Who Does Kay Brooks Hate More–Men or Women?

Being a feminist, I’ve grown used to the ways in which woman-hating oozes from perfectly normal people on occasion, and the necessity of seeing such woman-hating and calling it for what it is. But I’m still perplexed by how men will piss and moan about stupid shit like women not being able to be drafted and yet completely miss the misandry that permeates their everyday lives.

Take Kay Brooks’ post today for an example of what I mean.

Those of you who’ve been reading me a while can, I presume, point out the ways in which Brooks thinks women should just suck it up and accept their status as second-class citizens:

–According to Brooks, we are not to go outside alone after dark, especially not to public places, like parks.

–Being raped isn’t merely a crime, it’s a “lesson” (presumably in what happens to us if we forget that we don’t have the right to walk around in public).

–If you are raped, you have to accept personal responsibility for it. In other words, though Brooks tries to say that she thinks the victim doesn’t “deserve” what happened to her, she’s also turning right around and saying that she bears responsibility for it.

This stuff is pretty vile. But look at how Brooks talks about men.

–Men who won’t blame rape victims for their rapes are “cowed.” (Yes, America, I swear to god, Kay Brooks manages to hit the trifecta of misogyny there. Let’s count it out, shall we? 1. Women are to blame for their rapes. 2. Being called a female [a cow] is an insult. 3. Men who don’t agree with her are acting like women, which, of course, is an insult of the highest order.)

–Men are monsters who cannot help but rape. She even calls them monsters.

–And there’s nothing other, non-rapist, men–like police officers–can do to make women safe in public.

On one level, guys, I guess it must feel incredibly powerful to think of yourselves as unstoppable monsters. But, still, it’s got to suck, to hear constantly how monstrous and fucked up you are (unless you’re dickless and ineffectual), how women should just assume that any encounter with you is going to lead to you hurting us (or letting us get hurt). Doesn’t that get old?

Anyway, this post pisses me off and breaks my heart, because, at her core, Kay Brooks is a superstitious fool.

I’m going to say that again, even though it’s going to piss her off, because I think it’s important for y’all to hear. In this matter, Kay Brooks is a superstitious fool.

There is only one person that could have prevented that rape that evening and it is not the victim.

Look at it this way. Say she had just given him the light for his cigarette and then she got nervous and called a cab and went home. So, she’s safe. What about the woman walking from Printer’s Alley back to her car? What about the woman waiting outside the Municipal Auditorium for a cab? What about the woman whose friend is meeting her around the corner who might have bumped into the rapist as she was coming out of her apartment building? What about the woman living in Germantown whose husband was out of town and whose bedroom was on the ground floor? Do you see what I’m saying? If he was intent on raping someone that evening, he would have continued to hunt for a suitable victim until he found her.

Carrying a phone, walking with friends, never leaving your house except to go to work and the store, avoiding places your tax dollars pay for, curtailing your life, these are all just tricks we play, deals we make with fate, please don’t let it be us this time, and they are about as effective.

I mean, please, do you see how insidious this is, and kind of gross? It assumes that there are rapists out there, determined to rape, and that there’s no solution to the problem of all these rapists except for women, “sensible women,” as Brooks puts it, being willing to curtail their lives. But this does nothing to actually lessen the incidents of rapes, because all you’re doing is playing this game where you try to make yourself look like less of an easy target than someone else. “Don’t rape me; rape her or her or her.”

Rape incidents are reduced not by women hiding in their houses, afraid to do normal things, but by rapists not raping.

And really, shame on anyone who would suggest otherwise.

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84 thoughts on “Who Does Kay Brooks Hate More–Men or Women?

  1. B, I agree with her.

    The woman doesn’t deserve to be raped. The rapist isn’t excused in his actions, but…

    You just don’t walk alone at night in parks. You also don’t take candy from strangers. Nothing to do with feminism and all to do with not being a dumbass. If you’re walking with a pit bull, that might be a different story, because somebody looking to do somebody else harm will pick an easy victim.

    Car theives go for unlocked cars, Burglars go for empty houses, and jump-out-of-shrubs Rapists look for solitary women in dark quiet places.

  2. By the way, I don’t walk alone at night in parks. Because I’m not a dumbass who wants to get robbed.

    (Some may disagree with me not being a dumbass, but let’s leave that for another debate.)

  3. Ha. Fair enough.

    I’m wondering if it will be Coble or Exador who recommends shooting rapists as a workable rape deterrent. You libertarians and your guns.

  4. Lee, two things. One, my cooter is not a car or a house or other unguarded property. It’s a body part I have a right to control access to regardless of where I am. Two, I don’t think this is a park in the way you’re thinking. It’s a fairly well-lit block wide open grassy meadow (for lack of a better description) just a block off one major road and bordering another. People cut through the park at all times of day or night to get from downtown north to Germantown. It was only quiet and secluded because the perp lucked out.

    She was “alone” in the sense that she didn’t have an escort, but I don’t see why she would have thought that she would be the only person in the park. Again, that was just her bad luck. Fifteen minutes sooner or later and there might have been twenty people within earshot.

  5. I was going to write about this this morning….then i actually told myself to wait….sure enough, here it is, and i completely agree with you. I can’t even imagine admonishing my wife or daughter about walking alone and thereby “inviting” an attack.

    Cowed, my ass.

  6. You’re right B, your cooter is not some random piece of property to be taken. But there are people out there who don’t see it that way. It’s not man bashing to say that.

    Concerning the park you describe, seems like you may be right in that the perp got real lucky; the woman extremely unlucky. I’m thinking of Cherokee Park up here in Louisville which is only a block from the girlfriend’s house. It’s large, heavily wooded, and many sections are isolated.

    She has a friend who will walk that park at night, and we both tell her she’s a damn fool for doing so.

  7. I am trying to calmly and rationally ask her about her views at her place. I really hope to find out more about why she thinks what she does, if she does. She hasn’t yet clarified.

  8. Lee, it’s just beside the point.
    Women are told their whole lives what to do and not do in order to avoid being raped. Don’t walk alone, don’t ever be alone, close your legs, dress primly, etc. etc. It’s beside the point. If you could speak to the rape victim and tell her to her face how this attack was partly her fault, it won’t be anything she hasn’t heard before. And– guess what– it isn’t anything she hasn’t already thought of since the attack!

    So save the womanblame. Try something new… like thinking about how a rape culture is developed and sustained in the supposedly free nation.

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  10. Tanglethis, exactly. And again, it’s superstitious. You could do everything in your power to avoid being raped by a stranger and you could be raped by your husband’s friend. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t take steps to be safer, but let’s be real, that’s all it is–steps to be safer, to hedge your bets; there’s no way to be utterly safe.

    That’s why it comes down to changing rapists’ and potential rapists’ attitudes towards having sex with people without their consent. That’s what stops rape, not us performing some grown-up equivalent of “don’t step on a crack.”

  11. Well, I DO recommend being trained in the use of firearms and following that up with a firearm of your own. But I recommend that to everyone–not just The Wimmins.

    We libertarians do favour personal firearms as a choice when it comes to protecting ones self from things that go bump in the night, day, midafternoon.

    That’s why it comes down to changing rapists’ and potential rapists’ attitudes towards having sex with people without their consent. That’s what stops rape,

    Although a good .32 calibre shot to the groin can also help.

    (See, I aim to please (ha!))

    Seriously, though, I’m a little concerned about Mrs. Brooks’ thesis. I guess I don’t buy into the whole idea of making decent people slaves to the aggressive impulses of not-decent people.

  12. Hmmm, I tend to be torn on the issue.

    I, myself, would NEVER walk alone through a park.* Hell, I don’t even walk alone to my car when I leave an establishment after dark in a “nice” part of town. I just assume, because I am 5’4″ tall and weight less than 110 lbs that I’m pretty much easy pickin’s. But please note that I don’t think that this victim of the downtown rape at the park provoked an attack.

    I subscribe to the theory that women, if so inclined, should be able to walk down the street naked and not be accosted by some rapist piece of shit. However, this is not the world we live in, unfortunately. There are evil people out there… waiting for an opportunity, and I am bound and determined not to let myself be a target of those waiting to do harm, if I can avoid it (and sometimes there is no avoiding it).

    My bottom line: I don’t make myself a target. I lock my doors. If I didn’t lock my doors here at home and my property was stolen, I would definitely blame myself. And if I was walking alone downtown at night, I would blame myself. (this does not mean I think other people should blame themselves, I am merely stating my point of view).

    That doesn’t make me a hater of my own sex. It’s just like I know not to put my hand to a hot stove eye. I’ll get burned should I go against what I know from past experiences and/or the experiences of others who have touched hot stove eyes in the past.

    *I have walked, alone, for more than 10 blocks in Downtown Nashville — election night 2000 — luckily nothing happened to me and that was 7 years ago when I lacked the common sense that I have now.

  13. see, i part company with feminism somewhere partway through your rant.

    blaming victims for being victimized is wrong, pretty much always; blaming women for being raped is wrong, always. but pointing out that the unfortunate, sympathy-worthy victim may have committed a tactical error does not equate to blaming her, no matter how monotonously the correct-tactics drum may be beaten in society at large.

    there’s got to be some way to suggest things a crime victim might have done wrong or could have done differently without implying said crime victim was at fault for failing to do it. but frankly, the “you’re blaming the victim!” refrain is something i hear so loudly from various feminist camps that i no longer try to give constructive criticism to self-identified feminists on anything remotely connected to crime or tactics. i do not know how to say it and not be horribly misunderstood, so i no longer speak it.

    ms. Brooks is not saying all men are monsters. she’s saying some men are monsters, and she’s implying that such monsters like to prowl around parks after dark. the first point is undeniable truth, the second seems likely enough.

    most men are perfectly decent; quite a few could even be described as honourable, at least for some definition of “honor”. but it’d be delusional to think that all men are, or that those who aren’t can all be “fixed”. some men are rabid monsters and beyond fixing. this will likely always remain so. because of that, we all — every adult human — need to think seriously about tactics.

    stating the above two truths is not misandrist in the slightest, it’s realist.

    nobody can make you absolutely safe in this life. not police officers, not other men, not other women, not even — as you point out — yourself. but yourself is your first, last, and best option out of those listed. not only are we all responsible for our own safety, but we are each our own best protectors; we are the only person guaranteed to be present whenever we may need protecting. personal tactics have to start with that. this seems to me to be the point of most of ms. Brooks whole post, such as it is.

    i do not know why “cowed” is an insult. perhaps it is because cows are female. then again, perhaps it is because cows — the entire species, i mean (there’s an interesting aside here, about how it’s a species without a common name in English) — have allowed themselves to be tamed and rendered harmless, even though they could physically be quite fierce. it could be an insult about toothlessness, spinelessness and weakness, in other words. i honestly don’t know which it is.

    …i just spent a minute or two debating, if only with myself, exactly why a certain insult is an insult. that sort of semantical confusion seems to happen whenever i poke my head into feminist territory; it’s as if there’s a different variety of English spoken there, and i cannot effectively communicate. that may be the underlying reason i am not a feminist; i do not know what the word means.

  14. nm, i’ve seen “cattle” used to refer to any domesticated livestock, or at least large mammalian livestock. it’s true that it usually refers to the species of bovine in question, but there doesn’t seem to be any word that always reliably identifies that species.

  15. i’ve seen “cattle” used to refer to any domesticated livestock, or at least large mammalian livestock.

    I’ve only seen that usage in arcane texts like the Bible and various pre-1800 documents.

    Since around 1810 or so, I’ve understood the term “cattle” to refer specifically to the bovine animals of both sex.

  16. “I’m wondering if it will be Coble or Exador who recommends shooting rapists as a workable rape deterrent. ”
    Not only is it workable, it’s the most effective means at deterring violent attacks.

    Well that’s just the thing, isn’t it? Most rape isn’t violent in that sense. Stranger rape is relatively rare, in comparison to other kinds. Even if you leave out what a lot of people call “grey” rape, you’re still much more likely to be assaulted by someone you know and trust than some random person who bashes your head in. And that’s true of pretty much all forms of assault, not just the sexual ones.

    Guns don’t help much then. Neither, for that matter, does not going places alone. That kind male friend you ask to walk you home (to scare off the stranger-rapists and muggers, natch) is a far more likely threat than anything that might go bump in the dark.

    That’s the problem.

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  18. “Most rape isn’t violent in that sense. ”

    Ever talked to someone who has been raped? They’re generally pretty convinced it’s violent.

    “Guns don’t help much then.”

    Thanks for setting up a bunch of qualifiers for when they won’t help. But, in case of violent attack, they mostly will.

  19. Elizabeth and Nomen: Again, beside the point. B’s point is that all of those things you do to defend yourself aren’t doing shit to reduce rape. I walk everywhere alone because I don’t have a car; nonetheless I’m smart and fast and carry mace and have had the good luck to avoid assault so far. I can pat myself on the back for that – good girl, avoiding rape on the street. But I’ve been raped in my own bed, so what the fuck?
    Now, even acknowledging that stranger rape and date rape are different animals, they’re still both about dominating women and using sexuality as a weapon. That’s the problem, and no amount of avoiding parks is going to change that.
    Time for plan B, then. (No pun intended, I swear.)

  20. Only if women walk around with guns out ready at any moment to aim at the skulking or lurking enemy. That doesn’t exactly seem like something that’s going to free me, ya know? My own experience in dealing with attempted rape makes me profoundly glad I didn’t have a gun in my handbag at the time.

  21. I think it’s interesting, and I don’t quite know how to say anything smarter about it than just that it’s interesting, that our first inclination is to equate rape with robbery. I see y’all doing it over and over again. You wouldn’t leave your car unlocked. You wouldn’t leave your front door open. You wouldn’t leave your windows down. And so forth. As if rape is like a property crime. That troubles me. But what troubles me more is that y’all seem to think that rape is just a crime of opportunity–that a rapist, like a burglar, is just looking for the easiest crime to commit without being caught.

    But let’s be honest. Rape is a violent crime. It’s not akin to burglary. What, exactly, is the rapist taking from the victim? Nothing. We don’t live in 1580. A woman is not defined by her “purity” and a penis in a vagina doesn’t take something from the woman.

    Rape is a violent hate crime in the sense that the rapist chooses his victim from among a group he hates and assaults her because he hates the group she is a part of. In that sense, it’s like a gay bashing.

    That’s the other reason blaming the victim makes no sense. You all are talking as if she was walking through the woods, not paying attention, and fell into a hole and broke her leg. Well, yes, then, in that case, she could have done things differently. She could have watched where she was going. She could have had a friend with her. She should have been sure to have her phone with her. We could talk about the necessity of taking responsibility to keep herself safe.

    But a rapist isn’t like some dangerous landscape feature. Notice, for instance, in this case, she wasn’t in danger just because she was in the park. He first made contact with her back downtown and then he hunted her into the park.

    Her being in the park alone wasn’t the problem. Her inadvertently coming to the attention of a violent man who hated her, who then made contact with her, and followed her was the issue.

    And how could she know, unless she either assumes that all men hate her and are waiting to make that known physically, or unless she has psychic powers, that this man would rape her.

    I mean, please, after all, violent predatory rapists aren’t hanging out in empty parks on the hopes that a woman will stroll by. They’re finding women where women are and waiting for the opportunity to strike.

    Which, Nomen, brings me to you. Look at your comment. Look at how you typify what a rape victim has done. She’s made a “tactical error.” It’s like you almost get it. On the one hand, using that language indicates to me that you see what’s going on between the rapist and his victim as some kind of military skirmish. You get that he’s trying to destroy her. But why?

    Because she’s a woman.

    The stranger rapist is not raping Jane Doe because she’s Jane Doe. He’s raping her because she’s a woman.

    And, he’s already succeeded in raping Jane Doe and he’s not going to rape Jane Doe again. So, going over what her tactical errors were both presumes an ongoing state of war (which may be true, but god damn!) and assumes that said rapist will try to rape Jane Doe again and, if so, in the same way.

    Because that’s the only scenario in which talking about what the victim should have done differently makes any sense. Otherwise, she’s never going to be walking alone through the park on that date at that time with him following her ever again. It was a one-time event for her.

    And, plus, come the fuck on! Like she hasn’t figured out, “Gee, if I walked through the park by myself alone at that time on that date while being followed by that fucker, I’m going to get raped”?

    Cowed is an insult because, in modern English, it implies timidness and being easily lead. Etymologically the genderedness of the insult becomes more obvious because it has to do with not having “horns.”

    Uncle, come on! You know, because you quoted it, that Mag said “most rape isn’t violent in that sense” meaning that most rapists don’t follow you into a park, pull a knife on you and beat the shit out of you. It doesn’t mean, and it’s clear that Mag is not implying that rape is not violent.

    And it’s slightly disingenuous to ask any group of women if they’ve ever talked to someone who’s been raped. Please.

  22. B., I’m of the opinion that rape is violent. Whether it’s violence from a known person or an unknown attack seems irrelevant to that classification. It’s more akin to beating the shit out of someone than, say, property crime (to use your analogy). It’s physical and force is involved (well, force is usually involved). Violence is violence. Maybe I didn’t take Magniloquence’s meaning correctly but I stand by original assertion.

    “And it’s slightly disingenuous to ask any group of women if they’ve ever talked to someone who’s been raped. ”

    How? And I have no idea Magniloquence’s gender.

  23. Uncle, come on! You know, because you quoted it, that Mag said “most rape isn’t violent in that sense” meaning that most rapists don’t follow you into a park, pull a knife on you and beat the shit out of you. It doesn’t mean, and it’s clear that Mag is not implying that rape is not violent.

    Exactly. Believe me, I’ve had that talk, and I understand the violence involved. But most of it isn’t the sort of Law and Order beatings-and-weapons kind of violence. It’s the violence of having one’s personhood disregarded, one’s body used as an object, and one’s agency taken away.

    Sometimes weapons are involved, sometimes drugs, sometimes power or coercion or simple timing (like, say, assault on sleeping victims). But most of it is done by people with whom we have at least passing familiarity, in situations where trust is, if not a given, then certainly not far-fetched. And most of those situations are situations in which guns are inappropriate. If a perfectly nice person who has been well-behaved on your date in a well-lit and crowded restaurant (like, say, the one in the article Aunt B linked to months ago) happens to spike your drink when you go to the bathroom (as in that article), for instance, a gun is unlikely to help.

    That doesn’t mean that they never help, but … they miss the point, too. It’s like if I were talking about cholera and pointing out that really, we need to clean up our water sources and at the very least, treat the water that comes out of them if we can’t clean them all up right away, and you’re insisting that people shouldn’t complain so much because azithromycin clears things right up.

    Sure. When you get it in time. When you can be properly rehydrated after being treated. When you can afford it. And that doesn’t stop the drug-resistant variants, and it doesn’t keep it from happening again when you have to drink from the same damn polluted stream.

  24. How? And I have no idea Magniloquence’s gender.

    You seem to spend enough time around here that this seems kind of odd. I’m female. And even if I weren’t, this thread is pretty overwhelmingly female anyway. At the very least, you know Kat and nm and Aunt B are female, and Aunt B was clearly referring to the group of women on the thread, not me alone.

  25. If I’m intent on attacking a strange woman in the park, and I think she may be armed, I’m going to be more sneaky, but when I get close enough, I’m going to hit her so hard she will never have time or the mental capacity to reach into her purse. Guns are useless in a sneak attack.

    So many people think firearms are magic.

  26. honestly, i don’t think he was trying to destroy her because she’s female. really. that’s almost certainly not the underlying cause at all.

    i think he was trying to destroy her because he is a rabid monster. sure, he likely has some reason of his own for picking female victims specifically, and choosing rape as his method out of all the ways to commit violent crime, but it’s very possible that his reasons only make sense in the mind of a rabid monster. hence, i do not really care what they are.

    no, you can never be quite sure which of the people around you are the rabid monsters. you can never be entirely safe; life is not safe. it never will be. there will always be some fraction of people who are, at heart, rabid monsters, and all we can try to do is reduce their numbers somewhat from what they are now. (incidentally, it’d be nice to channel the discussion into figuring out ways to do that, but i’m not sure how to turn people’s attention that way.) but that number will never reach zero, and that’s just the world we have to live in.

    who says that a rapist, once he’s raped some given woman, won’t do it over again? how do we know that? even if that were true, who says that talking and thinking about how crime has once been committed cannot teach us any, yes, lessons about how it might be committed (and perhaps prevented!) in the future? this, this is an idea i just cannot understand, honestly.

    if you’ve once been mugged, does that mean you can either (1) rest assured that that will never happen again, or (2) must resign yourself to being unable to reduce your risks of being mugged again, because there are no lessons to be learned from what happened to you and how it went down? talking about risks, dealing with risks, and trying to minimize risks, never makes sense to you? how the heck does that work?!

    seriously, B, you’re depressing me. reading your argument i just keep coming away with this growing sense that we’re not using the same language, that we keep talking at cross purposes because our dictionaries are not the same. and it’s not just you, i’ve had the same feeling before, and it’s why i try not to deal with feminism any longer; i just can’t seem to communicate?

  27. I have that problem sometimes, Nomen. But not here, not this issue. I fully “get” what she is saying here. And i happen to agree. B and i have parted ways on a few “feminist” issues, but this idea that women need to take special precautions or bear at least some of the responsibility for being raped is ridiculous.

  28. Guns are useless in a sneak attack.”

    they can be. Which is why awareness is key.

    Exactly. Believe me, I’ve had that talk, and I understand the violence involved. But most of it isn’t the sort of Law and Order beatings-and-weapons kind of violence. It’s the violence of having one’s personhood disregarded, one’s body used as an object, and one’s agency taken away.

    then we’re in agreement that it’s violence.

    You seem to spend enough time around here that this seems kind of odd. I’m female.

    Well, I figured after B. clued me in

    And even if I weren’t, this thread is pretty overwhelmingly female anyway. At the very least, you know Kat and nm and Aunt B are female, and Aunt B was clearly referring to the group of women on the thread, not me alone.

    But I asked you.

  29. Hypothetical here: What if this had been a mugging?

    Both mugging and ‘stranger’ rape are violent acts often occuring seemingly random. Both often target victims seemed by the perp to be weak or an easy target. Both can not truly be ever stopped, but there are precautions that can be taken to lower the risk of being victimized.

    One involves sex, violence, and a severe sense of violation, while the other involves only violence and a much milder violation.

    If talking about a mugging, would it be so taboo to mention steps that can and cannot make you more safe.

    (Note: I am talking about ‘stranger’ rape. Not the rape that occurs when some college guy dickhead hops on a passed out girl after a party. I think that is part of where this disconnect is in this conversation.)

  30. “Golda Meir once suggested that the way to prevent most rapes was to enforce a curfew on men.” NO, NO, NO! You don’t get it, do you? Just as innocent women shouldn’t be curtailed from living their lives, neither should the 99.999% innocent men. Or perhaps we go back to the golden days of patriarchy and protect our women by imposing a curfew on them! Seriously, let’s stop stereotyping all men as evil or potentially evil. That is immoral.

  31. If talking about a mugging, would it be so taboo to mention steps that can and cannot make you more safe.

    Yes and no. The issue is twofold.

    First is the issue of culpability; if you’re walking alone on the street and you are mugged, then people might say that you shouldn’t have been walking alone, and that maybe you could have done something differently. They won’t, however, quibble with the idea that the mugger is the person in the wrong. Most people won’t say that you’re partially to blame for it happening, even if you could have done something differently.

    The second is the issue of degree. Not flashing money, not walking alone in ‘dangerous’ neighborhoods, and perhaps keeping your true wealth at home (either not driving the ‘good’ car to the bad place, or only keeping $20 on you at any time, or something like that)… those are the kind of things we tell people to do to keep from getting mugged.

    We don’t tell them to check every thread of their clothing to see if it looks too expensive for where they’re going, or to make sure to call someone before they go anywhere so people can start searching for them, or to fight back with every ounce of strength they have just so that people will know that they really didn’t want their money taken. We don’t tell them to mistrust everyone who gets near them, because they might steal some money. We certainly don’t tell them never to be alone, to change their whole lives aroud, and that even if they do all these things that it’s still their fault if someone gets through their defenses.

    So yes. There is a time and place to talk about reasonable precautions. Everyone should be careful. Self defense is a good thing to know.

    One might call to mind the image of, say, Batman’s origin. The robber points the gun at the couple (not alone! a man, a woman, and a child), the man tries to hand over the money, the robber gets scared and the gun goes off anyway. (Depending on what version you read, anyway. The important part was that they were not alone, and they did not fight back, no matter what the robber may have done.) We see this kind of imagery all the time. They tell you, if you’re mugged, to be calm, to hand over whatever they want, and maybe they won’t hurt you. Nobody yells at you for not fighting back hard enough, particularly if the person was armed.

    (Note: I am talking about ’stranger’ rape. Not the rape that occurs when some college guy dickhead hops on a passed out girl after a party. I think that is part of where this disconnect is in this conversation.)

    Thanks for clarifying that – they are two fairly different phenomena. I do have one quibble, though, and that’s that “the rape that occurs when some college guy dickhead hops on a passed out girl after a party” is certainly not the only kind of non-stranger rape. There’s still marital and domestic rape, and all manner of other situations, and those are the trust-relationships that I was talking about earlier.

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  33. Nomen, the guy had a knife. If he wasn’t trying to show her how much he hated her because she was a woman, why didn’t he just stab her with his knife?

    He put his penis in her vagina against her will and you don’t think that has anything to do with him trying to send her a message about what he thinks about women?

    I mean, come on. He’s not a monster. This is a guy, a bad guy to be sure, but a guy. Just a person. His motives aren’t foreign to us.

    And now it seems like you’re trying to argue it both ways. You want to say that you don’t care why he does what he does and you aren’t going to waste time trying to figure it out. But you do want to sit around and talk about what his rape victim should have done to figure out ahead of time what to do to avoid being raped by him. Well, how can she do that if she doesn’t put herself in his shoes a little bit?

    So, can we imagine what it’s like to be these guys or not?

    Plus, I can do everything in my power to keep from getting raped or mugged or whatever and I will still be raped or mugged or whatever if the person is determined enough.

    As for the whole gun v. not-gun debate, thanks Catherine, I think that that article raises a good point. Unless we’re all going to walk around with cowboy-type holsters, a gun doesn’t do much to prevent the assault. It can, if you know what you’re doing, end the assault before it becomes a rape, but it doesn’t prevent the initial incident.

    Listen, I know these discussions are tough and I appreciate that you guys are willing to acknowledge that you sometimes feel like we’re talking past each other.

    So, I’m just going to ask you to try to see things from our, no, just my perspective. I only know, for certain, one woman who has never been sexually assaulted (though not all of those ended in a full-blown rape). I have listened to their stories and tried to draw lessons from them. Here’s just a sampling of what I’ve learned. Fight back; it will scare him off because he’s not looking for a difficult attack. Don’t fight back; fighting back will piss him off and he will hurt you worse. Always have a man you can trust watching your back. Sometimes the man you think you can trust is the one who rapes you. Never be alone with a guy. Never be with a group of guys. Don’t wear sexy cloths; they’re provocative. Don’t wear sloppy clothes; it makes you look weak.

    And so on.

    My point is that we women are barraged with constant messages about how not to get raped and we are very, very aware of what it’s like to be raped.

    The only rational response, I think, is to hide in your house.

    But that’s not how the world works. You have to go out and be a part of things and have a life and not live in fear. Yes, you can be cautious, but telling a woman to be cautious or she might be raped sounds like a sick joke. It doesn’t matter if you’re cautious or not. Yes, it might matter on that particular night. But some other night? You could do everything right and still get raped.

    And blaming women, er, excuse me, just asking women to take responsibility for their part in their own rape is also laughable, in a sad way. Should we fear you all?

    Because there’s no way to tell the rapists from the good guys. They look just like you. They sound just like you. they hang out where you hang out and do the things you do.

    But come on. That’s no way to live, to assume every man is a rapist.

    Believe me. We all know or have been rape victims and we all have gotten the message loud and clear that, even if we have done everything we knew to do to keep from getting raped, if we get raped, the first thing people want to discuss is what we should have done differently.

    Again, this is magical thinking–this idea that women can make the right motions and say the right words and *ta da* they won’t be raped.

    And it minimizes the fact that they are being hunted by a man who hates them who is waiting for an opportunity to hurt them.

  34. That’s a great link, Catherine. One part of it that I wanted to bring in to this thread is:

    Self defense is something that women can learn and through it become more empowered. For example, there is a program sponsored through VUPD called RAD, Rape Aggression Defense, which is a great program. However, knowing how to defend yourself does not prevent the violence – you use it when the violence has already occurred, when you’ve already been attacked. So we don’t see it as prevention.

    (Emphasis mine)

    That seems to be another thing that gets lost in the conversation. Guns and other self-defense tactics aren’t preventative. Even things designed to minimize one’s attention profile and make oneself safer aren’t dealing with the actual problem. That’s bigger and more complicated than making sure you’re not the one the bad thing happens to.

  35. okay, B, i give up. i have no idea how you got that out of what i said, and by now i’m convinced there’s no way for me to phrase my point so it gets across right. we’re clearly not speaking the same language, so there’s no point in talking. sorry.

  36. Pingback: They’ll stone you when you’re trying to be good, or Following the Brooksian logic to its logical end « Salem’s Lots

  37. Jason: “Golda Meir once suggested that the way to prevent most rapes was to enforce a curfew on men.” NO, NO, NO! You don’t get it, do you? Just as innocent women shouldn’t be curtailed from living their lives, neither should the 99.999% innocent men. Or perhaps we go back to the golden days of patriarchy and protect our women by imposing a curfew on them! Seriously, let’s stop stereotyping all men as evil or potentially evil. That is immoral.

    Huh? She was responding to a serious suggestion that the way to safeguard women from rape was to impose a curfew on women. Her entire point was that this wasn’t the way to go. I think you’re the one who is missing something: her sarcasm.

  38. Even things designed to minimize one’s attention profile and make oneself safer aren’t dealing with the actual problem. That’s bigger and more complicated than making sure you’re not the one the bad thing happens to.

    As one of the gun advocates in this thread, I need to poke my scaly, violence–oozing, gun-advocating head out of the primordial slime of gun advocacy to make a few clarifications.

    1. We never claim that guns will make rape obsolete.

    2. We never claim that guns will prevent the initial assault.

    3. We never advise untrained persons to wield firearms for safety. Ever. Not ever. We always insist that any person using the firearm be trained properly and certified.

    As a woman trained in the use of firearms, I do think that I’d much rather my potential rapist have my slug in his kneecap than his penis in mouth, vagina or anus. Yes, I may walk away with a black eye, limp away on a broken leg, or struggle to speak after having my teeth knocked out. But I will have prevented my rape and, possibly, my own death.

    As to the “he’ll grab your gun and use it against you!” point–that rarely happens outside the movies, and almost never happens to trained gun owners in an assault situation. These attackers–especially in stranger rapes–are stoked on the idea of power. A gun changes the power equation in a surprising way for them.

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  40. Mag, that was the type of response I was looking for. I was afraid after the fact that my comment may have been taken for as more confrontational than I meant it to be. I was honestly trying to steer debate in a way I though constructive by posing a hypothetical that I did not necessarily have a predisposed answer to.

    I understand your all’s points, and I understand that rape is something that guys just don’t have to deal with as an issue because we just don’t have to face the prospect of being a victim. I understand, I guess, that I don’t fully understand. But even though we don’t fully understand, it seems that if guys while making an honest good-faith effort to talk about this subject make some unintentional faux pas they get shot down as some sort of neanderthal cretins.

    Therefore we clam up.

    And the whole college guys hopping on passed out girl example was merely the first one I came up with… because it was the situation that occured to a good friend of mine. By using that one I did not mean to exclude other similar situations.

  41. mm: “Huh?” Excuse me, I know it’s customary for the feminista to ridicule any and all dull-witted comments by a stupid male with a three letter ejaculation such as “huh” (“ugh” seems to be your favorite — a sort-of code word venom you spew out to signify that the comment to which you are responding is sefl-evidently buffoonish).

    Kindly understand that I certainly realized the absurdity, the hyperbole, of Golda Meir’s comment, and of your paraphrasing it on this thread (which, by the way, you did with utmost solemnity). But, you see, a male can never tell if YOU feminists realize the absurdity, given that the radical feminist literature is replete with instances of de rigueur man hating, and also given that you all have no sense of humor and all that. You know. So, yes, coming from a different source, your paraphrase would have been construed as sarcasm per se. But a guy can never tell.

    Ugh!

  42. Sooo Jason… since I’ve been studying a bit of radical feminist literature this semester and have yet to read anything I’d consider outright man-hating, I’d love for you to cite me some examples so my class can discuss.

  43. Lee, in response to your comment on men getting zinged and clamming up: I just read a neat post at Feminist 101 that might address that for you.

    It’s not that men can’t participate productively in conversations about women’s experiences… it’s just that they have to arm themselves with a little more than their own POV before going in. Otherwise, what they say might be unoriginal or offensive or off-topic or whathaveyou.

  44. that rape is something that guys just don’t have to deal with as an issue because we just don’t have to face the prospect of being a victim.

    Do you really believe this, Lee?

    from an article I found while googling “percentage of rape victims male”

    Among the offenders studied, the gender of the victim did not appear to be of specific significance to half of the offenders. Instead, they appeared to be relatively indiscriminate with regard to their choice of a victim — that is, their victims included both males and females, as well as both adults and children (Groth & Burgess, 1980). The choice of a victim seemed to be more a matter of accessibility than of sexual orientation, gender or age.

    Many people believe that the majority of male rape occurs in prison; however, there is existing research which shatters this myth. A study of incarcerated and non-incarcerated male rape victims in Tennessee concluded that the similarities between these two groups would suggest that the sexual assault of men may not be due to conditions unique to a prison and that all men are potential victims (Lipscomb et al., 1992).

    You may THINK you don’t have to worry about it. But you SHOULD at least consider worrying about it.

  45. Sooo tanglethis, sooo: See this as one of innumerable examples (written by a feminist I admire): http://shafyinn.blogspot.com/2007/10/new-mythology-of-rape-new-mythology-of.html

    This is, frankly, not the forum where I, a “troll” as some of you refer to any male who dares utter an anti-feminist word, am going to debate you all, but I will make the following points, and then you all can feel free to go “Ugh” or “soooo” and discredit my male irrationality.

    Let me acknowlege that the internet is undoubtedly giving men like me a distorted sense of feminism. You have a ton of guys learning this stuff for the first time, and what they are hearing is that we are at least passively sponsoring a system that subjugates more than half the population. Every male I know, and virtually every woman, reponds, “Huh?” I totally agree with the principles of equity feminism. I reject the anti-intellectualism of radical gender feminists (who dismiss with a wave of their sarcastic hand any and all scientific studies reported in the mainstream media, of which there are many, suggeting any biological differences between men and women. These people are as unscientific as creationists.) I agree that biological differences do not excuse the bad men from doing bad things, but testosterone is a big part of why they do it. Testosterone is also a big part of why a lot of great things happen in the world, too (now there’s an anti-femininst thought!)

    Nevertheless, men are bombarded by messages on the internet by radical feminism that the problem is male or the system they sponsor, and we never hear these people say anything good about maleness. We are the devil, in case you haven’t noticed. How many women do we read saying, “I’m not a man hater but . . . .” Or, “let me make clear, not all men are this way . . . .” Oh, thank you! A new book even suggests that American conservatism concocted a myth to elevate the male heroes of 9/11, including on Flight 93 to support a political agenda. Come on! Give the devil his due. Men were the rescuers that day, it’s well documented. But, you see, to these radicals, men are culturally predisposed via their “privilege” (a loaded word if there ever was one) to oppress and subjugate women, and they are flawed. You may take that as a given; most men and women I know dismiss it as irrational and not factual.

    I hope that you your women’s studies program is not of the political variety that eschews rigorous thought for real academics. Some of thoes programs have become cottage industries populated by professors who financially benefit from making young women believe there is a devil, and it is male (every revolution has to have a devil). I wish we could all be equity feminists and seek not just legal but de facto equality for everyone. Some of you, though, are turning the men off, so if you want to go it alone, good luck to you.

    Ugh!

  46. Pingback: SayUncle » Blame game

  47. Jason, I asked for citations – meaning that I wanted you to show me an example of man-hating so I could see what you thought that was, preferably from a radical feminist writer who purports to represent radical feminism (rather than a blogger that identifies as such). You gave me a link. I’m not going to follow it and try to put myself in your head and figure out what you think is “radical” or “man-hating” in that context.

    Here’s the thing: When you’re on a feminist blog, it’s not the feminist’s job to come to you and figure you out. You showed up to dissent, so you’ve got to justify yourself… and all you’ve done in your reply to me is spew a load of uncited garbage about how radical feminists do this and radical feminists say that. This all suggests to me that you probably can’t really identify what radical feminism is – it’s just a phrase used by some of the women you disagree with, and a phrase you apply to other women you disagree with.

    Here, these pages will help you:

    FAQ: FAQ: Some feminist said/did something offensive/stupid/crazy/evil, so isn’t feminism a failure? That should address your issue about who gets to represent feminism, particularly in the blogosphere.
    FAQ: Why do people talk of feminisms? should further clarify that feminism is not a monolith, so it’s unproductive to run around blaming a mythical Big Scary Feminism for what one feminist said to you.
    FAQ: But men and women are born different, isn’t that obvious? That should help you with your dependence on pop science that “proves” men and women are fundamentally different.
    FAQ: FAQ: Isn’t “the Patriarchy” just some conspiracy theory that blames all men, even decent men, for women’s woes? That’s the beginning of your education in what male privilege actually is, and this:
    FAQ: What is male privilege? is a little more clarification.
    Finally: The Keeping and Feeding of Trolls, to better understand how to have a productive conversation about sexism against either sex.

    See, you don’t have anything original here. You do have a lot of work to do. If you’re intent on attacking feminism, make sure you read up and at least tackle an angle that hasn’t already been talked to death.

  48. Ooo, wait, before we go off on Jason’s tangent, I don’t want to let Coble’s point pass by unconsidered, because it’s complex, there.

    On the one hand, you have the problem of how sexism against women hurts men. Being seen as “womanly” (vulnerable, sexually penetrable, an object of desire, etc.) is such an insult to men that we, as a whole society, literally have trouble imagining men as rape victims (except in prison).

    And then there’s the weird sexism involved with, if men and women are both very vulnerable to being raped, only making women live in fear of rape. It cripples us and leaves men unaware of potential danger.

    Also, I would like to thank Jason for coming by for basically showing by example how much the guys here at Tiny Cat Pants are at least trying to understand this.

    Lee (and Nomen), just imagine that someone like Jason saying almost exactly what Jason is saying were to show up almost every time you were to try to have a discussion about serious stuff that affected you. I’ve been hearing shit like that since I was in high school. Almost word for word, that we’re humorless bitches, that radical feminists and therefore all feminists hate men, blah blah blah.

    I do believe that we feminists need to be more careful about being sensitive to men who really don’t understand and really do have questions and really think we’re wrong about a certain point and want to actually have a respectful, if rowdy discussion about why y’all think we’re wrong, and guys like Jason who obviously have fears and concerns but can’t get past the 150 year old bullshit he’s spouting to articulate it in any way that doesn’t make me want to track him down and point and laugh at him.

  49. “Hunorless feminist” is just a stereotype. As are “man hating” feminists. I don’t think you are either.

  50. But you will use those stereotypes to argue against the commenters here, though we’ve given no indication of being either.

  51. That is correct, nm, so long as it suits one misogynist purpose or other.

    Ah, so we’re cool, then.

  52. And why on earth would one invoke a (damaging, rude, untrue) stereotype in the first place? Especially if one doesn’t actually believe it applies?

    That makes it rather difficult to find a charitable reading of the statements surrounding them, certainly.

  53. Going back to Kat for a second…

    1. We never claim that guns will make rape obsolete.
    2. We never claim that guns will prevent the initial assault.
    3. We never advise untrained persons to wield firearms for safety. Ever. Not ever. We always insist that any person using the firearm be trained properly and certified.

    I’d agree with those statements as phrased. And I’m well aware that you personally say those things that way, and advocate for them consistently and respectfully. I’m cool with that.

    In this particular conversation, however, that’s not actually what happened. Hopping back up to the top, what pretty much happened was that guns were mentioned jokingly as the solution, then proposed more seriously as a solution. (Here speaking specifically of SayUncle’s “Not only is it workable, it’s the most effective means at deterring violent attacks,” which seems to run counter to claims 1 and 2.)

    My point wasn’t that they didn’t help, but that they were limited in scope and that even if they do stop invidiual instances, they do nothing to lower the incidence of attack or address the underlying problems. And I think that’s where this conversation flounders every time, because I want to move past “what to do once you’re already unsafe” and get to “how do we make things actually safer?”

    Guns help, a little. Self defense classes help a little. Walking with friends helps a little. Not going out much helps a little. But none of those things really address the problems – particularly not problems of acquaintance rape, drugging, and coercion (not to mention really sticky situations like mutual intoxication, seriously garbled communication, and things like enthusiastic vs. reluctant consent). Which means that when these things are proposed as solutions, I personally wind up eventually jumping up and down shouting “But it’s more complicated than that!” … which probably doesn’t help either.

  54. “And why on earth would one invoke a (damaging, rude, untrue) stereotype in the first place? Especially if one doesn’t actually believe it applies? That makes it rather difficult to find a charitable reading of the statements surrounding them, certainly.”

    Thank you for reminding me of yet another stereotype often attirbuted to the militant feminist — she takes herself far too seriously.

  55. Shame on you, Magni, trying to have a serious conversation about a cluster of issues like this, and not taking random posts from a total stranger as a joking interpolation!

  56. *snorts* Yeah, silly me.

    Ahem. I mean… *hand dramatically over forehead in pre-swoon positioning* Oh no! My internet mind-reading skills have failed! I’m sooooo horrible! I’ll go flagellate myself and hope to be forgiven by the big strong drive-by troll!

  57. I think that rape is violent.

    I also think that something as small as a .22 caliber bullet can cause erectile dysfunction in rapists. For improved erectile dysfunction in rapists try a larger caliber.

  58. I also think that something as small as a .22 caliber bullet can cause erectile dysfunction in rapists.

    I say it jokingly, but I’ve always thought that if you shoot your attacker in the right spot it may prevent future attacks on anyone else as well as shortcutting your victimisation.

    But then again, knowing that rape is in large percent mental, I’d wonder if they’d not just start using something like bottles or batons or some other pseudophallus.

  59. Good gracious. Is this national ‘don’t read the thread closely’ month?

    Honestly. I know I should be more patient, but it seems like there’s something in the water right now or something. I’m starting to wince every time I see a new name wander into a thread.

  60. Good gracious. Is this national ‘don’t read the thread closely’ month?

    Yes.

    I’m starting to wince every time I see a new name wander into a thread.

    I’m still hoping for that one chick to come back and leave huffily a few more times. That never got old.

  61. Good gracious. Is this national ‘don’t read the thread closely’ month?

    Did I miss something? I may not speak Brooksian, but I do speak English.

  62. B, you said that the way it was written assumed that the guy was going to rape someone no matter what. I didn’t get that. I got that it was a rape of convenience. “Wrong place, wrong time.” Sure if a man is determined to rape he’ll find a victim, but I wonder how often that acutally happens. It seems like mostly a crime of convenience. At least for first time rapists.

  63. W., I think it’s hard to tell from the information we have. I assume he hunted her because he got a light from her and then followed her into the park–in other words, he was looking for someone who was vulnerable and used the asking for a light ruse to ascertain that she was. In other words, he had formulated a plan and was carrying it out. Not that she just strolled by him in the park and he was all “Oh, hey, I could hit that!”

    I think, too, it’s hard to extrapolate about rapists in general. I think stranger rapists must plan, but stranger rapists are a tiny percentage of rapists, so we can’t really use them to draw too many conclusions about rapists in general.

    The truth is that there’s probably very little we can do to dissuade the predators from attacking women. That’s why I want to focus on the majority of rapists and get them to change their ways.

  64. Pingback: Don’t Work on Crime, Just Be a Vending Machine « Women’s Health News

  65. I fear that by linking Brooks’ article here you have actually given her more exposure. Perhaps by ignoring her we can cut the tumor off from its blood supply. She doesn’t deserve this much consideration.

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