Giving a Rapist a Public Platform

Pointing our anger at the facilitators of a discussion on consent interferes with our ability to see a greater point.

The various articles that have appeared here on The Good Men Project regarding the topic of consent have started an intense and necessary conversation. I was originally satisfied to observe it from the sidelines—that is, until I learned that colleagues and contributors were targeted personally and, in my view, unfairly. I’m responding primarily to those who’ve taken issue with The Good Men Project’s decision to print the anonymous article titled I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Give Up Partying.

I understand the intense emotions this article generates. I was not married to my wife for two years when she was mugged just outside an apartment we were renting in Chicago, forced into a gangway at knifepoint and raped. I was away, attending graduate school in New York City. We were quite literally penniless, paying rent in two cities, and if not for a gift from a saint, I would not have made it out to her for a very long time—as it was, I did not see her for four days after the assault, and she hadn’t been able to reach me for three (we didn’t have mobile phones).

The rape changed our marriage dramatically. Our mental health suffered—we immediately understood how few people we could trust with our fragile and volatile emotions: confusion, fear, anger and overwhelming pain. I learned how powerfully rape isolates the victim. Otherwise well educated people quickly blamed her for “being out late” (she’s a violinist and was returning from a gig). “That’s what you get,” I was told, “for living in a shitty neighborhood.” I tortured myself: had I been wealthier, had I not been living in New York City, had I not been so selfish to go to Columbia University (to study writing, a fool’s subject), none of this would have happened.

People do not know the inexplicable, unfathomable nature of the trauma. One person is raped, yes, and the assault remains the fire at the heart of the crime’s kiln. But the act also causes harm to anyone who loves the victim. The pain is everlasting; you might manage it or shape it to something, but you will not destroy it, and you certainly won’t forget it. Twelve years have passed. I would describe the tremble to my fingers as I type, the hot anvil that is pressing on my chest if it did not leave me digressing from my larger point.

We need to be clear: the rapist caused the pain, not those who asked him Why are you a rapist?

If someone gave my wife’s aggressor a platform from which to spew his point of view, what he actually said would matter very little. He could make perfect sense or babble absurdity, but I would seethe with rage, and I’d return to the violent revenge fantasies, abreactions that haunted me for years—they actually flash right back as I type these words. If in the process someone decided to prosecute or punish, no one would allow me to serve on the jury of his trial, and I know no punishment currently legal that would fit the crime. In my imagination, I have tortured him in ways that horror scriptwriters would reject as stuff too sick for any screen.

But what the rapists says, how he rationalizes his crime, regardless of what emotions it triggers in the hearts of his victims, does matter to a larger context. If we are to have a civilized, enlightened conversation, his rationalization matters enormously. We ask: how could someone do this? Whom better to ask than the perpetrator himself?

As victims, their lovers, family members, friends or allies, we pick the wrong target for our rage and frustration if we blame the person holding the microphone to the rapist’s lips. He’s anonymous; we can’t write him messages or flood his Twitter account with contempt. Let us loathe some effigy of him; it is useless and unhealthy to ignore or deny that rage. But we need to be clear: the rapist caused the pain, not those who asked him Why are you a rapist?

And look at his repugnant answer: You accept [the tradeoff of potentially raping someone] because [it comes] with amazing times. [It comes] with glowing memories of an intensity entirely beyond the mundane…crazy sex with amazing people, [it comes] with living a few hours at a time in a world where anything, anything at all, can happen.

This tragic fool, this unskilled mind, clueless to the core, is incapable of seeing his own contradictions. In one corner he speaks about “glowing” memory; in the other he admits he has forgotten entire episodes of life. He considers drunks and tripping idiots amazing in their own right, more amazing now that they’ve agreed (or not, but who really cares, in his view) to fuck him. He seeks an extraordinary world, but blinded by drugs and the influence of delinquents, he cannot see how ordinary an inebriated twit is, how repulsive his lack of any moral center. He is dangerous and needs to be removed from society.

But here’s another danger: we enhance his tragedy if we do not see what it suggests. It is not singular, limited to him. This anonymous rapist’s essay has held a mirror up to us, and it blazes with the news: here are the symptoms of our dysfunctional culture. We seek out fantasies, delude ourselves with the idea that they can become real. We seek not happiness and peace but bliss and euphoria; we don’t want to see the beauty that’s before us but wish to live a myth where “anything, anything at all, can happen”. We want the power to control and possess, but we’re blind to the power all of us have right now to stop and look at any common thing and see, as children do quite naturally, how amazing it is. Ironically, lost in the desire for euphoria and myth, we’re kept from seeing that we have the power to severely reduce the instances of injustice in the world if we learned to look at our trembling hands, at the blazing kiln of pain in our hearts and wonder, bloody hell, how extraordinary. How amazing. Where does it come from?

We are not validating the rapist if we hand him a microphone. Quite the opposite. We expose him, and then get to ask important questions. How is it possible for someone to get to this point? More importantly: where is the beginning of the path that leads to this tragic perspective?

Photo by visual.dichotomy.

About Gint Aras

Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas) is the author of the cross-generational family epic, The Fugue, from The Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. He's a photographer and the author of the cult novel, Finding the Moon in Sugar. Learn more at his website, Liquid Ink. Follow him on Twitter, and like him on Facebook.


  1. My big problem with Lisak & Miller’s survey is that it did not give both men and women the same questionare. By not giving the men and the women the same questionare the authors of that study demonstrated both bad statistical and scientific method and neglegent anti-male sexism. They assumed only men rape, and only women are victims. I suspect that if they started giving both men and women the same exact questionare with both the questions about have you forced, and has someone forced you a very different picture might arise. But until that study is done we will never know, young women will continue to run around scared, and young men, not just the small percentage that supposedly commit all these rapes, but all men will be vilified even when many of them have steady girlfirends, or are virgins. We need to stop women from being raped, we need to stop men from being raped, but we need to do it in a gender neutral way. Because the way were doing it, in an only men can rape, and only women are victims, way is both couter productive and psychologically damanging for many young men. The majority of whome are not rapists.

  2. One More Anonymous Reply says:

    Alyssa Royse – Thank you for the loving response to my earlier post. I felt your hug and heard your applause. I laughed and cried at the same time. I love your animal sense of fashion and style! You are right, we will fix this for the sisters and brothers, daughters and sons that come after us. Look at how far we have come already, just in my lifetime. In this country growing up and the generations before me never even discussed child molestation. Today, it is safer for a child to tell on their abuser. It used to be that it wasn’t rape unless violence was involved and even then the victim was blamed. Look at the attitudes and discussions today! Yep, change is afoot.

  3. Jill Filipovic:
    There’s a difference between what is legally rape in the USA and what many people here seem to think it is.
    Without more information of his drunken hookups all I can say for sure about this man is that he THINKS he raped someone.
    It might also be pointed out that he THINKS -but is not sure because he can’t remember- he might have raped others.
    I’ll agree that his ridiculous devotion to the party lifestyle when it possibly has led to him raping (and possibly even being raped himself) numerous times is stupid and needs condemmned in the greatest possible amount. Nonetheless, it is possible that despite what he thinks occurred that he never actually raped anyone but did sexually assault that one woman. In short we might not even be talking to a rapist here.
    What makes you scarier than this guy is that we know you want to silence dissenters.

    • Clarence, It’s no nice when you point out basic things to Jill Filipovic, such as having insufficient information to make a judgement call and impose her reality upon all mankind. It’s rude even and makes her look bad. It’s not gallant – and she will be offended. P^)

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      Further, Lisak and McWhorter are fine as far as they go. But you have to remember that they are looking at one small section of rape and rapists. THOSE WHO SELF IDENTIFY and knowingly, intentionally commit rape. For anti-rape activists to build their entire platform on that one, very focused study does a disservice to rape and rape survivors in general, it is flawed foundation because their methodology can only underreport rape in the aggregate. If we are to say that ALL rape is defined by this narrow study, then we codify the underreporting of rape, which is the EXACT opposite of what rape activists need to – and claim to – do. Can you defend the underreporting of rape, because that’s what you’d have to do to hang your hat on this study. What i believe, and consistently hear from other rape activists is that rape is MORE prevalent, MORE unexamined, than people think. I suspect that is BECAUSE of clinging to studies and narrow definitions such as Lisak and McWhorter. THAT is precisely the narrow-dogma that supports underreporting and the perpetuaiton of sexual violence against people who tehn suffer in silence because they don’t believe they were raped, or certainly don’t believe they are rapists.

      That is why the story I used is so vital. Lasik & McWhorter and the narrowly defined definition of rape is PRECISELY why rape is so underreported. Please, justify that for me. As we fight against how horrible the underreporting is, and cling to this narrow definition. It makes no logical sense.

      Yet as we seek to expand both the definition and the dialog, precisely to catch those undereported occurrences, we are called rape apologists. It’s illogical in every way. So please, explain that. They only address PART of the problem. We are looking at possible roots for the rest of the problem.

      You can EASILY back that idea up by reading the countless comments on the original article thread from people who say that they personally were in that painful and murky area that Lisak and McWhorter don’t even acknowledge the existence of. I truly do not get it.

      So, to be clear, Jill, Joanna and I are not attacking the Lisak and McWhorter study, which is fine as far as it goes. We are attacking the way you are using it, which is not only factually inaccurate, but a major reason that rape is underreported and so little progress is being made.

      And your attempt to silence dissenters, while adorable in the same way it’s adorable when my two year-old doesn’t get her way, is a pretty clear indication that your intent here is not to actually solve the problem – which would necessitate an open mind to discuss views other than your own – but rather to yell alot and maintain as much power as you can. I am guessing – though could be wrong – that I can speak for all of us here at GMP when I say that we would like to actually solve the problem. Which means taking in a lot of perspectives and experiences to get a holistic view of the problem and look for some common themes that can be addressed and turned into actionable solutions. It doesn’t make for tasty sound bites, but it will make the world a better place.

      • Alyssa Royse says:

        Clarifying – the men in the Lisak & McWhorter study KNEW THEY DID NOT HAVE CONSENT and identified as such. They self-identify as knowing they did not have consent, not as “rapists.” In my enthusiasm I blurred that. Because in my mind, if you know you don’t have consent, and do it anyway, you’re a rapist.

        The men in the study KNEW THEY DID NOT HAVE CONSENT and did it anyway. That is a small subset. It does not catch the many cases, like the one I outlined, in which that is not the case. And is almost certainly a major cause of the underreporting of rape.

        • I am not convinced that people who rape don’t know. At the minimum I think it’s possible that knowledge is buried in cognitive dissonance and in internalized dominance. I think a lot of rapea are done by people taking what they want and having some clue that it’s not right

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Julie, I think you could very well be right, that it is rooted in cognitive dissonance.

            How do we combat that?

            • Well, I’m thinking a lot about that right now. We don’t teach people how to manage it, first of all. Not at all. In fact, I don’t know if I even heard the term until I was in a master’s program which had counseling as part of it. But undergrad psych students probably learn it. We have a culture that promotes a binary. You are right or wrong, good or bad, sinful or not. Cognitive dissonance is what happens when you view yourself one way and act another. Or…you are a Democrat and fall in love with a Republican…either you change or they do, or you believe you were closer to centrist to combat the idea that by loving someone so different you are conflicting your values. A poorly written example but there you go.
              So, I think there are people who may well know that taking sex without the person being a full partner is wrong, but they can justify it because of cultural messaging. So the fellow takes sex because of what he thinks or considers “mixed messages” instead of saying…I want what I want and I’m taking it.
              My whole issue with the first story, Alyssa’s is that if he really felt sex was on the table why not wake her up? Why not ask prior to sleep? But my guess is she fell asleep and that frustrated him and a) he was judgement impaired and b) other people were having sex and c) he really wanted her and didn’t want to wait and someplace in there he knew that was bad behavior but 1) didn’t care 2) figured it wouldn’t matter 3) didn’t even think because his goal was paramount.

              Or other theories. We don’t know. He hasn’t spoken.

              And then there is Alyssa and he was her friend. Holding cognitive dissonance over him. Which is not to say she should excuse him, and I don’t believe she did. I’m just aware this is hard stuff to learn and do.

          • Chicago-JSO says:

            Internalized dominance? Seriously? It sounds like “All men are patriarchal oppressors, all men have a need to dominate… all men are abusive, rapists, who need to dominate everything and everyone… ra ra ra ra ra… Really? That’s offensive! And it demonstrates an extremely shallow understanding of men an masculinity.

            I posit two situations the first is my example of something that is clearly rape, the second arrises out of reading the article

            Situation one: a man is intrested in a women, but she is so drunk that she passes out. He has sex with her anyway. This is clearly rape, I would neve dispute that.

            Situation two: a man is out, a women who has had many more drinks or other drugs, sees the man and finds him attractive. She is in no state to “concent” but she is interested and agressivly presues the man. He is also intoxicated, and enjoys her advances, so allows them to proceed. He is likely intoxicated but potentially not as intoxicated as she is. She is the agresser in this situation. Is he really responsible for her state of mind? In that situation were asking a man to do something, that 1 men are rarely taught to do, turn down sex with someone who is will interested and able, 2 we are declaring that the women is a child who holds not responsibility for her decisions, keep in mind the situation is very clear, she is not asleep, she is not saying no, indeed she is saying yes and may even be verbally asking for sex. To expect that men carry a pocket breathtest device and check the BAC of any women they consider having sex with is somewhat obsurd.

            Lastly I hate to break it to you, but both situations are seen as equally “rape” and yet, I don’t see that as justified. If a man is responsible for treating a women differently based on her, unknown, internal mental state then it would be illegal for a boss to ask a women to do work on her period, it would be illegal for a man to have sex with a women who has just gone thorugh a break up or divorce. Etc.

  4. Alyssa Royse says:

    One More Anonymous Reply – I am giving you the biggest hug it is possible to administer through a computer screen. The big kind. The kind that says, “yes, this is a shit storm, and ya know what, we’re gonna fix it for everyone who comes after us. Together. By speaking the truth, fighting the violence and standing strong with love and supporting each other through really hard dialogs. we got this.” That kind of hug.

    We have to figure out how to teach the world exactly what your husband said, despite all the media messages, all the partying, all the pressure, all the confusing nonverbal communications. He’s right.

    You do not need to relabel your past anything that harms you. It is simply your past. And from it, you have gained strength you didn’t even know you had, to raise kids who will make the world a better place. You have learned why it is important to communicate and will go forward doing so.

    Since I can’t hug you, I will just applaud you. (You can’t see me, but I’m in zebra footie-jammies, if you want an image. And my hair has a kind Flock of Seagulls thing going on, the kind that comes from being dirty and having just woken up.)

  5. One More Anonymous Reply says:

    Wow! What a way to start the day… Reading Giving a Rapist a Public Platform and I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying. I did not expect said articles to have such a huge emotional impact on me and my understanding of rape. While I appreciate the warning in “Editor’s note: This is a difficult article to read, and to publish. It is a frank, open confession about a certain commonly-accepted form of rape culture, and readers with rape triggers should probably avoid reading it…… I didn’t know that I had rape triggers.
    I grew up in the 60’s, the age of “Free Love”, watching news casts and documentaries of love-ins and Woodstock and also being sexually abused by foster fathers, my birth father and his friends all under the guise of “This is what people who love each other do and I love you.” To say the least, my perception and understanding of love and sexuality was warped early on. With a warped understanding of love and sex, I came of age in the late 70’s and early 80”s during the time of “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll”. It was the perfect storm for continued victimization, although, I did not see that until today. Don’t misunderstand, I do grasp that I was victimized as a child, but what occurred as an adult I did not see until today. Until today, I viewed those many times of having sex when I didn’t want to as my inability to set and enforce clear boundaries. I had drunken and mind altered sex after saying NO because I didn’t see any graceful way out of it, or out of fear that the situation would end violently, or making someone angry with me. For weeks after such an event I felt soul sick. I was physically ill and depressed with suicidal ideation. I blamed myself and my child abusers for my sexual promiscuity and inability to set boundaries. I blamed drugs and alcohol. I spent most of the later part of the 80’s and early part of the 90’s in therapy. Never once did a therapist suggest that I was raped. They always suggested that those events were a result of the poor choices I made when I went out and partied. So, I stopped going out and stayed home to drink. Turns out that was another bad choice, but that’s a different story for another time.
    After reading the above mention articles, I called my husband of three years who is a police officer and told him about the articles and of my life experiences and asked him what his take on the subject was. As I have known him and loved him since I was 17 years-old, I thought he would agree with my thought process. I was surprised with both his opinion and the energy with which he gave it. He teaches other officers on how to handle reported rape cases and he said this is what I believe and what I teach: “No means GODDAMN NO! It doesn’t mean no until you have badgered me into changing my mind. It means GODDAMN NO! No means go home and jack off or call your bootie call but get your hands off of me now.” I was stunned into silence by his response. Silencing me is not an easy thing for someone to do. My head was and still is spinning with the new and developing understanding of those things that happened to me. The first clear thought I could grasp onto after he expressed his opinion was “Aww shit does this mean I was raped and Damn! Will I have to go back into therapy?” Then he said, “Honey, I am so sorry that happened to you.” Healing words. No, I don’t need to go back into therapy. But, I have three daughters in college and a new understanding of “drunken sex” and a whole lot of stuff to talk about with them now. I would like to say to the authors of both articles – Thank you for writing them. To Karolis Gintaras Zukauskas – I am so genuinely sorry for the intense pain that your family has suffered, but very grateful that you shared it with us. To – I’d Rather Risk Rape – It is clear from your confession that you are on the precipice of understanding that you are morally bankrupt. If you must damage a soul, do your drinking at home and alone.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      This made me cry.

      I had the same kinds of experiences when I was young. I don’t write or talk about the publicly but know that I am crying right now. You have a wonderful husband, I am so glad a man like him is a police officer.

      No means no is good, and it’s true. But “I’m not sure I want to” “I’m not ready” “I’ve had too much to drink” “I’m not thinking clearly” and “I am going to regret this tomorrow” are also forms of “no” that “No means No’ prevention methods don’t cover. But they are all “NO” and you didn’t deserve a single thing that happened to you.

      Lots of love. Lots and lots and lots.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I also want to say that if YOU don’t want to call what happened to you “rape”, you don’t have to. Call it what feels right to you. To me, saying “no” and then being talked/forced into it sounds like rape, but this is your experience and none of us can tell you what happened or how to feel about it.

  6. My comment this morning was not approved – guessing that it was due to my taking a swipe at Feministe and their vicious attempts to censor thoughts and ideas and malign individuals.

    But there is hope – if you read the later entries “over there” you will note a widening of discussion on this very topic.

    This is your doing Alyssa and Joanna

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      Elissa – I can PROMISE you that if your comment didn’t get through it was an oversite, certainly NOT because of taking a swipe at Feministe’s tactics. (Something that we, unfortunately, feel the need to do. Though not to swipe, but because, as I said in my comment above, I believe it is necessary for all of our protection and to further this much needed dialog.) Re submit, I am sure it just got lost. They don’t censor much, and certainly not that.

      Unfortunately, I can’t go over there and read the comments, yet. It’s still too hard. Unless it’s moved past personal attacks, but according to the Google Alert I run on my name, it’s still personal attacks, and I’m protecting myself from triggers.

      And your last line, just so you know, made me cry. The good kind. You have no idea how much even those few small words do to keep us going when the going gets tough. Thank you.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Yes, Elissa, if your comments didn’t go through here I can look into it, but I think you mean at Feministe?

        I am glad to hear the topic is widening. I don’t mean to tell anyone what to read or not to read and you won’t hear me say a single negative thing about Jill or Feministe in public. I do not attack individuals, only actions and rarely even that. More often, I just want to ask questions — Is this okay? Is this how we want our society to be? How can we stop this or create more of this (depending on our judgement of it)? Is this the person I want to be?

        None of these are easy questions to answer. But I think they’re the beginnings of almost everything that is good.

  7. Though I found the series to be extremely disturbing, it was also very informative. Whether we like it or not, there will always be a small handful of people who think and act in such ways… such attitudes will never disappear absolutely (nor will any other). Having a rapist air out his psychopathy for the world to see was a rare view inside, and we can all better protect ourselves and our loved ones as a result. Consider this an educational experience.
    Unfortunately, we still live in a society that is willing to blame victims and let rapists run free. For now, we can only advocate for better policies, more balanced social systems, better personal conduct, and protect ourselves.
    Now that we’ve seen every last skid mark on the holey, threadbare briefs of this rapist’s filthy life laundry, we have a better understanding of why and how such people justify their actions. His make sense to him, but that’s because this person has no desire to shift paths and have to reflect on the person he has become. He knows he will see a monster, so he’s just going to continue doing what he is doing until he is dead.
    By now, most of us have known someone who disappeared because of substance use… the person gets to a point where, no, friends, family, and the well-being of fellow community members are not of higher value than the desires of the impulsive id brain. At that point, most of us choose not to be codependent and let them go on their merry, self-destructive way. It sounds like the anonymous rapist has gone off the deep end in a similar way. Avoid people like that at all costs, just like you avoid heroin addicts and meth cooks. They don’t care about you, and they don’t care about anybody else. They will use you as a means to an end. I think that GMP’s willingness to provide this person a public forum was a chance for us to hear it straight from the horse’s gangrenous mouth.

  8. Alyssa Royse says:


    I will get to some of the other comments later – especially Joanna’s brilliant begins of shredding the Lisak study on which Yes means Yes is built and Jill’s (surely rhetorical) question about why anonymity matters. (Having been victim of her take-down mentality that aims to silence dissenters rather than facilitate dialog, greater understanding and change, I can tell you why most people won’t dare stand up to her and her ilk.)

    First, thank you for this beautiful piece. Wow. So many people are touched by rape in so many ways, we just have to get to the bottom of WHY, and every time I see someone else genuinely open that dialog, I start to cry a little.

    My initial response to this piece was interesting to me because it so illustrated to me the widely variant ways that people respond to rape, either of themselves or others. To be clear, this is a hideous and vile crime, no response is wrong, we all experience trauma differently. My own rape occurred when I was 17. I was sound asleep alone in my bed at night in my locked house. A stranger, who had apparently been stalking me and knew when I returned from work, broke in, climbed on top of me as I slept on my stomach, held a gun to my head and told me that if I made a sound he would kill me, then go down the hall and kill my father and then kill both my cats. He then raped me for nearly an hour.

    I have written about my healing process extensively (although my blog is now down because of Feministe led troll army going through every page of it and leaving hundreds of comments about what a hateful cunt I am, such a great way to facilitate dialog.) I had panic attacks, tons of unwise sex that I have often referred to as “raping myself,” and eventually found my way back to an incredibly fulfilling love and sex life. HOWEVER, through the whole thing my greatest fantasy was that they would catch the guy and I could go to jail and talk to him. I just wanted to ask “why.” I wanted to talk to him, figure out what the fuck happened in his youth, or young adulthood, or what that turned him into this.

    They never caught him. Though I began working as a Rape Crisis Counselor, meeting victims in the ER and helping them navigate it all. I also began working with men convicted of rape, asking them “why,” in lieu of my own attacker.

    I’m still asking. An putting myself at great professional and personal risk doing so because asking WHY is so off limits. Especially when they are not cases so cut and dry as mine. I believe that the Yes Means Yes and No Means No binary is dangerous. At the very least, it doesn’t work. I believe that the fantasy of the evil monster as rapist is just as dangerous, and completely false. Lisak’s study is touted as the Gold Standard on date rape, which is nonsense. It ONLY discuss men who KNOW AND ADMIT that what they did was rape. it doesn’t discuss cases like the one that I wrote about, thus inviting a troll army of attacks far worse than any Orc Army. It doesn’t discuss what happens in party culture every day. And it is a counterproductive way to teach consent because it suggests that only a small number of truly twisted men are capable of crossing the line and committing rape. Which is simply not true. In the 500 or so comments on my piece, there are MANY people who talk about being on both sides of that equation. To Lisak, they simply don’t exist. to the folks at Yes Means Yes, they are liars, or nonexistant.

    Despite the hellfire wrath that I incurred form that, it is one of the best discussions I have seen about it. This conversation is so necessary. And the binary dogma of the monster rapist just doesn’t play out in the real world, no matter how hard you try to use those numbers to say so. (And that’s not even what those numbers say.)

    But it’s time to speak up. En Masse. Surely the Troll armies can’t come after all of us. I’m not sure how much more they have left after what they’ve done to Joanne, Lynn and I. But in their so doing, I think they are showing themselves for what they are. An odd form of White Knight dependent of pedaling misinformation and fear in order to protect their status as the protector of not only women, but the status quo that elevated them. We should be working together, but because we disagree, apparently we can’t, which is sad. Every day, in every way I can, on air, in writing, in politics, I fight rape culture and misogyny with everything I’ve got. As does Joanna. We just do it differently. In my mind, we have millions of people to reach, it’s going to take many different messages and approaches. I welcome ALL of them, except the ones that are even more violently oppressive than the forces that feminism was formed to fight in the first place.

    • Is it possible that you or someone could compile the most extreme messages into a post, I think it’s very important to highlight how troll armies/whatever people wanna call it can harass the hell out of people online and how hypocritical it is to have someone who is anti-rape say they hope you are raped. We see this often done for extremist MRA’s but it needs to be done more for all groups to call out the bad behaviour.

    • I have to say – I admire the courage you’re displaying by raising this topic, and by enduring all of the bullying and hate you’re being put through. I also admire the courage it must take to be open about such an unpleasant experience.

      I think the dialogue you’ve started has been a productive one, it’s gotten many people thinking more deeply about consent, and about cultural forces muddy the waters and how we can do it better. It’s been a hard and uncomfortable thing to think through but a worthwhile one.

      And I’m a bit disgusted by the treatment you’re getting, because before this day I would’ve thought some of the people involved were better than that.

  9. I respect the GMP for publishing the recent series on rape, including the “Nice Guys” (and rebuttals) and the Anonymous Rapist’s account. I personally don’t believe that publication = endorsement or support, but can understand that others would disagree. I think it’s important to include rapists’ voices in discussions of rapes – even unapologetic rapists like Anonymous (and so as not to confuse with terms like “rape apologist,” I mean he is unapologetic in that he admitted he’s a rapist and showed little to no remorse).

    If nothing else, I appreciate articles like these because they awaken my sense of gratitude for my own life. That I can read an article like that and NOT identify with any of it – the author’s perspective, the events that he describes, the party lifestyle – that’s something to be grateful for. Because living the rather privileged life that I have, sheltered from the activities and behaviors of people like Anonymous, it’s easy to forget that people like him exist. It’s easy to believe they don’t. It’s easy to gloss over. So in that way, articles like these can be a wake-up call that I personally benefit from because it shakes up my worldview and reminds me what reality is like outside the protected bubble of the life I’ve built for myself.

  10. The FBI behavioral scientists (“profilers”) know how important it is to understand why people commit crimes. That’s why they have spent decades and 1000’s of hours quietly interviewing the most heinous individuals in prison, the “worst of the worst” serial killers and sex offenders, in an effort to understand what makes them tick. I think there can be value in letting bad people tell their stories, as vile and disturbing as it may be. It helps us identify and stop other criminals.

    I remember when the book “American Terrorist”, the biography of Timothy McVeigh, was published. Many people were outraged that the author, a journalist, gave McVeigh a forum to tell his story (the book is based in part on lengthy interviews with McVeigh while he was in prison awaiting execution ). All I can say is, the book is fascinating, and I think it gives us important insights into how an intersection of factors in the life of an ordinary, middle class young man, could turn him into a mass murderer. Even if you believe McVeigh didn’t tell the whole truth about co-conspirators or whatever, we can also learn something about him from speculating about his omissions or how he twisted the truth. At the very least it generates discussion.

    • Yup the FBI work and ViCAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) are of value and have paid dividends globally. It seems that some criminal traits are human and not cultural.

      However, the Human Vs Cultural issue is still an ongoing issue for both the FBI and law enforcement in general. One value of Profiling and Blue Sky research around offending behaviour and anonymity is that offenders will even admit to criminal activity that they won’t face charges for. This can and does uncover parallel aspects of personalities which can be mapped. It’s a bit like mapping out a bigamous marriage where you have one central character and 2/3/4+ spouses who are all blissfully ignorant of each other for decades. People are shocked – bemused – keep asking how could no one know – and simple things such as Criminal and Entrepreneurial Versatility coupled with an ability to lie and invent instantly are not considered.

      I have a strong and ongoing interest in The Electronic Communication Harassment Observation (ECHO) project as it shows most interesting issues of gender equality in criminality, coupled with clear disparity as to Modus Operandi of Perpetrator and How sex/gender affects Victim perception and reaction.

      The biggest issue for some is how the profiling of some allows others to change behaviour and still behave in criminal ways. That is a fascinating area and one that really is a hot potato.

  11. Well:
    Before we go any farther with this I should point out to everyone that rape currently has a “mens rea” component, and I do feel that most feminists want to make it a “strict liability” crime. This needs to be fought to the death if need be, because the term “rapist” is still enough to get someone lynched and so such a label should not be attached based merely on subjective feelings.
    I’ll also point out that this anonymous presumed rapist ( I have no idea his definition of “third base” it might not fit the legal definition of rape which requires penetration of some type) might have been raped himself repeatedly – that is, if we assume drunken sex (but not pass out drunk of course) is never consensual sex. I’ll never have this problem because I basically don’t drink and have never had sex with a drunken woman, but I know tons of people who hook up mostly through alcohol, men and women both.
    Lastly, I think the idea of ‘rape culture’ is vastly over simplified. The US at least has a whole bunch of micro cultures mixed into its “larger” pop culture some of which actually work to harshly punish rape, which is why I find the “rape culture” talking point so maddening in its antimale consistency.

  12. My two previous comments on your two previous articles were not approved, but because I feel so strongly about this I will give it one more shot. This is mostly a copy and paste of my comment at Feministe explaining precisely why your earlier piece angered me so much.

    First of all, this is not about not wanting to understand rapists because it’s “uncomfortable.” I get your point there, I do. It could be really useful to have an article describing the perspective of a rapist/rape apologist. But at the same it would it make it explicitly clear precisely where those views went wrong. It would also show clearly the hurt and damage when those views are put into action. At the end of the day, readers would come away with a full, complete picture, which means they’d understand where rape culture comes from but also why it’s horrifying and destructive.

    This was position paper, arguing for rape culture, arguing specifically that the benefits outweigh the costs, and using an extremely skewed set of anecdotes to prove it. That’s why it doesn’t sit well with me when GMP says, “we’re just shining light on this, documentary-style.” This light doesn’t fall evenly. Saying you don’t endorse it is a cop out. The New York Times could put a disclaimer on Paul Krugman’s articles every week saying they disagree with him, but at the end of the day they’d still be publishing Paul Krugman.

    What was never presented here in between the self-serving anecdotes, a framing that made him look as sympathetic as possible, the (believable) claims that some of the best “most fulfilling” relationships in his life started with drunken sex, and the real, knowing temptation of “good, positive, happy experiences because I took a chance and altered my state and connected with someone else sexually”, is the perspective of the people who he presumably raped. It’s not written what the victim(s) thought of these encounters, how much they suffered from it, or what the impact on their lives was of being raped. The cost, the downside, and the impetus for the entire discussion is not given.

    Perhaps the editors of the GMP think they don’t need to show that because we all recognize the horrors of rape. But if that were really true, then rape culture wouldn’t exist, no? People like the author wouldn’t exist, no? And if the GMP is right about how many people like this author there really are out there, and if the GMP can be trusted when they say they don’t endorse this authors view and disagree with it. Then it would seem that the many people like Anonymous desperately need to hear why they should change their lifestyle. They desperately need to see, explicitly and repeatedly, whatever harm they cause or may to other people. It would seem that last thing they need is something that they can legitimately read not as a cautionary tale but a manifesto.

    • I think that’s half the point though, there have been a lot of comments telling this utter fuckwit to stop raping others. I also feel bad that he was raped n abused too of course, and I have anger that he continues to go out and put others at risk and himself. I really do hope others read this and get the idea that it’s FUCKING WRONG to rape, and that drinking to that point is really risky.

      I’ve actually been quite heartened to see people calling him out (and the other article), both male n female telling them that they are not nice people, that they need to stop raping, stop using excuses. I think it’s great to get the run down reply posts pointing out each bit like where he excuses himself, how it’s wrong, etc.

      But I am someone who would rather know the devil than block all debate about him/her/it and sit there wondering wtf they do what they do. Maybe anon will read all the backlash and realize that the victims of him are not like him, he was able to brush off his rape but others will be absolutely hammered by the impact of it. If he is under the impression that the others would be able to handle it like him then I feel sad for him, hope he can get past his ignorance and also take measures to stop abuse. He needs to be accountable of course but I’m not sure how that would go if the victim doesn’t want to press charges? Maybe it’d be beneficial to drag his ass to see some other victims who could educate him about how damaging their rapes have been and that might wake him the fuck up.

      Quite frankly I would like him to at least be reading survivors stories, and hope whoever knows him will force him to read a few and see if that wakes up his humanity. If that fails then I hope he gets jailed so others will be safe, but if she doesn’t press charges I at least hope he is made to do some fucking research on why his actions are extremely bad.

      • That’s just the thing, though – the impression I got was that he knows rape is bad and his actions are bad but he doesn’t care enough to stop partying and take himself out of the lifestyle where he admits this happens (not only admits but accepts). As it was positioned in the disclaimer, he is an addict. I don’t think any number of anonymous internet commenters telling him what a scumbag he is, or any number of survivor stories, would get through to a person like that – just like all the anti-tobacco messaging out there still doesn’t get through to a large percentage of smokers who know it’s bad but aren’t willing to give up. (Just my opinion.)

        • Although the percentage of people smoking cigarettes has dropped dramatically since media messages about it started changing. The people who do anti-tobacco messaging & those they rely on have presumably done for decades what GMP says they want to do– extensive research on why people smoke and what messages will be effective in reducing smoking overall. What I don’t see coming out of any of the anti-tobacco groups though, are “Why I’d Rather Risk Cancer Than Stop Smoking” full of arguments and justifications about how smoking makes her thinner, more attractive, deal with stress, etc. etc. Since we’re all so smart here about how to deal with social problems, perhaps GMP should go pitch that article to the CDC.

          • Lisa Hickey says:

            Actually, discussing and getting people to talk about all of those things was an important part of the strategy. The thing to understand is that we are trying to have a discussion about all of the nuanced reasons why people act the way they do. You are right — the people at the anti-tobacco messaging did so for decades. We have just been around for two years. It is all still work in progress. We are talking not just about rape, but about a multitude of issues that affect men. We are just getting at the heart of some of these issues. And we absolutely believe these issues need to continue to be talked about.

            • Ok. When you were working anti-tobacco, did you ever publish media like this– pro-cigarette advertising arguing why cigarette smoking is still worthwhile despite the risks? If so, is it available somewhere on the Internet or what exactly was it?

              • Tony – why are you using “Fallacia Reductio Ad Absurdum”? You are asking questions that imply a valid comparative when you know it to be false. Why are you doing it and what is you goal?

                • My goal for publications like this to be as careful as possible about what messages they’re sending.

                  In any case, since this is all meant to start a discussion, and it seems like most people disagree with Anonymous, I look forward to the next piece rebutting this one and showing why Anonymous’s lifestyle is destructive and not worth while. I look forward to the next piece detailing explicitly what this implies about how boys are brought up and what changes need to happen. That’s the point right– expose to debunk?

                  • Well you are going to be busy writing then, aren’t you Tony – these pages don’t just appear by magic. People have to contribute. So when you have written this follow on piece you refer to, we will all be waiting to read and comment. It takes courage to both write and respond – ask Alyssa. P^)

                    • Ok… ‘Good Men’ Project will facilitate discussion when it’s about justifying rape and defending rapists, but when it comes for us non-rapist men out there to join the discussion and push back, we’re on our own. Got it.

                    • Joanna Schroeder says:

                      Tony, I’m really sorry if you got the idea from some of our commenters that we don’t want you to join the discussion and push back.

                      We absolutely do. We’ve only deleted comments that were outright threats or insults to The Good Men Project, but I think you’ll find in the comments a lot of push-back. The GMP was started to facilitate conversation, and we welcome it as long as it’s conducted with respect.

                  • Joanna Schroeder says:

                    Hopefully you got a chance to see the post I put up at the same time as this one was run:


                    Some feel that it wasn’t enough critique of Anonymous, and I get that. So let me be more clear:

                    Anonymous is a rapist and I believe charges should be brought against him by those in his life who know who he is. I have no doubt in my mind that he believes the risk of rape is worth the lifestyle, HOWEVER I believe strongly that he doesn’t realize that his potential victims probably haven’t signed onto that tradeoff, which makes him dangerous.

                    This lifestyle is destructive, to himself and to others, and I can only say that I hope he is either stopped by somebody else – or even better – himself. Immediately.

                    • I appreciate the reply, Joanna. I believe you have good intentions, even if we disagree on means. People also need to see that this whole culture of sex-is-everything and that this is what we live for is NOT ubiquitous. Most of the men I know, I would argue most of the men in this country, do not need to resort to these risks to have a good time because we have enough things to fill our life that drunken sex just isn’t that indispensable. That is the norm, and I believe Anonymous’s assumptions about where to find the rewards in life (not just his conclusions about what it’s worth to get them) are a minority. Young men need to hear that message, too.

                • How is it false, and how are you so sure what Tony “knows?”

                  The post talks about how the man decides the risk of raping someone is worthwhile despite the risks. The comparative seems valid. And reductio ad absurdum isn’t fallacious… comparing two unlike things as if they are comparable is a straw man or a form of argumentum ad logicam, but you haven’t shown that, you’ve merely asserted it.

                  Which is petitio principii. 🙂

      • Let’s get real though. The point of this entire series is that people who rape can be presented in a sympathetic and even flattering light because look — we just did it. And also want to show how their behavior is perfectly normal for people who live in ‘our culture’ which includes drinking alcohol and going to parties.

        Whether this leads to denunciation and en masse change in behavior in the form of people no longer partying and drinking and hooking up, or whether it just reinforces the notion that some rape isn’t all that bad, that rapists aren’t all that bad, that it’s a normal thing, that feminists and others who denounce rape unequivocally in all forms just don’t accept nuance, that if you’re living the lifestyle almost all young men want to live you’ll probably rape, and that’s just the way it is, that if you do rape someone, you can probably blame it on alcohol, drugs, partying, and culture, who knows.

        But I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be the former.

        • I can hate someone for what they did, denounce the act as vile and the perpetrator as immoral, and still have sympathy for them for being so messed up.

          We want to believe that there is something objectively different about the people who commit these acts that makes them completely distinct and separate from us. We want to believe they are monsters – not just monstrous, but actual monsters, the things of nightmares. Well, monsters don’t exist. People do. These people are human. They are made up of the same stuff as us. They may share our country, our race, our gender, or even some life experiences – and yet they arrived at completely different conclusions than we did. Why is this? It’s only natural to want to know – not only to cement the distinction between Us and Them, but to maybe allow Us to prevent Them from happening in the first place.

          • I can hate someone for what they did, denounce the act as vile and the perpetrator as immoral, and still have sympathy for them for being so messed up.

            But does that mean you are wrong? Some will say yes, you are wrong, becasue you have to be: it’s their default setting whilst connected by USB and downloading a new reality. But does their way of processing ideas mean you have to be wrong?

  13. I think it’s important as you say to give everyone a platform to speak, even if it’s the most vile language out there. It helps ME understand these people better, it helps ME learn how to avoid them, it helps ME understand how people either make mistakes or purposely abuse. To those that want to silence him because they don’t agree with the content, I ask why? Do you think other people will see this and start raping people? How many? Does this article help people at all? I say yes it does help.

    • You guys have a really angelic view of human nature. When I was growing up, the statement that “assholes get more sex than nice guys” was an argument for why we should have been assholes. Thank god it was never followed up with “nice guys actually care about consent”, because that would have been taken as an argument not to care about consent.

    • How, Archy? what

      • PDA,

        I’ve seen you ask this question over and over again, and in fairness you have not yet been answered.

        When I first took introductory physics in college, one of the very first labs was to have everyone go outside with a partner, someone would drop a ball, and someone else would time how long it took to hit the ground using a stopwatch. We’d do this 10 or 15 times, write down the times, and then go back inside and extrapolate the force of gravity.

        Because our measurements were so crude (timing by hand, the distances traveled were comparatively small, the stopwatches only went to tenths of a second, etc.) many of the estimates of the force of gravity were off. Our measurements were from 7-12 meters per second squared.

        Now, the actual force of gravity has been measured MANY times, by FAR more accurate measurements. The “5 minute google search” that Jill from Feministe recommended up thread would have given us the correct 9.8 meters per second squared in no time.

        So why head outside with a ball and a stopwatch?

        We do it because there is something to be learned from doing the work yourself and drawing the conclusions yourself. There is real value in actually working with a primary source and drawing your own conclusions. There is a kind of learning that you can accomplish through doing the work yourself that you can never ever appreciate from just typing “What is the force of gravity?” into Google.

        Now, you can argue that the costs of perpetuating this kind of learning outweigh the benefits. Indeed, the costs here are very dire. It stands to reason that someone at the Good Men Project currently has sufficient information on a rapist in order to alert local authorities as to who that rapist is. This is a terrible reality, and it cannot be overstated. You have made this point well up thread, and it is completely valid.

        You may well be correct that the costs in this case outweigh the benefits, indeed, my own mind is not entirely made up.

        However, what you are doing right now, asking Archy this question, is denying that there is any benefit at all, and on this point you are completely wrong. It is the same benefit recognized when we send people outside with balls and stopwatches to discover the force of gravity: the benefit of letting those who are willing to try and gain their own understanding do that work themselves rather than through intermediaries.

    • How, Archy? Specifically how has it helped? What have you learned?

      • That there are some who will force themselves on you in a drunken state, that rapists get raped, that some rapists do not see their actions are that bad. It gives insight in that person’s thinking and further reinforces my need to avoid alcohol with sex as it puts people into dangerous situations, that neither gender is safe?

        And before anyone says “Well you should know that already, it’s been said before” well yeah it has in different ways but we have ad campaigns renew themselves, and new ones popup saying THE SAME MESSAGE about rape pretty much yet I see few people saying they’re not worthy.

        It also sparks my curiosity as I am curious about criminal minds and how people get into situations where they are at severe risk of rape, and situations where they rape others, the way they try to act like it’s cool and I guess dismiss the severity of their actions? I also read about murderers, those who commit abuse, violence, those who do good things, etc. I also think the other article had an important message although the way it was written was controversial and I don’t 100% agree with it’s entire message but to know that people who APPEAR to be good, nice men n women can rape is extremely important so we don’t get too complacent by thinking rapists are strange monsters lurking in the bushes.

    • Great. I look forward to seeing your posts written by white supremacists detailing why their viewpoint is correct. I look forward to your post by an active serial killer about why he kills and how he plans to keep doing it (anonymously, of course! We wouldn’t want to stop him from being “honest”). I look forward to your post by a child molester detailing how kids just send messages that are so confusing and he doesn’t even realize he’s committing a crime, but he’ll probably keep molesting kids, because that’s just life! (Again, of course, anonymously so that he can be honest).

      • It is possible to present one’s point of view without *arguing* it or trying to convince others to believe what you believe. It’s not about detailing “why their viewpoint is correct” but rather “what their viewpoint is and how they arrived at it.”
        I did not get the impression from the Anonymous piece that he was trying to argue for his worldview or saying that others should adopt it too. There was no “if only everyone thought this way, there’d be no more awkward conversations about things I don’t remember.” He accepts the consequences of his lifestyle but doesn’t ask the readers to accept it. (The only exception is that comment “Do people who get into car accidents give up driving?” which seemed argumentative in nature and intended to provoke the reader to consider his point as valid, but I didn’t see that same righteousness in the rest of his piece.)

        I have a feeling I’m going to regret getting into this.

        I think it’s informative to see these other points of view because as much as we’d like to paint these people as monsters, they are in fact human. They are made of the same stuff as you and I. It is only natural that we’d want to know how they could arrive at such drastically different conclusions than you and I have reached. (I’m using you and I very loosely here – not referring to specific people.) Sure, condemn them for those conclusions, fine, that too is only natural – but don’t censor them.

        • But – presenting one’s point of view without *arguing* it or trying to convince others to believe what you believe, means the other party has to allow you and also runs the risk of finding out they are not perfect and can make mistakes. Research into blogging culture has shown all that can be done is locate the largest and most heavily defended bias.

      • The Good Men Project publishes the first-hand narrative of an admitted rapist — a rapist whose identity they intentionally conceal and actively cover for, even though he says he will probably continue raping — and you think I’m the one who’s scary?

      • My post? or my comments? Was this meant to be directed at me? I’ve written comments about racism before on a post by someone who was racist if that helps? I’d much prefer them to be arrested n charged if possible so maybe get their accounts written from jail or after they are released or not have anonymous privileges. Being that it is anon it probably gives insight that they would withhold though, so maybe you could keep it anon for those who are already incarcerated if that helps bring out more honesty.

      • And so what if Archy does such posts? It’s not like he was saying the he necessarily agreed with such points. He clearly said it was for the purpose of UNDERSTANDING.

        Jill I know for a fact I’ve seen commentary at Feministe before of folks saying they are glad that the angry “Boycott American Women” crowd and other like them is speaking up so that they can be identified and avoided.

        Or is this one of those things where only certain people should be allowed to have such platforms?

        • “Jill I know for a fact I’ve seen commentary at Feministe before of folks saying they are glad that the angry “Boycott American Women” crowd and other like them is speaking up so that they can be identified and avoided.”
          Yup. If I can learn how to avoid men and women who rape n abuse, who see no wrong with their actions and have this party lifestyle then I feel safer. Often in reports of rape you see a woman being raped but this one shows a male, who raped AND has been raped showing that both men n women are raping each other. If you haven’t seen much said about female rapists then there is the benefit of understanding that men get raped whilst drunk in the way he said by women along with the message that women too get raped by men like him.

  14. Actually, I’m pretty sure you don’t expose a rapist if you give him an anonymous platform to discuss his crimes and his intention to keep raping. I’m pretty sure that’s called “enabling” or even “supporting.”

    Want to hand him a mic? Have the guts to attach his name to it. Don’t publish it anonymously in a shameless ploy for page views.

    And as PDA says, actual researchers have looked into why rapists rape. This isn’t a mystery. Want to write about why rape happens? Have the journalistic integrity to do five minutes of research. We also know that rapists tend to not be the most honest people on the planet, and very manipulative — why, again, are you assuming this guy is telling the truth about the “gray areas” he faces?

    And again, personal narratives have value, sure. But why are you covering for a rapist by offering him anonymity?

    • I think you actually answer a bunch of your own questions.

      For example, actual researches have examined why SOME rapists rape. Those studies are by no means either perfect, or complete. If you scroll up a little, you’ll see that Joanna has done some serious examination of those studies and concluded that they don’t address every possibility. And demonstrates that rather well.

      As for the anonymity? Why, that’s just so that this guy can be as honest as possible. That’s pretty simple and rather standard journalistic practice. When you have a source who would be immediately compromising herself by revealing his identity, but you want the least biased information possible, you afford her anonymity.

      Finally, I don’t really consider letting someone write something and then posting a detailed explanation of why that makes them a criminal “enabling” or “supporting”. It might even be considered “helping to expose the problem”. Instead, keeping an activity quiet and our of the limelight would, in my opinion, be “enabling”.

      • As for the anonymity? Why, that’s just so that this guy can be as honest as possible. That’s pretty simple and rather standard journalistic practice.

        No, it’s neither simple nor standard, though it’s regrettably common in US journalism of late. You may recall this thing called the Iraq War, which was sold to the public in no small part by anonymous sources inside the administration, with the help of willing journalists more interested in getting a scoop than telling the truth. Far from allowing sources to be “as honest as possible,” it gives them the freedom to lie with impunity, knowing they can never be challenged or face any consequences for what they say.

        Standard practice for anonymous sources is to have corroboration from another source. It’s observed less and less in mainstream journalism, and I can’t imagine there was any such corroboration here. I don’t even know what that would look like. Call the guy’s friends (if Rapey McRaperson’s actual identity is even known, which I tend to doubt) and ask about the stories he tells?

        Ultimately, though, anonymity is supposed to be used to get at a story we wouldn’t here otherwise. What is the big scoop here (assuming that this isn’t a work of fiction)? That there is some asshole, somewhere in the English-speaking world, who likes to get wasted and rape women? Is this something that qualifies as news, even by blog standards? And even if so: what great insights have we gained from this story about rapists, rape culture, men, women, anything?

        This is a real question. What have we learned from this piece, other than the fact that rape stories drive pageviews? What justifies giving a rapist an anonymity shield to tell his story? How has Good Men Project added to the dialogue about this intensely sensitive issue with this piece?

        I get that GMP writers think it contributes something. You have written two defenses of one article asserting that it does. What you haven’t detailed is what it contributes. Exactly what.

        • Lisa Hickey says:

          Let me take a stab at answering this. I am the publisher, so ultimately the one who is responsible for everything that is posted.

          The goal of posting this was – as always – to have a robust discussion about difficult topics by offering different articles from different viewpoints in order to uncover truths and insights over time. This is in an effort to get people who normally wouldn’t talk about these issues into the conversation. That is an important point.

          Let me give you some background on this strategy as to why I think that is important for creating social change.

          I worked on a campaign for many years to help stop smoking in the State of Massachusetts. We had a clear goal – get the rates of smoking to decline. I worked in advertising and mass media, on the creative messaging side of things.

          The group we were working with, the Mass. Dept. of Public Health, did tons of studies over the years to find out which messages were most effective in actually creating change. What they found was very insightful to me – that the most effective strategy was to alternate messages – some positive and then some negative. It wasn’t all STOP NOW, and it wasn’t all “Look how great it is if you stop”. It was a co-ordinated effort that talked about the good and the bad. That looked at smoking from the *smokers* point of view, as well as others. It was also more effective when you created a cause that people could rally behind, have an emotional connection with, and give a reason for both smokers and non-smokers to talk about it. The campaign I worked on did first person stories, and it did provocative things as well – they put body bags around a building in NYC where the people in a tobacco company worked. The number of body bags exactly correlated with the number of people who died that year from smoking.

          Rates of smoking in the state declined by 9% over the time I was involved – Massachussetts was the state with the second biggest decline out of the 50 states. During that time, one of the ads I created ran on the Superbowl. The day after, that commerical was voted one of the “most liked” commercials by USA Today the next day. Imagine – among Superbowl ads filled with tortilla chips, beer and scantily clad women, a heartfelt story of a husband who lost his wife through smoking was one of the most liked. We had gotten a conversation that most people didn’t even want to talk about into the mainstream.

          And that’s what we are doing here.

          We are trying to take the conversation about rape mainstream, because that’s where it needs to go. We are trying to get into the nuances of all that accompany rape – drinking, why it happens, consent, bullying, slut-shaming. The good and the bad, the heartfelt and the provocative – all in order to actually get the rates of rape to decline.

          But in order to do so, we need to get to the people who will listen to that message — the people who need to hear it the most — in a way they will actually listen.

          I asked Jill at Feministe if she would have a phone call with me, to discuss ways we could together work to actually work together to solve the problem of rape. I have not heard back from her.

          But how can you expect people to talk about rape if you can’t even talk one-to-one with people who actually do want to help? I understand the people who think we are talking about it “wrong”.

          But let me put it back on you — explain to me how the people who are working on this the “right” way are creating social change? What have been the results, what have been the success rates? Can you tie those results to the actual way it has been talked about?

          • Excellent post Lisa

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Thanks Jameseq. None of this is easy. But I don’t for a minute believe that the solution is to stop talking about these issues.

          • Me: I get that GMP writers think it contributes something. You have written two defenses of one article asserting that it does. What you haven’t detailed is what it contributes. Exactly what.

            Lisa: let me put it back on you — explain to me how the people who are working on this the “right” way are creating social change?

            I wonder if you’re able to see why I have a problem with this response.

            You published an intensely triggering piece that – as far as I know – brought no new information to the table and provoked no conversation other than chin-stroking vague bromides that “we must understand the mind of the rapist” and victim-blaming foofaraw about how it can’t be rape if both parties are drunk.

            I offered you the opportunity to explain what I was discounting, what “nuances” I was missing, how this “takes the conversation about rape mainstream.”

            And instead you “put it back on me.”

            I have people in my life with open wounds as a result of that piece. There are young men in my life whom I’m trying to mentor out of rape culture and into authenticity, and I’m having to help them unwind the messages in that piece.

            I hear a lot from you guys about “silencing,” and how you want to “talk one-on-one.” I’m here, and I’m asking questions, and I’m trying to listen. All I’m getting, though, is defensiveness and vague allusions to “opening a conversation.”

            I’m asking you to step up and engage in dialogue. It seems a minimally responsible thing to do after publishing a piece you yourselves acknowledged as triggering. At least have the courage of your convictions not to shut down if someone’s response isn’t overwhelmingly positive.

            • Then we need to all mutually define and understand what that dialogue means. Which I am all for seeing and participating in because I do see exactly what you are saying.

              Which is why I do not (and have been coming to this conclusion over time) believe that it’s easy to dialogue to get to these core questions, answers, process when people are face to face and with skilled facilitators. It’s about 100 times harder to do it online without any physical connection especially without mutually agreed upon expectations of engagement.

              What dialogue even means in this context is possibly not the same between you two.

              What I’d love to see is an actual meeting of minds in person.

              I just spent 5 days in an immersive institute on race and racism with participants of a variety of races. The conversations were raw and real and extremely challenging. And the facilitators were vital to establishing a space within which we did engage in dialogue, warts and all. And it was amazing.

              PDA, would you be willing to outline what you are seeking in terms of the word dialogue?

              • I asked some questions about what can actually be learned from publishing this. I don’t see a reply. So an outline for dialogue would look more like 1) question 2) answer. I appreciate the request for clarity, but it doesn’t seem all that difficult to abstract from context. Especially when questions are in boldface right at the end of a comment.

                I’m open to the possibility that there was a direct reply that I am not seeing. But I see a response, different from a reply in my view, that there is something novel in what the maybe-fictional rapist said. My question was what is that?

                And additionally: what about that outweighs the risk of emotionally triggering victims and giving cover to offender-apologist narratives about alcohol and consent?

                • Yes, agreed. I actually wasn’t asking you to clarify what you asked from from Lisa and even in my own attempts to participate have muddied the waters.

                  I’m on the side of dialogue here and I’m nearly convinced its nearly impossible to do online. But she should answer your question.

                  Generally speaking (not directly here to this situation) I think the reason going from abstract to context is difficult is due to part to cognitive dissonance around a topic, awareness of complicity, shame around that awareness, desire to make that feeling go away, holding and defending a position even if one decides it’s not an honest/good position, etc. And so people can tend to double down on poles rather than actually asking, answering, clarifying and hearing.

                  Here and now.

                  I’ve heard you talk about your partner and friends (students yes?) being triggered by this very article and wondering what good it is doing, though you are seeing people write that it is doing some good-you haven’t gotten clarity on what that is even after asking. And I”m not seeing you get acknowledged for those feelings, that you are worried and fearful and angry. Full of emotions and seeing your peers filled with emotions at the piece. I’m not seeing you get actual answers about what it is that the GMP team sees as worth the risk of triggering someone and keeping that criminal safe from justice (if they are indeed doing that).

                  I’m making a story up that you think the pieces are intellectual exercises only and you and others are affected in ways that are past intellect and you want to know what it is GMP believes they’ve learned, only you don’t see them answering it. I understand that is really frustrating and because of all of the above it seems like GMP staffers are not actually getting into the conversation with you for real, answering what they personally have learned, what they hope to do with it, how they feel about the piece emotionally (and comments) and more importantly if they believe its worth that risk of triggering people.

                  I don’t know that they are. I’m not sure if they are thinking about it from that angle. And I’m saying that because right now I don’t really know what angle they are thinking about it from at all.

                  But the dialogue I think you are looking for, no, I don’t see that happening.

                  • Got it.

                    I want to honor and thank you for being mindful in communicating. I see you using techniques I recognize (reflecting what I heard, owning my projections, etc.) and I appreciate the intent.

                    • Thanks. And to be clear, I’m not expecting you to answer any of that. I’m aware how hard it is (personally and in group) to use mindful, intentional, open and non violence communication, track my own “stuff” and the dynamics of a group, have courage to nudge others compassionately but directly and be willing to engage in conflict that is not only intellectual but emotional while in person and committed to the experience.

                      I rarely am able to do it online, nor do I see it online with any regularity and thus I don’t think that social justice work is done easily online.

                      Right now I have a set of FB friends that are closer aligned to GMP and a set closer aligned to Feministe and what I’m seeing in each set of threads, well? I feel sad and confused and annoyed and at times pissed off.

                      Cross talk, ignoring each other, reading intent into words, absorbing the impact of the perceived intent and allowing that impact to color future communication. Defensiveness, lack of empathy and questioning, hyperbole etc. (this happens in real time/real space but so much more online)

                      I do this. Online? Yes, all the time. Which is why I want to learn how to do less of it online and go back to doing more of it in real space.

                      And what’s then missing is-how do move closer to a world where rape begins to shrink, where men and women stand up for each other more and more, where we behave as non violently to each other and mirror what we want to see begin to happen in sexuality.

                      I”m just thinking about this a great deal and sitting with it.

                      Thanks for engaging, and I hope you have a good rest of your day.

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              First of all, I am sorry if that was triggering.

              We all here ARE engaging in dialogue. We’re taking everything people are saying — even if we don’t respond to every single comment — and are looking at how to make the conversation better next time. I explained why I think what we are doing helps create social change. We are talking not to people who think what we published “brings no new information to the table” but to other people, people who haven’t heard that story before.

              The words “I’ll put it back on you” is just asking you to explain how your POV creates social change. Because that is what we are talking about. We are trying to create social change by talking about things that don’t usually get talked about. I do understand that you think these issues *have* been talked about — that can be the only reason you are saying we are bringing nothing new to the table, but respectfully disagree. I don’t think these things have been talked about from wider angles to a wider audience. I don’t think the entire world understands there are guys like anonymous out there all the time. I don’t think younger people have experienced it first hand. I think there are a lot of people out there that haven’t had this conversation before, and we are looking for multiple ways to engage them. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

    • no-name dissenter says:

      GMP is a multi-author blog, not journalism, so holding it to some standard of journalistic integrity is just denial of how blogs work. Even if it were journalism, “five minutes of research” would not be sufficient to achieve the standard you’re demanding. What it sounds like you’re demanding is that any discussion of rape follow a single academic standard which you approve of, in accordance with your interpretation of it, which probably sounds fantastic if you’re part of that academic niche, but would disqualify almost everyone else from participating, even if they were interested. (With those requirements, most won’t be.) If you want to spread the word about rape and rape prevention, which I imagine you do, you’re undermining that cause by dictating a narrow range of what discussion is permissable, enforced by a takedown squad who targets anyone who strays outside that range.

      “And again, personal narratives have value, sure. But why are you covering for a rapist by offering him anonymity?”

      Surely you jest. Look at the takedown history of people who have incurred your (Feministe’s) wrath. Harassment by Twitter, Facebook, email, and attempting – sometimes successfully – to get people fired or cause them to lose writing or speaking engagements. With that in your arsenal, you seriously ask why someone might grant anonymity to a contributor who otherwise won’t share their story? And with an explanatory post from a senior editor about why it was published, and how they strongly disagree with that post’s message, and abundant comments saying the same thing, you seriously call that “covering for a rapist”? Please.

      No rapists have been enabled or covered for here, but what what you’re enabling is a complete silencing about discussing rape and rape prevention – on a site geared toward men (!) – by throwing your social media weight around to dictate such punitive terms of discussion that the only people left having it will be the people who never really needed it in the first place.

      Want to hear how ridiculous this is? I’m commenting under an assumed name because I don’t want to be the next target of a Feministe takedown. That’s your impact on the conversation. Not getting people to have the hard discussion, but making them afraid to.

    • Red1714blue says:

      Shameless page views, Jill? Are you worried that they’re doing it better than you?

      Don’t! You are still among the top professional trolls around. You will continue to make money by manipulating and exploiting your readership well into your adulthood. In the meantime, step out of the way of folks who are generally seeking knowledge as it’s not your area of expertise or even familiarity.

      • It’s so odd seeing someone write so much about everything here and encouraging people to read it. I’m wondering if it’s some weird double bluff net marketing system .. sort of ping and pong tango marketing.

  15. But what the rapists says, how he rationalizes his crime, regardless of what emotions it triggers in the hearts of his victims, does matter to a larger context. If we are to have a civilized, enlightened conversation, his rationalization matters enormously. We ask: how could someone do this? Whom better to ask than the perpetrator himself?

    Every time someone says this there is this “Oh What An Amazing Idea” thing that comes out. What I find amazing is that the same thing has been said time and again since at least 1973 – and the first US rape crisis centre in DC.

    Then it was Loretta Ross, Yulanda Ward and Nkenge Toure three women from the DC Rape Crisis centre working with a whole group of Prisoners in Lorton Reformatory who under the leadership of William Fuller and Larry Cannon had started the charity and “approved” self-help status group “Prisoners Against Rape Inc”. It was used as the basis for a film. Dare I mention it by name…. “Rape Culture“.

    The work was described as Ground Breaking and I love Loretta Ross’ comments on it when she was interviewed in 2004/5 – she talked about receiving a letter from William Fuller, and her words are endearing and insightful:

    First it sat there on my desk for a couple of weeks as I tried to figure out what am I going to say to this guy? My first immediate visceral reaction is, we don’t even have the money to help rape victims. How dare a rapist ask us for help? Immediate rejection of the idea, of the concept. We talked about it at the staff level and we talked about it and talked about it with the board, talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. What should we say to this guy? And um, we kind of made the decision that at least we would check him out because, I mean, you could bandage women up all you want to, but if you don’t stop men from raping, what’s the point? Better bandages?

    So I remember getting in my car and driving with Yulanda on down to Lorton, which was about an hour outside D.C. and it was my first time ever being in a prison, you know, going through the searches, going through the, you know, everything, and why are you here and why are you here to talk to this person and who are you to him and that whole kind of thing. And here I am explaining with the little brochure. “I’m from the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and I want to talk to your rapist.” (laughs) It was really, kind of, probably amused the guards — like, yeah, right. But they let me talk to him.

    Voices of Feminism Oral History Project – Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.

    … and that was 40 years ago and some still think better bandages and bigger bandaids are the answer?

    I’m all for people sitting down with rapists and finding out what makes them tick – just as I’m happy to sit with someone with PTSD and see how they tick. I advocate too for sitting down with paedophiles, psychopaths and so many others who’s nature and psychology warrants close study and understanding – not simple demonstration and denial.

    It does need people with a special training and set of insights – and even a willingness to be open to ideas and views that others would simply find abhorrent and impossible to accept.

    But what are the options and do people believe in just looking some people up and giving others better bandages and bandaids? Maybe someone needs to instigate a Loretta Ross award to encourage some people to do some talking… and better still some listening!

    “…I want to talk to your rapist.” – and she did … and so did many others, only to wander away on other roads and leave the work unfinished.

  16. We are not validating the rapist if we hand him a microphone. Quite the opposite. We expose him, and then get to ask important questions. How is it possible for someone to get to this point? More importantly: where is the beginning of the path that leads to this tragic perspective?

    I’m sorry, but this, as well as Joanna’s piece, is written as if nobody ever thought to investigate why and how rapists choose to rape. This has in fact been done, but in a rigorous manner rather than relying on a single account from an anonymous source that – let’s face it – may or not be total fiction, or may contain significant falsehoods.

    There is abundant statistical information in Lisak & Miller’s survey that looks at violent rapists versus rapists that prey on incarcerated victims. Lisak also published a lit review that looks at the psychological characteristics of convicted and undetected rapists.

    Many of the motivational factors that were identified in incarcerated rapists have been shown to apply equally to undetected rapists. When compared to men who do not rape, these undetected rapists are measurably more angry at women, more motivated by the need to dominate and control women, more impulsive and disinhibited in their behavior, more hyper-masculine in their beliefs and attitudes, less empathic and more antisocial.

    If you want to explore the issue of why rapists rape, if you want to understand how they got to be the way, if you want to “ask important questions,” relying on a single anonymous tale is not the best or even particularly useful way of doing it. There is a lot of good information out there.

    • If you want to explore the issue of why rapists rape, if you want to understand how they got to be the way, if you want to “ask important questions,” relying on a single anonymous tale is not the best or even particularly useful way of doing it. There is a lot of good information out there.

      Different people learn via different routes.
      I like you know the stats on rapists, however most people dont, nor know how they see the world.
      I think that rapist’s account would appall and mystify most people. And when they see others challenge and take apart his worldview line by line, that it would give a deeper understanding to the findings that you mentioned. And, how many people reading this were aware of those studies beforehand.

      In a similar vein, I agree with exposing racists views to the demolition of debate, repeatedly.
      There are always new people (by birth or by ignorance) who are not aware of what you and I know, and need to be made aware

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Okay, it’s time to talk about “Meet The Predators”. The data in the original studies cited on the Yes Means Yes blog post does *not* support the final conclusions in that post. Please, I ask everyone to find a way to access these studies—I had to actually go through a university’s library system to get them for free, but it was well worth it to see it with my own eyes.

      PDA I’m glad you bring this up, because I can see how troubling this discussion can be when framed in the context of “No, this is not how most rapes occur”. But Lisak & Miller, as well as the other study cited in “Meet the Predators” absolutely does not indicate anything about the perpetrators of *all* rapes.

      The blog post examines two studies about premeditated rape that offer insight into who is committing these offenses, and concludes that habitual rapists commit the majority of all rapes. But the studies do NOT seem to support that assertion.

      It is not enough to say that habitual rapists commit rape, because the data only supports the idea that habitual rapists consciously commit *premeditated rape*. The vast sea of cases outside of that, including the ones cited in the Good Men Project’s recent articles, are not covered. We cannot talk seriously about rape if we’re only going to talk about one kind.

      According to the Yes Means Yes blog post being cited:

      The vast majority of the offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men, somewhere between 4% and 8% of the population, who do it again … and again … and again. That just doesn’t square with the notion of innocent mistake. Further, since the repeaters are also responsible for a hugely disproportionate share of the intimate partner violence, child beating and child sexual abuse, the notion that these predators are somehow confused good guys does not square with the data. Most of the raping is done by guys who like to rape, and to abuse, assault and violate.

      But how can we know that the vast majority of all offenses are being committed by these men?

      We cannot. We can only know that the vast majority of these specific types of offenses are being committed by a relatively small group of men.

      Why? Well, because the questions asked in these studies are not questions about all types of rape. And certainly not about the types of rape that are often associated with the so-called “innocent mistake”.

      The ways in which the questions are phrased are such that the rapist had an unambiguous fore-knowledge of non-consent.

      The studies cited, McWhorter and Lisak & Miller, ask questions exclusively about rape in which the rapist had full knowledge that the victim did not want to have sex with him. Here are the questions, so you can examine them for yourself:

      From Lisak & Miller:

      (1) Have you ever been in a situation where you tried, but for various reasons did not succeed, in having sexual intercourse with an adult by using or threatening to use physical force (twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.) if they did not cooperate?

      (2) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated (on alcohol or drugs) to resist your sexual advances (e.g., removing their clothes)?

(3) Have you ever had sexual intercourse with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?

      (4) Have you ever had oral sex with an adult when they didn’t want to because you used or threatened to use physical force (twisting their arm; holding them down, etc.) if they didn’t cooperate?

      From McWhorter:
      SES questions assessing ACR perpetration by using substances:
      1. „Have you attempted to have sexual intercourse with a female (tried to insert your penis in her vagina) when she didn’t want to by giving her alcohol or drugs but you did NOT succeed?
      2. „Have you made a female have sexual intercourse (putting all or part of your penis in her vagina even if you didn’t ejaculate or come) by giving her alcohol or drugs or getting her high or drunk?
      SES questions assessing ACR perpetration by using threats or actual force:
      1. „Have you attempted to have sexual intercourse with a female (tried to insert your penis in her vagina) when she didn’t want to by threatening or using some degree of force but you did NOT succeed?
      2. „Have you made a female have sexual intercourse (putting all or part of your penis in her vagina even if you didn’t ejaculate or come) by using some degree of force or threatening to harm her?
      3. „Have you made a female do other sexual things like anal sex, oral sex, or putting fingers or objects inside of her or you by using some degree of force or threatening to harm her?

      In Lisak & Miller, the phrases “she did not want you to” or “she did not cooperate” are used in every question. This implies, explicitly in fact, a preexisting knowledge by the perpetrators that their partner did NOT want to have sex.

      In McWhorter, each question contains “when she didn’t want to” or “ by using some degree of force or threatening to harm her”.

      So, why does this matter?

      It matters because the assertion that the majority of all rapes being committed are done so by a small number of rapists committing multiple rapes is not deducible with this data. Because of the fact that not all types of rape were studied, one cannot assert that this data suggests how the majority of all rapes happen.

      And it matters because many well-meaning individuals and groups are using YesMeansYes blog’s interpretation of this data to decide how to discuss rape.

      Many are doing so in good faith and with the best of intentions, but with a misunderstanding of the facts.

      I would encourage everyone to look back at the data presented in the original articles and decide for themselves whether or not the data shows how the majority of all rapes are perpetrated—before disseminating this information out to the masses.

      Conclusions about rapes that did not fall within the criteria set forth in the study questions simply cannot be extrapolated based upon that data.

      Very interested to hear from anyone who has accessed the original studies and read through them both as I have.

      • Great point Joanna, thank you for really sifting through the nitty gritty of the science.

        I imagine the real question we’d want to ask is something like:
        “How many times have you had sex with a woman where you thought maybe she wanted to but you didn’t stop to check and she actually didn’t want to?”

        Unfortunately, that’s a situation that by definition the perpetrator probably doesn’t know the answer too.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Yeah, Dan. While we need more study into this, it is hard to imagine how one would frame the questions so as to capture all forms of rape, in order to truly capture a representative sample.

          I think we still struggle with the definition of “rape” – Lynn Beisner wrote a wrenchingly honest account of her rape when she was 19. She’d given consent to lose her virginity to a man she knew and somewhat trusted. She was even happy to be doing it. Then he had what she could only imagine to have been a psychotic break and brutalized her until she was nearly dead from blood loss, requiring surgery and blood transfusions.

          But she never said, “No” – that she can remember – because first she was in emotional shock and then she was in medical shock.

          That rape wasn’t considered rape, technically, and so no police report was filed and she wasn’t given the name “rape” to assign to it but it was obviously one of the most horrific things that could ever happen to a person. ANd it was rape.

          It’s a devastating mess, what we have in our society relating to rape, and it’s something we need to talk about – and as long as we’re going into these discussion with the intent to make the world better, I want to know what everyone things and hear everyone out so we can sort this shit out.

          Things can’t get better in silence. Or in a conversation controlled by one party. No one will do it perfectly. No one. We just all have to give it our best.

      • I agree with your points Joanna and I have read one of the two (Lisak’s) and they do acknowledged that generalizability is a concern, but mitigate it by mentioning other studies that find the same percentages. I have not checked their references to see if they use the same type of questions that you have highlighted as reducing the ability to generalize, so your point stands.

        Koss found a higher percentage using her set of questions, which if you are familiar with, will probably agree that they widen the net.

        What also stood out was that 60% of the rapists also implicated themselves in other acts of violence (non-sexual).

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Yes, the men found in the Lisak study were very, very bad men for all intents and purposes.

          The other study, if you should find it, has the set of interview questions at the very bottom – in the appendix, so they can be frustrating to find.

          I’d love more details on the Koss study if you don’t mind.

          I think that regardless of the other studies cited, in order to truly generalize it as Yes Means Yes (I will reiterate that I hold Yes Means Yes in high regard, generally) has in “Meet the Predators” there would have to be a very, very wide net of questions and I doubt even then it would be easy to convince people that ALL forms of rape had been thoroughly (and evenly) represented in the questions.

      • Joanna, I wasn’t talking about the blog post. I was talking about the study itself, which I couldn’t find in full text on the Internet. So if you want, we can talk about the limitations of that study and how it was conducted. I can see the validity of your concerns, and I’d like to understand the material better.

        A good corrective for this, in my mind, would be to do MORE RESEARCH, and better research. If the study is misleading because the sample size is too small or skewed in a particular direction, how much more misleading is a single, anonymous, maybe-not-even-true story on the Internet?

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          I think there’s a big difference between limiting conversation based upon one misinterpretation of data and requesting more research.

          Certainly we should have more research! I wish I were in the capacity to conduct the study (well, do I? I’m a blogger, not a scientist…) but I’m not. I’m an editor at an online magazine which focuses primarily on personal narratives.

          To me, the conversation is huge. All of this, even the hatred and the furor, is a part of talking about what needs to be said. Ally Fogg believes that there are NO “accidental rapes” – that any rape is premeditated. I don’t know that he’s wrong. I believe there are “accidental rapes” – he doesn’t know that I’m wrong. Both of us are relying upon anecdotal evidence. As are you.

          Where truth happens, usually, is in that space between two polar positions. If we say, “You cannot discuss this because of x,y,z” then we are limiting that dialogue, which I believe is ultimately harmful to our purposes.

          Especially considering that in this case, “x,y,z” was simply, and flatly, wrong.

          I have huge respect for those who have respectfully said, “YES let’s talk about rape and how it happens, but I feel strongly against your having published Anonymous’ letter.” I get that. I understand where that comes from and I even battled it myself. And I want to talk about that. What I cannot get behind is hinging the attempted silencing of a whole conversation based upon one faulty interpretation of data.

          The studies should be available in any university or college library for free.

          • I’m not aware of anyone “attempting silencing” here. Frankly, I think that’s a bit melodramatic.

            My critique – which as far as I can tell is in line with what’s being said here – is that it’s a sensationalistic piece that added nothing to our understanding of rapists and their motivations, and provided support to the “they were both drunk so they raped each other” line of apologist reasoning (as evidenced in the comments to that post).

            Anyway, I’ll speak for myself: I’m not trying to silence anyone. I’m challenging your rationale for publishing the piece. And why put up not one but two posts defending your decision, with active comment threads, then act like negative responses are an attempt to silence?

            Gint says he was triggered by the piece, but supports the decision despite his wife’s experience. We don’t know how his wife feels. My wife found the rape-apologist messages intensely triggering, returning her to shame and self-blame about her own rape. I’d be surprised if she was the only person.

            I don’t see how this piece – anecdotal, possibly fictional, and laden with victim-blaming messages as it is – moves the conversation forward. At all. I think it did harm that wasn’t outweighed by any discernible benefit.

            I’m not trying to silence you. I am appealing to your conscience.

            And not to tu quoque you, but I won’t be silenced by your dismissive reaction.

            • I’m not aware of anyone “attempting silencing” here. Frankly, I think that’s a bit melodramatic.

              Well sorry to have to say this – but actually there are quite a few who are using a number of techniques to attempt to silence other people. Making claims that require long explanations to debunk – making comments about such things as melodrama to heighten emotional response.

              Been studying the subject for years, and actually a number of people here know all about the techniques and how they get used. So sorry, if you are unfamiliar with the realities, that is unfortunate, but they are here and your lucky to be unaware or unaffected by them. In this case it would seem “Ignorance Is Bliss”. Cheers.

              • Just curious: is “your comments are an attempt to silence” one of the techniques used to silence people? Because that seems to be exactly how you’re using it.

                Also, the condescending “been studying the subject for years” thing? Totally not dismissive or silencing. Cheers.

                • Oh – It wasn’t my intention – but it is odd that you raise a pattern of language and rhetoric, copied from your own posts, as being about silencing people. Do you have an academic reference that you are using?

                • Joanna Schroeder says:

                  Oh, PDA I absolutely 100% do not mean to say that YOU or any of the commenters here are trying to silence anybody, and I apologize if that is what it sounded like. You’ve been reasonable, heartfelt and open with your opinions and I have respected that all along. We appreciate that.

                  And I hear you about how it can be triggering. Trust me, without details, I can tell you that I understand. Deeply.

                  However, I hope that you’ll understand that in no way did I or the people responsible for the Anonymous piece intend to excuse it. More, as Gint says, we are trying to hold this person to the light, examine him, and figure out how to have a better dialogue about these issues.

                  We may have failed, PDA. I don’t know. I can only say that we tried our best to start a conversation about something, using the words of the perpetrator himself.

                  In a few years, I may regret my part in it (writing the explanation). I can’t say right now. We all learn with time. Right now, I think it’s worth talking about.

                  But my heart is open to what everyone is saying and I still think that we need to listen to one another, and this rapist, in order to learn. From my own experiences and others’.

                  You may disagree, and I respect that and am glad you’re here doing it the way you are. Thank you.

            • I felt like you were trying to imply there was nothing of value for ME to get from these articles, it felt a bit silencing or dismissive as if it had been done before so we should be happy with what we already have in the world of text. It was actually the first time I read a rapist dismiss it so easily and desire the lifestyle.

      • We cannot talk seriously about rape if we’re only going to talk about one kind.

        … and only about one dynamic of male perp and female victim. Why Does That Have To Be Repeatedly Pointed Out?

        I’m sorry – but the mindset and modus operandi for Perp and Victim is more than he bad she good! …And Of course this is where the Overwhelming Tropes get wheeled out and studies only have access to.. blah, blah, blah.

        The Church Of The Rapist is far bigger than recognised, Just as the Church of The Victim is both heavily proselytising and had a creed that welcomes the faithful and demands conversion of all others, and if you disagree with their scriptures and universality you have to be a Rapist and Scum. It’s all so Westboro Baptist…. and people are fed up of the Doorstepping.

    • “If you want to explore the issue of why rapists rape, if you want to understand how they got to be the way, if you want to “ask important questions,” relying on a single anonymous tale is not the best or even particularly useful way of doing it.”

      That’s fine, but this isn’t the Journal of the American Sociological Association. This site, the Good Men Project, is devoted specifically to individual men telling their specific, individual stories. If you consider the format inadequate for addressing one of the issues men face, you can certainly provide pointers to other resources.

  17. I really appreciate this piece. Let’s hear from …*everyone*. And the illnesses, cultural and personal, will come out; and as a result we’ll have a greater chance of curing them.

  18. Tom Matlack says:

    Gint a great and courageous piece. I am proud to be associated with you and with the wider discussion we are having here. I am so sorry for the pain you and your wife have gone through. The larger points you make are moving and true IMO.

  19. “This anonymous rapist’s essay has held a mirror up to us, and it blazes with the news: here are the symptoms of our dysfunctional culture. We seek out fantasies, delude ourselves with the idea that they can become real. We seek not happiness and peace but bliss and euphoria; we don’t want to see the beauty that’s before us but wish to live a myth where “anything, anything at all, can happen”. We want the power to control and possess, but we’re blind to the power all of us have right now to stop and look at any common thing and see, as children do quite naturally, how amazing it is. Ironically, lost in the desire for euphoria and myth, we’re kept from seeing that we have the power to severely reduce the instances of injustice in the world if we learned to look at our trembling hands, at the blazing kiln of pain in our hearts and wonder, bloody hell, how extraordinary. How amazing. Where does it come from?”

    It’s our entire culture right now. To dominate to find subordinates. To consume, control, and possess rather than heal, collaborate and create. It’s in racism, homophobia, sexism, classism. We relate to each other through violence and power.

    Why on earth would we think someone like this, or like the man in Alyssa’s story wouldn’t be affected by that water they swim in, that air they breathe. That is what privilege IS. He’s taking what he wants, he doesn’t have to see, and many of us collude or look away.

    While investigating and understanding this dynamic “why does someone rape” is important, I’d say it’s more important to teach others how not to be bystanders, to have them shout to the world when they see a wrong. To teach all our children that mutuality and sharing are more valuable than control, consumption, and greed.

    Assault is an abnegation of the other. Your body, I control it. My desires are more important than who you are as a human being.

    I fear we all live in this system to some extent in our work, our relationships, our corporate culture, but rape, because it is so personal and so physical and so intimate (whether through a tool like alcohol or a knife or a wearing down of someone’s will)…it’s a mirror of the violence of the dynamic of someone having to be in control.

    Children see this, but we teach ourselves not to see. I think these people know what they are doing.

    • This strikes me as a really scary viewpoint.

      Study after study has shown that the percentage of men who actually commit rape is very small (I seem to recall estimates somewhere in the range of 4%).

      The share of the population that exhibits addictive behavior is likewise small (I seem to recall estimates between 10 and 20%).

      Yet you are looking at these VERY small percentage of the population and attempting to generalize it to be “our entire culture.”

      Furthermore, there is a WORLD of difference between the kind of rape discussed here (knifepoint, extreme violence), and the actual experience of average men in the real world.

      When I’m groped at a bar by a woman (which has happened to me repeatedly, including by intoxicated female coworkers, so let’s just get it out of the way and admit that this kind of assault is ALSO a male experience) I do not believe she is doing it out of a desire for “consume, control, possess.”

      Indeed, how could I?

      I live in a world where The Good Men project has published articles staring that when a woman gives you a blowjob, it’s a “gift.” In my life as a man, I’ve likewise been taught that most female-initiated sex is supposed to be viewed as a “gift” (to say nothing of the age-old idea about female virginity).

      When someone tries to give you a gift, their motivations usually do not include denying you as a human being.

      When I’m groped, I live with this viewpoint, this inculcation, that the woman groping me desires to please me, her grope is a signal of this desire. More importantly, I see no reason to think this viewpoint is incorrect. I cannot get inside the minds of others, I cannot know their true intentions. I do know, however, that society has presented me within alternative explanation, and it involves a very human desire to pease, rather than a very inhuman desire to control. I may not want her grope, or the “gifts” she is offering me, but I have no reason to suspect her for having a malevolent intention.

      Again, this is not in reference to a knife-point rape, nor is it in reference to the unbelievably dangerous actions of someone in the throws of active addiction.

      But Julie, your comment wasn’t about that either, it was an attempt to generalize from a small sociopathic subset of humanity what the entire human experience is, and my experience tells be that you are totally ignoring potentially valid alternative narratives to do so.

      • I’m not sure, but I believe you are misunderstanding me. I”m not assuming that all of us hurt each other all the time or in big ways like rape. I’m not even assuming that when people grope, as per your example, that is from malevolent intent that they are conscious of. I’m aware that our current culture does have themes and dynamics of control and power and that we are all affected by those dynamics to various levels and that plays into issues like rape, racism, sexism and other isms. And other things.

        I’m actually pretty optimistic that most humans want peaceful interactions DESPITE those dynamics, that we nearly all of us (saving that smaller group you mentioned) do our best to avoid violences on each other (and microagressions are included in violence. Like a grope or a name-calling, or so forth). , but even when we don’t intend them, they still can occur and do occur. In fact, we want to please and be peaceful so much that we do these violences (without knowing) and experience them (without fighting) and that helps cement a system where we can internalize shame about that violence and we find, seek, search for ways to keep the peace, keep from fighting etc..

        The issues of women giving men sex a gift is another topic, which means…well, is that woman getting anything out of it or is just a thing to give? Odd.

        I’ll close this by saying that at this particular moment and in this particular time I’m exploring and experiencing work around those dynamics of control and power in institutionalized settings, in relationships and in our own personal development, so that is a lens available to me right now.

        I”m not sure if that was what you were asking or believing about me but perhaps that gives you a perspective. I’m going home with a bad cold at the moment, I may not be online to dig into this deeper. I acknowledge that there is likely disagreement here, and I’m not bothered by it.

        Gint, if you have a take on it, please do share. I’d love to hear it.

        • Chiming in …I do feel that we as humans are generally a healthy (psychologically & otherwise) bunch.
          That said, as a longtime meditator (for 8 years anyway), I’ve run into some downright weird nooks & crannies in my own mind that I didn’t expect, don’t want & would rather didn’t exist.
          Talking to others in my group, it’s not just me who has these …
          We’re complicated critters, and be your sins small or grand …well, I’ve found so far mine usually do benefit from a little light & some air.
          One small note: Until & unless sex is between equals, it’ll never be healthy. At least not in my (limited) experience.

        • I appreciate your reply.

          I guess I’m just confused about your comment as a whole because there seems to be a world of difference between these two statements:
          “It’s our entire culture right now. To dominate to find subordinates. To consume, control, and possess rather than heal, collaborate and create. It’s in racism, homophobia, sexism, classism. We relate to each other through violence and power.”

          “[A]t this particular moment and in this particular time I’m exploring and experiencing work around those dynamics of control and power in institutionalized settings, in relationships and in our own personal development, so that is a lens available to me right now.”

          In the first statement there is an affirmative assertion about the nature of how people in our culture relate. In the second statement there is an implicit admission that this is just a “lens” and like all “lenses” could be distorting this viewpoint.

          This is very important to me because I feel like the #1 block to real dialogue is when we only get to question SOME assumptions instead of ALL assumptions.

          One of the assumptions that I find extremely important to question is the idea that “power dynamics” is really the appropriate way to talk about ideas of consent.

          In Gint’s article, there is probably an issue involving power dynamics, but in the larger collection of writings that the GMP has put up recently, I’m just not sure that’s the case. In Joanna Schroeder’s piece where she describes a young woman she knew named Maria, I’m just not sure that Maria’s intentions and actions can really be described through “power dynamics.”

          Unfortunately, most of the voices in the dialogue about consent seem to come from a background of Gender Studies (or similar pursuits). This background means that the voices trade in a set of common assumptions. While this may enable rapid consensus on some issues, it also seems likely to prevent real discussion on others. It seems like we really need to be able to question ALL of the assumptions out there, including the idea that actions violating consent are really about “control.”

    • Mike, I just happened onto this blog. As a woman, I must say that my jaw dropped! 4% is NOT an inconsequential percentage! Am I safe in a room of 20 men, if one of them is a rapist? Maybe you misunderstand the violence of rape, if you offer this argument. If one in twenty people at my house are violent, I live in a house of absolute violence, unless I am absolutely protected by all, and the violent one is contained, made visible and behaviorly changed in an open manner. Your argument is dangerous, as is this culture, for women.

      Thank you for this article, Gint. The victim has so little of the narrative. When you speak about how lonely our most intense emotions become, you are touch a tremendous spot in me. Thank you.



  1. […] mine), triggered these emotions in so many readers. They are overwhelming, excruciating and, as I have written before, interfere mightily with a victim’s ability to worry very much about remaining cool, calm and […]

  2. […] conditions and ideas that lead people to form points of view. I am, after all, the guy who wrote this piece about my wife’s rape. What I notice about this argument is a medley of things, some of them to do with consent, others […]

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