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Project Unbreakable
January 30, 2012 5:28 PM   Subscribe

In October, 2011, Grace Brown put up a tumblr where victims of sexual abuse can post a photo of themselves holding a quote from their attacker.
posted by gman (112 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
Goddamn.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:35 PM on January 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Evidence That I'm an Idiot, Exhibit #54,655: After clicking that link, the thought "This is depressing" entered my head. After, mind.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 5:36 PM on January 30, 2012


Simple, perfect, devastating. I don't think I can make it through the whole tumblr.

Myself, I might . . . I don't know. I have to think about it.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:36 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, warning: contains triggers.
posted by Wataki at 5:37 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I admire the hell out of this woman and this project.

There is no way I am clicking that link.
posted by Zozo at 5:48 PM on January 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


heartbreaking. brave.
posted by blob at 5:50 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


damn.
posted by lalochezia at 5:55 PM on January 30, 2012


Gone through a few pages of these, and I can't tell what freaks me out the most - the ones that are openly aggressive, or the ones that are just flat-out delusional ("Better me than some creep", "We're still friends, right?" etc.). The project's intention to encourage victims to speak up is commendable, but hopefully these quotes could switch on a light in the minds of the men who visit the site, too.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 PM on January 30, 2012 [15 favorites]


I am not clicking that link.

Hope it brings peace to those involved.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:57 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did get through the whole thing. Just looking at the pictures, didn't read anything else.

The one part that really stood out to me was this one where someone asks how they can bring up the stupidity of saying it's the victim's fault.
posted by theichibun at 6:00 PM on January 30, 2012 [12 favorites]


Quotes are, somehow, even more insane than I'd imagined...
posted by aerotive at 6:09 PM on January 30, 2012


That is beyond sad.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:09 PM on January 30, 2012


This is powerful; thank you for linking it.

I've been intermittently working on an embroidery project about my abuse experiences, which is a cross-stitched sampler where all the text is things that my rapists said to me. I started it after reading about this sampler and thinking about ways to get stuff out of my head and into some medium other than roiling thoughts. I don't know what to do with it because it is too much of a bummer to have sitting out anywhere, and I don't know if it is the sort of thing I want to share with the internet at all. But reading through this blog makes me feel like less of a weirdo screwup for remembering horrible things verbatim, so that's something.
posted by bewilderbeast at 6:11 PM on January 30, 2012 [18 favorites]


Quotes are, somehow, even more insane than I'd imagined...

I know what you mean, but, at the same time, the most horrific part is that I find them pretty believable and, well, normal, in some cases. I've never been in that kind of situation, thankfully, but whenever I hear the quotes or read the transcripts from these kind of awful violations, I realize that the most horrible thing about them is usually how mundane they are, as if what was happening was normal. I'm thinking about this one in particular. It's just such a casual question.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 6:17 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The eyes of those people are full of courage.
posted by francesca too at 6:24 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is moving. I'm going to share this with everyone.
posted by monkeymadness at 6:28 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't want to click on the link but I'm glad I did.

The women are beautiful. They are shining with the beauty of the truth. It's sad and terrible, of course, but you can see their healing in their speaking. It's really great.

Thanks for the post. I'll be sharing this.
posted by alms at 6:32 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


.
posted by lester at 6:33 PM on January 30, 2012


The women

So, did you ignore or pretend not to see the men that were there?
posted by usagizero at 6:38 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my god oh my god oh my god. I don't trigger easily having thankfully been spared this horror thus far but each and every one of those photos broke my heart and made me want to cry. Thank you for posting this.
posted by Phire at 6:41 PM on January 30, 2012


Hi everybody.

Just a reminder:

Don't rape people.
posted by entropone at 6:43 PM on January 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


I could only get through two pages for now. Thank you for this post.
posted by rtha at 6:48 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Quotes are, somehow, even more insane than I'd imagined...

A lot of them seem mundane, like lines that creeper would use in a high school health textbook. It's really a lesson in the banality of evil, and nearly impossible to fight. You don't want to raise your kid to be suspicious of every kind/sweet/romantic line, because you rob her of some of life's joy. Then it turns out that if you don't make her suspicious enough, she could get robbed anyway. I guess the lesson is to treat her right and lose sleep hoping for the best.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:49 PM on January 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


A friend recently shared with me that she was raped four years ago, at a social club that she can see from the windows of her current home. It's only been in the past few weeks that she's felt comfortable sitting where that place is in her eyeline.

I see her in every face on that page. How I want to hug them all, and thank them for sharing even these little chunks of their stories. No matter how hard it is to read them, I will. I will read them all, and then I'll go hug my friend in their stead.
posted by palomar at 6:53 PM on January 30, 2012


Thank you for this. All of it.

I'm heading over to the RAINN donation page now.
posted by argonauta at 7:03 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh God. I just don't understand how otherwise 'normal' people could say these things, and do these things, without being equally psychopathic in every other area of their lives.
posted by twirlypen at 7:04 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


That had a noticeable effect on my heart rate; still is, in fact. That's an incredibly moving project. Unnerving, but really absorbing. I never really think about women remembering the dialog, but of course they do. I do.

"Hey, can I get a light? .... Hey hey hey! What's wrong? Hey. What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? Hey, what's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? Hey what's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong? What's wrong?"
posted by heyho at 7:05 PM on January 30, 2012 [13 favorites]


Rape, in any capacity, is one of the worst things our species does to itself.

Genuine question:

Do you think more handguns would improve the problem or make it worse?
posted by LoudMusic at 7:12 PM on January 30, 2012


I'm a guy who grew up determined to prevent violence against women if I had any say in the matter (drunken abusive father). I made it through 3-4 pages before I had to stop for a minute. All at once, I'm angry, bitter, and want to make the person(s) responsible hurt as much as they hurt their victims... and I want to apologize to the ladies for the scum that give the rest of us a bad name. How can people be so EVIL?
posted by mrbill at 7:40 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Phew. That was intense, and really...something. I found a real strength in the images of the survivor next to the...words. Jesus.

Submitted mine to the site. Thank you for this post.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:45 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


wow, that's just... wow.

.
posted by waraw at 7:49 PM on January 30, 2012


Its an unfortunate truth that our culture glorifies and values both dominance and aggression. It doesn't have to be this way.

Sometimes we forget that we're monkeys, and expecting people to act "civilized" will not yield accurate predictions. My desire to crush the skulls of all those responsible in the name of righteous justice is rooted in the same urge for destruction.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 7:55 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Do you think more handguns would improve the problem or make it worse?"

It's hard to tell where you're coming from with that question, but seeing as how the vast majority of Rape is not the "stranger jumps out of the bushes" variety but "trusted friend/date/family member variety" I'm going to give a blanket "No."

I also imagine guns tend to not be present when rapes occur, even if a girl did own a gun legally and had a license to carry it. There's a joke in there about how even the bulge from a .38 special would ruin the flattering curve of most dresses, but given the nature of this thread....

Also, being from a state where gun ownership is high, even then a lot of gun owners are not comfortable using a gun. A friend in high school received a gun from her dad as a graduation present before she moved to a big city. The gun lay dormant in her sock drawer for 4 years before it was lost in a move (thrown away or accidentally given away maybe?). It was eventually found, turned over to police and destroyed, never made it to the wrong hands, still it's scary all the same. I'm all for gun ownership, but only for people dedicated to proper training and use. Advocating disinterested women and men own a gun for self defense seems irresponsible.
posted by midmarch snowman at 7:56 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do you think more handguns would improve the problem or make it worse?

I don't think they'd make a big difference either way. My impression of the way rape happens is that you don't see it coming - once someone is attacking you at close quarters and physically overpowering you, you don't have a chance to go for the handgun in your purse, and if you did it could just be used on you.

I also think that we should be careful about getting into an argument over guns in this thread. Thanks for the post, gman.
posted by Dasein at 7:57 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The crazy thing to me is how often the phrases are repeated!!! By people born in different times and places, speaking different languages. I saw one that made my eyes bulge out because it was SO specific and it had been said to me *verbatim* before, by someone who was being really pressure-y/forceful but didn't push it all the way to sexual assault.

That phenomenon is so bizarre. I wonder why it is that there are these stock phrases that are so common but aren't coming from any central source.

So, did you ignore or pretend not to see the men that were there?

He just might not have seen them, usagizero, especially if he didn't read the whole tumblr. I read the whole thing but it was a while before I got to the first man.
posted by cairdeas at 7:57 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just a reminder:

Don't rape people.


Relevant.
posted by waraw at 8:01 PM on January 30, 2012


I don't have anything useful to say, other than that I admire the courage of the posters; but please can we not derail this important topic with a gun debate?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:02 PM on January 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Do you think more handguns would improve the problem or make it worse?

I think worse, because that's still putting the onus/responsibility on women to stop this problem. And we already have enough problems with people questioning an assaulted woman about why didn't she fight back harder, why didn't she use more force, why didn't she take X, Y, or Z opportunity that she had, etc. I think it would only make all of that worse.

I can think of a few things though that would improve the problem way more than handguns would. Like hey, removing the feature of our culture where women who have been assaulted are endlessly queried on what they did or didn't do. (Not that I am saying you are doing this.) Ending the glorification of violence in our culture is another big one.
posted by cairdeas at 8:04 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously, why the handgun debate. If you have to preface something with "Genuine Question" you may be offbase.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:06 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's interesting about this is how utterly pedestrian, how tiresomely cliché, how dully familiar and how downright ordinary many, if not most, of those quotes are. "You asked for it!" is what the jock says before he attempts to rape the cheerleader in the Oldsmobile at Makeout Point, right before the killer spears him through the head. "If you loved me you would" is like something a twelve year-old boy would say to his mum when he wants a new Transformer.

"Relax" and "You won't remember" is what gets said to you at the dentist's. "Shut up, just shut up!" is a nothing, it's just syllables and rage. Which is what it is. It's the primate, animal brain (both of which we are) just fucking taking control of everything because somebody got a hard dick. It's millions of years of evolution excised in a matter of seconds, the entire history of a man (or a woman) just erased because of a bodily function.

Imagine that. Imagine such a terrible thing happening to you, something that is going to haunt you and ruin parts of you (your body, your mind) for the rest of your life, and to the person who does it it's biologically nothing more than a bowel movement or pulling your fingers away instinctively from something hot. Not even that. Not even a reflex, just the basest of human functions, just a fucking gurgling in the stomach because you're hungry and you smell food.

A life completely changed because some fucking neanderthal switch got thrown in somebody's brain because they smelt dick-food. How insulting. What a gross and vile insult to pay to a person.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2012 [13 favorites]


Sometimes I'm really good at dealing with this stuff and being vocally supportive. Not today. Thank you for posting this. Page three tomorrow.
posted by Errant at 8:23 PM on January 30, 2012


I didn't want to read this either but I'm glad I did.

In our interactions with other people (you especially notice this if you're in charge of kids) there is always an undercurrent of power-seeking, or negotiating. The things these attackers said are the kinds of thoughts that might go through anyone's mind when faced with someone who won't give them what they want (whether that's been said or is assumed). I think that's why they come off as so banal. The horrifying part is that what's happening is not banal, but the attacker has convinced themselves it is...that coercing another person sexually is just what you do, it's ok, they'll get over it, they're making a fuss over nothing, they're too stupid/young to understand or even realize what's happening. It's a thick wall of dehumanization and denial they place between themselves and the victim so that they can use them.
posted by emjaybee at 8:27 PM on January 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


tumid dahlia I understand a lot of the rage and anger you're feeling, but I think it's discounting an entire set of instances of sexual abuse. Sometimes it's not just someone who wants sex. Sometimes rape and sexual violence are used as a weapon, sometimes they're thought out and planned and meant to injure or hurt or traumatize. And I think discounting all sexual violence as just someone trying to get their rocks off is problematic for the people who experienced it as means of torture. Because if if you go around saying it's no different than someone just being really hungry, then you start to tread on the dangerous, but common territory of survivors belittling their own stories. And I'm not trying to imply that was your intent, to bring rape down to the same level as other 'bodily functions'. I don't know, I'm just trying to piece together my mind and throw myself out there.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:41 PM on January 30, 2012 [12 favorites]


The thing it brought out for me is just how many rape victims there are -- it's distressingly common. A lot of the comments were distressingly banal, as well (Like the "be glad it was me, and not some creep") -- as though some of the rapists didn't even realize it was rape.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:46 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, tumid dahlia, I appreciate where your coming from, but that doesn't really apply to all cases, not even close, and it isn't just dick-food. It's vagina-food. It's fist-food. It's belt-food. It's all sorts.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:54 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess what I'm saying is, it's not right to dilute the agency of the attacker to base brain malfunctions. Some might be, but many are complex machinations designed to entrap, abuse, and silence another person. It's not as simple as throwing a switch.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:59 PM on January 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


I couldn't get through more than a couple of pages. How horrific. How triggering.

Perhaps a few of the people from the airport scanner thread should check out the tumblr, if they're having a hard time understanding what the problem is for some people.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:28 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's millions of years of evolution excised in a matter of seconds, the entire history of a man (or a woman) just erased because of a bodily function.

I thought it was well-recognized that rape is often about power, and not necessarily about sexuality, per sé. My vaguely-absorbed impression is that the typical abuser has also been previously abused; and that the violence manifested today by these offenders is an attempt to over-come the helplessness they felt in the past?

Cripes ... I duhno. Maybe I got this idea from Dennis Lehane?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:36 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


It matters that so many are looking at you. That you can see them, and (at least the illusion is that) they can see you. There's an important way in which eye contact is how we show we respect another, or how we demand that others respect us.

This is powerful, and difficult in important ways.
posted by meese at 9:59 PM on January 30, 2012


Amazingly powerful.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:46 PM on January 30, 2012


[Just in case it needs to be said, this thread is not the place for a handgun ownership debate.]
posted by taz at 10:51 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The worst* for me are the child rapes. "this will help you sleep", "don't tell your mom". "I wish you were a girl". Jesus.

*worst feels a weird word to use when the whole thing is just so... the phrases are just so normal. The rapists aren't even doing something they feel is wrong in a lot of these. How can you not *know* that that act is wrong? How can you justify it to yourself?

I mean, I've said "we can just cuddle", and that's all we did. How do you cross that line so easily?
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:01 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


How can you not *know* that that act is wrong? How can you justify it to yourself?

Lots of different ways I think. I think some of them are sociopaths and just don't really care. I think others have personality disorders that give them the ability/need to justify any and all of their actions to themselves. Others probably are mentally more normal and have a warped sense of right and wrong, or what it's okay to do to other people, or what it's okay to do to women/children/etc. that they got from society or culture or their parents.
posted by cairdeas at 12:12 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The worst* for me are the child rapes. "this will help you sleep", "don't tell your mom". "I wish you were a girl". Jesus.

Not a competition or anything, but the one that said 'I thought you liked it when people fucked you?' from the victim's mom was the one that I personally found most harrowing.

You expect mothers to be a source of protection and consolation, not the person who rapes you.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:54 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mayor Curley: It's really a lesson in the banality of evil, and nearly impossible to fight. You don't want to raise your kid to be suspicious of every kind/sweet/romantic line, because you rob her of some of life's joy. Then it turns out that if you don't make her suspicious enough, she could get robbed anyway. I guess the lesson is to treat her right and lose sleep hoping for the best.

That was one of my take aways with the blog too.

The older I get the more I understand just how goddamned common childhood sexual abuse is. If you have a handful of friends, chances are really quite good that at least one of them has something they don't hang out on tumblr or even confide to those closest to them. You have to know someone 20-25 years before they tell you these things, if they ever do.

Yeah, Mayor Curley, I struggled with the same conflict, but I decided that one is best armed with the cold, hard truth about the world. That's what this tumblr blog does and it's wickedly effective I think.

Terribly sad and haunting. My day is ruined.
posted by three blind mice at 1:30 AM on January 31, 2012


Imagine such a terrible thing happening to you, something that is going to haunt you and ruin parts of you (your body, your mind) for the rest of your life

Saying stuff like this reinforces the lesson that being molested leaves you ruined. This is reducing the value of a person to their virginity/chastity. This is victimizing the victims.
posted by Goofyy at 2:25 AM on January 31, 2012 [16 favorites]


Anything which empowers victims is a good thing. Permitting the abused to speak the truth is a start, so I think this a great project.

Those eyes, and in some cases just fingertips... haunting. So many broken souls. Human beings are so brutally flawed. I sometimes wonder if decency can ever possibly win.

My take-away: I'm a lucky, lucky, lucky person--so far.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:48 AM on January 31, 2012


How do they justify something so wrong? By not thinking of it as rape. By claiming that the victim asked for it, did not say no, turned you into a rapist by not using a safeword, didn't seem to have a problem with it, blah - it's nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong.

Many rapists never even consider themselves as one to begin with. Many assaulters don't even know that what they did is assault. Considering how rubbish our education is on consent and sexual safety I'm surprised more of us haven't violated someone one way or another. The trick then is to not try and deny that it happened: it's to understand how it happened, make sure it doesn't happen, and make amends based on what the victim wants.
posted by divabat at 5:00 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not a competition or anything, but the one that said 'I thought you liked it when people fucked you?' from the victim's mom was the one that I personally found most harrowing.

I hadn't been able to stomach reading down that far. That is indeed, well words fail me for how screwed up that is.

I think some of them are sociopaths and just don't really care. I think others have personality disorders that give them the ability/need to justify any and all of their actions to themselves. Others probably are mentally more normal and have a warped sense of right and wrong, or what it's okay to do to other people, or what it's okay to do to women/children/etc.

I dunno. The thing is, something like 50% of women report being raped or sexually assaulted in the US, not accounting for under-reporting. If you then take into account that between 60-80% of women never report their assaults to any official body, that makes it something like 3 in 4.

Clearly there are some men who are sociopaths; other men who were abused as children are more likely to become abusers themselves (though many male victims don't, of course). Even including men who see sex as a game, a conquest - PUA, negging users, etc - it just don't seem to add up.

You've got so many men who seem to be safe, normal, considerate - they're boyfriends, husbands, fathers. They've managed to have what seems like a respectful relationship so far, and one day they turn on their partner - and it's "what's wrong?", or "why don't you like this?" or "I just want you to feel good, baby". And they're a rapist. Or a child molester. And then they say "We're still friends, right?"

I'm no saint by any means, and there were times when I wished the girl I was with was more into me, or wanted more than kisses and petting - but you don't have to be Mr Perceptive to spot when she's not responding to your touch, or she's not wanting more. If she's not enjoying it too, then what's the point? Sex is about shared passion; reluctance is a huge turn off, for me at least. To ignore that, to carry on - if she says no, or struggles, or freezes, or takes your hand away, or just doesn't want to kiss you - and then to now make her take her clothes off, or hold her down, or yell at her and carry on? I just can't conceive doing that, and carrying on like everything's normal.

I just don't get how you get there from here, so to speak.

'Othering' rapists - oh, there's just something wrong with them, or how they were brought up - avoids that so many of these men just do this as a matter of course, that it's normal for them. It's the banality of it - that the beast is in so many of us, and yet when it comes to sex, it's uncontrollable for so many. If it was a moral issue, you'd see them go out mugging or murdering people too; if it was a societal thing, you wouldn't see rape being such a common universal problem absolutely everywhere.

As I say, I dunno. I don't want to make this a 'what about the menz' issue at all, I'm not demanding or expecting anyone to have an answer, it just seems there has to be something, some flaw that I'm not understanding that makes men do this. I couldn't do it, but what separates me from them? How do they go from being loving, friendly nice people one day to a rapist the next - and then carry on like nothing changed?
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:14 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's also that it's socially acceptable and, in many cases, de facto legally acceptable. And in settings where murder has been de facto legally acceptable, there's been more of it.
posted by tel3path at 5:25 AM on January 31, 2012


This can be applied to many forms of abuse beyond sexual. As a victim of everything but sexual from my parents and still dealing with a lot of stuff with them (they're sick and need me now) all I can say is I hope for some of these perps, they really, really feel deep down inside how much they have hurt these people. I tell my parents and they just don't get it. And then I don't get it.
posted by stormpooper at 6:06 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. Extremely powerful, and empowering. But very hard to read. I got about halfway down the first page and then just had to walk away from the computer for a little while. heyho's comment above gave a similar reaction.
posted by zarq at 6:51 AM on January 31, 2012


Everyday misogyny....it's nothing more.
posted by what's her name at 7:11 AM on January 31, 2012


what is everyday misogyny? rape? cause....no.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:19 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


> ...had to walk away... comment above gave a similar reaction.

Sorry, man. That's part of the reason I (we) so seldom mention any of the details. I know you're not bummed at me for saying what I said out loud, but I also know that you don't get to walk away from it unscathed once I open up about it.

Telling people you love about this stuff is the hardest thing in the world. Telling you about it is also difficult, but there's a tremendous payoff in it for me — venting it makes the residual pain, the anger, the shame, the fear become a little bit more manageable.

And it's about a billion times easier on me if I don't have to watch your face contort while I tell you what all that man did to me. And you don't have to see the scars he left on me as a signature. He fucking signed me.

I'm tremendously sorry I asked you to carry a little of that for me, and I'm equally grateful that you're willing to. I can't do it alone. I wish I could.
posted by heyho at 7:52 AM on January 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


I also imagine guns tend to not be present when rapes occur, even if a girl did own a gun legally and had a license to carry it. There's a joke in there about how even the bulge from a .38 special would ruin the flattering curve of most dresses, but given the nature of this thread....

Handguns are illegal where I live, and really, it shouldn't be the case that women have to carry a fucking weapon on them to prevent them from sex without consent.

A friend of mine was locked in a toilet by an older guy who told her she wasn't allowed out until he 'fingered' her. She thought this was funny, and another silly flirty thing that guys do (though we were 16/17 at the time and I doubt very very much she'd react in the same way now). I guess that's what rapists think they're doing - just going a bit further.
posted by mippy at 8:09 AM on January 31, 2012


It's also that it's socially acceptable and, in many cases, de facto legally acceptable.

In some places marital rape didn't even "count" as rape until fairly recently, in the courts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on January 31, 2012


Sorry, man. That's part of the reason I (we) so seldom mention any of the details. I know you're not bummed at me for saying what I said out loud, but I also know that you don't get to walk away from it unscathed once I open up about it.

Oh, no. Don't apologize. Talking about it is extremely important and I'm thankful you're able to. In doing so, you're actually speaking out on behalf of everyone who has survived any sort of rape or sexual abuse, myself included.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone please enlighten me on the whole "cops don't take rape seriously" bit? It seems like every time a rape is reported the New York Post and police jump all over it. (I'm thinking recently of the accused news anchor, son of a police commissioner in New York, who had his picture on the front fucking page of the NYP based solely on an accusation, ie, he hasn't been charged. Moreover, based on the "trial in the media" it appears there are serious reasons to doubt whether a rape actually occurred, but this guy was at first guilty until proven innocent in the tabloids. The police have turned the investigation over to the DA to avoid any conflicts of interest.) If someone as high profile as a police commissioner's son is presumed guilty of rape based on an accusation, I don't understand why there is the impression that the police give zero fucks about rape accusations. For Christsakes, they arrested one of the most powerful men in the world (DSK) at the fucking airport based solely on an accusation. It seems society takes that shit pretty seriously to me, ie, Jerry Sandusky. I have personally NEVER heard a male friend say something along the lines of, well, she was probably asking for it. Where is this type of attitude prevalent? I don't live in that world.
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:32 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


In some places marital rape didn't even "count" as rape until fairly recently, in the courts.

It doesn't count in many people's minds, either. I remember a number of my male friends being outraged that marital rape was made illegal, because they would have to live in fear of having charges brought against them.
posted by tel3path at 8:33 AM on January 31, 2012


If someone as high profile as a police commissioner's son is presumed guilty of rape based on an accusation, I don't understand why there is the impression that the police give zero fucks about rape accusations.

Because most of the time the accusations won't sell newspapers.
posted by mikepop at 8:34 AM on January 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


i don't think i can add much, but i want to highlight the contrast between these two posts. (yes, yes: not the main point of the blog, we all occasionally say something stupid, etc.)

They highlight a double standard when gender roles are reversed. when the older boy cousin tells the younger girl cousin to stop touching him? not rape. when the persistence of a boy friend leads to a couple having oral sex when she "wasn't in the mood" (her words)? rape, no means no.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:47 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Either you have unearthed reverse sexism, or the "perp" in your first example IS FIVE YEARS OLD.

Hope that helps clear up your completely fuckwitted confusion.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:51 AM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


uh no, that doesn't clear up anything.

why does it matter that she was five? is it sexual assault (or rape) if a person who is mentally retarded (not using the word in a pejorative sense) is the perpetrator? or drunk? or otherwise not in a state of mind to make good decisions? if age does matter, at what age is it rape/sexual assault? 6? 7? 8? 10? 15?

isn't the consent of the victim the crucial distinction between sexual assault/rape and consensual sex?
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:02 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You question whether it's rape if the perpetrator was drunk? God, that makes me sad. And more than a little fearful of you for some reason I can't quite articulate.
posted by heyho at 9:07 AM on January 31, 2012


The mental faculties of the perpetrator only affects whether they can be tried in a court. The mental faculties of the perpetrator do NOT always affect the nature of the incident itself, or how the victim feels about the incident.

It's murky, yeah, but it isn't right to turn around to the victim of that incident and say "oh, you have no right to be upset because Cindy here was only seven." Damn STRAIGHT the victim has a right to be upset still. We may handle Cindy differently, but damn STRAIGHT the victim is allowed to be upset.

And -- speaking from unfortunate personal experience -- sometimes being upset and angry is something the victim will need to do in order TO finally come around to "oh, wait -- Cindy was only seven. It sucks, but Cindy ultimately didn't know what she was doing. I'm ready to move on."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw this one first and thought that it was a message to her rapist. That she'd like to make him disappear - and nobody would know, or care. I thought it poignant - and telling and something with which I wholeheartedly agree.

As for the rest? Holy shit.
posted by Man with Lantern at 9:15 AM on January 31, 2012


gagglezoomer: Can someone please enlighten me on the whole "cops don't take rape seriously" bit? It seems like every time a rape is reported the New York Post and police jump all over it. (I'm thinking recently of the accused news anchor, son of a police commissioner in New York, who had his picture on the front fucking page of the NYP based solely on an accusation, ie, he hasn't been charged. Moreover, based on the "trial in the media" it appears there are serious reasons to doubt whether a rape actually occurred, but this guy was at first guilty until proven innocent in the tabloids. The police have turned the investigation over to the DA to avoid any conflicts of interest.) If someone as high profile as a police commissioner's son is presumed guilty of rape based on an accusation, I don't understand why there is the impression that the police give zero fucks about rape accusations. For Christsakes, they arrested one of the most powerful men in the world (DSK) at the fucking airport based solely on an accusation. It seems society takes that shit pretty seriously to me, ie, Jerry Sandusky. I have personally NEVER heard a male friend say something along the lines of, well, she was probably asking for it. Where is this type of attitude prevalent? I don't live in that world.

You might find this video enlightening. Try skipping to about 48 minutes in if it seems too long.
posted by kittenmarlowe at 9:17 AM on January 31, 2012


I suppose I should say that there should be a trigger warning on that video.
posted by kittenmarlowe at 9:19 AM on January 31, 2012



I find the project beautiful, haunting and disturbing. It's an amazing piece of art in that respect.

If you're interested in how rape is treated in the criminal justice system, HBO On Demand is running a Documentary called Sex Crimes Unit about the New York County DA's Sex Crimes Unit.

It's an interesting history, as well as a fascinating look at how the prosecution of Sex Crimes is handled.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


heyho: i do not actually thing being drunk is an excuse. i brought it up to show how the implied assumption in this comment was ridiculous.

just to be extra clear: i would come down on the side of both situations being sexual assault.
posted by cupcake1337 at 9:59 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


The mental faculties of the perpetrator only affects whether they can be tried in a court. The mental faculties of the perpetrator do NOT always affect the nature of the incident itself, or how the victim feels about the incident.

Look, I'm not going to die on this hill, especially because I agree with you about the fact that victims have every right to feel bad and determine whether or not they were raped or assaulted.

HOWEVER, kids are different from adults and acting like a kid doing something is TOTALLY THE SAME as an adult doing something, so golly gee whiz, the big difference between the two scenarios must be their gender is completely asinine.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:06 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude, I think everyone agrees with you on the gender issue. Just that, perhaps, a better example could have been found.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2012


My five-year-old daughter loves Tangled, the Disney Rapunzel movie. And I love it too, for oh so many reasons. But honestly one of my favorite things about it is the villain, Mother Gothel, the one who keeps Rapunzel trapped in the tower.

Gothell isn't green, she doesn't have smoke curling around her every time she's on screen. She isn't obviously evil. At the beginning of the movie, Rapunzel loves her. Gothel doesn't threaten to cut her heart out or curse her to sleep for a thousand years; she just isolates her, exploits her, and tells her over and over and OVER again that she is too stupid, frail, and unattractive to ever have a life of her own, and that for her own good, Gothel is keeping her to herself.

That's what real villains look like. That's what real "bad guys" actually do. And Rapunzel figures it out on her own, and takes action to liberate herself, and I think this is the greatest message to send to young children, that you don't have to believe what your abuser tells you, that they are saying those things for their own gain, not because they're true. It's a drop in the bucket, and god knows I could submit my own photos to this project, but it's a message that can only help.
posted by KathrynT at 10:35 AM on January 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


It seems like every time a rape is reported the New York Post and police jump all over it

-The police are going to jump all over something being heavily reported by the NYP, that's very true. But most women don't have the benefit of the NYP shining that kind of spotlight on them. Would the rape of a 45 year old street walker in Hunt's Point make the front page of the NYP?

-The NYPD reported 1,369 rapes in 2010. But the NYP isn't jumping all over itself to print stories about 3.7 new, different rapes every day. They take 1 sensational, scandalous, money making story and run with it for weeks. The Post reports a rape very occasionally, it'll just sometimes run with that story a long time.

-That figure only included the number of rapes that the cops were willing to take a police report on. Did you know cops can refuse to take a report if they decide something is not a crime, or it would be pointless to pursue? And they often just decide not to take a report if they just don't feel like it or they think something was your fault? That has happened to me before WRT something that was very clearly a major crime, though it wasn't rape or sexual assault.

-The worst part is that in so many cases it just comes down to the whims and prejudices of the individual police and police departments that you are dealing with. You never know if you will get someone awesome who will take you seriously, or someone who just doesn't give a shit, or someone who actively sympathizes with the rapist and will do what they can to totally shut you down.
posted by cairdeas at 11:37 AM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


A life completely changed because some fucking neanderthal switch got thrown in somebody's brain because they smelt dick-food. How insulting. What a gross and vile insult to pay to a person.

"a switch got thrown" — what a catastrophic euphemism. your philosophy isn't useful here. to victimize the criminal, to excuse the action in any way, is confusing, patronizing, insulting to a victim of rape.

the truth which we have a right to tell is that rape is wrong, evil, unjust - you know, bad. these are healing words because they are true.

i have zero appreciation for tumid dahlia's nonsense response, given the context.
posted by jjolly at 12:24 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


cairdeas: I think some of them are sociopaths and just don't really care. I think others have personality disorders that give them the ability/need to justify any and all of their actions to themselves. Others probably are mentally more normal and have a warped sense of right and wrong, or what it's okay to do to other people, or what it's okay to do to women/children/etc.

ArkhanJG: I dunno. The thing is, something like 50% of women report being raped or sexually assaulted in the US, not accounting for under-reporting...
...
'Othering' rapists - oh, there's just something wrong with them, or how they were brought up - avoids that so many of these men just do this as a matter of course, that it's normal for them. It's the banality of it - that the beast is in so many of us, and yet when it comes to sex, it's uncontrollable for so many. If it was a moral issue, you'd see them go out mugging or murdering people too; if it was a societal thing, you wouldn't see rape being such a common universal problem absolutely everywhere.


The thing is though, that I *don't* think it's uncommon or rare at all for people to be brought up with warped beliefs about men and women, sex, control, violence, etc. I think it's quite common. And when you are brought up this way, your behavior IS normal to you. It *IS* banal. You are actually indignant at the suggestion that there is anything wrong with it.

First year law students have to take Criminal Law and there is the inevitable discussion of rape law which is really hard and awkward. You should have seen all these mostly middle class/upper middle class young men of all races, argue, scoff, and rage their hearts out at all kinds of rape laws and how much they are unfair to men. I had never heard a large group of young men who I considered to be my peers discuss rape or rape law in a serious context before, and it was so horrifying that I almost became physically ill.

But what bothered these guys so much about some of these rape laws, I think, is that THEY probably have engaged in some of the behaviors addressed by modern rape laws. And that is an outrage to them because THEY are not rapists, THEY don't rape people, they haven't done anything wrong. And mainly, they don't want anyone telling them they need to stop the behaviors that they have grown up believing are a-okay. Because that would "ruin the mood." Seriously, that was an argument I heard over and over and over, that some of these things (like getting an affirmative "Yes" to sex) would "ruin the mood." For them.

So yes, if you do grow up believing or being taught by your society that something is normal and fine, it WILL be the case that so many of these men just do this as a matter of course, that it's normal for them. Don't forget that in plenty of cultures today men get married to 8-12 year olds all the time and they do it just as a matter of course, and would be really indignant if you questioned it. It's because the culture completely condones it.

If it was a moral issue, you'd see them go out mugging or murdering people too

I disagree, because society gives different kinds of messages on different kinds of things. The young men in law school mostly got the message, growing up, that it would be totally unthinkable and totally unacceptable for them to mug or murder anyone. And the definitions of mugging and murdering are pretty simple. But how many of them were firmly and carefully taught (to use this as an example again) that it is imperative to ask get a clear, affirmative, enthusiastic, and verbal "Yes" from a girl before touching her at all? If anyone tried to convey that message, was it backed up by most of the others in the boy's environment? I don't know about you, but I think most of the men in the environment I grew up with would have found that completely laughable, ridiculous, and in fact probably angering. They weren't bad men. We just don't live in a culture that gives those messages around that topic. Yet, we do say almost EXACTLY that when it comes to touching other people's property. We instill that in children from the age of kindergarten. And nobody finds that ridiculous or angering or "mood killing."

Going back to the issue of definitions, most men are going to say, oh of course I don't rape. Because in our culture, "rape" is something done with overt force against a stranger who you have never had sex before. (Who isn't dressed slutty or acting slutty and isn't drunk and didn't ask for it and is fighting back with all her force.) Interestingly though, if you don't use the word rape, many men will admit to rape.
posted by cairdeas at 12:35 PM on January 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


what a catastrophic euphemism. your philosophy isn't useful here. to victimize the criminal, to excuse the action in any way, is confusing, patronizing, insulting to a victim of rape.

I don't think "victimizing the criminal" is what Tumid was trying to do, folks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:45 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is devastating.
posted by homunculus at 12:47 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Empress: yeah, we'll, that's how I read it too. I get that dahlia was coming from a place of compassion, but the comment suggests that the criminal is a victim of brain chemistry. That's colossal bullshit.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:01 PM on January 31, 2012


I get that dahlia was coming from a place of compassion, but the comment suggests that the criminal is a victim of brain chemistry.

Hmm. I took a read of "how awful that the victim could be so horribly harmed by something that, for the criminal, was something that had as little personal significance as a reflex." You know, it was more a comment on the criminal's own personal indifference about what they were doing rather than an attempt to write the criminal's motivations off as "brain chemistry".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:13 PM on January 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's kind of the easy answer, in a way, so I get why people are attached to it. Rounding up those victims of brain chemistry and locking them up would be a nice clean solution. Much easier than changing our whole culture. Much easier than getting everyone to give up behaviors that seem perfectly normal or even highly enjoyable, some that we even engage in ourselves.
posted by cairdeas at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


My point wasn't that the criminal is a "victim of brain chemistry", my point is that the crime is to my mind manifolded because of how completely banal it is. Okay so we can split hairs about what and what doesn't constitute rape and what does or doesn't constitute molestation, it's either done because somebody wants to be powerful or somebody wants to get their kicks. It's just such a low low and utterly pointless, utterly nothing thing for the person who does it, but it's so devastating to the victim (either a part of you is affected by it, in one way or another, for the rest of your life, or it isn't, and if you say it isn't then you are the one coming dangerously close to giving it the go-ahead). I think it's pretty fucking desperate of people to be attempting to misinterpret my comment as somehow excusing the act (because, you know, heaven forbid we have a rape discussion without somebody coming along and saying "whoa, whoa, rape ain't even that big a thing"). But, hey, I guess we're all trembling with righteous indignation in here, which makes screens blurry and can easily result in typos. I guess I wasn't clear enough.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:14 PM on January 31, 2012


what a catastrophic euphemism

Oh man you are fucking reaching like crazy. Maybe you ought to hook yourself up with one of these.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:17 PM on January 31, 2012


This is devastating but, at the same time, beautiful. It's beautiful that these women and men possess this level of bravery. I'm not going to lie, I flinched at some of those posts, but I was more in awe and inspired by the character and resilience of those posters.
posted by oxfordcomma at 4:00 PM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please dial it down a notch.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:57 PM on January 31, 2012


Well you've certainly answered my question cairdeas.
But how many of them were firmly and carefully taught (to use this as an example again) that it is imperative to ask get a clear, affirmative, enthusiastic, and verbal "Yes" from a girl before touching her at all? raises hand. Well, not the verbal part. But respecting other peoples boundaries, not touching them unwillingly, making sure a girl explicitly assents to everything as you go? Absolutely. It didn't hurt that I was a terribly shy boy at a single sex British grammar school, so just plucking up the courage to talk to a girl at uni, let alone express interest was hard enough. Forcing myself on her? Hah! Hard enough to believe her hand on my knee all night and leaning into me was my prompt to kiss her. I had to ask. Guess it's me that isn't normal after all. Christ, every time in these threads I think I'm getting a handle on how common and horrifying this sort of thing is, I realise I ain't even close to how bad it is out there.

I've been rather haunted by this post all day.
this girl in particular. It's the eyes, I think. I don't have kids, but if I was her father, I'm not sure I could stop myself beating her abuser to a pulp. And then I remember it was her father who hurt her. And I feel physically sick. And there's fuck all I can do about it.

I do have one additional theory though, in addition to the others brought up, having been trying to put my self into a rapists shoes. Selfishness. If you see sex as something that women have, and men have to convince her to give it up - and how many romcoms basically applaud persistent stalker behaviour - then getting your own rocks off and not really caring about how much the woman or girl actually enjoys is a natural consequence. Rather more forceful means to an end aren't rape in that mindset, they're just an extension of flowers and dinner dates and wandering hands and surprise fondlings; romance is what needs to be done to meet your own needs - men want sex, girls want love, so the way to get sex is to fake love until you get it. And pushing the issue along a bit isn't rape, obviously. It's just cutting to the chase. And everyone knows girls don't really mean no, if you know her. She's just playing hard to get. "what's wrong", indeed. This is what you wanted, so why you being such a bitch. And if you wear slutty clothes, you're clearly up for it. Easy. When you put it all out there like that, what did you expect? I'm a red blooded man, you're showing you're available, so why all this fuss? Just lie back and enjoy it. I know I will.

I don't want to be in that mindset any more. I see now, the freedom from responsibility in your own mind must be quite freeing. You just have to not give a shit what women want. I think I'd rather keep my soul instead.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:36 PM on January 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, I took a break from this thread because it got angry and talking about this issue with angry feelings is a trigger for me.

I'm back, and tumid dahlia, it is incredibly clear from your comments that you are an ally. So I want to take some time and..look, typing long comments about this isn't easy for me, so please just bear with me, but I want to help you. You're an ally, obviously, so I want to help you understand why what you wrote is upsetting.

My point wasn't that the criminal is a "victim of brain chemistry", my point is that the crime is to my mind manifolded because of how completely banal it is.

I think you are totally right in distilling your previous comment to this essence. And this essence is exactly what is offensive and upsetting.

This crime is not banal. This crime is not simplistic and reductive to base instincts. This crime is not primal and animal. You're just wrong about this, and the nature of that wrongness is such that it hurts me.

This crime is different to everyone, which is where the ability for you to define generally immediately fails. To some people, your take might be accurate. To others, it might be neutral. To me, it makes me shaky and mad and teary.

For me, that crime was far from banal (the definition of which is: so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring. Synonyms: trite - commonplace - hackneyed - trivial - platitudinous). He wasn't bored and driven by base instincts. He wasn't frothing at the mouth and flexing threatening muscles. He was kind, gentle, sweet. Underneath that, planning and cunning and calculating. He lured me to a place of supposed safety, 15 feet away from sure rescue, in the dead of night. He added extra blankets to the bed to muffle the noise. He created an imaginary allegory, which to a 9 year old is a powerful mental manupulation technique, to justify the context. I won't bore you with more details, but I think you see my point.

When you reduce the concept of rape to banality and base instincts, it is fucking insulting. It hurts. It's wrong.



Okay so we can split hairs about what and what doesn't constitute rape and what does or doesn't constitute molestation, it's either done because somebody wants to be powerful or somebody wants to get their kicks.

I won't respond to the first part about splitting hairs because I wasn't a part of that conversation. The second part is wrong. It isn't always a binary proposition between power or sex. Sometimes it's a continuum of both. Sometimes it's neither, but something else entirely. Each crime is distinctively horrific, and defining categories is going to hurt / trigger the individuals furthest away from your chosen rape taxonomy.

It's just such a low low and utterly pointless, utterly nothing thing for the person who does it, but it's so devastating to the victim (either a part of you is affected by it, in one way or another, for the rest of your life, or it isn't, and if you say it isn't then you are the one coming dangerously close to giving it the go-ahead).

I don't even know how you get to saying that. It's just so....bizarre. It's the furthest thing from a nothing act, a pointless act, for some. It is for others. For the ones furthest away from your chosen definition, that reduction is going to piss them off and hurt them. It pissed me off and hurt me. For my rapist, it was the opposite of pointless and nothing.

I think it's pretty fucking desperate of people to be attempting to misinterpret my comment as somehow excusing the act

I'm not sure if you are referring to me here. I certainly didn't misinterpret your comment as excusing the the act. I did, however, interpret thusly, as I stated above:

I guess what I'm saying is, it's not right to dilute the agency of the attacker to base brain malfunctions. Some might be, but many are complex machinations designed to entrap, abuse, and silence another person. It's not as simple as throwing a switch.

So please don't think I'm suggesting you are making excuses. I just think you are offbase, and perhaps not conisdering the multitude of facts, realities, and perspectives that accompany these crimes. He kept me in a state of terrified silence for 10 years. That's over a 1/3 of my life so far, around 1/7 of my total life expectancy. That kind of systematic campaign of fear and domination isn't base and simple and banal and pointless and nothing. It is intelligent, manipulative, resourceful, cunning, and horrific.


(because, you know, heaven forbid we have a rape discussion without somebody coming along and saying "whoa, whoa, rape ain't even that big a thing").



I don't know what this means....maybe I skimmed over a comment that suggested this. I'm not going to look, because that would make me punch something.

But, hey, I guess we're all trembling with righteous indignation in here, which makes screens blurry and can easily result in typos. I guess I wasn't clear enough.


Since you referenced my comments in this one, I'm assuming I'm one of the commenters that, in your view, are trembling with righteous indignation. I can assure you that I am trembling, but I feel neither righteous nor indignant. I feel sad, and scared, and mad, and strong. So there.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:36 PM on January 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


ArkhanJG: it's not just men who feel that entitlement (though society does encourage it). My rapist was a woman who paid no heed to my refusal for certain acts, and actually said to me "I want to make you my fucktoy". Probably hot if said by someone who actually listened to me, but here it just reflected how I was nothing to her but a conquest.

What made recovery so so difficult was that there was nothing about how to deal if you're a woman who was raped by a woman, how to deal if your rape happened in a sexually-open space (an all-women's party at a swinger's club, for me), how to deal if your situation fit the stereotype of "slut". It wasn't until SlutWalk became a thing that I found validation for my story as rape, pure and simple - and even then there were still titters of "as if" (thanks, Reddit).

If I got around to making a sign it'd say "you looked like you were enjoying yourself" - said to me by the owner of the club after I wrote her a complaint.
posted by divabat at 12:54 AM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


ArkhanJG: the stereotype "men and women can't be friends" is one of the vehicles for transmitting that entitlement, IME.

I've learned the hard way - not through rape, but harassment - that I shouldn't let a man drive me to the hospital, or provide emotional support after a devastating event, under the guise of friendship because that amounts to "leading him on" or, as it's often charmingly described, treating him like my "emotional tampon". Because no woman could be naive enough to think a man would do any of those things out of kindness, just because I was in desperate need.

What will I do next time I'm in trouble and a man offers me help? Will I have to refuse it because I can't know for sure what's behind it?

I felt led on too :-(
posted by tel3path at 1:12 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember seeing this tumblr a few days after it was created. It was affecting then, but it is downright powerful now.

A few minutes ago I took and submitted my own picture, even though I shook and my eyes stung with tears as I was doing it. Even though I'm still crying a bit as I type this, I feel stronger and more defiant now that I have finally shared the quote that has been turning over and over in my head for three years.
posted by arianell at 1:19 AM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


This crime is not banal. This crime is not simplistic and reductive to base instincts. This crime is not primal and animal. You're just wrong about this, and the nature of that wrongness is such that it hurts me.

Lazarus -- Tumid was not saying the crime WAS banal, Tumid was saying that often the criminal THINKS it is banal.

It's like: okay, I've blessedly never been in a situation like the ones discussed on this link. But I was once royally screwed over by a former boss (workplace injury for a theater gig, compounded with the boss not having filed for worker's comp insurance, and then trying to cover that up). Now, I got angry about it -- but I wasn't just angry about the guy not having filed for worker's comp. I was angry because I could tell that the whole reason he didn't file was that he simply didn't care. It'd be one thing if he thought about it but decided against it and had been worrying the whole time about "oh no I hope someone doesn't hurt themselves on the set - OH CRAP SOMEONE DID NOW I'M FUCKED"; but the fact that his thought process was apparently "fuck it, I don't care what happens to them". The fact that I got hurt while working for him was not a big deal to him and the fact that I was going to be stuck with the bill was also not a big deal to him. It took my union to remind him that, uh, yes, it IS a big deal, and he needed to take care of it. Yeah it was a crime, but the fact that he seemed to think that my potentially getting hurt was not a big deal on top of it pissed me off even more.

THATS' what Tumid is getting at -- that this crime IS a big deal, but that in the minds of some of the criminals, it ISN'T a big deal, and that makes it even worse somehow.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 AM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I wanted to say this separately from my other comment because it deserves its own platform:

arianell, you rock hardcore.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:00 AM on February 1, 2012


Empress: Okay. I understand the comments more with that framing in mind. I guess I don't agree with your interpretation of the comment, but maybe that's my fault. Thank you for explaining.

Arianell: Good for you. I felt similarly when I sent mine. I'm proud of you. Stay strong.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:47 AM on February 1, 2012


Lazarus was not wrong, she made an extremely good point about a comment that also made me feel ill and uncomfortable. Empress, I think everyone understood what Tumid actually meant, but it was wrong, reductive, and hurtful to victims and Lazarus said so. It really had nothing to do with a workman's comp story. There's no shame in being challenged by someone, but coming into a thread and speaking "through" rape victims to discuss rape and then not knowing when to back off when one of them tells you you're wrong is disgusting. (Really, you're going to start swearing at her?)

Also, can we never ever call victims (or human beings for that matter) "dick-food," and maybe not veer into confessionals about how we would never rape because we were such shy, gentle boys? Because how many of us have been victimized by adult men boiling with rage because their years of passive timidity were ignored or maligned by the opposite sex? I'm not saying anyone's a rapist, but in a thread about rape victims speaking out, it might be more tasteful not to keep feeding myths about who is and who isn't one.
posted by stoneandstar at 11:26 AM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


thank you for that. also, not that it matters, but i am a man.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:11 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am an ally stoneandstar, I'd rather hoped my prior comments in these types of threads would show that. Nor was it a confessional. I don't expect a gold star or something for not being a rapist - treating people with respect is just basic human decency.

As you say, apparently quiet nice, kind, gentle men in relationships do turn on their partners and families. They plan and manipulate and abuse going by the quotes on the tumblr feed, and the histories from mefites. And to everyone else they just seem well, normal.

I can see how some entitled snot thinking only of himself can end up raping someone, and being outraged that he'd be thought of as one. I can see how sociopaths can fake it enough until their true nature comes out. I can see how men can see sex or gratification as their due reward, that the relationships are ultimately about sex, and lie and cheat and manipulate until they get it, and be utterly convinced of their innocence if anyone ever tries to confront them on it. I can see how people in a position of power over someone else can use that intentionally to get what they want.

I try to get, though I never will, how hard it must be to abused, raped or assaulted and then see your rapist carry on as normal, and try to convince you that what they did - or are doing - is normal, banal, usual. To see their friends rally round and protect them. "Bob? He's my friend, he'd never hurt a fly, no way he's a rapist!" To have other people, especially men, scoff that what happened to you was rape or assault , or even anything unusual ; even including people you thought were friends. To be blamed, or pariahed for the sin of having someone else want something from you, regardless of your feelings in it. To have even the police be utterly useless. So you end up internalising it, or punishing yourself, or trying to figure out what you did wrong to deserve it; when you know it was rape, and it was wrong. And nothing you could have ever done would make you deserve it.

I don't properly understand, how could I ever? I'm a 6'2 man who's never had to be afraid of what my partner might do to me when I'm alone and vulnerable. I'm not wary on the streets at night. I can ask for help, and never expect the price to be that I'm expected to dish out sex. I live in an entirely different world. I don't know any rapists, or people that treat women as second class citizens, when they're around me, anyway. They wouldn't be my friends if they were. But of all the men I know now, and have known moderately well, there's statistically at least 3 of them that would admit to rape if you didn't call it rape. And that's horrifying. The stories that are told here. On related threads. In this tumblr, and other places. They're so goddamn heart wrenching, and I can't do anything about it and it tears me up to think of it and to be so fucking helpless to put it right. It does make me cry, like now.

But I'm trying to understand, to be someone that will listen, and not blame, or judge, or expect anything in return. So I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wander off topic, or make it about me. Because it really isn't. It really isn't.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:04 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Empress, I think everyone understood what Tumid actually meant, but it was wrong, reductive, and hurtful to victims and Lazarus said so. It really had nothing to do with a workman's comp story.

Erm, Lazarus admitted that he hadn't seen what Tumid meant in the way I explained it.

Also - I admitted that sexual assault has nothing to do with a workman's comp story, and that's not the reason I was telling it anyway; I was making an analogy in order to explain a point about "a criminal's indifference about their own actions make things worse". Sometimes people use analogies to make points; you're not meant to equate the two stories in their entirety.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:21 PM on February 1, 2012


Yikes, that sounds a little harsh to me for some reason...bottom line is, I took tumid's comment as a genuine and horrified reaction against the indifference of the criminals, rather than an apologetic for the criminals. Perhaps it sounded hurtful as it was temporarily using the voice of the criminals, perhaps, in the course of saying "I can't believe that some people would actually be so callous as to think something like [blah]".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:40 PM on February 1, 2012


I took tumid's comment much the same way empress did: the rape was a big deal to me, but I'm pretty sure my attacker just saw me as just another hookup.
posted by divabat at 4:49 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a thread about sharing experiences, I thought the backlash against Lazarus was unduly harsh and hostile toward the voices of assault victims-- which would seemingly be against the spirit of this thread. Calling someone with the courage to talk about his/her assault "self-righteous" or implying that he's being manipulative is a replication of the problem rape victims face when it comes to reporting the crime to authorities or loved ones. Also, the language throughout certain comments seemed more invested in making a "vivid" point (which is hard for me to see as other than mildly exploitative) than any kind of real sensitivity toward the issue, and it made me feel crummy. Also, I know what an analogy is, but that's kind of my point-- your analogy didn't resonate for me. I know what it's like to to be taken advantage of by a boss, and it doesn't map on to my experiences of physical violation at all. It does make sense intellectually, though that aspect was not my issue with Tumid's comments.

Divabat, I see what you mean. What Tumid's comment implied pretty strongly to me was that rape is an instinct (as natural as avoiding something hot, to paraphrase). At least, that was a strong undertone. As we all know, that's evo psych's pet theory about boys being boys ("rape is natural"), so it's slightly infuriating to read here, in a thread about real (not theoretical) rape. To me, "instinctual" desire is not the same as being taken advantage of by someone who is the recipient of a complex of cultural messages that say it's okay or unrisky to violate other people's physical boundaries-- who needs to defy another person to have a bowel movement or pull their hand away from a stove?-- but I see where you're coming from.

Arkhan, thanks for replying-- I appreciate how deeply you've considered this. I really didn't mean it personally (really), but it just hit close to home, since my experiences with men lean toward the "but I would NEVER!" camp (who then, of course, do anyway). Your response was thoughtful, though, and I regret being so harsh.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:03 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am grateful this thread was posted. The link impacted me deeply, and the discussion while difficult at times has also ended in a way that I feel mostly okay about my engagement here. That said, this has been really emotionally draining and I'm gonna step out now.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:33 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


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