Masculinism 101

As usual, my complaint remains that the men’s movement in this culture seems to only care about being forced to pay child support.  If I made a post about dead-beat dads, you’d see them descend on this blog like flies on shit.

But you’ve have a thread at Music City Bloggers so misandrous that the only word to describe it is vile, and not a hoot from men so wronged by society.  In fact, you have a bunch of men piling on about how much men suck and can’t help but be monsters.

Gentlemen, please, don’t make me take up this cause.  My plate is full and you all are grown-ass men.  You should be doing this shit yourself.

But, in this case, because it overlaps with my feminist concerns, I’m going to give you some talking points.

1.  When conversations about rape look to ascribe some level of responsibility to the victim of the rape, it negates some of the responsibility of the rapist.  There’s only 100% responsibility and if you’re saying that the girl has some, let’s say 30%, responsibility, you’re saying that the rapist has only 70% responsibility.  Is the rapist brain damaged or developmentally disabled in such a way that he does not know right from wrong?  If not, then he’s just a regular guy.  If he’s just a regular guy, but he’s not fully responsible for his actions, what’s that say about all regular guys?  That none of y’all are fully responsible for your actions.  And why?

The implication seems to be that it’s just something inherent to being a man.  Y’all cannot help it because you are such fucked up, broken, evil messes.

(On a side note, my deepest fear for y’all is that you believe this.  I sometimes wonder if this is not why you put such emphasis on being needed–you fear that, because you are such broken, fucked up, evil messes no one would choose to be with you if they didn’t feel in some way forced to, in most cases, by necessity.)

2.  If someone generalized about any other group that way–that they were monsters who couldn’t be held wholly responsible if they raped a girl–you would recognize it for the bigotry it is.  Why are you letting this shit slide?  Speak up!

3.  It’s crucial, not just for y’all, but for us, that you speak up when you hear anyone spouting this shit.  And why?  Because rape is an act of misogyny.  It’s about showing your victim that you hate or fear her so much that you’ll use an act (sticking your penis in her vagina) that should be one of the most pleasurable experiences she has to hurt her, that you hate or fear her so much you have to get inside her to show it.

By virtue of the fact that rapists hate or fear women, the likelihood that we’ll be effective when we tell them not to rape us or other women is slim and none.

So, who are rapists or potential rapists going to listen to?  Y’all.  And there are a lot more of you than there are of them.  The peer pressure you should be able to exert is enormous.  If you decided that, instead of talking about the importance of scoring and how many partners you’ve had and whether you managed to get laid at the party of Friday, you were going to talk about how great it was when that hot girl asked you if you wanted to fuck or how big a man you are because you made her come multiple times or how it proves you’re a real man if you have sex with one girl multiple times instead of multiple girls only once, your peers would change their behavior.

You could tell yourselves a different story about what it means to be men.  That way, when a guy and a girl start drinking at a party and they’re both digging each other, he says, long before she’s drunk, “Should we go up to my room?” or, if he passes by a room and sees a girl asleep in a bed, he doesn’t think “Ooh, easy score!  Won’t my brothers think I’m hot shit for nailing her,” he’ll think, “I should go find someone whose going to scream ‘yes’ loud enough to wake the whole house.”  That way, when guys see their friend with a girl who they all know is too drunk to give consent, they don’t laugh and high-five him as he drunkenly stumbles with her to his room; instead, they send him off in search of a more sober parnter and find her friends to walk her home.

You all have to make rape seem socially unacceptable and good consensual sex the stuff of bragging rights.

I mean, please.  I know how much you love to razz each other.  Think of the opportunities this presents:

You: So, how’d it go with that girl last night?

Him: Great. 

You: Really?  That’s funny, because I didn’t hear a thing.  Maybe you suck in bed.

Him: No way, dude.  She was totally into it. [Ha, I guess you have a surfer fraternity brother.]

You: I’m just saying.  I thought we’d hear her enjoying herself if you were really all that.

See how that works?  You get to give your buddy shit and reinforce the notion that good sex is sex that’s pleasurable for both partners and it kind of makes you a loser if that’s not your goal when you’re fucking.

If all normal guys had that attitude, things would be a lot better for us girls.

And, when things are better for us girls, those of us who like to fuck boys go out looking for boys to fuck.  So, it’s like a great circle of happiness for everyone.

So, don’t sit idly by when this crap is being spouted.  Stand up for yourselves!

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144 thoughts on “Masculinism 101

  1. You make the assumption that we men give a shit about what the spinsters, shrews and shut-ins say at MCB.

    We just want to watch a little ‘Knocked Up’ and enjoy some kind bud without you mouthy harridans bothering us with the opinions of Andrea Dworkin and Gladys Kravitz.

  2. Because I can’t say it at MCB and Ron’s not online for me to IM and bitch out, he can have a great big “fuck you” from me over here at your place, B.

    I cannot believe him talking that way, I am so fucking pissed, I can’t even put words together.

  3. I’ll believe it wasn’t drunken consensual sex when someone gives me some evidence other than the word of someone who drunk when the alleged incident took place.

  4. Ron, I’m going to say this as nicely as I can, but if you’re just going to come here spouting more of your “women lie” stuff, please don’t.

    In the case of the girl in that post, no, none of us in the blogosphere know what happened. Not me, not you, not her judgmental English professor.

    But in the cases of my readers and friends, there are people reading here who have been the victims of rapes or attempted rapes and it is fucked up for you to come into a crowd of people you don’t know, many of them who’ve been through shit you have no idea about (might I even suggest that you may know some of them and they just never felt like telling you what happened to them because they didn’t want to hear from you that they deserved it?) and start showing your tail.

    Do you regularly go to blogs where families of murder victims sometimes congregate and shoot your mouth off about how their loved ones deserved to die?

    Then don’t come here telling me about how women like the women I love lie and deserve blame for what happened to them.

    It’s cruel.

  5. I think the reason that rape is challenging for some people to discuss in rational terms is that it’s a violent act, an assertion of power, that takes practically the same form — not the same intent or consequences of course — as an act of love than most people engage in on purpose at least a few times.

    It gets fairly difficult for to differentiate when you start talking about date rape. Or a sex act that occurs when both are drunk. That’s harder to define, no? Is it rape because the law says a party can’t consent when drunk? What if the party really meant to consent? What if the party consented when drunk but felt guilty [about being drunk, about the sex] the next morning? What if the party wouldn’t have consented when sober but got up the nerve, so to speak, when drunk?

    THOSE are the kinds of situation that scare the fool out of me as the mother of a son. What do I tell HIM to ensure he is safe? Never have sex with a woman who’s had a drink? That’s not particularly reasonable. I wish I might imagine that neither of my children would have sex with someone they weren’t in a committed relationship with. But that’s not very realistic either.

    Rape is illegal and immoral. There’s little about sex involved. It’s just an act of brutal force. But there are, from time to time, fuzzy sexual encounters between people who aren’t bad people. Those are the ones that get people jumpy.

  6. All I can think of in reading all of this mess is my dad. My dad was taken advantage of a drunk man. My dad had the audacity to put himself in the vulnerable position of getting behind the wheel of his car, pulling out of his driveway, driving 2 blocks on a residential road, and going 30 mph, had his body mangled because that drunk man evidently wasn’t fully responsible for his actions because he was drunk (.21 over the legal limit, to be exact).

    If anybody would like to tell me to my face that my dad was at fault for putting himself in the presence of that drunk, I dare you.

    The same principle applies to any situation in which a person might find themselves in the vulnerable position of being in the presence of a person(s) who is intoxicated. I mean, how dare we think we should be safe?

    No. Drunkenness does not excuse a person’s actions. I don’t care how drunk a person is…it doesn’t excuse them from killing, raping, robbing, hurting, whatever…THE PERPETRATOR OF THE HARM IS AT FAULT. NOT the victim.

  7. What truly blows my mind is that folks could actually blame the person victimized for another person’s actions. I can’t even wrap my mind around this. I need to go to bed.

  8. There are cases where women have lied about being raped. Ask the Duke lacrosse team. Ask Rev. Al Sharpton.

    I don’t think I’ve said anywhere that if you get raped you deserve it, so don’t put words in my mouth.

  9. For me, this is the money quote, from Aunt B.’s comment in that thread:

    How in the world can we sit here as adults and talk about a version of sex where the guy can’t even tell if the girl is into it as being a normal mode of sexual expression?

    Ding-ding-ding!!
    I don’t want to pick on anyone who isn’t asking for it, but this shit from Ron–

    Who wants to have sex with someone who’s just lying there, not into it?

    Married men are probably used to it.

    –just can’t go without comment. Dude, you’ll probably try to say you were joking, but that’s still some fucked-up shit. Maybe it’s just that I take pleasing my wife– hell, any woman who I’d be lucky enough to be with– very seriously, but pounding my pud into someone who may as well be comatose ain’t my idea of healthy sexual intercourse. (Note the emphasis on “inter-.” If my actions aren’t bringing joy to my partner, then either I’m not doing it right or my partner is my left hand.) I think any man in a sexual relationship who is “used to” that is either with a miserable partner or has a partner who’s ordering out when she’s hungry.

    I think we should all be in agreement that the perpetrator of rape bears the full responsibility, alcohol or no. That should be a no-brainer. But using one’s inability to discern the woman’s willingness as an excuse? That’s some creepy shit no matter how common it is. Can we make up a label for someone who understands sex that way? How about ‘sexual sociopath’? While we’re at it, can we make up a questionnaire that can help women weed out the sexual sociopaths? I think this thread (and the one at MCB) have enough material (both positive and negative) to give us a good start on that.

  10. I’m not trying to say I was joking, I was actually joking.

    See also: every male stand-up comedian ever, all of whom have some variation of this same ‘my wife/girlfriend is bored by sex’ joke.

  11. Yes, stand-up comics. A notoriously well-adjusted lot who aren’t known for having problems with women. Notice that you don’t hear that same ‘joke’ from female comedians, eh? I have heard a few of the ladies tell jokes about how men are sexual toddlers. Anyway, the ‘joke’ wasn’t funny. Except maybe to the sexual sociopaths.

    Maybe this is part of the problem you’re delineating Aunt B.: sexually speaking, too many men never advance beyond the pre-conventional stage of moral development. (Of course, it would make sense that they are so stagnated in other ways, too, which is why so many of them are conservative.)

  12. I’ve almost got bingo!
    I’d take this to the MCB thread for the win, but I don’t have enough chips to cover all these spaces.

    My point is: arguments like Ron’s have had holes poked through them over and over again. Why should we get ourselves all in a fluster just because he can’t read?
    (Oh… because he buys into this nonsense and tries to sell it to other people, possibly with success? Good point. Soldier on.)

  13. Ron, when you say that you aren’t going to believe there was a rape until you see some blood, you have now put the onus on the victim to take responsibility for what’s going on in order to make sure that she will be believed. You won’t believe her unless there’s blood. Well, what if, so far, it’s not been a rape that’s torn her up? Is she supposed to provoke the guy into tearing apart her vagina or anus in order to assure you that something bad has happened to her?

    I mean, seriously, just step back a second from your macho posturing and think about what you’re saying.

    And then, while you’re stepped back, look at what I’m saying–that the kinds of stories we tell each other about sex shape our expectations of what appropriate sex loooks like–and what you’re saying–that comedians joke about women just lying there and so men come to believe that sex where the woman just lies there is annoying but better than no sex at all. Which is exactly the justification men who rape semi-conscious women use in their own minds to explain to themselves their actions.

    In other words, you get my point, even if you don’t want to see it.

    lcreekmo, I think two things. One, you’ve got to teach your sons that there are evil liars in the world, male and female, and that, while you don’t have to live your life afraid of them, you can’t safely live your life as if they don’t exist.

    Are there women who lie about being raped? Yes.

    But that number of women is very small. And just like we can’t go around believing that the safest thing is to just act as if all men are rapists and have healthy lives, let alone healthy sex lives, we can’t train our sons to think that they should just assume all girls will lie about being raped.

    Instead, you teach them to be cautious.

    Second, I know everyone made fun of Antioch College for insisting on consent at every step, but maybe that’s a good thing to teach high school boys.

    Or take it farther. Could you teach your boys that they should never have sex with a girl who refuses to put (or at least help put) the condom on?

    I mean, I’ve got to tell you, I believe the amount of date rapes where the boy was just confused about what the girl wanted to be small. I think, usually, the boy thinks the girl owes him sex and he’s going to push the issue until she gives in.

    He feels like she’s consented, because she gave in, and she feels like she had no choice but to give in in order to keep the situation from escalating.

    But, let’s say that there are more times than I realize where the guy just genuinely doesn’t get that the girl doesn’t want to have sex.

    Asking her to help put the condom on is a pretty clear sign of consent. If she helps, then he can be pretty sure she wants him to procede (though, of course, he should be listening for her to say, “Oh, wait, stop, I’ve changed my mind.”). If she doesn’t help, then don’t have sex with her.

  14. Are there women who lie about being raped? Yes.
    But that number of women is very small.

    Got any numbers on that? Or is it just a statement of how you think the world is?

    I suppose I should be grateful that you pay lip service to the idea, but I assume that’s a result of how quickly you picked up the pitchfork and torch during the Duke Lacross lynching.

  15. Duke LAX!!! She lied!!! Congratulations! That’s the ONLY example EVER given by you assholes. Oh, this one girl lied in NC, so all women lie and they really want sex and it’s not my fault she just laid there and now she feels guilty because she’s a slut and is trying to blame me.

    Fuck you.

  16. you’ve got to teach your sons that there are evil liars in the world, male and female, and that, while you don’t have to live your life afraid of them, you can’t safely live your life as if they don’t exist.

    substitute “daughters” for “sons” and “rapists” for “liars”, and the sentence still holds true. and yet, B, i’ve seen you deride that sentiment once those substitutions were made.

    or at least i think i have. but i’m still convinced that we don’t speak the same language on these topics, so i can’t be sure i did not misread you.

  17. Sorry for the language, Exador. The constant citation of the Duke LAX case drives me up the wall.

    Anyway, where are *your* numbers? How many women lie about being raped? I’ll give you one for Duke LAX… and then I’ll tell you that 3 out of my circle of 5 girlfriends in college were raped and never told anyone.

  18. Exador:
    Got any numbers on that?

    The FBI statistics say about 8% of reported rapes are unfounded. “Unfounded” meaning that there was not enough evidence to continue an investigation- not that the women was necessarily lying.

  19. I tend to lurk during these discussions, mostly because most of you all have said or are saying what I would say, and so my 2 cents doesn’t needed to be added to the ante.

    But Exador… EXADOR!

    …but I assume that’s a result of how quickly you picked up the pitchfork and torch during the Duke Lacross lynching.

    What a pompous and dismissive comment. What hubris.

    Did you not read B’s post?

    Or is there so little you can add to the discussion because of your own mental limitations that the only thing you could pick out of your butt was a misplaced “gotcha?”

    Emily is on the money. If bringing up Duke is the best you can do, then you really should put a big, stinky sock in it.

    You are perilously close to a sound and painful spanking (and not the fun kind where B and I wear naughty schoolgirl outfits).

  20. Thank You, Jackie. That is a helpful stat.

    It also doesn’t reflect the number of times the men were prosecuted, based on a lie, and a witch hunt mentality that can be found…in certain circles.

    There’s really no way to know, which was my original point.

  21. It also doesn’t reflect the number of times the men were prosecuted, based on a lie, and a witch hunt mentality that can be found…in certain circles.

    Only about 5% of rapes that actually make it to court are found guilty. This is because, as Susan Brownmiller asserted, rape is a ” conscious process by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.” Overall, women are still seen in society as a thing to be fucked and unless there is overwhelming evidence (brutal beating, etc), it’s A-okay!

  22. I do think we speak different languages on this. For one thing, there are three different axes on which your two statements (the one quoted and the substituted version) vary. The first is gender, the second is the act in question (rape and accusations of rape), and the third is emphasis/conversational effect. The last one is probably the most important one.

    I think, when you want to make this comparison, you think that you’re really only changing the first part, the gender, and that it is as a result an equivalent statement in an equivalent context. I don’t feel that to be the case at all, even though they both share the benefit of being technically true.

    When someone says something like the blockquoted talking point about women, in a conversation about rape, the effect is almost always to turn the conversation from what the rapist did wrong to what the victim did wrong. It also deals with issues of blame (whose fault it is, since if you did something ‘wrong,’ you must share some of the blame for whatever happens after that) and erases, to an extent, the focus on the harm that was done. It’s not so much a question of what is contained in that specific sentiment, but where the sentiment pops up in the larger conversation and what effect it has. Notably, that this sentiment nearly always crops up in conversations taking place after a rape has occurred, in a conversation that tends to start out concrete, but veers abstract very quickly.

    When someone says that in a conversation about men, in a conversation about potential rape accusations, the focus of the conversation stays where it is: with what the men can and should do. While issues of what one did ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ do come up in it, the issue of culpability doesn’t come into play in the same way. This is due in large part to the fact that this conversational tidbit comes up in more abstract conversations (notably, and frustratingly, often in the ‘abstract’ part of the aforementioned conversations about women).

    In these conversations, the falsity of the rape charge is static (because it’s part of the definition of the hypothetical – we know she’s lying, or that she really consented and doesn’t remember, or whatever the case may be) – one can contrast this to the conversations in which the feminine variant of the statement tends to be used, where the truth is called into question over and over again (even when there is a preponderance of evidence, or where there is more to support guilt over innocence).

    One is used to say, in effect, “don’t worry too much about it, but if you take some basic precautions, you’ll be all right” (with the implication being that you can have fun and live your life normally as a result), where the other is used to say effectively that you should worry about this all the time, and take precautions, because if you don’t you will have invited bad things to happen to you.

    And yes, they are both true on their own, in the abstract. But that’s not the only factor at work in a conversation, and that’s important. If you say “so-and-so stepped on my foot,” and the other person says “well, if you wore steel-toed boots, having your foot stepped on wouldn’t hurt as badly,” that’s not helpful. Not only does it not address the real harm done (even if all you wanted was an apology, and you didn’t break any toes or suffer serious damage), it shifts the focus of the conversation to what you were doing wrong, rather than what was done to you.

    Of course it’s true that wearing steel toed boots would make having your toes trod on less uncomfortable, and there’s a time and place (usually in a shoe store) to talk about which shoes are a better idea. That place, however, is not immediately after you’ve had your foot stepped on. Or in a conversation about how much it hurts that someone stepped on your foot. Or while you’re in the hospital nursing a broken foot.

    The same goes for the assertion that “the other person might not have meant to do it,” “getting your foot stepped on would hurt a lot more than that (so you must be lying),” “you weren’t really damaged (so you must be lying)” and “people often lie about having their feet stepped on to avoid embarrassment about not wearing steel toed boots (so you must be lying).” There is a time and a place for discussion about abstract issues like how frequently people lie, what laws should be in place to deal with those issues, and whether or not the other people involved might just have been good, well-intentioned people who accidentally did something bad. Just… make sure you’re in that conversation, and not one of the aforementioned concrete, painful ones.

  23. “I suppose I should be grateful that you pay lip service to the idea, but I assume that’s a result of how quickly you picked up the pitchfork and torch during the Duke Lacross lynching.”

    Okay, big boy. I’ll play. Back that shit up. You show one place where I was an unthinking part of that mob. My archives are, as always, wide open.

    Otherwise, I’ll be waiting for my apology. You can start it with, “I’m sorry that, even though I know you as a person, I also assume secretly that you’re just the same as all those other feminists I hate.”

  24. Oh Oh Oh!
    I know!
    I know what the problem is here folks.
    [deep breath]

    This is an ethics discussion–a matter of public perception</i–for some of our male compadres.

    I would think (if Jackie’s statistics are any indication) that the number of men falsely accused of rape who are actually sentenced to a crime they didn’t commit is extremely low. But actual sentencing as compared to public knowledge of the accusation of rape (whether a legal accusation or an accusation made within a social network, i.e., a rumor)… must be higher in comparison.

    To wit: In accusing a man of rape, the man is immediately put on public trial, while for the most part the woman remain anonymous (although the Internet has a lot to do with changing this). To many men, this notion of being accused of rape (falsely or not) is about the public vituperation they might have to endure.

    While so many of us are having this discussion about what constitutes bad behavior, there are those guys out there that are really just worried about their reputation and ego, about some vengeful, anonymous woman ruining a man’s good name with some big lie.

    So let’s turn the question on its head: what kind of situations are you guys getting yourself into where a woman could possibly accuse you (falsely) of rape?

  25. Nomen, Mag said it better than I could. Ahead of time, I am all for talking about what kinds of precautions people can take against all sorts of trouble in their lives.

    I am also aware that there are a lot of reasons that people don’t take the precautions that seem, in retrospect, so clear. That’s in part because we tell women not to do anything.

    We’re not supposed to be alone with a guy in his room. We’re not supposed to let a guy we don’t know very well walk us home. We’re not supposed to walk through crowds of strange men, but we’re not supposed to walk in secluded places.

    Again, before hand, if we’re talking prevention, I’m all for it, if we’re all aware that there’s, in the end, not much you can do once a determined evil person has you in his or her sights.

    But wanting to scrutinize what went wrong after the fact seems to me to ignore the truth that, no matter what we did, it was the wrong thing to do.

  26. The “false rape” myth is similar to the “black rapist” myth. We all know that there are black men who rape white women (and vice versa) just like we know that there are women who make false rape charges. But the reality is so disproportionate from the myth.

    And let me ask something:
    We all know that woman who accuse someone of rape have their whole past ripped open. The defense will do anything to discredit her and most rape victims say that they felt that they were on trial.
    What would a woman voluntarily put herself through that by fabricating a rape?
    Again, men (and women) who demonize the woman who has been raped are reinforcing the patriarchic status quo- which is that a woman’s sole purpose it to be fucked by men. Plain and simple.

  27. This is because, as Susan Brownmiller asserted, rape is a ” conscious process by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.”

    This statement has always stuck in my side a little. I’ve always read it as there is a rapist inside men, and given the right circumstances, men will let it out. Moreover, that somehow as a man, I benefit from rape. How can I benefit from society, and women in particular , being torn apart?

    My studies on Brownmiller are limited, so I may not be able to make a proper judgement, but that has always been my gut reaction.

  28. Rob-
    I don’t know about that statement in particular, but I can tell you a little about women being kept in a state of fear.

    I’ve always been told not to be alone with a strange man, to watch my drinks, keep an eye on my friends, don’t go out alone, don’t park/walk in a secluded spot (especially at night), be aware of my surroundings, don’t jog with an mp3 player, drive separately to a date, don’t open the door to a strange man, etc.

    My husband was raised to lock the door at night.

    That’s the state of fear. My husband wasn’t trained to always be aware and alert and on the lookout for rapists… and I was.

    Does that help?

  29. Unreal. A feminist writes a post about how she believes men are better than they’re commonly portrayed; how we should speak out against those (mostly ourselves) who talk as if we’re stupid brutes who can’t control our sexual and violent urges; how we can prove those people wrong. She gives concrete suggestions about how we can actually do some positive good in the war against rape – something that allows us to make a unique contribution rather than simply following on the coattails of female feminists. Hell, her suggestions even allow us to be all loud and foul-mouthed and macho, it just changes what we brag about to something beneficial to women instead of harmful. There is nothing in that post that isn’t positive to men.

    And yet, because the word “rape” has been spoken, the assholes descend to change the topic to lying women and Duke Lacrosse. It’s like a reflex. Some people – mostly, but sadly not all, men – seem invested in making sure those are the only conversations that happen when rape is discussed. How vulnerable is a man to false charges of rape? Exactly what conditions are required to make him immune to such charges?

    Because preventing false charges from being filed against men (something that happens no more often for rape than for any other crime, perhaps less) is more important than even discussing ways to prevent a violent assault that one in four women suffers in her lifetime.

    Somebody wants very much to keep the status quo in place.

  30. Rob-
    I suggest you read Brownmiller’s book; however, the statement does not imply that all men are potential rapists. What Brownmiller is saying is that rape is the foundation for patriarchy and all men, rapists or not, benefit from rape in countless ways.

  31. Rob,
    Honestly? Men DON’T benefit from rape. No one does. A rape culture that instills its women with both the fear of and responsibility for rape is a culture in which sexual relationships can be difficult and fraught for all parties involved.

    But the institution of heterosexual male privilege? That thing that is not a man, but which men have access to? THAT certainly benefits from the rape of women. This configuration of sexual beliefs (which we’ll call patriarchy for shorthand) benefits from making women less mobile in public spaces (so that men can be more mobile); encouraging women to depend on non-rapist men for protection (making them dependent on heterosexual marriage); and creating a system in which proving rape is so difficult and painful that many women keep silent, particularly about date rape and marital rape.

    And here’s the thing… if what you want are enjoyable, intimate sexual relationships with women, you don’t exactly benefit from the patriarchy. But as a man, you do have access to the greater mobility and sexual agency that men are afforded in a patriarchal culture. It’s important to make those distinctions.

  32. Well gosh Ron…there are cases where men have raped women and then lied about it.

    I mean…WTF?

    Given the nauseating degree of oblivious masculine entitlement exhibited on MCB, I’m going to have to go with the suggestion that we teach our young women that all men are potential rapists.

    Not my first choice, but certainly better than the “bloodletting” proof Ron requires.

  33. Just for fun, here are the three posts I wrote about the Duke Lacrosse case.

    1. The Thing at Duke–which I wrote at a time when none of the Duke players were cooperating with authorities wondering why said players wouldn’t just say what they saw and explaining why cases like that freak women out.

    2. I See You, Looking at Me–in which I discuss how women’s power in this society is built around our ability to manipulate in order to get men to do what we want and men’s power is built around brute strength and how that’s a recipe for disaster.

    3. If the Eight of Cups were a blog post about feminism, here’s how it would read–In which I talk about how I was wrong about the Lacrosse team.

    That’s not just to make Exador’s life easier, but also because I think that some of the stuff in those posts is relevant to this discussion again.

  34. In That Thing at Duke,
    First, you immediately linked to some of the most over-the-top lynchings on the subject. Preceded by “Check this shit out:”
    Then follow up like the case is over. Go reread it.

    Of course my first impulse is to believe the woman.
    Because if the cream of the crop future of America men that go to Duke would stand by while their friends first humiliated two women and then enticed them back into the house and then raped one of them and now stand by while the police investigate, refusing to help, even though they have information, then that doesn’t speak very well of the best type of men America has to offer.

    That’s why we dwell on this stuff, like the rape case at Duke, because we really, truly, and stupidly believe that, if only we can figure out what rape victims do that provokes the rapists, we can refrain from doing them, and thus be safe.

    In I see you,
    When Doorman suggests that the boys’ version might be the truth, you respond by sarcastically dismissing the possibility.

    The best is in Eight Cups, where I give you credit for the mea culpa, but you also basically admit to the truth of my accusation that you had convicted them:

    I’ll admit that, when that woman accused the Duke Lacrosse Team of raping her, I believed her.

    And I’ll admit that, as it became obvious that her story was “problematic,” I kind of just refrained from writing about it because I was secretly hoping that the prosecution had evidence that the rest of us have not seen, that would back up her claims.

    It’s easy enough to assume that groups of young men will easily do evil.

    I think, at least for me, it’s hearing all these stories over and over again told by women I deeply love that makes it very hard for me to believe that any woman would ever lie about being raped.

    it’s hard to imagine who would ever claim to have gone through a rape knowing that the scrutiny the claimant faces is also its own kind of hell.

    I’m now convinced that this is my own blindspot–that I don’t believe women are capable of lying about rape.

    And I do believe that feminists have a tendency, while fighting against the idea that we’re innocent idiots who need male guidance, to gladly latch on to this idea that we’re morally superior to men.

    And, frankly, I think that’s what I did in this case. I thought that a woman wouldn’t lie about being raped and that, of course, a bunch of entitled jackasses at a prestigious school would feel entitled to her body if they wanted and that they’d then protect each other. In other words, I believed her to be morally superior to them.

  35. Exador, first off, no one died, so it’s not really a lynching at all. Secondly, none of them are even in jail. They didn’t even go to trial. You know there are men right now sitting in prison for rapes they didn’t commit because they don’t have access to DNA evidence that would clear them.

    So, if you’re going to harp on a case in which some injustice has been done, please, pick a case where some injustice greater than some white boys had the shit scared out of them when they realized how fucked up our justice system is has been committed.

    Third, whatever. You know I’m right. Apologize and let’s move on.

  36. Hey, I only made a passing reference to Duke.

    Then the more…passionate of your readers took the ball and ran with it, after calling me an asshole and to fuck off.

    So who’s harping?
    (That comes from Harpies, right?)

    I forgive you.

  37. For what? Being so cute and yet so feminist? I know, it’s cruel of me.

    Second, I thought among libertarians, being called an asshole and being told to fuck off was your way of flirting. I was just thankful you got mad. It would have been completely embarrassing for everyone if you’d started mewing like a love-sick kitten.

  38. Exador, you didn’t make a passing reference to Duke. You made a passing reference to pitchforks, torches, and the Duke Lacrosse *lynching*–which is a very inflammatory choice of words.

    This is the same Duke Lacrosse lynching that resulted in Duke apologizing to the young men, the DA getting fired and losing his law license, and talk of the state and/or Duke paying their legal bills. It’s awful that the case got blown out of proportion, and maybe it’s a lesson to all of us, but I don’t think it’s proof that tons of spiteful women lie about being raped.

    And I’m sorry I told you to fuck off. Thanks for changing “take your meds” to “…passionate.”

    :)

  39. I have to say I do not agree with your title, it is simply a ploy to get men to read a blog about rape and stir controversy. Your looking for a fight. What I thought would help the neutered males of today is simply a hate men speech assuming we are all “vile.’ The male today has confusion of identity trying to fit into a world where we do whatever to please the person who has always pulled the strings, the Cleopatra or woman. Regardless, take note of others opinions and do not out right attack them as both males and females have been at fault. The male that is accused because the women wants revenge, but theres evidence it was consensual. The woman who gets drunk with someone she thinks is her friend and passes out in a place she thinks is safe only to be raped in her sleep. People say these things because they happen. I understand you probably I hurt rape victim but honestly, not ALL men fit you preconceived notion.

  40. Emily, if you have a schoolgirl uniform, there’s apparently a line forming to reform my inflammatory ways.

    Yes, Duke did apologize, AFTER. I recall that one of the worst, and still unapologetic, professors at Duke now calls Nashville home. Lucky you.
    I haven’t checked in a while, but they may have talked about refunding the legal fees, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    As for the lynching, I suppose I pulled that description from the mobs that went to the boys’ house, banging and chanting at them, as well as the multiple websites put up, all convicting them. As B points out, nobody was killed, but the lynchmob image fits.

    For the record I never felt that “tons of spiteful women lie about being raped”. I just think there should be more proof than an accusation before someone is convicted.

  41. No schoolgirl uniform here! If you change your last sentence to “before someone is convicted in the court of public opinion” and you agree to also not automatically assume the woman is lying, I think we can be friends. (The Duke case didn’t result in a legal conviction.)

  42. AuntB –

    I’m new to this blog, so I have to ask: why are you being so friendly to the one who has so utterly derailed the thread?

  43. Chris – did you read the post at all, or do you just have a boilerplate statement that you post whenever you stumble into a feminist forum?

  44. Here’s a sobering thought…

    “There were approximately 4,890 rapes of males age 12 and over in the United States in 1994. The rate for rapes of males was .8 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older.” (and if only 1 in 50 female rapes are reported, how many males rapes go unreported?)

    “There was a widespread belief that a male who was sexually penetrated, even if it was by forced sexual assault, thus “lost his manhood,” and could no longer be a warrior or ruler. Gang rape of a male was considered an ultimate form of punishment and, as such, was known to the Romans as punishment for adultery and the Persians and Iranians as punishment for violation of the sanctity of the harem (Donaldson, 1990).” (http://www.nycagainstrape.org/survivors_factsheet_38.html)

    So if sexually penetrating a man takes away his ability to be a man… what does it do to a woman? The issue here is not whether there is violence or blood during the act. The issue here is whether BOTH parties knowingly and willfully engaged in intercourse. Nonconsensual sex is a CRIME. It’s not a joke or a game. It hurts people, it violates their BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. It takes away WHO THEY ARE. It can also lead to lifelong sexual issues, feelings of inferiority, feeling that one is an object that is subject to HIS needs and it doesn’t matter what she wants or feels. If your partner isn’t saying “YES YES YES”, you should be putting the brakes on.

    And FYI… RON… married men are not used to having sex with a partner who is just lying there. Don’t generalize, it’s not nice.

  45. B, great post. Can’t wait to translate this into something worthwhile in my classroom as well.

    Seraph, I REALLY appreciated your comments. And, I also appreciate that you asked B to explain actions that don’t make sense to you, rather than jump to a conclusion.

    She has an off-line history with Exador that generates a level of tolerance that I only pretend to understand because she and I are such good friends but comes mostly from her knowing that he isn’t actually a threat to her or to anyone else and that’s him playing generally the same role he always plays when he comments. But, I’m sure she’ll speak more clearly and accurately for herself here soon.

    In the meantime, I would love to hear what more people think about the post itself and your comment, since you seem to get precisely what she’s aiming to have heard.

    Mag, thanks for your clarification to Nomen. That expressed much of what I’ve been thinking about since the last rape-related hullabaloo.

  46. I thought the substance of the post was fantastic. It would be wonderful if all men held each other to a standard that didn’t allow for rape, rape humor, rape apology, etc. I love the idea of men being as responsible as women for preventing rape– since safety is always drilled into women.

    The idea that masculinity requires rape is silly, and I used to think it was outdated…

  47. “As usual, my complaint remains that the men’s movement in this culture seems to only care about being forced to pay child support”

    I was thinking the same thing until I noticed that child support relates to other issues like reproductive rights, mistreatment by family court systems, financial ruin and public ridicule (which can be life shattering when they are innocent), and (very important) making sure men have the opportunity to be the father their children need. Believe me that while the child support issue may be on the top of the list it is not the only item on the list.

    I’m with you on the first two points you mention but not fully on the third.

    Because rape is an act of misogyny.

    By that it appears that you mean all rapes are acts of misogyny and that is not true. It is certainly true of male against female rape but not all rape is male against female I personally think that rape is a matter of asserting power of your victim. The rapist is telling their victim that they have full access and control and there is nothing they can do about it.

    About the reverse psychology approach on razzing each other about our ways with women, we’ve been doing that for years where I come from.

    Even though I don’t fully agree with you Aunt B. let me say thank you for this spark of dialogue. I feel that one of the biggest steps towards true equality is coming together on common issues. Rape is one of those issues. It is a fact that (while in vastly varying numbers) there are real victims, real rapists, false victims, and falsely accused rapists of both genders and it is imperative that we educate males and females on how to treat and deal with all four.

  48. Mag, thanks for your clarification to Nomen. That expressed much of what I’ve been thinking about since the last rape-related hullabaloo.

    My pleasure. That’s sort of a pet peeve of mine – this idea that just because something is technically or trivially true it is therefore also appropriate and defensible in any given context.

  49. By that it appears that you mean all rapes are acts of misogyny and that is not true. It is certainly true of male against female rape but not all rape is male against female [...]

    I do agree with this part. Rape is a product of … for lack of a better term, rape culture. While a lot of it stems from hate, and a lot of that hate is misogynist in nature, a lot of it also stems from the (to my mind more problematic) hierarchies and absorbed messages we get. The women as gatekeepers shit, the consent as lack of argument rather than enthusiastic pursuit model, the “we go to parties to get smashed and hook up” thing (instead of “we go to parties to have fun, which may include alcohol and/or sex”), the “I could hit that” and crazy posessives and thing-making gaze.

    Most of which adds up to.. not so much hate as indifference. You don’t exist as a person, and therefore you aren’t really being harmed. Nobody hates a couch (unless it pinches) or a toy… you just use it, then toss it when you’re done.

  50. Seraph,

    What do I have to spoon feed it to you? Ugh.

    I’m against rape. I’m also against prosecuting someone when the only evidence is the woman’s accusation of rape. The original story is based on an email that states that a woman thinks she was assaulted, but doesn’t remember. I think the investigation should continue, but if no further evidence is found, that is not enough to prosecute the alleged rapist.

    Since you’re so hung up on discussing ways to prevent a violent assault, how many have you stopped?
    I’ve lost count
    While feminists bitched about terms like misogyny and the patriarchy, I was working as a bouncer for four years. I have no idea how many overly drunk girls I made sure got home safely, how many overly aggressive guys I told to BACK OFF OF HER, how many rapist wanna bes I taught a lesson in chivalry to. These were not nice bars, so I’m talking every fucking weekend.
    That was just at work.

    I view it as my personal responsibility to protect women. If I see a man taking advantage of a woman, or God help him, hurting her, he and I going to have a talk.

    I think women should be treated as equals, but I recognize that they are typically physically weaker than men; and therefore, deserve my protection because some people are just assholes.

    I hope that answers it for you. Geesh!

  51. I fixed your tag, computer genius. And I’ve submitted your name to the giant feminist cabal that secretly runs the world to get you a holiday in honor of all the hard work you’ve done advancing women’s rights.

    Sadly, most days are already taken with the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Eleanor Roosevelt and other deserving women. But I think we can work you in on the afternoon of April 7th. The morning is Lord Byron’s, so it’s kind of fitting–a day when we celebrate men affiliated with kick-ass women. In Byron’s case, Ada Lovelace (you’d like her; she invented a precurser to the computer) and in your case, me (and you’d like me just because).

    Chris, I got nothing for you. It’s the internet; you’re bound to stumble upon ideas that are scary and different.

    Seraph, there’s no real policy here against thread derailment. We go where the conversation leads and if we get too far away from stuff I think is important or stuff that’s still on my mind, I just post another post and we come at it from another angle.

    I get that people who are used to other comment section styles probably find it a little annoying, but I think it prevents the comments from becoming just a bunch of people who agree with me or think I’m a fucker (Hi, Chris!).

    The nice thing about Exador and his ridiculousness, at least from my perspective, is that he lets people know they can call me on my shit and still be welcome here.

    Danny, I pick on the men’s rights folks, but believe me, I also hear you. We feminists keep saying that the way things are between us is fucked up in a way what hurts everybody and I think that you really see that when family situations go bad.

    But I think your overall point is the same point Shakespeare scholars wrestle with. When Lady MacBeth says, “Unsex me here,” she’s clearly asking to be stripped of what it means to be a woman. But, in being stripped of what it means to be a woman, is she being made more manly? It’s not clear.

    In order to know whether all rape is misogynistic, we’d have to know what it means for a man to be unsexed.

    See, a straightforward feminist reading of male-on-male rape would say that it is still, at its heart, misogynistic because the rapist makes his victim less of a man (as looksgoodinpolkadots points out), and thus is in fact feminizing him. And we would argue that one of the reasons that’s so terrible is that it reinfores this idea that the worst thing a man can be is womanly.

    But if a woman rapes a man… I still think that’s, in part, about showing him that he’s not a real man. But I’m not sure that it’s about misogyny, except in some sense so broad as to be useless.

    I think it’s about making him nothing.

    So, yeah, I think I would revise my post above to reflect that I think male on female sexual violence is often about misogyny, but, like other forms of sexual violence, is often about reinforcing the idea that your victim is nothing.

  52. Upon rereading that, I realized I jump about 100 hurdles from one point to the next, so if it’s not clear what I’m saying or why, let me know.

  53. Hi B! Great post. I’m sorry about the creepy-crawlies that came out of the woodwork on this thread. Give the cpap a big hug for me.

  54. I hope that answers it for you. Geesh!

    Yep. Sure does. It’s good to have people like you around, but I think you’re wrong to write off feminists’ contribution so quickly.

    Since you’re so hung up on discussing ways to prevent a violent assault, how many have you stopped?

    None, unfortunately. I’ve just been there to help pick up the pieces afterward.

    What do I have to spoon feed it to you?

    Nah. Just get it to the table already.

    Remember, I’ve never been here before. All I’ve ever seen from you is an argument about Duke.

    I’m also against prosecuting someone when the only evidence is the woman’s accusation of rape. The original story is based on an email that states that a woman thinks she was assaulted, but doesn’t remember. I think the investigation should continue, but if no further evidence is found, that is not enough to prosecute the alleged rapist.

    Sounds great, actually. The “investigation should continue” part, that is. If we got to the point where a rape victim wasn’t assumed to be lying or at fault until proven innocent, and a rape accusation (from anyone, not just someone who “didn’t deserve it”) was taken as seriously as an accusation of assault or robbery, it would be a step forward.

  55. I’m also against prosecuting someone when the only evidence is the woman’s accusation of rape.

    Hey, Exador: Thanks for contributing to the culture that made it impossible for my sister to prosecute her rapist boyfriend. The next girl he abuses will be sure to thank you, too.

    Any crime should be prosecutable on the word of the victim, so long as that victim is credible.

  56. From Aunt B.

    “But if a woman rapes a man… I still think that’s, in part, about showing him that he’s not a real man. But I’m not sure that it’s about misogyny, except in some sense so broad as to be useless.”

    By the textbook definition no it would not be misogynistic but I would not put it past some radical feminist to the argue that when a woman rapes a man (assuming he/she can even admit that female on male rape is possible) that woman is somehow trying to empower herself by emulating a privileged man and forcing her male victim into the role of the unprivileged female therefore “proving” that female on male rape is still misogynistic.

    From Aunt B.

    “I think it’s about making him nothing.”

    That’s just what it is. Just like female victims the rapist’s intent is often to make the victim feel powerless. And being forced to feel powerless is not a gender issue its a human rights issue. No human deserves to be treated that way. While it is a fact that the majority of rape victims are female (but considering that many male victims do not report the crime regardless of the attacker’s gender the gap may not be as wide as many think) no victim should be pushed aside by the belief that all victims are ______ (fill that in with any term that does not cover all people) because that is simply not true.

  57. From Punditus Maximus:

    Hey, Exador: Thanks for contributing to the culture that made it impossible for my sister to prosecute her rapist boyfriend. The next girl he abuses will be sure to thank you, too.

    Any crime should be prosecutable on the word of the victim, so long as that victim is credible.

    I am by no means trying to belittle what happened to your sister and countless others in her position but there are also lots of falsely convicted rapists that would not agree with you. It’s one thing to start an investigation based on the “victims” word but to go to trial only on the statement of “She/He raped me”?

  58. Okay, put up or shut up — how many “falsely convicted rapists” are there, in jail without corroborating evidence? Seriously, I need to know about this craze which is sweeping the nation. Because I know multiple women who were sexually assaulted and blown off by authorities.

  59. Well… I was raped this past summer. I was a little buzzed, but not out of control, but the guy got into my house. I was afraid to say no. While it was happening, I didn’t move. I hardly breathed. He didn’t leave any cuts or bruises. I only ended up taking too many sleeping pills and fortunately the rape hotline person called the police and they came to my house and I ended up waking up the next morning in the emergency room. Friends asked me why I didn’t press charges. Seeing the comments here and over at that other thread, how could I? I had been drinking, so I invited it. But I was at home alone and he got into my house. I wasn’t bruised or cut, so it couldn’t have been raped. Well, it sent me into a deep, dark hole until finally in a moment of desperation I finally reached out to a therapist, and it has helped me tremendously. I finally feel normal again, but men I don’t know well scare me. Now tell me that there are more men accused wrongly than men who get away with rape because women are blamed as the victim?

  60. From Punditus Maximus:
    “Any crime should be prosecutable on the word of the victim, so long as that victim is credible.”

    Are you f*cking kidding me? “Credible” and “Infallible” are not the same word! Nor does a general history of telling the truth mean that someone will tell the truth in a given situation, under unusual stresses.

    Perhaps by “prosecutable” you mean “look for more evidence”. That’s the only way this makes any sense. If all you have in front of a jury is he-said-she-said and a bunch of character witnesses, that’s not a road to justice.

  61. Aiight. This is when I leave threads that began as places to discuss how men – and women! always women, because we’re expected to! – can talk about how to reduce rape and similarly motivated crimes: when it becomes about HOW TO SAVE TEH MENZ from being accused of such crimes.

    Seriously, y’all? Saving teh menz from false accusations, while a serious issue on its own, is actually not a way to reduce rape. Also? The justice system and the world at large have already figured out what to do about the possibility of false accusations: assume the victim is lying, or deserved it. Got that one covered.

    The justice system and the world at large have NOT figured out how to make rape less of a systemic problem. That’s where your brainwork and your participation in cultural change is needed.

  62. Lisa: I was on a jury selection where the only evidence of a crime was the kid’s word that he’d been molested. It’s a hell of a case to prove, and the prosecution would definitely have to prove a lot of circumstances (the guy’s location in the area at the time, some kind of history, and the kid’s credibility), but yeah, I feel that the prosecution probably should have gone forward regardless.

  63. Separately, to Danny:

    Ah, but you are belittling, but throwing under the bus a real live woman in favor of a vague impression of men which may or may not exist. You’re making your estimation of her value extremely clear — or else you have a subconscious estimate of her value you need to work on.

  64. Actually I’m not because I don’t read about a rape case thinking, “I hope she isn’t lying.” nor do I think, “I hope that bastard rots in prison or worse.” I’m thinking, “I wonder what happened. Just because someone likes to get as much info as they can before picking a side does not mean they are blaming the victim.

  65. Tanglethis, that’s such a good point I want to bring it up again. (And, see, this is one of the reasons I like thread drift, it lets you see shit like this.) Any discussion of rape from any angle, once guys get involved, tends to end up being about the false accusation.

    I mean, this post is about some easy, silly, fun things guys can do to work against rape and undermine some really poisonous notions of what it means to be a man in this culture.

    And we’ve ended up arguing about whether women are trustworthy.

    I just wonder why that is. Do y’all not think those are good ideas? Do y’all not really think that how men act is the problem (but instead that women lie)? Is it so uncomfortable to subject your own behavior to scrutiny–even when the type of behavior we’d like you to perform is being good in bed–that you feel like you have to move the conversation away from what you are doing and should be doing to what we are doing and should be doing?

    And here’s the hardest question I have for you. Are you all secretly terrified that you suck in bed?

    No, wait, just listen. Most men are not rapists. By and large, most men are never going to be accused of rape. And by and large, most women do not falsly accuse men of raping them.

    In fact, if the numbers we’ve seen are accurate and hold true for the whole population, we know that 8% of rape accusations are false and one in 22 men admits to having forced someone to have sex with him (what we would call rape, even though he doesn’t). That’s almost the same amount. Which we would expect, I think, men and women being equal that there would be an equal number of fuckers in both catagories.

    We’ve been, for the most part, very careful in this thread to not insinuate that all men are rapists or have the potential to rape someone. But even though a similar percentage of women lie about being raped (which, I believe some of you guys feel is the male equivalent to being raped), we’re still fighting against this notion that because some women lie, all women are potential liars. I’d just point out that some of you would die of fits if I said that because some men rape, all men are potential rapists.

    Okay, so if we know that the number of rapists/liars is small and is not most of us, why are men so hung up on and terrified by the potential for the false accusation? And, specifically (because notice, no one, when talking about false accusations, in this whole thread has mentioned the most common type of false accusation, where the woman was clearly raped but misidentifies her attacker), we seem hung up on the girl who seemed like she wanted it, but in the morning changed her mind.

    Y’all have been so insistant that we focus on the “in the morning she changed her mind” part that it makes me wonder if you’re trying to distract us from the “girl seemed like she wanted it” part.

    Again, I don’t think we have any rapists here, so I don’t think this is about you not being able to tell if she wanted to have sex with you. (But I don’t know. Tell me if I’m wrong.)

    I think, and again, this is from the perspective of someone who’s never had a penis and is kind of sure that she herself is not winning the sex olympics any time soon, but it seems to me that there’s some kind of underlying fear here that you might be thinking that everyone’s having an okay time, when really secretly she thinks you suck, and suck so bad that later she will punish you by claiming you raped her.

    Or maybe that’s not quite it.

    But somehow, there seems to be a lot of anxiety around the idea that you could be thinking that everything’s going great while, at the same time, she could be having a nightmare terrible time and, because of that, you end up being punished.

    And I just wonder what’s up with that. Well, I wonder if that’s what’s really going on, and, if so, I wonder what’s up with that.

    Because, seriously, as tanglethis points out, every time we talk about rape, you guys bring this up.

    Okay, we get it. There’s something you want us to hear. There’s something about your experience in the world and your experiences with us that you feel is summed up in the whole “guy thinks things are going great, girl thinks guy sucks, guy doesn’t get that, girl punishes guy” scenario and that is so critical to how you understand yourselves as men that you take every opportunity you have to repeat it.

    Well, speaking generally, from us to you, we hear you, but we don’t understand why this story is so important to you.

    But right now, we will listen. Explain your story to us. Why is that so important for us to hear? What about it resonates so strongly with you and why?

    You have the floor. And we’ll do our best to listen respectfully and try to understand.

  66. Maybe because logic isn’t exactly your strong suit, so the idea of handing absolute, unchecked power over to you, is roughly the equivalent of giving a handgun to a monkey. ;)

    It’s basically what Danny said. Wanting to be sure of all the facts is not the same thing as discounting one side or the other. It’s wanting to know all the facts.

  67. It’s not clear to me that the men involved in this discussion understand that they ARE talking about something different — that bitching about women potentially lying about the consensuality of sexual encounters is not the same thing as stepping up to change a culture whereby “rules call sex” is not laudable but laughable. It’s as though the possibility that somewhere, somebody might lie excuses them from all further culpability.

    While we’re speaking of harmful standards of evidence, you might want to reconsider omniscient knowledge. I think that “knowing all the facts” as a presumed evidentiary standard helps to lead to that low conviction rate for rapists, since none of us are gods.

  68. Ok Bridgett, so we’re all innocent until proven guilty for all crimes except rape?

    Come on. You know as well as I do that that’s no way to run a judicial system.

  69. Thank you B!
    That’s what I was trying to get at yesterday.

    While so many of us are having this discussion about what constitutes bad behavior, there are those guys out there that are really just worried about their reputation and ego, about some vengeful, anonymous woman ruining a man’s good name with some big lie.

    So let’s turn the question on its head: what kind of situations are you guys getting yourself into where a woman could possibly accuse you (falsely) of rape?

    I think B poses the question in a less threatening way.
    Thank you B.

  70. Demonstrating guilt (even with a presumption of innocence) is not the same as knowing all, Karnak. What you’re arguing for is not just an assumption of innocence but an elastic assumption of innocence that should balloon (male privilege) until it is incontrovertible when the alleged offense is rape. The testimony of the alleged victim is typically given substantial weight…unless she’s a young woman who has the misfortune of having ever had sex, slept in a bed in her own home, worn a short skirt, presumed to walk in a park after dark, had a drink, played hooky from school…And then suddenly we’re in contributory negligence land, having jumped the rails from discussion of a crime to the different standards of evidence required in civil law’s apportionment of relative culpability.

    Historically speaking, I know that the legal development of rape law prompts this merging (rapt et seduction was treated both as a theft of male property [crime] and a civil matter requiring compensation of the girl’s family) but it creeps me out that so little has changed…

    Here’s a quote from a 1741 French case from a girl named Catherine who was taken into the woods and gang-raped over a family feud. When Catherine’s parents tried to get justice for their daughter, here’s what happened:

    “The sons…claim, through their defender, that Catherine set up a meeting with them in the woods; they wanted to show that they did not approve of Catherine’s conduct and it was then they had inflicted the treatment of which she complained… They say that she is a dissolute girl, whose unfortunate inclination towards pleasure leads her into situations where her downfall is certain; that she has worked to cover herself with condemnation by her licentious conduct; from this they try to conclude that the punishment of such a girl is no awful crime.”

    Yeah, we did it but she wanted it. She’s a bad girl because she liked sex, so she had it coming. And then she lied about it.

  71. why is it so very hard to believe (or admit) that every woman — hellfire, every human being — is a potential liar. we all are. i’ll grant that most of us are honorable enough not to realize that potential, but we all possess it.

    every male is a potential rapist, too, excepting possibly the quadruplegic ones. admitting that is neither crime nor sin; us males all do have the equipment, and the only thing that regulates its (ab)use is our mindsets and personalities. the potential is clearly there, nobody should need whine about admitting that. anyone who does is, in my opinion, immediately suspect of protesting too much.

    The Editor’s hypothetical, then, is not at all the outlandish proposition it may be intended to seem like. any situation wherein a man can’t account for his whereabouts for half an hour or so is one where a woman in that general vicinity could possibly falsely accuse him of rape, yes. the vast, vast majority of women wouldn’t, but the potential is there. admitting that much really should not need be difficult or painful.

  72. Way to ignore the first paragraph. “Knowing all” for you appears to boil down to “knowing what I knew already.”

  73. Ha, apparently Bridgett speaks fluent Exadorian!

    Nomen, of course everyone lies. But there’s lying (Oh, yeah, that looks great on you. No, I didn’t see your husband at the bar.) and then there’s trying to send someone to jail lying. Those just aren’t the same thing, I don’t think.

    The same with “all men are potential rapists.” I just don’t buy that. It’s like saying everyone who has a gun is a potential mass murderer.

    Most people don’t go around intentionally ruining people’s lives, nor are they just some small change away from becoming the kind of person who could do so.

    But, let’s say that I agree with you. All women are potential liars. All men are potential rapists. How does that knowledge help us lessen the incidents of rape?

  74. But, let’s say that I agree with you. All women are potential liars. All men are potential rapists. How does that knowledge help us lessen the incidents of rape?

    it doesn’t, or at least, i don’t see an obvious way it could right off the top of my head. (i’ll admit to not being a very insightful sort of person, however.) but denying that plain fact certainly doesn’t help either; denying reality never helps, and frequently hurts.

  75. at this point i should probably admit i’ve already descended into trolling. if B’s taking the Editor to new levels, well, they’re all of them levels i have no access to; ever since magniloquence’s response to me earlier, the lot of you’ve been speaking martian as far as i’m concerned. i’m throwing out hypotheticals without any illusion that my words will be understood the way i intended them, and no expectation of comprehending the responses; i’m basically black-box testing y’all to see what your responses to random stimuli will be.

    yeah, i’ve officially given up all hope of successfully communicating. i’m trying to have some fun with it, because the alternative would be just too sad and depressing.

  76. Maybe because logic isn’t exactly your strong suit, so the idea of handing absolute, unchecked power over to you, is roughly the equivalent of giving a handgun to a monkey. ;)

    Are you addressing AuntieB directly, or are you referring to all women?

    It’s basically what Danny said. Wanting to be sure of all the facts is not the same thing as discounting one side or the other. It’s wanting to know all the facts.

    No. But as Bridget points out, discounting one side is generally what happens. As this thread demonstrates, there is a widespread assumption that women will lie about rape. It happens, of course, but then, people falsely report every other kind of crime as well, and yet rape is the only crime where the public (and all too often the police) start with the assumption that the victim may be lying. If someone claims they were robbed, no one asks if they’re making excuses for mislaying their wallet, or trying to get money back from someone they unwisely loaned it to, or trying to get sympathy, or running an insurance scam, unless evidence for those things arises. Nor do they suggest that maybe robbery victim shouldn’t have been wearing such a nice suit in such a bad part of town – which is part two. Far too many people – many of whom end up serving on juries – assume that unless a woman fits a very narrow set of behavioral parameters for a “true victim”, that she somehow brought it on herself.

    Rape is the only crime where the victim has to be proven innocent before the accused can be proven guilty.

    As I said before, if it came to pass that rape was investigated and tried like any other crime, it would be a vast improvement.

    Finally, to get back to what AuntieB and Tanglethis said, why does every single rape thread have to end up being about protecting men from false accusation?

  77. Thank you Nomen. I wanted to pose the hypothetical in such a way that it might shake things up because it’s the sort of question that keeps getting tossed at us women (where were you? were you drinking and how much? what were you wearing? did you go there alone? why weren’t you with friends?) ad nauseum.

    For the fellow accused of rape (and for the sake of this argument, let’s say that as far as the guy is concerned, this was consensual sex, and he had no intention of ever taking advantage of someone), similar questions or statements would make you crazy: Why were you at a bar by yourself? Were you drinking? Why did you pick up a drunk girl? Why did you pick up a woman wearing a mini skirt? Why did you have sex with her when she was drunk? If you hadn’t have been drunk, maybe you would have had better judgment, then you wouldn’t be in this mess.

    But again, I like how B reframes it: “Explain your story to us. Why is that so important for us to hear? What about it resonates so strongly with you and why?” Her questions takes mine to another level.

  78. huh, that’s weird. i saw The Editor’s most recent posting (@ 12:21) before i began to write my own previous one (also @ 12:21), yet mine got sorted before hers for some reason. wordpress making no sense today.

  79. (I can’t tell if it ate my post or just didn’t let it through. Our internet just went wonky for five minutes, so I’m going to try reposting this. Can you delete this one if it’s a duplicate?)

    it doesn’t, or at least, i don’t see an obvious way it could right off the top of my head. (i’ll admit to not being a very insightful sort of person, however.) but denying that plain fact certainly doesn’t help either; denying reality never helps, and frequently hurts.

    I think this goes back to what I said about “true” and “appropriate” (or in this case, “useful”) things to say in a conversation. If the conversation is “so-and-so was raped, isn’t that awful” and the immediate response is “well, she could be lying,” that doesn’t help anyone. At all. Ever.

    (And for the billionth time, this doesn’t happen with pretty much any other crime. If you come home crying because someone mugged you, most people will comfort you and ask if you need someone to call the police. If you hand someone something to hold and they steal it, most people will say the other person did a bad thing and should be punished. If you invite a good kid from the neighborhood in to watch your kids and they take the opportunity to rob you blind and ruin your credit, most people would be sympathetic, even though it’s something that happened during a transaction most people would consider normal looking and the perpetrator was to all eyes a nice person. And so on and so forth. Why does the standard change to “presume the person saying they were assaulted might be lying” when the charge is rape?)

    If, however, the conversation is “gee, isn’t our culture so fucked up? rape seems to be coming up a lot these days” and the response is “well, it could be coming up a lot because people are lying about it,” well, that’s different. It’s not something I personally would say, and there are a lot of statistics and arguments I’d offer to contradict that, but it’s not an inappropriate or irrelevant statement.

    I could ask why people don’t acknowledge that the sky is blue in rape cases, too. It’s true after all, and not acknowledging the truth is a bad thing.

    For a slightly less absurd take on it, why don’t we repeatedly acknowledge that it is, in fact, pretty damn difficult to get rape prosecuted at all. We could talk about the preponderance of instances where people disbelieve victims because they “must have done something to deserve it.” We could talk about judges that, say, frame rape at gunpoint as “theft of services,” or excuse incestuous rape because the man was just trying to teach his daughters how to be good wives, or excuse the rape of a 10 year old because she “looked 16″ and was curvy and was therefore ‘asking for it.’ All of these things are true, and well documented. What about the fact that nearly 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives? Why aren’t we constantly, in every conversation, no matter the focus, acknowledging these things?

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  81. Although it is quite a dangerous subject and especially context sensitive and thus never appropriate immediately following or in reference to an actual incidence or accusation of rape, I’ve tried to talk about how young adults, especially women and often at college parties, often use alcohol in order to lessen their inhibitions and have casual sex only to feel shame and regret in the morning, which is not to say that they then insist they were raped or deny they ever consented (although it is not legally possible for anyone to consent while intoxicated). We still do have a culture wherein it is difficult for women to seek and enjoy sex the ways men do and where men assume that women will be coy and try to look not too eager and need some persuasion to consent. This clearly sucks for women, for we don’t learn how to enjoy ourselves or how to express ourselves. We are taught to fear men, to make them prove they are worthy of sex, and to feel shame for anything else. But this also really sucks for men because it makes it so difficult to figure out when women are and are not into them, are and are not into sex. Women have done lots of wonderful and important work to help everyone understand that “no” needs to always mean so and that even more than a lack of “no” should also be essential for good, legal sex. We clearly still need to do more work to authorize women’s sexuality, and never as a weapon or method of manipulation. But men have to be a part of that too, and assuming we are all lying, tricking harpies won’t do it. I think B’s got part of this discussion right here and the point that some people are making about false accusations is derailing that conversation. They might want to make more careful and nuanced claims about how confusing women are given all the mixed messages we receive and what kinds of changes need to occur to alleviate some of that confusion. But just as it is insufficient to say merely “don’t rape,” it also doesn’t work to respond with “well, don’t lie about rape.”

  82. Prof,

    You reminded me of a point I made on the origin to this debate:
    At what point is a woman too intoxicated to give legal consent. I don’t ask this to be snarky.
    If she’s buzzed, but otherwise coherant, and says she wants sex, is that ok?
    How drunk is too drunk? Is one drink too many?
    There are many times where the alcohol she has drank has not taken effect.
    You see where I’m going? It’s a sticky wicket. I’d be interested on the ladies’ take.

  83. Well, talking about the line to draw when alcohol is involved with sex is kind of like talking about how to prevent rape, so I’m jumping back in.
    The Professor’s comment suggests that there is a legal limit, but I don’t know what it is and am not likely to have a breathalizer on me anyway. But there are drinks-you-can-metabolize-per-hour standards that they tell you when you’re learning how to drive… I learned 1 unit (8oz beer – 5oz wine – 1oz liquor) per hour, but that may be out of date.

    Intimacy makes a difference here. It seems reasonable to keep in mind when, say, on a date… drinking doesn’t need to completely rule out sex, but if the drinking has been immoderate, then sex with someone you’re still getting to know isn’t a great idea. I’ve had enough drunken first dates to argue that anyway, but seriously, if you don’t know your partner well and one or both of you have been drinking, it seems reasonable to err on the side of caution!

    In a long-term relationship or marriage, I think the rules are decided by the partners. NOT that long-term intimacy guarantees consent, but it’s something you can talk about – like whether or not it’s okay to initiate sex with a partner who’s asleep (a subject that was covered in Savage Love months ago). My partner has clear, verbal, prior consent to have sex with me while I’m intoxicated but coherent and enthusiastic. If partners have consent, enthusiastic yeses, and reasonable expectations of subsequent behavior (I’m not going to get up and lie about it, for example) it seems pretty straightforward to me.

  84. Also, Aunt B., thanks for the holla. I do get very frustrated in these threads even though this subject is so important to discuss… I just want to send everyone a bingo card, so they can get the Usual Arguments out of the way faster.

  85. Exador, I think the standards are the same as for driving, legally speaking. But of course we don’t have breathalizers handy for all this. And, it’s not just women who can’t consent intoxicated.

    In general, I think it’s an odd law, especially when I think about willfully using various chemicals in sexually playful and clearly consenual ways. But I do think that the spirit, if not the letter, is what is relevant to a general conversation about rape prevention more so than a particular conversation about prosecuting any individual. Being not of sound mind and body should be an indicator to all of us of a situation to be cautious of, not one to take advantage of. It’s what B is talking about in the post – don’t healthy people want to have sex with others who are clearly engaged and enjoying it, and shouldn’t we be teaching young folks about healthy sex and steering them away from unhealthy sex?

  86. You reminded me of a point I made on the origin to this debate:
    At what point is a woman too intoxicated to give legal consent. I don’t ask this to be snarky.
    If she’s buzzed, but otherwise coherant, and says she wants sex, is that ok?
    How drunk is too drunk? Is one drink too many?
    There are many times where the alcohol she has drank has not taken effect.
    You see where I’m going? It’s a sticky wicket. I’d be interested on the ladies’ take.

    My instincts are to combine this with the enthusiastic consent standard. If the woman is buzzed but coherent, and you ask her if she wants to have sex with you (not “do you want to come up to my room?” or “would you like to go somewhere private?” but “would you like to have sex with me?”), and she says yes, then you’re good! Stay alert, pay attention, and if she passes out, gets markedly less coherent (let’s just skip all the jokes about how “Oh yes, mmmmmmm!” isn’t the most coherent thing to say), stops smiling, stops moving, or otherwise indicates that she’s not as enthusiastic, just stop. Wait for her to tell you to keep going. Check for enthusiastic consent at every step, and make sure that she’s coherent enough to give that consent.

    If she’s slurring heavily, can’t walk on her own, is puking or reeling or speaking incoherently, don’t bother trying. If she’s coherent, but seems to be intent on inhaling the bar, give her a while for the alcohol to kick in before attempting to get consent for sex.

    The point is making sure that there is continuous consent. A person so drunk they can’t stand up? Likely to be too drunk to consent meaningfully. A person that’s a littel buzzed? Likely to be fine, but make really sure. I mean REALLY sure. “Do you want to have sex with me?” “Do you like this?” “Is it okay if I touch you here?” “Do you need anything?” “Was it good for you?” If you keep checking in, you’ll a) avoid that awkward “but I thought it was okay!” problem, b) rein in your liability a lot, and c) have better sex.

  87. And oh! I can’t emphasize this enough – feedback! Feedback is good. If you’re in a position to wake up with the person (realizing this isn’t always possible), take them out to breakfast, make coffee, just sit there and debrief (hee) and see if she had the same experience that you had. If she felt like something went wrong, validate that and try to figure out what it was, what you could have done better, and what she’d like to do about it. That’ll go a long way toward informing you about whether she’s likely to run off and accuse you of something.

    (And cynically, it gives you much better grounding if you do wind up being investigated. “We talked, she said it was okay but that this wasn’t a usual choice for her and that she didn’t want to see me again, officer. I asked her for consent at each step, and she said that she wanted to. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’d really like to try to make it better.”)

    Even if you’re not in a position to wake up with them in the morning, taking the 30 seconds while you’re fumbling to button up your pants before spilling out of the broom closet to ask if it was good and she felt okay about it is a good start.

  88. Okay, put up or shut up — how many “falsely convicted rapists” are there, in jail without corroborating evidence?

    Indeed… I would also like to see the evidence for this claim…as it directly contradicts everything we know about the pitifully low rates of conviction for accused rapists.

  89. From Aunt B. (in fact everything from her is in italics)

    Any discussion of rape from any angle, once guys get involved, tends to end up being about the false accusation.

    I think that is a matter of when any subject comes up for the most part a participant’s first reaction is to ponder how they can be impacted by the situation. We all know that rapists and victims can be either gender but the most commonly discussed rape situation (commonly to the point there they think its the ONLY situation) is male against female. So when the topic comes to rape the gender line is immediately drawn, men are rapists and women are victims. I’ve seen this enough on MRA sites where the topic is be about men being falsely accused and women will join the topic try to change the shift to the “real” victims of false accusations (from their viewpoint that would be actual victims that are not believed), the opposite of what happened here.


    Okay, so if we know that the number of rapists/liars is small and is not most of us, why are men so hung up on and terrified by the potential for the false accusation?

    We are terrified because of the damage an accusation can lead to. Imprisonment (and rapists are at the bottom of the food chain in prison especially if the “victim” is young), widespread public humiliation (most of the time the accused rapist’s name is plastered all over the media as soon as a name is revealed by police), a ruined career, alienation from family, and depression. If the accusation is proven true then they should be punished harshly but the accusation is false all the things I just listed may have already happened (even imprisonment).


    But even though a similar percentage of women lie about being raped (which, I believe some of you guys feel is the male equivalent to being raped), we’re still fighting against this notion that because some women lie, all women are potential liars. I’d just point out that some of you would die of fits if I said that because some men rape, all men are potential rapists.

    When said false accusation leads to a conviction and years in prison yes it does bring about the same feelings of helplessness and powerlessness. Someone has taken control of your life and done something to you that, even if you are released, will scar you forever. The possibility of the other party lying should not excuse either party from a thorough investigation. Even if the rapist claims the victim was drunk and the victim claims the rapist used force but left no evidence both stories need to be checked out.


    But somehow, there seems to be a lot of anxiety around the idea that you could be thinking that everything’s going great while, at the same time, she could be having a nightmare terrible time and, because of that, you end up being punished.

    That anxiety is almost always in the back of men’s heads even when fear of rape is not a part of the equation. Traditionally guys are expected to “make the first move”. Even without the possibility of a false accusation in the mix guys are almost always nervous about their dates reaction to them.

    And in regards to not calling out victims who mistakenly identify the wrong person, that victim is not intentionally trying to ruin that person’s life.

    Change up. This is from Seraph:

    Rape is the only crime where the victim has to be proven innocent before the accused can be proven guilty.

    Not true. When a bank is robbed often times the first part of the investigation is to check if the bank employees (who were there during the robbery) might have planned an inside job. In the case of arson the first question is if the owner did it for insurance. When a man is a victim of domestic violence at the hands of a woman things quickly turn into, “What did he do to cause her to finally snap?” And while not the same as criminal charges civil cases involve the process of checking the stories of the plaintiff and defendant.

  90. And we’ve ended up arguing about whether women are trustworthy.

    Barring some personal connection to someone that leads me to believe they’re trustworthy, I tend not to trust anyone, regardless of genitals. Listen to their story? Yes. Take it seriously? Yes. Believe it? Not a guarantee.

  91. It’s late here, and I’m just lurking, but I wanted to say thank you. It’s incredibly empowering to be reminded that specific things that I can do will work against rape and the related messed-upness of the culture.

    This I can work at. Thanks.

    Matthew

  92. Hi.

    I don’t know where to begin. I haven’t read the thread linked to in the post, and I don’t think I need to. I just don’t understand how “rape” can possibly be a controversial topic? Maybe that’s just the world I’m living in but here I cannot think of a single man who would even try to argue that rape is something that cannot be controlled by the person’s free will. I say person, because,on rare occasions, women do rape, too. While male aggression in general may partly be a consequence of higher testosterone concentrations in males and while rape may be a violent “patriarchical” institution to control female sexuality in some cultures, and sometimes even a way to conduct war in ethically based conflicts (Yugoslavia, Congo, Darfur…) – as long as we can say the perpetrator acts on his free will, rape is a crime, and that’s about it.

  93. “At what point is a woman too intoxicated to give legal consent. I don’t ask this to be snarky. If she’s buzzed, but otherwise coherant, and says she wants sex, is that ok? How drunk is too drunk? Is one drink too many? There are many times where the alcohol she has drank has not taken effect.”

    I can’t for the life of me figure out how this can even be a point of confusion. If there is the slightest room for doubt, don’t do it. Why is that so hard?

    If I had the slightest doubt about how certain a man was about wanting to be with me, I’d wait and see. There’s always tomorrow. I’m mystified as to how this can even be a problem.

    Which brings me back to B.’s questions. Since this is a concept that keeps coming up, brought up by men, what is going on with you guys? What’s the story? What are you doing that puts you into situations where there is any doubt, and yet, you don’t just walk away?

  94. “Okay, put up or shut up — how many “falsely convicted rapists” are there, in jail without corroborating evidence?”

    I’m still waiting on this one too.

  95. Helen,

    I was asking that question from more of a legal standpoint. My point was that there is no legally definitive point of “too intoxicated to give consent”.

    Have you ever agreed to sex after a couple of glasses of wine? Well, according to the Professor’s reference, that we should follow DUI standards, you were too intoxicated to give consent, so your partner raped you.
    Just because you didn’t regret it the next morning doesn’t change the previous incidents, if going by that standard.

    It seems that Mag’s suggestion of looking for continuous feedback, would be the safest, although that may be because the guy in question would never get laid. (I’m kidding! I joke because I love)

    Your other question seemed to be directed more at Danny, but I’ll jump in.
    The answer is “Nobody knows how many falsely convicted rapists there are.” Just as nobody knows how many falsely convicted anoybody there are.
    That is why proof is necessary, which is why it is important to have evidence in any conviction, including rape.
    You see, the burden is on the accuser (in any crime). That is a necessary requirement in a society.

  96. Like Helen, I’m still waiting to hear from more men to answer B’s (and my) questions. I really do want to know because I think the men sharing their experiences will help us women (and you fellows) get a grasp on this.

    I thought Danny gave a really well thought out and reasonable reply. He brought up what I had mentioned: that a false accusation for a man can result in a lifetime of woe. That’s a valid fear. It really isn’t unreasonable to have it. But that brings me around again to my question: what kind of situations are you guys getting yourself into where a woman could possibly accuse you (falsely) of rape?

    That’s what makes what Prof and Mag are saying about CHECKING IN at every step and following up after the fact excellent rules to live by. OMG! How I would have loved just the honest, upfront query–“Would you like to have sex?”–instead of all the games (I’m sure guys feel the same way about us ladies). And really, it’s pretty simple when you think about it, to just get the crap out of the way and get straight to the point. It also makes the whole wondering “if this or that is right” drama go away. If I can just say, “I don’t like that,” and you stop doing ‘that,’ it kind of demystifies and simplifies the experience–no harm, no foul. If you can ask me, “does that feel good,” and I say yes, then, well… Woo Hoo!

    Now I’m going to say something that could either be an interesting point of consideration, or it could get me poked at by some. I understand and, to a degree, agree with what Helen’s saying:

    I can’t for the life of me figure out how this can even be a point of confusion. If there is the slightest room for doubt, don’t do it. Why is that so hard?

    The only real problem I have with this is when two people are drunk enough, both parties are suffering from poor judgment and skewed perception. I mean, we really have to cut the guys a wee bit of slack on this. I’m not talking about some dude going at it on a passed out chick; I’m talking about where the next day the woman feels WRONG while the guy might feel… well… not wrong. Where the night before there wasn’t really a “no,” but just no real enthusiasm.

    I know us ladies want guys to get this–that when we are not really participating, it may mean that we don’t like it, and maybe the guy needs to stop.

    But if we ladies are too drunk to really do much about it, you may consider that the guy is a little too drunk to notice that he’s being an ass. I mean, that’s a fuzzy line–and I’m not for a minute saying it’s a woman’s fault for being in a situation that gets her raped–but what about the guy (and I think this is what the men are trying to get at) who is equally drunk and unable to understand that the chick he’s kind of half-heartedly plugging away at isn’t responding because she really isn’t into it and not because (despite all his poorly executed, drunken love-making skills) he couldn’t turn her on.

    So that’s why The Prof and Mag have nailed it. If it becomes part of a routine of behavior where people check in at each step (and can deal with a No, or a, “I don’t like that, please stop”), we may be well on our way to preventing a lot of rapes and and the chances of someone being falsely accused of rape.

  97. Have you ever agreed to sex after a couple of glasses of wine? Well, according to the Professor’s reference, that we should follow DUI standards, you were too intoxicated to give consent, so your partner raped you.
    Just because you didn’t regret it the next morning doesn’t change the previous incidents, if going by that standard.

    Straw-argument!
    If you’re thinking about trotting that one out to prove how silly this whole consent-while-drinking thing is, please reconsider it. After all, despite nodding at Mag’s continual-consent scenario, you’re dismissing it. You’re also dismissing my earlier suggestion about prior consent in a relationship (which, to elaborate, I imagine should work something like S&M contracts do… doesn’t it make sense for both partners to know where the boundaries are all the time?) Your strawperson says, “Drinking more than one unit of alcohol negates consent always!” and by waving it around, you’re again diverting attention toward what rape isn’t and how men suffer from this supposedly overarticulation of nonconsent. Why?

    That’s what B. keeps asking – what is your point, what are you trying to protect really? And what was I was trying to say before too – why aren’t we talking about how to create a culture of respect and consent? Mag’s suggestion and mine were about respect and consent. Yours was about ridicule.

  98. I really am curious, though, about the personal-level answer to some of what I’m asking, not some legalistic-reframing.

    “If there’s the slightest room for doubt, don’t do it,” is a pretty easy concept. I and plenty like me don’t attempt to compute our blood alcohol levels before driving; if there’s even the slightest possibility our reaction times ore judgment might be impaired, we don’t drive. This isn’t hard.

    I’m not seeing how this can be hard regarding sex either. Once there is the slightest room for doubt, and you choose to go ahead anyway, part and parcel of that choice is taking what you want knowing the real chance exists you are harming another in the process. Refusing to go there seems an obvious and easy choice. If the other person really wants you, they’ll still want you tomorrow. It’s not like there’s anything lost.

    So what the heck is going on with you guys that this isn’t that simple? It sounds like you’re torturing yourselves with some sort of convoluted mess.

  99. It’s like they are afraid that if the “get a few drinks into her and I can then maybe get into her pants” option is off the table, they will never get laid again. Damn. Have a little more confidence in your own desirability, brother-friends.

  100. Here’s the other thing I wonder about, too. I think that most men aren’t that interested in what feminists are talking about until it directly affects them. So, there they are, going about their normal online business until something like a big rape discussion comes up and then they join in.

    Because I’ve been thinking some more about this story and why men tell it, especially why men feel compelled to tell it to feminists every time rape comes up.

    And I don’t think it’s just about rape.

    I think men like this story because it tells them something true about how things are between men and women.

    And the thing is, we should not get defensive (as Slarti reminded me this morning) just because men have come to the same realization we have through different means.

    I mean, let’s think about the story some more. In it, the man is in his typical roll, as the, shall we say ‘top’–it’s his role to be the strong, sure, sexual initiator. And the woman is in her role as the, again with the BSDM terms, “bottom”–the passive person to whom stuff is done. And, in this story, I think we see that men feel anxious. Is the woman having a good time? Is she just laying there because that’s how she thinks ‘good girls’ behave? Is she just laying there because she’s bad in bed? Is she just laying there because she was afraid to tell him no and she’s just praying for it to be over? And, let’s be frank, until we started doing a lot of work to remind both parties that “no means no,” a lot of women who really wanted to fuck that dude with his hands all over here felt like they had to say no a few times just so he wouldn’t think she was easy.

    So, here we have this situation in which men have to navigate a lot of complicated signals.

    And here’s something that we feminists know and men know and yet we resist hearing it from men–women are socialized to not act in a straight-forward manner, but to manipulate the shit out of situations. We’re told that our only public power is in manipulating men into looking at us and wanting to keep us close so that they can look at us. And we’re taught that our private power is all that secretive behind the scenes shit.

    And feminists have long been saying “Hey, that’s not your only value and that’s not how you should behave or feel like you have to behave.”

    Isn’t that what men are trying to say in that story? Please don’t manipulate us? Don’t take this moment in which most decent men are trying to navigate a lot of complex emotional stuff and turn it against us?

    It’s a recognition of the same stuff we’ve been saying. Just from a different angle and without all the fun theoretical stuff.

    As for your insinuation, Exador, that men who ask for constant feedback never get laid… well, I have nothing to say to that. I guess a man could just wait for the woman to be begging him for it, but how often does a guy find a girl begging him to fuck her?

  101. Tanglethis, great minds think alike! BSDM, when done properly, is all about boundaries and consent and keeping everyone safe and happy and cool with what’s going on and I don’t think anyone thinks those guys are somehow having wimpy unfulfilling sex lives.

  102. “If there’s the slightest room for doubt, don’t do it,” is a pretty easy concept.

    i keep wondering about your sense of imagination, that you seriously think there is ever a situation without any room for doubt. in any context, not just sexuality and/or consent.

  103. No, sure, Nomen. Of course people can.

    But, hey! You and I find ourselves right back where we always are. This tickles me. This is exactly what I mean when I talk about how annoying I find it when people want to second-guess what rape victims should have done.

    Yes, let’s talk ahead of time about what people can do to lessen their chances of rape. Try and stay out of these situations. Try and not do this. Try and not do that. If there’s the slightest room for doubt, don’t do it.

    And yet, people are going to get themselves in situations where there’s room for doubt, or where the park is deserted except for the bad person chasing you, or whatever. And in those situations, we make the choices we make and hope for the best and second-guessing afterwards doesn’t do anyone any good.

  104. See! See! This is what I’m talking about!

    …that you seriously think there is ever a situation without any room for doubt. in any context, not just sexuality and/or consent.

    He’s right you know.

    Given the context—two drunk people—the ability to judge from either side isn’t really up to par. Even the ability to cast doubt on a situation isn’t necessarily plausible (to use the drunk driving metaphor, it would be like thinking, “I’m OK to drive,” when you are obviously aren’t, but you are drunk enough to not realize that).

    It would be lovely to think that everybody has the common sense and presence of mind to assess a situation before they make a big mistake, but alcohol really puts the kibosh on all that.

  105. Again, I am in no way saying that because a woman was drunk that she as at fault for rape.

    I’m trying to bring to the floor the understanding that I man might really believe there was consent when there was none.

  106. you guys do realize, i hope, that i’m still trolling y’all with ultimately meaningless input. it’s amusing how such throwaway, pointless phrases can stimulate such disproportionately enthusiastic responses. like poking an anthill, except less destructive.

  107. i keep wondering about your sense of imagination, that you seriously think there is ever a situation without any room for doubt. in any context, not just sexuality and/or consent.

    Reasonable doubt, then. “Hey, she’s quiet… is that because of something I did (or didn’t do)?” is a reasonable doubt. “She said she’d like to have sex with me… what if she’s secretly a member of some sort of sex cult and going to try to steal my sperm to impregnate her followers?” is not a reasonable doubt. More realistically, it might be reasonable to doubt that a reticent or quite buzzed woman person is really as into you as you think they might be (especially if you yourself have been drinking, or find yourself to be socially inept), but severely doubting that a smiling, sober person that agrees to have sex with you (in so many words) is doing it because they want to, and instead doing it because they want to spite someone else and then cry rape isn’t reasonable (in the absence of evidence to support it, like you know the person’s partner issues or whatever).

    Sure, there are fuzzy situations. And yes, we might hash out the details of every single one, and never really come to the conclusion. But that’s not really the point here. At least, it isn’t for me. The point is that a lot of the “sticky situations” that get brought up over and over again are at least in part due to systemic problems with the way we frame acceptable interaction, consent, and social behavior concerning intoxication and sexuality. If we go from a model of “she didn’t say no, so we’re good!” to “she didn’t say yes, so let’s wait” and “she said yes, so we’re good!”, a lot of these issues drop out of the picture. Not all of them, of course… there are always people who make poor choices, people who are sexually sociopathic, and honest-to-goodness mistakes.

    Aaand… it’s time for our mandatory “Trim a Tree” celebration, so I need to run before finishing my thought. The basics are there, though.

  108. One more before I run…

    you guys do realize, i hope, that i’m still trolling y’all with ultimately meaningless input. it’s amusing how such throwaway, pointless phrases can stimulate such disproportionately enthusiastic responses. like poking an anthill, except less destructive.

    If this is all you’re doing, then … why don’t you just leave? I mean, it’s interesting to respond to you, but this strikes me as incredibly rude.

  109. “It would be lovely to think that everybody has the common sense and presence of mind to assess a situation before they make a big mistake, but alcohol really puts the kibosh on all that.”

    Uh, what?

    This idea is so bizarre I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around it. Refraining from drinking and driving is just basic humanity. You do whatever you personally have to do to make sure that you don’t drive while under the influence. If that means you never drink, fine. If that means you lock yourself away from car keys when you drink because you’re not perfect at assessing when you’ve had too much, fine. Same with rape. If you’re not perfect at assessing whether you’ve had too much to judge consent perfectly when you drink, you don’t ever have sex when you drink. If that means you only drink when locked alone in a closet, fine.

    If you are seriously trying to argue that you can be just a bit drunk, so that your drinking has not increased your danger to others, and yet there is the most miniscule chance you would rape someone anyway, then what you’re telling us is that you’re a rapist looking for an opportunity and excuse.

  110. “Again, I am in no way saying that because a woman was drunk that she as at fault for rape.

    I’m trying to bring to the floor the understanding that I man might really believe there was consent when there was none.”

    Good rephrasing of what I am trying to get at. If alcohol in your system has any chance of making you likely to make that mistake and therefore commit rape, don’t drink and have sex. If the other person wants you, they’ll still want you after you sober up. This isn’t hard. Choosing to drink if alcohol in your system does have any chance of making you likely to make that mistake and therefore commit rape is a deliberate choice to put yourself in a situation where you might rape. There’s a word for such people. If you don’t want it to be a true description of who you are, don’t do that shit.

  111. No, but Helen, I wonder if it doesn’t come back again to what Mag is saying, “If we go from a model of “she didn’t say no, so we’re good!” to “she didn’t say yes, so let’s wait” and “she said yes, so we’re good!”, a lot of these issues drop out of the picture.”

    I mean, what we’re talking about here is getting folks to see that the problem doesn’t just start in the morning when the woman “decides” to cry rape, but–assuming that no one’s a sociopath–it starts way back with the assumption that one can have sex in which one partner’s enthusiasm isn’t necessary.

    It might be hard for a drunk to tell the difference between “laying there because bored” and “laying there because unhappy” but it’s very easy for everyone, drunk or no, to tell the difference between just laying there and not.

    I could be wrong, but I think that’s what the Editor is advocating for.

  112. Aunt B.,

    So, here we have this situation in which men have to navigate a lot of complicated signals.

    Aunt B., as a man, I really appreciate this statement. But at the same time, I don’t think it is overly relevant in the moment when two people are about to get intimate-

    Human mating may be simple in a psychology textbook, but in the real world out there it’s full of dangerous cliffs. But these are almost all located before two people get even close to the bedroom. The problem, as I see it, is much rather determining if “she did not say no” to my approach in a club means we’re on the track to “she did not say yes, so let’s wait” (well, “wait” meaning to “try harder” aka “increase her excitement about me”) to “she said yes, so we’re good”.

    The more relevant communication problems may arise in situations like when a guy is trying to kiss a girl and she sighs “no” while her eyes, her body language, her holding him say yes to being seduced and she happily reciprocates the kiss.

    Sure, there are a lot of OCD guys out there and telling them to look for the slightest doubt will make them have one, never kiss any girl, and thus your above prediction will come true –

    As for your insinuation, Exador, that men who ask for constant feedback never get laid… well, I have nothing to say to that. I guess a man could just wait for the woman to be begging him for it, but how often does a guy find a girl begging him to fuck her?

    – but reasonabilty in human interaction is something that should be tought much earlier. Of course, it does require women to be equal and reasonable partners in the mating process.

    Still, when it comes to sex, people not just holding hands but dropping their pants, and she becomes – or he becomes – suddenly strangely passive, I think some verbalisation is appropriate. I mean, seriously, imagine you’re doing some kind of foreplay and your partner suddenly stops playing. I’ll leave the effects of alcohol/drugs on all this to the legal department, but abstracting from that, I’d say everyone would notice and that would be the moment where I believe assumed/implicit consent would need to become explicit.

  113. Aunt B. & Mag, exactly! If your partner isn’t responding enthusiastically, you should stop and ask why. It’s not that hard… and it won’t “ruin the moment” for either one of you unless it’s already been ruined for them.

    The “how drunk is too drunk” to consent question creeps me out.

  114. Thank B (—smooch—).

    Helen, the problem I’m having is this:

    If you’re not perfect at assessing whether you’ve had too much to judge consent perfectly when you drink, you don’t ever have sex when you drink.

    We can’t just put the onus on the menz (that is men or WOMEN who may be considered potential rapists… geez… trying to make this categorically fair is difficult… you’re right B) to have this sort of foresight. If we are advocating for autonomy, then suddenly that statement should be applied to women too. Right? If you lose your inhibitions when you’re drunk, then maybe you should stay home. If you tend to make poor decisions when you’re drunk, then maybe it would be wise not to wear that cute miniskirt when you go out, because you could give the wrong impression and not be able to back yourself up.

    But no. Us ladies get a burr in our ass when folks try to pull that shit on us. And rightly so.

    If a guy (or gal) is such an out of control drunkard that they become violent sexual predators when drunk… well that’s not what I’m talking about.

    What I’m trying to get across (and apparently I’m doing a poor job of it), and what B has so astutely picked up on, is that our (men and women) drunk judgment isn’t great. We don’t have to be falling down plastered, but let’s say we’re in that all familiar realm of just passed buzzed. Hell, even buzzed! We do and say things that make us go, “Oh dear god,” the next day. And yeah, obviously if a man OR woman finds that any amount of drinking continually puts them in a “Oh dear god” situation the next day, they probably ought to seriously consider laying off the booze for good.

    But in general, Mag’s model is what I’m aiming at. It is the necessary perception change where “she didn’t say no, so we’re good,” has to be stricken from the paradigm. And for the love of all that is good, us ladies have to participate in this as well. We need to be up front about this shit too. Because… if you are expecting the guy to have the presence of mind to ask questions, then why aren’t we expected to have the presence of mind to make statements?

    We too need to get over this notion that us WANTING sex makes us bad or slatternly. And that goes for the guys’ perception of us women as well. We ladies having sex and enjoying it doesn’t make us dirty women. It makes us human.

  115. We too need to get over this notion that us WANTING sex makes us bad or slatternly. And that goes for the guys’ perception of us women as well. We ladies having sex and enjoying it doesn’t make us dirty women. It makes us human.

    Amen. I wish there had been a feminist to tell me that when I was 13 and all I read in teen magazines was that if I’m really nice and buy her a roses and a dinner she may be willing to trade those gifts for what I really want…

  116. What I’m trying to get across (and apparently I’m doing a poor job of it), and what B has so astutely picked up on, is that our (men and women) drunk judgment isn’t great. We don’t have to be falling down plastered, but let’s say we’re in that all familiar realm of just passed buzzed. Hell, even buzzed! We do and say things that make us go, “Oh dear god,” the next day. And yeah, obviously if a man OR woman finds that any amount of drinking continually puts them in a “Oh dear god” situation the next day, they probably ought to seriously consider laying off the booze for good.

    No, we’re not all familiar with that state. I have never been in that state, and don’t really plan on getting there. I do drink occasionally now, and socially, and can apparently hold quite a bit of liquor for my age/weight/drinking history, but… that level of disinhibition is not a universal.

    And I think it goes back to what Helen says. If you do get that disinhibited, you shouldn’t do so when you’re in a position to hurt other people – whether that’s by driving, getting in bar fights, or by potentially raping people. And yes, I do think that onus goes to people in the potential rapist pool (people who get disinhibited or otherwise changed when they are intoxicated, and who thus might commit acts of violence), rather than people in the potential victim pool (people who become more passive, who drink to the point of incapacitation, or who are otherwise rendered more likely to be victimized).

    The two issues cited (“don’t drink because you might rape someone” and “don’t drink because you might get raped”) aren’t commensurable. In one, you’re refraining from doing something you’re aware may cause you to bring harm to another person… in another, you’re refraining from doing something on the off chance that it will affect someone else’s inclination to do harm to you. The advice given in one situation and the advice given in another, although similar, don’t operate on the same underlying logic. Notably, one has a fair amount of statistical and anecdotal backing (anti drunk-driving campaigns reduce fatalities significantly, if not as much as we’d like, while telling women not to get drunk or wear short skirts doesn’t do much to reduce the incidence of rape appreciably).

    In all cases, of course, it’s a good idea to watch how much you drink and what company you’re in, and try to keep yourself and others as safe as possible. That’s a given. But if you think that getting drunk might put you in a position to seriously harm someone? That’s a pretty good indication that you might need another way to spend the evening.

  117. Mag, that IS my point. I did say:

    If a guy (or gal) is such an out of control drunkard that they become violent sexual predators when drunk… well that’s not what I’m talking about.

    People who become dangerously violent when drinking shouldn’t drink. Obviously.

    I’m not talking about a “sexual encounter” (i.e. rape) that is violent drunk vs. incapacitated drunk. And I’m sorry that I made a blanket assumption about everybody knowing what it’s like to get pretty drunk. My bad.

    What I am getting at is that folks do get drunk and do lose inhibitions. They do get drunk and their judgment is skewed. They do get drunk and their perception of their actions as well as their perceptions of the actions of others is off. And sexual encounters can happen for two people where the perception of what happened is completely different for the same two people.

    Maybe I need to introduce the word “intent” here. Because in an inebriated situation intent can be misconstrued by both parties. That’s why I agree whole heartedly with a shift to the only YES means Yes rule of thumb that you brought into play.

    And while I agree that it seems natural to me to think to ask, “Is the reason why you are just laying there because you hate this and want me to stop or because you want me to do something different or because, well, the way you have sex is just by laying there?” it might not work itself up into the brain that way with someone who is inebriated–especially someone who is young, inebriated, inexperienced and lacking in some social graces. I’m not tossing out random hypotheticals here; I’m telling you that people get drunk like this with no intention of harming another person. Yet, a guy can be charged with rape because of it.

    Unlike some of the commentos, I don’t think countless numbers of women wake up the next morning and lie about getting raped. That’s ludicrous on so many levels (I just keep thinking of To Kill a Mockingbird), but I do think there needs to be room in this discussion to say that that if a woman’s (or victims, regardless of sex) perception can be off, then so can a man’s. Again, I’m not talking about the guy that rapes the passed out girl, or holds down a very drunk woman and forces himself on her. I REALLY think I’ve made this clear. I’m not talking about a guy who doesn’t stop when the woman says, “No.”

    I’m talking about the “since this person isn’t saying no, then I guess we’re good to go,” perception that needs to be changed. I just see it as a very common scenario when people are drinking.

    So yeah. Getting into the habit of asking AND telling… GREAT plan.

  118. “We can’t just put the onus on the menz…to have this sort of foresight.”

    Why not, and who said men? The onus is on everyone to have this foresight. It’s part of being human instead of pond scum.

  119. Ah.

    “If you lose your inhibitions when you’re drunk, then maybe you should stay home. If you tend to make poor decisions when you’re drunk, then maybe it would be wise not to wear that cute miniskirt when you go out, because you could give the wrong impression and not be able to back yourself up.”

    No, no, no, and no. That’s not the same thing at all. Applying it equally to men and women means both men and women have to make damn sure they have clear and continuous consent from their partner when they engage in sexual activity.

    The onus not to rape applies equally to everyone.

    There is no equivalence to “if men can’t rape when drunk women can’t dress a certain way when drunk”.

  120. Helen, you know, I’m just not that angry. Ya know, I can go back and read all these comments, and yeah, there is the perception that men have to have it more together when their drunk. And I just don’t like that from the standpoint of it means I’m the delicate flower who is allowed a pass. I’m not giving anyone a pass on this on any account. I’m advocating the Yes means Yes rule of thumb as part of the big picture with what men can do to empower themselves AND women. That’s all.

  121. But no. Us ladies get a burr in our ass when folks try to pull that shit on us. And rightly so.

    That is the set of statements that directly follows the paragraph you quoted.

    I’m saying there isn’t an equivalence .

  122. It reads as though you’re saying “we say this thing to men, but it sounds like this thing we say to women all the time, and we get really pissed when it’s said to women, so why are we saying it to men?”

  123. Editor, I have to say you have completely lost me, and I can no longer figure out what you’re getting at.

    “Helen, you know, I’m just not that angry.” Huh? What angry? You? About what?

    “Ya know, I can go back and read all these comments, and yeah, there is the perception that men have to have it more together when their drunk.” I have no idea where you’re getting that from, honestly.

    “I’m advocating the Yes means Yes rule of thumb as part of the big picture with what men can do to empower themselves AND women.” Is there anyone here who isn’t advocating that at this point in the discussion? I thought we’d gotten a consensus on that one, but I might be mistaken.

  124. The longer I keep an eye on these comments, the more I want to send thank you cards to the dude who said, “Hey, wanna go up to my room to make out?” and the other dude, who, unrolling a condom, stopped to say, “Okay, you both know what’s going on here and consent to it, right?” I could just about kiss them both right now after reading this and the other thread.

  125. sounds like you’re getting each other as confused about what you’re each and all saying as i’ve been. i can’t say i really see that as progress.

  126. Perhaps I’m reading more into Helen’s use of pond scum than I ought to. It just sounded angry.

    I am not giving people a pass on intentional wrong behavior because their drunk.

    I AM saying that there tends to be a perception when folks are drunk that a lack of the negative can be construed as an assertion of the affirmative.

    I AM saying Yes means Yes and that to assume otherwise makes an ass… oh you know the saying.

    I AM saying women should be obligated to assert their intentions (without people impugning character) as equally as men should be obligated to issue their queries (without people assuming to do so is somehow lame).

    I am saying this because if there seems to be some bone of contention as to the he said / she said upon the morning after, that could mean false assumptions were made while intoxicated. And I’m saying that this muddy water could be clarified if the “only Yes means Yes” rule is applied.

    I kind of feel like I’m saying, “I think have a solution here for positive change,” and a bunch of you are coming at me saying “Why are you making excuses for rapists!”

    I’m not.

  127. The first part of that last sentence should have read, “I kind of feel like I’m saying, ‘I think we have a solution here for positive change…” ‘

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