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Don't Rape
July 16, 2010 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Society teaches 'Don’t get raped' rather than 'Don’t rape' "When Stevens reads articles about drunk driving, the police are quoted telling people to stop drinking and driving. But when she reads articles about sexual assault, there is no warning telling would-be attackers not to rape. Instead, the authorities tell potential victims to take precautions."

A Canadian article (in a Canadian context, but don't let that stop you from reading it) on the current methods of rape prevention.

Part Two examines why women don't always report sexual assaults.

Disclaimer: Some scenes in these articles may be triggering for people who have experienced sexual assault.
posted by hepta (354 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's true, it's the same way with theft.
posted by demiurge at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Society teaches 'Don't get murdered' rather than 'Don't murder'

Society teaches 'Don't be the victim of identity fraud' rather than 'Don't steal identities'

Society teaches 'Don't let your car be broken into' rather than 'Don't break into cars'

etc, etc
posted by felix betachat at 9:10 AM on July 16, 2010 [31 favorites]


Just to play devil's advocate - is there really a need to tell people not to rape? I mean, rapists are scum. Whether it's drug-assisted date-rape or an assault on the street, rapists are scum. I don't rape, for the good and excellent reason that I'm not scum. The vast, vast majority of men don't rape either, for the very same reason.

There's an argument to be made that the "don't rape" message is already disseminated as widely as possible, and as firmly ensconced in the law as possible. Is there really a group of men in the developed world who are not aware that rape is wrong, and still need to be reached by appropriate PSAs and other messaging?
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:11 AM on July 16, 2010 [15 favorites]


Just how many rapes do you think saying "don't rape" would actually prevent?
posted by jeblis at 9:11 AM on July 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


Well, not exactly the same, but in general with drug crimes, the public service messages target the drug users, whereas with property crimes, the messages say to secure your property, and with rape, the messages say to potential victims to try to protect yourself.
posted by demiurge at 9:11 AM on July 16, 2010


I've seen this crop up here and there ("If you're going to a party, be sure not to rape anyone!"), and I would like to see it more often. I recently read about an anti-rape campaign in the UK that takes this tack. (Possibly NSFW, if your W is very prudish.)
posted by ErikaB at 9:13 AM on July 16, 2010


Yeah, the reason people have to have "don't drink and drive" rammed into their head is that there are (still) people who don't think there is anything wrong with doing it.

Outside of sociopaths, I don't think that is the case with rape.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just how many rapes do you think saying "don't rape" would actually prevent?

I guess it might prevent a few - I mean, it certainly couldn't hurt, but yeah, I doubt most rapists would plead ignorance of the law in their defence.
posted by GuyZero at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2010


Hey guys, don't rape.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:16 AM on July 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Since the consensus in this thread seems to be that saying "don't rape" isn't necessary, I'll reverse my earlier position and make a contrary post. :)

Rape seems to be an unusual violent crime, in that some rapists seem to be of higher socio-economic class than most violent criminals. Put bluntly - no one is terribly surprised to learn that college students commit date-rape. However, college students don't really engage in crimes like mugging, murder, assault (other than stupid drunk-fighting) and so on. This suggests that college students are responsive to criminal laws and social pressures- they might need money, but they won't generally mug you. It's not necessarily nuts, then, to suggest that *more* laws and social pressures applied to the rape problem might alter the behavior of college students in that regard, just as existing laws and social pressures keep them from mugging passers-by.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 9:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


Is there really a group of men in the developed world who are not aware that rape is wrong, and still need to be reached by appropriate PSAs and other messaging?

There are plenty of men who think having sex with a passed out drunk woman is OK. Who think sex is something they have a right to from their wife or girlfriend at any time. And that's the the first examples I can think of off the top of my head.

There's also a problem with "no means no". That puts the default position as yes. That's wrong. It should be "yes means yes", default to no.
posted by kmz at 9:18 AM on July 16, 2010 [103 favorites]


I actually do wish that there were more messages to peers like the David Schwimmer PSA -- which I can't locate on You Tube -- asking young men to monitor their buddies. A lot of rape happens in fraternity style environments, where obviously not everyone is a rapist, but a number of peers also don't stop what goes on.
posted by bearwife at 9:18 AM on July 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yeah, the reason people have to have "don't drink and drive" rammed into their head is that there are (still) people who don't think there is anything wrong with doing it.

Outside of sociopaths, I don't think that is the case with rape.


Actually, it is kind of the case. According to the article:

"One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”"
posted by Ouisch at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [27 favorites]


the "don't rape" message is already disseminated as widely as possible

I think we're getting hung up on the "don't rape" headline, when the article is actually going a bit more in-depth than that. It's saying our society should spend more effort in addressing and confronting the patriarchal and sexist assumptions which lead to rape. Here's a quote from the article:

One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”

One in five Canadian women surveyed in a Juristat report said they had unwanted sex with a man because they were overwhelmed by the man’s continued arguments and pressure.

“If we can change the response and how we think about sexual assault then we will change the rates of sexual assaults because it becomes less natural, less normalized; there’s more public scrutiny and judgment around it,” McCormack says. “The problem is, it’s very much a part of male culture.”

posted by naju at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


Actually I have seen a "don't rape" type campaign on university campuses here in the US.
posted by ob at 9:21 AM on July 16, 2010


ErikaB, it is very briefly noted at the very bottom of the page you link, but that ad is problematic for other reasons. Beyond that, the purpose of that ad doesn't so much seem to be to tell men not to rape, but to reinforce the idea that any form of non-consensual sex is rape. Rape is a horrible word, and a lot of guys won't apply it (or think that it's necessarily relevant) to what they did with that girl last night, after much enthusiastic cajoling. The main gist of this ad seems to me to be to address this particular brand of self-deluded idiocy. She doesn't explicitly say yes? That's rape.
posted by Dysk at 9:22 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It may also have a lot to do with the ease of defense; you can't tell someone, "Avoid drunk drivers." Ultimately, we all have to share the roads, and there's little way of knowing which stretch of highway will have the drunk who swerves and clips your car. It's (perceived to be) much more possible to avoid situations leading to rape.

That, and we raise our children to know that assault is wrong, so we assume anyone who would assault can't be reached with further messages. Drunk driving is a sort of reckless behavior caused by poor judgment ("I'm OK to drive,") and we advise against it ("No, you're not.") There are certainly analogous statements with regard to rape ("No means NO,") but the aggressive, drugs-in-drink sort of premeditated rape doesn't seem to be the type of thing that a public service announcement could address.

Much easier to tell people to watch their drinks and stick with friends, since the assailants know it's wrong, but will do it anyway. No one's gonna see, "Ketamine in her drink is rape, and that's illegal," and suddenly have that revelation.

Ultimately, though? We need a shift in society in which it's more OK to look out for one another. Right now we're so privacy-oriented and individualistic that people would hesitate to say anything as a nigh-unconscious woman leaves a party with a man. We don't want to offend, and we're scared to break out of the safety zone and risk conflict.
posted by explosion at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm always curious when I hear that "only x% of sexual assaults are reported." How is it logically possible to know when something is unreported?
posted by desjardins at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So you're saying that sex without consent isn't rape? Interesting.
posted by Ouisch at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2010


“If we can change the response and how we think about sexual assault then we will change the rates of sexual assaults because it becomes less natural, less normalized; there’s more public scrutiny and judgment around it,” McCormack says. “The problem is, it’s very much a part of male culture.”

What exactly is this "male culture," anyway? What are its identifying elements and how are they measured? Is there a corresponding "female culture?" What does that look like?

As always, generalizing about deviance along gender lines is unproductive and bound to be inflammatory. Targeted campaigns of education for populations who offend in disproportionate numbers are a splendid idea. And uncontroversial. But blanket statements about a 'culture of rape' are going to go over like a lead balloon. This is not the 1950's and sweeping generalizations based on race, gender or economic status are not kosher or helpful.
posted by felix betachat at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


"Don't rape" doesn't work as a message for the same reason "don't murder" doesn't. No one goes out to a party planning to rape someone--or rather, someone who does is already far past the reach of a PSA.

However, a lot more direct confrontation of men could be done with messages like "if you get her drunk to have sex with her, that's rape. If she's passed out, that's rape. If you park the car and tell her you'll take her home after she has sex with you, that's rape." The problem isn't stigmatizing rape, which is already thoroughly stigmatized. It's moving a lot of activities into the category of rape that are conveniently left out.
posted by fatbird at 9:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [25 favorites]


the most unambiguous PSA ever, targeted at "she asked for it"
posted by soma lkzx at 9:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm guessing that's because "reported" = "reported to police" or "reported to x health agency." The way they find out what is unreported is probably by doing anonymous surveys where people are more likely to find it safer to admit that they've experience sexual assault.
posted by Ouisch at 9:26 AM on July 16, 2010


God, you know, Rape Day on Metafilter...it's the most wonderful time of the year!
posted by Ouisch at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Saying "don't do this evil thing" supposes that most people are evil and predisposed to behave evilly.

Saying "defend against evil" supposes that most people are good and more likely to be victims than victimizers.

I don't have any particular point here, except that the message one propagates reflects how one perceives his or her fellow members of society. Do I require constant reminders to suppress my rapist tendencies, or can I be trusted to know better? Can people as a rule be given the benefit of the doubt, that they can discern good from evil (and will usually choose good)? Or is it really better to presuppose that we are all immoral brutes in need of hand-holding to keep our noses clean?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does anyone have numbers on what percentage of rapes are premeditated and what percentage of rapes are crimes of the moment?

I think that's where this may come into play. A guy who slips drugs, or stalks a woman home might not be open to a PSA, but your average guy growing up gets a lot of conflicting messages about sex. "Respect women" is on the fringes of that, in many cases.
posted by codacorolla at 9:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do I require constant reminders to suppress my rapist tendencies

Well, according to StatsCan, one in five male university students do.
posted by Ouisch at 9:29 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


sexual assault prevention tips guaranteed to work
posted by bewilderbeast at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2010 [23 favorites]


Ouisch: So you're saying that sex without consent isn't rape? Interesting.

Reading through the thread, I came to this comment, and couldn't for the life of me figure out what this was referring to. Help?
posted by Dysk at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2010


One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”

See, this illustrates the problem pretty neatly: most of the rape prevention stuff gets framed as HEY LADIES DON'T GO OUT ALONE CARRY A WHISTLE DON'T DRESS PROVOCATIVELY and frankly what we need more of is HEY GUYS THIS IS STILL RAPE SO DON'T RAPE PEOPLE - those one in five male university students are probably raping women who did not wear a miniskirt and walk through the ghetto without a rape whistle, women who are in fact doing precisely what they are told to do in order to not get raped and then oh look raped anyway what now.

(I realize that thinking it's justified is not the same as committing the act but it still speaks to a severe lack of understanding which could, and needs to, be at least partially combated with better education.)
posted by titus n. owl at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2010 [17 favorites]


When I saw the headline, I was kinda hoping it would be about Society. Now I just feel weird.
posted by DZack at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2010


Just to play devil's advocate - is there really a need to tell people not to rape?

That's a reasonable question. I wish it was the case that people universally understood rape as being an evil, and it was just psychopaths that did it. In fact, even within close-knit communities, people can have very different ideas about what is and isn't rape. Some people still believe that women don't really mean it when they say no. Some people think it is impossible to rape a girlfriend, or wife, or prostitute, or any other category of women where they can presume consent is always a given. Some men take getting drunk as a sign of consent. And there are a lot of men -- a disturbing large amount of men -- who think if there was any female culpability, rape is not possible. She knew what would happen when she walked into that room. She was playing him all night, what did she expect. She went up to his apartment with him. She took her clothes off. She got into bed with him. They fooled around. It was too late for her to say no; you can't go that far and then go back.

It seems simple to a lot of us. A woman may say no at any moment, and anything beyond that is rape. If she cannot give meaningful consent, it's rape. But for a lot of men, it's not as clear cut as that, and those are the men that need to be addressed, because they're not getting taught not to rape, they are getting taught that it is a woman's responsibility to make sure she doesn't get raped.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [51 favorites]


Could people maybe, you know, RTFA before jumping in? Because within the first five minutes of this being posted, there were 3 comments comparing rape to property crimes. Come on now.
posted by Ouisch at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


There seems to be a lot of semantic arguments here. I would say clarifying what rape is is a huge part of "don't rape".

But blanket statements about a 'culture of rape' are going to go over like a lead balloon.

Oh god. Open your eyes.
posted by kmz at 9:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


Of course there's a fairly large "don't rape" vibe out there. Don't believe it? Go on Google.com or your search engine of choice and look for "rapist balls." A lot of hits. Many very colorful depictions of appropriate justice to be served as Rocky Mountain Oysters.

You can minimize the probability of negative outcomes occurring. This does not mean criminal responsibility, this means probability. You can, of course, take these things to extremes. So long as I stay in Kansas and never leave, I won't have to worry too much about hurricanes. A number of terrible things can occur to people in life and while we "should not to have to" worry about these things, reality doesn't work that way. Ought Ain't Is. Getting mugged sucks. I could probably do things to lower my chances of being mugged. I "shouldn't" have to do these things, but it's still a good idea anyway. Toss wallet, keep an eye out for trouble, walk briskly without scurrying, try not to wander into dark areas, etc. I could probably do things to lower my chance of being burgled, defrauded, beaten, and so forth. And, to at least some degree, I do.

Do what you can, stay reasonable about it, and then deal with the unfortunate rest as it comes. I'd rather say that and risk hearing that I'm blaming the victim if it encourages behaviors that actually change outcomes. I would consider everyone hating me for saying this applies to many crimes, including rape, a good bargain if enough took me seriously that the outcome were one less "successful" rape.
posted by adipocere at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2010


The problem isn't stigmatizing rape, which is already thoroughly stigmatized. It's moving a lot of activities into the category of rape that are conveniently left out.

I think that trying to get people to change their personal definitions of rape is a losing battle, and that abandoning the word rape in general in favor of more general and less contentious terms like sexual assault makes more sense. It's tough to get everyone to agree that every harmful sexual offense against women is rape, and even tougher to get people who have committed or would commit those sorts of offenses to identify as rapists. For example, pretty much nobody thinks that groping is rape, and yet it's still a real problem that needs to be addressed along with other forms of sexual assault. If the discussion moves towards pointing out that things are bad (unwanted sexual contact) and other things are good (enthusiastic consent) then it can be a lot more productive than the "What exactly is or isn't rape?" argument.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What exactly is this "male culture," anyway? What are its identifying elements and how are they measured?

In the context of the article it should be clear. There's an attitude among many men that sex is an assumed right in certain circumstances - for example, you've been dating for a long time! how could she possibly refuse? This is meant to be synonymous with "rape culture" (which has been written extensively about, by the way - see kmz's link) and is not meant to be accusatory of all men everywhere.
posted by naju at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that we tend to underestimate how many rapes are, for lack of a better word, accidental. Not accidental in the, "whoops I slipped and now my penis is inside someone o god what happened" sense, of course, but rather than I think a lot of young men aren't really trained in how to negotiate consent, and a lot of young women are trained to be deferential to men, and in that situation, I think it's inevitable that men end up having sex with women who haven't consented.

Which is why the default needs to be 'affirmative consent', rather than 'lack of objection'.

And yeah, I agree, "grab you an alley and throw you down' rapists and 'drug your drink and take you to his car' rapists are monsters ... but I'm not sure that those are the majority of rapists, and by focusing on them, I worry that we end up ignoring the 'keep badgering his girlfriend until she stops saying no' rapists, who might actually stop, if they understood.
posted by Myca at 9:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [27 favorites]


One in Four is an organization that works at colleges, high schools, the military, and community organizations to help educate men about rape and sexual assault. They are very much about preventing rape by working with men (although they have programs for women as well). A program they put together was required for first year students at my undergraduate college.
posted by jedicus at 9:35 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's true that boys are raised with many fewer directives about controlling their sexuality than girls are. I wish parents were clearer with their male children about where the boundaries are, and I wish males were clearer with each other.

I mean, rapists are scum

A lot of people might be surprised at how common rape is. It seems like something only a raving, predatory maniac would do, but chances are, it's something someone you know has done. Rapists - by which I mean people who have committed an act that can be reasonably defined as rape, not people who have been prosecuted for it - can be people who seem perfectly nice in all other ways. It's not always the TV-movie scenario.

I think the basic point is a good one: that social norms and clear messages do matter, that when people's awareness is raised about when and whether they have permission to have sex with someone, the total number of incidences of assault will decline. I wished the article actually went into greater depth about the issue, though - it's kind of a surface treatment, a revisiting of the idea that "she asked for it" isn't a rationale. I think looking at the norms with which we raise men, finding out what young men learn about sexual assault, when, and from whom, and what is totally missing (a lot, it seems based on MeFi conversations past) would be interesting and productive.
posted by Miko at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Or is it really better to presuppose that we are all immoral brutes in need of hand-holding to keep our noses clean?

If changing the message from "Don't allow yourself to be raped" to "Hey, fuckwit! When her legs close, that means back off!" prevents one drooling idiot from doing something that ruins both his and his victim's life, then yeah - I'm okay with the hand holding.

posted by Mooski at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2010


kmz: I literally don't know a single person, male or female, who would think about any of those data points as anything other than wretched, horrible outliers. My immediate and extended social network is made up of people for whom sexual violence, whether actual or symbolic, is far outside the norm. I'm not disputing your evidence, I'm merely saying that generalizations from it to a broader 'culture of rape' are unwarranted, offensive and inflammatory.

Ouisch: I read fast. Honestly.
posted by felix betachat at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


"When Stevens reads articles about drunk driving, the police are quoted telling people to stop drinking and driving. But when she reads articles about sexual assault, there is no warning telling would-be attackers not to rape. Instead, the authorities tell potential victims to take precautions."

I think a campaign at university pubs that pointed out that if a person is noticeably intoxicated, your sex is potentially non-consensual might actually do some good. I think that male culture appreciates that attack-based sex is wrong, however there's definitely a line-blurring when it comes to substance abuse and/or consenting to one act and not another.

I've had non-consensual sex before (insomuch as I did not consent, as a male) where I was too intoxicated to make decisions on my own and it sucks. My guy friends laughed it off as an aggressive, older woman "having her way" with me, but deep down I know that I qualify.

For some reason, however, I've never "felt" like a victim, and I think it's because nobody has treated me like one who could've prevented things if I wanted to. It's just assumed that a man can defend himself, yet women it is assumed need to be taught to to defend themselves. There's a huge disconnect there. Like drinking and driving, there's one party that forces themselves on the other, and while you can do a few things to lower your odds, ultimately if someone wants to take something from you, they may be able to.

A campaign by authorities which aims at the perpetrators of the crime makes a great deal of sense, especially in those apparently grey areas where it's not attack-based and where 1/5 males think it's okay to force sex on someone. It stops blaming the victim and provides a moment of clarity to everyone who might see a poster in a pub and think "whoa, do I think that's okay?" It might start a conversation here and there where people realize that behavior they thought was normal isn't.

I'd be a data point to suggest it should be gender-neutral, especially when it comes to intoxication.
posted by Hiker at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm always curious when I hear that "only x% of sexual assaults are reported." How is it logically possible to know when something is unreported?

I always assumed that by "reported" they meant "reported to the police", and that any data on unreported assaults was gathered through women's advocacy organizations/campus health centers/&c.
posted by elizardbits at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think part of the reason why you want to move away from "don't get raped" is what happens with victims afterward. When you get mugged, you might think you shouldn't have been walking down that dark alley, but you generally blame the person who mugged you. You'd be surprised to see how readily rape victims blame themselves, and I think placing the onus on them to not be raped does a lot to promote that self-blame.

Oh, and the boyfriends who blame their girlfriends for getting raped. That's a good one to get rid of, too.

Does anyone have numbers on what percentage of rapes are premeditated and what percentage of rapes are crimes of the moment?

I know this doesn't answer your question, but something like 75% of people who are raped know the attacker. It generally isn't some creepy stalker slinking around in the bushes.
posted by soma lkzx at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


There's an attitude among many men that sex is an assumed right in certain circumstances

Oh, so now we're talking about "many male culture"? How is that different from "male culture"?
posted by felix betachat at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, namely:

A 2005 statistical profile of Nova Scotia by Juristat found that only eight per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police.
posted by Ouisch at 9:39 AM on July 16, 2010


Everyone knows "rape" is wrong because it's already defined as wrong. But not everyone understands what constitutes rape. There are plenty of guys who probably think that so long as they aren't in a dark alley with a knife, then it wasn't rape.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I agree with the premise of this piece - there are a fair number of "no means no" style campaigns out there trying to educate young men, and my impression at least is that some portion of the population is more respectful of boundaries (but that may be skewed if the past is misrepresented on Mad Men or whatever...)
posted by mdn at 9:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The following is additional information, not a one-upping in an algebra of rape.

Wikipedia, Prison rape in the United States: "Statistics indicate that there are more men raped in U.S. prisons than non-incarcerated women similarly assaulted. They estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked; and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly disease."

What is working and not working to stop rape in prison may apply outside of prison. More information at Just Detention International.
posted by eccnineten at 9:41 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Felix, you may not be aware of it, but your questions are easily answerable by searching the Web. Asking for an introduction to gender theory in this thread doesn't forward it. Go ahead and do some research, and if you have an informed critique of male culture, bring it back to us. But, at the moment, it sounds as though you are reflexively rejecting out of hand something you haven't really looked into.

Apologies if I am wrong. If you do have an informed critique, I would be interested to hear it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


How much is related to the fact that some of these "inverted" messages are in respect to events over which there are precautions one can take that reduce the risk of victimhood? I suppose, a propos of drunk driving, it may be cautious to avoid driving late at night near bars, esp. after last call; but people get drunk literally everywhere and you can be victimized everywhere.

On the other hand, perhaps drunk driving is conceived of as something that otherwise normal people might do if not told otherwise, and in so doing could wreck their lives and someone else's, whereas with rape, theft, murder, &c, the perpetrators are seen as consisting almost entirely of the Other.

In the latter case, it's this false conception of who perpetrates what crimes that's at fault, right? Like the continuing uninformedness of people about who is likely to be a rapist (an acquaintance, rather than a stranger) or a child molester (a family member or family friend, rather than a stranger).

People are most afraid of random violence from another group. Of course, passengers of drunk drivers and the drivers themselves will typically know each other (and, I believe, are likelier to be killed or injured in drunk-driving wrecks), but almost always other-car victims will be random, meaning if the advice were based purely on the popular expectation of randomness or familiarity with the perpetrator, this too should be a "take precautions against" story, but it's not.

So I'm stumped.
posted by adoarns at 9:42 AM on July 16, 2010


Wikipedia, Prison rape in the United States: "Statistics indicate that there are more men raped in U.S. prisons than non-incarcerated women similarly assaulted. They estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked; and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly disease."

Yeah, well, prisoners don't blog. So from the perspective of online knee-jerk generalizing, they're practically invisible.
posted by felix betachat at 9:43 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


What is working and not working to stop rape in prison may apply outside of prison.

Could you maybe fill us in on what those methods are, so that we can avoid a total derail into a conversation about prison rape (which, while of course important, is not really what the linked article is about)?
posted by Ouisch at 9:44 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


From Bruce Schneier.
posted by pianomover at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2010


Yeah, the reason people have to have "don't drink and drive" rammed into their head is that there are (still) people who don't think there is anything wrong with doing it.

Outside of sociopaths, I don't think that is the case with rape.


OK, here we go: Rape Culture 101.

Some relevant bits from that (exhaustive) link.

A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.

In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change...

...Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape being used as a corrective to "cure" queer women. Rape culture is a militarized culture and "the natural product of all wars, everywhere, at all times, in all forms."

Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another ("I'll make you my bitch"). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding...


In short, there are behaviors and attitudes that many men (and women) who don't actually rape exhibit that contribute to a culture where others (usually women) are seen as sexual targets, and the rape culture theory is that this attitude makes rape more prevalent.

Much as institutional racism practiced by non-violent whites makes actual violence against blacks more likely.

Othering, disempowering, and brutalizing another group of people is not just the act of lone psychopath criminals. It is something that a culture can feed into and encourage, the fertilizer around the weed.

That's the kind of thing these campaigns address.
posted by emjaybee at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2010 [30 favorites]


I literally don't know a single person, male or female, who would think about any of those data points as anything other than wretched, horrible outliers. My immediate and extended social network is made up of people for whom sexual violence, whether actual or symbolic, is far outside the norm. I'm not disputing your evidence, I'm merely saying that generalizations from it to a broader 'culture of rape' are unwarranted, offensive and inflammatory.

Well, I'm glad your buddies are all enlightened and wise. I'm sure they're perfectly representative of society at large.
posted by kmz at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


God, these threads.

Apologies to all and sundry for having objected to needlessly generalizing language regarding gender issues on MetaFilter. I will now step away from the thread and return to my meat-based life, where people are subjects and not categories.

Flame on, you righteous lot.
posted by felix betachat at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2010 [12 favorites]



"One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”


Yes, and these people are sociopaths, as I said.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:53 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the article itself, I'm with Miko and AstroZombie and others: it's a good point.

I'm always curious when I hear that "only x% of sexual assaults are reported." How is it logically possible to know when something is unreported?

Crime surveys, I would guess. See the difference between the crime figures in the British Crime Survey ("dipped below 10m" [actually 9.5m) and the British police figures ("4.3m"). [On preview, already answered, oh well]
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2010


I will now step away from the thread and return to my meat-based life, where people are subjects and not categories.

Man, you know that people are both, right?
posted by Myca at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


20% of the male university population are sociopaths?
posted by titus n. owl at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a societal implication that men are animals that cannot help their base desires, it's pervasive, and I hate it. (So bit of a rant coming on here.)

Every part of our society helps to reinforce this message. If it's not "Don't get raped", it's "Don't wear provocative clothes", or it's "Don't get drunk, even with friends" or it's "men can't work the cooker." or it's "He's useless, but I love him" or it's "if he doesn't watch his sports he get's a bit grumpy." or it's "he can't help making noises like a wild animal." or it's "maybe you really pissed him off and that's why he hit you."

And it's utter bullshit. This isn't just about "...how many rapes do you think saying "don't rape" would actually prevent". It's about making sure that men realise that they are utterly responsible for their actions, and it's no good them saying "I'm like a wild bear. Or a baby. And, ermm, testosterone made me do it. So really. You better watch out and behave and look after me, because I'm crazy and I don't know what I'm going to do next."

Because that's where we seem to be at the moment as a society. In these modern times, men can't say women are unequal, but they're getting increasingly good at saying that they can't help it, and using that as an excuse for subjugation.

We need to man up (if you'll pardon the pun) as a society and we need to start telling men what they should not do. And we should definitely stop blaming women.
posted by seanyboy at 9:55 AM on July 16, 2010 [38 favorites]



20% of the male university population are sociopaths?


You want to argue that rapists aren't sociopaths?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:56 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apologies to all and sundry for having objected to needlessly generalizing language regarding gender issues on MetaFilter. I will now step away from the thread and return to my meat-based life, where people are subjects and not categories.

Sorry people wouldn't let you make the thread about you, duder.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:57 AM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


sexual assault prevention tips guaranteed to work

Oh man I was coming in here to post that.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:59 AM on July 16, 2010


I think that trying to get people to change their personal definitions of rape is a losing battle, and that abandoning the word rape in general in favor of more general and less contentious terms like sexual assault makes more sense.

It's not about getting someone to change their personal definition. It's about moving the cultural baseline. It's about creating an atmosphere where it's much, much harder for individuals to tell themselves that it's okay if it's just a little forceful, or if she was going to get drunk anyway.

I don't think many men believe, as a thoughtful matter of principle, that forced intercourse is alright if they paid for dinner. It's more like taking advantage of the absence of condemnation against it. No one is publicly pushing the idea that it's okay to get a woman drunk to have sex with her; that idea exists because it's convenient to the guy who wants to get laid, and his buddies aren't contradicting him, and they're even egging him on because this implicitly frees them to do the same thing.
posted by fatbird at 10:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


You want to argue that rapists aren't sociopaths?

Is any person who commits an offense against another a sociopath? Part of the horror of rape culture is that it enables people who we would not normally describe as sociopaths to commit rape without regarding themselves as morally wrong, while still regarding themselves as moral creatures.

This is why it's important to teach men not to rape- because without that instruction, and being situated in a cultural context in which they are encouraged to view many acts of rape as not rape at all, they can perform those acts of rape without viewing themselves as rapists.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:00 AM on July 16, 2010 [24 favorites]


David Lisak (google him, awesome stuff) learned a lot about rape by conducting surveys in which he asked people if they had done things which are clearly rape, without using the word "rape." He found lots of people would cheerfully report that they had raped people as long as you didn't call it that.

What he discovered was that there are a very small group of men committing multiple rapes. That they usually are "acquaintance rapes" not accosting a stranger with a knife. That they take care to create deniability by acting when their victims are isolated and intoxicated (and helping get them isolated and intoxicated). That they use only enough violence, only enough threat of force, to scare their victims into compliance.

And here's the important bit -- they exploit what is called "rape culture" to create safety for themselves, among other men. If she does say anything about it they say she's lying, that she really wanted it but changed her mind, that it could have happened to any guy with whom a girl "changes her mind" and decides it was rape after the fact, that she was leading him on, etc, etc, etc, all that misogyny that's out there...

All this joking he does with other guys, the stupid misogyny jokes about bitches? They're all good guys who joke that way because it's ridiculous and funny. He means it. He means every word. He really has contempt for women. He really thinks he can and should use them however he wants to. The other guys in the frat house joke about that, but he's not joking.

But they think he's just like them, and so if he gets accused of rape, they imagine the same thing could happen to them! And they circle the wagons, and attack the victim.

How does this all connect?

Knowing that there are a few dudes committing almost all of the rapes, and that they *blend in among other men* and aren't creepy heavy breathers in the darkness with knives....

You aren't going to change their minds by telling them not to rape. But by focusing on the rapist and exactly what they do and how, instead of focusing on the victim, you can avoid letting the rapist blend into either, on the one hand, an imaginary cloud of creepy guys with knives waiting in the shadows to drag women into the bushes, and on the other hand, an imaginary cloud of ordinary guys who mean no harm but get accused of rape by psycho sluts.

That's the thing with focusing on the criminal -- by seeing them clearly as individuals who make choices and take specific actions, and not a vague force of nature, you increase the chance that *other* people can identify them, realize what they're up to, and stop them. Most rapists are neither creepy loners on the fringes of society nor innocent dudes, falsely accused. They're creepy scum who go to a lot of trouble to *blend into the crowd of innocent dudes* so they can claim to be falsely accused.
posted by edheil at 10:03 AM on July 16, 2010 [98 favorites]


for having objected to needlessly generalizing language regarding gender issues

It's not exactly needless if the majority of rapists are men, and the majority of people being raped are women.

"U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, with 99% of the offenders being male."
posted by Ouisch at 10:03 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is any person who commits an offense against another a sociopath?

This particular crime, yeah I would say so.

Let me just wiki up anti-social personality disorder:

1. Callous unconcern for the feelings of others and lack of the capacity for empathy.
2. Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
3. Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships.
4. Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
5. Incapacity to experience guilt and to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
6. Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior bringing the subject into conflict.
7. Persistent irritability.


Yeah, sounds exactly like someone who doesn't implicitly understand why it is wrong to commit acts of sexual violence to me.

I don't understand why everyone is so willing to accept 1 IN 4 MEN ARE RAPISTS!!!! But can't fathom that one in five might be sociopaths who are just going to find another rationalization when you tell them, "No really dude, even if you do it like that it's still rape."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2010


20% of the male university population are sociopaths?

Look at history. Look at countries where there was an absolute break-down of civil law, look at countries like Rwanda or Sudan, where systematic rape occurred or is occurring. I know these issues are bigger and more complex than this comment, but I guess my point is that there is a certain absolute subset of men that, given the opportunity and freedom of consequences, will commit rape--violent or otherwise. Socialization and the rule of law can go a long way to bridge the gap, but they can only go so far. Maybe sociopath is a loaded word. I'd say something like biological predatory instinct. You can't teach morality to everyone.
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:06 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm always curious when I hear that "only x% of sexual assaults are reported." How is it logically possible to know when something is unreported?

The nation's two crime measures.
posted by peep at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2010


You want to argue that rapists aren't sociopaths?

Whether or not they are actual sociopaths is an issue dwarfed by the underlying problem that many of them do not even understand that their actions are wrong. They understand that beating up women and raping them at knifepoint is wrong, sure, but it might not occur to them that hours of relentlessly badgering a drunk girl for sex until she gives in, or having sex with them after they pass out, is ALSO wrong. This is much closer to "clueless, immature, facepunchable asshole" than it is to "full-on sociopath", although it is true that they may share many of the same qualities/traits/&c.
posted by elizardbits at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]



Whether or not they are actual sociopaths is an issue dwarfed by the underlying problem that many of them do not even understand that their actions are wrong.


Which is a sign of sociopathy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2010


Which is a sign of sociopathy.

Actually, I was pretty sure that sociopaths know which behaviours are considered wrong by society, even if they don't have the capacity to feel they are wrong personally.
posted by Ouisch at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thanks for mentioning Dr. Lisak, edheil. Here's info about the incidence and underreporting of rape from him (pdf). And here is a very interesting article by him (pdf format) about the prevalence, opportunism and predatory nature of sexual assault.

Here's what he says are the characteristics of sexual assaulters: They

are extremely adept at identifying “likely” victims, and testing prospective
victims’ boundaries;
• plan and premeditate their attacks, using sophisticated strategies to groom
their victims for attack, and to isolate them physically;
• use “instrumental” not gratuitous violence; they exhibit strong impulse
control and use only as much violence as is needed to terrify and coerce
their victims into submission;
• use psychological weapons – power, control, manipulation, and threats –
backed up by physical force, and almost never resort to weapons such as
knives or guns;
• use alcohol deliberately to render victims more vulnerable to attack, or
completely unconscious.


And here is what he says about stopping rape:

Lessons can be drawn from many decades of experience in sex offender
treatment, which have demonstrated that it is extremely difficult to change the
behavior of a serial predator even when you incarcerate him and subject him to
an intensive, multi-year program. Rather than focusing prevention efforts on the
rapists, it would seem far more effective to focus those efforts on the far more
numerous bystanders – men and women who are part of the social and cultural milieu in which rapes are spawned and who can be mobilized to identify
perpetrators and intervene in high-risk situations.

posted by bearwife at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here is a story of rape that I think illustrates the idea that it's not as simple, clear cut and dried a matter as we like to think it is. Caution: graphic, triggers, NSFW, no pics.

I personally have always thought of rape as something that was done by a sociopath. I still do. On the other hand, there are things like this that aren't clear, even to the victim, until sometimes after.

Someone posted earlier that "no means no" still leaves "yes" as the default. That is indeed part of the problem. The other part is that there is often an element of sex that is about gamesmanship. Some women aren't clear about it - that's part of the thrill for them, and for the violator. If you go through life, as many of us, you'll forego opportunities simply because the framework of consent isn't clear. That's a good thing. Unfortunately, that is and probably always will be part of it.

As others have noted, many rapists don't think of themselves as rapists. I think that's a fundamental element of evil. People don't consider themselves to be evil, even when they are, or do things they know are wrong.

That's why the message of "don't rape" won't work. There are rapists who don't see it as rape.
posted by Xoebe at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's been what I think is quite a good ad campaign by the Cynulliad Cenedlaethol (National Assembly) been running lately in Wales, targetting not just rape but harassment of women in general and pointing out that what lots of folk might think of as harmless is part of a wider culture of harassment. You can see the main ad on YT here.
posted by Dim Siawns at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gaa, needed to add:

Of course, educating people about respecting others, especially in an atmosphere of ambiguity, is a good thing.
posted by Xoebe at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2010


Actually, I was pretty sure that sociopaths know which behaviours are considered wrong by society, even if they don't have the capacity to feel they are wrong personally.

Yeah, this was always my take on it as well.
posted by elizardbits at 10:19 AM on July 16, 2010


felix betachat: "Society teaches 'Don't get murdered' rather than 'Don't murder'
Society teaches 'Don't be the victim of identity fraud' rather than 'Don't steal identities'
Society teaches 'Don't let your car be broken into' rather than 'Don't break into cars'
etc, etc
"

When you hear "Well, she was asking for it..." do you think of murder, identity fraud, car theft, or rape? When a woman was allegedly raped, we don't express sympathy but rather ask what she was wearing, or where she was, or if she fought back.

That is rape culture.
posted by anonymuk at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


Here is a story of rape that I think illustrates the idea that it's not as simple, clear cut and dried a matter as we like to think it is.

I don't think that is anything other than simple and clear; it's a pretty horrific story and, while it might indicate that the woman telling it has views on the experience that others might not share in her circumstances, the narrative itself is pretty cut and dried.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's why the message of "don't rape" won't work. There are rapists who don't see it as rape.

How about a message of "no, seriously, this and this and this and that and the other and this, these ARE IN FACT RAPE, no really, that's rape, it's rape, we know you didn't know that but it is"?

Do I think such an approach will magically make every rape stop happening? Of course not, I'm not an idiot. Do I think such an approach should completely replace all other methods? No, but what's so hard or wrong about having multiple campaigns and sources of information? Where is the harm in trying to educate people so that they know that buying a woman dinner DOESN'T mean she needs to put out, and that just because she's your girlfriend DOESN'T mean she automatically consents to everything, and that a half-dozen other things which have historically been culturally acceptable aren't and shouldn't be?
posted by titus n. owl at 10:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think a campaign at university pubs that pointed out that if a person is noticeably intoxicated, your sex is potentially non-consensual might actually do some good. [...] there's definitely a line-blurring when it comes to substance abuse and/or consenting to one act and not another.

I think that part of the problem is that, in some contexts -- like, say, drunk driving -- you are still considered culpable for your actions when you're drunk, because you chose to get drunk. So it's not totally impossible to see how, if someone "consents" (appears to consent but can't really consent) when they're drunk, shouldn't they have some culpability for it, in the same way that someone who decides to get behind the wheel of a car when drunk does? Their judgement might have been impaired at the time of the decision, but they also chose to impair their judgement.

I'm not necessarily advancing that argument myself, but I think it's worth thinking about. We take a really hard line on responsibility-for-your-actions in other contexts. If you start drinking and wake up with your car in a ditch, most people are going to blame you. If you start drinking and have apparently consensual (but drunken) sex with someone, were you just raped? What if they were drunk, too?

It's easy to delineate what is and isn't rape in the abstract -- "sex without consent = rape." Good enough. But then ... what is consent? What if someone does something to themselves that legally prevents them from consenting, and then try to consent? What happens when a whole group of people do that -- technically none of them should be able to consent to anything, but good luck getting a bunch of drunk people to act like the legal children they've turned themselves into.

It's not just hypotheticals, because I'm sure many of us know situations where things have happened between people who were consensually impaired; hell, I know people for whom getting drunk and waking up next to someone they didn't know was practically a rite of passage, and don't consider themselves -- and would probably be offended by the suggestion that they are -- "rape victims," because they just see themselves as having had some wild nights in college. But depending on the abstract definition that you create for rape, that might be what they are, technically ... but in some cases they may have started out the evening with the explicit plan of 1) get drunk, 2) find a willing partner, 3) have "random hookup" sex. While this may not be a great idea for a number of reasons, I'm pretty sure it happens, and I don't know if it should necessarily be illegal.

tl;dr: When people have the right to choose to ingest things that then makes them unable to consent or impairs their judgement, the bright white line starts getting more ... complicated.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


Expanding upon bewilderbeast's post: How to prevent Rape.

While some of this is tongue in cheek, I think the point is that the responsibility to prevent rape lies solely with the attacker.

My university puts signs up in all the women's bathrooms explaining the behaviors that put women at risk of being raped. The implication is that if a female

-wears a short skirt
-goes alone to a party
-invites a male to her room
-drinks any alcohol

or basically lives in the world, she is encouraging rape. This blames the victim and decreases the chance that rape will be reported.

I think this list is really helpful, because it states clearly which behaviors are RAPE even if they may not fit your cookie-cutter, 3 AM stranger definition.

That's why I snuck into all the boy's bathrooms and posted it.
posted by karminai at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Well, she was asking for it..."

Don't be like Bobby Peru.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2010



Actually, I was pretty sure that sociopaths know which behaviours are considered wrong by society, even if they don't have the capacity to feel they are wrong personally.


As far as I know it could be either, the central point is the violation of social norms. I seriously do not buy in the least studies that say people think a girl being passed out = consent, but even if someone does believe that it is a clear violation of boundaries that also points to sociopathy.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2010


Isn't this more along the lines of law enforcement obliquely admitting that they can't, in fact, do a damn thing to prevent crime?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2010


That's why the message of "don't rape" won't work. There are rapists who don't see it as rape.

People who drink and drive don't see themselves as drunk drivers. This is about catching people on the slippery slope and reminding them that the line blurs a lot earlier than you might think.
posted by Hiker at 10:30 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


When you hear "Well, she was asking for it..." do you think of murder, identity fraud, car theft, or rape? When a woman was allegedly raped, we don't express sympathy but rather ask what she was wearing, or where she was, or if she fought back.

I would be very surprised if what you describe is the societal norm. This is not even close to the way rape was/is treated by Canadian society (i.e teachers, parents, other authority figures) in my experience. I think the headline is a bit alarmist, as rape is most definitely one of the most fundamental societal no-nos, up there with murder. But as others have noted, a large part of the problem is that a lot of people don't really understand that rape can be something other than clubbing a woman and bringing her back to your cave all caveman style. There's also the ever present "it's OK when I do it" problem that seems to me pervades every aspect of our society from driving to littering to theft and assault.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that part of the problem is that, in some contexts -- like, say, drunk driving -- you are still considered culpable for your actions when you're drunk, because you chose to get drunk. So it's not totally impossible to see how, if someone "consents" (appears to consent but can't really consent) when they're drunk, shouldn't they have some culpability for it, in the same way that someone who decides to get behind the wheel of a car when drunk does? Their judgement might have been impaired at the time of the decision, but they also chose to impair their judgement.

...No. Your car can't tell if you are drunk. The person that is having sex with you can.
posted by karminai at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If pressuring somebody into sex (that they end up enjoying) after they've initially declined is "rape", then I've been raped many, many times by my ex-wife, multiple girlfriends, random hookups, etc. And I've probably raped most of them at one point or another. And I would say that no, of course, I've never been raped and I'm no rapist.

As somebody who has shockingly many women close to me that have been raped, sometimes violently, sometimes drugged, gotten pass-out drunk, etc., I have a real problem with overly broad definitions.
posted by LordSludge at 10:34 AM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


the central point is the violation of social norms. I seriously do not buy in the least studies that say people think a girl being passed out = consent

Well, if you're not going to "buy" the studies, then there's really not much else to say, is there?

It doesn't change the fact that that is, apparently, what some of the studies indicate. Which is why people believe it might be a good idea to have campaigns to educate people about what rape is, and that if they don't want to commit rape, then maybe they should change some of their assumptions and practices.

I think it sounds like a reasonable thing to attempt.
posted by Ouisch at 10:35 AM on July 16, 2010


Christ, one of these again? Ugh.
edheil: What he discovered was that there are a very small group of men committing multiple rapes. That they usually are "acquaintance rapes" not accosting a stranger with a knife. That they take care to create deniability by acting when their victims are isolated and intoxicated (and helping get them isolated and intoxicated). That they use only enough violence, only enough threat of force, to scare their victims into compliance.

[...]

All this joking he does with other guys, the stupid misogyny jokes about bitches? They're all good guys who joke that way because it's ridiculous and funny. He means it. He means every word. He really has contempt for women. He really thinks he can and should use them however he wants to. The other guys in the frat house joke about that, but he's not joking.
That seems kind of critical, that it may be a very small number of people doing most of the crimes here. But I guess the majority of this thread glosses over this, like they do the levels of prison rape because they're not "important" to this discussion (even if it were the case that prison rape might be vastly more horrible as a crime than 'what exactly is consent' rape or 'dark alley' rape, due to their horrific inability to escape a ritualized dehumanization to sex slave that is more akin to the lifelong scarring of year of childhood sexual abuse).

These threads are pointless because they become nothing but a one-sided collection of angry people proclaiming victimhood and vehemently denouncing "the set of all men" as well as anyone, such as felix betachat, even trying to politely offer nuance or alternate viewpoints or additional perspectives.
posted by hincandenza at 10:36 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Claiming that people who commit rape are sociopaths is nothing more than an act of self-insulating othering; by saying "rapists are sociopaths" we define ourselves out. "I can't be a rapist; I'm not a sociopath!"

The fact that one need not be sociopathic to rape another person is terrifying; it suggests that anyone might commit rape, that the perfectly nice and wonderful people we know- that we ourselves- might rape. By insisting that rape is invariably the action of the sociopath, we by definition exempt the people who we know and like from the category of rapist.

And then when someone we know and like commits rape, we say "He could never! What was she wearing? What is she trying to gain?"

Human beings are human beings; we have the capacity to act both for good and for ill in us, and that capacity is inherent in all human beings. To deny that is to dehumanize rapists, and to prevent us from accurately assessing the actions of our friends, families, and comrades. So stop insisting that rapist=sociopath; it serves no good end, and enables the ignoring and encouragement of rape.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2010 [21 favorites]



Well, if you're not going to "buy" the studies, then there's really not much else to say, is there?


It was incidental to my point, but could you link me to some of the studies that say that one in five men or whatever believe that so I can reconsider?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010


If pressuring somebody into sex (that they end up enjoying) after they've initially declined is "rape", then I've been raped many, many times by my ex-wife, multiple girlfriends, random hookups, etc.

I'm going to guess that lack of explicit consent does not ALWAYS equal rape. However, the likelihood of it being rape is much higher. Lack of explicit consent is probably a pretty good proxy for rape, but it doesn't mean the two are perfectly equal.

If we want to reduce rape, then maybe this is a good way to do it -- to encourage people to negotiate consent in a more explicit, clear way, and change the cultural norm to expect consent before sex, rather than to assume that lack of objection is good enough.
posted by Ouisch at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If pressuring somebody into sex (that they end up enjoying) after they've initially declined is "rape", then I've been raped many, many times by my ex-wife, multiple girlfriends, random hookups, etc. And I've probably raped most of them at one point or another. And I would say that no, of course, I've never been raped and I'm no rapist.

How much pressure do you believe it is acceptable to place on a woman to say yes, and what is the minimum amount of pressure that constitutes rape?

How many times does a woman have to say no before you respect her right to self-determination?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [12 favorites]



Claiming that people who commit rape are sociopaths is nothing more than an act of self-insulating othering; by saying "rapists are sociopaths" we define ourselves out. "I can't be a rapist; I'm not a sociopath!"


No, I am quite clearly a sociopath but not a rapist.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2010


but could you link me to some of the studies that say that one in five men or whatever believe that so I can reconsider?

From the first linked article: "One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”"
posted by Ouisch at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2010


I thought we covered this already. Several times, in fact.
posted by Ouisch at 10:42 AM on July 16, 2010


I know this has been said by a few people above, but it needs to be repeated:

There is a need for this type of awareness building as there are lots of men that believe they have a right to have sex whenever they want, however they want with their wives. Rape is not always committed by strangers in dark alleys. It is often (and I would argue, without having any facts to back it up), that it is most frequently occurs with "committed couples".
posted by dogbusonline at 10:42 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


The fact that one need not be sociopathic to rape another person is terrifying; it suggests that anyone might commit rape, that the perfectly nice and wonderful people we know- that we ourselves- might rape.

No, I reject the idea that rapists are perfectly nice or wonderful people, sorry. People can put on nice fronts but be criminals of all types that is not at all a shock.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:43 AM on July 16, 2010



From the first linked article: "One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”"


Yes, I have read the article and had that quoted at me, I'm looking for a link to the study.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that part of the problem is that, in some contexts -- like, say, drunk driving -- you are still considered culpable for your actions when you're drunk, because you chose to get drunk. So it's not totally impossible to see how, if someone "consents" (appears to consent but can't really consent) when they're drunk, shouldn't they have some culpability for it, in the same way that someone who decides to get behind the wheel of a car when drunk does?

That's an interesting parallel, but I'd say the question of culpability would be clearer if the drunk driver had not wanted to get into the car, had repeatedly said no, had been forced into the car, had the ignition turned on, and then was forced to drive with somebody proposing the alternative is violence sitting beside her the entire way.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


The only thing rapists have in common is that they commit rape.

Since we're so fond of comparing rape to other crimes here, would you contend that every murderer is a sociopath? This is demonstrably not true.
posted by Ouisch at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christ, one of these again? Ugh.

Did somebody force you to read the post? I'm so sorry that you had to take time out of your busy day to care about a serious issue. But I guess since it has a low probability of affecting you, why should you care?

These threads are pointless because they become nothing but a one-sided collection of angry people proclaiming victimhood and vehemently denouncing "the set of all men" as well as anyone, such as felix betachat, even trying to politely offer nuance or alternate viewpoints or additional perspectives.

"Proclaiming victimhood"? What's next, we're all too "politically correct", something something "nanny state"?
posted by kmz at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm looking for a link to the study.

Dude, we're not here to do your homework for you. StatsCan has a pretty good website.
posted by Ouisch at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2010


This is late to the game, but I'm linking it anyway, because it's powerful and good: Dworkin calls for a truce from rape culture.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nonsense. Shaq's been saying this for years.
posted by Eideteker at 10:46 AM on July 16, 2010


If pressuring somebody into sex (that they end up enjoying) after they've initially declined is "rape", then I've been raped many, many times by my ex-wife, multiple girlfriends, random hookups, etc. And I've probably raped most of them at one point or another. And I would say that no, of course, I've never been raped and I'm no rapist.

It's really difficult to define rape unless you agree on the definitions of "pressure" and "consent." If I ask my husband for sex and I pout until I get it, am I pressuring him? Yeah, I know exactly how to make him feel guilty, and I know he'll usually give in to that feeling (note, I'm not saying I do this). Is it manipulative, wrong and immature? Yes, definitely. Is it rape? Come on. I had an ex-boyfriend tell me that if I didn't do activity X, we were through, and I had to make a mental calculation as to what was more unpalatable: doing activity X or breaking up? I chose activity X. He turned out to be a jerk for that and many other reasons, but he is not a rapist.
posted by desjardins at 10:47 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


If we really want to stop rape, maybe we should take seriously Dr. Lisak's suggestion, bearing in mind that he has studied sexual assault:

Rather than focusing prevention efforts on the
rapists, it would seem far more effective to focus those efforts on the far more
numerous bystanders – men and women who are part of the social and cultural milieu in which rapes are spawned and who can be mobilized to identify
perpetrators and intervene in high-risk situations.

Sorry to repeat, but this is important. It is neither the rapist who will nor the rape victim who can prevent rape -- rather, prevention is really a subject for all the rest of us. And that means we need a lot more societal education on what perpetrators do and what a high risk situation is.
posted by bearwife at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


How about a message of "no, seriously, this and this and this and that and the other and this, these ARE IN FACT RAPE, no really, that's rape, it's rape, we know you didn't know that but it is"?

Because as soon as you say that, you make the discussion an argument over the definition of word. It's much easier to argue over what a word means than it is to honestly discuss important issues, and since everyone can have their own definition that makes sense to them it can be very difficult to find common ground. If you stop using the words or labels that commonly end up being sources of conflict and start talking about the underlying issues using neutral terminology, it makes it a lot easier to connect with people who have different views.

Where is the harm in trying to educate people so that they know that buying a woman dinner DOESN'T mean she needs to put out, and that just because she's your girlfriend DOESN'T mean she automatically consents to everything, and that a half-dozen other things which have historically been culturally acceptable aren't and shouldn't be?

I think that discussion is important, but it's possible to talk about all of those things without arguing with people about what the word rape means. You can call a certain sexual behavior bad without having to call it rape, and you can change people's minds about their own behavior without calling them (potential) rapists.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2010



Dude, we're not here to do your homework for you. StatsCan has a pretty good website.


And I couldn't find the study on it. Are you seriously bitching at me for not buying a study I haven't been able to read? Not to mention the quoted section doesn't mention passed out = consent which is what I just asked about.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:49 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, I have read the article and had that quoted at me, I'm looking for a link to the study.

I believe this is it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:49 AM on July 16, 2010


These threads are pointless because they become nothing but a one-sided collection of angry people proclaiming victimhood and vehemently denouncing "the set of all men" as well as anyone, such as felix betachat, even trying to politely offer nuance or alternate viewpoints or additional perspectives.

Threads that are useless to you are not necessarily useless, but, if you really feel there is no value, I might suggest you either just not participate or flag and move on.

I did request felix bring nuance into the discussion, but I also asked that it be educated. That's when felix ckose to bow out, as is his right, but it's not the same thing as driving somebody away because they dare to speak out against the imagined victimization of women, or whatever your vague, hostile point was.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:53 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Mr. Excellent: "There's an argument to be made that the "don't rape" message is already disseminated as widely as possible, and as firmly ensconced in the law as possible. Is there really a group of men in the developed world who are not aware that rape is wrong, and still need to be reached by appropriate PSAs and other messaging?"

It isn't the perps this message needs to reach, it is the police, the prosecutors and the general public. For an example of why, see the recent coverage in the Baltimore Sun about how the police bully women in to recanting.
posted by QIbHom at 10:54 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]



Since we're so fond of comparing rape to other crimes here, would you contend that every murderer is a sociopath?


Would you contend that murderers just need more education that murder is wrong?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2010


That's the one I was just looking at AZ, thank you. Not sure it's it, but maybe so. Of course, it might not have the precise fraction of into in it that furiousxgeorge is looking for, which would therefore render this entire discussion moot since he's apparently an authority on rape.
posted by Ouisch at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2010


Would you contend that murderers just need more education that murder is wrong?

The key word here is "just." No one is proposing that rapists "just" need education. Can't hurt, though.
posted by Ouisch at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2010


No, I reject the idea that rapists are perfectly nice or wonderful people, sorry. People can put on nice fronts but be criminals of all types that is not at all a shock.

This is an exact example of what I'm talking about. You want very much to believe that rapists are some subspecies of humanity- some degenerate, vicious group of people who are out-and-out evil. This is not consistent with observed reality, and this is especially true because many people do not understand that what they are doing is rape.

To define rapists as sociopaths simply because they've committed the act of rape is simplistic, childish, and dangerous, because it encourages a view of rape and rapists which is inconsistent with observed reality. It depicts rapists as hard-core, unrepentant criminals who care nothing for others. This is an appealing idea. It is also a fantasy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2010 [24 favorites]


@Astro Zombie:

That is where I was before, I can't find the link to the actual PDF with the data. I'm probably gonna look stupid when someone points it out. :P
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2010


Would you contend that murderers just need more education that murder is wrong?

Actually, this does occur. You'd be surprised how many people commit murder out of a sense that they had no option. I spoke to one woman who offered courses in conflict resolution, and she spoke to one young man who had killed another man -- for raping his sister, mind you -- and she asked if there wasn't something else he could have done. He thought about it for a moment and then allowed that he could have insisted his brother kill the guy instead.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:58 AM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm probably gonna look stupid when someone points it out. :P

Nah, it's tricky. Here's how they do it:

The report Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends, 2006 (85-570-XIE, free) is now available online. From the Publications module of our website choose Free internet publications then Justice.

For more information, or to enquire about concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Information and Client Services (toll-free 1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

posted by Astro Zombie at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2010


Interestingly, I was in Florida in early spring and there was a "Don't Commit Date Rape" PSA on the radio. It had something to do with trying to convince people that even though all the roofies were doing was "speeding the process along", the resulting act was still rape and not okay.

I don't know how helpful the PSA was, but the fact that it was felt necessary was certainly sobering.
posted by pmb at 11:00 AM on July 16, 2010


Would you contend that murderers just need more education that murder is wrong?

Many murders are committed in the heat of passion- people who would normally never consider murder acceptable get worked up into a state of rage in which they act without thinking, and many of these people are horrified and remorseful when they regain their composure. These people are clearly not sociopaths.

It is possible to do things that are wrong and which hurt others without being a sociopath.

At this point, furiousxgeorge, I think it would be productive to ask: why do you believe that committing the act of rape makes a person a sociopath? Do you believe that it is impossible to rape a person without being a sociopath? Are there other crimes which you consider the commission of to make a person a sociopath?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2010


which would therefore render this entire discussion moot since he's apparently an authority on rape.

I'm posting my opinion like everyone else, don't be an asshole about it.


The key word here is "just." No one is proposing that rapists "just" need education. Can't hurt, though.


You are clearly suggesting that SOME rapists just need education, right?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2010


I have been raped by two men.

The first man who raped me -- repeatedly, over a course of six years -- was my own father. My father the Calvinist minister. My father, who was at times my best friend. The man who taught me to love books, who played video games with me for hours, who went all out on gifts every Christmas: this was also the man who hollowed out my soul. The only qualm I'd have about calling him a sociopath is that he not only knew the difference between right and wrong but seemed to be tortured by his need to do things that were terrible and unspeakable. He was a man who was trapped as much as his victims were trapped. But in his case, saying "don't rape anyone" wouldn't have done a bit of good. By the time I was born, he was already beyond redemption.

The second person who raped me was a high school boyfriend. At first he just moved faster than I was comfortable with. We didn't talk about it, because I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't, and I didn't know how to say, "Hey. Maybe you shouldn't touch me there just yet." Most guys seemed to get it when they'd move their hand, I'd move it back, and it was all good.

But Horatio* didn't get that. And I was enjoying myself, most of the time. So I kept not saying anything and he kept moving ahead, and then one night we were canoodling and he nudged my head down.

I still didn't mind, because I thought it would be fun to try. But see, when you're not able to communicate about sex, you're probably not ready to do it. And with Horatio*, no matter what we did, we never talked about it.

The thing is that the next time he pushed my head down, I wasn't cool with it. I pulled my head up and he pushed it down again. As if to say, "No takebacks. You don't get to say no now."

Well, I struggled some more, and he just held my head in place. But when I was able to speak and said "no," he stopped. It was like he didn't know he was committing an act of violence until I said something.

A few days later he broke up with me.

Here's the thing: Horatio* was a really good guy. Really nice, and funny, and smart. His parents were nice. His younger sister was nice. His friends were nice. He was a sort of shy poet and musician. Sarcastic. Walked kind of like a duck. Had eyes I could stare into for hours.

Looking back, I think no one ever talked to him about How Sex Goes. In fact, I think nobody ever talked to any of my peers about How Sex Goes. And we were all trying to figure it out, but all we knew was, "No means no," and "If you have intercourse, use a condom!"

I was raised in this uber-religious family, and there was also the abuse, so obviously no parent ever sat down with me and had any sex talk other than, "Don't." I've always wished I could have had a parent who said something useful. Like, "If you have a boyfriend and you think you're ready for sex, make sure you talk about it. Talk before, and during, and after. Tell them what feels good and what feels bad. If you want something, say so. If you don't want something, say so. But just ... talk about it."

Because I'm fairly sure that what happened with Horatio* wouldn't have happened if either of us had known that you're allowed to talk about sex. And that you're allowed to smile, and laugh, and that you don't have to be embarrassed.

Yes, we should be teaching a lot more than "don't get raped." I think we should start by having real conversations about sex instead of filling teenagers' heads with a bunch of useless factoids.


*Not a real name
posted by brina at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [42 favorites]


Of course, it might not have the precise fraction of into in it that furiousxgeorge is looking for

I am also curious about the questions asked in the survey, because I find the 20% number shocking, not the least because this attitude is apparently among university students. It doesn't gel with my own experience, so I'm curious. I couldn't find it in the link. I'm not claiming to be an authority on anything, btw, I just have an admittedly knee-jerk reaction to most "shocking" statistics in news stories and can't find the source of those numbers.

I would greatly appreciate it if someone better at navigating the StatsCan site could politely point me in the right direction.
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:05 AM on July 16, 2010


Would you contend that murderers just need more education that murder is wrong?

If we asked a bunch of people if they'd committed murder, and they all answered 'no' ... and then we asked, "well, have you ever stabbed someone until that person died," and a bunch of them answered 'yes' ... then yeah.

I don't think a little education as to what constitutes 'murder' would be terribly unwarranted in that situation.

That's what's going on with rape, as Ouisch made clear.
posted by Myca at 11:06 AM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


You are clearly suggesting that SOME rapists just need education, right?

I would say there are men out there who commit rape without any understanding of what they're doing. They've gotten the wrong social messages, they're not very bright, whatever.

Yes. God, I hope so. I hope men can be educated out of raping, and not that some 20 percent of the male species is just hard-wired to rape, like bottenose dolphins or white fronted bee eaters.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:07 AM on July 16, 2010


In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change...

I was in a conversation once where a woman stated categorically that "sex is violent," by virtue not only of the act of penetration but the inherent physicality involved in any sexual activity. I'm uncomfortable with this notion (and those expressed on that Rape culture blog), because rape is defined solely in terms of violence. If sex is violent and all violence is assault, then all sex is assault. That some sex can be consensual does not change this: boxing is still a violent assault even though both boxers consent to the activity.

There is a further problem that the law does not want a bright line rule for rape that can be sincerely and accidentally crossed without repercussion. In other words, the law does not want the rule to be "women must explicitly consent or explicitly withhold consent," because there would be situations where nothing was stated explicitly, and a misunderstanding resulted in sex proceeding when the woman didn't want it to. We want the issue of rape to defer to the woman, but the issue of consent to defer to the man. She decides if she was raped, but he decides if she consented.

A further problem is that the law oddly treats assault involving sex as different than any other kind of assault, but does not distinguish among those other assaults. In this regard, rape is more like theft - you stole sex by force (robbery), under false pretenses (fraud), etc. This is consistent with the notion that sex is some kind of property, even if women aren't. And this is where it gets weird, because it isn't just the law that sees sex this way, it's people too.

In how many relationships is sex withheld until some condition is met, or offered as a reward or as a special present on a special occasion that would normally be marked by gifts? In how many conversations do men talk about "getting" sex? "I got oral." "I got laid." Women talk about "putting out" or "giving it up." Virginity is something you have, that when you have sex for the first time, you lose and can never recover.

The odd thing about all this is that it's only true because we think it is. If you are not having sex right now, you are in exactly the same condition as you were before you ever had sex. If you have consensual sex, do you really feel like you gained or lost anything?

What you have is the memory of the experience, which you can never lose. But this memory or experience is not what is referred to when people talk about sex using the language of acquisition. Sex is perceived to be scarce, getting it is an achievement for men, but also for some women, there is value in maintaining its scarcity.

As an aside, this is actually more pronounced in the gay community, where the language of acquisition is married with the language of hierarchy. In hetero sex, partners are not referred to by their role, but rather their location: so-and-so is "on top", etc. But in gay male culture, the position is part of the identity: so-and-so is a bottom. The condition of being a bottom (relative to someone else being the top) exists outside of the sex act and is part of the sexual identity, more akin to the dom and sub language of S&M hetero sex.

Where does this leave us? It leaves us with the reality that some sexual activity in which all parties agree to the facts will constitute rape in the mind of the woman, but will not be punishable under the law as rape. It also leaves us with uncomfortable realities: (a) thinking of sex in terms of acquisition and pursuit inherently places the pursued at a greater risk of actual physical and emotional harm than they otherwise would be, (b) from regret after the fact one cannot infer a lack of consent before the fact.

But to truly decouple sex from the notions of property and objectification is going to drastically alter the structure of relationships, so we need to consider the consequences before radically altering things. For example, if sex is not owned or owed, monogamy more difficult to rationalize without resorting to the cop-out of "bringing in children." Men do not want women to be monogamous because they are worried about children, they are worried about their woman having sex with another man. But all the feelings this conjures up--jealously, betrayal, trust--are all about exclusivity. Why can't a woman love a man, have casual, meaningless sex with another men based solely on some fleeting physical attraction, and then return to the man still deeply in love with them. In fact, they can, and men are capable of the same.

I think this is a very difficult issue simply because sex is this low-level, basic appetite and drive that has passed into the modern world relatively unaltered. We live polite civilized lives except at night when we crush our bodies casting aside all notions of propriety, politeness and manners. Sex punches a whole through civilization. But because of this, we are increasingly discovering that our brains are capable of optimizing the ordering of our societies in ways that stress this particular appetite. We know intellectually we shouldn't feel jealous, but we do anyway. Etc.

The conclusion of all this is to basically agree with the notion, unfair as it is, that guys need to check their appetites in marginal situations. If consent isn't obvious ("open and notorious", as it were), then it isn't consent.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:07 AM on July 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


You are clearly suggesting that SOME rapists just need education, right?

I think there's more than one college kid out there who doesn't realize that a prospective partner's consent isn't necessarily valid if they're incredibly intoxicated. Ask a freshman what their own intoxication has to do with their ability to judge another person's level of consent; you'll get all kinds of "we were both drunk, you can't tell" answers.

I sincerely believe there are otherwise decent people out there who get caught up in an intoxicated moment and don't realize how bad their actions are, and if you can implant the thought before they're intoxicated that maybe their super drunk date can't consent, you can avoid anything happening to either of them.

So yes, I think there are some people out there who just need proper education. Does that stop every rapist? No. Could it stop a few? I think so.
posted by Hiker at 11:12 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This face sheet cites the same survey, claiming it comes from a book:

Dangerous Domains: Violence Against Women in Canada

Perhaps the "2006 StatsCan study" cited the same book, or perhaps the survey in the book was, itself, carried out by StatsCan.
posted by Ouisch at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2010


face sheet = fact sheet
posted by Ouisch at 11:18 AM on July 16, 2010



I don't think a little education as to what constitutes 'murder' would be terribly unwarranted in that situation.

That's what's going on with rape, as Ouisch made clear.


I'm not sure that CanStat link was to the right study, I searched the PDF for the quoted phrases and found nothing. Given how easy it can be to lie with statistics, even with the actual data on hand, no, I don't think anything has been made clear with that quote.


At this point, furiousxgeorge, I think it would be productive to ask: why do you believe that committing the act of rape makes a person a sociopath? Do you believe that it is impossible to rape a person without being a sociopath? Are there other crimes which you consider the commission of to make a person a sociopath?


I think I have been misunderstood here. I am not arguing that all rapists are sociopaths, I am arguing that those who think there is nothing wrong with it are. I can see legitimate lines of debate that have been brought up in opposition, but I definitely stand by it.

I reject that idea that people are that fucking dumb that they don't know it is wrong, it's not stupidity, it's something much worse.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:22 AM on July 16, 2010


Thank you Pastabagel.

Pastabagel: "In how many relationships is sex withheld until some condition is met, or offered as a reward or as a special present on a special occasion that would normally be marked by gifts? In how many conversations do men talk about "getting" sex? "I got oral." "I got laid." Women talk about "putting out" or "giving it up." Virginity is something you have, that when you have sex for the first time, you lose and can never recover."

That's exactly why saying something like "I might let you fuck me" is a total turnoff for me, while some women might consider it innocuous flirting.
posted by anonymuk at 11:25 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


The immediate response I have to seeing the message "Don't Rape" is that there's a connotation -- unintended, of course -- of the act of rape as some kind of unhealthy lifestyle choice that should be avoided, rather than a sick, inhuman crime. Things you tell people not to do are: smoke, do drugs, have unprotected sex with strangers.

Maybe a more effective strategy would be PSAs talking about the incredibly high arrest/conviction rates for rapists, the high likelihood of being caught and punished, the message being "if you're thinking of doing this, think twice." Step two, obviously, would be to make the appropriate changes to society so that these facts would actually be even remotely true.
posted by Pants McCracky at 11:27 AM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


if you can implant the thought before they're intoxicated that maybe their super drunk date can't consent, you can avoid anything happening to either of them.

But you have to think carefully about the significance of what you are saying. You are saying that intoxicated women cannot consent, but intoxicated men can. This is taking the view that women lose the ability to control themselves, when it reality it's the man initiating sex with the intoxicated woman that can't control himself.

What you want men to learn is that when the woman is very drunk, the man cannot recognize whether or not consent is given. In other words, her intoxication renders him unable to make a judgment about consent. She can still be intoxicated and give or withhold consent, but he cannot tell. The defect, such as it is, lies with him, not her.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:28 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think I have been misunderstood here. I am not arguing that all rapists are sociopaths, I am arguing that those who think there is nothing wrong with it are

I certainly misunderstood. Yes, I'd agree that seems psychopathic or sociopathic. Although I think there are places where rape is far more widely accepted, and ingrained, as a cultural tradition, and, in those circumstances, the men aren't sociopaths, but instead doing what they think society expects of them. From what I have read, this is often the case in South Africa. I hope that such people might be helped by education.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:29 AM on July 16, 2010


Here's another media article discussing a similar survey in Scotland, and here's the citation for the original report (unfortunately, not the full text.)
posted by Ouisch at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2010


Maybe a more effective strategy would be PSAs talking about the incredibly high arrest/conviction rates for rapists

No, there is an incredibly low arrest/conviction rate for rapists. Check the Lisak study -- virtually none of the rapists faced any such risk, ever. To quote him:

[T]he number of rapes that are actually prosecuted is a tiny fraction of the number committed in any year. Between two-third’s and three quarters of all rapes are never reported
to the criminal justice system, and among those that are reported, attrition at
various levels dramatically reduces the number of actual prosecutions.
Ultimately, only a tiny handful of rapists ever serve time for rape


As for the characteristics of rapists -- confusion and misunderstanding isn't the M.O. See above (comment 76 on this thread) for Lisak's profile of characteristics.
posted by bearwife at 11:35 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the way, I meant "her intoxication renders him unable to make a judgment about consent" this as a legal fiction. Maybe there's a particular circumstance where she's hammered and says "I want you to have sex with me." What I'm suggesting is the law should be that as a matter of law, you cannot interpret her statement as consent. Her intoxication impairs your judgment.

And this isn't that unusual. Of course 15-yr old girls can choose to have sex with their boyfriends, but as a matter of law they cannot consent to sex. This makes these marginal cases a lot easier to deal with. The decision doesn't turn on whether or not she gave consent, which is impossible to determine with certainty after the fact. The decision turns merely on whether she was intoxicated (an objectively verifiable conclusion we can draw - she passed out, was stumbling, slurring speech, etc) and whether or not you had sex with her (another verifiable fact).
posted by Pastabagel at 11:37 AM on July 16, 2010


No, there is an incredibly low arrest/conviction rate for rapists.

Who cares? It's a PSA, they lie all the time. They use "You will be caught." PSAs for drunk driving all the time and they look pretty powerful to me compared to "Your Brain on Drugs" stuff at least.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:38 AM on July 16, 2010


No, I reject the idea that rapists are perfectly nice or wonderful people, sorry. People can put on nice fronts but be criminals of all types that is not at all a shock.

That's a bit "no true scotsman," isn't it?

Let's say you have a teacher who is excellent and kind to all her students. You get to know her well, and she listens to you and helps you with your problems academic and otherwise. She gives every indication of being an excellent person, and this continues as you keep in touch with her after you graduate. You see her every week and share stories and go to events together.

Then she goes home with a drunk guy, he passes out on her couch, and she fucks him. While also drunk.

Was she a sociopath all along?
posted by LogicalDash at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's another media article discussing a similar survey in Scotland, and here's the citation for the original report (unfortunately, not the full text.)

from the article:

"One in two young men think rape may be acceptable in certain circumstances and a quarter think it justifiable to hit a woman, according to a report."

Good God, 1 in 2?!?! Who are these people?
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:40 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the way, I meant "her intoxication renders him unable to make a judgment about consent" this as a legal fiction. Maybe there's a particular circumstance where she's hammered and says "I want you to have sex with me." What I'm suggesting is the law should be that as a matter of law, you cannot interpret her statement as consent. Her intoxication impairs your judgment.

What if you don't know she is drunk or impaired with drugs, is it still rape? Alcohol might be a stretch not to detect, but many drugs would be very hard to determine.

In general I agree with you fully here though, the fucking terrible thing about rape laws is there are always going to be issues which are just hard as hell to figure out.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:42 AM on July 16, 2010


Kirk Grim: "
Good God, 1 in 2?!?! Who are these people?
"

Talk to any random group of women, and numbers like this are no longer shocking.
posted by QIbHom at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess my point is that there is a certain absolute subset of men that, given the opportunity and freedom of consequences, will commit rape--violent or otherwise.

If that's true, then isn't it all the more important that the proposed kind of education reach other men, in an effort to change their behavior so that they no longer inadvertently provide so much cover for the rapists?
posted by Miko at 11:44 AM on July 16, 2010



Was she a sociopath all along?


Nope. She also was not a nice or wonderful person which is what I was pointing out, the rapist thing kind of overshadows the rest, that isn't a no true scotsman IMO. The definition of nice and wonderful just kind of precludes it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:45 AM on July 16, 2010


Ouisch: If we want to reduce rape, then maybe this is a good way to do it -- to encourage people to negotiate consent in a more explicit, clear way, and change the cultural norm to expect consent before sex, rather than to assume that lack of objection is good enough.

What generally gets me annoyed in these conversations, is that they devolve into trying to beanplate exactly where we draw the line between rape and permissible behavior ignoring the fact that there's a whole playing field of ethically sketchy behavior between what is prosecuted as rape, and what is lovely, consensual, and hot sex.

furiousxgeorge: I reject that idea that people are that fucking dumb that they don't know it is wrong, it's not stupidity, it's something much worse.

The problem as I see it is that our culture still has a variety of mixed messages regarding sex and consent. So on the one hand, you have feminists arguing for a broader acceptance of "no means no" or "yes means yes." On the other hand, you have multimilionare Joe Francis selling titty movies on the premise that if you get a woman drunk enough she'll do anything.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:45 AM on July 16, 2010


As someone who lived with an RA in college and was therefore privy to many rapes, both reported and unreported, I'll say this: The VAST majority of college rapes are the result of a sociopathic male coming across a woman behaving in a monumentally stupid way.

Since the sociopathic part of this equation is difficulty to address (they look like everyone else and all that), the easiest path to rape prevention is educating potential victims. If it helps, what's the problem?

Also, colleges could prevent an awful lot of rapes by taking accusations seriously, rather than trying to cover up incidents. Repeat offenses are unbelievable common.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:46 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


From that same article with the one in two:


The research by the Zero Tolerance Charitable Trust also reveals one in three girls believe forcing a woman to have sex can be acceptable.


See, this is why I don't buy these types of surveys at face value, I really would like to look at some numbers to see how the hell they came up with that factoid.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:48 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


the easiest path to rape prevention is educating potential victims. If it helps, what's the problem?

I don't think anybody is advocating educating women as to how to protect themselves. Just to also put focus on educating men as to what rape is. It's not an either/or situation.

I know there have been antirape programs targeted at men in the past. I wonder if there are any statistics regarding their effectiveness?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on July 16, 2010


Affirmative consent, or enthusiastic consent, however it is phrased, will be a non-starter for a long time. Totally feasible in the soma-laden utopia where we're each and every one of us completely sexually liberated and are as likely to discuss our favorite things about semen around the dinner table as the oncoming storm, completely impractical in a world where many people are still having "that thing" discussions. "Do you want to do ... that thing?"

Perhaps this is because I am in one of the flyover states, but I have yet to have a direct, level gazes met discussion of oral sex with anyone I've been with, not that I haven't tried. I have had more than one serious partner who got frustrated with my lack of participation in "pressing the issue." If I'm lucky, I get someone who won't stare at her feet while haltingly explaining that a little wrestling before the main event, "... it doesn't feel right if I don't make you work for it ..." is required. Maybe Midwesterners just aren't very talky about these things.

This is where we are. This is where we are at. Until adults and, yes, teenagers feel, very, very comfortable with expressing desire for someone (especially that awkward first time), enthusiastic consent will fall. Meanwhile, we're still passing notes back and forth that are elaborate "Yeah, but do you think he likes me likes me?" messages. Without the foundation of real sexual honesty, sans game-playing, affirmative consent is a proposition that simply won't be taken. I'd personally love the idea to happen, but I don't think it will happen before a great deal of other work is done.
posted by adipocere at 11:49 AM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


Affirmative consent, or enthusiastic consent, however it is phrased, will be a non-starter for a long time.

While I certainly think it's possible for many people on an individual level, I understand that this is a difficulty. And can we recognize that as long as we are pushing a defensive model for female sexuality, we can't simultaneously teach enthusiastic consent with any sincerity.
posted by Miko at 11:53 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps this is because I am in one of the flyover states, but I have yet to have a direct, level gazes met discussion of oral sex with anyone I've been with, not that I haven't tried.

That's funny, I'm a lifelong midwesterner and generally found that people around me were both kinky as heck and very enthusiastic.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:54 AM on July 16, 2010


No, there is an incredibly low arrest/conviction rate for rapists.

Who cares? It's a PSA, they lie all the time


Well, first off, I'm not wild about the idea of promoting lies about something as concerning as the huge falloff between the incidence of rape and any punishment for it.

Also, why on earth would rapists, who typically have a very substantial experience with raping successfully (see Lisak's numbers for how prolific rapists are), be persuaded and dissuaded by a lying PSA anyway?

And finally, why, again, do we think we can wipe out this behavior by appealing to the people who like to do it and are good at accomplishing their goals? Why aren't we interested in learning what the rest of us can do to prevent rape from being so easy to do?
posted by bearwife at 11:54 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's another survey that is cited by several articles on rape or acquaintance rape: Male Proclivity to Rape, 1981.

"In studying the male perspective on rape, Malamuth (1981) found that over one-third of his male sample, under certain circumstances, would commit a rape if they believed that they could get away with it." - Acquaintance Rape Workshops: Their Effectiveness in Changing the Attitudes of First Year College Men, 1996

You can download the Acquaintance Rape Workshops article for free if you register as a guest.

The study apparently found that attitudes toward women were strongly correlated with propensity to rape. Thus, the study found that "small single sex groups, peer facilitation, interactive techniques result[ed] in the largest positive change in attitude."

So perhaps the education programs need not simply consist of "Don't Rape!" but also "Women are human beings" "Women are your equals" and "Women are not objects of sexual pleasure."

And, apparently, it's more effective if men deliver the message to other men. So, if you're one of the many men who aren't part of the problem, you can do something. Stop identifying with rapists in an attempt to defend the male sex at large, and maybe consider getting involved in educating other men to reduce the overall climate of "women suck heh heh heh" that seems to be fertile cultural soil for rape.
posted by Ouisch at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm going to guess that lack of explicit consent does not ALWAYS equal rape. However, the likelihood of it being rape is much higher. Lack of explicit consent is probably a pretty good proxy for rape, but it doesn't mean the two are perfectly equal.

If we want to reduce rape, then maybe this is a good way to do it -- to encourage people to negotiate consent in a more explicit, clear way, and change the cultural norm to expect consent before sex, rather than to assume that lack of objection is good enough.


So you're suggesting that any time two people are getting hot and heavy, they should stop and ask each other, in so many words, "Do you want to have sex?" This is a nice sentiment, and it certainly would reduce misunderstandings, but it's not realistic anywhere outside of Metafilter. People don't work that way, and it's not useful to pretend that they do.
posted by LordSludge at 12:03 PM on July 16, 2010


One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study

I work at StatsCan, and I want to slap every journalist that handwaves a reference to our studies without mentionning what the study was. I sure as heck know we don't have a rape census, so where exactly did he get his data?

I'm looking for a link to the study

Since I work at Stats, I can navigate the website and find the survey mentionned by some of you here. The direct link to the survey is here, click on "view" to see it. It's free.

There is no reference to "money" other than in a definition of murder ("murder is planned and deliberate when it is committed pursuant to an arrangement under which money or anything of value passes or is intended to pass from one person to another,"). There is no reference I can see to male university students being polled for anything.

This is either definitely not the study which provided this data, or else the journalist is completely mistaken about what the study contained and what the results were (which is, unfortunately, very possible). I'd even consider it likely that the journalist read this data in a book which also referenced the "Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends" 2006 study and decided to assume that the study contained these data. Which it doesn't.
posted by splice at 12:05 PM on July 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


>Nope. She also was not a nice or wonderful person which is what I was pointing out, the rapist thing kind of overshadows the rest, that isn't a no true scotsman IMO. The definition of nice and wonderful just kind of precludes it.

Are you suggesting that, when she was doing her excellent job of instructing her students, she was already a bad person, because she would eventually get too drunk and horny with an unconscious person?
posted by LogicalDash at 12:05 PM on July 16, 2010


Talk to any random group of women, and numbers like this are no longer shocking

I get your point, but that's about the last topic I'm gonna bring up with a group of random women.

So perhaps the education programs need not simply consist of "Don't Rape!" but also "Women are human beings" "Women are your equals" and "Women are not objects of sexual pleasure."

For sure, that's got to be the attitude. I wish someone could do a survey right after, with the same sample, where the word "women" is replaced with "your mom" and see if the results change, followed by kicks in the junk all around.

Stop identifying with rapists in an attempt to defend the male sex at large, and maybe consider getting involved in educating other men to reduce the overall climate of "women suck heh heh heh"

This is quite an overstatement. I'm not sure who is identifying with rapists, and I may be a statistical anomaly but I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone that holds these views--if they do, they aren't expressing them to me. it's exactly why I'm shocked by the numbers in these surveys--I've never encountered someone who actually thinks and speaks this way.
posted by Kirk Grim at 12:05 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


So you're suggesting that any time two people are getting hot and heavy, they should stop and ask each other, in so many words, "Do you want to have sex?" This is a nice sentiment, and it certainly would reduce misunderstandings, but it's not realistic anywhere outside of Metafilter. People don't work that way, and it's not useful to pretend that they do.

This has been discussed to death already in a previous thread, but, in short, yes, it is realistic, and some people do live that way.

I think what we should be asking ourselves is why the idea of asking a simple question seems so much less realistic than the idea that waiting for a vociferous objection before stopping (or asking) is the best course of action.

Further reading: Yes Means Yes
posted by Ouisch at 12:05 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Also, negotiating explicit consent can happen in plenty of ways. The BDSM community is already really big on consent, indicating that it doesn't have to happen in the clinical, sterile way it's often presented by people who reflexively disagree -- check it out.)
posted by Ouisch at 12:07 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


"In studying the male perspective on rape, Malamuth (1981) found that over one-third of his male sample, under certain circumstances, would commit a rape if they believed that they could get away with it."

Sounds like sociopaths doing something they know is wrong to me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:07 PM on July 16, 2010


bearwife: Of course, it's unlikely that anything we do will eliminate any form of behavior. Will this kind of education prevent enough rapes to make it worthwhile? Will it prevent the other forms of harmful badness that lie between consent and legal rape?

Those are questions worth considering.

LordSludge: So you're suggesting that any time two people are getting hot and heavy, they should stop and ask each other, in so many words, "Do you want to have sex?" This is a nice sentiment, and it certainly would reduce misunderstandings, but it's not realistic anywhere outside of Metafilter. People don't work that way, and it's not useful to pretend that they do.

Not in so many words, but I've never found this to be a problem. As a hint, if your partner is shouting, "more! more! like that!" you almost certainly have consent.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:07 PM on July 16, 2010



Are you suggesting that, when she was doing her excellent job of instructing her students, she was already a bad person, because she would eventually get too drunk and horny with an unconscious person?


Was Hitler a bad person when he was just a painter? Who gives a fuck?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:10 PM on July 16, 2010


I say yes all the time during sex. I also tell people what I want them to do, and encourage them to do likewise for me.

Phrased correctly, it doesn't interrupt the mood, but ads to it. It's a little something we call pillow talk, baby.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:10 PM on July 16, 2010


Was Hitler a bad person when he was just a painter? Who gives a fuck?

Have you seen his paintings?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:11 PM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


This has been discussed to death already in a previous thread, but, in short, yes, it is realistic, and some people do live that way.

Realistic? Yes. Reasonable? No. I don't think I have explain why I oppose some self-annointed arbiter of sexual politics dictating to me how to behave with the people I sleep with so long as that behavior doesn't violate any laws.
posted by gagglezoomer at 12:12 PM on July 16, 2010


I don't think I have explain why I oppose some self-annointed arbiter of sexual politics dictating to me how to behave with the people I sleep with so long as that behavior doesn't violate any laws.

Good for you. I have no interest in what you do in the bedroom. But why get defensive about other people choosing to do this?
posted by Ouisch at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge, you've been rather adamant in this thread that only sociopaths and "bad people" commit rape. If you're going to say that raping someone turns you into a bad person, that is a different argument.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:14 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


How much pressure do you believe it is acceptable to place on a woman to say yes, and what is the minimum amount of pressure that constitutes rape?

Tough question without an easy answer. Do kisses count as "pressure"? Is it "rape" to get a previously skeptical woman so turned on that she pounces you?

How many times does a woman have to say no before you respect her right to self-determination?

I dunno. How many times does a man have to say no? Hell, do ANY women here ask men permission before having sex with them? (Does the thought even occur?) The uncomfortable truth is that it depends on the "no" -- the actual language, how it's delivered, the circumstances, etc., etc. Really, you should be able to read the body language and cut out unwanted attention/affection long before you get an explicit "no".
posted by LordSludge at 12:18 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've no time or patience for reading comments after Mr. Excellent, but I'll make this comment about rape :

Rape of females and murder of males are biological functions preprogrammed into human males. Males living in tribal societies murder one another all the fucking time, seriously. Yet, we've largely handled murder outside social segments jettisoned by society. Why not rape?

Really, that's the whole question. Why hasn't rape been disposed of like murder was? That's an extremely fair question. Why murder but not rape?

In fact, we preserved as socially acceptable limited forms of murder, namely dueling, very late into our development. Why? Easy, we needed dueling to corral, limit, and control murder.

How does one accomplish this for rape? Well, maybe more promiscuous women? For example, cheap ubiquitous prostitution sounds extremely plausible if your thinking dueling. I'll therefore conjecture that societies with the highest levels of acceptance for prostitution experience the lowest rape rates, excluding their immigrant populations who've fuck up ideas about sex.

Anti-rape activists have done themselves great disservice by spreading the meme that "rape is a crime of violence, not a sex crime". I'm sure that message carries great weight with protestants that just want women getting married and bearing children, but it's simply wrong.

Rape and murder exist however entirely for reproductive purposes, just like most other human activities, well just examine your favorite animal species. And like murder, rape can be eliminated only by tackling it's underlying programming.

Btw, we also long preserved another form of murder called caning when the murderer was higher social status than the victim, which supports any assertion about blaming the unequal social status between men and women too.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, you've been rather adamant in this thread that only sociopaths and "bad people" commit rape.

If I have said that it was not my intention, as I clarified earlier I believe the subset who don't think it is wrong to commit rape are sociopaths or otherwise bad people in response to the argument that "Don't Rape" education will put a serious dent in rapes.

I really just don't see rapists considering, "Is this wrong or not?" I think they know, they consider, "Can I get away with this or not?" which is why I like the idea of PSAs saying they will get caught and convicted. Or if you are uncomfortable about lying, at least some PSAs about the severe penalties.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2010


KirkJobSluder, we had a recent post about how ineffective education is at changing people's minds (although better when preceded by positive reinforcement, not something we're going to be giving rapists.) Also, the Lisak article I linked to above points out what is well known to those of us who work in the sexual assault field -- even treatment, tailored to the client, and including a very intense educational component, is fairly ineffective at dealing with people who commit sexual assault.

So -- no, educating rapists not to do it doesn't make much sense to me. They like what they do, they plan for it, and they experience repeated rewarding responses, i.e. getting what they want without facing any negative consequences. Education is not going to stop that.

Plus, again, I'm not convinced that rapists are just confused. That's not what any study shows. They are, rather, very calculating and practiced.

Lastly, I have to say that I'm not sold that there is some mysterious area of dubious but OK sexual behavior that is not consensual. In my own rather long life, and in experience dealing with sexual assault, the line is when a person doesn't consent or can't because they are disabled or intoxicated. The line is also crossed when a person says "no" and another person responds by getting "persuasive."
posted by bearwife at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other words: the suggestion to change norms always meets with the argument that such change is either not realistic or reasonable or even possible. The proposition to change the norm from "no objection = yes" to "explicit consent = yes" is no different in this regard.
posted by Ouisch at 12:21 PM on July 16, 2010


I dunno. How many times does a man have to say no?

Once.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rape of females and murder of males are biological functions preprogrammed into human males.

Hey, don't forget child molesting and animal torture!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


>The uncomfortable truth is that it depends on the "no" -- the actual language, how it's delivered, the circumstances, etc., etc. Really, you should be able to read the body language and cut out unwanted attention/affection long before you get an explicit "no".

I sure hope you never end up hitting on any autistic people.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2010


Yet, we've largely handled murder outside social segments jettisoned by society. Why not rape?

Really, that's the whole question. Why hasn't rape been disposed of like murder was? That's an extremely fair question. Why murder but not rape?


Rape can be a lot harder to prove. Hopefully we get better and better with stuff like DNA evidence, but even that only proves there was sex.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:23 PM on July 16, 2010


LordSludge: Really, you should be able to read the body language and cut out unwanted attention/affection long before you get an explicit "no".

True, and if you don't know how to read the other person's body language, there's nothing wrong with talking about what you want.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:23 PM on July 16, 2010


One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her,” “if he’s stoned or drunk,” or “if they have been dating for a long time.”

I am just amazed to hear this. Does the question really say "Is it OK to force intercourse on a woman if (a) if he spends money on her; (b) if he's stoned or drunk; (c) or if they have been dating for a long time?"

I just find it hard to believe that anyone who wasn't being a smart ass would say something like that. Usually these jokers are working on a projected consent.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:25 PM on July 16, 2010


Really, that's the whole question. Why hasn't rape been disposed of like murder was? That's an extremely fair question. Why murder but not rape?

Rape can be a lot harder to prove. Hopefully we get better and better with stuff like DNA evidence, but even that only proves there was sex.


The underlying act in murder is homocide, the killing of another human being. It is very rarely legally done. The underlying act in rape is sex, which is perfectly legal and engaged in consentually all of the time. Makes it a lot different.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


No one can find a link to the actual study yet Ironmouth.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno. How many times does a man have to say no? Hell, do ANY women here ask men permission before having sex with them? (Does the thought even occur?)

Uh, yes? If I want sex and my SO isn't in the mood, that's that. If he wants sex and I don't, that is also that. I'm not going to cajole or try to browbeat him into it nor will he cajole or browbeat me. This is an insulting question.
posted by bewilderbeast at 12:35 PM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Rape of females and murder of males are biological functions preprogrammed into human males.

There is no evidence that there is any such thing as "programming" or "preprogramming" in human males or any other human. This is made up. Point me to one actual study actually finding the place of "programming" and the actual location of the "code" that "programs" human males to do this. There are none.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


bearwife: Lastly, I have to say that I'm not sold that there is some mysterious area of dubious but OK sexual behavior that is not consensual. In my own rather long life, and in experience dealing with sexual assault, the line is when a person doesn't consent or can't because they are disabled or intoxicated. The line is also crossed when a person says "no" and another person responds by getting "persuasive."

Well, that last line is exactly one of the things that gets debated here on metafilter. But really? I can think of a bunch of really sketchy sexual behaviors including:

* emotionally badgering the other person until they give in
* quid pro quo sexual harassment
* using threats of economic retaliation
* relationships where there's a huge whopping power imbalance

There was a whole essay I think posted here in regards to "not-rape" of people feeling that they've been violated sexually but are unwilling to classify as rape or sexual assault for a variety of reasons: rape was threatened but not actually done, the violation didn't go beyond groping fondling, they consented under a sense of obligation or fear of consequences.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:40 PM on July 16, 2010


OK, there is no Stats Canada study from 2006. Instead, the statistic appears to come from a book entitled Dangerous domains: violence against women in Canada. written by Holly Johnson in 1996.

Referring page here. Since it costs $39.95, I think we aren't going to get a look at the survey.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:44 PM on July 16, 2010


Yes, I linked the book up there.
posted by Ouisch at 12:47 PM on July 16, 2010


Hell, do ANY women here ask men permission before having sex with them? (Does the thought even occur?)

Yes. It's phrased "Hey honey, do you want to have sex tonight?"
posted by desjardins at 12:48 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's discouraging that the first 5-6 comments for this article attempt to downplay and undermine the basic message of this article.
posted by Wayman Tisdale at 12:49 PM on July 16, 2010


Astro Zombie: "I dunno. How many times does a man have to say no?"

Once.


I know you're generalising and all, but my personal experience most certainly does not bear this out. I'm not going to paint myself as a victim of some horrible injustice, exactly, and was always technically and physically capable of asserting the both spoken and implicit lack of consent, but there are at least some females that don't seem to realise that no means no, or that careful emotional manipulation is not an acceptable way to woo somebody.

That being said, it's easy to see careful emotional manipulation where the supposed manipulator would not be aware of any such thing.
posted by Dysk at 12:52 PM on July 16, 2010


Yeah guys, the article is not about education efforts directed at men, it's about shifting the responsibility from the victim for not acting prudently enough to the men who actually commit the assaults.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:54 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


there are at least some females that don't seem to realise that no means no, or that careful emotional manipulation is not an acceptable way to woo somebody.

Yes; I've experienced that too. They're in the wrong. I should have said that men should only have to say no once.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2010


But really? I can think of a bunch of really sketchy sexual behaviors including:

* emotionally badgering the other person until they give in
* quid pro quo sexual harassment
* using threats of economic retaliation
* relationships where there's a huge whopping power imbalance

There was a whole essay I think posted here in regards to "not-rape" of people feeling that they've been violated sexually but are unwilling to classify as rape or sexual assault for a variety of reasons: rape was threatened but not actually done, the violation didn't go beyond groping fondling, they consented under a sense of obligation or fear of consequences.


Are we really in disagreement here that all these behaviors are wrong, not just "sketchy?" And does anyone really think that sexual harassment or emotional badgering or compelling sex through threats of economic retaliation is OK? (Re the last, whopping power imbalance, that is actually pretty much one of the ways rape is defined in my jurisdiction.) Again, I don't think people do any of these things out of confusion, but because they can get away with them.

I'm not saying every rape or sexual assault can be prosecuted -- far from it! -- but that it isn't that hard for all of us in society to see the line and hence aim to try to prevent it from being crossed.
posted by bearwife at 12:58 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


'Should' makes all the difference. I apologise for the misunderstanding.
posted by Dysk at 12:58 PM on July 16, 2010


Here's another citation of a similar survey:

Pirog-Good and Stets (1989) reported that 39% of male students surveyed indicated it was "all right" to force sex if a girl was "stoned" or "drunk." (from Pirog-Good, M.A. & Stets J.E. (1989) Violence in dating relationships. NY: Praeger.)
posted by Ouisch at 1:02 PM on July 16, 2010


I'd just like to note that there are public policy alternatives other than education campaigns teaching "Don’t get raped" or "Don’t rape." There's a lot we can do to make things safer for everyone.

With a small city policy change, one of the rapes described in Part 2 might never have happened.

I'm not surprised to see that these attacks took place in Halifax. A few years ago, when I was president of the Dalhousie Student Union, we undertook a survey of student experiences of crime and violence in the city (report here). We gathered more than 1,500 responses.

The results were shocking. Among other things, we found that more than 8% of female students reported being sexually assaulted within the last 12 months.

Our major recommendation coming out of the report was for the city to implement a late-night bus system for students traveling between the downtown and the neighborhoods where a majority of them live.

There's a reason Laura "gratefully said yes" when her racist rapist offered to walk her home from the Ale House (which is open until 3:30am). Halifax has been plagued by high-profile assaults called swarmings and her route home (similar to the route taken by most students) takes her though areas that can become very dangerous late at night.

For her, walking home with the guy, even if he was a bit sketchy, seemed like the safer alternative. She was trying to be smart.

If there were fast, safe public transit to take her right from the bar to her door, however, her calculation might have been different.

HRM Metro Transit conducted a study to see what an effective late-night bus system would cost and found it to be $500,000 a year (then they tried to hide the report, but that's a different story). That's a tiny slice of the city budget and happens to be about a quarter of the money that Metro Transit is now making off the new mandatory university student bus passes. It wouldn't have been hard to implement.

Unfortunately, the arc of a moral universe is long. The policy was never implemented, the mayoral candidate who backed the plan lost in the next election, the students who supported it graduated and moved on and the interest group we founded to push for this kind of policy change over the long term seems to have disintegrated.

Still, it didn't have to be that way.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 1:06 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]



Pirog-Good and Stets (1989) reported that 39% of male students surveyed indicated it was "all right" to force sex if a girl was "stoned" or "drunk." (from Pirog-Good, M.A. & Stets J.E. (1989) Violence in dating relationships. NY: Praeger.)


Sounds like a bunch of sociopaths doing something they know is wrong if they can get away with it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:07 PM on July 16, 2010


Are we really in disagreement here that all these behaviors are wrong, not just "sketchy?" And does anyone really think that sexual harassment or emotional badgering or compelling sex through threats of economic retaliation is OK? (Re the last, whopping power imbalance, that is actually pretty much one of the ways rape is defined in my jurisdiction.) Again, I don't think people do any of these things out of confusion, but because they can get away with them.

You and I, no. Are there some people who feel entitled to "get away with it" in some cases? Unfortunately, yes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:08 PM on July 16, 2010


Louis CK "Rape"
posted by pianomover at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


That Pirog-Good Stets study looks interesting, too bad I can't read it.

This research examines the relationship between aggression and the interpersonal process of control during courtship. A sample of white heterosexual college dating relationships is examined. Data are collected on men and women inflicting and sustaining minor and severe aggression during courtship. The results show that across relationships, men are no more likely than women to control. This challenges the notion that men are more likely to control interpersonally because of their control in the wider society. Furthermore, control predicts inflicting and sustaining minor but not severe aggression. This suggests that the causal factors influencing minor aggression are different from those affecting severe aggression.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2010


>Hell, do ANY women here ask men permission before having sex with them? (Does the thought even occur?)

Yes. It's phrased "Hey honey, do you want to have sex tonight?"


Then you're one of the rare and wonderful ones! FYI, this almost never happens, at least not explicitly. It's usually, "Hey, what are you doing later?" or "Hey, want to come over and watch a movie with me?" or :smoochie-smochie: "Wow, I'm so turned on..." etc..

How I *wish* we lived in a world where people could routinely and commonly say "Hey, you want to have sex tonight?" Let's work towards that!
posted by LordSludge at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


You and I, no. Are there some people who feel entitled to "get away with it" in some cases? Unfortunately, yes.

Absolutely. And those folks are, to quote Dr. Lisak, predatory.

I do really think it is useful for the rest of us to be clear about wrongful behavior to, one hopes, help to prevent them from doing it in the first place.
posted by bearwife at 1:32 PM on July 16, 2010


But you have to think carefully about the significance of what you are saying. You are saying that intoxicated women cannot consent, but intoxicated men can. This is taking the view that women lose the ability to control themselves, when it reality it's the man initiating sex with the intoxicated woman that can't control himself.

With all due respect, Pastabagel I used gender-neutral language for a reason. The women/men part you added on your own.

In reality, there is a vulnerable party in all relationships; the more intoxicated one would be more vulnerable. I think there's some merit to helping people identify when their partner might be more vulnerable and to err on the side of caution when you know so.
posted by Hiker at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


One or two of the girls I have dated have done the same weird thing: acting like they're withdrawing consent and then, the next day, asking me what happened last night and why didn't you take the initiative, can't you tell when I'm playing? I think I'd be a lot less afraid of relationships if this didn't happen.
posted by tehloki at 1:42 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


How I *wish* we lived in a world where people could routinely and commonly say "Hey, you want to have sex tonight?" Let's work towards that!

I think it's a little different when you're in a long-term relationship. There's a risk of rejection that particular evening, sure, but you know you're going to get it sometime. There's a much bigger risk of rejection in dating, and this leads to a lot of tapdancing around the subject and "so... umm.... do you want to... you know..." etc.

Years ago I went out with a guy I really liked. We went back to his place, he put on some sultry jazz and poured some wine, and we danced in his living room. We ended up making out on the couch, and... that was it. He said welp, I'll take you home now. I was really pretty upset because I was sure of what was going to happen, based on the context. After that I found it much easier to just ask what the guy meant by "let's go back to my/your place."
posted by desjardins at 1:43 PM on July 16, 2010


I do really think it is useful for the rest of us to be clear about wrongful behavior to, one hopes, help to prevent them from doing it in the first place.

Perhaps more importantly, there's a larger number of people who don't rape but will make excuses for rape based on the belief that the victim was "asking for it."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2010


One or two of the girls I have dated have done the same weird thing: acting like they're withdrawing consent and then, the next day, asking me what happened last night and why didn't you take the initiative, can't you tell when I'm playing? I think I'd be a lot less afraid of relationships if this didn't happen.

You probably should be afraid of these young women. I'd steer clear of them until they learn to communicate clearly. Or stop playing head games.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:50 PM on July 16, 2010


Perhaps more importantly, there's a larger number of people who don't rape but will make excuses for rape based on the belief that the victim was "asking for it."

There sure are such people. One egregious case is the notorious one on which The Accused was based, in which others laughed and cheered as the victim was raped. A more common example is college parties where other people do nothing to stop a drunken victim from being taken to a different room and raped. (Again, I would cite to Lisak's research.)

It's pretty critical that we all start getting educated on our role in stopping this, rather than being enablers.
posted by bearwife at 1:53 PM on July 16, 2010


You want to argue that rapists aren't sociopaths?

My rapist wasn't a sociopath. He was a friend of mine. And he knew it was important to get my consent. He just didn't realize that coercing my consent via 3+ hours of badgering, intimidation, and locking me in his room over a break when there were very few people in the dorm wasn't a good way to get it.

When I told him, later, that I considered his behavior to have been rape, he was very upset. He threw up, he was a wreck for days, he suggested we go to the Dean to try and mediate the tension. The Dean suggested I withdraw from school for a semester to try and work on my feelings, so that's what I did. To the best of my knowledge, he never received any punishment or consequences for his actions.
posted by KathrynT at 2:03 PM on July 16, 2010


He locked you in a room against your will and later acted like he had no idea that was wrong? Yeah, sounds like a sociopath to me.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:14 PM on July 16, 2010


Sounds like a bunch of sociopaths doing something they know is wrong if they can get away with it.

Now we've gone from 20% of male college students are sociopaths to 39%.

How does one accomplish this for rape? Well, maybe more promiscuous women? For example, cheap ubiquitous prostitution sounds extremely plausible if your thinking dueling. I'll therefore conjecture that societies with the highest levels of acceptance for prostitution experience the lowest rape rates, excluding their immigrant populations who've fuck up ideas about sex.

Well that's simply not true. Australia has widely decriminalized prostitution and also has the third highest rape rate in the world and is a hub of sex trafficking (which is also rape). I don't think that designating a group of women as "unrapable" (prostitutes) does a service to any women.

Also, and I'm not trying to derail I actually want to know, when people talk about prison rape and that men in prison are more likely to be raped than women outside of prison, do they account for rapes of female prisoners?
posted by Danila at 2:19 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right, furiousxgeorge, I'm sure you're much more capable of judging his mental fitness than I am. After all, I knew him for years, while you've read two whole paragraphs about him on the internet!

He protested that he didn't lock me in the room against my will -- if I'd really made it clear that I really wanted to go, he'd have let me go. He was just playing around, see. I've known sociopaths; he wasn't one. He was a bully and an asshole, but there was nothing DSM-IV diagnosable about him.
posted by KathrynT at 2:21 PM on July 16, 2010



Now we've gone from 20% of male college students are sociopaths to 39%.


...but no alarm bells go off when you read 39% are rapists. As I said before, I don't buy the numbers in the surveys, and I have no idea what questions they asked or how they asked them. But if you tell me someone thinks it is okay to force sex on someone, I say they are a sociopath not a poor little dear who just needs education and a PSA or two.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:22 PM on July 16, 2010


In fact, murder was frequently done legally up until the previous century or so, Ironmouth. We took centuries working out exactly why & how murder happens, isolating those events, and finally eliminating them.

Also, biological programming isn't like computer programming, the genes exist for a historical reason, like elimination sperm competition through murder or flying in straight lines, but the behaviors they create are fairly easily repurposed for sports or flying in circles around lightbulbs. Maybe rapists don't masturbate enough?

In any case, DUIs are an interesting example where "get tough on crime" coupled with education largely eliminated a harmful behavior. So all the people saying "education and prosecution" could easily be right, so we should try that approach, well that's the point of the original article.

I'm just saying that we should not ignore the larger historical picture either, which very well might mean also legalizing and destigmatizing prostitution, and encouraging pornography.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:23 PM on July 16, 2010


Furiousxgeorge, do you have any background in clinical psychology or psychiatry? Are you familiar with the diagnostic criteria for sociopathy, or are you just using it as a synonym for "not-particularly-nice-person"?
posted by KathrynT at 2:24 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


*trigger warning*

The Dean suggested I withdraw from school for a semester to try and work on my feelings, so that's what I did. To the best of my knowledge, he never received any punishment or consequences for his actions.

He locked you in a room against your will and later acted like he had no idea that was wrong? Yeah, sounds like a sociopath to me.

Was the Dean a sociopath too? He didn't seem to think it was wrong either (or certainly not rape). That's the whole point. The focus was on what she should do ("work on her feelings" UGH) and not on the actions of the rapist.

Arguing over whether or not they are sociopaths is a way to hand-wave away the actual behaviors involved in rape and the condonation of rape by those in a position to do something about it.

Back to the drunk driving analogy, a lot of the negative messages have been aimed at the driver as well as those around him or her. "Friends don't let friends drive drunk", designated driving, fining bars that serve drunks, etc. Why not do something similar with rape? Maybe start with federal prosecutions of schools that repeatedly take insufficient measures to combat campus rapes.
posted by Danila at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look, you knew him so well you were and are convinced he is a nice guy but actually he is a fucking rapist piece of shit, so yeah I think knowing that last part is enough for me to decide.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2010


Was the Dean a sociopath too?

The Dean did not know the whole story, because the nice guy who is not at all sociopathic was lying about it apparently.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:28 PM on July 16, 2010


When did I say he was a nice guy? He's a bully and an asshole. What he is NOT is a sociopath, any more than he's bipolar or autistic. There are specific diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is what they call sociopathy now, and he doesn't fit them.
posted by KathrynT at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]



Arguing over whether or not they are sociopaths is a way to hand-wave away the actual behaviors involved in rape and the condonation of rape by those in a position to do something about it.


Discussing the potential causes of a crime in no way implies lack of condemnation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:32 PM on July 16, 2010


The Dean did not know the whole story, because the nice guy who is not at all sociopathic was lying about it apparently.

I'm sorry, were you there? I told the truth about the story; Rapist Asshole (please stop calling him a nice guy, there's nothing nice about it) agreed with my version of events. I don't know what axe you have to grind, but you are seriously off-base here.
posted by KathrynT at 2:32 PM on July 16, 2010


jeffburdges, it's really ridiculous of you to keep claiming that there is some sort of historical or biological impetus for men to murder other men and rape women. As Ironmouth said above, it's bullshit, it's something that can't be proven, it's just hand-wavy, "yeah well a long time ago guys were really ROUGH all the time in order to get their way because, because . . . babies!" Back it up with something or drop it. Otherwise I'll have to start coming up with my own bullshit and state it as unequivocal truth.

FACT: women are biologically programmed to like the color pink because flowers are pink and they were gatherers in hunter/gatherer societies.

FACT: men enjoy sitting around watching sports because when they were hunters they would have to sit around in the woods watching animals frolic and learn their ways before they killed them.

FACT: women are stupid because this one time this really hot girl didn't see how cool I was she just wanted to date the homecoming king because his dad was rich.

FACT: men like to listen to loud music because it shows women how tough you are and if they know you're tough then they know you'll protect their babies better.

FACT: women don't like tough men because they're programmed to be concerned about the safety of their babies and they don't want violent men around their babies.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:33 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I question why you would be friends with a bully and an asshole, but that is your decision to make.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:33 PM on July 16, 2010


...but no alarm bells go off when you read 39% are rapists

First of all, that's not what it says. I think you've been misreading the statistics all along. They don't say 39% have committed rape (as David Lisak's work establishes, it's actually a small number who rape and they do so repeatedly). They say 39% see rape as excusable/justifiable in certain circumstances.

And no alarm bells go off because I know that the world in general, and US society specifically, has a lackadaisical attitude toward when. No alarm bells go off when I know, for example, that marital rape wasn't completely outlawed in the US until 1993, and not in Germany until 1997. And it's still not illegal in India. In fact, the world, both developed and undeveloped, has a real crappy record with regard to the rape of wives. And the rape of prisoners. And prostitutes. And teenage girls. And college students. So no I'm not surprised at all.
posted by Danila at 2:33 PM on July 16, 2010


jeffburdges: In fact, murder was frequently done legally up until the previous century or so

No it wasn't. That's a contradiction of terms. Lots of perfectly legal killing might have happened, sure, but given that 'murder' means 'unlawful killing', lawful murder is impossible.

(Sorry, pet peeve)
posted by Dysk at 2:34 PM on July 16, 2010


He protested that he didn't lock me in the room against my will.

I told the truth about the story; Rapist Asshole (please stop calling him a nice guy, there's nothing nice about it) agreed with my version of events.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:34 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousgeorge did you mean to go there with the victim-blaming?

You need to step away because I don't think you truly want to go there, you're just being fighty. I'll help by not responding to you anymore.
posted by Danila at 2:37 PM on July 16, 2010


I question why you would be friends with a bully and an asshole, but that is your decision to make.

I was in college. It's not the only poor decision I made in college. Was I asking for it by being his friend? Should I have prevented my own rape by being more savvy about who I chose to be friends with?

This is exactly the point of the article. By calling this guy a sociopath, you let him off the hook. If he's a sociopath, then he is a broken man who has no concept of empathy or social norms, no concept of the rights of other people. If he's a sociopath, he's sick.

He wasn't sick. He knew about empathy; he even had some, on occasion. If he were a sociopath, he wouldn't have been upset to learn that I considered his behavior rape. No, he was an ordinary, run of the mill, selfish, self-absorbed asshole, like thousands of other college-age men. Don't try to excuse his behavior by pathologizing it.
posted by KathrynT at 2:38 PM on July 16, 2010 [12 favorites]


First of all, that's not what it says. I think you've been misreading the statistics all along.

Look, if you are willing to commit a rape if you know you won't get caught, as some of these links have described the numbers they are citing, you are a rapist. You are just waiting for the right time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:38 PM on July 16, 2010


It's pretty critical that we all start getting educated on our role in stopping this, rather than being enablers.

It's a toughie, though. I recall being in a bar in Toronto about 6 or 7 years back. One largely male group was quite visibly intoxicated and beligerent, and the woman that was with them looked as though she was drugged or about to pass out. She could barely sit up and was really sloppy. We kept an eye on them, in no small part because there weren't many people in the bar. When we left the bar, we were out front discussing where to go and get some food. The group walks by, with a couple of guys carrying the apparently unconscious woman out with them, and they're talking about going to "the park". This set off a few alarms for us, so we went up to a cop car that was parked up the street and told them there was this group of guys over there carrying an unconscious girl to a park and, you know, maybe you should go check on that.

We saw the cop car drive up next to them and stop, and it looked like they asked the guys a few questions, then moved on, as did the group of guys carrying the unconscious woman. We had all assumed the worst and still have no idea what was going on there. Personally I would have like to have seen the cops take the woman with them, but do they even have the ability to do that? Maybe I was wrong about what I was seeing, I dunno, it seems fishy to me. It's difficult to know; she could have just as easily been one of the dudes' little sister or something.

I mean, when my wife and I were dating and college-aged, there were certainly a few times where she had a few too many drinks at a party and I took her to another room, but rather than with sinister purposes it was for her to lie down and have some water (or go puke her guts out as the case may be). Now this thread has shown me that I've been fortunate in my life and gifted with friends who are actually good people that I don't need to worry about. But should people have been alarmed at what I did when I took my (now) wife to another room? Would the other people at the party have been enablers because they didn't stop me? I think there's room for people giving other people the benefit of the doubt sometimes and to not be personally responsible for things other people may or may not do.

Also, buddy please stop with the sociopath thing. Even if you're right, I think we can all agree that you don't have to have a diagnosable psychological disorder to do something you know is wrong because you think you can get away with it.

I question why you would be friends with a bully and an asshole, but that is your decision to make

I'm pretty much an asshole and I have plenty of friends; it's not unusual. This and the sociopath thing make me wonder if you're aware of the fact people are always flawed and usually hypocrites.
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:40 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge, that's not how those labels tend to work. You're not a dockworker unless you work docks. You're not a murderer unless you've committed at least one unlawful killing. Fox be fucking damned, you're not a terrorist unless you've committed an act of terror. Likewise, you're not a rapist unless you have at least attempted a rape. If you insist on a term for the huge proportion of idiotic men around, 'potential rapists' is more accurate, if no less inflammatory.
posted by Dysk at 2:42 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not blaming anyone, don't be assholes.

Point A: I can evaluate him better because I knew him.

Me: But you thought he was nice but he turned out to be a rapist...

Point B: I never thought he was nice, he was a bully and an asshole.

Me: But you were friends with him...SO OBVIOUSLY YOU THOUGHT HE WAS NICE AT SOME POINT.

I'm simply commenting that knowing someone doesn't mean you are always the best person to judge them, which should be obvious since most rapes are committed by known people and relatives.

I'm NOT saying you got raped because you like to hang out with assholes, I'm saying assholes can look like nice guys, and you guys fucking know that so don't get bullying about it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:44 PM on July 16, 2010


But you were friends with him...SO OBVIOUSLY YOU THOUGHT HE WAS NICE AT SOME POINT.

You know, you've gone from being completely uninterested in anything that's not your opinion to telling people what their own experiences are and what they think. I think you need a break, dude.
posted by Hiker at 2:45 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: You're not doing yourself any favors here. Sociopathy is a very rare thing and it would be great if you'd stop using it as some sort of catch-all pseudo diagnosis. The people you're talking about are mostly not sociopaths..
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge, because of circumstances (and almost invariably not by choice per se) I have ended up 'friends' with people I loathe many times. It tends to end pretty badly (eventually) but it can take a lot of months of just biting yer tongue so as not to rock the broader social-group the boat. My point being: you can be friends with someone who you recognise as an arsehole. Maybe they amuse you, or something. Even if not, it does happen.
posted by Dysk at 2:47 PM on July 16, 2010


And what *I* am saying is that "asshole" != "sociopath." If what you mean to say is "asshole," then say "asshole," but "sociopath" has a very specific meaning which doesn't apply here.

I never thought he was nice. I thought he was cool. Plenty of cool people aren't nice. And the protests he made were to me, in private, not in front of the Dean.
posted by KathrynT at 2:47 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think KathrynT's story is more central to the issue than anything else I've seen in this thread. Rapist Dude (that's what he is) did not realize that his behavior was rape. He thought he had the right, or that it wasn't wrong to pressure and coerce, or whatever else. That is the problem. Normal, nice, non-sociopathic people believe this stuff, and then they go out and put it into practice, and nobody is telling them it's wrong. Even after the fact, once they realize what they did, the focus shifts to the victim - what did you do wrong, why were you friends with that guy, etc etc.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having friends in college. There is everything wrong with containing a college friend in your room and not letting them out until they agree to fuck you. Or inviting a girl over and getting her so drunk that she can't properly say no or yes. Or assuming that, because you are in a committed relationship and have already had sex, that you can get sex from your significant other whenever you want it. That is the problem. Rape culture isn't about freaks in alleys with knives -- it's about perfectly ordinary people doing very sketchy shit and believing that they have the right to do it.
posted by cmyk at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2010 [11 favorites]


Look, if you are willing to commit a rape if you know you won't get caught, as some of these links have described the numbers they are citing, you are a rapist. You are just waiting for the right time.

Look, if you aren't willing to admit your concept of what makes a person a sociopath is different from the psychiatric community, you aren't that bright. You are just looking for the littlest excuse to diagnose people you haven't met based on one action.
posted by Green With You at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge, that's not how those labels tend to work.

I understand what you are saying, but I'm gonna disagree in this case. If you are in a state where you will rape when the opportunity presents itself that sounds like a rapist to me. It's pure chance it hasn't happened yet. On a MORAL level I mean, I understand the legal distinction.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:52 PM on July 16, 2010


You guys, I have made several distinct arguments in this thread.


Look, if you aren't willing to admit your concept of what makes a person a sociopath is different from the psychiatric community, you aren't that bright. You are just looking for the littlest excuse to diagnose people you haven't met based on one action.


What you just quoted did not fucking say that, at all.

I'm putting forth an opinion you guys disagree with, I get that. I'm not here remotely excusing or condoning rape so back off on the histrionics. I'm not saying all rapists are psychopaths or sociopaths, I am saying a subset certainly are.

All I'm saying is it is bullshit how easily someone wants to excuse people for terrible behavior with, "Oh, they just didn't know any better."

That is the most dismissive pile of crap type of argument I have ever heard.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:56 PM on July 16, 2010


He locked you in a room against your will and later acted like he had no idea that was wrong? Yeah, sounds like a sociopath to me.

Look, the whole sociopath or not argument is completely pointless. In my opinion "sociopath" refers to a specific personality disorder that can't be diagnosed by something as simple as "did something which falls under the definition of rape and did not think it was wrong," but it's fine if you want to use the label sociopath to refer to the people that fit that definition. What I don't agree with is your assertion that having a public discussion about what kinds of sexual behaviors are harmful to women with the intention of reducing sexual assault is a bad idea.

You say that when it comes to rape, people already know what they are doing is wrong or are somehow broken in a way that they will never figure out it's wrong, and I think you are just making this up. That claim amounts to saying that no one has ever prevented a single instance of rape by promoting healthy social norms around sexual behavior, which I don't think is backed up by any actual evidence. As brina pointed out, it's at least the case that many kids start engaging in sexual activity before they really understand adult social norms, and right versus wrong behavior can be understandably difficult for them if they are only taught that all sexual activity is wrong in general. I'm not naive enough to think that the entire problem can be solved by getting everyone in a room and talking it out, but sex in general tends to be a subject that isn't talked about openly in public and there is probably room for more discussions about specific harmful sexual behaviors.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:57 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: you said, above, "You want to argue that rapists aren't sociopaths?"

If there's a way to read that that isn't "I believe that rapists are sociopaths," then I'd love to hear it. If you never intended to imply that you believe that every single person who forces sex on another person is a sociopath, then you may want to clarify that and retract your previous statements.
posted by KathrynT at 3:02 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we mutually agree that we're not going to agree with furiousxgeorge about the definition of sociopath? This conversation is slipping onto a side road that has me worried.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:04 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge: I don't think it's excusing people for their terrible behavior by noting that quite a bit of what we consider to be terrible things appears to be strongly influenced by the culture we live in, and that perhaps changing the culture might actually change the incidence of behavior. We no longer keep slaves or display human body parts as a deterrent for example.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:04 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, AZ, I need to walk away and fix a broken sink drain anyway. Thanks for the nudge.
posted by KathrynT at 3:04 PM on July 16, 2010


There've been a lot of good points made; I've favorited a lot of points that resonated from various camps. I've noted a pleasantly low misandry factor for the discussion, though those thoughts seem to still make their appearance with remarks about how men are "programmed for rape" or so. I hope exponents of such ideas can reflect on their remarks and be suitably disappointed with themselves. Those sorts of sentiments make discussions of these matters entirely inaccessible to many men.

Let us not forget that rape can happen to any person of any gender or physiology. Some statistics show women as the main victims of rape, I would not endeavour to dispute this, though gathering accurate statistics on this are difficult for obvious reasons including varying definitions of rape, varying definitions of femininity and varying perceptions of fault.

Instead, I would encourage anyone reviewing these statistics and articles to consider that just as there are cultural factors influencing women to under-report sexual assault there are even stronger forces discouraging men to report sexual assaults and that for similar reasons sexual assaults by female assailants are probably the most under-reported of all.

A great injustice could come from the wrong approach and focus: women entirely empowered to report rape with men and others still feeling shamed into silence.

It's time to banish language about gender, anatomy and categories from the discussion of rape and expand the discussion (while still focusing on rape prevention) to be about the right to self-determination and bodily integrity of all humans, which I feel it ultimately is.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 3:06 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I don't agree with is your assertion that having a public discussion about what kinds of sexual behaviors are harmful to women with the intention of reducing sexual assault is a bad idea.

Holy Shit folks, just because you disagree doesn't give you free reign to make shit up about what I'm saying, which a lot of the rest of your post did too so I'm not gonna bother.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:06 PM on July 16, 2010



furiousxgeorge: you said, above, "You want to argue that rapists aren't sociopaths?"

If there's a way to read that that isn't "I believe that rapists are sociopaths," then I'd love to hear it. If you never intended to imply that you believe that every single person who forces sex on another person is a sociopath, then you may want to clarify that and retract your previous statements.


The point was to point out the absurdity of even bothering with such an argument since they undisputably display some signs of sociopathy. Regardless, I have clarified that my argument does not apply to all rapists TWICE in this thread. Read the thread maybe?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:08 PM on July 16, 2010


Matt Oneiros, since I can't find a link, this is pure hearsay, but I remember reading (probably linked from MeFi) that there is general consensus that what you say with regard to under-reporting is true, but that the raw numbers of female-on-female, male-on-male (outside of prison) and female-on-male rape are still substantially lower than the number of male-on-female rapes, even using the extrapolated figures from the under-reporting estimates.
posted by Dysk at 3:10 PM on July 16, 2010


I don't think it's excusing people for their terrible behavior by noting that quite a bit of what we consider to be terrible things appears to be strongly influenced by the culture we live in.

We have a culture that says it is okay to lock women in a room until they consent, that sleep is a sign of consent, that being impaired by drugs or alcohol is a sign of consent? I just don't see that in the culture. I see a culture where you can get AWAY with that, but not a culture that endorses it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:12 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge, even with your legal/moral distinction, that's still not a tenable position. Is the man (or woman) who will use lethal force to defend his/her family in their home in a jurisdiction where this is not lawful a murderer?
posted by Dysk at 3:14 PM on July 16, 2010



furiousxgeorge, even with your legal/moral distinction, that's still not a tenable position. Is the man (or woman) who will use lethal force to defend his/her family in their home in a jurisdiction where this is not lawful a murderer?


Morally no, legally yes. How exactly does that clash with my distinction?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:16 PM on July 16, 2010


I understand the initial reaction that obviously everyone knows what rape is and obviously no one decent intends to commit rape. But what is obvious to me or you or most adults is not necessarily obvious to younger or less informed people.

I remember when I was in Catholic high school and my morality teacher (yes, it was a required elective) told the class (of all girls) that it was ok to say No to sex at any time, even if you were spread eagle naked on a bed, you could still say no. Even if you were married and in the middle of intercourse, you still have the right to say No and the man should immediately stop. That was a revelation to me and the whole class was really surprised by that. I've never forgotten her saying that, because of course, it's true. But the most important thing is that until someone told me that, I didn't realize that you could say No at any time. I had bought into the cultural idea that if you've given certain signals or gone so far that sex was inevitable and owed.

These things need to be said out loud. We are not born with perfect morals or perfect understanding and if we want people to act right, we need to teach people what right means instead of assuming they'll magically be able to tell.
posted by threeturtles at 3:18 PM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


My rapist wasn't a sociopath. He was a friend of mine. And he knew it was important to get my consent. He just didn't realize that coercing my consent via 3+ hours of badgering, intimidation, and locking me in his room over a break when there were very few people in the dorm wasn't a good way to get it.

When I told him, later, that I considered his behavior to have been rape, he was very upset. He threw up, he was a wreck for days, he suggested we go to the Dean to try and mediate the tension. The Dean suggested I withdraw from school for a semester to try and work on my feelings


I am so sorry that this happened to you and that the Dean bought your rapist's claims that 1) this was appropriate for mediation 2) that you had some responsibility for "the tension" or 3) that your feelings need to be "worked on" by you.

I do wonder if this was the only time your rapist did something like this to a woman, or if he really "didn't realize" that his behavior was sexual assault --- I tend not to take his big emotional storm at face value.

And, Kirk Grim, I don't see how anyone could view you as anything but a really good guy. Asking the police to check if a woman is safe seems perfectly wonderful to me. Likewise, I have a feeling you wouldn't have objected if someone had asked what was up with you taking an inebriated woman into a separate bedroom.

I just think we should act like Kirk Grim and at least check.
posted by bearwife at 3:18 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would really like to do here is re-post the entirety of cmyk's comment for truth, but I'll be more selective:

Rapist Dude (that's what he is) did not realize that his behavior was rape.

There was some discussion earlier in the thread that ties into this: even with the rise in awareness about date rape, acquaintance rape, and spousal rape, the most popular cultural narrative of how rape happens (in the US, at least) involves a violent attack, most often by a stranger. Since that scenario, or some variation that involves physical assault or use of a weapon on the part of the perpetrator and screaming resistance on the part of the victim means that a whole lot of people are capable of telling themselves "That's what coercion looks like. That's what rape looks like. I didn't do that, therefore, I didn't commit rape." It's not that they don't know rape is wrong, it's that they don't think what they're doing is rape. This doesn't mean they should be let off the hook for their actions. It does mean that people will be able to tell themselves that what they're doing couldn't possibly be rape if the cultural narrative doesn't change.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:18 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


We have a culture that says it is okay to lock women in a room until they consent, that sleep is a sign of consent, that being impaired by drugs or alcohol is a sign of consent? I just don't see that in the culture.

It is in the culture because there are no consequences. It is in the culture because it keeps happening - people do this, and get away with it, and assume that their getting away with it means that they did not do anything wrong. That they had the right to do it. And when it is brought up, all blame and focus falls to the victim - what did you do? What did you say? Who were you with? What were you wearing? Did you drink? Did you lead him on? Did you make him think he could? The focus is never on the perpetrator. Nobody ever asks the rapist why they thought they could. They only ever ask the raped person - when it's brought up at all - what they did to encourage it.

It must be lovely to not have that shoved in your face every day. To not be aware of that to nearly the point of paranoia. To talk about it with people and have that sickening sense that everyone in the room understands because it's happened to them, too. I don't get the opportunity to live like that, so enjoy it for me, will ya?
posted by cmyk at 3:18 PM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


...legally he is not. He will. He has not. The law does not offer punishment for events that have not yet transpired. Also, for logical equivalence to your position on rape, he would already be a 'moral murderer'.
posted by Dysk at 3:19 PM on July 16, 2010


What I'm trying to say is that it isn't particularly consistent or coherent (as a system of legislation or ethics). This makes it untenable.
posted by Dysk at 3:20 PM on July 16, 2010


It is in the culture because there are no consequences.

No, it is illegal everywhere in the country and there are consequences for getting caught, and for being accused.

We have an imperfect justice system, but people getting away with crimes is not endorsement of them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:23 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge, where were the consequences for KarthynT's RapistDude?
posted by Dysk at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2010


Brother Dysk, I believe you're right, which is why I wouldn't try to dispute that women are the primary victims of rape despite the real number of any n-on-k rape statistic being unknowable and the cultural factors making any comparison rather confounded.

I prefer instead to challenge the assumption that gender matters in rape. Right now your gender probably makes the biggest difference in your likelihood of reporting rape, which needs to change regardless of the real n-on-k victimization statistics. I'm not sure there's anything to be gained by any group by focusing on men-as-rapists and probably several things to be lost.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 3:25 PM on July 16, 2010




...legally he is not. He will. He has not. The law does not offer punishment for events that have not yet transpired. Also, for logical equivalence to your position on rape, he would already be a 'moral murderer'.


...I never said the law should consider them rapists or murderers. I assumed you meant when the crime occurred for the murder example. I don't consider it morally unsound to protect your family regardless of the law, there is no conflict.

Now, if it was straight up cold blooded killing, I would consider him a moral murderer in line with the rapists who haven't raped yet.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:27 PM on July 16, 2010


Perhaps this is because I am in one of the flyover states, but I have yet to have a direct, level gazes met discussion of oral sex with anyone I've been with, not that I haven't tried. I have had more than one serious partner who got frustrated with my lack of participation in "pressing the issue." If I'm lucky, I get someone who won't stare at her feet while haltingly explaining that a little wrestling before the main event, "... it doesn't feel right if I don't make you work for it ..." is required. Maybe Midwesterners just aren't very talky about these things

I worry about this kind of scenario a lot. In the future, can I insist on explicit and obvious consent without being (or coming of as) intolerant of people's kinks / eccentricities?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:32 PM on July 16, 2010



furiousxgeorge, where were the consequences for KarthynT's RapistDude?


If accused in the legal system or caught by the legal system he would have a trial and be sent to jail if convicted.

OJ Simpson getting off on a bullshit trial doesn't mean there are no consequences for murder or that society endorses it.

If you have solutions to make the legal system work better at convicting rapists, Dear God tell us, because it is a fucking mess. That isn't a result of cultural approval, however, it's just hard as hell at each level from police to judge to actually prove the case because of things that are inherent in the nature of the crime, not just because of culture.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:33 PM on July 16, 2010


furiousxgeorge, regardless of how you feel about the moral defensibility of defending your family with lethal force, if it is unlawful, that is murder. The definition of murder is 'unlawful killing'. For any equivalence to your 'moral rapist' (who is also not legally a rapist, and may or may not turn out to ever become one) he would be a 'moral murderer'. Legally he would not (perhaps yet) be a murderer.

You seem to be attributing an awful lot of moral and emotional value to purely legal terms. 'Rapist' means you have committed something legally defined as rape. It does not say anything about the morality of the person (though, for most people, it does make some strong implications). Likewise, 'murderer' means you have killed another human being unlawfully. It does not make any statement about their morality, their being good, evil, neutral, or anything else. It means they committed an unlawful killing.

If you insist on clinging to your own definitions, then you might do well to recognise that they differ from those that the English language seems to have arrived on as consensus, and at the very least preface your use of the terms with an explanation of what they should be read as when used by you specifically. That's the point where you hope you've built up enough goodwill in the community that we humour you.
posted by Dysk at 3:34 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would not want to disentangle gender from this. We're still in a society that privileges men over women, and one of the ways it does so is by making male sexuality overt and safe and female sexuality despicable and dangerous, and men benefit from that in many ways. Whatever the logic behind rape, or lack thereof, in practice it nonetheless benefits men in general, by putting them in a sexually advantageous position. While man certainly get raped, and I believe you that this is underreported, it doesn't have the same social impact, in the sense that it doesn't reinforce a specific social privilege. This is not to minimize the experiences of men who are raped, but simply to point out that when a man is raped, it tends to affect that man and those who know it. When a woman is raped, it sends a message to all women. As men, we must be aware of how even things we despise privilege us, and this cannot happen when you extract gender from the equation.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:35 PM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


The point was to point out the absurdity of even bothering with such an argument since they undisputably display some signs of sociopathy.

"Display some signs of sociopathy" is a meaningless, content-free statement. Pretty much every single person you've ever met would "display some signs" of one or more mental disorders. That's why you have to display all or most of the signs. Because everyone "displays some signs" of abberance.
posted by Justinian at 3:36 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge, KathrynT's RapistDude was accused of rape. The situation was explained to the Dean of the college (as part of his pastoral care duties presumably), whose responsibility it was to move the case along to the criminal justice machinery, punish RapistDude (expulsion), and provide KathrynT with any support she may have needed or desired. Instead, what happened is what happens most of the time: there was no conviction, and the victim was implicitly blamed. When shit like this happens against the books and the written rules as consistently as it does in these situations, it's basically an unwritten rule. If culture isn't the set of shared unwritten rules of a society, what the fuck is it?
posted by Dysk at 3:39 PM on July 16, 2010


What you just quoted did not fucking say that, at all.

Sorry, you're right. It didn't. I should have found a better quote or just included your name.

I'm not saying all rapists are psychopaths or sociopaths

Earlier you wrote:

But if you tell me someone thinks it is okay to force sex on someone, I say they are a sociopath not a poor little dear who just needs education and a PSA or two.

Ok, you didn't say someone who forces sex on someone is a sociopath. You said someone who thinks its ok to force sex on someone is a sociopath. But this has to mean you believe one of 3 things. No rapist thinks its ok to force sex on someone (I seriously doubt you believe that); some rapists think its ok to force sex on someone and some rapists don't think its ok to force sex on someone; or all rapists think its ok to force sex on someone and therefore all rapists are sociopaths.

The way you've been talking about this made it sound like you were in the camp of "all rapists think its ok to force sex on someone and therefore all rapists are sociopaths." which is exactly what you just claimed you don't believe. So in order for your stance to be non-contradictory I am forced to conclude that you believe "some rapists think its ok to force sex on someone and some rapists don't think its ok to force sex on someone".

This brings us to the important point other people have been saying and it hinges entirely on "think": many of the people who are actually forcing sex on someone in their own mind don't think they are forcing sex on the other person. They think "oh this girl's on the fence she just needs a little push so I'll keep talking to convince her for 3+ hours" and the door is locked but they didn't actually think they were 'locking in' the girl or "if we both drink a lot our inhibitions will be lowered and she'll want to do it" but they forget that maybe their inhibitions will be lower than the girl's or that the girl will be too drunk to actually say "yes" and a bunch of other variations in which they think they are actually getting some form of concent.

But then you start saying:
We have a culture that says it is okay to lock women in a room until they consent, that sleep is a sign of consent, that being impaired by drugs or alcohol is a sign of consent? I just don't see that in the culture. I see a culture where you can get AWAY with that, but not a culture that endorses it.
We are now at a point where it again sounds like you believe in contradictory things. Above I explained why it sounded like you thought some rapists did not think that what they do is rape and but that they actually thought they had some form of concent.

Now you say that our culture doesn't endorse the very things that allow rapists to believe they aren't raping!

So I'm finding your arguments wanting since they're coming across as contradictory.
posted by Green With You at 3:43 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]




Ok, you didn't say someone who forces sex on someone is a sociopath. You said someone who thinks its ok to force sex on someone is a sociopath.


Dude, three or four times I have clarified my opinion on that, either you aren't reading the thread or are being willfully disingenuous. I'm not clarifying it again.



furiousxgeorge, KathrynT's RapistDude was accused of rape. The situation was explained to the Dean of the college


Taking it to an educator is not the same as taking it to a legal officer. I understand the Dean had responsibilities but RapistDude was never legally accused by anyone.

Yes, that is part of the problem, and that is the area where culture most strongly is involved, everyone would love to hear suggestions to solve it. Informing men that sex with passed out chicks is wrong won't do it, I'm sure at least the Dean knew that.


Pretty much every single person you've ever met would "display some signs" of one or more mental disorders. That's why you have to display all or most of the signs. Because everyone "displays some signs" of abberance.


Yes, I mentioned some general signs earlier, and I feel that a subset of rapists, the ones who know what they are doing is wrong especially, display many/most of them.

It's truly shocking to me this could be so controversial compared to, "They just need someone to tell them sex with passed out girls is wrong."

*Costanza voice* Was that wrong? Should I NOT have done that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:54 PM on July 16, 2010


Astro Zombie, part of the privilege men experience is the illusion that they are somehow not subject to this violation of rights and I think that sends the message to all men that if you do become subject to it you are outside of manhood. This has a definite social impact, beyond the ability for men to receive help when victimized.

I don't agree that a sexual assault against a man only affects that man, whereas a sexual assault on a woman has a global effect. Any time a person of any gender is victimized and they're made to feel isolated, their experience minimized or dismissed it has a horribly deleterious effect on society.

And I don't think you're right that man-on-women somehow privileges men, I think that only in the unrealistic world view (that many people hold!) where men are never raped and always are the rapist that might be true, I'm more interested in defeating the notion that rape is something one gender does to another.

It's a crime any human can commit against any other.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 4:05 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: It's truly shocking to me this could be so controversial compared to, "They just need someone to tell them sex with passed out girls is wrong."

Strawman much? RapistDude didn't seem to think what he did was rape. Clearly, the Dean of KathrynT's college does need telling that what went on is rape. He clearly didn't think it was a seriously criminal matter, nor, judging by how it was handled, a particularly serious matter. At my university, we are actively encouraged to bring umbrages such as assault (sexual or otherwise) racism, et cetera, to various specific faculty members who have a pastoral care role. The idea is that they will be less intimidating and threatening than the police, for example, will contact the relevant authorities, and provide any assistance they're able to (which is often quite extensive - counselling services, potential rehousing, and so on). The Dean of a college has such pastoral care duties. Here was one Dean that needed telling that what he heard tell of was serious enough that it warranted severe action, and contacting the police.

Yes, that is part of the problem, and that is the area where culture most strongly is involved, everyone would love to hear suggestions to solve it.

This thread's been full of them, actually. They run along the lines of 'make sure the people whose responsibility it is to deal with rape know what constitutes rape'. The easiest way to achieve this is to educate everyone in what constitutes rape, (even if we skirt the issue of whether or not we all bear some responsibility to the people immediately around us - a contentious issue for another time). It also has the added bonus of us then being able to recognise when they aren't doing their jobs properly.
posted by Dysk at 4:09 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Strawman much?

There are plenty of men who think having sex with a passed out drunk woman is OK.


This is an actual argument from the thread, not a strawman.



He clearly didn't think it was a seriously criminal matter, nor, judging by how it was handled, a particularly serious matter.


The facts were in dispute, so it is just as likely to conclude he decided it was not raped based on that and didn't understand to take it to the police. That isn't not knowing what rape is, it's not knowing how to handle accusations. I agree, educate him! Never said you shouldn't.


They run along the lines of 'make sure the people whose responsibility it is to deal with rape know what constitutes rape'.


The problem that really needs solving is getting the accusations to the police, they know and lawyers know what the law is. That is what we need to work on, solving the cultural pressures that suppress accusations.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:28 PM on July 16, 2010


The point is well taken in theory--but as a male who went through adolescence and sex ed in the 90s I have to say that there was plenty of "No Means No" and other associated anti-date-rape education. When I went to college, Take Back the Night was well supported by both men and women. Perhaps there isn't an education campaign to prevent out and out violent stranger rape, but that doesn't seem like the kind of criminality amenable to prevention by better sex ed. Date rape is, and it seems to me that society does try to educate both potential victims and victimizers. Whether or not it succeeds (enough) is another discussion.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:39 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you insist on clinging to your own definitions, then you might do well to recognise that they differ from those that the English language seems to have arrived on as consensus

Sure, semantics can easily get tricky. Let me try and explain what I was trying to say on that one more time.

Psychologically, we define someone as a pedophile just for wanting to have sex with children, it doesn't matter if they do or not.

I define someone as a rapist if they have stated outright that they will rape someone if they know they won't get caught.

Is there a psychological term for someone like that? Potential rapist? I dunno, a potential rapist, IMO, would be someone who hasn't come right out and said they are willing to rape someone given the opportunity but clearly is showing warning signs and behavior.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:50 PM on July 16, 2010


I mean, would you define someone who privately admits they would commit terrorist acts if they wouldn't die or get caught as a terrorist? I can see why you wouldn't, but the only distinction is the cowardice, not any reluctance to murder people on moral grounds.

Again, I'm not talking about legally.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:54 PM on July 16, 2010


It's not a purely legal distinction. One becomes a terrorist, in the general or statutory sense, by committing an act of terror. Not by contemplating one, or being willing to commit one. Otherwise you may be an extremist (in your views) but you are not yet a terrorist (in your actions.) Similarly, someone who is willing to rape women but does not due to fear of reprisal is not a rapist (in the general or statutory sense) but is a predatory, sociopathic misogynist (or however you'd like to describe that state of ideation.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:01 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


That should have read "comitting or conspiring/attempting to commit...."
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:02 PM on July 16, 2010


Yes, that is part of the problem, and that is the area where culture most strongly is involved, everyone would love to hear suggestions to solve it.

This thread's been full of them, actually. They run along the lines of 'make sure the people whose responsibility it is to deal with rape know what constitutes rape'.


as a male who went through adolescence and sex ed in the 90s I have to say that there was plenty of "No Means No" and other associated anti-date-rape education. When I went to college, Take Back the Night was well supported by both men and women. Perhaps there isn't an education campaign to prevent out and out violent stranger rape, but that doesn't seem like the kind of criminality amenable to prevention by better sex ed. Date rape is, and it seems to me that society does try to educate both potential victims and victimizers.

I feel there is some serious failure to communicate here, and I am going to assume it is my fault.

1. The issue is not educating people "whose responsibility it is to deal with rape know what constitutes rape." Or even educating everyone on what rape and sexual assault is. Rather it is educating everyone to take action to, as Dr. Lisak says, "focus [prevention} efforts on the far more numerous bystanders – men and women who are part of the social and cultural milieu in which rapes are spawned and who can be mobilized to identify
perpetrators and intervene in high-risk situations."

2. It is just erroneous to distinguish date rape from stranger rape as somehow less serious or view date rape as the result of confusion or misunderstanding. I'm going to quote Dr. Lisak again here --

[After the 1980s] [t]erms such as “acquaintance rape” and “date rape” emerged
and took hold. Unfortunately, these new terms have created a new mythology
about rape. The term “date rape,” which has become woven into the fabric of
public discourse about sexual violence, carries with it the connotation of “rape
lite.” Victims of date rape are typically viewed as less harmed than victims of
stranger rape; and “date rapists” are typically viewed as less serious offenders,
and frankly less culpable than stranger rapists. Date rape is often viewed more in
traditionally civil than in traditionally criminal terms: as an unfortunate
encounter in which the two parties share culpability because of too much alcohol
and too little clear communication.

One of the consequences of this new mythology of date rape is that there
has been very little, if any, cross-communication between the study of date rape –
a literature typically based in, and focused on college campuses – and the long established
literature on sex offenders and sexual predators. In fact, in the
author’s personal experience, there is typically considerable resistance within
civilian universities to the use of the term “sex offender” when referring to the
students who perpetrate acts of sexual violence on campuses. This resistance is
one of the legacies of the term, “date rape,” and it has served to obscure one of the
unpleasant facts about sexual violence in the college environment: that just as in
the larger community, the majority of this violence is committed by predatory
individuals who tend to be serial and multi-faceted offenders


Here again is the link to the Lisak article (pdf format)
posted by bearwife at 5:04 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not trying to distinguish one as less important than or somehow not as bad as the other, nor did I intend to imply that date rape is a result of confusion or misunderstanding, as such. Rather, I'm saying that one behavior is more amenable to education, and we try to do that.


At least, that was my experience growing up. I've been VERY conscious of these issues for my entire adolescent and adult life, probably because they consistently received very serious treatment from early on.

My sense is that the complaint is that by saying one is better disposed to prevention by education, I'm somehow implying that it results from "confusion and misunderstanding." I might reply that it's something more like ignorance (lets not forget that morals and ethics are a part of education.) But more to the point: if we are to accept the premise of the OP--that we teach "not to rape" but not "do not rape"--is that not a call for the very education that at least some of the men of my generation did indeed receive?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:12 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


make that "we teach 'not to get raped' but not 'do not rape." oops.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:16 PM on July 16, 2010


One becomes a terrorist, in the general or statutory sense, by committing an act of terror. Not by contemplating one, or being willing to commit one. Otherwise you may be an extremist (in your views) but you are not yet a terrorist (in your actions.) Similarly, someone who is willing to rape women but does not due to fear of reprisal is not a rapist (in the general or statutory sense) but is a predatory, sociopathic misogynist (or however you'd like to describe that state of ideation.)

Again, I understand the semantic distinction and understand why you make it, I just don't see a MORAL distinction when the only thing preventing the act is cowardice.

A pedophile who does not engage in sex with children because they understand and empathize with the harm it would cause has made a moral choice. Someone who is too scared to do it has not, and in that sense I see their condition as one in the same with someone who actually commits the act. I see these as distinct conditions but don't have the language to express it in a pithy manner, which is why this semantic debate began. Clearly they are distinct from actual rapists too and my language was imprecise.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:18 PM on July 16, 2010


I just don't think I'll ever be comfortable with equating thought-crimes with actually committed or attempted crimes (i.e. at least some action taken in furtherance of their criminal aim), regardless of how vile they may be.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:22 PM on July 16, 2010


And Lawrence Taylor's wife provides a perfect example of the problem. On Larry King Live, talking about the fact that her husband has been charged with raping a 16 year old:

But I cannot explain why men do what they do. I don't understand why we're destroying the Earth to get to Jupiter. That doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand why we're fighting a war, spending billions of dollars fighting a war over oil, instead of spending that money on stuff that we don't need oil. I don't understand why men do what they do.

And when no one's looking, well, they will try to get away with whatever.


Okay, so rapists are just an unexplainable force of nature, the old "boys will be boys" hand-wave. So no more on that. But then..

How in the heck do you rape a prostitute.

She's a run away. Good girls don't run away. I'm sorry. I've been a 16-year-old girl, all right. I've been a 19-year-old girl. I didn't leave my home. That's what happens. That's what I think people need to tell their kids. That's what happens when you run away from home. When you leave the sanctuary of your home and your parents, yes, there are bad people out there. There are pimps waiting at bus stops and stuff things like that. You know what, stop running away. She shouldn't have ran away.


via Shakesville

Now I get that this is his wife so it's not strange that she defends him, but the manner in which it is done, erasing the agency of the rapist and focusing on the victim's actions, is very common in our culture. The "prostitutes are unrapeable" trope. All sex workers really. And girls who run away, they're unrapeable too. Wives and girlfriends are unrapeable. Women who drink, or who don't drink but were at any point around others who drink. Women alone with men. Women in the presence of more than one man (i.e. members of a team). Female employees. Passed out women. Teenagers in general. Women with any history of mental illness, such as depression. Women in prison.

There is so much focus on all the things women do to bring rape upon themselves that it's easier to just put all females in the unrapeable category and call it a day. Or we can try something else. Maybe let's not focus on what women are doing or not doing.
posted by Danila at 5:24 PM on July 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


I just don't think I'll ever be comfortable with equating thought-crimes with actually committed or attempted crimes


Again, I'm not talking about legally.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:29 PM on July 16, 2010


Morally, or legally. But we're going in circles. We understand each other, I think.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:32 PM on July 16, 2010


>Yes, I mentioned some general signs earlier, and I feel that a subset of rapists, the ones who know what they are doing is wrong especially, display many/most of them.

So there's a complementary subset of rapists who don't know that what they are doing is wrong, correct?

They should be educated.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:38 PM on July 16, 2010


To head off expected responses as I'm new here, I believe rape is wrong and bad.

But using false information to discuss it is also bad. The author of the article referred to a study say anything like what she claims it does. Read the StatCan study. It doesn't say what the author claims it did. Yet several people angrily told someone who asked for a link to the study that it did. When an journalist can't bother to verify their claims and citations, it throws everything they say into suspicion.

Here's another citation of a similar survey:

Pirog-Good and Stets (1989) reported that 39% of male students surveyed indicated it was "all right" to force sex if a girl was "stoned" or "drunk." (from Pirog-Good, M.A. & Stets J.E. (1989) Violence in dating relationships. NY: Praeger.)


And here's a problem that repeats again in this discussion (and the article itself) - people very casually throw around claims allegedly from studies as absolute fact. I just read the actual paper (JSTOR link). The study was about what what factors such as age, age differences, religious differences, and the like affected the likeliness of violence.

Unless there was supplemental material not in the published article, the phrase "all right" does not occur in it, nor does "stoned" or "drunk." The concept of sex doesn't figure into it other than the fact it discusses violence between sexually involved men and women.

Similarly, with the BBC article that claims that Scottish youth have very bad ideas claims that 16% believe that "if she'd slept with loads of men" is an acceptable reason to force someone into having sex. The Brighton and Hove City Council say that same study said 6%. Who do I believe? The BBC doesn't even spell the one named researcher's name correctly. All that's left is hearsay about a study funded and carried out by groups with specific agendas that rely on the concept that many men are sexual predators. That doesn't guarantee it's wrong but it's also worthless as evidence of anything.

Part of the reason that anti-rape groups have trouble winning the hearts and minds of men is using questionable, false, and unverifiable claims that seem intuitively wrong.

If a driving safety expert was to tell you that people in SUVs are 11% more likely to die in accidents than people in cars, 92% of all accidents are caused by female drivers, and speeding is a factor in 31% of motor fatalities, how much attention would you give them?

As a non-meta comment, perhaps I'm exposed to something out of the ordinary working at a university, but I get tons of exposure to the concept of "Don't Rape."
posted by Candleman at 5:39 PM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, we are good.

Anyway, when I brought up originally I was deep in thought about armchair psychological diagnosis of sociopathy, so thoughts were pretty relevant to me in the moment in making that argument.


So there's a complementary subset of rapists who don't know that what they are doing is wrong, correct?


In my opinion, the number is insignificantly small. The vast, vast majority know what they are doing is wrong and do it anyway.

It certainly couldn't hurt to try and reach them, whatever the number is, I just think there are better uses of resources and education efforts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:48 PM on July 16, 2010


@snuffleupagus: Yeah, we are good.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:50 PM on July 16, 2010


felix betachat: Society teaches 'Don't get murdered' rather than 'Don't murder'

I could not disagree with this one more.
posted by tzikeh at 5:53 PM on July 16, 2010


So there's a complementary subset of rapists who don't know that what they are doing is wrong, correct? They should be educated.

More like, there's a complementary subset of rapists that don't know that what they are doing is rape. (Complementary to the subset of women that don't always understand when they have been raped, as other MeFites above have discussed teaching/learning at an adult age.)

Again, isn't "teaching not to rape" precisely what the material in the OP calls for?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:54 PM on July 16, 2010


> One in five male university students surveyed in a 2006 StatsCan study said
> forced intercourse was alright "if he spends money on her," "if he's stoned
> or drunk," or "if they have been dating for a long time."
>
> One in five Canadian women surveyed in a Juristat report said they had
> unwanted sex with a man because they were overwhelmed by the man's continued
> arguments and pressure.

There's a lot of territory between what the word "rape" covers now (persistent whiny nagging until she gives in? That's rape, bro) and what it used to cover (dragging the woman by main force into a dark alley and shoving it in.) The shocking numbers (one in five college guys are rapists, e.g.) result from continually lowering the bar for what you are pleased to call rape.

Rape is a capital crime like premeditated murder, and there are no degrees of rape. If you really believe all the different kinds of things the one-in-five did to earn the label rapist are actually rape, then you must also believe one-in-five should be executed for what they did--or at the very least imprisoned for life. Do you? If your answer is "Yes. Hang 'em high!" then I have no argument with you.

On the other hand, if you learn of an incident where he and she were both drunk and dry-humping with their underwear off and he started to slide it in without getting an explicit yes whereas she was, on the whole, more against it than for it, and you want to emphasize that what he did was wrong--but you aren't prepared to demand that he be punished the same as a drag-into-the-alley rapist (namely by being executed or locked away until he dies) then you agree that what he did was not rape.

And you need to find another word for it. Because to persist in calling it by the same name as a true capital crime without also demanding a true capital punishment will have the opposite effect from the one you intend. By crying "rape" when you clearly do not believe it you will do nothing but devalue the word and squander its power to provoke outrage. Well, not nothing; you also get to display yourself as a thoughtless and unserious person.
posted by jfuller at 6:12 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think that rape earns either the death penalty or life in prison.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:17 PM on July 16, 2010


Probably should though.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:19 PM on July 16, 2010


Candleman, I commend you for trying to track down the actual articles to verify the stats.

But this:


Pirog-Good and Stets (1989) reported that 39% of male students surveyed indicated it was "all right" to force sex if a girl was "stoned" or "drunk." (from Pirog-Good, M.A. & Stets J.E. (1989) Violence in dating relationships. NY: Praeger.)

And here's a problem that repeats again in this discussion (and the article itself) - people very casually throw around claims allegedly from studies as absolute fact. I just read the actual paper (JSTOR link). The study was about what what factors such as age, age differences, religious differences, and the like affected the likeliness of violence.


The Pirog-Good, Stets statistics don't come from the article, they ostensibly come from a book. I don't know if the stat is actually in there because I think you're right to point out that journalists can get this wrong, but since we're fact-checking and all...

I also don't think that any significant portion of the problems "anti-rape groups" face has to do with not fact-checking statistics. Male privilege is a far bigger problem, such as the sort that would cause someone to refrain from devoting their "heart" and "mind" to wanting to stop rape when any reasonable person should abhor it.
posted by Danila at 6:20 PM on July 16, 2010


Also, biological programming isn't like computer programming, the genes exist for a historical reason, like elimination sperm competition through murder or flying in straight lines, but the behaviors they create are fairly easily repurposed for sports or flying in circles around lightbulbs. Maybe rapists don't masturbate enough?

Please link to the study which specifically links the murder and rape "pre-programming" to a gene. Let's be really clear--there are zero facts to support your theory. This is the same garbage that passes for evo psych. There is no evidence to support this and people misidentify their assumptions for facts in these matters.

If you cannot point to an actual gene, that actual activates this "preprogramming" then you have not proved your assertion.

In fact, murder was frequently done legally up until the previous century or so, Ironmouth. We took centuries working out exactly why & how murder happens, isolating those events, and finally eliminating them.

Actually, no. Murder is a crime--murder cannot be done legally, by definition. It is an illegal homicide. You are referring to homicide. I also challenge this premise. Homicide was not "common" legally in Europe. If you are referring to the private wars of the medieval era, that is warfare. However, there are few instances where homicide has been legal in the past.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:21 PM on July 16, 2010


I also don't think that any significant portion of the problems "anti-rape groups" face has to do with not fact-checking statistics.

If they are basing the actions they are taking on false or misinterpreted statistics, that will be a problem. That will be a problem for anyone on any subject, you will try and solve the wrong problems or try and solve them in an ineffective way.

For instance, hypothetically, if people actually do know that forcing sex is wrong but you spend your time trying to teach them that.


Male privilege is a far bigger problem, such as the sort that would cause someone to refrain from devoting their "heart" and "mind" to wanting to stop rape when any reasonable person should abhor it.


But it isn't about being a reasonable person, right, it's about rape education level?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:32 PM on July 16, 2010


As a mea culpa, I looked at the wrong "Violence in dating relationships" by those authors. The book of that name does include those phrases in an essay titled, "Date rape: prevalence, risk factors, and a proposed model." However, the statistics were from a cited quote of a study by Giarusso et al titled "Adolescent cues and signals: Sex and assault" which is not available anywhere I can find it.
posted by Candleman at 6:34 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forgive me if this has already been covered upthread; it's late and I read the first few comments and...well. The issue is not some strawman set up like "what, we're supposed to have ridiculous PSAs saying 'rape is bad mmk?'" It's a more indirect but also more powerful message that rape will truly not be tolerated--it's getting across to young people that rape is unacceptable, not just in some PSA-y way but in a "you do this and you become a social pariah and quite possibly easily convicted" sort of way. That people will look at you with disgust and not understanding when you sexually humiliate a drunk girl at a party. Etc. The problem is weird nebulous but pervasive subtle cues that sure, rape is "bad" and noone should do it, but that said, hey, you're young and sexually frustrated and male, hey, we can all understand that dude, hey, hey. You want to be virile, right? And women are to be looked at when you're a virile young man, and and. All of social media culture implies women are powerful teases and doesn't it just make you so mad, especially since stuff like evo psych implies it's just your drive and you're always valiantly fighting it? And fratboy football player rape might be bad in lipservice, sure, but look: if you were to rape this sorority pledge tonight, whose life would it ruin more, yours or hers? Hers definitely, if Law and Order SVU and memoirs are any cue (not that they are, but that's also kind of the point, the inaccuracy). Damaged goods vs. some good ol' (young!) boy with a big shiny grin and a whole small town rooting for him to bring the team to victory and all that crap, and a sports scholarship ahead of time or whatever. Rape is still all about the victim and almost never about the perpetrator in the aftermath, all about how she is supposed to go on with her life intact without people thinking of her as That Girl Who Says She Was Raped and all that. It is still _not_ something where when you hear about it you first think of the guy who did it. That's still sort of a problem, yeah.

Sorry if I'm being incoherent, it's just this issue always touches a nerve, and it's frustrating people really still think the field is leveled. Um, it isn't. The very notion rape "ruins" a woman is problematic, to put it lightly, and part of the problem. It is still not nearly about the perpetrator afterward. Yes, that is an issue.
posted by ifjuly at 7:02 PM on July 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


I also don't think that any significant portion of the problems "anti-rape groups" face has to do with not fact-checking statistics. Male privilege is a far bigger problem, such as the sort that would cause someone to refrain from devoting their "heart" and "mind" to wanting to stop rape when any reasonable person should abhor it.

As jfuller pointed out above, part of the problem is that there's an attempt to redefine rape into a much broader term than how it was traditionally used.

I suspect that virtually every incoming college freshman believes that the traditional definition of rape (the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse) is wrong. Those with a sense of ethics and propriety would abhor it and the ones who don't are the ones that a "don't rape (because it's wrong)" message won't reach.

But they're also being taught that having sex while one or both parties is voluntarily intoxicated is rape. That they might not believe. There's a pretty good chance they've had sex while they were intoxicated and the vast majority of them would not feel they'd been raped.

They're being taught about coercive situations and male privilege and that they might not believe. Most people at 18 don't have anywhere near enough life experience to know about them.

If the person telling them these things comes across as reasonable and balanced, they might learn. But if the person says statistics like, "60% of you would rape a woman if you thought you could get away with it (Fifth bullet under Sexual Assault and Young Women)," a lot of young men are going to roll their eyes and tune out everything that person says.
posted by Candleman at 7:25 PM on July 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Exactly; it's like anti-drug PSAs. There are very important, reasonable things that people should know about drugs. But when you tell them that taking one hit of marijuana is going to turn them into a raging monster addict for life, they know you are bullshitting them and will not listen to anything else you say.

One of the other bullet points Cadleman links to is:

53% of women in Canada were sexually abused when they were children.

That sexual abuse of children occurs far too often is undoubtedly true. I would have to be presented with some serious evidence to believe it were a full majority of women who were molested as kids.

In point of fact, tracking down that statistic is more difficult than it should be. The page Candleman links to cites Health Canada from 2003. But that leads to a cite of Badgley 1988. Which seems to cite Badgley 1984. And, so far as I can determine, what the statistic from 1984 actually says is that among incarcerated females, 53% report having been sexually abused at some point in their lives. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that women in prison are more likely to have been abused than the general population. And I'm not sure how you get from "at some point in their lives" to "as children".

You've got to be rigorous with your statistics even if you're on the side of the angels or people will not listen to you. Perhaps especially if you're on the side of the angels.
posted by Justinian at 7:59 PM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


Take a look at how much Climategate led to belief in global warming falling in the UK, and that was complete bullshit.

I think rape is a serious and urgent enough issue that we should be able to get raw data out there without charging for it. The game of telephone where the newspaper cites an advocacy group which cites study D which cites study C which cites study B which cites study A from thirty years ago is probably not giving a fully accurate picture of the problem.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:08 PM on July 16, 2010


Society teaches 'Don't get murdered' rather than 'Don't murder'
Society teaches 'Don't be the victim of identity fraud' rather than 'Don't steal identities'
Society teaches 'Don't let your car be broken into' rather than 'Don't break into cars'


Thou shall not kill and thou shall not steal are pretty prominent lessons for those of us who grow up Jewish or Christian. (Those of other faiths can chime in with their equivalent moral codes.)
posted by desuetude at 9:09 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got a question and I'd be interested in hearing people's views on it.

Suppose Fred is at a party. He meets his friend Alice who is very drunk - happy, conscious, but legally incapable of giving consent. He takes her home and has sex with her, without any apparent objection on her part (remember that any apparent consent is legally and probably morally meaningless). I think that morally and in most jurisdictions legally he ought to be considered a rapist.

Suppose that Fred is drunk and Alice is sober. He forces her to have sex with him. Should his drunkenness mean that he can't be a rapist? I would say no; it may mitigate his level of blame (or arguably increase it, if he knew he was potentially violent when drunk) but the act is the same.

Suppose the genders are reversed - it's Frederica and Alan. I can't see that it makes any difference: consent is consent and assault is assault.

OK, but suppose that both Fred and Alice are drunk. Neither can consent to sex. They engage in sexual intercourse, with neither one appearing to coerce the other. Presuming I'm right in saying that drunkenness is not an excuse, are they both rapists? Is neither one a rapist? I find that the logical consequence of my views, above, mean that they are both rapists - but this conclusion seems contrary to social norms. What do the rest of you think?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:06 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would say if there was coercion and/or if one of the parties was passed out then it's rape. It doesn't really matter what the victim was doing. Being raped isn't something you did, it's something that happens to you. So if you "have sex with" someone after coercing them, you are a rapist. And if you "have sex with" someone who is falling down upchucking passing out drunk, you are a rapist.

Note, I'm not talking about the law. The system of justice is weighted toward the more privileged group, in this case, men.
posted by Danila at 6:24 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I don't agree with is your assertion that having a public discussion about what kinds of sexual behaviors are harmful to women with the intention of reducing sexual assault is a bad idea.

Holy Shit folks, just because you disagree doesn't give you free reign to make shit up about what I'm saying, which a lot of the rest of your post did too so I'm not gonna bother.


Fine, here is your quote:

If I have said that it was not my intention, as I clarified earlier I believe the subset who don't think it is wrong to commit rape are sociopaths or otherwise bad people in response to the argument that "Don't Rape" education will put a serious dent in rapes.

I really just don't see rapists considering, "Is this wrong or not?" I think they know, they consider, "Can I get away with this or not?"


So I don't think I am misrepresenting you when I say that you think rapists know what they are doing is wrong. You also said "the subset who don't think it is wrong to commit rape are sociopaths or otherwise bad people" which you think will prevent "Don't Rape" education from putting a serious dent in rapes. I think both of these claims are made-up and do not have any basis in actual evidence. If I am in fact misrepresenting your views on this feel free to clarify, because most of your posts in this thread have been short rebuttals to individual comments rather than a thorough explanation of your opinions about educating people about rape.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:32 AM on July 17, 2010


No, I misinterpreted what you said there, happens when you are arguing with many people at once. It would be more accurate to state that I think the focus of the education needs to be on developing discipline and restraint and empathy in the sociopaths who commit rape and on teaching men to have the social courage to confront negative behavior towards women, and on de-stigmatizing being a victim of rape so that more are actually reported and more people punished.

The problem is not a lack of knowledge that sexual assault is a wrong, that is a laughable excuse that takes the blame off the person who committed it and puts it on society, the problem is the various pressures that prevent it from being prevented by society and by the law.

As I said before, by all means spend some class time explaining that someone being passed out doesn't mean they gave consent, the type of lesson that is already standard in sex education and any normal human being can figure out on their own, but don't make it the central plank of your education efforts.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:33 AM on July 17, 2010


The problem is not a lack of knowledge that sexual assault is a wrong, that is a laughable excuse that takes the blame off the person who committed it and puts it on society, the problem is the various pressures that prevent it from being prevented by society and by the law.

The problem is that a lot of people don't realize that:

1) You may have committed sexual assault if you take someone home who is visibly intoxicated.
2) You may have committed sexual assault if you are intoxicated, as you may not process consent clearly.
3) If you persuade someone to have sex with you, despite their obvious reservations, you may have committed sexual assault.
4) If you're in a relationship and you pressure your partner for sex, you may have committed sexual assault.
5) If you convince a friend to do shots, or a kegstand, and then you make a move on them after the effects have kicked in, you may have committed a sexual assault.

You want to know how I know that people don't realize that? I went to university and it's the campus bar scene; taking people home with you who have been drinking for hours, or hooking up with someone upstairs at a kegger is common behavior. I know people who, after having had sex, don't remember or can't believe they had sex with someone. These things are not the behavior of sociopaths in any way, shape or form; they are the behavior of the average college students.

If you've ever had sex under significant influence or had sex with someone who was under significant influence, you may have been involved in a sexual assault. Considering the prevalence of that behavior, do you really think that people are that well-versed in the legality of sexual assault and consent?
posted by Hiker at 8:13 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


As I said before, by all means spend some class time explaining that someone being passed out doesn't mean they gave consent, the type of lesson that is already standard in sex education and any normal human being can figure out on their own, but don't make it the central plank of your education efforts.

For the record, the conventional sex ed on the subject that you want to dismiss so handily does try to teach males to "confront negative behavior." ( I also remember that meme being reflected in at least some of the teen pop culture of the '90s. ) It could probably do more, and the de-stigmatization aspect may be beyond the reach of any classroom.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:18 AM on July 17, 2010


Joe in Australia: "I find that the logical consequence of my views, above, mean that they are both rapists - but this conclusion seems contrary to social norms. "

I think the law and social norms and morality don't ever coincide as neatly as we would like. I think that there is more variety to moral codes than there are to laws, and that social norms aren't codified the way that ethics/morals and laws are. There's an argument to be made that laws are an attempt to codify morality and social norms, but I think of the legal code as the minimal supporting structure for social functioning, with social norms and morality interacting with and beyond it. It's messy as all hell.

So, Joe, I think in your example, you have two people who are legally incapable of giving or assessing another person's capacity to give legally meaningful consent engaging in the socially sanctioned (at least arguably, depending on your social context) but morally questionable act of having drunken sex. Legally, depending on jurisdiction and following your logic, it could be described as rape.

The chances that it will end up in the courts, requiring a legal solution, seem slim. A lot depends on how the parties feel about their own ability to make decisions under circumstances. Maybe the legal definition of impairment in these circumstances is broad (depending on jurisdiction - for instance, Scots law seems to draw the line at someone rendered unconscious through intoxication), but it kind of has to be in order to be useful, and there are circumstances where it needs to be used. And then, people's decisions on whether to access the law to address a problem are affected by a variety of factors, including social norms. The interpretation and application of law is affected by a variety of factors, including social norms. Given the set of social norms in operation, the likelihood that legal action would be desired and sought by either party in the scenario seems very slight.

Personally, I would be less likely to argue in the abstract that what took place was rape in the absence of factors like verbal or physical coercion or one party purposefully getting the other drunk with the intention of lowering their inhibitions. I would say that under any circumstances such behavior is risky, and that it would be really smart not to have sex while drunk (I had this conversation with my brother when he went to college actually, which was kind of awkward, but given my brother's disposition toward partying, pretty necessary - and I knew we'd had roughly the same sex education at home and in school, which didn't cover legal impairment. I hope that's changed as broadly as snuffleupagas indicates). Morally, I don't know that I could make a judgment, because I think the call here depends on knowing what each party intended and how they interacted.

I think your example highlights why it's unrealistic to rely on the law as the solution to rape. Even if every clear-cut perpetrator of rape was locked up, there are a lot of cases in the gray areas that are going to get by the law. Preventing rape relies on education, on changing attitudes, on being willing to talk about sex frankly, on changing the social dynamic that paints sex as something that men have to win and women have to withhold to receive social approbation. As snuffleupgas indicates, a lot of this may be beyond the educational system itself, so a lot of different avenues need to be pursued, and we're not going to see "an answer" any time soon for a lot of reasons.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:57 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]



If you've ever had sex under significant influence or had sex with someone who was under significant influence, you may have been involved in a sexual assault. Considering the prevalence of that behavior, do you really think that people are that well-versed in the legality of sexual assault and consent?


I too work at a bar. A bar full of college students. Yes, I think they are well versed. And yes, I have been sexually assaulted by those standards. There is very little you can do to educate someone who is hammered, they ignore conscience and logic and judgment and do things they would know are wrong when they wouldn't sober.

A mob of inexperienced drunk people like you get at a college bar are going to cause trouble, no matter how well you teach them. Maybe we should teach men more strongly that it isn't socially acceptable to drink yourself retarded, that has a lot more cultural endorsement than date rape of any kind.


For the record, the conventional sex ed on the subject that you want to dismiss so handily does try to teach males to "confront negative behavior."


Who is dismissing it? I'm saying it did a good job defining sexual assault for one thing. Mission accomplished, now move on to the next problem. I found there was too much focus in the classes on, "This is the type of behavior you need to confront because it is wrong..." and not enough on how actually to do that even when you are under extreme social pressure not to make waves.

As I have said, I believe people know what is wrong but for various reasons don't act and that is the behavior that needs to be modified.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:20 AM on July 17, 2010


Justinian, I think you're confusing one study for another. I'm getting just as confused as I try to find out how the data was collected/correlated/tabulated and, who was surveyed. This pdf (pg. 2) from the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence says:
The most extensive study of child sexual abuse in Canada was conducted by the Committee on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youth in 1984. The study used relatively broad definitions of child sexual abuse and, consequently, reported quite high rates. It found that:
• 54% of girls and 31% of boys under the age of 21 had experienced sexual abuse, and
• 8.2% of boys and 17.6% of girls had experienced severe sexual abuse.

Then, in the footnotes (pg. 8) it goes on to say:

In the Badgley Report, respondents were asked whether four types of unwanted sexual acts had ever been committed against them: exposure without touching; sexual touching without penetration; unwanted touching of sexual areas; and attempted or achieved intercourse.


I've searched government sites high 'n' low for it (google scholar just cites it), but its not available online which is kind of a shame since it's considered such a pivotal study in reshaping how sexual abuse is viewed/treated in this country.
posted by squeak at 9:32 AM on July 17, 2010


Thou shall not kill and thou shall not steal are pretty prominent lessons for those of us who grow up Jewish or Christian.

I didn't grow up Buddhist, but I am now, and those are #1 and #2 of Recommended Things Not to Do. Incidentally, #3 is "refraining from sexual misconduct," which IIRC is not mentioned in the 10 commandments.
posted by desjardins at 10:11 AM on July 17, 2010


Suppose Fred is at a party. He meets his friend Alice who is very drunk - happy, conscious, but legally incapable of giving consent. He takes her home and has sex with her, without any apparent objection on her part (remember that any apparent consent is legally and probably morally meaningless). I think that morally and in most jurisdictions legally he ought to be considered a rapist.

I don't know if the angle of "in the above scenario he would be a rapist" is maybe the most effective educational focus for a lot of people, because I think it just seems too fake-hypothetical implausible or brings up the ugly specter of intentional false accusations. I mean, I know all too well that such a thing happens, but even I, personally, have a hard time imagining being too drunk to be "legally" capable of giving consent yet being happy and willing to consciously have sex on purpose.

However, I implicate the cultural drumbeat of "ZOMG don't waste your chance if a girl says yes because WHO KNOWS HOW THIS WORKS WITH THEM and it's now or never!" in helping men see what they want to see.

If you think you're getting "lucky," and the woman seems out of it or you realize she's drunker than you thought, that would be the time to stop, pull up the covers, say "uh, y'know, I don't think this is a good time for us to do this," and make sure when she wakes up that she knows you didn't rape her.
posted by desuetude at 10:19 AM on July 17, 2010


I didn't grow up Buddhist, but I am now, and those are #1 and #2 of Recommended Things Not to Do. Incidentally, #3 is "refraining from sexual misconduct," which IIRC is not mentioned in the 10 commandments.

Yeah, I know that similar moral codes exist in other religions, and didn't want to chime in based on a skim of Wikipedia.

Thou shall not commit adultery and thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife are commandments that involve sexual misconduct, but those are really an order not to break promises and not to steal. The sex itself isn't covered.

Also, not killing and stealing are nice, simple, direct things that children can understand. "Adultery" isn't even relevant until you're older, and even then, not unless marriage is involved.
posted by desuetude at 10:27 AM on July 17, 2010


The drunken but happy and conscious examples raise an interesting dilemma, because I know LOTS of women (and men) who have been in that situation and do not consider themselves to have been raped or victimized in any way. What should happen? Should the other party be prosecuted regardless? This seems really extreme to me. It's frightening, too. I had an ex-bf who was an experienced alcoholic, really good at hiding it. I didn't figure it out for months. Was I a rapist for all that time? The thought horrifies me.
posted by desjardins at 10:29 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey scorpion, you know that very nice trusting frog that's agreed, a bit reluctantly yes, to carry you across the pond on it's back....right, so could you try, maybe this one time and please behave? What's that you say?? Already!!! Christ, scorpion you are such an asshole....
posted by Skygazer at 12:30 PM on July 17, 2010


I'm not quite sure I understand the point of the drunken hypotheticals or how they're relevant to the FPP. Is it so people can be sure they didn't unknowingly rape someone? Make sure the person actually wants to have sex with you. If you really just can't be sure, then don't.

The drunken but happy and conscious examples raise an interesting dilemma, because I know LOTS of women (and men) who have been in that situation and do not consider themselves to have been raped or victimized in any way.

This is why the FPP is about taking some of the focus away from the victim and what the victim did or didn't do and think. It seems to be extremely difficult for people to do this.

I know lots of people who have happily let someone borrow their car. They didn't think their car had been stolen. If you want to borrow a car without accidentally stealing it, then make sure the person actually wants to let you take their car. And if they are drunk and you can't be sure, then don't.

Individual victims aren't responsible for stopping rapes. The individual rapist is, and the collective community can play a part by not promoting a rape culture.
posted by Danila at 12:53 PM on July 17, 2010


I know lots of people who have happily let someone borrow their car. They didn't think their car had been stolen. If you want to borrow a car without accidentally stealing it, then make sure the person actually wants to let you take their car. And if they are drunk and you can't be sure, then don't.
Except nobody worries about committing car theft when asking to borrow a drunk person's car.

Look, you're not being realistic. Drunk people willingly have sex with each other all the time, and if you want to call that rape, you're advocating wholesale criminalization of activities many, many people willingly engage in, where there is no victim. When does that ever end well?
posted by planet at 1:22 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems like people are uneasy about the question of impairment and consent because it's not a bright-line ruling, which is understandable, although perhaps not taking the discussion in a productive direction. This article seems to do a pretty good job of explaining in layman's terms how or why impairment would be used in a sexual assault case (I think I understand it, anyway). There's also a paper, Prosecuting Alcohol-Facilitated Sexual Assault (PDF, download, US-focused) that illustrates that impairment of ability to consent is not a particularly easy point to argue and win in court. It's not quite as simple as seem to fear it is.

Here's part of why the "happy drunk hookup" types of hypotheticals are frustrating - from the rape culture link most recently offered by Danila:
Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported.
Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that a rape victim who reports hir rape is readily believed and well-supported, instead of acknowledging that reporting a rape is a huge personal investment, a difficult process that can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Rape culture is ignoring that there is very little incentive to report a rape; it's a terrible experience with a small likelihood of seeing justice served.
Given the MO of serial sexual assaulters in bearwife's comment, and the role that alcohol plays in their strategies, it would be unwise and unjust for the law not to consider the role that intoxication may play in sexual assault.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:37 PM on July 17, 2010


it would be unwise and unjust for the law not to consider the role that intoxication may play in sexual assault.

Oh, I totally agree, and I am not arguing that intoxication should be disregarded. Nor did I mean to put the focus back on the victim. People should be educated that it is not OK to have sex with someone if you're not sure if they can meaningfully consent. It's hard to know exactly where the "meaningful consent" line should be drawn, and obviously it's better to err on the side of caution, but this is made more difficult when you're both intoxicated. I think furiousxgeorge was onto something when he suggested that education should address male drinking habits.
posted by desjardins at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've searched government sites high 'n' low for it (google scholar just cites it), but its not available online which is kind of a shame since it's considered such a pivotal study in reshaping how sexual abuse is viewed/treated in this country.

I'm not convinced I'm looking at the correct study either. That's part of my point; this data should be easily available. But it is buried under layers and layers of padding. If the data is as clear and unambiguous as presented, why is it obfuscated? And if it isn't, why is it being cited so widely?
posted by Justinian at 2:49 PM on July 17, 2010


Or, to put it another way; If I can't see your data, I'm not going to believe your conclusions.
posted by Justinian at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2010


My very first day of college ended with a "presentation" called He Said/She Said in which a date-rape scenario was presented: two friends got drunk, had sex. In the morning, she couldn't remember consenting and believed she'd been raped. He remembered the event differently - he said that she had consented before she passed out.

What followed was the bar-none most heated discussion I've ever been witness to. And it wasn't just broken down by gender lines - it truly was a eye-opener that there was a significant portion of the group that thought that since he "meant well" and that he remembered the event as containing consent that it wasn't rape. Was it? Well, legally she wasn't able to consent - which is the real crux of the issue and one that hadn't even occurred to portion of the audience.

This was at Liberal Hippie Wackadoo University.

A lot, A LOT, of college kids misunderstand what's involved with consent - and not because they're sociopaths, but because no one ever told them "Dude, if she's drunk, she can't legally say yes. Don't risk it - keep your pants on and wait for another time."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:07 PM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, legally she wasn't able to consent

Neither was he, there is a possible scenario where she raped him. It's a clusterfuck which is why both sexes need to know you should not get hammered in public and put yourself at the mercy of a drug that kills your judgment and memory.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on July 17, 2010


^ I don't consider drunks part of the sociopath rapist subset, and education about what is and is not consent will not help someone blind drunk.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:33 PM on July 17, 2010


grapefruitmoon, why the gender-specific language all the way through? Okay, in the event of someone passing out it is clear that a sexual assault has occurred, but "Dude, if she's drunk, she can't legally say yes"? Well nor can he, if he's drunk. Why is the assumption that she'll regret it in the morning and he won't? Why are we constantly being told that one is sexual assault or even rape, while the other is entirely ignored? Is it rape? Is it not rape? If it is, then why the specificity of her not being able to give consent? If it is not, then there's a case of double standards. The way the law works, it should (in its majestic equality) forbid men so well as women from rape (and the rich so well as the poor from stealing bread).

The gender-specific nature of the language seems to imply an unjustly specific law (or definition) which (I reckon - pure conjecture) loses you a lot of male support. I realise that you likely don't mean to imply a gender-specific law, but your choice of language does just that.


Of course provisions should also be enshrined in law to ensure that the poor have a reasonable (reasonable being quite large in my estimation, perhaps different in yours) amount of bread (or funds) so as not to have much more need to steal bread than the rich have. And the former hypothetical sexual assault convicted significantly more often for occurring significantly more often.
posted by Dysk at 3:53 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, legally she wasn't able to consent - which is the real crux of the issue and one that hadn't even occurred to portion of the audience.

You seem to have misunderstood the situation as well, though. Legally he wasn't able to consent either.
posted by Justinian at 4:07 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I seem to have missed passing on a crucial detail of the story: She pressed charges against him and his defense was that he thought she said yes even though she wasn't able to actually consent at the time.

Whether he was drunk as well is missing the point that he initiated the act and she pressed charges on the basis that she felt she had been assaulted.

The gender specific language was merely that this was a specific incident that was being discussed - not a trend. Sorry if that detail was also unclear.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:47 PM on July 17, 2010


My point was that yes, everybody needs better education about consent w/r/t intoxication - especially men who are (sorry, guys) statistically more likely to be the initiator of sexual assault. When you get into a discussion where you realize that a lot of the people you're talking to just honestly don't know that you can't consent when you're drunk (which yes, is true of either gender) - well, that's a pretty good opportunity to start the greater discussion of what consent means, what counts as consent, and what doesn't.

And yes, this is true of all genders. The specific case that was brought up as an example was one of a female who felt victimized and pressed charges simply because that's the norm. But yes, if you want me to explicitly come out and state that I understand that females can assault too - I will explicitly come out and state it.

Believe me, I get that. I've been in a date rape situation once in my life - the "rapist" (for lack of a better term - I certainly don't want to ascribe that identity to someone who made one shitty mistake) was a woman. If you want to derail a discussion about what consent means to "Well, LADIES can rape too!" that's fine, you won't get argument from me, but it's entirely missing my point about how we absolutely need better education for everyone about what is involved w/r/t consent.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:53 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, I didn't realize it was about a theoretical police case. That does make a difference, thanks.

"I thought she consented even though she was drunk" was not the defense I suspect any competent defense attorney would use.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 PM on July 17, 2010


If you want to derail a discussion about what consent means to "Well, LADIES can rape too!" that's fine, you won't get argument from me, but it's entirely missing my point about how we absolutely need better education for everyone about what is involved w/r/t consent.

It's not a derail, it's an essential and illustrative point when you are teaching that lesson. What better way to establish that rape is a lot more than simply physical force or intimidation than to highlight that even a woman could do it to a man without a hint of any of that or any conscious intention to rape?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2010


What better way to establish that rape is a lot more than simply physical force or intimidation than to highlight that even a woman could do it to a man without a hint of any of that or any conscious intention to rape?

If you want to be your take-away message, then sure, go for it. If you honestly think that the best way to educate the world about what rape is would be to say "Well, women can do it, too!" - sure, go ahead. Like I said, no argument there.

I just don't see why that's really the best way to get the point across that consent is tricky. In reality, women are more often the victims than the perpetrators. That's been statistically borne out. To focus on the fringe cases is denying the greater reality that it's not what usually happens. It also, in my mind, lets men off the hook for the reasons that Astro Zombie mentions upthread: it lets men talk about rape without talking about male privilege, which in my opinion, is a dangerous thing to do. That privilege has a lot to do with the conversations that exist around sex between men and women (and as other posters have mentioned, the notion that women have to be told that we don't owe sex to men, because very often the messages we pick up from our culture is that after a certain point, we can't say no) and privilege has a hell of a lot to do with the fact that more rapes aren't prosecuted because the male perpetrator is "trusted" more by the system than the female victim.

Again, I say this as someone who has been raped by a woman. I don't think that making the larger conversation about "Women can rape, too!" is a productive way to engage with men (or women, for that matter) about what is involved with consent. Sure, it's an important point to make, but making that the whole point is glossing over the reality that it's not the norm.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:24 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are not getting what I'm saying. The point is to illustrate just how tricky the concept of consent can be and how careful you have to be, it doesn't matter if it NEVER happens in reality.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:25 PM on July 17, 2010


The point is to illustrate just how tricky the concept of consent can be and how careful you have to be, it doesn't matter if it NEVER happens in reality.

I am getting exactly what you're saying. I just don't agree with you at all. I think that using examples that DO happen in reality is more important to understand, well, the reality of the situation. Thought experiments and fringe cases are important tools to use, but if that's going to be your entire platform - then no, I don't think it's the best way to go about consent education.

I think to do that (only use fringe cases/non-real examples) is to devalue the actual experience of rape victims and that it's a terrible road to go down.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2010


Thought experiments and fringe cases are important tools to use, but if that's going to be your entire platform - then no

Good! We are on the same page since I never said it should be the only platform, just an essential illustrative point.

Showing that a women can rape without physical intimidation or force or even persuasion just on the basis of a partner being in a state of inebriation making them unable to consent encompasses just about any other scenario you can come up with.

But what If I....Nope, still rape.
But if I just...no, still rape.
I could...no, rape.

That is what it illustrates very clearly without having to go down every possible scenario.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:46 PM on July 17, 2010


this data should be easily available

Yeah, it should be. I don't like statistics being quoted out of context either, which is why I went digging (an exercise in frustrating futility fwiw), because it can diminish the validity of any points raised.
posted by squeak at 9:01 PM on July 17, 2010


What better way to establish that rape is a lot more than simply physical force or intimidation than to highlight that even a woman could do it to a man without a hint of any of that or any conscious intention to rape?

I get what you're saying as a principle, but I can't imagine a dorm of male college freshmen being impressed by the horror of being subjected to sex by a woman. (Note: I am absolutely not saying that men can't be sexually assaulted by women.)

In terms of heterosexual rape, sexual politics and mores put men in the greater position of power. Being penetrated is a greater violation than being pressured/intimidated to penetrate. I think that it's impossible to get around the issue of rape being predominately a male-on-female crime and still have a realistic discussion about effective education.
posted by desuetude at 10:13 PM on July 17, 2010


grapefruitmoon: A lot, A LOT, of college kids misunderstand what's involved with consent - and not because they're sociopaths, but because no one ever told them "Dude, if she's drunk, she can't legally say yes. Don't risk it - keep your pants on and wait for another time."

This paragraph seems general, not referring to the specific set of circumstances of the rest of your post, yet the gender specificity persists...
posted by Dysk at 1:30 AM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brother Dysk: Have you read none of my follow-up comments? If you'd like to accuse me of something, go ahead, but that kind of insinuation is looking like nit-picking from here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:41 AM on July 18, 2010


Rape is not a capital crime in many jurisdictions. Many jurisdictions have eliminated 'rape' as a criminal charge completely and replaced it with 'sexual assault' or similar. There are degrees of sexual assault. So, jfuller, you're pretty much spouting ignorance. Not helpful, stop it.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:07 AM on July 18, 2010


...well, it's been fun, all! See you next Rape Day!
posted by Ouisch at 8:47 AM on July 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


grapefruitmoon, did you not read my previous comment either? "I realise that you likely don't mean to imply a gender-specific law" and all. What I was pointing out was that the language implies differently, and is likely to put many people off the argument, essentially sound or not. When you're dealing with contentious issues, you need to be very careful if you don't want to alienate the very people you mean to reach (a line I find myself using depressingly often in activist circles of all types - big tendency to effectively preach to the converted).
posted by Dysk at 4:23 PM on July 18, 2010


Brother Dysk: Look, I specified many times that I, personally, have no gender-specific agenda to be pushing and the conversation I mentioned was about a specific case. If it doesn't read that way to you, I'm sorry it was unclear, but that was what I meant and if you want to nit-pick my word choice that's fine, but it doesn't change the fact that what I meant and what you're getting after are the same thing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:08 PM on July 18, 2010


I get what you're saying as a principle, but I can't imagine a dorm of male college freshmen being impressed by the horror of being subjected to sex by a woman.

That is not remotely the point. The point is to illustrate how you can cross the line without violence, intimidation, drugging someone, getting them drunk, etc.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:30 PM on July 18, 2010


That is not remotely the point. The point is to illustrate how you can cross the line without violence, intimidation, drugging someone, getting them drunk, etc.

I realize that desire can turn into sexual assault without violence, intimidation, drugging someone getting them drunk, etc. My point was that using the threat of women sexually assaulting men via these non-violent means is not a very effective way to educate men as to alternative modes of behavior, because it's not much of a threat. (Even though it happens.)
posted by desuetude at 8:57 PM on July 18, 2010


WHICH IS GOOD BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM SAYING THEY SHOULD BE DOING!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:00 PM on July 18, 2010


. My point was that using the threat of women sexually assaulting men via these non-violent means is not a very effective way to educate men as to alternative modes of behavior, because it's not much of a threat.

Agreed.

Which brings us to: furiousxgeorge, how would you educate young people as to alternate modes of behavior, as in how NOT to date-rape, since you seem to be advocating that thought experiments are a great way to illustrate what rape is... but then draw the line saying that it doesn't work as an actual deterrent. What in your mind WOULD be the way to teach young people how to navigate the boundaries of consensual sex?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:39 AM on July 19, 2010


Rape is a capital crime like premeditated murder, and there are no degrees of rape.

What the fuck? That's bullshit and you know it. I think there's some states where child rape might still be a capital crime, but even that's pretty rare. And as somebody mentioned above, there's definitely "degrees" of sexual assault in the books in most jurisdictions. (I'm talking about the US here.)
posted by kmz at 7:33 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


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