There’s a lot of good discussion floating around the blogosphere right now about college-age rapists. I don’t have anything additional interesting to add. I’m still kind of processing it. I’ll admit, my idea of the “typical” college rapist has been the guy who has too much to drink and doesn’t take into consideration the willingness (or even ability of) the woman he’s with to consent.
So, I have been thinking that the strategy is to make these men understand the importance of considering the other person you’re with and her wants and needs. I’ve been willing to believe that most acquaintance rapes are based on just a profound not-getting-it on the part of the perpetrator. I have been willing to concede the basic set up–two people get drunk, things go too far, a horrible mistake is made–while insisting that the responsibility for the “mistake” fall on the person having sense with a non-consenting partner.
But I have been wrong. What this study shows, in part, is that rapists count on the fact that most people think of acquaintance rape as a drunken mistake kind of made by two people–sure, he should have made more of an effort to make sure she was into it, but shouldn’t she have not been so drunk?–to shield them from detection while they operate, repeatedly. Nine out of ten rapes on college campuses are committed by repeat offenders.
Another part of their strategy for evading detection is to make it seem like all guys share their beliefs or would do what they do, if only they had the chance. They count on “boys will be boys” to, again, shield them from detection. (Which means that “no means no” campaigns are, in fact, effective, though not for the reasons they seem. They may not give rapists pause, but they educate the people who would otherwise provide rapists social cover.)
I guess I should have known this but it’s blown my mind.
They work the system. Deliberately. And they count on their charm and social mores to a.) shield them from detection as serial rapists and b.) to funnel more victims to them.
Again. Holy shit.
And that’s why I love TigTog’s post. Even if you follow no other links in this post, please follow this one. Because now that we know that these are not just semi-innocent fuck-ups on the part of clueless or clumsy men, but that appearing clueless or clumsy or whathaveyou is just their way of camouflaging themselves among actual clueless or clumsy men who would, nevertheless, NEVER rape someone, there are some strategies for dealing with them.
1. Stop giving them social cover.
2. Protect others from them.
Brilliant. I love it.
I also want to think some more about the fact that this type of rape seems to be very closely linked with forms of abuse–that these guys go on (or are already) to be physically abusive or sexually abusive to loved ones and family members.
But, on the surface, it makes sense. They groom their victims, in a way, and they for sure have figured out how to socially isolate their victims; often everyone does think it’s all the woman’s fault or she’s brought it on herself.
These guys are not just serial rapists; they are serial abusers, it seems. But it’s harder to recognize because they don’t have a small number of ongoing victims. They have a large number of brief victims. But the MO otherwise is very similar.