On “Accidental Blame” and Why Rape Messages Get Tuned Out

This comment by kckrupp was in response to Lisa Hickey’s post “Rapists I Have Known.

I completely agree that with the exception of a few radical pockets, feminists in general do not see it as “all men are bad,” and I think the bigger problem is carelessness in language and ‘accidental’ blame. A good example of this is the Slutwalk and the recent incident with the PA Liquor Control Board’s ad where the slogan that came out of the ordeal was “Don’t Get Raped vs Don’t Rape.” The “Don’t Rape” slogan is the same thing men have been told over and over again in regards to date rape. I’ve been to several date rape prevention education programs and talks directed at men (university required it as part of a fraternity) and they all boiled down to the same message over and over: “Don’t rape.”

The problem is, most men think rape is vile and respond with, “Well I’m not a rapist, I don’t want to be a rapist, I’m not going to ever rape anyone, so this message has nothing to do with me.” They tune the message out, just as Odds described.

An even bigger part of the problem is the entitlement belief that I see coming from most activist groups. They take a staunch “I’m right and you’re wrong” approach, and I mean almost ALL activist groups. Most activist groups seem to take the standpoint that society should rise to meet their ideology, rather than crouching down to meet society at eye level and then help society work their way to standing up taller. That is the key difference I see in Lisa’s piece and the Good Men Project as a whole from other gender-focused websites. You see, Cara, you are right, Men need to help men understand how to stop rape from happening and so do women, because if men currently don’t see it as a problem or are tuning the message out, then the burden is on those trying to change society and resolve the problem. Fortunately, the GMP is going about it the right way by talking about things in terms or personal reflection and perspective, connecting to men at their level, as equals, telling men you are great and valuable, and capable of great things, and we need good men like all of you to change the world. It doesn’t tell them, well you better do this, it allows men to come to their own conclusions and make the decisions on their own. And that is the only way to truly change a person’s mind and one by one change society.


This is the comment by Odds that is referred to in the comment above:

Moreover, there needs to be some incentive for men to be good – if I’m assumed to be a rapist or a potential rapist by a group of people, I’m not going to try to change their minds, I’m going to disengage from them and find someone else to associate with. Same as how I expect a black man would react if I assumed he was a felon and drug addict until proven otherwise, or how a Jew would probably react if I assumed he was a Zionist agent until proven otherwise, or how a woman would react if I assumed she were a man-hating lesbian until proven otherwise. It’s every bit as unjust and cruel. Assuming the worst in everyone I see, even if it were (hypothetically) borne out in the statistics, creates an environment where the best of any group have nothing to gain by being part of it.

Say that society changed and I, as a man, was presumed guilty in a legal sense in the event of any accusation – rape, harassment, abuse, whatever. Name your feminist cause, I’m presumed guilty. Why would I bother to interact with any woman I did not already trust? Any slight emotional instability, any trace of feminist ideology in a woman, and I would have nothing to do with her. Too risky. Why would I bother to get involved when I see another man making questionable moves? The person reporting any crime is nearly always a suspect as far as the police are concerned. Why would I ever get involved and intervene on a woman’s behalf in the face of that risk? I’d simply not get involved. I can think of one woman who might be raped or dead today if I had not intervened on her behalf – but she was drunk enough at the time that, in a world of presumptive male guilt, she would have been unable to tell which of us was the good one.

It’s not so unbelievable. How many poor black neighborhoods are full of otherwise regular, innocent folks who simply refuse to talk to the police about anything? Who believe, with fair reasons, that the police do not have their community’s best interests at heart?

None of that is unreasonable. We live in a world where a five year-old playing doctor is a sex offender. If we take the feminist assertion that rape accusations are not believed often enough as a fact, for argument’s sake, then look at the world presumptive male guilt creates: in the short term, all this does is inflict the same injustice on another group (which is fine if two wrongs make a right, I suppose). In the long term, it casts doubt outside of the legal realm on the word of any woman. What man would ever believe a rape claim if he knew that in all cases, the woman’s word was enough? How many men need only be convicted by word alone before other, innocent men stop seeing it as justice? What would those men think of female accusers? Even honest accusers would not be believed, since the men were convicted on word alone, and not on evidence.


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  1. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    I think rape should be a matter of law. So, unfortunately as may be, it needs to be proved by evidence. As a professor, I’ve seen morning-after regret turned into action against male students. On the basis of one witness. Not good. This either is or isn’t rape culture. Not very meaningful anyway. Rape culture is prison– that’s true.

  2. David Byron says:

    Say that society changed and I, as a man, was presumed guilty in a legal sense in the event of any accusation – rape, harassment, abuse, whatever.

    That’s already true.
    Feminists created an environment where a man accused of a sexual crime against a woman would be presumed guilty ahead of any legal process. That’s why we talk of a “rape victim” in a rape trial instead of talking about a “prosecution witness”. Calling her a “rape victims” says that the case has already been decided. That’s why the “rape victim”s name is not released but the man’s is. Because he’s assumed to be guilty. That’s why in cases of sexual harassment a man is considered guilty without any legal process. If the woman makes the claim that’s the end of it. That’s why in cases of domestic violence a woman can get a restraining order that makes a man homeless and effectively kidnaps his kids without any opportunity for him to mount any legal defence. He’s presumed guilty.

    As I’ve said before I wonder if the modern anti-terrorism laws are based on the feminist attacks on civil liberties that preceded them. Laws that basically say sentence first, verdict later if ever.

    All of this treatment makes sense in feminist ideology because all men are rapists under feminist ideology. All men are actively and consciously seeking to terrorise women by continually raping them, according to feminist ideology.

    This is not some minority of feminists but the great majority of them. Phrases like “the patriarchy” and “male privilege” and “rape culture” are feminist code for “men are all rapists and that’s all they are” (itself a famous quote from the most popular feminist book of its time). It’s not exactly tough to pick up on how most feminists dismiss men as violent deviants. Any time you mention that some men are victims too it is dismissed because men “deserve it”. Rapists deserve it? No – all men deserve it.

    This is not some aberration of feminism some sort of fringe group. This sentiment was within the movement from the very beginning. The most lauded and most well known feminists of all time are the ones creating these patterns of speech and sentiment. Why did the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments feel obliged to sumarise the history of male-female relations in these terms?

    The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.


    So apparently men have the conscious desire to tyrannize all women — who knew? Or is the Seneca Falls convention “not representative” either? What is I wonder?

    • “To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

      Interesting sentiment! Facts and Candid! Have the meanings changed so much since 1848?

      • David Byron says:

        It’s a shame they didn’t stick with blaming “the government” instead of “man”, as they did in the line above. In fact that whole line is just pure rubbish. They had no business pretending to know that throughout history anything was going on. They were not anthropologists and they didn’t cite any evidence of historic events. it’s just a completely pointless attack on men. And It’s inserted deliberately because it breaks the pattern of mimicking the Declaration of Independence used up to that point. Although having said that in that metaphor who exactly were the women declaring their independence from if not men? that is to say – who were they declaring war on if not men?

        And which men? Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s husband who basically paid for her to have the free time to do all her activism? Her cousin who was the person who introduced her to the abolitionist movement? William Lloyd Garrison the abolitionist leader who denounced the women being put in separate seating at the abolitionist world convention that pushed Cady into her women’s issues politics? Or the other male abolitionists who insisted on standing with the women literally? or the many men who attended the Seneca Falls convention itself from the second day (the first day being for women only – apparently with no irony noted)?

        • “They were not anthropologists and they didn’t cite any evidence of historic events. ”

          Has It changed?

          I keep looking at the Original Citation of the term “Rape Culture” – and it seems for anthropomorphic reasons and for historical, even hysterical, inaccuracy, no-one will go near it!

          Never let reason get in the way of a good Myth! All religions and cults are like that!

  3. David Byron says:

    Summoning Lisa!
    (must… not… abuse… this power)

    The featured comment was actually a response to a different comment than the one reproduced above. The actual comment it was in reply to was one by Cara (dated December 23, 2011 at 1:31 am) which said:

    For the zillionth time. Feminists do NOT say “All men are BAD.”

    Nor is it the fault of women or feminists when the dominant conversation is about how women should be afraid of men because men are animals that can’t control themselves or are “biologically driven” to be violent or lustful or whatever crap is being spewed now.

    Quit, for God’s sake, blathering on about how wonderful life is when women get their act together and be “nice” to strange men. Tell MEN to talk to other MEN about being the kind of MEN that women DON’T NEED TO BE AFRAID OF.

    Honestly. Pandering to maintain the status quo isn’t edgy or brilliant. Put the blame where it belongs for a change. Things might REALLY change if people weren’t too cowardly to do that.

    • Lisa Hickey says:

      Here I am!

      I did realize that the first comment was in response to Cara’s comment. It might have made Kckrupp’s first sentence clearer, but I thought his comment itself stood on it’s own and made some great point.

      Cara’s comment did not seem like she wanted to add to the discussion in a positive, productive way.

      Kckrupp had mentioned Odds, and I though Odds comment also stood on it’s own but gave a a slightly different perspective.

      Thanks, though for clarifying.

      So the way it went (for those just joining in)
      The original post was “Rapists I have known”
      Cara commented (comment above)
      Then Odds commented
      Then Kckrupp commented

  4. “Even honest accusers would not be believed, since the men were convicted on word alone, and not on evidence.”

    In some parts of the world, like Afghanistan, when a female is raped, the law there says there must be FOUR male witnesses to the rape. It’s a sexist law created to exempt men from crime, which is equivalent to condoning it. I’m glad I don’t live there.

    What is so hard about consent?

    “The person reporting any crime is nearly always a suspect as far as the police are concerned. Why would I ever get involved and intervene on a woman’s behalf in the face of that risk? I’d simply not get involved.”

    Nah, that’s not true. But police have nothing to go on except for the information the person reporting the crime gives them – that is just standard protocol. Also if there are no other witnesses except yourself, they want to eliminate you as a suspect first, so they can move on to catching the real criminal. If i were innocent, I would take none of this personally – I would think of getting justice for the poor raped victim instead of thinking of myself and how i could have avoided all of this altogether. The world depends on good people to step up to the plate (and you did in that one case).

    “Moreover, there needs to be some incentive for men to be good”

    Why? Good should be its own incentive. So in other words, are we saying that men have been behaving badly because they have not been given any incentives to be good? It’s a very child-like expectation to expect incentives to correct bad behavior or to prevent it. I think good men are good role models/leaders and that should be its own incentive! And there’s no better compliment than to help develop and mentor people who look up to you and who will in turn lead others to be good men…it’s an accumulative and ripple effect!

    • “It’s a sexist law created to exempt men from crime, which is equivalent to condoning it.”

      If it’s found to be adultery, they’re both stoned to death.

      If a woman can prove it’s rape, only he’s stoned to death.

    • David Byron says:

      the law there says there must be FOUR male witnesses to the rape. It’s a sexist law created to exempt men from crime

      Actually the rule is that it takes four witnesses to prove the woman guilty of adultery. It was explicitly created to protect women.

      • Recently there was a news story about this muslim girl being forced to choose between marrying her rapist, or spend 12 years in jail for adultery (the rapist committed adultery on his wife but claimed it was the girl seduced/raped him). Since her rape occurred without witnesses, let alone 4 male witnesses, under Islamic law, she is seen as having committed adultery (sex outside of marriage).

        “Sisters In Islam, a Muslim reform group in Malaysia, has surveyed the plight of women in the Islamic world and estimates that as many as 75% of women in Pakistan who are in prison are there because they were raped. Islamic law requires 4 witnesses (male Muslim witnesses) who saw the act to establish it, so a woman’s accusation can be self-incriminating if she doesn’t have those witnesses.”

        “The 4 witnesses rule comes from the Qur’an (24:4 and 24:13). It is based on an incident in which Muhammad’s favorite wife, the child bride Aisha, was accused of adultery. Rather than see her stoned to death, Muhammad got a revelation that four witnesses were required (the accusers didn’t have them). This exonerated Aisha, but Muslim women have suffered as a result of this law to this day.”

  5. I believe that, in the USA, Rape Messages being tuned out and why the Rape Culture Meme is propagating, is due to the “Abuse” of the word rape!

    It will have to be hoped that the changes set out below will start to have effect after what appears to be abuse of the many under the “cudgel” of one misused and abused word.

    ““Forcible rape” had been defined by the UCR SRS as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” That definition, unchanged since 1927, was outdated and narrow. It only included forcible male penile penetration of a female vagina.

    The new definition is:

    “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

    For the first time ever, the new definition includes any gender of victim and perpetrator, not just women being raped by men. It also recognizes that rape with an object can be as traumatic as penile/vaginal rape. This definition also includes instances in which the victim is unable to give consent because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. ”

    Time to change the conversation, “For the first time ever,…”. Elsewhere on the globe, it was first time long ago!

    • David Byron says:

      Once again the new definition does NOT cover a woman forcing a man to have sex. It would only count a man as raped if he was raped like a woman would be raped (ie penetrated by someone).

      And once again this is just a statistical definition for the FBI’s UCR (Uniform Crime reporting) and is NOT a legal definition of rape. Any woman who actually forced a man to have sex would be committing a crime in any state and under federal law although typically it would be called something like first degree sexual assault or aggravated sexual abuse. The laws have been REALLY gender neutral for decades (prosecution is another matter entirely). They know how to write gender neutral definitions of rape and the decision to NOT report men raped by women is deliberate.

      • “They know how to write gender neutral definitions of rape and the decision to NOT report men raped by women is deliberate.”

        Is That Allowed?

        • David Byron says:

          Well its the FBI’s definition. It’s not the various states deciding for themselves what to report. I suppose in theory someone could bring a lawsuit against the FBI if they had some standing to say they were harmed by a discriminatory definition of forcible rape. The 14th amendment says the government cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and the US SC has ruled that administrative convenience is not a reasonable ground for violating that. However I don’t know if anyone could reasonably convince a court they had standing – ie that they were harmed by this piece of discrimination.

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