Rape Stuff at Pith

I wrote about some of the nebulous hand-wringing I’ve seen when people are trying to figure out how the Vanderbilt football player rape could have happened.

I’m really disturbed to see that even Vanderbilt’s dean of students seems to believe in the accidental rapist. And fuck, even if you do believe in the existence of the accidental rapist, surely we can all agree that the accidental rapist doesn’t bring home a passed-out girl, stage a break-in, cover up the moving of her unconscious body, and let his friends take turns with her while he makes souvenir footage. None of that is a mistake. In fact, it shows repeated intention.

Like Sarcastro said on Twitter, the staging of the break-in and the covering of the camera indicate the kind of planning based on previous trial-and-error. I would bet at least one of these guys has previous victims.

Anyway, also be sure to check out the first comment, which may be the stupidest comment I’ve ever gotten at Pith. Which is a remarkable achievement.

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5 thoughts on “Rape Stuff at Pith

  1. And nobody seems to ask the question in coverage, “Is it even possible for a man who jokes about checking out potential employees’ wives before deciding whether to hire them to create or lead an environment in which women are treated as full human beings?”

  2. Previous victims…or has watched a lot of SVU. We basically broadcast how-to clinics on sexual assault every Wednesday night on NBC. It’s very popular, I hear.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this – especially after also reading Time’s coverage of military Article 23 investigations of sexual assault cases that are basically putting victims on trial. The thing that doesn’t entirely seem to be connecting for some people over there – or many people out in the world- is that those who believe in accidental rape still blame women for generating the confusion that leads men to be mistaken about consent. It’s not just that we can conclude no crime was committed if it wasn’t intentional. Hell, we hold people responsible for accidents all the fucking time. It’s that we think the mistake was justified!

    I keep thinking about the Tennesseean story about the rape in the parking garage and the way that perpetrator talked about what he did. He tried to make it sound like acquaintance rape. He found a way to claim that she wanted it because she looked at him in an inviting way despite the fact that he actually approached her from behind. And he kissed her on the forehead afterward. He skulked in dark corners of parking lots while others go out for dinner and drinks. Both are successful tactics for rapists.

    I’ve been trying this new approach in my classrooms and I wish I had some sense of being able to tell if it is working. But I really do give this information to the students and I interpret the relevant readings as recognizing that most men aren’t rapists but asking them why they care more about demanding that theorists distinguish between men that rape and men that don’t when they, my students, won’t in real life distinguish themselves from the men that rape. Why do they so easily believe that men might make mistakes when they themselves don’t only to get angry when others then can’t tell them apart?

  4. Rachel, you know Franklin has been making the rounds to campus student groups to talk about how upset he is that this happened and how he gets credit for quick response that involved police. He is actually working to make himself come off as even more of a hero now than before.
    And I am rather sure that his talks do not involve any training in bystander intervention at all.

    I’ve found him suspicious from the beginning. But then I’ve never been one to think that accepting, let along nurturing, one’s cult of personality was ever good for others or the institution.

  5. Professor, I think that’s a really good point–if you don’t say “that behavior’s not okay,” then why are you surprised and hurt when people think you think the behavior’s okay?

    I’m finding all of Vanderbilt’s response to this very odd. And it could be that, in part, I just don’t know enough about the green dot campaign, but it all seems like it’s more about just handwaving than doing anything real. I mean, how much motherfucking awareness do we need?

    Like I said at Pith, these folks aren’t doing this because they’re mistaken. They’re doing it because they know they can count on bystanders thinking they’re mistaken.

    It honestly makes me wonder if we have ANY idea how many women are rapists, since we at least have a cultural narrative where rape is a thing guys do. I have grave doubts women are ever recognized as rapists, even though getting a partner drunk and penetrating him or her with objects could be done by anyone (along with other forms of sexual assault).

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