I Can’t Speak for Men, and I Shouldn’t Have to

“I cannot and will not assume the collective voice of my gender.”

For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase “rape culture,” generally accepted definitions may be found here, here, even here. The theory implies that our society is comfortable with zero accountability in separating sex from violence, violence from sex, and thus indirectly expects, even condones, rape and other forms of sexual violence. I’ve no problem with such a theory as an ideology, a mechanism of socio-philosophical discussion, a basis for work or research in the social sciences that urges our world to change for the better. I’ve no problem with people living their lives in accordance with this kind of ideology. I’ve no problem with people constructing their own sets of beliefs under its influence.

When I do have a problem is when such an ideology implicates others, implicates me, and grossly, presumptuously, and rigidly categorizes victims and perpetrators.

Ms. Brown asks, in her stirringly passionate and stunningly offensive opinion piece, why men are not angry, why men are not upset that American rape culture “[expects] men to be violent, misogynistic, and to not even notice, let alone care, what a woman wants.”

I appreciate the term “rape culture” and what it has come to define as theory. But, personally, I am not really angry because, historically, the term that posits these criteria in the first place comes from an ideology formed by female feminists. Who I am by such association is their opinion. It is an opinion that they are entitled to and one that can often be proved correct.

That women should have to even consider that what they wear and how they act will influence chances of rape is the fundamental dilemma rape culture addresses. That our society even proposes such a dilemma supports the idea of rape culture to begin with. Given this reality, however ugly or imperfect, actively decreasing the factors that do exist and that do lead to an increased chance of rape may be a more productive day-to-day solution than being proudly and dangerously resistant.

“When are [men] going to make clear … that THIS IS NOT HOW MEN BEHAVE,” Brown asks—and I don’t have an answer. Nobody knows why people do the things they do. I do not know how men behave. I only know how I behave. And I don’t behave that way.

I do not rape. I do not keep company with men or women who rape. Even trying to associate my ways with those of men or women or anybody is, at best, an idealistic exercise with little resemblance to fact, reality, or the point. I cannot and will not assume the collective voice of my gender. I am not an ambassador for any other being than myself. I will not insult any grouping of people anywhere with generalization or presumption, and I like to think—hope to think—that any other man or woman would similarly withstand.

♦◊♦

The Good Men Project itself is a good example of how to begin to interpret a group of people. This very publication says nothing definitive about men as a whole. It is simply a forum where individuals come together to share their own stories, perspectives, opinions. If such things speak to and help readers, that is wonderful. It’s the site’s purpose to create that kind of discourse. But even with hundreds of voices, this publication says little about men as a monolithic group. It remains a log of personal experiences and feelings, compiled through anecdotes, essays, and stories, which only begin to construct a discussion of men, women, fathers, daughters, sons, mothers, what their lives are like, how they are and are not common. It would be a mistake to identify any claim in such a discussion with any larger group. It is a similar mistake to identify any claim of rape with men as part of any group or representation, let alone gender. Such identification is offensive, unjust, and shortsighted.

I am in full support of men and women alike speaking out against a culture that expects rape and sexual violence. But note: expects, anticipates, prepares for, laments, and rightfully and truthfully assumes rape. Not condones. Not encourages. Ours is a culture that accepts such a horror as a predictable fact of the world. To say instead that ours is a culture that condones, encourages, motivates rape is a cynical and pernicious view of humanity that I can’t not resist.

There is no underlying assumption that men rape. There is especially no underlying acceptance that men rape. The only thing that can be logically assumed and accepted is that rape happens, and that the victims and the perpetrators, though some are more predictable than others, can be anyone.

Perhaps one should feel responsible for one’s entire gender because society has created an unfair situation (rape culture) and that actively fighting against it—however unfair for men—is the only way to change it. But by grouping all men together, Brown is suggesting that all men are the same. It’s a mistake to divide traits, expectations, anything between men and women. That kind of presumptuous stratification between the genders creates, essentially, a societal scenario of men versus women and women versus men, which is problematic and unhealthy on so many levels.

Not to mention, it’s bullshit. There’s little difference between that scenario and gender essentialism, a basic philosophical view that core feminist beliefs fight against. Objectifying all men as rapists through association with the guilt and the despicableness of actual rapists is as heinous as the sexual objectification of women in rape culture. It degrades and concretizes men as predictable beings with predictable motives, and denies the tenacious mentality of social, cultural, political, economic, and gender equality that feminism promotes. Social objectification establishes a cultural mindset of permanence, undercutting the entire concept of social change.

♦◊♦

Those advocating a change from rape culture make a simple normative judgment that society should be a certain way. The implicit assumption in such a judgment is that society is not naturally that way. It is truly pitiable that our society has cultivated a certain level of comfort in mixing violence and sex. Such has in turn cultivated a world that must accept rape as a ubiquitous possibility.

I’ve been mugged and assaulted. It left me with an unshakable distrust and suspicion of strangers. That it may happen again always looms as a possibility. But I wouldn’t dare assume that every guy walking the street in a hoodie is or has been a perpetrator.

Ultimately, I’m trying to reject the us-versus-them gender war of rape-culture discussion. I don’t much care what cultural critics say about men as a monolithic group because critics often rely on blanket generalizations. The best way to change people’s expectations of men is to lead by example and take responsibility for yourself without blame, defensiveness, retaliation, and especially apology.

As human beings—not simply men or women—that’s the least we can do. It doesn’t merit reward or praise. It’s just basic human decency.

—Photo cascade_of_rant/Flickr

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Super Villain or Not, Parenting Paranoia Ensues
The Garbage Man Explains Happiness
How To Not Suck At Dating

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Murat Oztaskin

Murat Oztaskin is the assistant editor of the Good Men Project and founder and editor of Red Branch Literary Journal. He lives in Manhattan where he reads, writes, and relapses into college mentality. Follow him on Twitter @MuratOztaskin.

Comments

  1. Julie Gillis says:

    Bravo, Murat.

    • Agreed, Murat, and well done. The notion that ALL MEN have some sort of responsibility to oppose rape in the fashion Nikki Brown expects and requires is ludicrous.

      • It’s SOOOOO hard for men to get off their ass and actually do some work stopping MEN from raping women. Geez, those women should shut up and just take it, huh?

        IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?

        • No Copyleft is saying that men should not be held collectively responsible for the actions of the minority that commit rape. Its not that bad of an idea or that hard to get really.

        • I see you have trouble getting past your own self-centered viewpoint, LA; what I’m saying is that men, as a group, have no particular obligations to you OR to Nikki to satisfy you that we’re “doing enough about rape.”

          We’ll do what’s right; if you don’t like how we handle the issue, tough. Your input and your approval are not needed.

    • Transhuman says:

      “Ultimately, I’m trying to reject the us-versus-them gender war of rape-culture discussion.”

      This will be a difficult goal; the “rape culture” relies upon the myth that “every man” is a potential rapist. The belief that some ill-defined barrier exists that holds every man back from being a rapist because, at the core of their being, all men want to rape. It is hogwash, but hysteria does not bend to logic. The women who promote the idea of “all men are rapists in waiting” are not men yet they are so convinced they know what men think; they simply cannot believe the revulsion men such as I have to the idea of having sexual congress with an unwilling partner. I believe the assumption comes from the observation that men can be aroused several times a day by all manner of social interactions and never act upon it; some women assume men must constantly fight an animalistic urge to satisfy their arousal. In essence, some women are convinced all men are as immature as they are.

      Yes, rape still continues in the third world war zones, no doubt about it. There are even examples of some women using rape as a tool of war – as the instigators. However the conflated and often invented numbers promoted as fact in western countries is ludicrous. The 1 in 4 statistic was roundly debunked using published rape stats for US universities; even 1 in 6 is wildly inaccurate. Yet for some reason there is unrelenting pressure to believe there is a rape epidemic in the west.

      I’ve done nothing about rape; but then I’ve done nothing about theft, burglary, assault and murder – other than not performing those crimes.

      These are the comments of one man; me. I do not subscribe to membership of some male collective.

      • Wow. Very well said. And like I’ve said, a rapist is not, contrary to what the Nikki Browns of this world believe, a typical guy, but rather somebody who is seriously, pathologically sick, and thus impervious to any guilt-trip lectures from either men or women. I mean, similarly, I could lecture to men and women with an inclination to murder, “please don’t murder, it’s wrong”, but what are the chances they’ll listen?

      • Julie Gillis says:

        So I don’t think that “all men are potential rapists.” I do think that there are all manner of monsters (cheaters, killers, liars, stealers, rapers, abusers, manipulators) in the world, but they all look like people. And if there is one monster in 100 people and they all look the same……how do you tell who the monster is. It’s a no win situation. You either have to trust everyone and hope to god you don’t get taken under the troll’s bridge (and hopefully not blamed for it after for leaving your car unlocked, or your skirt too short, or your heart too open or too much trust in a colleague) or trust no one (which makes all the humans feel terrible).

        I see that there is this razor thin difference between “all men are potentially rapists” and “I dont’ know which man on the street might be dangerous.” Because the first assumes “all” of the men are dangerous, and the second point assumes that most of the men “AREN”T” dangerous, but that one of the “could” be. And what is one to do.

        But I’d say that’s true of any crime. Most people in the workplace are nice collegial folks. There have been on rare occasions in my work life, people who have been angels to me in person and then just tried their best to ruin me, while having a smile on their face. And other people’s lives too, I’ve heard. Sociopathic behavior. Monsters in human form.

        How do we ever know?

        Rape? Well, it seems to bring out the most triggery, frightened, helpless, defensive responses in men and women both. Men and women are both capable of it, men and women are both capable of being victims of it. It’s an assault on the self like nothing else, no matter who it happens to or who does it. And so our reatctions to it are extreme. Blame or denial. It’s a terrible thing.

        Do I believe all men are potential rapists? No, because I’ve been around thousands of men and haven’t been raped. Do I believe all people are potential attackers?
        Probably in the sense that in a war, or in an extreme situation people can surprise you in both directions.
        Do I believe that some men (and women) rape? Yes I do (and I figure most sexual misconduct happens between people who know each other) . And on the street I don’t know how to tell the difference, but I do my best in trusting that 99% of people aren’t like that, and that I’ll cross the bridge of justice if ever I have to.

        • Perhaps people have different instincts, or differently developed instincts. Body language, voice tone , mannerisms and carriage can all give hints to people’s motives. When I enter a risk situation, particularly with women, I take the time to assess what I think of the situation and if I’m uneasy I plan an exit strategy. If they are obviously a danger then I leave immediately. I have been wrong on a couple of occasions but I was mentally prepared and extricated myself from the situation with minimal risk.

          I realise that, looking back over what I wrote, that I take personal responsibility for my safety and well being. Any misfortune will, after all, be mine to endure. Sure, there are dangerous women out there but once identified I can avoid them.

    • Yes, Bravo indeed.

      Since we’re on the topic of definitions, I thought it might be interesting to look up the definition of sexism (from Wikipedia):

      Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the false belief that there are characteristics implicit to one’s gender that indirectly affect one’s abilities in unrelated areas. It is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles.

      How is the idea that “In Rape Culture, All Men Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent” not the very definition of sexism? Both men and women are victims and perpetrators of rape and other sexual assault, so prejudging all men as rapist sounds as sexist as prejudging all blacks as hoodlums is racist.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        The way I like to think of situations of violence is this. All people look like people. All people look like they could be trusted. Some of them, a very small amount, shouldn’t be. But it’s extremely hard to tell which ones are the “monsters.” Women, men, gay, straight, old, young, anyone “might” have some sociopathic type tendencies which might lead them to manipulate and abuse. And, in that same group, there may be circumstances (poverty, addiction) which could also cause one to steal, lie, cheat.
        But on the surface it is hard to tell. We do create filters, and we all should admit it. Filters based on race, class, sex, height, culture, religion, of who is “trustworthy” and who isn’t. I don’t do the Evo Psych thing, but I can imagine our ability to filter is based on some kind of response that kept us safe. “Danger!” “Not Danger!”
        So if one is stuck on the side of the road, yes, the likelihood that you’ll be safe when someone stops is probably 99%. But how do you know?
        You are stuck trusting and hoping for the best, or doing whatever filtering you can to determine your instincts and if something goes wrong, hope YOU don’t get blamed for being out at night alone.
        (that to me is the main reason women wind up in this particular situation). We are trained not to trust and we are also trained that if we do trust, we’ll get blamed. That’s sexism in both directions so far as I am concerned.
        Evil and abuse exists. Humans partake in it. Its’ quite hard to know who is the one who will be doing it based on externals.

        • “Evil and abuse exists. Humans partake in it. Its’ quite hard to know who is the one who will be doing it based on externals.”

          You never know, do you, Julie? Perhaps that kindly old Catholic nun you saw giving alms to the poor last week might also be packing an Uzi in her habit, ready to go postal when you least expect it.

          Knowing who or what is dangerous is not an exact science, and never will be, but until feminism came along, most men and women used common sense and a certain degree of instinct. Actually most men and women still do, knowing that certain neighborhoods and certain environments, and at certain times, are best left avoided, especially alone and without protection.

          Claiming that women can NEVER tell which man is more likely to be a rapist than any other man, and therefore ALL men should be given the shame lecture about how they shouldn’t rape is absolute bull___t, a smoke screen meant to distort truth for the sake of a very dubious agenda.

          There is a wealth of hard data out there regarding what men, and under what circumstances, are more inclined to rape, but most women hardly need to study statistics to know that. The thing is, it is very un-PC to state this as such.

          And as even women — smart women — have pointed out, rapists, like criminals in general, don’t have what is known as a conscience, so running a guilt-trip lecture on them won’t be of much use.

          And by your logic, how do I know that some future date won’t turn into a “Fatal Attraction” type stalker? Maybe men and women should all just go gay and avoid each other altogether. Then we’ll all be happy.

          • Julie Gillis says:

            Are you listening to me? I’m not saying every man or woman is a potential rapist. Or liar. Or abuser. Or thief. THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM SAYING.
            I’m saying it’s likely that most of them are not. And that it’s hard to tell if everyone looks human. And that because we are all fallible, and we are fearful, we create (and have created for centuries probably) filters to determine who is “safe” and who is not. And those are currently problematic and full of isms.
            And that the choices we are faced with are trusting and hoping for the best or not trusting anyone. Both options have their problems.
            If ALL of us would do as much as humanly possible to push back against abuse, the particular shamings of how abuse works, felt more safe in talking about, then perhaps ALL of us would be able to do more of that trust.
            And I’d prefer better support for victims of all crimes, better process for determining how to keep people safe.
            God. I”m on your freaking side, men. I”m on your freaking side, women.
            Quit putting words in my mouth and try hearing what I”m saying. It’s much more fun to turn me into some kind of enemy though right? To read me “blaming” into my post, when I’m struggling with how to find a better path between the two choices.

            • Lisa Hickey says:

              Go Julie! Thank you!

            • “And those are currently problematic and full of isms.”

              Full of “isms.” In other words, politically incorrect. Thus women must be counseled to ignore the evident reality of what type of men are more likely to sexually assault them — which IS “better process for determining how to keep people safe” — because such reality does not conform with one’s ideology. And thus women are exposed to greater risk by the very individuals who claim to want to protect them.

              As far as I am concerned, the best way to “push back against abuse” to tell it like it is, whether other people like it or not.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              At this point I can’t tell if you are agreeing or arguing. I’ve trusted men that I shouldn’t have. I’ve probably distrusted men I should have. Same goes for women. And I’m guessing, men have had similar experiences. I have done nothing but tell things as I see them, try to listen and learn and act as a force for understanding. If you feel I’m doing or something in opposition to that then please be more clear. Or not. It doesn’t sound like you believe or agree with me, so there may not be more for either of us to say.

              I have a good example, a personal one, of how one never knows who is going to turn on you. Several actually, but I do have one male and one female.
              Friend of mine all through middle and high school. We were very good friends. We started dating briefly in college. We had a make out moment that went really really bad and though I said no, I got held down for a time, he rubbed one out on my leg basically and got up and left. We never spoke. I trusted him and knew him for years. So what the fuck was that? If you trust someone for 6 years and that happens?
              But I had to learn to trust other men of course, because all men aren’t like that and don’t deserve to be cast in one mold. And I’ve never had another situation like that.

              I worked for a woman who was a Jekyll and Hyde but only in front of particular staff. Kind to clients and bosses, she’d gaslight and emotionally abuse staff. She was lovely, gracious and everyone loved her. And those of us who she decided to hate on, well, things were shitty. You couldn’t trust her, and then I worked for a woman very similar to her, physically and in mannerisms. And it was hard to trust her based on the experience. But I had to learn to, because I knew she wasn’t the same person. I couldn’t cast all women like her as her. That’s not fair either.

              You do your best, you trust as best you can, and you can still get fucked over.

              Life is like that.

              In the meantime, there is still rape, abuse, murder, violence and manipulation. How best for all of us to approach taking care of each other and solving those problems.

              That’s what I’m here for, no matter what you think, Rick.

            • “I trusted him and knew him for years. So what the fuck was that? If you trust someone for 6 years and that happens?”

              I am reminded of men who find themselves the targets of outrageous accusations by their ex-wives during custody hearings, the most common of course, being that “he sexually abused the children”. The divorce itself is usually prompted by the increasingly erratic behavior of the woman. Some of these guys wallow in self-pity, and go on about their bad luck in ever marrying “such a crazy bitch”. The more honest ones will admit that there were little red flags all along, from the beginning of the courtship, that indicated that this woman had problems, but they were so in love/needy/horny/all-of-the-above that they chose to ignore the warning signs, thinking “everything will be all right”.

              Alas, due to what Alice Miller correctly perceived as the “poisonous pedagogy” of child rearing in our culture, boys and girls are left with an extreme neediness that leads them to develop questionable relationships.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Like I said in the other post. We went to high school together. He was a nerdy dude, shy, funny and kind. If there were red flags that he was going to be a desperate frenzied frottageist with a limited sense of what consent meant, I didn’t know how to notice it at that juncture.
              Mind you, this was the 80’s right? In the south. No real sex ed no real information for either gender about respecting each other. Plus he was Catholic and more conservative for me. Those flags I’d now process as potentially red I guess. Or yellow. That he might have a seriously different world view about sex than me.
              But at 17 I didn’t really know how to figure that out.
              Finally, I didn’t think I was raped. I thought he rudely used my leg to obtain a 10 bang of release instead of waiting for me catch up and ignored me asking him to stop. I was wedged in the back seat and my leverage was gone. He and I could have had actual sex, but he proved he wasn’t worth it certainly. It certainly didn’t teach me that all men are rapists, Rick. But it has provided a lesson in that anything could happen, though it probably won’t. And that listening to your instincts is important.
              A question since you raised the issue of “red flags.” Women in many threads recently (and some men) have been taken to task for the idea that they might gender profile. Since those posts were on the topic of rape, and since you are advocating that men look for those flags earlier in their marriages since women might be displaying them, do you think women scanning men for those flags is a bad thing to do? Or do you think it’s a piece of self preservation?
              If, for example, my friend had had a history of dating and suddenly a breakup and his exes gave me warnings, do you think those flags are good to attend to? If men should do that with wives and custody should women do it on dates?
              Because I think we all should pay attention to “flags” as we attempt to navigate the world of interpersonal trust.
              Sometimes people are blind, that’s true. Sometimes the monster is just really good at hiding the flags.

            • Julie, you are one of the few Feminist that I’ve seen speak out against the sterotyping of “all men are rapist” B.S. that this “Rape Culture” movement trys to spread. While this may annoy myself and other men. The people who are really being affected by this are young women. These poor young women (18 to 26 or so). Everyday I see them recoil in ,if not fear, apprehention from normal situations of interaction. Yet some willgo out to the clubs where they wii “hook up” with total strangers. This hard core Feminist Dogma has these girls chasing their tale so to speak Sometimes I wonder if the really”hard core” Feminist leaders wouldn’t want to see MORE rape victims in order to advance their “cause”?

  2. How come their “rape culture” didn’t change when we discovered that men and women are raped at similar rates or that men and women are likely to be rapists in similar amounts? It’s completely divorced from any reality beyond their fantasy world where men are the ultimate evil and women run around being victims all day.

    Funny how we’re being told by feminists that its OK for a woman to wander around a rough area of town in nothing but their underwear and its perfectly OK, but hey don’t you DARE accept a lift from a man girls, if you’re stuck out in the snow or something, because there’s an infinitesimal chance he might rape you and you don’t want to take that risk do you? Anyone else think those two messages are sort of running in opposite directions?

    All this pseudo-logic is a sign of cult-like behaviour and dogmatic ideology. Rape culture means one thing only and that is basically the same as the World Wide Jewish Conspiracy. It’s prejudicial nonsense made up to make people think worse of a minority group.

    • I doubt that men are raped at similar rates, but I am open to an explanation/source on that claim.

      The point is not that woman should or shouldn’t wear this or that, or accept that ride. The point is that whether she wears the “wrong” clothes or accepts a ride, it’s not her fault if she is assaulted. It’s the rapist’s fault. That said, I don’t tend to dress “slutty,” but if I did and something happened, I would not blame myself. Because something has happened, and I wasn’t dressed “slutty,” so I know that what I wear won’t protect me. However, I still won’t get in a stranger’s car. Why? Because I choose not to. It’s not the warnings that are a problem. It’s the implication of the victim being at fault that often comes alongside them that’s problematic.

      Also, feminists do not encourage anyone to walk anywhere dangerous, nor do we tend to advocate wandering around in skivvies. The point is that even if you’re in that situation, for whatever reason, the rapist is to blame.

      The problem with telling women to change their behaviour is that they don’t control the situation. The attacker does. Otherwise, they would up and leave when things got out of hand.

      A lot of people feel that they are safe because they do the right things, not like “those women” who didn’t. But I did the right things and was still assaulted.

      • DavidByron says:

        Just sounds like you’re inventing stuff so you can moan on about how victimized you are how everything is men’s fault. It’s sexist. The ONLY people I have EVER heard talk about blaming rape victims dress length have been feminists. It’s a nonexistent problem created to attack men.

        For the discussion on the survey that shows men raped more / more women rapists search for NISVS in the site search feature.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Unfortunately some feminists do argue that educating women on how to live safely is oppression. I’m glad to hear you’re not one of them.

        If I walk through Darndale at 1am and get beaten into a coma, the responsability for my assault lies solely with my attacker. I’m still responsible for putting myself in a dangerous situation though.

  3. The unfortunate act of dejected Men and some condescending/Slut shaming women reveling in schadenfreude at “the Girl in the Mini skirt being attacked”
    Does not Give Feminist the right to prosecute all sexual encounters in the court of public opinion, all while having the hubris to demand 100% solidarity with the supposed victim before anyone has had their day in court.

    Personally I make it a point keep my mouth shut until the gavel sounds.

    Now If you’ll excuse me,

    I’m going to stagger around a “Crip” neighborhood drunk as hell wearing “Blood” red clothing at 2 in the morning and when I get my ass whooped I’m gonna blame Rape Culture.

    • That’s legitimately hilarious, because your scenario, in which you say that you will go into a gang’s territory wearing the gear of an opposing gang, proposes that women who go out in public are in a rival faction’s territory. What a sad view of gender relations, and what a fundamental cause of rape culture.

      • DavidByron says:

        I think you are deliberately misreading the analogy so as to spread gender mistrust and hatred.

        • He is comparing being a female who wears a miniskirt and is raped to being a person wearing rival gang symbols and knows what will happen to them. The analogy itself is predicated on gender mistrust and hatred, and on the idea that women who are raped are engaging in behaviour equivalent to the above scenario.

          I think men are capable of way better than Crips and Bloods, thanks. He apparently doesn’t.

          • DavidByron says:

            No it is you feminists who leap to assume the men=evil, women=good frame every time.

            All his analogy has as elements was a person doing something that a reasonable person could foresee might cause them to be attacked.

          • Peter Houlihan says:

            Someone who wears a miniskirt through a dangerous area must be at least a little bit aware of what could happen. The analogy is predicated on reality, which is that wearing the wrong thing through the wrong area attracts attention and that we should all choose not to do so wherever possible for our own safety.

            I think men, and women, are capable of being better than the Crips and Bloods. I’m pretty sure he does too.

            • The problem is that for rape there are no areas that it can’t happen and no people that it can’t happen to. Rape does not discriminate women rape, men rape, children rape – women get raped, men get raped children get raped. It can and does happen everywhere regardless of income, race, gender, religion etc. Rape is about the inappropriate application/use abuse of power, violence and aggression all humans are capable of all being violent, aggressive and abusing power. Not every individual rapes anymore than every individual one other violent crimes – that is the problem viewing people as monoliths based on income, race, gender etc. it fails to take into account that every person is different. The only constant is that rape is wrong anytime, anyplace any reason. It is not acceptable. That is why it is paramount to see that it effects everyone.

        • DavidByron, I think you are deliberately misunderstanding the meaning of women and feminists so as to make your mysogenist points.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        No, hes suggesting that women who wander around bad areas wearing revealing clothing are deliberately attracting the attention of dangerous people. If she is assaulted, then her attacker is 100% responsible for doing so. But she is still responsible for putting herself in danger.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          *sorry, not deliberately, unwittingly

          • @Jennifer the Man Vs. Women tribalism analogy you’re hoping for is the product of your own personal biases. My intention was to promote gender neutral “street smarts” so that women and men NOT jeopardize their most valuable possession… Their lives.

            Uhm-Kay’

          • Actually Peter – I could be either.

            There are some who like to live dangerously – and even provoke events! P^)

            That is why any generic view that one is automatically a victim or automatically a victimizer is wrong. I may be a useful guide line but if can allow very nasty anti-social behavior to escape detection.

            … and before anyone decides to Jump in and claim I am MRA and Mansplaining – promoting rape and rapists – It’s generic and not specific!

            If you have Blinders on that make you filter all words through a narrow view – try the Kentucky Derby! You have better odds of winning the race! P^)

  4. Though I’m in agreement with the overall message of your piece, I’m a bit dumbfounded that you don’t put much weight into whether the theory itself properly identifies reality – bad theory gives you bad solutions.

    I’m not going to address the numbers at all, as I don’t agree with either the MRA or feminist take on the numbers or what they mean. I think both groups have their heads up their arse on this topic…

    I do want to address the term itself, as to me, it is nonsensical. The stronger reality is that we live in an anti-rape, anti-violence culture etc. It is a truism that any rate of violence should be addressed and mitigated to the best of our abilities, and that our current culture does exactly that.

    The clear evidence for this position is that when society breaks down (lawlessness, strife, poverty, shortages etc), both the incidents of rape and violence, and most other crimes, increase, and do so rather dramatically. More generically, those claiming that we live in a culture of violence are under the spell of the myth of the noble savage.

    Good reference on this topic: Better Angels of our nature

    When the basic false premise is flipped on its head, new and more effective solutions rise to the top. That should be the end goal for everyone, and it behooves us that we get the basic premise correct in the first place.

    • “I’m a bit dumbfounded that you don’t put much weight into whether the theory itself properly identifies reality – bad theory gives you bad solutions. ”

      Exactly. This is a point I made in a previous article and I backed it up with two empirical counterexamples to rape culture theory. The feminists presented no good counterarguments and the MRAs defended me as expected. But it didn’t make a bit of difference in the end. Nobody changed their original positions.

      You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      “The stronger reality is that we live in an anti-rape, anti-violence culture etc. It is a truism that any rate of violence should be addressed and mitigated to the best of our abilities, and that our current culture does exactly that.”

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      “More generically, those claiming that we live in a culture of violence are under the spell of the myth of the noble savage. ”

      Could you expand on that? I don’t see how it applies.

      • Hi Peter,

        Noble savage is the notion that we are born good and pure in essence, and only later corrupted through social wickedness – sort of a Garden of Eden storyline.

        In reality, the opposite is true. Socialization, social contracts etc – is what brings out the “goodness” in people. If babies had access to nuclear weapons, we’d have blown up this planet 100X over by now…our goodness develops and grows from social interactions, development of language, institutions, relationships, technology and various other tentacles of humanity.

  5. Murat

    I welcome your analysis of issues and also of responsibilities.

    I do understand the term Rape Culture, and from the very limited available resources that exist providing any form of model or explanation of it, I can see how it is presently constructed and seen to operate.

    “Reification (also known as concretism, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a “real thing” something which is not a real thing, but merely an idea. For example: if the phrase “fighting for justice” is taken literally, justice would be reified.

    Another common manifestation is the confusion of a model with reality. Mathematical or simulation models may help understand a system or situation but real life always differs from the model.”

    Source – Wikipedia.

    I have one concern that I hope will be resolved. There are no available references which identify the meaning of the term “Rape Culture” and where it originates from – who coined the phrase – and what they meant when they did.

    I find it most odd that a term which is suddenly being used so ubiquitously after some 40 years or more of limited usage is so hard to track down.

    Given it’s supposed ubiquitous nature and permeating status, it is most odd that such necessary sources are simply not readily available or even known to people who insist that the model of Rape Culture is so concrete.

    There seem to be no shortage of statistics to be quoted, referenced and used to provide a scaffolding around the model – and yet the foundations are missing. Any rational person dealing with Social Science and even Academia understands that the basis for a premise – it’s foundations – are most necessary matter to allow any form of validity.

    I have been searching for any Government and Statutory documents that use the term “Rape Culture”, and it seems that it is a term that is not used and never has been used.

    During debate here on GMP one person has described Rape Culture as the Elephant In the Room. That is a poor analogy of the way the term has been inflated and caused to grow. It’s more like an inflatable Elephant that just keeps being inflated until there is no room.

    As one of my most dear and most feminist friends often asks “How Do You Eat And Elephant?”

    Answer: “One Spoonful At A Time”.

    I also find it fascinating that at her age of nearly 70, after a lifetime of work dealing with Domestic Abuse, Survivors of Sexual Violence and Abuse and as an Outspoke Feminist of some repute she does not accept the term “Rape Culture”.

    She is as bemused as myself and many others as to Why Rape Culture is such an American/US fascination and subject?

    She wryly notes that If “Rape Culture” is as represented the American Tourist Industry is in imminent danger of collapse. Who would want to visit a country and experience a culture where rape is so endemic that it has to be fought off with such Vigor and where the National Government won’t even acknowledge the existence of the issue?

    I was taken by your use of the term Motivate when you said:

    “To say instead that ours is a culture that condones, encourages, motivates rape is a cynical and pernicious view of humanity that I can’t not resist.”

    I have to agree – especially when people who promote such a view are apparently so short sighted that they can’t see or locate the Foundations upon which such cynicism is built.

    • “I do understand the term Rape Culture, and from the very limited available resources that exist providing any form of model or explanation of it, I can see how it is presently constructed and seen to operate. ”

      Yep. Having definitions would help but maybe that is asking too much. If a child call you a loser you don’t ask the child for a definition of loser, a history of the world loser and proof that indeed loser correctly applies to you. You treat it as name-calling.

      Perhaps asking for rape culture to actually make sense and be coherent is asking too much.

  6. Ms. Brown was promoting radical feminist hate-speech,

    Men in general do not rape, rape is not gendered, society seeks to punish rapists, not reward or encourage them.

    The rape culture theory began in prison among black men, it was later co-opted promoted and developed by genocidal radical feminist separatist feminists like Mary Daly, the men in prison were forgotten about.

    Feminist rape culture rhetoric, deliberately generalizes men as rapists, or supporting rapists, and sweeps female perpetrated rape under the carpet. Which indicated that Its less about rape and more about hate-propaganda.

    Little do the so called “moderate” feminists that endless beat the rape culture drum know, that they are useful idiots for the radicals further up the movement, that they think they don’t have anything to do with.

    • I worked in a prision as a welder for 3 years (1982-1985). It was reffered to as “Medium Security”. Most of the “sex” between inmates was “bought and paid for” (cigerettes were the currency used) If anyone new was known to be in there for rape (especially if it involved a minor) he went right into PC(protective custody) . He wouldn’t last a week in General Population. Someone would come up from behind and “shank” him.

      • But what is that, bobbt? That even male non-rapist criminals hate rape and rapists? And that you learned that from first-hand knowledge rather than through a PhD thesis? That defies the very essence of the militant feminist take on men.

        • LOL Rick S. Yeah, I only write about what I have either experienced myself or haved observrd live and in person. Actually, some of the people I have met with the letters PHD after their name, I figured that it stands for Piled Higher and Deeper!

  7. Dear Truth

    you said “The rape culture theory began in prison among black men, it was later co-opted promoted and developed …”

    Do you have any references concerning this reference to prisons. It may explain the issue of locating source documents and references.

    • Hello MediaHound

      I found that information here h t t p://feministwhore.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/the-origin-of-the-term-rape-culture/

      • Dear Truth ( that sounds almost ironic ) P^)

        The link you provided is most interesting – it hits at matters – but does not give a full picture, but it has opened up Pandora’s Box.

        It indiactes that some issues arose out of the work of Men Against Rape in Lorton Prison in the Washington DC and it was featured in a 1974/5 documentary film, Rape Culture, produced and directed by Margaret Lazarus and Renner Wunderlich for Cambridge Documentary Films.

        So it may well be that the first instance of the term “Rape Culture” is from that film – 1975 – and is about male on male rape in prison.

        Most fascinating is that Margaret Lazarus herself is dubious as to how the content of the film and how the Male Prisoners description of the power dynamics of male on male prison rape were seen as Power=Rape and how the prisoners unqualified views lept into main stream thinking and usage without critical evaluation. Wow – meme creation and propagation.

        To Quote:

        “When we made the film “Rape Culture” we highlighted the actions of an
        organization founded in 1974, called Men Against Rape in Lorton Prison in
        the Washington DC area). At the time people often misinterpreted what
        these, primarily African American men were saying. They were talking about
        rape inside the prison(raping men) and out(raping women) and pointing out
        the similarities. It appeared that they were defining themselves as rapists
        but they were trying to define rape as a power relationship that took a
        sexual form. Only one of the 13 members of the group was actually in prison
        for rape. Their work, in collaboration with members of the DC Rape Crisis
        Center was groundbreaking.”

        http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/rapeculture3.html

        That brings me back to the originating debate started by Nikki where I even asked was Rape Culture a Social Construct from academia or a media driven issue. It may actually be both.

        Men Against Rape is reported to have been founded in 1974 and was linked directly to DC Rape Crisis Center – and as Margaret Lazarus herself indicates the work was groundbreaking.

        There are also links to Men’s Groups across the US in the same time frame (1974/5) who were apparently acting as advocates of men being directly responsible for stopping rape. Those voices just vanish and are not mentioned after 1974/5.

        Having been tipped the wink by you, as to the possible sources an turns of events, it does start to unravel the mystery of why the term “Rape Culture” is so US centric and not featuring with any level of comparable level of debate or controversy outside of the US. It’s almost certain that it’s a US centric construct which articulates dynamics within US culture and even history.

        It also explains why such modern iterations such as Slutwalk do not “Catch On” with the same fervor in other countries. There is simply not the social under pinnings to promote the issue.

        There are a number of coincidental references to 1974 concerning the founding of a number of organizations dealing with rape – some named in ways that were, or maybe have now become, gender neutral and some which were evidently not. There was almost an explosion on a US national level. That can’t be coincidental.

        I also uncovered an interesting link to Time Magazine – The Sexes: Revolt Against Rape
        Monday, July 22, 1974

        Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,942962,00.html#ixzz1h5D3hk89

        Then I uncovered this from FARR- Aegis archives

        Prisoners Against Rape
        by Larry Cannon, William Fuller
        Feminist Alliance Against Rape Newsletter Sep/Oct 1974

        http://www.faar-aegis.org/sepoct_74/prisoner_sepoct74.html

        This does set a time frame with media interest and involvement and associated activity – and sets an interesting set of search parameters backwards from 1974 – to locate the originating sources.

        It also shows close alliance and co-operation between Feminists and Male Rape Victims which seems to have been lost in the intervening 37 years. I have to wonder if some who are so dismissive of questions about the origins of rape culture have any idea of the Egalitarianism that is becoming apparent at it’s root and just how disrespectful their attitude and conduct is to people who have historically not bought into such narrow minded and self serving views.

        It is most interesting that responses in the Archive to the issue promote the view that it was not a Feminist rape issue and should be ignored. That is very sad to see. There are striking racial implications as well which raise uncomfortable issues about White American Females and racial privilege that caused a diminution of a most serious issue due to gender barriers and attitudes. Such an old story.

        Thanks for your help.

        So often it’s wood and forests – and a bread crumb is so helpful. P^)

        I will keep digging – this gets more fascinating by the minute.

        No doubt my academic interest and search for reality will have some labeling me MRA – “Medaling Rational Archivist”! P^)

        Gives a whole new insight to those who throw the term about and then exit at high speed when asked when and how it started to be used – and even why.

        “Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.”
        Albert Einstein

  8. Statistically, you’ve probably socialized with a rapist at some point. Is it your responsibility, therefore, to begin every conversation with JUST SO YOU KNOW, RAPE IS BAD FORM OLD BOY? Humorous mental image (“This is Jill. She works in accounting.” “HI JILL. JUST SO YOU KNOW, DON’T RAPE ANYONE”), probably not.

    However, I think the general assumption of rape culture is that rape is not an isolated fact. It exists on a spectrum of permissible and unpermissable behavior. For instance, none of us condone leaping out of the bushes and sexually assaulting a jogger. But do we condone treating sex as something that is extracted from unwilling females in other ways? Do we view having sex, for instance, as conning or tricking a woman? Do we act in ways that advances that view? “Rape culture” doesn’t hold that as holders of a Y chromosome every single person in this forum must be going around high-fiving rapists and offering to hold their drinks till they’re done. The construct holds that it’s a pernicious extreme of a culture where women aren’t held to be legitimate sexual agents: where a man’s proper role is in manipulating, extracting, wheedling, or forcing sexual access. Feminists also suffer from the belief that men might not in fact be 24-7 cockmonsters who always feel like having sex: that men too can feel pressured into sex or coerced/manipulated into having sex that they don’t want. The contemporary feminist proposal to address rape culture is to foster dynamics that respect both the male right to say no and the female right to say yes.

    Unfortunately this gets sidetracked every time someone gets raped and people carry on about her clothing, even though surveys of rapists tend to indicate that what gets rapists really heated up is an attitude of passivity or possibly a limp.

    • DavidByron says:

      Do you tell women not to rape?

      • Yes. Why don’t you? And, more importantly, why do you think it is that society doesn’t acknowledge that women have the power to rape and that men are capable of being vulnerable? Hint: It’s not feminists.

        • “And, more importantly, why do you think it is that society doesn’t acknowledge that women have the power to rape and that men are capable of being vulnerable? Hint: It’s not feminists.”

          Apart from hugo…

        • DavidByron says:

          I’ve never seen a feminist tell a woman not to rape.
          I’ve rarely seen a feminist admit a woman even can rape.
          …..or for that matter do anything wrong……

          • “I’ve never seen a feminist tell a woman not to rape. I’ve rarely seen a feminist admit a woman even can rape, or, for that matter, do anything wrong.”

            I’ve never seen Africa, either, but I can reasonably assume that it exists. It sounds like your experience with feminism has soured you towards feminists. If so, I’m sorry to hear it. There are plenty of women and men out there who accept the feminist label AND work towards a more balanced, compassionate view of gender relations, and I’d hate to think that you would close yourself off to them simply because they identify as feminists.

            Feminism is not a static ideology set in stone, it continues to evolve. Just as it is unfair and essentialist to generalize about men and imply that they all think and behave in the same way, it is unfair and essentialist to generalize that all feminists think and behave in the same way. The only thing you can say that applies to all feminists is that they’re interested, on some level, by gender roles and relations, and the effect of those roles and relations on women in particular. Beyond that, all bets are off, because opinions will vary wildly.

            I ask you to allow room in your mind for the existence of diversity among feminists, and not let the views of one particular feminist (or subsect of feminism) speak for all feminists, just as I will allow room in my own mind for the diversity of the male experience and don’t let the rapists of the world speak for all men. Is that a fair bargain?

            • Clarification on that last thought – I won’t let those men who are rapists speak for all men – nor will I deny the HUMAN capacity for rape regardless of sex/gender.

            • Statistically, men commit far more acts of rape against all genders than women do, and men have the advantage, generally, of being larger and physically stronger than women. But statistically, the overwhelming majority of male rapists are not the type to be spending their time at a website such as this, much less would they be taking Hugo Schwyzer or any other ashamed-of-his-penis male very seriously if they so encountered them.

              By the way, speaking of Africa, can any feminist, militant or otherwise, explain a phenomenon such as this?:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Nyiramasuhuko

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Is your question asking if feminists can explain why a woman acted like a sociopath? Um, because sociopathy doesn’t gender discriminate?
              Because human beings, all of us, are capable of the most profoundly evil of actions? Because being within a system of such war and toxicity (and I can’t speak adequately on the topic of that genocide or the historical and cultural dynamics of that area of Africa, but my guess is the entire system poisoned men and women alike into acting the way they did) some people are more prone to acts of horrific violence as well as some people are prone to rise above it?

              I have no idea how to explain anyone acting like that. Group madness, deep instinctual rage, human capacity for violence?

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Unfortunately feminists, as a group, don’t tackle the issue of male rape or women rapists with anything near the fervour of male on female rape. I’m glad to hear your break this trend.

          • Please, get over yourselves and be happy that you do not have to deal with the threat of having a penis shoved up your vagina every time you walk alone at night, open your front door, go visit your uncle Bob or go to a party. Start feeling some compassion for the vagina-owners who are made to live with this fear, instead of repeating over and over again how unfair you think they are to you personally for complaining.

            • “Please, get over yourselves and be happy that you do not have to deal with the threat of having a penis shoved up your vagina every time you walk alone at night, open your front door, go visit your uncle Bob or go to a party”

              Wow. I can almost hear the accelerating violions from “Psycho” as I read the above. The good thing is that I know too many sane and rationale women to know that “Louise” does not speak for her gender. But just to clarify, to reject that claim that 1) all-penis bearers are inherent rapists and 2) that even if we don’t commit rape, we are nonetheless guilty for the actions of the very limited percentage of guys who do, does not mean we do not have compassion for women with regards to sexual assault. And I am very confident that the majority of women understand that.

            • As a sidenote, I’d say women have a legitimate right to be concerned about the possibility of a sexual assault, especially in poor, working-class, and minority neighborhoods, where the overwhelming majority of rapes occur, but the claim by “Louise” that all women live in fear of being sexually assaulted by their uncles only accentuates a mentality that merits study, but not so much cultural but rather clinical. Yes, there are uncles who rape their nieces, as there are aunts, mothers, and sisters who sexually abuse their kin — but to regard every uncle as a potential rapist makes me want to pray that “Louise” is not some boy’s mother, or some poor guy’s girlfriend or wife. Which she probably isn’t.

            • Interesting that you, as a man, feel the need to teach me, a woman, about how women (including myself) generally feel. And yes, Psycho, yes, I bet you didn’t realize this. Did you think it was just harmless fun? Or that rape is just a word to argue about on a blog? I have a few friends who were raped, one repeatedly and this was never recognized in court. A few years ago there was an alert of a ‘serial rapist’ in the neighborhood where I work and women were advised to not travel alone between home and work in the evening. This man was never caught, who knows if he still around. These are all cases of men assaulting women, by the way.

              To react to 1): I do not say that all penis-bearers are inherent rapists and I don’t think any sane person would say so. I am saying that women are taught to perceive men as potential rapists and unfortunately they also have to in order to recognize those dangerous situations Peter Houlihan is mentioning so frequently in his comments. I wish this were different.
              2): Who says men who do not rape are nonetheless guilty? No one is saying that either.

              I have no idea where you get that confidence from about the majority of women understand that you have compassion for women, especially not if you keep on arguing feminists. This is again you, a man, teaching me, a woman, about how women (including myself) generally feel. You do this in spite of women here telling you that this is not so. What would be the harm in listening, giving us the benefit of the doubt, and openly agreeing to something that is already your opinion? I don’t see why you don’t feel inclined to speak up for something you already believe in.

              In addition: I am also not saying that every uncle IS a potential rapist, I am saying that I cannot tell.
              Knowing the figures: 1 in 6 women is raped or experiences an attempted rape and most are raped by men who they know, I have more reason to take care in contact with my own acquintances and family members than be afraid of random strangers in the street.
              Furthermore, whether I am a mother or someone’s spouse has no bearing on any of these issues, why do you come up with that? Do you perhaps think less of me if I am not a boy’s mother, a poor guy’s girlfriend or a wife? Should that make me feel sad or ashamed if that were so? You might as well be interested in whether I like coffee or tea in the morning, something that is also none of your business.

            • Peter Houlihan says:

              I have a great deal of compassion for rape victims and the culture of fear surrounding rape is absolutely wrong. I say this because I know exactly what is like to be afraid to walk through a dark area: I mightn’t be at much at risk of rape as you, but I’m still part of a group (men) who are alot more likely to be assaulted than yours in general.

              Tackling rape and violence is an important issue. This is why I’m highly critical of the feminist voices that mischaracterise all men as rapists and cover up female rape.

              I have no intentions of getting over myself until I can walk home at night in safety and you can do the same.

            • Peter Houlihan says:

              Just to be clear, I’m highly supportive of the feminist voices that don’t consider all men rapists and condemn and recognise female rape. Unfortunately the other kind are either more numerous or vocal.

            • Numerous and vocal within the limited purview of media and academia. The overwhelming majority of women rightly regard “the other kind” as the loonies they are.

  9. ladything says: “However, I think the general assumption of rape culture is that rape is not an isolated fact. It exists on a spectrum of permissible and unpermissable behavior.”

    Couldn’t you say that about theft? Rare is the person who condones sticking up convenience stores, but do we return to a store an item we discover in our shopping bag the clerk forgot to ring-up?

    The most pernicious thing I find about the term “rape-culture” is that it actually takes away from the horror that IS rape. When everything is rape, nothing is rape.

    • van Rooinek says:

      Rare is the person who condones sticking up convenience stores, but do we return to a store an item we discover in our shopping bag the clerk forgot to ring-up?

      Well, yes, actually. Don’t most people do that? Perhaps I live in a cultural bubble.

    • Peter Houlihan says:

      I’d generally tend to agree that watering down the definition of rape to include any sex that you regret afterwards is wrong to the victims of serious and violent sexual assault, but I can only imagine how hurtful that analogy you made must be to such a person. Comparing unconsentual sex to forgetting to pay for your groceries is a bit wide of the mark.

  10. Thank you for your reply, Mr Oztaskin. I have definitely appreciated the dialogue generated, even if I’ve had trouble keeping up with it over on my piece…

    First, again, I was not saying I think all men are rapists at all ever – in fact, I’d say the opposite. I will say that I think, when we talk about rape after the fact, we often discuss it as if rape was something men just do. For example, when we say “well, she shouldn’t have worn X or done Y” we rarely respond with “why are we talking about her clothing or her behavior? Those things don’t *make* men assault anyone. Men are don’t rape, and clothing is not going to make them start. Rapists rape.” Or, if that is assuming too much, as the argument here states, I’d be more than happy if men simply said “Clothing or behavior would never make me rape anyone, so I don’t understand why it’s a topic here.” I seriously think just saying that would make a difference in how we talk about rape, and where we focus our attention about rape.

    It’s also in the fact that we talk so much about rape as perpetrated by men. We don’t talk about women as perpetrators, or about men as survivors. To me, that’s also saying “well, it’s because men are the ones who rape. Men don’t get raped, and women don’t rape”. I say that statement is ludicrous, yet that is what I think we focus on, and how we overwhelming discuss rape in popular culture. In my experience, it is also how women AND men talk about rape around me. I RARELY hear men speak up and say “no, that’s not how you should expect men to behave. That’s not how I behave, and it’s not how my friends behave.”

    I am not ok with any of this – and YES I would ask men, as a group, to say they’re not ok with this either. I know that lumps all men together – but I personally don’t think men rape. I think rapists rape. If that means I am grouping all men together, than so be it.

    And yes – I do expect you to speak up in a more general sense. The way we talk about race is overwhelmingly along gender lines, and, as I tried to argue, it is men speaking up against this that is important. It’s not because men are responsible for rape (I mean, that’s ridic), but it’s to say “men are not responsible and this is not ok”. To hear male voices say that, because I don’t hear them. It’s as I feel the need to speak up about racism. Sure, I can go ahead and say “I don’t see race, and I am not a racist” and that my white privilege (here we go with responses to that word and not my overarching point) means I don’t *need* to say anything about racism – but I reject such a view, and I will consistently want to be educated about racism and do my part to speak out about it. That doesn’t mean I think all white people are racist, or that I think I personally am racist – yet I am fully prepared for anyone to let me know when I am wrong or am being insensitive (and, yes, the comparison between women and race is uncomfortable to me – but there ya go).

    Again – text = tone difficult to convey. I’m not responding in anger, here, but am trying to clarify. Just FYI.

    • … I think discussion about race already lump all men in together. I can talk all I want about how this isn’t true, but my piece was wondering why men aren’t more vocal on this point. The response has been that they are vocal, which I find heartening. Please spread the word! (Yes! There is a need for this!)

      • Nikki

        Are you a feminist, a member of the group that covers up denies and minimizes all forms of female abuse?

        Get out of here and stop trolling us.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Warren Farrell calls himself a feminist. Ever read “The Myth of Male Power”? If you lump all feminists together does that mean you’re lumping me in with the MGTOW crowd?

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Just on the point of clothing. If a woman wears revealing clothing into a broken neighborhood, its asking for trouble. You’re quite correct to say that clothing isn’t some magnetic trigger that forces men to rape, rapists have serious emotional flaws which cause them to assault people, but it can and does attract their attention. That is why its sensible to advise women to cover up on the street. Not because it excuses rape, or suggests that they’re asking for it, but because it can be dangerous in the wrong company.

        Rape accusers being attacked in the media for wearing suggestive clothing is wrong. If I saw an example of that I’d be the first to call it out. I’m not sure about the US but I haven’t seen much of that here.

        In the courtroom, however, there’s possibly a good reason to bring it up: If the accusation is false, drawing attention to aspects of the case which suggest that consentual sex took place can form part of a legitimate defense. Trouble is, the same tactics can also be leveraged against genuine victims of rape, and we, and possibly even the council for the defense, aren’t in a position to tell one from the other.

        • @ Peter Houlihan
          You write: “In the courtroom, however, there’s possibly a good reason to bring it up: If the accusation is false, drawing attention to aspects of the case which suggest that consentual sex took place can form part of a legitimate defense.”

          You are here actually saying that women who wear ‘suggestive’ clothes are more likely to have consented to sex, and are more likely to falsely accuse a man of rape afterwards.

          Do you see how insane that is?

          • Peter Houlihan says:

            No, but it suggests that its possible. The burden of proof in criminal cases is “beyond all reasonable doubt.” If a reasonable doubt exists that rape occurred its the duty of the defense to introduce it.

            For instance: Woman walking home at night from an 18 hour shift wearing her work uniform and a brown overcoat. She later claims she was raped and the police determine that sexual activity occurred. Semen in her vagina is linked to a man who lives nearby.

            It seems unlikely that she had consentual sex with a stranger after an 18 hour shift. The prosecution might bring up her clothing to point out that she clearly wasn’t intending on seeing someone or out on a date.

            Same woman, same man. This time its her friend’s hen party, shes out celebrating and wearing a miniskirt and a low cut top. She spends her evening in a bar where CCTV shows her having four drinks with a man before going home with him (he drank the same). She later reports that she may have been raped and the police determine that sexual activity occurred. Semen in her vagina is linked to the man she left the bar with. Toxicology reports indicate that while she had consumed a great deal of alcahol, her drink wasn’t spiked.

            In this case consentual sex was clearly a possibility: people often hook up with strangers in bars after a few drinks. The defense might legitimitely bring up her outfit in order to reinforce their argument that she deliberately made herself attractive in order to hook up. Her lack of memory about the incident is explained by the drinks she had.

            Its still possible she was raped, but the question isn’t whether its possible that she was, its whether its possible that she wasn’t. What shes wearing, how she was acting, where she was are all relevant factors contributing to this claim.

            If she was raped, it is in no way excused or related to her clothing or the fact that she was in a bar. The fault lies solely with the rapist. But in rape cases its typically one persons word against another, so the credibility and circumstances of both sides (including clothing) are brought into play.

    • DavidByron says:

      So you don’t understand why men see you as anti-male and sexist? Would you say that is because of your female privilege?

      • There is no female privilege.
        What’s your point?

        yawn…zzz…..

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Ever heard of a woman buying a diamond ring, postrating herself before a man and begging him to marry her? Ever heard of a woman working 18 hour shifts and having no control over how her money is spent? Ever heard of a country where any women are conscripted to the front lines in time of war?

          None of these things mean that male privilege doesn’t exist. They just mean that female privilege does too. Enjoy your sleep.

      • No – men do not see her that way. You do (apparently). Possibly other men as well. And maybe even some women. But “men” do not have a single point of view – on this, or anything else. And rest assured that there are men who do not see Nikki as anti-male and sexist in any way.

        It’s kinda ironic, don’t you think, that you make this comment to a post who’s arguing just this point – that no man can speak for all men or be required to speak for men or apologize for men.

    • Thank you Nikki, you are absolutely right!

      • Nikki, Louise, Peter, and everyone else. I have seen both sides of this. I had a co-worker who’s son was falsely accused of rape. 2 years and about 50 thousand dollars later, he was finally cleared. Of course nothing happened to his false accuser. I also have a good friend who’s wife was raped at work (At a hospital by a co-worker). It was He-said She said and he walked free.She quit her job (He stayed on) and forget “maritial relations”, he can’t even touch his wife on the shoulder without her “freezing up”. This couple had an ideallic marriage and it’s gone. Several years of therapy has softened it some , but I have my doubts that it will ever be what it was. Many a night he has poured his heart out to me , tears of fustration rolling down his cheek. He was supposted to protect her (like all men feel about there women) and he feels he’s failed her.

  11. Julie Gillis says:

    Please refrain from using language like “cnt” (or anything else derogatory to male or female). I’ll speak with editors.

    • I wondered how this site devolved into an MRA cesspool, and then I see that mods take men seriously when they call women cunts and promise to talk to editors about said “cunt” when she honestly discusses a culture that enables rape and the men who permit it to continue with their silence. I’m done here. There’s no room for good men on this site.

      • Julie Gillis says:

        Jennifer, I’m not sure what else you’d wish me to to. At this moment in time, I don’t have banning authority and I have emailed Lisa and Ryan about the use of language. I’m not taking anyone more or less seriously just trying to keep things consistent and equal. If you call someone a terrible derogatory name, I’ll ask you to refrain as well.

        • I apologize; I thought you meant you were both reprimanding him and stating that you would email the editor about his concerns.

          • Julie Gillis says:

            I was noting the language and I was sending a missive about both topics. It was a, if you will, meta email to the Editors. Personally, I don’t want anyone using cruel language at anyone and discourse should be civil. I’d prefer to take your post down too or edit it for “C” but as it stands you weren’t calling anyone that word, only using it as reference.
            I’m off for the night.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “There’s no room for good men on this site.”

        If not here then where?

        As much as a minority of MRAs are prone to this kind of behaviour, I’ve seen the same and worse from feminists. I assume you wouldn’t like to be lumped in with them?

        • @ Peter Houlihan. You write: ‘“There’s no room for good men on this site.” If not here then where?’

          Starting with threats now? “Your fellow men on other sites are even worse”? “Other men will only insult you more”? “They will get you females if we can’t”?
          Or am I now a …what was it again according to David Byron… a men-hating priviledged female feminist, understanding you, sweet man, in a wrong way?

          Oh…yeah..you’re right….now I see: you meant to say to Jennifer: ‘Please stay, I will miss you if you go. …You complete me….’

          • Peter Houlihan says:

            “Starting with threats now?”

            What? Sorry, but I really can’t see how you found any of that threatening.

            I was attacking the idea that such language is typical of MRAs. I also attack the idea that similar language is typical of feminists. I don’t like to be called a misogynist simply because I stand up for men’s rights. I assume you wouldn’t like to be compared to Valerie Solonas simply because you both call yourself feminist?

            Generalising all feminist or masculist viewpoints in order to dismiss the movement as a whole is pure straw-man tactics. If you want any examples of either just scroll up.

    • Are the words c!ck and c”nt allowed if not directed at anyone….in particular?

      You have it tough here Julie. And you’re doing wonderfully.

      Mr. Byron can also be a handful. I’ve known of him online for a while now, and believe it or not, he’s actually mellowed a bit…..

  12. Recall a chap called Ampersand and various message boards we exchanged ideas on….

  13. Across the world, the overwhelming majority of rapists — and their victims — come from poor and working-class populations — exactly the demographic that is not likely to be spending their time reading this website or anything by Nikki Brown, which is one major reason she and her fellow man-haters are so ludicrous with what they propose. And, I might add, counterproductive to really reducing sexual assault against women, because such women refuse, out of political correctness, to address the sociological and economic factors that contribute to a “culture of rape”. But can’t let the possibility of preventing future victims get in the way of Ms. Brown’s public self-glorification, now, can we?

    • So…what have you done to prevent rape lately?

      • “So…what have you done to prevent rape lately?”

        Vote for Republican legislators, who generally favor stiff sentences for criminals, as opposed to the hug-a-thug, set-them-free, it’s-not-their-fault-they-can’t-help-themselves-because-of-society sentimentality favored by liberals.

        Remember how the southern California chapter of NOW refused to condemn the 1995 O.J. Simpson not-guilty verdict because “he is a hero to the black community”? So much for how militant feminists REALLY care about women.

        • Hmm…never saw Nikki write something like ‘hug em and set them free’ about rapists, but perhaps she wrote this elsewhere and I am mistaken? I have also not seen republicans care about creating better circumstances for the poor, which is the group you were most concerned about. And before being sentenced, first the rapists need to get caught, the raped women need to be believed, the right person needs to be locked up….only then the stiffness of the sentence will start to count. However, by then most of the damage is already done. What Nikki is doing here is to raise awareness. This can possibly make a difference in how raped women are, and the accusation of rape by a woman is, being perceived and to how men treat women in general. Awareness has to start somewhere and it is important that men who don’t identify themselves with abuse of women, of any kind, speak up. Women can’t see who the ‘good men’ are and as a consequence women almost daily distrust ANY man. Women are even taught from childhood to distrust men and be careful. It would be helpful if ‘good men’ like you speak up and loudly agree with feminists that rape and abuse of women in general will not be tolerated, so that women can feel supported. It would do no harm to do so in any way, you can still vote republican.
          (As for your mentioning the O.J Simpson case: I bet there are enough ndividual cases to work as arguments for any opinion.)

          • “Women can’t see who the ‘good men’ are and as a consequence women almost daily distrust ANY man.”

            Well, if “women” (in your presuming to speak for 50% of the world’s population) can’t distinguish between “good men” and rapists, then I can let you in on a tiny secret amongst the private fraternity of men: we can’t either.

            Actually, it works like this; like most citizens of the world, I fear being mugged. I can’t really easily and precisely identify muggers from non-muggers whenever I leave my home, but there are gradations of probability I take into account, such as ethnicity, neighborhoods, times-of-day, being-in-crowds as opposed to walking empty streets alone. I could exhort the populations which, according to DOJ statistics, are more likely to commit violent crime, to chastise the miscreants in their midst, but I doubt if it would be very effective.

            After all, 1) such populations would be deeply offended at such a proposition, and 2), the miscreants would not pay them much heed anyway, because, like rapists, they don’t have a conscience.

            And that, shall we say, lays bare the sheer stupidity of Nikki Brown’s argument. Rape is a pathological behavior committed by individuals with pathological inclinations, not — as Ms. Brown suggests, a natural reflex of the male of the species. This might come as news to you, “Louise”, but most men don’t need to be lectured on how bad rape is because a resistance to committing rape is wired into our systems.

            Rape, ultimately, is not — as militant feminists claim — the purest expression of the male libido, but an act of aggression against the female of the species — for being female. In the case histories I’ve read of rapists, it is alarming to observe how many were abused — physically, sexually, verbally and/or emotionally — by their own mothers, and occasionally older sisters. Thus, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the act of rape constitutes a pathological form of revenge for childhood trauma.

            So how about this, “Louise”, to do your own part for rape prevention, why don’t you go out and tell mothers with abusive inclinations — you know, the type that regard even their own sons as potential rapists — to raise their boys with love and respect?

          • Peter Houlihan says:

            “the raped women need to be believed, the right person needs to be locked up”

            So all we need is a foolproof method of sorting out genuine rape victims from the liars. Since one doesn’t exist, we’ll just have to keep going with innocent until proven guilty and beyond all reasonable doubt.

  14. Brad McMahon says:

    I’m not a car thief, and that may explain why no one is chasing me.

    I also don’t hold-up convenience stores at gunpoint, and that may explain why I’m not in jail.

    To assume that I automatically participate in or subscribe to some mythical ‘rape culture’ is purely
    absurd, and is just as easily dismissed.

  15. J.G. te Molder says:

    There is no rape culture. The ridiculous concept for predictability and expecting rape as rape culture, not mention the moronic condoning concepts.

    If a bank leaves all their doors unlocked, has no safe, and has a sign that says so, and arrows that point the way, you can expect it to be robbed sooner or later. At first not, apart perhaps from idiots, at first most smart bank robbers would expect it to be the trap, but once they know it’s real, they’re going to rob the bank.

    Does that mean that we live in a Rob Culture? Does that means banks should be crying, “Bwahaha! Why don’t you people tell people not to rob us! You evil Rob Culture people you, you’re making this happen!”

    Of course NOT! And they didn’t, because banks usually aren’t run by complete idiots. They invested in ever better safes, locks and alarm systems.

    That’s because they and everyone understands, that a criminal doesn’t give a flying f about the law, or what non-criminals tell them is bad or good and what they shouldn’t be doing. They’re CRIMINALS!

    But the thing is, we can predict criminals. A criminal prefers easy but high worth targets. So as a person, you shouldn’t be flashing around money in a bar, than walk through a alley way drunk, you have a high chance of getting mugged. And if you face cops at this behavior, they laugh you in the face for how much of an idiot you’ve been, and that you shouldn’t do it anymore.

    But can we say the same simple common sense things about women and rapists? No: “Bwahaa! Rape culture! Slut Blaming! How dare you infringe about women’s privileges, and dare suggest you are but a man and not superman that can find and stop ever rapist everywhere before they get a victim!”

  16. Seriously let’s run this back to Title IX. Women fought for and won the case for equal opportunity in education. A person is raped once every six minutes in the United States. Did we say hey what would make us REALLY equal? Freedom from threat of sexual violence? How about mandatory federally funded Aikido and or Taekwondo classes from kindergarten through 12th grade in public schools.
    No, we decided to imitate the other in quest for power and now we have professional women’s basketball teams. Sports is good. Nothing wrong with sports. My comment is not anti-sports.
    The point is we still have a female population that cannot defend themselves when they need to against the threat of rape. Rapist should not rape. I am not blaming the victim. My only question is; why do women pretend they don’t need self defense and work together to insure our safety.

  17. As a sidenote, some of you may have watched a “60 Minutes” piece about a white female undergraduate at an American college who was gang-raped by two black basketball players — who then received light sentences even after being found guilty of rape, and afterwards resumed their athletic careers at other universities. Bizarre. With the Duke Lacrosse case, an accusation by a black woman against young white athletes resulted in an explosion of angry condemnations from feminist pundits in the media, who then said NOTHING when the accusation was proven false. This case, by contrast, has virtually been ignored by these same feminists, largely because they fear promulgating what Julie Gillis would call an “ism” (“racism”). But don’t expect any sisterly solidarity and compassion for the white victim on behalf of black women. I scanned what black media sites (BET, et cetera) had to say, and the response from black women in their forums was largely along the lines of “slutty white bitch.”

  18. Murat – I’m not reading all the 99 comments before mine, however…

    I want to say that I think this is a really smart, insightful declaration you’re making. The truth is, change starts within each of us. You’ve made the choice to live your life as a good man, and that’s all we can really ask any individual to do. However, I think you’re discounting one important thing you said… You do not associate with anyone who rapes. See, that’s a way you are taking a step outside of just not raping another person. You’re also saying here (if I’m correct) that you would stand up to somebody who advocated rape, made light of rape, or somehow encouraged it? That’s activism.

    You don’t have to be shouting from the rooftops to be an activist. You choose your friends based upon people having the same moral base as you, and that is the way in which you hold men (and women) to a higher standard.

    • Joanna, I think there are two things here. The first is the response to Nikki’s piece, and the second is what our moral culpability is as members of society.
      Nikki’s post at first assumes that rape culture exists, and then takes men to task for not fighting it. A lot of men don’t agree with her initial premise, so it’s something of a non-starter. I think the reason many men don’t accept the idea of a rape culture is because the idea is contrary to their personal experience. I’ll take my own personal experience as an anecdote – the most misogynist man I know, a guy who has internalized the “war of the sexes” as truth and sees women as manipulative bitches, would never rape anyone. As he said to me when I asked, “What? No, that’s just fucking wrong!” I also know (knew) two rapists. One is a highly disturbed individual (we’ll call him Jack) and is recently released from jail, living in a motel, and listed on the registry. The other (we’ll call him Gene) was a gang member, who was required to rape a girl as part of his initiation. Jack insisted she wanted it and got what was coming to her. Gene realized the wrong he had committed (he saw a difference between shooting a rival gang member and assaulting a “non-combatant”) and was remorseful until the day he died.
      I think to many men the idea of a rape culture is foreign because they don’t know any rapists (or at least they don’t think they do). Again, going only from my circle of friends, none of them are friends with rapists or even know any rapists (saving one who is a public defender). To them, the idea that our culture “accepts” rape just doesn’t ring true.
      Whether or not we believe “rape culture” exists, there is a secondary question of what moral obligation we have to address the incidence of rape within our culture. Setting aside the fact that men are also and increasingly victims of rape, this is actually a tricky problem that is exemplified by the classic moral dilemma of the drowning girl. If you’re not familiar with it, the problem sets out that you’re walking along and you see a drowning girl struggling for help. You can dive in and rescue her, but you’re wearing a very expensive outfit that will be ruined in doing so. Most people don’t hesitate in saying they would rescue the drowning girl and that it’s the moral thing to do. However, now assume that instead of a drowning girl, you’re asked to write a check to save the life of a girl around the world. We are assured that she will die and that our financial intervention will save her. Most people do NOT feel morally compelled to write that check.
      I think this is the very mechanism at work with respect to the alleged rape culture. Men will work in their immediate lives to counter rape, both by not raping and by not tolerating rape or rape language among their friends. But to ask men to “write that check” to combat rape culture, and to fault them for not doing so, is to demand men behave in ways that moral psychologists say we as a species are ill-equipped to do.
      I think what you’re saying, Joanna, is essentially what Murat is saying. He is acting morally within his personal sphere and he believes that it is our requirement to do so. What he rejects, and I don’t think you’re suggesting otherwise, is the idea that men should feel guilty if they don’t write that check. I’m inclined to agree, because as just as writing the check may be, it is a moral standard to which we don’t hold ourselves, and to demand it of others is unreasonable and unfair.

      • Ugh, lost a few sentences because of the auto-refresh. The following was to go after the recounting of Gene’s remorse:

        Researchers have done a lot to tell us who the rapists are. Most rapists are not like you and me, they are lacking in empathy and have other psychological disturbances. Gene appears to be the exception. His act was not one borne of feelings of privilege or malice towards women, but because of external pressure to be part of the gang. But neither Jack nor Gene are representative of men yet, according to the way “rape culture” is often described, we are to believe that our culture tolerates the behavior and existence of Jack and Gene. We know this is not true. Even in prison rapists are looked down upon as the lowest scum.

  19. A survey of 108 rapists undertaken by Raymond A. Knight and Robert A. Prentky revealed the 60 percent came from female-headed homes,. 70 percent of those describable as ‘violent’ came from female-headed homes. 80 percent of those motivated by ‘displaced anger’ came from female-headed (single-parent) homes. “No-Fault Divorce: Proposed Solutions to a National Tragedy,” 1993 Journal of Legal Studies 2, 19, citing R. Knight and R. Prentky, The Developmental Antecedents and Adult Adaptations of Rapist Subtypes, 14 CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR 403-426 (1987).

    Seems like this would be a good place to start addressing the rape culture, in the female led, single parent households.

  20. Richard Aubrey says:

    Rick S.
    Speaking of Duke. See all the fuss–not–over the rape of Katie Rouse, a Duke student at a Duke fraternity house. Not much sisterly concern there.
    Ditto Frank Lombard, a Duke admin type. So many conflicting “isms” that it should have sounded like a six-train wreck. But the possibility that the isms might actually be discussed in public meant nobody heard of it.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This comment was from NickMostly, replying to Joanna Schroeder, on the post “I Can’t Speak for Men and I Shouldn’t Have to“ [...]

Speak Your Mind

*