape is Ms. Tough Girl. "Shoot the rapist on the scene, then we'll hang them later if they live." That's not practical, but it's born of good will, and it gets treated like it's some kind of rape apology. (Because, of course, of invidious "Why didn't you shoot them on the scene?" questions to the victim, like I talk about above.) If one realizes that the tough attitude is normally posed with good will, it makes a good starting place for a dialogue; if the dialogue can be kept polite and free of accusations.

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  57. Hey Mousie, before you comment on the Men Can Stop Rape campaign maybe you should LOOK AT IT. Then you might see that it's the antidote to the usual 'men have no control and are all potential rapists' style ads. The Men Can Stop Rape campaign is about how men and ALL of us can call people out on this and help be the change that we want to see.

    Have I noticed how defensive and antagonistic some of the men on this comment thread are? Yes. And that's their problem. Their opinions are ones that they've formed and I'm not responsible for how they react.

    Rape makes you uncomfortable. Boo frickin' hoo, imagine how crappy it is to be actually raped. At no point have I read anyone saying 'All Men Rape' or 'Let's Do Away With Men'

    Everything here is to say 'Rape is Wrong'. If that threatens you then you come across as having a very creepy agenda.

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  58. 'because it's mostly women talking to women'

    Yeah, it's almost like rape victims are sharing resources and lending support to one another. What a drag.

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  59. And I think men are going to be seriously unlikely to look for a Men Can Stop Rape campaign mentioned here. I'd assume it's probably full of veiled accusations about what you're probably like because you have a dick.

    Here's the thing: the blaming that we've all seen rape victims get - "You shouldn't have been alone with a strange guy, you shouldn't have gone out at night, you shouldn't have worn that sexy dress" - all of that "advice" boils down to the idea that every single man is a potential rapist.

    The whole "you shouldn't have gotten drunk" thing implies that any nice, normal guy will suddenly feel the need to fuck a passed-out girl just because they can. The "you shouldn't have dressed so sexy" thing implies that if you turn on a nice, normal guy enough, he'll turn into a monster and rape you. The "you shouldn't have been walking home late at night" thing implies, again, that a nice normal guy might go ahead and fuck you just because he can (no protection, no witnesses).

    So if guys feel like women are suspicious of them just for having a dick...well, you partly did that to yourselves.

    How do you think women would feel about men and their penises if the victim-blaming stopped? I mean, what if society had the attitude that a woman can wear or do or drink whatever the fuck she wants and nobody is allowed to invade her personal space - and if someone does, it's because that particular guy is bad and fucked up and no other reason?

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  60. Mousie, the only thing anyone is saying here is that rape is wrong and that rapists are scumbags.

    If that makes you (or any other man who is presumably not a rapist) defensive, maybe it's time for some self-examination.

    Men should want to stop rape because it's fucking wrong, and because they actually have the clout to do something about it. Not because it'll get them points from women.

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  61. Oh, and Orphan? As Holly has pointed out, there's a pretty clear distinction between stating the kind of arguments that people actually make in hyperbolic language and making up shit that nobody is saying.

    Although, seriously, about half of the things on her list are things I've heard people say pretty much verbatim. She's not actually exaggerating that much.

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  62. Oh and Mousie, here's a quote from the campaign:

    'Men Can Stop Rape mobilizes male youth to prevent men's violence against women. We build young men's capacity to challenge harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their vital role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.'

    OH NOEZ, SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

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  63. Mousie - They don't get that they're creating the hostility they're complaining about. They don't get that rape is 99% common ground for all reasonable people, including the people Holly proceeds to list out as being The Opposition.

    Holly doesn't even understand what I'm saying. I doubt she connects it to what you're saying.

    She wants the argument to be Her vs The Opposition. Anything that doesn't fit that gets shoehorned in; anybody who refuses to be shoehorned in is incomprehensible.

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  64. Yeah, it's definitely people being upset about rape that creates a hostile environment. Not, you know, rapists.

    Gosh, if only we'd all go back to our bowers and not trouble our pretty little heads about the whole business!

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  65. If being incomprehensible is a victory condition, then GoobymaflooBazo &@#$@( YAAADAAARRRMMAAAA.

    I win.

    And I want my argument to be me vs. people who excuse, trivialize, dismiss, act pseudo-"objective" about, or "yeah it's bad BUT" rape. They exist, they're really bad, that's This Post 101.

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  66. They don't get that they're creating the hostility they're complaining about. They don't get that rape is 99% common ground for all reasonable people, including the people Holly proceeds to list out as being The Opposition.

    So...you're saying that someone who tells a rape victim she was somehow "asking for it" is a reasonable person? Someone who thinks it's okay for a guy to rape a woman because she made out with him and went up to his apartment is a reasonable person?

    That's...kind of chilling.

    I was on a message board once where a bunch of PUA types were discussing rape. They, too, kept saying that rape is bad, obviously no reasonable guy would ever say it wasn't, blah blah blah. But they added some version of "...but the victim should have done something differently" every single time.

    Why is it hard for so many fucking people to see the inherent contradiction here? There's no "rape is completely the rapist's fault BUT." There's just "rape is completely the rapist's fault." Period.

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  67. perversecowgirl -

    "Chilling"?

    Let me explain something to you.

    The only person - THE ONLY PERSON - who comments on this blog who has a positive impact on the people you're complaining about is Mousie.

    He doesn't say "Those people are fucked up." He doesn't accuse them of being misogynists. He doesn't say they're worthless human beings, and he doesn't mock them.

    He has a stock response he copies and pastes to everybody who says something along those lines. It explains why what they're saying is hurtful.

    Mousie's response might actually change somebody's behavior.

    Think really fucking hard about that for a few seconds.

    He has a link he posts as well to the time he posted on this blog where he -realized the problem-. It wasn't because somebody explained it to him, either, he had to come to the conclusion himself in the midst of being insulted by basically every commentator here, which is why he spends so much time -explaining that conclusion- to other people.

    What have -you- done to change anybody's mind? Mocking them for having a different viewpoint than you doesn't count.

    You want to know what has a chilling effect on this topic? People who are unwilling to discuss it.

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  68. My sincerest love and cuddles to people who blame rape victims. I'll give you guys a big cookie just for being special and another big cookie if we can come to some really reasonable compromise like "rape victims are only sometimes asking for it."

    Seriously (for once), Orphan, if you know how to fix people's attitudes about rape, for God's sake, go do it! If you know how people should talk about this subject, talk about it that way! If you have the solution, don't spend hours bitching out someone who doesn't, go share that solution!

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  69. Holly -

    Or, alternatively, you can discuss the difference between acting irresponsibly and being raped, and ask them to recognize that the blame for acting irresponsibly is non-transferable to blame for the rape; I doubt you'll get any disagreement there. And then, as Mousie has done countless times, explain that blaming a rape victim for a crime they were innocent of is hurtful.

    Of course, that skips angrily telling them to grow up without giving any rationale for why their views are incorrect.

    And look, I've just offered a suggestion for how to change somebody's opinion about rape.

    Yes. I have suggestions. I'll put them out there as I have them.

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  70. The only person - THE ONLY PERSON - who comments on this blog who has a positive impact on the people you're complaining about is Mousie.

    He doesn't say "Those people are fucked up." He doesn't accuse them of being misogynists. He doesn't say they're worthless human beings, and he doesn't mock them.

    He has a stock response he copies and pastes to everybody who says something along those lines. It explains why what they're saying is hurtful.


    What an interesting little rant coming from you. I have never, ever seen you miss a chance to be as pointlessly abrasive as possible, and when the source of your moral outrage is eventually tracked down, it always turns out to be over disagreement that is actually minor, or it turns out to be a Zorbax objection like "mentioning any detail about your partner, including the fact that they exist, when he or she is not there is a violation of their privacy", or "marriage is a human-rights violation." The "you are not only wrong, you're morally deficient" attitude might as well be your god damn trademark.

    So if you believe Mousie's going to save the world from rape by being patient, empathetic, and at pains to make himself clear at all times, and the source of your outrage here is that Holly's post on Holly's blog is not in fact going to save the world from rape and this therefore means she must actually not care about rape, it would logically follow that you would imitate his attitude and demeanor.

    Unless, of course, you were merely trying to borrow credibility from a respected commenter because he kinda-sorta defended you.

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  71. Mousie: with respect, I don't see the original post as having been, or needing to have been, a serious dialogue about rape, but rather some light-hearted mockery of the breeds of trolls that come out of the woodwork when serious discussions are had. Which, given how creepy many of them are during those actual discussions and the fact that many of the ones on the list are not only not exaggerations, they're milder than some of the dead-serious ones I've actually seen... I appreciated the laugh.

    As I see it, the defensive/antagonistic stuff mostly started when Orphan came in to demand that it be SERIOUS BUSINESS and was in fact a moral failure in that it was not. (At least, I think that's currently his point; with him, I tend to lose track.)

    But I am, of course, not a man. But yeah, things get uncomfy fast when people start screaming at each other- I just didn't see the original post as a scream.

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  72. LabRat said I just didn't see the original post as a scream.

    I didn't either. The serious ugliness was all in the comments. I'm sorry if I made Holly feel bad about the post, that's not what I meant.

    I've already been called creepy and told I need self-examination for saying it's a hostile atmosphere. I don't think anything further I say in this thread will be constructive.

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  73. Coming into this late...

    It makes me a bit sad to see the comments and links about what men could or should do going around here; because it's mostly women talking to women. Have you noticed how few of the usual male commenters are saying anything?

    I'm a male & frequent commenter and haven't said anything, because 1) I'm in agreement with what Holly's posted and most others have already agreed with/expanded upon to a degree that I don't have much to add, and 2) sadly I don't have a good solution. I looked at the Men Can Stop Rape posters, but I think they come back to the same problem: the type of guys who will look at those, stop and actually introspect are the type who (I am guessing; I could be wrong) have a basic, fundamental respect for other human beings and wouldn't rape someone else -- man or woman -- to begin with. I dunno, you may have to catch them (men who are willing to rape) earlier in life, in childhood. Or shit, maybe even that won't stop some of the them, the more damaged ones. I wonder what the nature/nurture ratio is for this, and if you can do anything for the former group.

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  74. I loved this list! So funny, and so absolutely true. I've posted about rape multiple times on my blog, and I've ALWAYS gotten people commenting that could fit into pretty much all of these labels, lol.

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  75. "He doesn't accuse them of being misogynists. He doesn't say they're worthless human beings, and he doesn't mock them. He has a stock response he copies and pastes to everybody who says something along those lines."

    One presumes it is possible to discuss a topic or issue in a number of ways greater than one. For instance, say it's gay rights: Some people go to gay pride parades, some work to keep far-right politicians out of office, some lobby left-wing politicians to support their issues, some blog, some run LGTB groups. To complain that everyone who's not working to change homophobic people's minds through reasoned discourse is fuckign things up (because they might make people mad, OH NO) would be irrational to the point of insanity. Trying to talk to misogynistic rape apologists in "their level" might work but isn't the only possible strategy anti-rape people can use. Good thing, too, because it would drive most people crazy. There's a place for humor and for angry truth-telling. (Anyway, what is so virtuous about not "accusing people of being misogynists," when they really are misogynists?)

    The purpose of most discourse about issues like misogyny isn't to change the mind of the "enemy," but to persuade people who might be on the fence, & to keep up the morale of the base. Over time, hopefully the "opposition" view gets pushed further to the margins of discourse as more people see how gross it is. There are still plenty of virulent racists around who won't ever listen to reasoned arguments, but pro-segregation or anti-miscegenation views are no longer tolerated in polite society.

    In the case of this post, someone might see it & have an "aha" moment about something that had been nagging at her. As a result, she might become more vigilant about noticing when people play the "what did she do wrong game" with rape victims, & calling it out. Or she might become more conscious of her own tendency to victim-blame. That's all it's likely to do, & it'd be great if that happened. Complaining that this post is offensive because it won't persuade rape apologists is just a bizarre misreading.

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  76. Jack: "The type of guys who will look at those, stop and actually introspect are the type who (I am guessing; I could be wrong) have a basic, fundamental respect for other human beings and wouldn't rape someone else -- man or woman -- to begin with." True, but I don't think this suggests "men can stop rape" approaches are fatally flawed. Since rape is an opportunistic crime, a lot of the work is in reducing the opportunities where bad men feel "safe" committing sexual assault. & a lot of the reason they feel so safe is b/c of a culture where it's assumed all men are on the same side, they're supposed to help each other get laid, & no man would take the side of a (drunk, irresponsible-acting) victim. Think of the cliched image of a frat party where members brag about the wasted chick they hooked up with. Or the typical acquaintance-rape scenario where all the parties' mutual friends take the guy's side because he's so nice, the girl must have confused him, these charges could ruin his career, etc. Getting rid of these conditions would make a lot of rapists think twice about their actions even if they don't magically change into nice guys.

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  77. "It makes me a bit sad to see the comments and links about what men could or should do going around here; because it's mostly women talking to women. Have you noticed how few of the usual male commenters are saying anything?"


    Hilariously, I, a male commenter, hopped into the thread to discuss it, and discussion is precisely what happened! Of course, having a reasonable tone helps, rather than jumping to take offense even when none has been offered.

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  78. What have -you- done to change anybody's mind? Mocking them for having a different viewpoint than you doesn't count.

    Orphan...when did I ever say I was trying to change people's minds about these issues? Pervocracy is a place where (mostly) like-minded people come and comment on things. I came here to mock rape apologists, not change them.

    I've tried going on message boards and having serious discussions of these topics; the people Holly is mocking wouldn't budge in their opinions. So I decided to give up the crusade, at least for now, and come here and have fun.

    Hey, maybe you should try giving up a crusade and going elsewhere sometime. Like maybe now.

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  79. perversecowgirl:

    You've made my point better than I could have. Thank you.

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  80. Orphan:

    Maybe you could clarify for those of us who aren't blessed with your special brand of logic: exactly what point were you trying to make? Because all I've got so far is 'you should be polite to rape apologists or they might not listen to you'.

    Since IME they don't actually listen even when I do make an effort to be polite, sometimes it's nice to hear somebody poke fun at their sad little arguments. Sometimes it's not actually all about Telling Douchebags How Not To Be Douchebags.

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  81. I'm fairly certain that, after all that, his argument boils down to "You're not out saving kittens right this minute, therefore you can make no claim to support animal welfare and you just want to lord it over other people rather than actually save kittens".

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  82. aebhel:

    When you stop referring to the people who have disagreements with you as "rape apologists," you'll be halfway towards understanding what it is I'm saying.

    Let's take Mr. Blame, because he's a popular one.

    You think he's being a rape apologist because he's shifting blame to the victim.

    Alternatively, maybe he feels just as strongly as rape as you do, and isn't apologizing for the rapist, but trying to bring public attention to the idea that girls aren't completely powerless to prevent rape, in the hopes of preventing future rape?

    And hey, that idea makes sense. Maybe we should, say, teach girls some of the warning signs of an abusive relationship, help them avoid these kinds of things. Maybe he'd even help.

    And maybe you agree with the guy on everything, but instead of moving somewhere constructive, say by pointing out that the -way- he is saying what he is saying is hurtful to rape victims and is frequently interpreted the wrong way, you instead jumped to the conclusion that he's a rape apologist, and attacked him for it.

    And instead of gaining another ally in the discussion you piss somebody off, somebody who is probably going to come to the conclusion that the rape discussion isn't actually about fixing the problem of rape, but blaming men.

    "Hostile" doesn't begin to describe the way this discussion is handled. There's a reason feminism is frequently seen as a synonym for misandry.

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  83. Orphan-

    Here's the thing: Someone who says that women have the ability or the responsibility to keep from being raped is, pretty much by definition, a rape apologist. Not all rape apologists are evil, soulless monsters, just like not all homophobes, racists, or misogynists are evil, soulless monsters. That doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't call a spade a spade. No one is served by coddling the feelings of people who don't have any interest in examining their prejudices.

    The way to prevent rape is not by curtailing the behavior of potential victims. I don't know how to make this any more clear. There is no prescribed set of behavior that will prevent a woman from being raped, and attempting to create such things had virtually no effect other than to prevent women from fully participating in society.

    The problem of rape is rapists. Full stop. It it not the responsibility of women to curtail their behavior for fear of being raped, and there's actually no way that the suggestion can be phrased that isn't fucking offensive.

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  84. Aedhel -

    So everybody who attends a rape avoidance class, by believing they can do something to prevent their own rape, is a rape apologist. Great. I'll pass that along.

    You know what? When you figure out how to identify the rapists, when you can figure out how to curtail -their- behavior, let me know.

    In the meantime, I'm going to continue to educate people on what an abusive relationship looks like, because that's where most rape comes from, and it's something that can be done.

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  85. The problem of rape is rapists. Full stop.

    Yes Means Yes Blog explains this in a way that really resonates with me (I'm paraphrasing here): "every single rape that ever happened has one thing in common. It's not what the woman wore or how late she stayed out or how she behaved: it's the presence of a rapist."

    I mean, jeez, if someone's house is leveled by a tornado, do we chastise them for having built their house there? "You could have prevented this, you know."

    And btw, thanks to a really jumpy mother, I spent a lot of years being terrified of going out after dark. Then one day I realized that a fuck of a lot of creepy stuff has happened to me anyway, in broad daylight with lots of people around. How did I bring that on myself, I wonder? By daring to go outside? If I become a complete shut-in but some guys end up breaking into my house and gang raping me, what should I have done differently to prevent that?

    If you follow rape apologist logic to its natural conclusion, it always ends up in the message that women should in fact live in a steel Battlemech wearing a chastity belt. Forgive me if I actually want to have a life like a normal human being.

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  86. And Orphan, I agree that it's a good idea to educate women on how to identify abusive assholes. But can you see the difference between teaching women to identify assholes ahead of time and telling someone who's already been raped that it's kinda-sorta her fault?

    Can you see the difference between teaching women how to identify and avoid abusive assholes (when abusive assholes are the ones doing most of the raping) and telling women not to ever go out at night and/or dress provocatively (when plenty of women get raped during the daytime, while wearing sweat pants and a parka, etc.)?

    I think the issue I have is that some people talk about "rape prevention" like it's possible for a woman to stay totally safe forever if she just follows certain rules. "Oh, if only you hadn't been wearing that sexy top with the cleavage, that wouldn't have happened to you." I mean, seriously? A woman is already, for whatever reason, alone with a rapist...and four extra inches of fabric would have saved her?

    There is no way to prevent rape. All women can do is minimize risk - which does not include avoiding going out at night, dressing like a nun, etc. because plenty of people have done that and been raped anyway.

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  87. Aedhel -

    Disregard last post. You're still wrong, but I'm just being a jerk there, my apologies.

    Perverse, I agree with everything you wrote - what I hope you understand is that what you just wrote doesn't disagree with anything I've written. I'm not disagreeing there's a difference between educating somebody in advance and after the fact; that is in fact very bloody important.

    That's pretty much the crucial difference. That is the constructive thing to point out to Mr Blame.

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  88. I'm not disagreeing there's a difference between educating somebody in advance and after the fact;

    Did you just refer to chastising a rape victim for her behaviour as "educating" her, or was that a really unfortunate typing error?

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  89. A few more I've seen:

    Mr. Save the Human Race: "If men had to concern themselves with women's consent, then nobody would ever have sex, and the human race would die out!"

    Ms. Vanilla Submissive: "But I like it when I don't have to give explicit consent when I want to have sex!"

    Mr. Unstated Assumptions: "I'd love it if a [skinny, attractive] woman had sex with me without my [explicit verbal] consent [if it had no consequences and there wasn't something else I wanted to do at the time]."

    Mr. Caught You In a Contradiction: "What if the rapist is drunk? Then technically the victim's a rapist too!"

    Mr. Legalist: "The important thing is to determine a bright line so that we know precisely what ways of ignoring consent we can get away with."

    Mr. Defense Attorney: "'Innocent until proven guilty' means that we must pretend like we're jurors and give the alleged 'rapist' the benefit of the doubt and assume that the alleged 'victim' is lying."

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  90. [i]All women can do is minimize risk - which does not include avoiding going out at night, dressing like a nun, etc. because plenty of people have done that and been raped anyway.[/i]

    This reasoning bugs me, because (to me) it's like saying "you shouldn't wear your seatbelt, because plenty of people have done that and died/been injured anyway".

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  91. Anon - Women don't (primarily) get raped in alleys dressed like sluts. They get raped at home in their sweatpants.

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  92. What's the first piece of advice given to victims of domestic abuse?

    LEAVE!

    (In other words: "No, you aren't going to get him to stop hitting you. He's an evil criminal who obviously doesn't respect you as a person, and nothing you can do is going to change that. So get yourself out of the situation where you're going to keep being a victim.")

    Is _that_ "blaming the victim"? Or is it a sensible response to the facts on the ground?

    Yeah, I want to see rapists punished. More harshly than they typically are. But you know what I want, even more than that?

    WOMEN NOT GETTING RAPED IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    People advising women to take basic safety precautions are not the problem. Rapists are the problem. And blaming _us_ might give some folks a satisfying feeling of self-righteousness, but it isn't going to stop any rapes.

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  93. Matt - What are those basic safety precautions, though? Because everyone seems to assume that "be a good little girl" is the answer--don't go out alone at night, don't dress up all skanky, don't get drunk, don't go creepy places without a gentleman escort.

    And pretty much every victim of sexual violence that I know was attacked by someone she knew, at her home or theirs, when she was being a good little girl. It'd be nice (I... guess?) to think that rape happens to wild party sluts, but it mostly happens to ordinary women who suddenly find that their friend or boyfriend won't take "no" for an answer.

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  94. And instead of gaining another ally in the discussion you piss somebody off, somebody who is probably going to come to the conclusion that the rape discussion isn't actually about fixing the problem of rape, but blaming men.

    Someone who is that easily put off doing the right thing and has to be persuaded oh so nicely so we don't scare them away, is no fucking ally of mine.

    Also, look up "tone argument" because that's all yours basically is. Utter bullshit.

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  95. Disregard last post. You're still wrong, but I'm just being a jerk there, my apologies.

    Gosh, thanks for clarifying. I wouldn't want to think you didn't like me, or something.

    You can curtail the behavior of rapists by not tolerating rape jokes. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by telling a guy to lay off when he's making a woman uncomfortable. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by not turning your back when somebody decides to lead a stumbling-drunk woman into a back room at a party. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by shunning them, completely and totally, once news of their behavior comes out.

    Of course, that entails actually standing up to other guys. 'Educating' rape victims about how they could totally have done something differently--and you're just saying this because you have their best interests in mind--is a lot easier. It's a coward's approach, and it doesn't fucking work. Women hear this shit day in and day out from puberty on; if it worked, rape would be nonexistent.

    Anon 11:18--yes, this.

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  96. Actually Matt, the first piece of information that any individual educated on the actual specifics of domestic violence should give to a woman in an abusive relationship is: "first and foremost make sure you are safe"

    You know why? Because statistically a woman is at *greater* risk right after she leaves an abusive relationship for her partner to murder her than during the relationship.
    Hmmm, it's almost like it's not just a simple: "do this and everything will be perfect" situation, but instead a situation with multiple factors going on at a time. Does she have financial dependence on him?, Do they have a child together?, How easy will it be for her to bring her child (given that if he has parental rights he may try to use that to threaten or hurt her after the fact)?, Does she have a safe and totally unknown place (to him) for her to stay for a while?, Will she be trusted and supported by the legal system (women who have called the police multiple times due to domestic violence are conversely less helped and respected by the legal community often, because they didn't follow the "first piece of advice given to" them like they "should" have)?, etc. Seriously, the problem of how to help a woman become extricated from that type of situation is a WHOLE FUCK LOAD more complicated than you state it as, which actually makes it a great analogy to your idea that women should "take basic safety precautions," because what is a "basic safety precaution" in one situation is actually sometimes something that'll put a victim in more risk in a different one, and you can NEVER KNOW WHICH SITUATION YOU ARE IN!!!!

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  97. @aebhel-

    You can curtail the behavior of rapists by not tolerating rape jokes. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by telling a guy to lay off when he's making a woman uncomfortable. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by not turning your back when somebody decides to lead a stumbling-drunk woman into a back room at a party. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by shunning them, completely and totally, once news of their behavior comes out.

    I want to have hundreds of copies of this portion of your comment printed up, which I will then staple to every telephone pole and post in every subway car in New York City.

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  98. My two cents on the post have already been well-covered by the clever, nice folk on here (for the record, I'm on the "anti-rape" side of the debate), but in order to make a meta-comment on what seems to be the most heavily commented on post here in a while, I must direct everyone's attention to this comic strip:
    http://www.gabbysplayhouse.com/?p=1444

    just sayin'.

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  99. leigh, i saw that on Belle de Jour's twitter, absolutely fantastic.

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  100. I have just stumbled upon this blog via another blog and I must say I love it...

    I am a rape survivor who just completed a thesis on experiences with sexual assault and I am continuing my research in the same direction and I must say that I have met everyone on your list at least once!

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  101. I just wanted to let you know that I've shared this post on my blog as well. I've linked it to you and credited you for it as well! Hope that's okay =)

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  102. lolol, sad how true this is

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  103. I came over here from SerenaDante's site, and I will be following you from now on.

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  104. don't know, I feel like asking men to condemn rape is like asking a muslim to condemn the 9/11 attacks. You're not going to find any disagreement there, only realize you're insulting the person by implying that their gender/religion implicates them in some kind of crime.

    Let's all, as human beings condemn rape. Rape is bad, really bad. As a corollary to this, let's be supportive of victims and tell them that they shouldn't feel at fault for what they've experienced (because they aren't)

    I think I heard someone talking about a defensive climate in here. That is a fucking understatement. I think the argument that some people gave was that they shouldn't bother being nice to other people because if they took offense to something that they said, that they should just get the fuck off the internet and stop commenting all together. Really? I mean, I really like some people's attitudes, but an attitude doesn't make an effective social movement. As a corollary to this, calling every man who has disagreed with you on an issue of equality a misogynist will quickly alienate a lot of potential new allies. And people wonder why not as many men self-identify as feminists as women.

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  105. Oh, Christables. It's a tribute to how much I enjoy Holly's blog and most of the normal set of commenters that I read all of this. Normally I try to pretend the Internet is commentless.

    Other people you meet on the Internet when you're having discussions about loaded topics:

    Mr. You're Frightening The Horses: BUT DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, YOU'RE SETTING YOUR OWN CAUSE BACK BY NOT ENGAGING SOLELY IN LOGICAL REASONED DEBATE, AND DEVOTING ALL OF YOUR ENERGY TO EDUCATING POOR MISGUIDED SOULS AT THE 101 LEVEL WHO HAVE VERY SERIOUS OPINIONS ABOUT THIS TOPIC BUT HAVEN'T SPENT AN ACTUAL SECOND ENGAGING IN CRITICAL THOUGHT ABOUT IT!?!!?!!?!!

    Historically seen telling black people in America that they should just wait patiently at the back of the bus or outside the lunch counter for sufficient portions of white society to realize that racism is wrong, or gay people should stay outside of the military until they've had enough meetings to get rid of DADT, or, well, dismissively telling women that they're uselessly foaming at the mouth whenever they have the gumption to complain about anything sexist at all.

    (Just remember, if you're a perfect model member of the aggrieved population for long enough, certainly everyone will realize the error of their ways and come around. They might even apologize, eventually!)

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  106. How about the 'friends' who try to play down the rape in order to keep social peace? :(

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  107. Perverse -

    Are you looking for something to object to, now?

    Aebhel -

    Should we stop the man bringing the drunk girl, or the girl bringing the drunk man?

    None of those things are rape. In the case of one, rape jokes, it's something that has become more popular as rape rates have gone down, suggesting that if there IS a correlation, we should be encouraging rape jokes. And in your closing statement you suggest we shun people "once news gets out" - NOT once, say, they're convicted of a crime, once we think they may have committed a crime.

    You are what is wrong with this discussion.

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    Replies
    1. Correlation does not imply causation, and I personally think that we're just getting desensitized.

      Delete
  108. Shut up, Orphan. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. You long since stopped arguing about rape and are now caught in some free-floating argument about whether you win this discussion and whether you're right and therefore awesome. You lose, you're wrong, you suck, go away.

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  109. Holly -

    Was never talking about rape, but the way rape is discussed. But as you wish.

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  110. @orphan
    "In the case of one, rape jokes, it's something that has become more popular as rape rates have gone down, suggesting that if there IS a correlation, we should be encouraging rape jokes."


    you are an idiot. you know when white people make racist jokes and they think its funny because like, you know racism doesn't exist anymore.

    yeah. you are like those people. completely missing the point.

    ~L

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  111. Directed here from Xanga.
    I love this.

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  112. Right, because god knows anybody who isn't convicted of rape must be innocent and there's no way a human being could exercise any kind of judgment or critical thinking to determine the veracity of a rumor based on his or her own knowledge of the situation and the alleged perpetrator. It's conviction or bust.

    Also, fucking someone who's too drunk to stand up is generally the same thing as fucking someone who is not able to give consent. Legally speaking, it's rape. Where you got the idea that it's not is beyond me.

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  113. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  114. This is good stuff. I like your post. "People You Meet When You Write About Rape" could just as easily read, "More reason's why I don't talk about what happened"--- which is sad. I like the humor. Very seldom do I come across humor surrounding the subject of rape that is actually funny without giving offense. Thank you.

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  115. Oh boy. I read the list and it resonated. Then I read the comments! What an emotional rollercoaster. I must say, from the opinions people have expressed here, it looks as though rape is alive and well and will never change. At my school a woman was assaulted while practicing the violin at eight in the morning . . . how could she have "avoided" that??? You fuckers, in blaming the victim you perpetuate this sick system that nurtures rape and allows rapists to flourish and commit the same crimes again and again. I'm in tears right now. Why do we bring non-raping men into the discussion? Because the power and authority in this world mostly belongs to you. You haven't raped anyone, well done, have a fucking medal. Not raping people should be the NORM, not the exception. You're a guy and you haven't raped anyone. You probably know someone who has raped, or assaulted, or who trivializes this serious problem. You could be a part of the solution. The power is YOURS (Captain Planet!) to change things . . . but you won't. You'd rather BULLSHIT and argue semantics. Have fun with that while the world remains sick and people's attitudes towards rape gets worse. Rape, whether committed by a violent stranger or beloved acquaintance, should be as unthinkable as cannibalism or incest. But it will never be. Because of this subtle discourse that poisons men and womens' attitudes, fed to us from a very young age, that it is the victim's fault. This is why using language that defends rape is utterly fucking wrong, and when you use it you perpetuate the sickness. What a bunch of pathetic fucking whiners you rape apologists are. Do I sound too angry? WHY ARE YOU NOT ANGRY ABOUT THIS?

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  116. Thanks for this, Holly.

    As a person who has thought a couple of those things in the past, I appreciate the way you wrote this in a matter-of-fact way. Reading this made me uncomfortable and a bit ashamed, which is very helpful, without feeling attacked, which might not have been. The long list and the parodic tone convey your point perfectly. So again, thanks.

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  117. Came here from another blog and I really feel the need to answer this from Matt:

    "People advising women to take basic safety precautions are not the problem. Rapists are the problem. And blaming _us_ might give some folks a satisfying feeling of self-righteousness, but it isn't going to stop any rapes."

    No, Matt, it won't stop rape. But you know what it will do? It will help stop rape victims from all the mental and emotional torture of blaming themselves and holding everything in because every time they try to talk about what happened they're tut-tutted at by everyone who needs to let her know what she did wrong and how she could have prevented it. So yes, people who victim-blame and give out bullshit "precautions" are also a problem and they do need to be dealt with.
    Not being subjected to victim-blaming will help her recover. It will help other people to be more sensitive as well. By why do that when it gives you a satisfying self-righteous feeling to tell a victim of a crime what they did wrong.

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  118. Anonymous' mature appreciative comment (2 up from this one) have made me remember an example I've met in the past: the opposite habit.

    So, by contrast

    Mr It's All About My Comfort

    The main problem with rape is not rape, it's that discussions of it make me uncomfortable. This isn't because rape is a subject likely to cause discomfort, but because people discussing it time and again fail to take my comfort into account. How about nobody discusses rape until they have figured out to do it in such a way that I can just relax.

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  119. @aebhel-

    You can curtail the behavior of rapists by not tolerating rape jokes. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by telling a guy to lay off when he's making a woman uncomfortable. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by not turning your back when somebody decides to lead a stumbling-drunk woman into a back room at a party. You can curtail the behavior of rapists by shunning them, completely and totally, once news of their behavior comes out.

    This made me cry. Thank you.

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  120. With regards to "Mr I'm Not Blaming Her, But It's Her Fault" - and also to the anon who seems to have been labeled as such for witnessing a story familiar to me:

    I was raped. Multiple times, in fact, because the trauma of the first rape caused me to repeatedly put myself in identical situations in the hope that the outcome would be miraculously different. So, several times over, I met a man at a bar, and despite feeling frightened by him, went home with him, where he raped me. And this was rape. If I had stripped naked and lain spreadeagled on his bed, the moment I said no it would still have been rape and entirely his responsibility.

    Because I live in the real world, however, I do still have to accept that my willingly going home with men I got these very bad vibes from played some part in my getting raped. It wasn't my fault, but that doesn't mean what I did wasn't stupid. And I'm fine with that assessment of my actions.

    Because there is no clause in the law that says it's okay to rape the stupid.

    However, what frustrates me most about Mr I'm Not Blaming Her, is that men seem to have NO IDEA that as women we are CONSTANTLY engaged in risk assessment. Every day we try to measure the comparative risk from the man trying to talk to you in the street, the man who wants to buy you a drink, the man who has come to read the gas meter - and most of them are innocent, but they won't all be. We measure the risk of walking down that street, of going out in that dress, of all the cliches that could be held against us if the worst happens. And then if we make a mistake - well, men act as though we were naively and thoughtlessly breezing through life and "should have been more careful". They don't see the care we take every day, because they don't need to.

    Just my conflicting thoughts on the subject...

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  121. And then if we make a mistake - well, men act as though we were naively and thoughtlessly breezing through life and "should have been more careful". They don't see the care we take every day, because they don't need to.

    I think this is what frustrates me the most about these discussions.

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  122. Hi there. I want you to know that I put this post on my tumblr today (linked) and it has since been reblogged over 500 times (and counting). It's an excellent post and it's clearly very much appreciated.

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  123. What about the instances when females rape? I notice that female sex offenses are often scoffed at and joked about how the boy is lucky. Why don't you blog about that?
    http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/female-sex-offenders
    Also false rape does occur. It's so bad in some countries they are considering changing laws on anonymity
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2010/jul/29/anonymity-defendants-rape-cases-coalition
    http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/

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  124. Anon - When women rape, that's bad. When people falsely accuse others of rape, that's bad too.

    When people bring those things up in a "why don't you blog about that instead of these TRIVIALITIES" way, I tend to assume those people have some sort of insane agenda to pretend that male-on-female rape never actually occurs, or something.

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  125. The way I put it to myself is that I'm responsible for the reactions that I receive from other people. If I can't talk explicitly and openly about sex with someone, no matter how much of a buzz-kill that might be, I'm not even going to make an attempt to be intimate with them.

    Wouldn't that attitude, universal among men and women, kill "rape" completely?

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  126. Oh, male on female rape OBVIOUSLY happens. As a person, I'm interested in being portrayed as wonderful potential. "Please get to know me!"

    I've become scared of the idea: "Man." It lurks within my subconscious. It says men are shameful and just want sex, while women are good and want romance and love. Men are rapists. Women and children are victims.

    So, I am living ashamed of myself for crimes I didn't commit and nervous about sex. No wonder so many men are getting together to have sex (good for them!) and others suffer impotence.

    I know what the statistics say and I'm looking forward to a future where people disregard numbers and start reaching out with love to every individual that comes before them.

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  127. Gabriel:

    No, because most rapists are actually pretty conscious of the fact that their victim hasn't consented. Misunderstandings happen, but they don't account for most of the cases. An inability to accept 'no' when they hear it does.

    Anon: This is relevant...how? If these issues are important to you, by all means start a discussion. But coming into every rape discussion you find to whine about the fact that people aren't talking about them kind of makes you look like a derailing asshole.

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  128. Aebel, yes, I presume that is the way it is now. I am using the word "universal" very literally. I'm including the would-be rapists. I look to the future with hope that we, human beings, can learn to be prudent and respectful together. This is more about all people learning empathy.

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  129. Oh my god, this is glorious. Absolutely glorious. I have seen every one of these. Great job. Please post more if you have the energy.

    Thank you!

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  130. "Leaving rape off the table, let's just talk about battery. Most people who come to the ER with their nose punched inside-out fall into one of the following categories:

    A) The victim provoked their attacker into a (usually drunken) fight, or let themselves be provoked into a fight.
    B) The victim tussled with a member of an enemy gang, or fell afoul of their own gang, or a drug deal went south.
    C) The victim is staying with their abusive partner or family member despite this being the umpty-billionth time this has happened.
    D) The victim was in the sketchy part of town alone and absolutely blind drunk at 3 AM and got mugged.

    So in all these cases, the victim shares some responsibility for their assault, and probably could have prevented it."

    Well let's put rape back on the table, shall we?
    So if I wore loose jeans that were able to be ripped off, even with a fly, wasn't drunk, and didn't "provoke" the guy into it, is it still my fault?
    Didn't think so.
    Someone wouldn't be raped if /she wasn't raped/, end of story. The victim doesn't send signals saying they want to be raped. The raper rapes. That's it.

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  131. Don't forget this classic comeback: I Know Someone Who Was Raped And They're Okay With It!

    "My girlfriend was raped and she doesn't find my use of 'lol rape pwned' during my video game to be offensive. So you shouldn't find it offensive, either."

    Or... The Laundromat!

    "People shouldn't talk about this out in the open like that. It's airing out dirty laundry. It's really trashy to claim you're a victim like that."

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  132. It's always the rapist's fault.

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  133. Holly said...
    Anon - When women rape, that's bad. When people falsely accuse others of rape, that's bad too.
    When people bring those things up in a "why don't you blog about that instead of these TRIVIALITIES" way, I tend to assume those people have some sort of insane agenda to pretend that male-on-female rape never actually occurs, or something.

    @Holly my point was it seems that women blame men for everything and ignore it when it's on their end. Of course rape is wrong but now just about anything can be called rape. Just an accusation by a woman is enough to ruin a man for life. I've seen women call rough porn sites "rape" despite the fact that the women willing do these sites. It's to the point it trivializes real rape. Now I never put my self in a position with a female coworker where they can falsely accuse. I had an instance where i turned down a girl who was attracted to me and she tried to get me fired by saying sexual harassment. They knew she was lying because they place has cameras she didn't know about..yet all the did was transfer her and not fire her. If i *was* guilty I would have been fired and possibly sued...that was my initial gripe about this blog

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  134. it seems that women blame men for everything and ignore it when it's on their end
    It's very hard for me to talk to you seriously when you say things like this. If the generic "women" seem that evil and stupid to you... look, that's just wrong. Hideously offensive and wrong.

    Just an accusation by a woman is enough to ruin a man for life.
    Yeah, well, just getting hit by a truck is enough to ruin anyone for life, but I don't divert conversations about rape to "WHAT ABOUT THE TRUCK ACCIDENTS? WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT TRUCK ACCIDENTS?"

    I agree that false accusations are bad. I disagree with them being used to somehow counter discussions on rape.

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  135. A young feminist who doesn't give much thought to this problem and has never dealt with it before. Read all of the comments. Thank you Holly, I enjoyed the post itself but the debate in the comments helped explain -why- I enjoyed it. I'm impressed you take the time to combat such simple-minded people. Your view feels so obvious and natural to me... but I of course see the importance in explaining it to others.

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  136. Fantastic post, mostly good discussion in the comments, considering. I have something to point out to people who find this to be a "hostile" environment, that I've learned from trying to be a good ally in queer, racialized, and other spaces.

    Privilege can be uncomfortable. If you are in a space in which you are privileged, and you feel uncomfortable, it's what you do with that discomfort that matters. 99% of the time, it's because you're feeling the weight of your privilege, not because you've done anything wrong personally at that moment, or that anyone is saying you have, or that less privileged people are doing anything wrong or hostile or unfair to you (though they may turn hostile if you start getting defensive...read on).

    Part of being a good ally is learning to live with your discomfort and not get defensive. It's recognizing that people have a right to be angry about their oppression and that their anger is probably NOT directed at you unless you've done something specific to provoke it. If you find yourself getting defensive, it almost always means you need to examine your privilege and/or the topic more carefully.

    The people who get the most defensive are the people who abuse their privilege (and are sexist/racist/homophobic/classist/etc assholes). So when you get defensive, people start to feel like you're one of those people, and that's what escalates the situation. But 99% of the time, there's nothing to get defensive about in the first place, because the anger you're perceiving (initially) is not directed at you personally, even if it feels like it!

    (this is where feminists critiquing patriarchy/rape culture turns into "all feminists hate men!!" or "women think all men are rapists" - that's male privilege getting too defensive!)

    Another big part of being an ally, possibly the most important part, is listening to what people say about their oppression. The Gabby's Playhouse comic that someone linked to is all about this. This is basic social theory: the oppressed know INFINITELY more about their oppression than their oppressors do. If you are not a person of colour, or someone who has studied racism extensively, you do not understand racism as well as a person who lives with it daily, therefore, you should listen when someone explains something about racism to you. And you should not get defensive or try to correct them, because they are way more likely to be right than you are. Period.

    In sum: if you are in a space in which you have privilege, and you find yourself getting defensive, YOUR PRIVILEGE is probably the reason, and you need to check it, and start really listening to people, rather than responding defensively and pissing people off.

    Even if you are frustrated. Even if you don't get it. Even if you think the original post is 'hostile' - people are allowed to be angry once in a while (especially within their own spaces). Or maybe even a little bit, all the time. Because they are oppressed, all the time.


    Note: this is not to say that you can't discuss anything with anyone, ever. Just that, when you have privilege in a situation, you need to do it carefully because your privilege creates massive blind spots.

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  137. I have never felt compelled to comment on a blog before but this comment from Orphan shocked and appalled me so much that I had to comment

    From Orphan: Should we stop the man bringing the drunk girl, or the girl bringing the drunk man?

    None of those things are rape. In the case of one, rape jokes, it's something that has become more popular as rape rates have gone down, suggesting that if there IS a correlation, we should be encouraging rape jokes.

    You CLEARLY have no idea what you are talking about in saying none of those things are rape. And the fact that you put encouraging and rape jokes in the same sentence is SHOCKING. Evne if you put it as an "IF" those kind of jokes should never, ever, ever be encouraged. I am appalled by every single comment you have made on here Orphan and with such strong belief you have made them.

    It is also appalling to me that there is a False Rape Society. To believe that a person's experience is untrue is a main way that victims are undermined and productive dialogues are run off track. Also this is such an minuscule section of rape cases (the ones that are actually reported/tried, which in itself is a small fraction of occurrences of rape) yet it is given so much attention it is disgusting. If more people in society would spend half as much time actually educating themselves about these issues/believing and supporting survivors of rape then we would already be living in a much better world.

    Also thank you Holly for posting this. I do extensive work in advocacy for survivors as well as education/prevention work and I have run into many of these people. You have perfectly captured how ridiculous these sentiments are in a humorous tone that I appreciate (See feminists like- intelligent- humor too!)

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  138. Just when I thought women couldn't possibly sound stupider then they already do you went and wrote this blog Holly.
    Now before you all jump on me for being a typical wife beating redneck male, I'm a female and I frankly hate every member of our sex.
    Just because you can't see that there are SOME cases in which the "victim" does hold some responsibility doesn't mean it isn't true.

    As for your retarded analogy regarding battery, yes I do blame the "victim". It is their fault that they got in drunken bar fight, it is their fault they were to piss drunk to defend themselves and it most CERTAINLY is their own fault for being stupid and staying with an abusive partner. My ex husband hit me ONCE and that was it.

    People in this country, hell in this WORLD need to take responsibility for their actions and stop trying to push the blame on everyone else.

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  139. Wow. You're a horrible human being and everyone who likes you (if any), only does because they don't know what you really are inside.

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  140. I am so offended by many of these comments. As a rape victim myself, there is no way any of it could have been my fault.
    Having a man break into my house, while I was home and raping me - how can I be possible blamed for this fact? I would not wish it upon anyone, but it would be nice if you could stand in my shoes and understand the pain and hurt that accompanies the action. If a person says no - there is no consent - not matter whether they are male or female. People should be able to walk the streets safely and not fear getting raped or murdered. Saying its always the victims fault, is like saying being killed was the murder victim's fault.

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  141. Love the post. Love the fact that the comments so amply demonstrate its point. Will be reposting at the bottom of every single post where the 'R' Word is mentioned, and the sae thing happenes.

    Lisa

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  142. "...I'm a female and I frankly hate every member of our sex." Wow, we noticed. It is consistent with everything else you say.

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  143. how about the "She was drunk and regretted sleeping with him"

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  144. Holly said...

    Wow. You're a horrible human being and everyone who likes you (if any), only does because they don't know what you really are inside.
    November 25, 2010 9:22 AM

    Wow...just wow. I was appreciating your original post, and the ensuing discussion, which was really making my think about some of my prejudices and perspectives, until I got to this... You lost me.

    I'm done. Bye.

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  145. West Coast Reader - There's some people who have reasonable disagreements with me, and we can debate respectfully. There's some people who are really wrong, and I can try and educate and explain to them.

    And then there's people who say that they hate my entire sex and think that rape and abuse victims deserve it, and sometimes I just don't feel like attempting respectful dialogue with people who are extending me no such courtesy.

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  146. Holly.
    Actually everyone who likes me knows full well how I feel about this and everything else. Unlike the majority of the world I don't keep these things hidden as I see no point.

    Feel free to read whatever you want from my original comment, I never said all rape victims deserved it, there are quite a few who did absolutely nothing to provoke it. My issue is that there are MANY who have and many more who cry rape because they regret it in the morning, they cheated and don't want their boyfriend/husband to find out (yes it happens) etc.

    Women are not always victims simply because we are women and frankly I am sick of society thinking that way. A women can beat her husband multiple times, I've seen it with friends of mine, hitting him with a frying pan, she even attempted to stab him. He called the cops the cops did nothing but laugh because she's a female and she is always the victim.

    Disguisting and people like you who refuse to admit that there is ANY other possibility besides "OMG SAVE THE POOR WOMEN!!!!" are only feeding the fire. We all need to grow up and realize that sometimes it IS our fault.

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  147. Oh I forgot. As for me "extending you no such courtesy". Don't try and blame your behavior solely on me, as I've read through these comments and yes I HAVE read all of them. You have replied with the same spite and venom even when they were being more than reasonable and respectful not just on this blog post either.

    You seem to think disagreeing with you is a crime punishable by no less then death. You aren't that great, great over yourself. The best thing about this world is that people have different views are can express those freely. Put on your big girl panties and get over it.

    I simply don't understand how you can agree that in ALL other crimes there is a very good chance that it happened for a reason, that the other person deserved it or did something to provoke it, unless of course the crime was against a woman. Then again I guess I should have known since in your mind women are perfect little ANGELS who would never do anything wrong ever ever ever!!!

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  148. Okay. I lost my temper. I'm... not exactly sorry, but I'm going to try to respond to what you're saying, in hope I can get something across, or at least reclaim some dignity for myself.

    Just when I thought women couldn't possibly sound stupider then they already do...I frankly hate every member of our sex.
    This is where I lost it. Hating an entire sex isn't just evil and soul-eroding, it's absurd. Even if I can picture simultaneously hating Sarah Palin, Margaret Atwood, Oprah Winfrey, Queen Elizabeth, and Jane Goodall, I can't picture hating them all for the same *reason.*

    Also, by implication you hate me, and for some reason that doesn't make me love you.

    As for your retarded analogy regarding battery, yes I do blame the "victim". It is their fault that they got in drunken bar fight, it is their fault they were to piss drunk to defend themselves
    You know what? Let's not use the word "fault," because I think it's covering two things. Let's use the words "cause" and "want." Did being drunk cause them to get punched? Yes. Did being drunk mean that they *wanted* to get punched? NO.

    Is cause without want "fault?" I don't know, but it shouldn't be confused for causing and wanting. And it shouldn't be forgotten that the person who did the punching, unlike their victim, *did* both cause and want the punch.

    and it most CERTAINLY is their own fault for being stupid and staying with an abusive partner. My ex husband hit me ONCE and that was it.
    I'm glad you were in a situation you were able to escape. Many women aren't so lucky. It's not always "stupid" to stay with someone if you have no resources for surviving on your own, if you genuinely think (and this absolutely happens) he'll find you and kill you, if you're completely emotionally intimidated by this person and "just leaving" feels absolutely tantamount to suicide.

    People in this country, hell in this WORLD need to take responsibility for their actions and stop trying to push the blame on everyone else.
    Awesome! Can rapists take some responsibility now?

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  149. Unlike the majority of the world I don't keep these things hidden as I see no point.
    Actually, the majority of the world isn't hiding their hatred; they just don't have quite as much to share.

    My issue is that there are MANY who have and many more who cry rape because they regret it in the morning, they cheated and don't want their boyfriend/husband to find out (yes it happens) etc.
    Wait, so do women get themselves raped by being stupid, or do they not get raped at all? Those are two separate libels, and you can't just argue both like that.

    The subject of the Evil False Rape Accuser is so widely covered elsewhere on this blog and elsewhere in the feminist blogosphere that I'm not going to write a full thing here, except to say that it happens way, way, waaaayyyy less often than actual rape. And even when it does happen it doesn't somehow cancel out actual rapes.

    Women are not always victims simply because we are women and frankly I am sick of society thinking that way.
    No, but *rape victims* are always victims.

    A women can beat her husband multiple times, I've seen it with friends of mine, hitting him with a frying pan, she even attempted to stab him.
    What that woman did was evil, and she sure as hell should have gone to jail. Just like a man who did the same thing.

    We all need to grow up and realize that sometimes it IS our fault.
    You know what, you're right. Most rapes consist of a victim brutally raping herself while a baffled rapist watches in confusion and tries to stop her.

    Okay. No sarcasm, that would be mean and gosh I'd hate to make you take one tenth of what you're dishing out. Seriously now: Rape victims, by definition, never wanted to be raped. Some of them may have taken actions that, in a sense, "caused" their rape (if they had done X not Y, they would not have been raped), but they did these unknowingly. So if you believe that doing something you believed to be safe, but was in fact dangerous, constitutes "fault," then some rape victims have some level of pedantically-defined "fault."

    But rather less than the person who, you know, knowingly and willingly chose to commit the rape.

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  150. Oh, and:

    The best thing about this world is that people have different views are can express those freely.

    Exactly. Like disagreeing with you.

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  151. See the issue we are having here is simply that you don't see more than "rape victims". What you seemingly have yet to understand is that there are rape victims, there are also people who never got raped, and people who did in fact cause it themselves.
    "Wait, so do women get themselves raped by being stupid, or do they not get raped at all? Those are two separate libels, and you can't just argue both like that."
    I can argue both because both are true. I never made a blanket statement saying that ALL cases are this or that, you made that assumption.

    You just keep going back to "yeah cause ALL/most rapes happen this way". Perfect example "You know what, you're right. Most rapes consist of a victim brutally raping herself while a baffled rapist watches in confusion and tries to stop her." I never said most happen that way, you need to except the fact that while they don't all happen THAT way. They don't all happen ANY given way and there are more things to take into consideration then a woman just saying she got raped.

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  152. So now it's some sort of strange numbers game, where if you can prove that any nonzero number of rape victims are liars or idiots, then that proves that... um... it proves something really really important.

    No rape victim "caused it themselves." No, absolutely zero rape victims, have more blame than the person who caused their rape by committing it! Even in cases where you can technically argue that she should have known doing X would get lead to rape, I would argue that the rapist should have known that raping someone would lead to rape.

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  153. Holly, you have some very important, poignant things to say. You got me thinking and that's always a good thing.

    I went back over my notes on rape from my criminal law class and thought I could add this to the discussion:

    Nearly all crimes require two things: a guilty act and a guilty mind. However, in a few states one can be guilty of rape without proof of a guilty mind (that is, someone can be guilty regardless of their honest, reasonable belief that the victim consented). In contrast, most states do permit an "honest and reasonable mistake" defense. The underlying question is this: Who is the crime of rape committed against? Is it a crime against only the physical victim, or against both the physical victim and society as a whole?

    If it's a crime against the victim and society, then it becomes hard to adopt the "guilt regardless of honest, reasonable mistake" approach, because that would entail punishing a member of society for doing something that every member of society, similarly situated, would believe is not a crime.

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  154. I wonder how does the original author feel about the Julian Assange 'rape' case in Sweden. He's arrest and charge over this ridicules claim is why men in general don't believe women when they do accuse.

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  155. Why is it automatically "ridicules" and quotey-quote rape? If the allegations are true--and they might be, I don't know--then he did in fact commit rape.

    Men in general don't--actually, no. Men in general do believe women when they accuse--no, report, fuck's sake--cases of rape. But certain men don't believe women who report rape because they believe in a just-world fallacy, or because they don't really trust women to begin with, or because they don't fully understand what rape is. But not because women (who do always act en bloc, right? I always coordinate everything I do with Carrie Fisher and Madeline Albright) somehow abused this whole rape-reporting privilege.

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  156. @Holly because he's being charged with rape because he didn't use a condom during *consensual* sex. That is beyond ridicules.
    It's bad enough false rape claims ruin a man's life and even when women are caught lying the punishment is no where severe(if at all). Should women be jailed when they lie to their partner they are on birth control?
    Even men who were never charged with a crime, like NFL football player Ben Roethlisberger, he is now called "Rapethelberger" despite never being found guilty of anything.
    The Tories in the UK are looking to pass a partial anonymity protection law for the accused since they have had a rash of false rape claims that have ruined men's lives despite being cleared, of course women groups oppose it ..

    http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2010/06/refutation-of-motion-opposing-anonymity.html

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  157. Anon - One of the charges against him is "That Assange "unlawfully coerced" Miss A by using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner." This is not like failing to use birth control.

    Do you know why rape accusations are such a big deal? Because rape is such a terrible crime. Which, uh, has occasionally been known to actually occur, y'know.

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  158. @Holly this is the definition of rape by the FBI..
    The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." -- FBI
    So what they are saying is that men can't be victims..
    http://mensrights.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/stunning-28-of-rape-allegations-in-india-are-false/

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  159. Hmm... I feel like I might get mocked terribly, but these are thoughts I've been having for a while.

    I worry that it has become impossible to offer advice on sensible rape prevention tactics without being accused of somehow placing the responsibility on the woman.

    The advice "You shouldn't leave your drink unattended" is not equivalent to "If you leave your drink unattended it is entirely your fault if you wake up in the morning with no memories of where your panties went", but somehow those two have become conflated.

    I knew someone whose whole attitude was "we should deliberately keep young women in the dark about rape risks because it is the responsibility of a rapist not to rape you".

    It was maddening. She was campaigning against an image of a woman barring a door to prevent a pack of rapists from entering, because it somehow 'suggested that it was the woman's responsibility to not get raped'.

    If your solution to rape prevention is that men should not rape you, that is dangerous wishful thinking. If you do not bar a door to prevent rapists from entering because you do not think it is your responsibility to stop them, then you are going to get gang raped. Duh.

    Sure, it's kind of pointless to say 'you should never have left your drink unattended' after the event, but is it really such a bad thing to say it beforehand?

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  160. Anon - And if the FBI was a legislative or judicial body, and also if the FBI prosecuted the generally state-level crime of rape, and also if your statement was even true, that would mean something!

    David Thomsen - What I suspect was frustrating the person you knew into extremism was the fact that every woman already knows the drink thing. We can't help knowing it because it's constantly pounded into our skulls until we can't fucking get away from it. We don't need more education on how to be paranoid and how to expect the worst from everyone and how, more than anything, to expect that nothing except our own eternal vigilance will protect us.

    It gets old.

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  161. Oh my god. Guys. You gotta do an encor, all of you, I'm on the edge of my fuckin' seat, here!

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  162. I have one to add to the list:

    Ms screw self defense classes, I got me a Rapex!
    Yup, that's right, a condom-type device with sharp teeth on the inside that will attach to an unwelcome penis and can only be removed by a surgeon, thereby ensuring that the rapist is caught. Causes smauzes, at least we'll catch the bastards!

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  163. Great list - reposted a link to this on my blog. I've already encountered some of these people in the five months I've been writing about my own experience as a survivor of sexual abuse.

    Thank you ♥

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  164. Woooow. The amount of times I face-palmed during this is immeasurable. My favorite is the first guy.

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  165. I am a graduate with a law degree and I've come across almost all the attitudes mentioned in the article and I appreciate your effort in bringing them out in a very interesting way.

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  166. This will not be popular, I think, and I expect some harsh feedback, however, I think there is a need to point out some other guilty parties.

    I agree that all the rapist types are indeed rapists. If you have sex with a girl who does not give her consent or is too intoxicated to giver her consent, then you are a rapist, and should be punished as such.

    There are SOME women out there who use the word rape as a means of getting what they want. I was a victim of this myself. Long ago in my younger years, I was engaged to a girl. We had a bad breakup. I had asked for the ring back. She refused. This upset me, so I asked again. I even used an intermediary to try and show her my point of view, and her response was "If you keep bugging me about it, I will report that you raped me".

    Now I am sure that the vast majority of rape victims are indeed rape victims. However there are some "victims" out there who use the word to get what they want, which can establish a "boy-who-cried-wolf" line of thinking. Not only do they victimize the people they are, for lack of a better word, blackmailing, but they also bring a bad name upon TRUE rape victims.

    There is another group who I think gets a bad rap. If a woman is drunk and is raped by a man, then he is a rapist. In my humble opinion, this should only apply if A. the man is sober and knows the woman is drunk. and B. If they are both drunk, but she still says no. If BOTH parties are intoxicated, and BOTH give their drunken consent, wouldn't he "rapist" also be a victim of rape??

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  167. Anon - I let your comment go through just to demonstrate that someone can read a description of what they're doing wrong and then go right ahead and do it.

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  168. Here's another one to add to the list: Mr. I Know What a Woman Wants More Than She Does aka Mr. Sometimes Women Have To Be Shown What They Want

    There is a rationalization used by some men "Yeah, she was saying no but, her eyes were saying 'I'm shy please tear my clothes off, I really like it rough'"

    Another rationalization is "She let me in her home, so I have THE RIGHT to get a lil sum sum. A woman can't be stupid enough to think that she has any thing else to offer a man? A woman can't honestly be dumb enough to think that men care about women think."

    Here's another rationalization "Sex ain't personal. It is what is expected if you are alone with a man. So you should behave like an adult and do what is expected of you. If you don't, of course you will be treated as a child and be punished. A woman should have at least enough manners to let the guy jizz on her fun bags"

    I'm not writing this to be "mean to men or sexist." I wrote this because this was my personal experience. I did not make this up. This is what I was told by the man who tried to rape me. I will in the future be smart enough not to trust any man. Men are not welcome in my home.

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  169. one more:

    Mr. Michael Sanguinetti, Toronto Police Constable
    "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

    http://www.thestar.com/news/article/940665--cop-apologizes-for-sluts-remark-at-law-school

    And, no, Constable Sanguinetti didn't lose his job.

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  170. So many problems with Anon comment 12/07.

    One is that we don't know what actually went on during this interchange. We don't know why the relationship broke up, we don't know what happened with his attempts to get the ring back, and we don't know whether there was any "unwanted sex" (as some news agencies disgustingly term rape).

    Even if it is all true, it does not change anything about how rape victims NEVER ask for it. A million "false accusations" does not change anything.

    There were some earlier comments about actus reus and mens rea. This is all fine in terms of criminal proceedings, but that is also way beside the point.

    In such cases, I always bring up a case that was in our papers many years ago. A woman brought criminal proceedings of rape against her husband. At the same time, she lodged a claim with our relevant State welfare agency. The claim was accepted because all that mattered is they believed **something** happened.

    The criminal case failed. This did not affect the claim with the welfare agency.

    The woman then brought civil proceedings. The existence of our no-fault state agency means that we cannot bring any proceedings in any court in this country for compensatory damages. But she sought punitive and exemplary damages.

    She won her case. This is because criminal proceedings require proof beyond reasonable doubt, civil requires a balance of probabilities.

    Holly - this is just brilliant. I am just sorry I found out about it so late.

    One thing I find funny about some of the comments here - they say "yeah but women must have some responsibility" and when people react angrily they come back with "But why are you being so mean - I didn't deserve that". Hypocrisy much?

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  171. Thanks for the good post. keep up the good work.

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  172. How about Mrs. You Should Try To Protect Your Reputation. "OMG I hope you never repeat this story to anyone. What will people think?" Well Honey they can think what they want; I did nothing wrong and will not feel guilty nor ashamed.

    I live with PTSD. The telling of a story repeatedly has been shown to lessen the story's impact.

    On a side note, rape is not a word invented by the media or "feminazis." Here is some etymology:

    Rape: late 14c., "seize prey, take by force," from Anglo-Fr. raper "to seize, abduct," a legal term, probably from L. rapere "seize, carry off by force, abduct" (see rapid). Latin rapere was used for "sexual violation," but only very rarely; the usual Latin word being stuprum, lit. "disgrace." Sense of "sexual violation or ravishing of a woman" first recorded in English as a noun, late 15c. (the noun sense of "taking anything -- including a woman -- away by force" is from c.1400). The verb in this sense is from 1570s. Related: Raped; raping. Uncertain connection to Low Ger. and Du. rapen in the same sense. Rapist is from 1883.

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  173. Yeah, so I get really sick of hearing people talk about how self-defense will prevent rape and how "if more women knew self-defense then this would not be problem."

    Don't get me wrong. I think that all people; without regard to sex, orientation or creed; should learn self-defense, but make no mistake, it doesn't prevent much violence. Here's why:

    (1) Nothing is worth your life! This is the first thing you will hear in any self-defense lesson including the one I teach. When I say this, I am not addressing rape specifically, but what I make clear is that the product I provide is protection on your life, nothing more or less. If one of my techniques stops a rape then GREAT!, but that is not what I peddle (and by peddle I mean give out for free to anyone who will have it). So if you ever say "she should have just punched him," take it from a decade of martial arts experience. That's not even remotely true.

    (2) Women (and men) aren't looking for rapists. No girl goes into a bar and says, well there are two rapists here and one cute guy, so I'll punch those two in the face and then have consensual sex with the cute one. There is no "tactical planning" that goes on. Most women (as Holly has said a lot) get raped in their own home, by someone they trust or even love. They are often raped by people that they were planning to have sex with later. They are often raped by family members.

    (3) Fighting is hard. The last time a girl punched me in the face (we had a talk; things got better), she broke her hand. I'm not that scary, self-defense techniques just don't work sometimes.

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  174. Er, out of curiosity, why is there not a trigger warning on this post?

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  175. I'm posting on here with a certain amount of trepidation, because I respect the fact that this is a very sore topic for many people, both men and women alike.

    While I agree that there is a place for men to help in the fight against rape, I would submit that some women might be skeptical and/or unwilling to receive help from a male, especially if they were prior rape victims.

    I used to volunteer as a rape crisis counselor in my hometown, and on many occasions, a woman would call and, upon hearing my voice, hang up almost immediately. The last thing they wanted was to hear another man's voice right after being raped.

    To those men who feel that they would like to help, I give this suggestion: we are hardwired, as men, to address a situation we consider unacceptable with a show of force. I recall reading an earlier post by a male commentator that discussed "Getting his hands on a rapist." This is precisely the wrong response if you want to be of any help to a rape victim. They've already experienced violence. They don't need to hear any more of it. All it will serve to do is frighten or upset them further. Also, as many have pointed out on here, there is no room for blame when it comes to the victim. Any line of questioning that begins with the victim's attire, behaviour, or state of sobriety will cause them to shut down to you and refuse your help.

    To the ladies posting here, please know that there are men out there who want to help--I suspect more than you or I realize. They just have to fight through their own gender stereotypes to get to the point that they could be remotely useful.

    Hope this helps.

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  176. What I really loved about some of the things you posted in the original post, Holly, was that they took an argument I've heard sooo many times before and said outright what the next logical conclusion was - the conclusion that was there beneath the argument, the one hanging over it like a shadow when you even try to examine the argument in reality.

    Ms. You Don't Just Get To Decide Whether You Consent was the one that really resonated with me in this way. People say that all the time, usually with things like, "oh of course rape is BAD, but she should have totally known better."

    It reminds me of how they say any statement that goes "I love you, but..." or "I'm sorry, but..." is automatically off to a bad start, because you wouldn't be putting the "BUT..." there if the first part of the statement was the thing you really wanted to say.

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  177. Matt G: I appreciate the sharing of your experiences. If I were in that woman's situation, calling up the crisis counselor, I would probably do the same.

    I appreciate your willingness to want to help. I really do. I think something you should remember about it is that many men do not respond in this manner. And even men who ARE supportive when a woman confides in them about being sexually assaulted, in other times they gleefully engage in and defend rape culture. I have a friend who said that since he loves culture and interacting with it, when in gamer circles, he feels free to use "rape" to mean "dominate" (i.e. that boss monster totally raped us today in that raid). And no matter how much I tried to explain to him that it made me uncomfortable, he continued to say it.

    You would be correct in asserting that not all women are supportive of women who are sexually assaulted, and certainly there are women who will also defend rape culture. Nevertheless, aside from my boyfriend, I would be more likely to want to talk to a woman after the fact than a man, because I would feel, on some level, like she has a better chance of understanding where I'm coming from (since she is also a woman), and that she is more likely to support me. And that's because when I've talked about my experience being sexually assaulted, that's what I experienced.

    I think the situation described by Melissa McEwan in this post ( http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/08/terrible-bargain-we-have-regretfully.html ) sums up a lot of why this happens. A lot of women learn not to trust men, because at some point, even their closest friends and family, people they love dearly, might say something sexist, something that says "I do not respect you because you are a woman." And that is crushing.

    The appropriate response to that for anyone in a position where they are not trusted is then to try to earn that trust.


    On a sidenote, you mention that men have to fight through gender stereotypes to be helpful. I wanted to point out your mention about men being "hardwired" to "address a situation we consider unacceptable with a show of force." When you say hardwired, that makes it sound like it's something simply natural to men (and by relegating that to men, implies that it is NOT something women are hardwired to do), and that is simply not the case. That screams gender stereotyping to me.

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  178. (TW for description and discussion of sexual assault, rape)

    Matt G: Same anonymous as before, I just wanted to mention another reason why women might not trust men after they've been raped.

    A lot of women are taught that if they are "good girls" then they won't get raped (stuff like dress modestly, stick with (male) friends, don't drink too much, etc etc). The rape culture is still there and present; they might get harassed on their way to school, to work. They listen to the jokes people tell about rape. They might even tell a few. And when a woman does get raped, they might share in those voices saying "she should have known better!"

    The Good Girl idea is like a shield. Supposedly it protects. The world is dangerous, but as long as you are diligent, you'll be fine. Cause everyone knows only Bad Girls get raped.

    So what happens if the Good Girl DOES get raped?

    All of a sudden, that Good Girl shield is torn down. They were Good. And what GOOD did that do them?

    A lot of women after being raped and/or sexually assaulted have a problem being able to trust men afterwards. Some of that is PTSD, like it was with me. But another part of it is just that: you thought the Good Girl shield would protect you. And then it didn't. So if that thing you clung to so hard wasn't worth squat, how can you know you'll ever be safe?

    When I was assaulted, I was wearing baggy clothes. A T-shirt. I was with my parents. We were at a writer's gathering. I was SITTING NEARBY MY FAMILY. And I was still assaulted. And I don't think anyone ever noticed.

    I was 14. I was that Good Girl.

    I thought that my family would be able to protect me. That if I didn't wear makeup or wear revealing clothing, I would be safe. My mom told me you only wore makeup if you wanted sexual attention, that women wearing revealing clothes were "asking" for it. I thought I was safe. And I wasn't.

    That is one of the most shattering realizations a Good Girl can have from that kind of experience. It turns your entire world upside down.

    When you thought the shield protected you from the men who might do you harm, how could you ever know which men you could trust and which you couldn't?

    And especially when you knew some of them would just minimize you and your experiences.

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  179. Just chiming in ages later to say that this Orphan guy strikes me as the kind of person who would engage in emotionally abusive behavior (cue telling his rape survivor girlfriend 'you know that what you're doing to me could be rape', seriously?!), and that I don't think he should be in an intimate relationship with a person who's probably been made extra vulnerable by her experiences. I hope she finds the strength to break out of it.

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  180. Holly, I think you're wonderful. This is my first time ever reading you but I'm really glad there are level headed, intelligent, well spoken people like you in this world. Thank you for taking the time and energy to help educate and inform people.

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  181. a few points:

    first, this post makes me ache... ache for hurt, ache for helplessness, ache for hope, ache for my mother, my aunts, my sister, and all of my sisters. and for my brothers. i engage in advocacy and activism while carrying with me my story, which is as a victim of sexual violence and also someone who was raised by a serial rapist. it is weight to carry. thank you for writing this, holly, and for staying engaged with commenters months and months after the original post went up. (also, i hope your liver is doing well!)

    second, jackson katz has a really amazing program that works to end sexual violence by using a "bystander" approach.... it gives really useful skills to guys to recognize and intervene when their friends may be capable of or engaging in sexually aggressive behaviors, or committing acts of sexual violence such as rape. he, if i'm not mistaken, also started a program to be used with athletic teams at the high school and college levels. http://www.jacksonkatz.com/wmcd.html

    ALSO:
    risk reduction is never the equivalent of rape prevention. ever.

    any and every message/comment/bit of advice about what someone can do to avoid being a victim IS NOT PREVENTION. period. it is risk reduction; if that's all you're offering to the conversation, own that you're not stopping anything. you're just offering tips to reduce the risk of being a victim of a crime. is that good enough?

    i've been involved with programs that literally offer ZERO rape prevention initiatives. still they bill themselves as rape prevention organizations, when all they offer are risk reduction techniques. why do they use the word prevention over and over? i assume because it is a reassuring word... except the programs are not preventing anything. 'risk reduction' sure as hell isn't as reassuring, and i think it's dishonest to pretend you're preventing when all you're doing is taking a few notches off of a risk spectrum.

    but dismantling rape culture? befriending boys and men and changing the themes of dominant masculinity? empowering girls and women? learning to recognize and change our own attitudes of sexism, racism, homophobia? teaching people both how to hear, and how to say, yes or no? providing support and space to both primary and secondary victims of sexual violence? critically analyzing and deliberately demystifying the gender binary and gender roles? looking at the ways that our legal system defeats or supports gendered violence?

    making the world a place in which rape is actually unwelcome and not tolerated, rather than merely uncouth (or a myth, or a punchline, or an understandable expression of desire/dominance)? hm. that's a bit of a different challenge, and, i think, warrants the name 'rape prevention.'

    to Laura, thank you for so eloquently discussing allies and privilege. i really value your comments.

    random question: was anyone else bothered by the rape scene in Get Him to the Greek? i didn't see any analysis or commentary on it.

    (to be clear, the "you" in my comments above is absolutely not directed at holly or anyone specific. i have a headache and so my language is sloppy.... i just mean a general 'you' - individual/organization/program - that may fit the description i provided.)

    -nicole

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  182. Hi Holly! :D I know I'm late to the party (Racialicious just linked you, which is why you're getting these new comments xD) but I just wanted to say this is a great great great post and you are amazing for writing this :D *gives you big YOU ARE AWESOME HUGS* :3 Srsly you are... :D

    Also jerky commenters are jerks -_- (and as usual "what about the false rape accusers!?") I feel like it's like Shroedinger's rape victim... since SOME ppl may falsely accuse of rape, therefore ANY victim might actually be lying, therefore every rape victim should be treated as if they might be! -_- (I'm talking in the individual personal sense, not the legal sense)

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  183. I'm a little late on this too. But I'd like to say it's pretty accurate. I've run into a good number of these myself. I got a suggestion for another one:

    Mr./Ms. Crimefighter:
    "Oh my gosh! That's barbaric! How can anyone do anything like that? I would have totally ripped off his balls with my bare hands and shoved them down his own throat and there would totally be no consequences for me because I'm just that badass."

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  184. The real problem here is that parents don't want to sit down with their little boys and say "I know you're instinct is to fuck anything that moves, but never, EVER, EVER rape someone. Ever. If the object of your lust says NO, that means DON'T HAVE SEX WITH THEM." They don't want to say this because it means acknowledging that anyone could potentially be a rapist. Nobody wants to look at their little boy and see a monster. But in a global society that's ambiguous, at *best*, on the subject of rape, you have to tell your sons not to rape people. Hell, you have to tell your daughters, too, even though I still have problems wrapping my head around that.

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  185. Anon - Completely agree about the Crimefighter mentality, and how little it helps.

    Mojo - I agree boys need to be taught about how to not be a rapist, but telling them "don't rape someone" isn't quite right because "rape" is often thought to be exclusively a violent and forceful act, where if she isn't screaming and trying to shove you off it's not "rape." So I think it's important at some point (maybe a bit older than "little boy") to explain about affirmative consent, and not just "no means no."

    I think it's also important to acknowledge that their instinct may not be to fuck everything that moves, so they shouldn't hide behind "hey, I'm a man, it's my instinct!" attitudes.

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  186. Holly is my new hero.

    And I am CONSTANTLY amazed with posts like this - clearly saying "this stuff is really ridiculous" - and the responses they get. People READ the post (presumably) then post something almost identical to one of the first points as though, magically, because THEY wrote it, it suddenly is LESS make believe and ridiculous.

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  187. I am so TIRED of people saying that women need to "be careful." One of my friends was raped by another (now former) friend at a party. She was not dressed provocatively, unless you consider a t-shirt, hoodie, and floor-length skirt to be provocative. She was drinking, admittedly, and was doing so in the company of friends and people that she loved and trusted. The former friend was a nice, charismatic, married man who was hosting said party at his house. He gently led her into a bedroom of his house under the pretense of getting her a CD, they started talking, and he raped her. For all those people saying that she "could have taken precautions," how? Should women just, you know, never leave the house? Are we not allowed to socialize freely? Is it not acceptable for us to drink in the company of people that we see regularly and trust not to hurt us?

    The fact is that the vast majority of rapes happen exactly as they did to my friend. Most rapes are by people that the victim knows and is familiar with. The only precaution we have is to teach our children that rape is NEVER okay and that "no" always and absolutely means "no" in every possible circumstance. Likewise, if a person is, for some reason, unable to clearly say "yes" SEX WITH THAT PERSON IS STILL RAPE. I find it absurd that we teach little children to report "bad touching" but somehow that advice becomes null and void once they're sexually active.

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  188. You forgot "Ms. Rape Victim Who Won't Let it Happen Ever Again."

    Me.

    You can say I blame myself or whatever you want from your moral high horse, but if some sick fuck ever tries that shit again, he's going to get a nickel plated 32 slug in his dick. Maybe talk to a rape victim before you start speaking for them.

    Ms. Mad as Hell

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  189. Ms. Mad as Hell - I talked to a sexual assault victim in the mirror, among others.

    No, I didn't shoot my attacker. He was a close friend, not a "sick fuck" (I mean, he was, but I couldn't and still can't characterize him as "just some sick fuck" in my mind), and I would not have the ability, emotionally, to seriously injure or kill him.

    I did not "let it happen" because I lack the Killer Instinct.

    It's also a damn good thing I didn't shoot my attacker, because then I would have been in a house with a dead guy and a smoking gun and not a scratch on me, and I don't know that I could have convinced the police and his family that it was justified.

    I did not "let it happen" because I didn't want to risk a murder trial.

    I sure as hell hope it never happens again to me or you, but there's always a possibility that it will, and I don't say that to be cruel but because it's not our choice whether it happens.

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  190. It sure the fuck is my choice. It's just plain not going to happen and that's a fact. If somebody wants to rape me, he's going to have to kill me first.

    Just because you don't have the emotional ability to defend yourself doesn't mean that it's somehow a moral victory to advocate NO woman EVER defending herself. It's not. It's fucking suicide.

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  191. You can make your own choices, of course, but "There's nothing you can do to prevent rape" is hardly progressive feminism: it's exactly what rapists want us to think.

    The attitude that there's nothing us frail little delicate flowers can ever do to prevent our own victimization is self-destructive, stupid, and has never, ever, ever, ever prevented a rape from happening, and it never, ever, ever will.

    But my six little friends will.

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  192. If rape was a choice they'd call it "sex."

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  193. "Anonymous," somewhere up at the top of the comments, made some anecdotal reference to a friend she didn't blame, BUT, and spoke about the warning signs her and the rest of her clan spotted but were somehow lost on the victim...

    It's an important fact to remember, the rapist is king of hiding intent. I'm betting you were somehow creeped out by him, but didn't think he'd do that to her. Women in particular have been taught to ignore their gut instinct on whether or not to trust someone (only bitches put their safety above his feelings, after all), and while a rapist will exploit that, he will also mask his intent better than just about anyone. If he walked around with "rapist" tattooed on his forehead, he would have fewer opportunities. If you did think he was going to rape her, I'm betting you wouldn't have let her be alone with him until such a time as he was able to win you over, too. And then he would have raped her anyway.

    Orphan: The rapist is responsible. Intent is the number one deciding factor in whether or not there will be a sexual assault, followed closely by access. Intent will create access, but access does not create intent.

    Enthusiastic consent leaves no room for "misunderstanding" whether or not it's rape.

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  194. I do talk to my son about this. His baffled and disgusted comment was "But why would you even *want* to if she wasn't obviously enjoying it?"


    What really baffles and disgusts me is how people treat rapists. Both men and women just act as though rapists(and no I don't mean anyone has rapedar, I mean after they know some has committed a rape) were ok people to act nice to. I know they can't always be put in prison and one certainly can't just shoot all of them but we don't have to make nice. Step up, be a person. If someone rapes, cut the *rapist* out of your circle. Read them the riot act, tell them why they are too disgusting to be allowed in polite company.

    Does anyone see anything wrong with this approach?

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  195. Something I forgot to put in my last post. If this is among mutual friends tell the victim(and mean it), "You are still my friend but he isn't anymore because what he did is evil and I am here for you." This is what she needs to hear from everyone.

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  196. Every time I hear people arguing that, "hey, it's not just about victim-blaming, women need to KNOW how to protect themselves!!!"

    I want to ask: where the hell were you when you were supposed to be in grade school?

    DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS!!! I think they covered that there. Don't you recall it?
    BE CAREFUL WALKING HOME AT NIGHT. Noooo, my mom never told me that...
    HEY GUYS SLIP THINGS IN GIRLS' DRINKS WHEN THEY ARE AT BARS. Didn't see THAT on the nightly news.
    And so on.

    Obviously there's the point that the majority of the advice won't protect you from date or acquaintance rape, but even the cases of "the attacker hid in a van" would be covered by the same warnings everyone gets for protecting themselves from muggers or murderers randomly hiding in alleyways for nefarious purposes.

    Women don't need additional warnings. We spend our lives being warned by everyone and it hasn't helped with this problem all that much.

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