I Know Who You Raped Last Summer

 Kevin Sampsell struggles with the question of what to do when you know the person who did a very bad thing.

A dear friend of mine was raped in the summer of 2011. It was by a man she knew. They were at a bar together, though not on any kind of date. He had tried to kiss her there and she pushed him away. Sensing a shift in the mood, she told him she was going to leave. Her car was parked a few blocks away and the man said he would walk her to it. But then he grabbed her and pulled her into a church parking lot as she tried to fight him off.

She called me two days later and told me about the incident. I could tell that she was in pain, emotionally and physically. At the time, she would not tell me who it was because she was trying to take legal action. She only told me it was someone I knew.

♦◊♦

I’m trying to remember the first time I knew about rape. I probably heard the word as a kid but couldn’t fully imagine it. Eventually, seeing movies like The Accused, Blue Velvet, A Clockwork Orange, Deliverance, and Man Bites Dog all gave me fictional yet visceral examples of what rape was. When I saw the rape scene from 1974’s Death Wish, where Charles Bronson’s wife and daughter are attacked by muggers, I remember feeling the same kind of rage that Bronson’s famous character, Paul Kersey, unleashes later in the film. Revenge is so sweet in the movies.

But those were not real of course, and luckily, I did not know about real life stories of rape. Perhaps I thought they were as common as four-leaf clovers.

♦◊♦

One time I was in a relationship that seemed to be in a constant state of flux. We had both been in other relationships mere days before we became a couple. Our sex, which happened perhaps too early in our relationship, was good, but we still felt a little like strangers to each other in bed. Once, we were having sex and she froze up, stopped moving, and lost all expression in her face. I asked her if something was wrong and she asked me to stop. I stopped and rolled off of her and she told me that she felt like I was treating her like an object, that I wasn’t being in tune with her. It was frustrating for both of us, but I stopped when she said stop. A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened but this time she told me to “go ahead and finish.” I paused for a second and thought about what was being asked of me. It wasn’t “Stop” but rather “Finish.” I could not continue. So I stopped, and, after some awkward silence, we talked about what she needed me to do to feel more comfortable during sex. She told me about a time when she was raped by an older boy when she was a teenager. It was something that would disrupt her inner-peace for the rest of her life.

This “go ahead (or hurry up) and finish” scenario has been used as a joke in comedy for a long time, whether it’s the old married couple complaining about the sex act itself or an annoyed female character faking an orgasm to get her partner’s stamina to taper off. But if I had gone ahead and “finished,” what would that make me?

♦◊♦

When my friend was raped last summer, it was the first time that I had experienced that kind of violation to someone close to me. I understand that “experienced” is probably not the right word. Language can be a weird and stupid instrument in this conversation.

Let me tell you a few things about my friend: She’s a single mother of a small boy. She’s the kind of person who goes to shows and readings and buys every CD and book on sale to show her support. She’ll buy you a drink before you even see her approaching, smiling with your fresh drink in her hand. She laughs easily at your jokes and will offer you a ride home or to run an errand with you if you’re ever in need. She has a soft spot for sentimental pop music, bawdy humor, and “old lady poetry.” She’s beautiful but doesn’t like her photo taken because a photographer once told her that her features were unbalanced. She once told me that she loved her boyfriend because she felt safe and he would never be violent with her.

It’s been over a year since the incident and justice for my friend has been slow. She did all she was supposed to do—she went to the hospital, she filed a police report, she took her clothes off so they could photograph the injuries, and she got a lawyer. She even went to the police station days after that horrible night and spoke with her rapist on the phone as detectives listened in. He wasn’t certain how to respond to her questions. At times, he was remorseful and said he knew he did something wrong. At other times, he said he thought they were “playing a game.”

The detectives on the case heard all of this phone conversation and yet didn’t, for some reason, feel like they had a solid case against the rapist. At the heart of this situation is the issue of consent, and since he wouldn’t admit that he committed a crime (perhaps in his mind, he thought he had consent, even though she said No and asked him while he was doing it what he was doing), it would become a case of He Said, She Said in court, which is not as winnable as other attacks of this nature. In fact, on the totem pole of rape, acquaintance rape ranks at least fourth on the priority list. The most winnable cases for victims usually are: if a stranger rapes you, if it’s a gang rape, if there is anal penetration, and if the attacker is a different race.

A few days after telling me about the rape, she told me the name of the guy. It was someone I knew only slightly, in a peripheral way—I had met him in person once or twice and we were “friends” on Facebook. She told me a few weeks before that he wanted to go out with her but she wasn’t interested in him as boyfriend material. I may have said something like, “He seems like a decent guy.”

I waited for days, weeks, and months after, to see if she would get any kind of justice at all. She was told not to block him on Facebook but he blocked her. I thought about blocking him on Facebook, but I wanted to keep an eye on him, so to speak. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t drive to his house and confront him, I couldn’t post fliers in his neighborhood (or where he worked) announcing what he had done, and I couldn’t contact his teenage daughter or his girlfriend (both of whom probably had no clue that he had committed rape). I checked in with his Facebook page occasionally, seeing if I could detect what his life was like. He didn’t seem to post on his page much, but he did post a Leonard Cohen song a few days after the rape. It was Bird On a Wire, and he said something about how his life was like the song. As passive aggressive as it sounds, I wanted so badly to post on his Facebook page: YOU ARE A RAPIST AND PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE SHOULD KNOW THAT. A couple of months after the rape, I noticed that he started to post on his Facebook page more often and joke around with friends there. He seemed okay, like he didn’t have a worry in the world. Like he got away with it.

But the case was still being considered. Even though every time I spoke with my friend about the legal side of the rape, it was excruciating and baffling. The sheer number of rape cases makes it hard to get into a court, I understand, but I feared that the passing of time would make her memory fade.

But if you’re a rape victim, how do you heal? Do you try to forget as quickly as possible or do you try to remember every little detail until justice is served. My friend didn’t seem to have a choice in the matter. She was haunted by the incident and would not leave her house. She was too frightened to be around other people and even paranoid when speaking on the phone. She could not go to work. She could barely read or write or watch movies. She cried every day. Her life shut down.

On top of the mental and physical trauma, she was also stuck with the hospital bill to pay. She had ruined her clothes and a $360 purse was torn off her shoulder during the attack. All of that stuff can’t even be cleaned or repaired—it’s locked up in police evidence. This is a situation where a designer bag becomes a drop in the ocean. Collateral damage.

♦◊♦

My dad was a rapist. I did not know this until just four years ago. After his funeral in 2008, I learned some of the more shameful details of his life. The God-fearing Catholic that I grew up with, who hardly showed affection or pride in his children, had raped my twenty-four-year-old half-sister one night when I was three years old.

Contrary to some beliefs, my half-sister became pregnant. She was not in a good condition to have a baby. She had recently been released from a mental hospital where she had shock treatments. My mom took her to get an abortion.

This was something that my mom and dad kept from me and my four older brothers for the rest of his life. But looking back on it, even though I didn’t know about this rape, it was obvious that our family was poisoned by its aftermath. My mom accepted this violence for some reason and has carried it with her for over forty years. Again: collateral damage.

♦◊♦

I was unsure about writing this. I wasn’t sure if being a man would make this story less relevant. How could I know what rape does, what it feels like, or how it looms like a threat over millions of women?

At a friend’s house with my wife recently, I found myself the only male in a room with four women. We talked about the subject of rape and its sudden politically-awkward spotlight in the media.

I listened to them as they talked about uncomfortable situations they’ve been in. One of them walks with her keys poking out of her fist. One of them would walk down the middle of her neighborhood street while walking home late in Boston because she didn’t want to walk by bushes or places where someone could be hiding. One of them crosses the street when she hears someone walking behind her at night. One time when she did this, the man behind her, whose features she couldn’t see, asked her if she was afraid of black men. She wasn’t. She was afraid of any men in the dark.

♦◊♦

My friend waited over a year for her rapist to go to trial. The District Attorney wouldn’t take her case and it went from being a state case to a civil case. Investigators working for the rapist checked my friend’s background, contacting her ex-husband and an ex-boyfriend, most likely hoping to discredit her. In the end, there was a cash settlement. I’m not sure for how much because she can’t disclose details. In a civil case, the incident doesn’t go on the person’s record. My friend’s rapist doesn’t have to tell anyone that this happened. I’m still unsure if his girlfriend or his daughter knows anything about what he did. This settlement is basically hush money.

There were times in the past year when I spoke to my friend and she sounded on the verge of giving up and letting it go. “Maybe he’s an okay guy,” she said. “Maybe I’d be doing more damage to others.” After the settlement, she equated the monetary figure to being like an expensive prostitute. But of course, even prostitutes get raped.

Recently, I was out with friends and one of them mentioned that she had worked at the same place, a local college, that still employs the rapist. I asked her if she knew him and she exclaimed, “Oh, I love him.” When I frowned, she asked, “You don’t like him?” When I explained to her what had happened, she instantly became dark and angry and said she didn’t want to be friends with him anymore.

A few months prior to this conversation, I felt compelled to tell another friend who actually saw the rapist semi-regularly at work and in social settings, and was also friends with the victim. I was speaking to her on the phone and when I told her what had happened, she shouted out numerous times: No no no no! She was shocked but perhaps not entirely surprised. She told me that he had behaved aggressively with one of her friends too, someone whose physical attributes were nearly identical to my friend. We concluded that it was probably not his first (or last) time that he would attack someone.

These conversations (and the existence of this essay) may make it seem like I’m meddling in someone else’s business. Maybe I am. But this is someone’s life that has been affected—a good person who has had something horrible and irreversible done to her. No amount of cash can take erase the deepest trauma—the feeling that you’re not safe. If the police, the courts, or the lawyers, can’t help my friend (or other rape victims) find some justice or closure, maybe getting the word out about the rapist—warning people about him—is the best we can do.

photo by kasrak / flickr

About Kevin Sampsell

Kevin Sampsell is the publisher of Future Tense Books, a small press based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Salon, Nerve, Hobart, The Rumpus, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. His books include the story collection Creamy Bullets and the memoir, A Common Pornography. Find him at kevinsampsell.com

Comments

  1. Alanna Fero says:

    Your perspective as a man on this subject is incredibly important. Men challenging themselves with these issues, grappling with the anger, the shame-by-association, the need to make it right and the powerlessness to do so is all part of our society’s movement through rape culture to the other side – to compassion, to interconnectedness, to oneness.

    I watched the impact on my father when both his girls – me at 6, my half-sister at 16 less than a year later – were sexually assaulted. He felt like he wasn’t a good man, wasn’t a proper father because he couldn’t protect us. He carried a gun for over a year and a half til the most violent of the perpetrators went to jail. But something fundamentally shifted in him. He carried a sense of guilt and failure to the end of his days – to say nothing of the bunker he created for my childhood and the bubble wrap he tried to put around my teens. He was a decent, ethical, profoundly loving, golden gloves boxer, standup guy and veritable *horse* of a man who could not prevent the harm that came to those in his care. Rape affects men just as profoundly as it does women. And let’s not forget that men can be and are its victims as well.

    Thank you for your story. Thank you for your caring. <3

  2. Thank you for this

  3. burn the witch (rapist)

  4. Kevin Sample good on ya!

    We are not an assembly of parts where the “justice system” is the mechanic’s shop. We are community. We ALL must have healthy and continuous cradle-to-grave communications and friendships – which by definitions – includes trust, honesty, safety. We are born with an innate desire to see others happy that results in our suffering if we experience otherwise. For anyone who doubts that, you need to read more science headlines.

    Would that we could be clear enough in our thinking to understand it is a good thing to communicate when we know another is in danger of being a danger to others. Would that we could be able to see and address the needs for the broken-beyond-recognition people before they are so damaged they intentionally rend asunder this fabric of lives.

    Mr. Mike – you do not get to argue or avoid this. You butt is in this leaky boat as well. I suggest you start bailing. Punching bigger holes in the boat and claiming it as your right to an opinion because your making bigger holes on your side of the boat is beyond any fallacy of logistics.

    Big loVe – peace out.

  5. Sadly, from the timestamps, it’s obvious that Mr. Mike has difficulty sleeping at night and we know why.

    • Polly, you are disgusting.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Jumping to conclusions here, don’t you think? You can’t really tell very much based on a time stamp.

      Perhaps because of his work schedule he has time to write at night and not during the day.

      Maybe that’s when the server posted the message, not when he finished it.

      Maybe the message was held up in moderation and it’s the moderator keeping late hours.

      Maybe he lives in a distant time zone and he’s actually writing in the middle of his day out there.

      Maybe he’s up because he’s taking care of an infant who needs feeding at 2am and finds it hard to go back to sleep.

      If the time stamp said the middle of the day, then people would accuse him of being a slacker – “why isn’t he working at his job at 11am just like a normal person?” Probably damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  6. concerned citizen says:

    I honestly think it should be legal to a) publicly post rapists names and b) I think they should have a full on registry…they have it for child molesters why not rapists.

    • John Anderson says:

      I think most people here agree. There are a few who disagree and there are some, like me, who have no problem with it for convicted rapists. A few (or maybe just one) would like the registry to include convicted false accusers.

    • wellokaythen says:

      If by rapist you mean “convicted rapist,” then I’d tend to agree. If you mean a blacklist of everyone who was ever accused or rumored to be a rapist, then I’d say there’s a risk of libel or slander, which is and ought to be against the law. Unless you’re saying you wouldn’t mind being on the rapist list yourself if that ever happened by accident. I know I’m not a rapist and would not want to end up on such a list by accident. If you’re wrongly on that list, how would you ever get off of it? It’s usually a one-way ticket.

      We all know how effective and accurate blacklists are, right? How could anything go wrong by doing such a thing? The 1950’s are quite instructive here.

  7. As a male survivor of child sex abuse, incest, and physical/emotional/verbal abuse for years, I had to relearn how to be a person when I escaped home. My handicaps and psychological problems from the abuse are extensive. As often happens to a person raped as a child, I have also survived rape as an adult. The damage is unimaginable to anybody who hasn’t experienced this horror, though those who try to understand, empathize, and give help and support to a victim are priceless to us. 

    What I cannot understand are people who make excuses for rapists and pedophiles, or who believe they should have less punishment or more rights/protections. In many states, if a rape results in pregnancy, the rapist may be entitled to seek shared custody. Five years or less in prison is called “more than enough” or “too much” and the sex offender registry is called “cruel” and “unfair”. What is cruel is a grown man raping his four year old son, or renting his son to others, both to men and women rapists. The victims are treated like liars and criminals, while the rapists and pedophiles are protected and their privacy and rights championed. This is a sick situation that must be changed. 

    Five years or a civil settlement will never be “enough punishment”. Graham James was convicted in Canada, 150 counts of rape against him, and he received two years. This is a sick insult to his victims, who must deal with the damage he caused all their lives. Sandusky got 30 to 60 years, and even that, to me, is not enough. His age doesn’t matter. The ages of his victims certainly didn’t matter to him. 

    Kevin, I applaud you. Post fliers and warn others, whatever it takes. With that much knowledge that this man is a rapist, others need to be warned. Victims should never be forced to report or testify unless they feel they can handle that. It is wrong that it’s so hard to get rape cases to a trial, and then so often justice is never done. 

    Finally, I have to add that this concept of “We must teach men and boys not to rape women” is an insult and disservice to male victims of rape. Some women rape. Some men and boys are raped. We need to teach all people not to rape anybody. 

  8. Very good.Thanks

  9. delia vincente says:

    Even if it might be uncomfortable, if you really worry about this, as you are saying in your text, I would confront the guy and tell him what you know and what you think about him and his behavior. I would tell him upfront that he needs to seek therapy. That you are watching him and that a few other people are as well. No doubt, people can be “good guys” in one way and rapists in another. This is why all of us need to intervene and put a clear limit to this behavior. Since he doesn’t have the guts to admit his deed himself, he most likely thinks there is nothing wrong with his behavior. Therefore, he will probably commit another rape or sexual assault, be it physical or verbal, in the future. Maybe with the next victim being in a social position, where she doesn’t even have the power to press charges. So in my opinion, it is the duty of all of us, to make people like this guy see that he does not “get away with it”, even if the justice systems fails to do “justice.”
    Read more at http://goodmenproject.com/comment-of-the-day/maybe-your-meddling-will-save-lives-maybe-it-will-prevent-him-from-doing-it-again/#1pgOMPILhiHjWU47.99

  10. It’s not meddling. The author has a moral obligation to let as many people as possible know about this guy.

    To be blunt, this rapist scumbag deserves to have him life ruined. He deserves to live in shame for the rest of his days. He deserves a lifetime of pain and misery.

    And the women around him have a fundamental right to know that he’s the worst kind of sexual predator–the one that disguises himself as a trusted friend. Outing him as what he is–which is simply telling the truth–could save many other women from going through what the author’s friend did.

    I say out him on Facebook, tell his girlfriend and daughter, his boss, and every woman he knows. Plaster flyers everywhere. Give his name and info to Anonymous.

  11. Kevin,

    I want to thank you for being a better man than I am. I appreciate so much of this dialogue appealing to our higher nature. Except in the extremely obvious cases I had always looked at rape as something abstract with a million shades of gray; just something my circle of friends worried about being thrown out by an upset woman who threatened to extract some measure of revenge for feeling used or slighted by a man. This was until I learned that this violation happened to my sister nearly two decades ago. I was disorientated, offended and most of all furious at the perpetrator as well as myself as I looked at my actions in retrospect. Something so visceral needed no more proof than the pain of someone I loved and my thoughts were a long way from warning others of his crime. I still wrestle with these feelings and am hopeful that I will not attempt to ever balance the scales for her and myself. This conversation has made me consider the strength of both the victim and you Kevin for choosing this path and the benefits of speaking verses acting against an evil force.

    MIke L I don’t like you. Your callous treatment of the victim’s suffering and flippant use of logical syllogisms makes me wonder if you consider this an academic exercise. Some of your arguments would be thought provoking if I didn’t constantly wonder how quickly you would forgive someone who raped you. Congratulations on being a contrarian in a blog about rape. The great many people who have tried to reason with you speaks more about the capacity of people to show forgiveness than any argument for respect civil or legal penalties you’ve equated to justice. Perhaps I’ll be the only one to say you’re an asshole and should have said your piece and kept quiet but rest assured your eloquence is lost on me and me I’d like to have a very different type of discourse with you.

    • Guthrie,

      You are mischaracterizing the original piece.

      If this was written by a victim, then I would have all the sympathy in the world. It was not, however, written by a victim.

      This was written by someone who sought to excuse their own vigilantism, and I am forcing people to confront that reality.

      Look at the comments of people on here that disagree with me: you cuss at me, someone else accused me of committing my own sexual assaults, there have been ad hominems galore. Why? Because there is no legitimate defense of vigilatism, and there can be none.

      So go ahead, call me names, make pretend this is really about a victim, and not people looking to excuse their own blood thirsty desires for revenge.

      • What vigilantism? He’s not doing anything more than repeating the story to others who are involved with this guy in some way. You’re making it sound as if he’s out to assassinate the guy.

  12. Mark Ellis says:

    Great piece by one of Portland’s literary lights. Probably goes without saying, but I enjoyed the title’s great play on a linguistic construct. As to the issue itself, I’m no expert, but with social media being what it is, the perpetrator in question is all but identified, if not de facto then in the cosmic, karmic sense. Yikes.

  13. This story is rough for me to accept. I, too, would want the rapist the pay, but not at the expense of him being free to rape others and the survivor silenced by cash. How about when she hears about his next victim? He has access to students on a college campus? He isn’t outed by name here or anywhere else that I know of, and while I have heard this story here and one other time from a friend, I don’t know the name of the rapist or the survivor. How do we protect our community? How do we protect women who this man is willing to violently attack? He isn’t going to stop.

    I am speaking from the point of view of someone in a similar situation. The person who assaulted my 12 year son is well known in literary circles, he calls himself gay although he has no right to, he never has relationships with men and is open about his acceptance of man/boy relationships. He has used his own 13 year old son to gain access to his victims and many readers probably know who I mean. There is a legal case pending against him and I would sue him for everything he has, but not at the expense of his having access to boys for the rest of his life. He needs to be done hurting children. No amount of money would allow me to let him have access to children, knowing what he is and how he lies and manipulates to gain access to them, he won’t stop. As difficult as it was for my son to tell me, and detective, he told me so he could protect others. So this man would have to stop.

  14. Good Friend? says:

    Thank you for writing this article and sharing how you navigated a difficult situation. Thank you for starting a conversation among good men about this issue that really is theirs to discuss. Thank you for drawing a stark contrast between the defensive stance of “Mike L” (see comments) and the sensitive and responsible (not guilty, but responsible, as in “able to respond”) approach you are offering as a different pathway.

    Many good men are surprised at how much the specter of rape haunts women, including women who’ve never been raped. Like your friends, I’ve walked – since a teenage self-defense class – down the middle of streets, with a look of determination (as they instructed us), keys clenched in hand, ready to confront an attacker who has thankfully, to date, not appeared. This is not paranoia, it’s an effort to avoid violent tragedy. It always feels inadequate; I still feel vulnerable.

    Years ago at a friend’s wedding, a college friend and fellow bridesmaid suddenly began sobbing in our hotel room, confessing that years before, the Best Man had raped her at a party. They were both a bit drunk. At the time, she’d had a boyfriend she loved. She had avoided the Best Man’s advances and repeatedly said “no.” He held her down and raped her. She’d also been on her period. The tampon was shoved so far up inside her that she had to have it removed at the doctor’s the next day. She never pressed charges. I was the first person she’d talked to about it since it happened.

    This is the first time I’ve shared that I even know that. What does a good friend do in these circumstances? I hate the lack of justice. I’m saddened that she’s harbored this tragedy for so long. I’m sickened that he goes on with life, wholly unaccountable.

    I want more good men to continue this conversation, to be appropriately protective of their female friends, colleagues, neighbors and loved ones, and to eradicate this sick, oppressive and misogynistic behavior from our species.

  15. I was very surprised by comments made by Mike …so much that I would leave a comment on a site… Forgiveness is offered for the sake of the victim/s so that they may move on… It is not absolution for the perpetrator.. They must seek their own peace… There are consequences for all actions good or bad and they often have a wave effect… That is part of the natural process… The victim/s through no fault of their own have a “life sentence”…. Why is that ok for the innocent but for the perpetrator we can say ” that’s ok buddy, you’ve been punished enough…. Go along now and live your life…”

  16. I was raped at knife point by a stranger when I was 15. The man who did it had also raped several other women, none of whom would give evidence in court. It’s probably because I was a minor that the police were so supportive of me, and they really wanted to get that guy. I am thankful for that. But I also don’t believe in the system of revenge as justice. The man that I put in prison with my testimony must have either spent those years in solitary, or was tortured, raped and maybe killed by other inmates. This is what happens to child molesters, which is technically what he was. I don’t think this helps anything. Yes, I had my fantasies of ripping his throat out and taking out my anger on him physically, but these were imaginings for the benefit of my own healing. I don’t know what the answer is.

    What upset me for years, as much as the effects of the assault itself, was the reactions of my friends and family. There were those who brushed it under the carpet, making me feel rejected and alone. There were those who, in the guise of concern, told everyone I knew what had happened to me, which seriously fucked me up, making me feel like everyone in the world saw me as a rape victim, and that I had no control over my own identity. There were also those who got angry and said they would kill the guy, or rape him, or whatever. It didn’t feel to me like these men were really caring about my feelings. They were just angry someone had hurt me, and the only way they knew to act on that was to be violent back. That is not what I wanted. I wanted people to relate to me, to give me space for my feelings, and to give me back the autonomy that was taken away by the rape, instead of continually taking it away over and again.

    What is right in any situation depends on the people involved. I personally believe that violence is not the answer, and it makes things worse in the long run. But what is most important is that the survivor of the original violent act is the one who has control over what is done or not done in her or his name (as I know men can be victims of sexual violence, by other men or by women too).

    As for the criminal justice system. Though in my case it worked ok (it took over a year to go to trial), in general it’s just crap in rape cases. Most survivors don’t feel safe to report, and most reports don’t go to trial. The sex offender list is a bullshit tool that ruins lives, as men get put on that list just for peeing in public. There’s no gradation of offenses on the list. Plus, a false accusation can ruin an innocent man’s life completely.

    And people who commit rape are people too. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have severe consequences, but I don’t think we can heal our culture by ignoring the cycle of abuse that is at work. The culture that teaches boys they have to be insensitive and they have to fuck to be worth anything is severely abusive too.

    I think the way forward is to keep talking. Kevin is forging a path that we all must walk. Break the silence. Say what you feel, and keep arguing about all the stuff we all disagree on. Education, relationship, showing each other what the real effects are, arguing our points and listening to each other, honoring our feelings and how much we have been hurt. These all are much stronger than any legal policy or system of justice.

    Thank you all so much for having this discussion. And thank you Kevin for starting it.

  17. I really appreciate that you included your personal experiences in here. Almost all men will get angry about rape, but many are using a very specific definition (violence, screaming, alleyway, stranger) which excludes the vast majority of rapes. There are a lot of men who supposedly hate rapists yet still think they are entitled to use the bodies of women they care about. My ex-boyfriend who raped me is one of them. So often I hear discussions on rape and get the impression that no one involved would care about what happened to me, because it’s not rape to them. What you wrote about you and your ex-girlfriend both demonstrates the ongoing impacts of trauma, and shows just how close what many people consider “normal sex” can be to rape. Thank you.

  18. I don’t for a second think this is not an essay for a man to write. Of course men should consider and deliberate. I can’t congratulate you for not being a rapist, but I can for caring about it.

    So much of our rape culture places responsibility on women – how they dress/act, their sexuality, their experience, how they must avoid rape. No one tells boys how not to be rapists. No one says, prevent rape by NOT RAPING PEOPLE. Well… maybe they do more now. And this essay is part of that.

    I’m sorry for your friend’s horrible experience. I’m glad you care.

    • Egalitarian says:

      How about also telling women and girls not to rape? That is quite common if you properly define rape.

      According to the latest CDC (US government) survey, 4.8% of all men have been “made to penetrate” and 79.2% of the perpetrators were women. Examples of “made to penetrate” are: a woman who has sex with a man who is passed-out drunk, or a woman who forces a man to have sex with her through violence or threats of violence. There is some confusion due to the fact that their definition of rape excluded “made to penetrate” and only included men who had been penetrated. That was far less common (1.4% of men) and was mostly perpetrated by men. However, if you include “made to penetrate” as rape, which you should, since it is forced sex, women are a significant percentage of rapists, and the majority of male rape victims were raped by women.

      The above, lifetime stats do show a lower percentage of male victims (up to 6.2% of all men) than female victims (18.3% of all women) although this is far more than commonly believed. However, if you look at the report’s stats for the past 12 months, just as many number of men have been “forced to penetrate” as women were raped, meaning that if you properly define “made to penetrate” as rape, men were raped as often as women.

  19. Having had many dealings with the court system (divorce and child-custody/welfare) I know that it is almost impossible to get a conviction without a video tape or a confession. It is no surprise to me that this woman accepted a settlement when it appeared that she could not show in court what actually happened. I applaud you for speaking about it here so eloquently and especially for warning others.

    Rape is no “accident.” An accident is when I put a pair of red socks in with the whites while doing my laundry, turning the whole load pink. Rape is not a mistake; it is an extreme act of violence.

    Thank you for giving voice here for your friend’s sake and all of ours.

  20. I have been the single divorced mother raped by a friend, who also had a girlfriend and who does not have it on his record despite admissions to police. I appreciate every friend who stuck by me in the great friendship divide that reporting such a crime creates and I applaud all who warn others of his past. To my knowledge he has tried once more but she’d heard the warnings and got out. I too felt the same way about the crimes compensation money I received. Keep warning women – my child is now 16 and he encountered her recently and she asked why we were no longer friends, I spilled my guts to her. She needed to know incase he came back to her place of work. We need to protect each other.

  21. wellokaythen says:

    Is there still any merit to the concept of innocent until proven guilty? Is there no room for the word “alleged” when it comes to rape?

    There may be a difference, or maybe at least should be a difference, between shunning someone who’s a “rapist” and shunning someone who’s “accused of being a rapist.” It is highly unlikely that a woman would falsely accuse someone of rape, but it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. What is it about rape accusations that make them unique in this way?

    At the very least, I would hope there are degrees of discrimination here, i.e., being discriminating in the source of information. Sure, hearing it firsthand from the alleged victim is a great source, but are we prepared to shun someone for being a rapist because of something we heard from someone who heard it from a friend who heard it from the cousin of the neighbor that he’s a rapist? A collective social sanction against rapists will generally turn into some sort of groupthink – well, of course he’s a rapist, everyone says so.

    • “Innocent until proven guilty” is a legal standard, not an absolute standard. If the author knows and trusts his friend, then that is sufficient to believe what she says and to act as if it is the truth in his everyday life.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I get it, and I really don’t want to sound like an ass. I don’t know why I’m such a stickler about this, but I guess I was hoping for more overt language.

        Part of me wanted the author to claim his beliefs and own his conclusions about the rapist. He made some decisions and came to some conclusions based on what his friend told him. I kept reading and reading looking for the place where he says he knows that this acquaintance is a rapist because ____.

        Maybe this is just splitting hairs, but I was hoping for a more clear statement. “She told me he raped her, and I believe her, and I support her” sounds perfectly reasonable to me and totally accurate, but it’s a slightly different kind of statement than “a friend of mine was raped by someone I know.”

    • @Wellokaythen: You say

      “It is highly unlikely that a woman would falsely accuse someone of rape, but it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility. What is it about rape accusations that make them unique in this way?”

      Actually, virtually every study indicates that false accusation aren’t rare at all, even the most feminist friendly studies put it at around 8% which is no where near rare AND False accusations of rape are about 4 times as high as false accusation other violent crimes, i.e. murder, armed robbery and assault.

      What’s unique about FAR (False accusations of rape) is the intimate nature of it and that it becomes a he said , she said AND that if someone is found to have falsely accused someone the likelyhood of them being prosecuted is virtually 0

      • John Anderson says:

        “Actually, virtually every study indicates that false accusation aren’t rare at all, even the most feminist friendly studies put it at around 8% which is no where near rare AND False accusations of rape are about 4 times as high as false accusation other violent crimes, i.e. murder, armed robbery and assault.”

        I always thought that 8 – 10% was the incidence of false reporting for other crimes, but maybe I misunderstood the data. I tend to agree that false reporting for rape would be higher. Originally (and I still think to some extent) that it would be due to the personal nature of the crime. When people regret having sex, it affects them more personally, and so they react more aggressively like how a detective determines that a person was murdered by someone they know based on how many times they were stabbed. More stab wounds indicate the attack was personal.

        I’m beginning to wonder if the incidence of false reporting is higher because under reporting of rape is extremely high. If there were 100 muggings and 98 were reported and there were 2 false reports of muggings, you’d have 98 actual muggings and 2 false reports or 2%. If there were 100 rapes, but only 46 reported and 2 false reports (same incidence as other crimes), you’d get 46 reported rapes and 2 false reports or about 4% of reported rapes being false reports. It kind of makes sense.

        Do we know what the incidence of under reporting is for other crimes?

  22. Kevin, I think you did all the right things. Warned other women that are near him. Supported your friend as best you could.
    There just isn’t a lot of options in cases like this.

  23. I think warning other people who know him is the best thing you can do. Think about it: if you knew someone was a thief, you would tell your friends not to let that person handle their wallet or purse, or stay at their house, right? Maybe you are “meddling” in this man’s life, but maybe he forfeited the right to a meddle-free life when he decided to be a rapist. Maybe your meddling will save lives. Maybe it will prevent him from doing it again. As a woman, I would want to know if someone I worked with or knew was a rapist, so I could avoid them and keep an eye on them. Thanks for meddling, keep up the good meddling! Thanks for writing this too.

  24. Life Lessons says:

    Well done. And yes I think our society should start shunning rapists. They more than deserve it.

  25. I find Mr. Sampsell’s behavior in this piece extremely troubling.

    Our society has a justice system for a reason. In this instance, a certain amount of justice was exacted: some kind of monetary payment was made. The victim did not need to accept a settlement, the victim could have forced the case to trial and put everything in the public record. The victim did not choose to do this.

    Enter Mr. Sampsell. In his mind, the rapist has not paid enough. He must continue to pay, months and years after the attack. He must pay even after he has literally paid through a legal settlement.

    When does it end?

    Do we never forgive, ever? Even when the victim seems to consider the matter closed, do we really deserve to be so self-righteous as to continue to seek social penalties.

    We end up with a system where sex-offenders pay for their crimes with an automatic life sentence precisely because of people like Mr. Sampshell. Make one mistake, and, in their opinion, your life should essentially end. Register the sex offenders, build more prisoners, ensure that they cannot secure employment; there is no penalty too great.

    Thankfully there are those among us with the capacity to forgive. I sincerely hope that one day Mr. Sampshell will join them.

    • You want him to forgive this guy? Maybe he ought to fess up to his crimes publicly, apologize for his actions, and get some help. Until then, he’s some dude who had to pay a little money for taking something priceless away from at least one lady and God knows how many more in the future.

      You don’t even know if he is going to do it again! And you want forgiveness! I have a wife who was attacked by a would-be rapist. He was not successful, but if you think that I would hold back from demolishing his face if she were to bump into and identify him, then you’re crazy. If you also think that I would be a bad person for it, then you’re just entirely out of your mind. Though in your mind, his not getting to rape her is probably “a certain amount of justice.”

      “In this case a certain amount of justice was exacted.”

      Justice is justice. There’s no “little bit” or “extra level” or “certain amount” of justice. It’s either justice, or it’s not. And it’s not.

      If you were allowed to make the rules we would have a world where rapists are allowed to roam free. Maybe you should rethink your positions.

      I thank Mr. Sampsell for his very honest, very analytical, very emotional exploration of what it means to be raped and live with rape, whether as a victim or as somebody who cares deeply for a victim.

      • Your response is littered with flaws, I’ll try and address them.

        “You want him to forgive this guy? Maybe he ought to fess up to his crimes publicly, apologize for his actions, and get some help.”

        See, here you are demanding a level of justice that the victim does not. This is a kind of dangerous self-righteous attitude that is used to justify everything from picketing funerals to carrying out suicide bombings.

        “You don’t even know if he is going to do it again!”

        Here you are making the false assumption that he would do it again. In reality, sex offenders have some of the lowest rates of recidivism. This means that, compared to people who commit all other types of crimes, sex offenders are actually the least likely to “do it again” and therefore your fears are misplaced. (Here’s a great link if you’re interested in educating yourself: http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/05-08-1203.pdf )

        “He was not successful, but if you think that I would hold back from demolishing his face if she were to bump into and identify him, then you’re crazy. If you also think that I would be a bad person for it, then you’re just entirely out of your mind.”

        This is a deontological argument, which is the same kind of argument used by the worlds major religions when they attempt to justify their actions. So, when someone says “Evolution is wrong because it goes against the word of God,” they are making a deontological argument. For this reason, it’s best not to rely on arguments of this form.

        “Justice is justice. There’s no “little bit” or “extra level” or “certain amount” of justice. It’s either justice, or it’s not. And it’s not.”

        You cannot win an argument by defining a word, that’s never going to be convincing.

        “If you were allowed to make the rules we would have a world where rapists are allowed to roam free.”

        This is a gross mischaracterization of my actual position. It’s clear your emotions have run away with you and it’s resulting in your making a straw man argument.

        I’m sorry that you put so little stock in forgiveness. I can only tell you that were you to make a terrible mistake, I would encourage others to forgive you. I hope one day you might see the value of this sort of position.

        • Jenner Jenner Who Can I Turn To says:

          Serious question: How much punishment is sufficient? Once a person has been put in prison for years, put on the sex offender registry for life, cut off from employment and polite society, and had his face smashed in… Has “justice” been served then? Can the rape victim’s life get back to normal? If not, then what?

          I don’t think men in general are ready to have a serious conversation about this. We take our cues from Law and Order SVU and think about it terms of monsters and revenge and righteous bloodlust. Meanwhile, the victims themselves, and women in general who are faced with this on a daily basis, have all kinds of conflicted thoughts and emotions about this that we can’t really understand.

          I’d start with making rape and power dynamics a part of sex ed. I’d emphasize that rape isn’t something that’s strictly the realm of monsters, but that it’s something that a lot of “good men” are one horrible decision away from. Maybe then we can really start to talk about it in terms of restorative justice.

          • Jenner Jenner,

            I really appreciate this comment.

            I would argue that some forms of rape really can be mistakes. Consider the scenario of acquaintance rape where BOTH parties are intoxicated and the woman actually said yes, but was too intoxicated to give consent. This is literally rape: there was no real consent. Yet, especially in the face of a spoken “yes,” it’s easy to see how a mistake is made.

            But whether you agree with me or not, I think you are correct: we need to have a real discussion about how much punishment is too much, because clearly “punished for life” is unacceptable.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I’m sorry. Chasing a woman blocks and then ripping her handbag and her clothes to bruise her and forcefully put your penis inside her vagina is NOT A MISTAKE.

              He is a sociopath who needs to be incarcerated.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              But yes, there may be some forms of “iffy consent” that are considered rape that could be considered a mistake. Sure.

              But the point of this story is that this man forcefully raped someone. He does NOT deserve our forgiveness. It is not ours to give. It is hers and hers only and all I can say is that I’m grateful I have not crossed paths with him. The point of this story is that it DID happen to her and he got off scott free. And you’re here saying he should be forgiven because he was ordered to pay her some money? Even though he doesn’t have a criminal record and could theoretically work in a high school or something.

              What a fucked up, fucked up world this is.

              • Joanna,

                The world is even more “fucked up” when people like yourself crowd our prisons with endless jail terms, set up sex offender registries so that the few who are paroled end up homeless, and then top it off by denying gainful employment to the rest.

                Your right not to forgive ends when my tax dollars need to start paying for it.

                • Mike, lemme just address a few things. My father is a psychologist who works with sex offenders appointed to him by the court. He has a nearly unheard of success rate with the men he works with. Some of them by my father’s own admission are very low risk for repeat offense, some shouldn’t be there in the first place, and others are seriously frightening individuals who don’t even realize what they did was wrong. I am very knowledgeable about this and I am not sure what my exact position is on the sex offender registry. I think pedophiles should be put on a list, but after successful treatment and no repeat offenses, then they should be taken off the list.

                  However, a rape like what was described shows the perfect combination of entitlement and lack of consideration for other people’s feelings that suggests that this guy is a repeat offender, and has a high likelihood of being emotionally manipulative/abusive. The fact that his family seems unaware of it is also highly frightening. Abusers seem to have a checklist that is almost always followed, and rape and abuse have a high co-morbidity rate.

                  I will grant that there are situations where a guy didn’t hear what a girl wasn’t saying and that is a problem from both of their parts. He should have been more sensitive and she should have been more vocal. However, I have a hard time categorizing that as the same level of offense as a physically or emotionally forced rape.

                  • Evan,

                    Frankly I don’t find your remarks convincing. You never met the man in question, and you cite your father as evidence, but seem to lack his experience and formal training. Even trained psychologists know better than to diagnose someone they have never met.

                    I’m sorry, but your theory is overreach and speculative at best.

                    • You appear to have no idea what a victim goes through, or are at least completely downplaying it. Many victims take settlements because the trauma is too great to carry on a prolonged criminal trial, in which they have to be severely scrutinized, remember every possible detail of typically the most traumatic event in their lives, and even then there’s no guarantee that the one who assaulted them will receive sufficient punishment.

                      Many legitimate cases are dismissed when they go further, because they lack evidence. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen as the victim described. Just because the courts decide something doesn’t mean it’s always the deserved amount of justice, as though the justice system is infallible. It’s not, by a longshot. The reason we have so many pushing for reform of sexual crimes laws is because the current system is broken.

                      Social stigma for violent criminals who have not been through any sort of reform (unless you feel a cash settlement is somehow “rehabilitation”) is a social issue, not a criminal issue, so legal justice isn’t relevant here. If a man rapes a woman, and gets away with it, he’s likely to do it again. That’s statistics, not training. If other women are around him, and he is a potential danger, then yes, they deserve to be warned. There is nothing irresponsible about that from a social perspective. The legal end doesn’t even enter into it.

                    • YouSoSpecial says:

                      Mike, you never met the man either. Yet you seem assume he’s a regular guy and deserves our forgiveness and our willingness to overlook his past behavior just because he paid a fine. Who’s jumping to unfounded conclusions?

          • John Anderson says:

            @ Jenner, Jenner,

            “How much punishment is sufficient?”

            Good question and one worthy of debate. I always thought that it was strange when I’d see some rapists get sentenced to terms three or four times longer than some people convicted of manslaughter. That doesn’t even consider the “extra” punishment of the sex offender’s registry.

        • Um, I don’t know how carefully you read the study you linked to, Mike L, but rapists have the highest violent felony recidivism rates. I would also add that this study looked for convictions in the first 5 years after release into the community, not over the person’s lifetime, which is surely more relevant in this particular situation. Finally, rapes like the one discussed here would not be taken into account at all, given the lack of conviction.

          • But the claim is NOT that sex offenders have low general felony conviction rates, it’s that the sex crimes themselves have low levels of recidivism.

            The difference is between:
            He might rape again. (which was the claim made)

            And

            He might commit some crime in genera.l (which was not the claim made)

            I’m so sorry that you made this mistake, but it is fundamental.

            • YouSoSpecial says:

              The study you cited dealt with sex crimes of all types, not with acquaintance rape. The 2002 Lisak&Miller study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11991158/ is much more on point. It found that guys who get away with it, as this rapist did, average 5.8 victims each.

              The circumstances recounted by Kevin Sampsell describe a repeat rapist’s pattern remarkably well.

        • I admire Mike L’s attempt to not let emotion cloud the issue. However, his response is “littered with flaws” of its own.

          His emphasis on the “justice” system and appeal to the fact that “justice” has been exacted equivocates on two clear senses of justice. Legal “justice” is quite different from moral justice. This is understandable, of course, given that we often talk about “criminal justice systems;” but, to conflate the issues here and say we should forgive because “justice” has been served is to overlook the obvious objection that there is something still wrong with this picture.

          Of a more factual nature is his offhand remark that the victim chooses not to demand a higher level of “justice.” I can’t speak to the actual facts, but according to the story the DA chose not to take the case to trial, not the victim.

          And, finally, his characterization of “deontological argument” in his response to andrew is highly confusing. My best interpretation is that he is saying that religions appeal to the rules of a particular God to justify their actions, which sometimes results in bad things happening. This does not seem to be at all what andrew is saying, though. Simple retributivism could dictate that the rapist deserves much more punishment than the civil settlement he ended up with.

          • Oh yes. My words for Mike L’s god would be even harsher.

          • Nick,

            Your response is cute, but unconvincing.

            You begin by appealing to “moral justice” which is not only I’ll-defined, it’s clearly arbitrary. We have a justice system because we don’t want arbitrary definitions of justice. I’m not equivocating, I’m pointing out this reality.

            Second, there is nothing confusing about a deontological argument: it’s an argument that appeals to arbitrary standards instead of reason. That’s why it’s used by all the world’s major religions. We need reason in public policy, not arbitrary morality.

            • You say that “moral justice” is “ill-defined” and “clearly arbitrary.” Aren’t the conditions for which one person ought to forgive another the same?

              I see no reason why the author has any responsibility to forgive the rapist.

        • Sounds like you are struggling with a ‘terrible mistake’ of your own, Mike.

          • Sabine,
            are you accusing Mike L of rape?

            • Yeah, it’s called an “ad nominee attack” and it’s what people resort to when they’re out of reasoned arguments.

              • Welp, that’s embarrassing, obviously that should have been “hominem” and not “nominee” despite what autocorrect thought.

          • Sounds like you hit the nail on the head, Sabine. Notice he doesn’t address your post? Rape is not a “mistake”. It is a conscious, violent attack against another person that happens to involve some form sexual assault. Forgiveness? Who the hell are YOU Mike L to decide when or even whether a victim needs to forgive?

            • Wow.

              So, according to you guys, if I’m not on here commenting 100% of the time (because, you know, I have a life and stuff), then I’m a rapist.

              Real mature.

              I’m a law student in the SF Bay Area, and I spent a semester last year working in my school’s criminal justice clinic. I’ve seen, first hand, how destructive the California penal system is. The total overcrowding, the lack of healthcare, punishments that never end, ending up homeless because no one will hire a sex offender, it’s madness.

              I have compassion for my fellow humans, regardless of what they have done. If you are so blinded by rage that you have forgotten about compassion, then you are truly lost.

              • YouSoSpecial says:

                Mike L, I have no reason to believe you are a rapist. But based on your comments here, you appear to be a rape apologist.

              • Mike

                If you are a law student then you should realize the main flaw of your own argument. You say that the victim accepted a money settlement and if that was not enough she could have pushed on with a trial. You say you are compassionate, but seem to have little to no compassion for the victim, or at least exhibit a complete lack of understanding of how victims are affected by rape and other similar crimes. What you miss is that she pursued a civil case because she could not pursue a criminal one. As a law student you should know that it is the state, not the victim, that has the ultimate deciionmaking power when it comes to whether or not to prosecute someone. Kevin’s story makes clear that the state did not prosecute this case. As an attorney practicing for more than 15 years, I know from experience it is not uncommon in these days of setreme budget cuts for DAs to focus on cases that have the greatest chances of success. With no prospect of justice via the criminal courts, many victims proceed in civil courts, hoping to get some sense of closure. This process takes far longer than the criminal court system. This means that rather than get closure, or a sense that justice has been done, the pain of the victim is prolonged. As a result, many victims opt for an early settlement that does nothing or very little to bring them the peace they are so desperately searching for. If you truly are the compassionate person you claim to be, I hope when you get a little more experience under your belt and gain a better and understanding of how the system works and victim psychology, you will appreciate both sides.

          • Sabine,

            My only mistake was asking people to forgive.

            I guess that’s just beyond some of us, and we’re all poorer for it.

        • When I was raped and I sought guidance from my Catholic churches (in my hometown, in my college town), who literally PREACH forgiveness even THEY didn’t preach forgiveness SOAKING in condescension. “Mistake”?? WHAT? How can you think that about RAPE? A mistake is running over someone in a foggy night, shooting your husband in the moment you find him in bed with another woman, going on a date with someone like this guy. It is NOT chasing someone down several blocks and dragging them into a parking lot and RAPING THEM.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ Mike L

          “See, here you are demanding a level of justice that the victim does not.”

          That’s incorrect from the article “she filed a police report,” She demanded the level of justice that he’s talking about, possibly something even more severe if he had been given a prison sentence. She didn’t get it, but that’s not the same thing as not demanding it.

          • John,

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but the author is calling for something that sounds an awful lot like stalking and harassment and then making pretend that this is “justice.”

            The author specifically calls for following the perpetrator around for an indefinite period of time and alerting all of his coworkers to his transgression. This is not something that the victim is doing, this is something that the author of the article is taking it upon himself to do. This is also clearly something that does not belong in civilized society.

    • Getting the justice system to prosecute rape cases can be an extremely long and tiring process. And, in some cases, the victims who try to get the accused brought to jail face harassment from the police.

      The money she received in the case will never compensate for what was done to her, but, hopefully, it will help to pay for the counseling that the victim clearly is in need of. Given all the other problems the victim was facing, she probably needed the money to survive (reread the article, “she could not go to work.”

      Sorry, but, the rapist scumbag got off all to easily with a cash pay out. And, as suggested further down the post, will probably do it again, and appears to have attempted something similar one other time.

    • “Our society has a justice system for a reason,” indeed, but not the reasons you probably think it does. The justice system is designed to provide plausible cover for the lie that violence is an aberration and that the state cares about all of its subjects or citizens. The justice system is designed to maintain a status quo where violence against some groups is routinely ignored and violence against authority or other groups severely punished.

      “When does it end?” For this man, it probably will not end until his death, if then. Nor will it end for the woman or other members of her circles either, although she may find a way to put a less painful spin on it.

      “Do we never forgive, ever?” Some of us do, Mike L. And in those cases when I have chosen to forgive it was out of necessity or convenience, because it aided my healing. Those who were not trespassed against do not get to do the forgiving.

      Karma and vengeance are probably both closer to justice than the law shall ever be in such matters. May you realize soon how very clueless you are, Mr L, in the gentlest way possible.

      • I’m sorry but you hav such a twisted view of the justice system that it’s not worth debating it.

        Your arguments only follow if you accept a series of propositions which are, at best, questionable. Your views of the justice system are clearly more informed by cynicism than fact, and this is leading you to faulty conclusions.

      • “The justice system is designed to provide plausible cover for the lie that violence is an aberration and that the state cares about all of its subjects or citizens. ”
        “Karma and vengeance are probably both closer to justice than the law shall ever be in such matters. May you realize soon how very clueless you are, Mr L, in the gentlest way possible.”

        Violence is an aberration. The justice system is a spectacular success. I think your completely clueless. And I am not sure why you think vengeance is such a great idea.

    • Let’s get a few things clear: This was not “date rape”. They weren’t on a date. The victim clearly refused the perpetrator’s advances and removed herself from the situation (or so she thought). There is no grey area, there was no implied consent, no “few too many” to know better. This wasn’t a regrettable sexual experience — it was a rape. Violent, forcible, coercive — whatever words you need to hear to understand this was not a mistake or accident. It was a deliberate choice he made to stalk her down, physically overpower her, and RAPE her. Denying someone’s volition over their own body and violating the integrity of their body, is not a circumstance where a simple apology will suffice.

      A victim cannot force a rape to trial if the DA decides there is not enough evidence to prosecute, which is what happened in this case. Don’t assume it was because they didn’t believe her — it’s because they have to allocate their resources wisely and prosecuting a sexual assault case that could ultimately boil down to he said/she said is never a sure bet. This is not a rare occurrence and it is one of the reasons why so many rapes go unreported.

      I doubt that the fact that she was able to successfully bring a civil suit against her attacker was much consolation for this woman who quite possibly lives every day in fear that he will attack her again. It does not absolve him from his guilt and it does not address the central question that I find in this essay, which is: What do we do as a community when we personally know someone who is a sexual predator walking freely among us? How do we protect others without putting ourselves at legal risk or possible physical danger? And how do we live with ourselves when we don’t do everything within our power and that person victimizes others? If the legal system is flawed beyond hope, whether you think it’s too harsh or not punitive enough, how do we hold offenders accountable as a community?

      I agree our system is flawed for victims as well as perpetrators, but suggesting that a reasonable solution is that rapists be allowed to apologize and get on with their lives when victims will most likely live with significant repercussions for the rest of their lives (and allows rapists to continue victimizing) shows a level of ignorance about sexual assault that is hard to fathom. However, the way we are dealing with sex offenders now, especially how difficult it is for them to reenter society after serving their sentence, is endangering our communities as well. We all have a vested interest in improving the justice system because the more offenders have going against them on the outside, the more likely it is that they will reoffend. Here’s an organization that’s doing interesting work on behalf of victims, offenders, and their families: http://www.safetyandjustice.org/

      Please note: The document cited by Mike is meaningless in this instance as it’s about recidivism in a population of convicted sex offenders AFTER they serve a prison sentence and are paroled, not sex offenders who are never apprehended, which is the circumstance described by Sampsell. It also says that RAPISTS (not all sex offenders are classified as rapists) “have the highest sex and violent felony recidivism rates.”

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Hear! Hear!

        Thank you, Chloe, for such an informed, reasoned and yet still passionate and empathetic response.

      • Chloe,

        It’s cute that you tried to discredit the research I posted without sharing any of your own. Sort of like the creationists who point out all the “problems” with the theory of evolution and yet have no evidenc for their own beliefs.

        Please let me know if you ever have hard evidence. Until then, I’ll stick with what can be proven.

        • Mike — I don’t need to produce evidence to refute this report, as I’m not taking issue with anything contained within it. I simply used the report you cited to discredit your own statements as you have grossly misinterpreted the report. This is what you don’t seem to understand:

          This guy = rapist never convicted
          Offenders in the report = convicted sex offenders who have been released from prison (rapists being one of several categories of sex offenders included in the study).

          The report you cited is an analysis of “the impact and effectiveness of current sex offender sentencing policies” and clearly and repeatedly states in the summary, the data, and the conclusion, that rapists — not all sex offenders but specifically RAPISTS — have the “highest recidivism rates” and the “highest violent recidivism rates” among sex offenders, contrary to what you stated in previous comments. You also seem to be confused about the word “recidivism”. This word specifically refers to the likelihood of a convicted sex offender to commit additional offenses after release from prison, not as you appear to be suggesting, how many rapes the average rapist is likely to commit. There is nothing in this study that tells us how many crimes these individuals committed before they were imprisoned.

          You have clearly misunderstood this study and it really has no bearing on the conversation at hand. But even if your interpretation was correct, the fact that someone might not rape more than one person does not lessen the seriousness of their crime or the rights of the victim. But apparently, you think rapists should be allowed to apologize, pay a fine, and go along their merry way since they got their one rape out of their system or perhaps they are just terribly misunderstood and ardent lovers of women and their lives might be ruined if they were actually punished for their crime.

          I’m interested in discussing ways we can improve our justice system for victims and offenders, the effectiveness of sentencing and treatment, as well as the ability of offenders to succeed once released from prison, but most of all how we as a community can support survivors and prevent more victims from being created, especially in cases like these where justice is not served and the perpetrator roams free. I’m not interested in debating an misguided and misinformed rape apologist.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Mike L

      “In this instance, a certain amount of justice was exacted:”

      I think that civil courts are more geared to ensuring that people receive restitution rather than justice and that’s why many of the people here believe that there was no justice. There might have been some restitution paid.

      “The victim did not need to accept a settlement, the victim could have forced the case to trial and put everything in the public record.”

      In a civil case the plaintiff has to exert financial resources as well. We don’t know if she settled because she didn’t have the money to continue with the case. “Justice” should never be reserved for the rich.

      “Do we never forgive, ever? Even when the victim seems to consider the matter closed,”

      I don’t share this assessment. I believe that the victim simply does not have the strength to continue to fight whether it’s emotional or financial or something else. I think she feels that if she doesn’t stop him, he’ll do it to someone else and she’ll feel guilty. She’s trying to convince herself that she’s done enough and that she doesn’t need to worry about that. You think it’s a sign of closure. I see it as another level of victimization where she feels that she’s somehow complicit in the next rape.

      • John,

        I appreciate your points, by I disagree for three reasons.

        First, I think your analysis of the civil justice system is incorrect simply because we allow for findings such as “pain and suffering” or “punitive damages.” Some claims are purely restitutionary, there’s no question about that, however, it’s difficult to claim that punitive damages are designed to be anything other than punitive, and indeed the way that they are calculated suggests as much (because they are usually unhinged from demonstrable monetary loss totals).

        Second, for cases such as this one it is usually easy to find a plaintiff’s attorney that is willing to take the case on contingency, suggesting that the case would not actually require any money from the victim at all. The fact of settlement before trial further suggests that the plaintiff had a sufficiently strong case to get an attorney on contingency (if the case was not strong, then the plaintiff would have lost on a dismissal motion or at summary judgment; defense attorneys only settle before trial if it looks like their other options are exhausted).

        Third, I can appreciate a different assessment of the victim’s state of mind, but I would point out that neither of us know the victim, and at any rate I was writing hypothetically. The fact of the matter is: at a certain point society is better off forgiving. The author of the original piece here is essentially calling for limitless social sanction as a method of vigilante attack. This strikes me as completely unacceptable. Even if, in this specific case, the victim is not prepared to forgive, that still does not justify limitless vigilante attack, and the author of this piece seems to be calling for nothing less.

        • Your assement of how the civil justice system works reveals your inexperience. Revisit this after you have gotten a job in the real world for everal years. For now it is clear you are using this article as a form of mental masturbation.

    • Mike, there was obviously no justice served and clearly you do not know much of the justice system. In addition you clearly do not know the aftermath of rape or perhaps you don’t even care. To answer your question no it never ends it will end the day the victim is no longer going through pain and suffering and that will clearly never happen. Pictures of rapists should be posted everywhere and their lives completely ruined. Only then will they feel in their own skin what the victims will feel for the rest of their lives.

  26. cleandreams says:

    I am a lesbian and I’ve never been raped. I had a girlfriend who was incested and I’ve been a sponsor to (gay) men in NA (for drug addicts). What I want to relate to in your story is the fact that the trauma is not confined to the woman. It is there in all her relationships. It is conveyed to her children.

    One example on the effect of rape on men. One of my sponsees – his mother had been incested. He was one of the most anxious people I ever met. I believe she conveyed her anxiety to him. It was a big part of his addiction, which was severe. My girlfriend who was incested – her whole family was messed up around it.

    The truth about men and rape is stopping it is not charity work. You don’t know the price you are paying for all the sexual abuse going on, but you are paying and the price is high.

  27. Thank you for your article Kevin. I’m grateful for the fact that you are a man voicing this perspective on the subject. In a society that all too readily allows for cases like this to be swept under the rug, and quietly looks on as women are aggressed upon with regularity, I’m glad that you are making your voice heard. On several occasions I have listened on as women in my life, be they friends or partners, have told stories of a similar nature to that of your friend. Not once has one of these stories been any less heartbreaking than the one that preceded it. As a man, I am sickened by the passivity with which many of our gender treat this subject, and hope that you continue to shed light on this subject, and that your voice is heard.

  28. I wanted to comment on the point you made about “stop” versus “finish.” One of the things that I think is spectacularly lacking in our conversation about sex is the idea that consent does not necessarily equal enthusiasm.

    I applaud you for recognizing that enthusiastic consent is the only acceptable way to go about things. Most people don’t realize that, and many have been party to the furthering or worsening of a traumatic experience.

    • John Anderson says:

      “consent does not necessarily equal enthusiasm.”

      This is true.

      “I applaud you for recognizing that enthusiastic consent is the only acceptable way to go about things.”

      This I’m not as certain about. I think it is the ideal way to go about things, but I’m unsure that it’s the only acceptable way at least in committed relationships. I think couples make compromises all the time. I think sex is a compromise at times as well. I think coerced consent is wrong. Negotiated consent might be OK.

      Let’s imagine a young couple who been dating for a month or even 3 months. He wants to have intercourse. She doesn’t. He would settle for oral sex. She doesn’t mind providing it, but it doesn’t do anything for her. He wants to perform oral sex on her, but she is uncomfortable with that. She agrees to perform oral sex on him occasionally.

      This would be wrong? Are you saying that it would be acceptable for him to stay in a relationship where his needs and desires are unmet? Is the only acceptable course of action that they break up? What if he’d rather break up then have no sex at all and she’d rather do anything short of intercourse even allowing him to perform oral sex on her than break up?

      I don’t see a problem if both people’s baseline needs are being met and no one is doing something they aren’t willing to do even if one partner isn’t enthusiastic about it.

  29. Ele Munjeli says:

    Beautiful article. I just read Teju Cole’s ‘Open City’ and found myself confounded by that male deposition of rape. It was fascinating, as is your tale. I have a hope, always, that women’s rights are not a female concern; that we stand together on the ideals of human rights. Thank you for speaking for us. And of course, so many men are raped and say nothing- we cannot pretend this is just a women’s issue.

  30. I agree with most arguments on here. Unfortunately false accusations happen. It happened to me. I was accused of rape after going on a date with a girl I met on an online dating website. We had sex and later I learned that she accused me of raping her. I hired an attorney who talked to the police. No charges were ever filed. After investigating my accuser’s past we found that she has had a history of lying about rape and sexual assault. She has at least 4 online journals where she admits to having been addicted to the crime of sexual assault from a very early age. She accused her father of rasping her at the age of 5. In another entry she stated that she has not seen her dad since the age of 3. She also admitted of sexual assaulting her 5 year old cousin. The list goes on and on.

    • Yes, false allegations are made, but the incidents are not higher than they are for any other crime.

      When I was a child, my family knew a businessman who burned down his premises to claim the insurance money. He was eventually charged for it and went to jail. That doesn’t mean that I automatically think that every business fire is now an insurance scam, because in reality, very few are. The same goes for rape allegations.

      The woman you’re talking about clearly has a problem with “crying wolf”. Yes, there are some dishonest women out there, just as there are dishonest men. Don’t tar a whole sex with the same brush for the actions of one, who clearly has problems with honesty.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for writing this. For giving me a voice. I was 19 the first time. I never reported it. Then or any other time. I’m in therapy now, but…. but I am still very lost and very afraid. It seems that I am never safe, as I knew all of my attackers. I’m trying to piece myself back together, trying to put together a life, but all I know at this point is fear. I have a wonderful therapist right now, but there’s no longer a moment or a time or a place for me where I’m free from the fear and the hurt and the confusion…. So thank you. Thank you for trying not to leave us alone in this. Thank you for trying to give a voice to so many of us who were forced into silence.

  32. John Anderson says:

    “A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened but this time she told me to “go ahead and finish.” I paused for a second and thought about what was being asked of me. It wasn’t “Stop” but rather “Finish.” I could not continue. So I stopped, “

    You did the right thing by stopping, but it made me think and that’s rarely a good thing. There is a question of unwanted consensual sex. I remember a woman commenting on a discussion concerning oral sex. She noted that she didn’t mind providing her boyfriend with oral sex especially when she was busy or preoccupied. After about 5 minutes, her boyfriend was happy and she was off doing what she needed to do. She said that it was just one of those things you did for the person you loved.

    There are a lot of non-sexual things that couples do for each other that they probably don’t like doing. I dislike dancing and aren’t good at it. I would rather not make a fool of myself, but have danced with girlfriends or watched a chick flick with her or let her brother think he could kick my butt. Is it different because it’s sex?

  33. I know i am just reiterating what many before have written here, but i think this is a really important article. As a woman in her 20s, I have lived a happy safe life, and not to date been subjected to any sort of sexual violence, nor know of any friends who have been, yet I live in constant fear of this hapening to me. I really do believe talking about these things, raising awareness of what its like is the only way to change this fugue of fear all women live under.

  34. John Anderson says:

    One of the things I wondered about was what if both of them were telling the truth as they thought it. She didn’t give or had retracted consent, but he didn’t realize it. There was a case in England that stuck in my mind concerning that. A 15 year old girl consents to have sex with a 14 year old boy. They’re under bed sheets, but had two friends in the room. She said she told him no. He denies it. The friends back up his claim and she’s charged with false rape, but what if she thought no and just never said it? What if she thought she said it or just mouthed the words and he couldn’t see because they were under the sheet?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jan/28/false-rape-complaint-prosecution

    What do you do when there is a rape, but no rapist? She gave consent and he didn’t know that she withdrew it so didn’t have criminal intent so there is no rapist, but since she didn’t want to have sex, she was raped. What do you do if both friends are telling the truth?

    • Perhaps if he was attentive to her needs and pleasure, he might have noticed that she wasn’t as into “it” as he was. At that point, a good guy would then stop and ask if something was wrong, if he could be doing anything else to make her feel comfortable or, even if she wanted to stop.

      Sex should always be mutually pleasurable and if your partner isn’t having as much fun as you are, you’re doing something wrong,

      • This boy was just 14, having sex with the girl while two other kids were in the room. Even before she withdrew consent, it was never going to be a “mutually pleasurable” romantic experience. This whole story is a massive shame. It’s awful that this girl has suffered. Whether she said “no” or not; she did not consent because according to our law she is not able to. A 15 year old girl does not have sex she is raped. That’s the law.
        However, if the boy didn’t know she said no, I really feel for him too. It does sound like he could have failed to hear her. And I imagine he didn’t really WANT to do it either. There’s a lot of pressure on teenagers today. And he’s also not legally old enough to consent to sex. So he’s suffered a rape in that sense too.
        It’s truly a sad state of affairs and I really can’t believe she’s been convicted like this!! It’s really so awful.

        • If a 14 year old gets a job, he or she is expected to do that job to the same standard as an adult. You cannot use your youthful age as an excuse for missing deliveries, mis-labelling product, arriving late or kidding around on work time.

          Teenagers are capable of acting responsibly. The reason. on we let teenage boys off when it comes to sex is because of the warped messages society gives us, that women should just lie back and take it, than a man;s sex drive is the most powerful drive he has, that women don’t enjoy sex as much as men do. The list of myths surrounding men and sex is almost endless, and many of them are rather insulting to men IMHO.

          Which is why I think sex education needs to focus much more on the etiquette of sex, rather than just the biology of the act and avoiding STD’s. Things like, what is consent? Why you shouldn’t badger your partner into sex. Why is shouldn’t be all about ‘me’. How to handle a sudden ‘no’ mid-coitus. How to make sure your partner feels safe and secure.

          Men and teenagers are capable of being decent human beings, we just have to stop telling them that acting like an ass is okay because they are male.

          • John Anderson says:

            “The reason. on we let teenage boys off when it comes to sex is because of the warped messages society gives us, that women should just lie back and take it, than a man;s sex drive is the most powerful drive he has”

            Except that we don’t let boys off. You might feel more comfortable to hide behind clichés and dogma because it absolves you of the responsibility for critical thought, but that doesn’t change facts. The police investigated the crime. The boy would have most likely been prosecuted as Brian Banks was. The girl was correctly found to have lied to the police which would have by any accepted standard of criminal law have put an innocent boy behind bars. By innocent, I mean that the facts don’t support the contention that he committed a rape. There was no criminal intent as far as I could tell.

            We all, however, seem to have let the girl off as society doesn’t feel that ruining a man or young boy’s life is of any consequence even if undeserved. When Kay brings up his age, she is simply treating the boy with compassion as we have all treated the girl. Even though I believe that it stinks that she was found guilty as I think she really was raped, she did lie and the judgment was correct. In general I have no sympathy for false accusers also, but in this case, I admit that I’m making an exception and hope her punishment is light even if it means letting her off lightly.

  35. Although it may seem wrong to tell someone’s business, if that person is honestly hurting people and destroying their lives you have to protect other potential victims and spread the word. If our criminal justice system isn’t doing that, maybe social justice is the answer.

  36. John Anderson says:

    I think one of the things that gets lost is the word friend. My cousin was beaten by her boyfriend and my brother and I exacted revenge. That was easy. We cared for her and didn’t know him at all. I had a friend we knew was beating his girlfriend. He didn’t do it in front of us so we stopped it by making sure one of us was around her the rest of the night, but we never confronted him. We deal with it now by not hanging around him. He was our friend. We didn’t know her. We weren’t cool with what he did, but we weren’t going to help hurt him.

    We didn’t handle either incident correctly. My cousin didn’t break up with her boyfriend. I’m sure she just stopped telling her parents when something bad happened. In the case of my friend, I didn’t realize until years later that he could have beaten her the moment we left the club. Both times I thought we were helping, but we were just doing what was easy so we could feel like we helped.

    If someone you loved was accused of rape, would you really believe a stranger over him if he denied it? If someone you knew to be always respectful were to be accused of rape by someone unknown to you, would you really believe the stranger? What if you discovered later that the stranger was lying? Men have committed suicide over rape accusations. What if you helped drive an innocent friend to suicide? If a person told you they were raped, I think that you get them the support that they need. You can encourage them to report it, but I worry sometimes that encouragement becomes coercion. There was an incident of a false rape where the wife told her husband that she was raped to cover an affair and he contacted the police. She then lied to cover up the lie.

    I take the position that some feminists have advocated. When it comes to providing services to the victim, the victim should always be believed. You only question the victim when someone else’s life can be affected. I only know of one woman who claimed to have been raped. I worked with her for about a year. She wore no underwear. She wore loose tops and short skirts. She would bend over desks to talk to guys or would sit with her legs spread. She told some of the women bosses that she had been raped. They didn’t believe her and thought she just wanted sympathy. I knew she was on Prozac, but that could have been because of the rape. A guy once wrote that after his rape, he started drinking and became promiscuous. It’s hard to say how people will react.

    When something happens in your circle of friends, it has to be terrible. Who do you believe? How do you translate that when it comes to a stranger accusing your friend and what if a guy accused a female friend? What if a guy you didn’t know accused a female friend? Don’t look at me for the answers. I’m still trying to figure out how I should have handled the situations that I ran across, but I do know that taking the easy way out isn’t the right thing to do.

    • I think you bring up important questions, John. This is all part of the discussion, and no, there aren’t any straightforward answers.

      I know from my private life and my work as a therapist and social worker that the number of women who’ve experienced sexual violence is massively under-estimated by most people. I also have known men whose lives were ruined by false accusations of rape.

      I agree with you that “friend” is a most important word. Ultimately all of this is about how we relate to each other. That we do decide who to believe based on how well we know and trust each other. And if we are good friends to someone we believe to be lying, whether that’s in denying a violent act they have committed, or in falsely accusing someone else, as friends we will confront them over it.

      Thank you, and eveyone, for being part of the conversation.

    • The rates of false reporting for rape are on par with false reporting for all crimes. Do you suspect every friend who says he has been mugged, of actually having dropped his new work phone but is afraid to tell his boss?

      Then why so suspect of women? Do you think they’re all dangerous, lying predators just looking for the opportunity to ruin a man, any man?

      Less than 3% of rapists ever serve a single day in jail for their crime.

      Clearly women not being believed is a big part of the reason why so few men ever serve time for their crime.

      Just things for you to consider.

      • John Anderson says:

        Take a deep breath and read what I wrote again. If you’ve read any of my posts reacting to the graphic descriptions of rape, you’d understand that I’m not sympathetic to rapists at all, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be sure that they’re actually rapists before they get sentenced. On another forum, when I heard about the De Anza case, I was the first to criticize the men standing around watching the rape. I also wondered how there could be 20, 10, or even 5 guys participating in a gang rape. Out of all those guys, not one of them had a conscience.

        “Do you suspect every friend who says he has been mugged, of actually having dropped his new work phone but is afraid to tell his boss?”

        The point is, I don’t. I think we all take the word of the people we know. The accuser has friends. The accused has friends and I suspect that their friends more often than not believe them, but more often than not, one of them is being untruthful. Think about that. I freely admit that if I wasn’t there and I had a friend who denied having raped someone who I didn’t know, I would believe them. I’m pretty sure most people would. When my friend hit his girlfriend, we prevented it, but never confronted him (I know I was being a punk).

        As far as not believing a female friend, you must have missed the part about my cousin. If a friend told me she was raped, the way I feel about rapists, he would be in for a lot of pain. What I didn’t tell you was when my brother and I found my cousin’s boyfriend, he was with 4 other guys. We left them laying. That may very well be why I’ve never had a female friend tell me she was raped, but I have had a female friend complain that I didn’t go clubbing with her because she was being harassed at a club. My brother and I have always been the hotheads of our group and the first to throw hands in defense of a friend, male or female.

        “Then why so suspect of women? Do you think they’re all dangerous, lying predators just looking for the opportunity to ruin a man, any man?”

        When I wrote about my coworker, I was the only person to believe that she was raped. The way she acted made people (all women) think that she was lying, but not everybody reacts the same way.

  37. Thank you, Kevin. It is so amazing that you and other men are speaking out in public and in private. It speaks millions about you as a senistive person that those four women talked about their awful experiences with you. I love what Anonymous posted above, that this is a male problem. And it makes me so happy to see you actively changing male culture in this way. The more you talk, the better it will get. One most touching thing in your article is your personal experience with your girlfriend, who asked you to “finish,” and you didn’t. That you are able to pick up the care needed in that situation, and follow your own sensitivity, where your girlfriend wasn’t (I think because of the many social pressures to put her own needs second), is great in itself, and huge that you write about it for others to relfect on. I can’t express to you how great it is to read the words of men who are taking this responsibilty.

  38. MizzGivens says:

    I hope he fries. I hope he is outed and it destroys his life, the way it has destroyed your friend’s.

  39. Trish Eklund says:

    Thank you so much for being our voice.

  40. Please be careful with outing rapists. A friend of mine who outed her rapist on Facebook is now being sued for defamation. She has not gone to trial yet but already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees.

    • The way in which one outs a rapist must always be considered, to avoid charges of defamation. Although winning a defamation suit is very difficult, defending one is never cheap. And there are mentally-disturbed individuals who will make false accusations and enlist others. There are fewer Duke Lacrosse and Tawana Brawley cases than there are such as those of Diana Downs, Susan Smart, Charles Stuart and Ashley Todd, but they exist.

  41. Thank you for this great post.

    I’ve dealt with situations like this with people close to me, like my mother, though I feel it isn’t my place to discuss it online.

    I’ve also had a girlfriend who, when seeing my feelings of personal guilt from my mom’s situation, used it as a method of control, to make me run around trying to prove my decency while she just threw more expectations on me, saying “well, a GOOD guy would….” and “I really don’t have a reason to trust you, until you prove it by….”

    That’s when I discovered the feeling of “guilt by association” was not productive. And instead of becoming angry at a specific case, I would instead study up on the devices that CAUSE rape. The best defense is prevention, but there seems to be this idea that rape and violence are just “male behavior”, and idea I find insulting and lazy. Most men aren’t violent. Most men aren’t rapists.

    To me, if we want to get a discussion rolling about men and rape, we need to be sure we are aware of the damage, pain, and fear it causes in women. But after that, men need to focus on each other to find the CAUSE. All the abuse shelters and help groups in the world won’t actually solve the problem, but instead help people heal AFTER the fact. We instead need to ask ourselves the big questions. Which is partially what piqued my interest in this site.

    I don’t mean to diverge, but I would like to put my own understanding out there:

    -Most violence done by women is done against men, and most violence done by men is against men. We live in a culture that seems so permissive of male violence it’s really quite frightening. The bad guy beats up the girl, and the good guy beats up the bad guy. We need to teach that there isn’t a good guy when beating people up. Otherwise, we justify violence if it’s “for the right reasons”. We become numb to it.

    -We sexualize women and we amp up men’s libido. Watch any drunk-comedy and you’ll find a consistent, and disturbing pattern. They establish a character as weak and pathetic by making him a non-violent virgin. Some guy beats him up, and HE becomes the pathetic one. To earn his “manliness”, he beats up the bully, and has a one-night-stand with some arbitrary, unestablished female character. So in a quick one-two punch, we say a guy must be violent, and must “get sex”, before they are respectable.

    -Men who DON’T meet the standard are seen expendable sub-men. Notice how rapists usually seem meek and passive in person? Notice how most rape comes not from libido, but mostly from trying to establish power? I’m not sure if this is true, but I believe it’s been said that most rapists have a strong sense of powerlessness. It’s why rape and violence skyrocket in prisons, as shown by the Standford prison experiment.

    I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m taking a women’s issue and twisting it to push some sort of MRA agenda. It’s just that sexual violence hasn’t been disappearing despite all the progress we have made in giving women voices. So we’re missing an important piece to the puzzle, and I think we should be looking for that missing piece, instead of us all feeling guilty for an incomplete puzzle.

    • Thank you as well, Web. I find myself wanting to comment on everyone’s comment on this article. I hope I’m not getting annoying. I just am so happy and relieved – I mean hugely, I can feel my body just letting go of tension – to hear men talking about this, and that you are bringing up all these big questions. I believe your missing puzzle piece is exactly what you are doing. Men stepping up to change the cuture by having this conversation with other men.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for writing this article, it means a lot to know that awareness is being spread and there are men out there who are good guys and would stand up for their friends. All too often people don’t know the real truth of what someone is like but it’s not just the men’s fault for that. I was raped on different occasions by guys who seemed really nice (and maybe were aside from what they did to me) but shame and fear of how others would react kept me silent. Keep spreading the word and hopefully more women will become confident enough in themselves, their friends and family to speak out.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Kevin, thank you so much for writing this. As a woman who was raped by a “well-respected” member of my graduating class in college, I cannot tell you how much every single one of your actions described in this article, as well as your having written the article itself, mean to me. Please keep speaking up – ending the silence is one of the few ways to stop the cycle and perpetration of sexual violence.

  44. Rape is far more widespread than one would think, and that is because it’s swept under the rug and hushed as you say. It demonstrates character to share this and get the word out… especially when it’s personal with your father, But you are right, if the justice system fails the victims we have to take matters into our own hands, vigilante style. Telling those friends could have protected them

  45. Kevin, civil cases are a public record. You don’t find a criminal conviction, but the fact that he was sued for what he did IS a public record – and if the settlement was not sealed or confidential, the fact that he paid (even if the amount is not revealed) is also public record, which anyone can look up.

  46. This is our problem, Kevin. A male problem. A problem within our society that is our responsibility. A problem in male culture that justifies and condones and makes light of what may well be the most heinous thing about male culture, this propensity towards violence against women.

    I have never had a girlfriend that has not been raped.

    I do not believe a single one of them had reported it, gone through the hell our society forces a woman to endure to report rape. I wonder what the statistics would look like if this crime wasn’t so under reported.

    A few years ago, word began to circulate that a good friend of mine had sexually assaulted a woman that was a member of our mutual circle of friends. Our society is so screwed up that I didn’t even know what to do with the information. I reached out through her female friends, and got her story. In getting to the point of her feeling safe enough to talk to me about what had happened, through talking to the women we both knew, I discovered that this friend of mine had a habit. That this was no isolated incident. That no one, not even the women, had confronted him.

    I did. Less than gracefully, I did. I also helped his victim talk to the police. He was arrested and charged with sexual assault. He was acquitted. I was shunned by nearly all our mutual male friends. I don’t care, I don’t regret what I did one tiny little bit. At least the women started talking about him, alerting each other and any new female around him to the potential danger of his company.

    He found a new circle of friends.

    There’s no justice in this system.

    I’m glad you’re talking about this. Men need to talk about this. Men need to hold each other accountable. What these men do to women harms us all.

    • Thank you so much for standing up and taking this on as a male problem. As more honest and sensitive men like Kevin and yourself bring up your feelings about violence toward women with other men, you change the culture. It may seem small, but each time you have this conversation, an emotionally stunted man becomes more likely to talk about his feelings than to take them out on somebody else. I am so very touched to read your comment. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you. “Men need to talk about this. Men need to hold each other accountable. What these men do to women harms us all.” My last boyfriend didn’t understand why I couldn’t get past it since my story wasn’t “as violent” as other stories he’d heard. He didn’t understand why I woke up afraid and went through my day afraid and walked home afraid and slept afraid. He didn’t want to understand. He said it made him uncomfortable.

      • John Anderson says:

        I’m sorry that happened to you. Guys are uncomfortable with that because we can’t fix it. Guys don’t always get that sometimes someone just wants their support and doesn’t expect them to fix the problem or rescue the damsel in distress.

    • Jackie Rose (@letssitoutside) says:

      Thank you for this post, Kevin, and for your comment, Anonymous.

      I was raped by a guy in my group of friends and while some people in the group were supportive to my face, they continued to hang out with the rapist as if nothing happened… Except one friend. I’ll never forget how this male friend was there for me and helped me get some information about the rapist for the police. It never went anywhere as the detective handling my case looked me up and down and said, “Well I can see why he wanted it,” before convincing me I’d be better off dropping the case and moving on with my life. Regardless, I will always be grateful to that one male friend who unquestioningly supported me.

      To all the good me out there!

  47. Its always makes me angry reading stories of rape and how the rapist just go along without punishment. I’m a guy, and i hate rape. I don’t think rape is normal, and I do not treat rape like a joke. If i know some guy rape a woman, i probably just beat him up and bring him to police. Maybe i’m the one who will get reported because i beat a guy, but i don’t care, really.

    It makes me angry how many men still treat rape lightly ,even make a joke about it. But believe me not all men like that. Many of us care about rape victims and we hate rape.

    If i know rape cases, i probably report the case to woman police officer, because i think they will treat the case more serious compare to men. Or report it to woman feminist organization or anti rape organization. Sadly, many of us men still treat rape case lightly, and it makes me angry.

  48. I’d like to validate your efforts to speak truthfully to people who are peripherally involved with this horrible person. You are not meddling when you expose the truth about someone. I think you should continue to out this person any chance you get. Silence is what keeps women trapped and victimized. Thanks for keeping potential victims a little bit safer. I wish more men cared. I hope your woman friend gets therapy so she can begin to heal from this horrific event.

  49. Thank you for this article. I truly feel that we are not going to change how the system works until more people have the courage, insight, and compassion to tell the story straight. People don’t rape easy as the politician would have us believe. Sexual assault leaves horrible festering wounds. And shame on this rapist. He did wrong. And his desire to maintain a façade of respectability is cowardly and criminal.

  50. This is an outstanding article and the manner in which you handle this issue is superb. You said,

    “I was unsure about writing this. I wasn’t sure if being a man would make this story less relevant. How could I know what rape does, what it feels like, or how it looms like a threat over millions of women?”

    I admire that you have publicly condemned rape, and I believe that the nature of your story and the fact that you are a man actually make your message even more poignant. Thank you for sending the message to other men that rape is not “normal”, it is not an urge that men can’t control. Also, while according to statistics the majority of rape victims are women, there are lots of male rape victims as well. Your opinion and voice are very relevant and greatly appreciated.

    I have been sexually assaulted twice, once when I was 15 and the other at 19. Thank God neither progressed to full rape. The second time I was at a training base and there were over 30 people around. A guy got me in a corner, started doing things, turned me around and tried handcuffing me to a bunk bed. Everyone acted like they didn’t see. After getting the first cuff on I was able to kick him in a vulnerable spot and get out of the corner. When I told him to take the cuff off my wrist everyone treated it like a big joke.

    A few months later I ran into him with his mom. I was horrified at seeing him AND at realizing that his mother is a former coworker who used to tell me about her “nice boy”. He wasn’t very happy about running into me, either, and his mom got after him for not being friendlier to me. Don’t worry about it, Mrs. H, I don’t want his kind of friendly. Oh, the irony.

    I feel so terribly for your friend and cannot imagine being handed a check as recompense as if it were some kind of equitable transaction. I hope and pray she heals and continues to communicate with friends like you. There’s good meddling and bad meddling, and yours is the good kind that can be the difference between working through problems and getting better or sinking into denial and complete dysfunction. Thank you again for this poignant and very relevant article.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I really hope you got permission from your friend, your former lover, and your half sister for sharing details about their lives here. It seems it would be easy for anyone who knew you well to figure out their identities, and, while I don’t think they should be ashamed of being attacked, it may not be something they want to share with the general public.

    Also, why don’t you post on the rapists FB page now, or contact his girlfriend or daughter?

  52. anonymous says:

    As a survivor of sexual assault, I applaud the courage of a man speaking out about this topic. It’s powerful to know that many people, male and female, empathize with survivors. I’m so sorry for your friend’s experience. Every survivor’s experience with sexual assault is unique, and I can only begin to imagine the pain she is going through.

    I also applaud your restraint in taking action against this man. I know that if anyone close to me were to take matters into their own hands against my attacker, it would cause me a lot of mortification and fresh pain. I definitely understand the impulse expressed in several of the comments and in your own piece to deliver some form of justice to this man, but I think it is most respectful of survivors to give them ownership of their own experience and their own story. Sharing their story with others or taking direct action against the attacker without permission of the survivor can feel incredibly disempowering, especially to someone whose body has been so violated.

  53. John Anderson says:

    That was a great article, but I wish you put a trigger warning on it. I know it probably sounds weird, but I almost didn’t get past this part.

    “She’ll buy you a drink before you even see her approaching, smiling with your fresh drink in her hand.”

    I was never taught not to accept an open drink from a stranger in a bar and it’s been a source of pain. You can be the baddest boy on the block, a weight lifting, kick boxer and it does you no good if you’re drugged. I guess that line mixed in with the part that her rapist was someone that she knew just set off a bad feeling.

    Just letting guys know. You probably don’t want to accept an open drink from someone unless your sure that it’s clean. You don’t want to learn this the hard way.

    • I’m pretty sure he was not talking about her approaching strangers…Kevin’s use of the phrase “your drink” indicates that she noted her friends’ drink of choice & would arrive with one in hand. Nothing in this article indicated that she gave drinks to strangers. Remember, Kevin is her friend & is writing from that context.

      However, very good advice.

      • John has a trigger with things relating to receiving an open drink from a woman. If he wishes to explain, I won’t go into further detail. But it’s not about the friend or the context that he is reacting to. Just the act itself. That’s why he’s asking for a trigger warning.

        Regardless, it is a good rule to follow.

      • John Anderson says:

        Some days are better than others. Sometimes I can read an article on rape, read through the comments, comment and reply and still be able to read or comment on another. At times, I can’t get past the title and don’t have it in me to even read the article. It occurs a lot when I read graphic, first person accounts or when something is close to what I’ve experienced.

        I’m not saying that his friend is a predator or potential predator. She seems like a very nice person and I wish her the best. I don’t think the OP meant anything wrong by it. It’s just something that triggered what I’d like to say are bad memories, but I don’t have any memories. Some of the memories I’m not even sure are mine. My friends remarked that the drink she gave me looked like anti-freeze. I don’t know if I remember it looking that way or if it’s because they told me it looked that way.

        Some days I think it’s a blessing not knowing for sure what happened because there’s always the possibility that nothing happened. I try to convince myself of that sometimes. Some days it makes it harder because even if it’s the worst thing I could imagine at least I would know. I didn’t intend to criticize Kevin or his friend. It’s something I’ll need to deal with.

        The women left me cab fare. My mind is still processing that part about the settlement making her feel like a prostitute, but I’m a little better today. At least I didn’t mix up you’re with your.

        • Heisenberg says:

          John, I am sorry for your experiences, but buying someone a drink is an action that is largely, mostly, and overwhelmingly a benign and innocent thing to do. I do it every time I am at the bar with friends. To ask this author to put a TRIGGER WARNING on the article because he mentioned his close friend buying him a drink is a little bit much. Next we’ll have TRIGGER WARNINGs on every article because something mentioned in it conjures up bad memories for one of the readers.

          • John Anderson says:

            “but buying someone a drink is an action that is largely, mostly, and overwhelmingly a benign and innocent thing to do.”

            Except when it isn’t. Sex is also largely, mostly, and overwhelmingly benign except when it isn’t. His friend wasn’t raped by a stranger. She was raped by someone she knew. Someone she was comfortable enough with to have him walk her to her car. Just like someone he would presumably be comfortable enough with to accept an open drink from at a bar.

            I think it was the combination of the act (offering an open drink), the location (a bar), the situation (before you even knew she was there), the topic (rape), and the added subtext that these were people who knew and trusted each other. It was the last part I think that stripped away any insulation I had to the act. For a while, I felt more vulnerable because he’s saying that I can’t even trust the people I know or at least when I first read it yesterday, that’s what it felt like.

            Like I said. I wish he had put a trigger warning on it. I’m not criticizing him for omitting one. It probably wouldn’t have helped me anyway because it would have concerned the descriptions of the rapes and like I told Lisa. It’s something I have to deal with. You can’t avoid every trigger especially one you’re not aware is there, but i could still wish that I wasn’t triggered. I don’t blame Kevin for it. It’s a risk I accept every time I read an article on rape.

  54. I have so many mixed feelings after reading this. I am so sad for your friend and I do think some therapy would be helpful.I feel that there has to be something we can do when we know that someone has raped someone else. I know many women in my life who have been raped by boyfriends, acquaintances, and in one case, a complete stranger. These events happened when we were much younger, and I didn’t know what to do with the information then. Shouldn’t there be a way to get the word out about their behavior without being sued for slander or harassment, or some such nonsense? It just seems so wrong to allow them to continue doing what they do—you know if they do it once, it will happen again.
    Now,where I am in my life, if it was someone close to me, I would probably take justice into my own hands. Right, wrong? It wouldn’t matter.
    This was really well written and I appreciate you writing this and sharing. Much love to your friend.

  55. Pallus Pallafox says:

    Kevin, you’re a special fellow. Many of my male friends, some of whom were friends from high school, turned their backs on me after I was assaulted.

  56. Melissa Chadburn says:

    brave piece Kevin. I wish more men wrote on this topic. Let’s just all explore the places that it hurts and slow down there… I think it would make us closer.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Great article.

    While I still want to believe in the justice system and innocent until proven guilty, I know of far too many situations where crime is unreported. I also know of far too many people who have suffered immensely because of false accusations.

    A close friend of mine fended off an attempted sexual assault by another woman and did not report it because she felt no one would believe her or take it seriously. This same person has apparently done this and gone unprosecuted before and after, and continues to work with students.

  58. Thanks to everyone for reading and sharing. When using the term, “totem pole,” I did not mean it to be disrespectful in any way. I guess I was thinking of its slang use. Maybe I should have just said “hierarchy.”
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/totem+pole

    • “Slang” use is the entire problem. Thanks for your hard work here, Kevin.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        I think it’s such a common colloquialism that most people don’t think twice about. It’s good to make note of it, but it’s VERY important that we do it respectfully, which you did, Kelsie. Obviously Kevin had the very best of intentions with every single detail in this article, and I really respect him for his sensitivity on such a tough subject.

      • Heisenberg says:

        Sorry Kelsie. Language evolves and things take on different meanings. You can’t put a moratorium on this evolution just because it offends you. You’ll have to deal with it.

      • John Anderson says:

        Kelsie, regardless of what others may think. If the author of the piece questions his use of the term, I think you have a valid point.

  59. Wonderful article/essay. Just wanted to comment on the bit about never going to a criminal court:

    Sometimes the DA will be reticent in charging someone even if they *know* they committed the crime if they’re worried about getting a convicting because 1. you only have one shot at it (no double jeopardy), and 2. you’re on a bit of a time limit after you’ve officially charged someone with a crime (fair and speedy trial). I’ve known of one very clear-cut domestic violence case which even involved cases of torture (literally the guy was charged with torture), and it took over a year to finally go to court. Which, that doesn’t make it any better for your friend…but yeah…

    Mind, they might also be reticent to charge someone if they don’t think they’ll get a conviction because then it screws up their stats (and DAs have to get elected). In which case, that’s just messed up.

    Anyway, I also wanted to say I quite like the style of this article. It’s a bit disjointed (in a good way) and unresolved, which I think is quite fitting for the subject.

  60. Joanna Schroeder says:

    Thank you so much for this. I have been in a somewhat similar situation to this. I had known a guy for a while, not well, and we’d reconnected professionally. When I told one of my best friends that I had been working a bit with said guy, my friend said that this person had raped her in High School. The girl who had been raped was undoubtably troubled in high school and I have no doubt that if she’d told anyone then they wouldn’t have believed her, and it was solidly 10 years later, so I’m not sure what she could have done. But I carry this knowledge now inside me. The guy seems very decent, has been kind to me, and has a lovely girlfriend whom I like a lot.

    What do you do with that knowledge? I see him on Facebook quite often, and I know it was a date-rape scenario and I assume it was one of murky consent (if there was any consent at all). You situation is so much clearer, and I wish I understood more about why the state wouldn’t press charges against him.

    What a mess. A big hug to you and your friend, and I wish I had more to offer as far as help, but can suggest EMDR therapy for your friend. It doesn’t work for all, but it does for some, and for those of us whom it has helped, we are very keen on it. Perhaps it’s worth a shot. Even a bit of relief for her may matter.

    Thanks for you brave story. I’m certain it will help someone out there in some way.

  61. excellent article – it is unfortunate you used “Totem Pole’ of rape – I don’t think it was your intention, but it is disrespectful to Indigenous culture to use this term in the reference it was use. Please consider changing this part of an otherwise very thoughtful and important piece.

    • Yes, agree, please reconsider the use of this word in an otherwise really important, sensitive article.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      The use of “totem pole” comes from a pervasive if mistaken belief that the position of a carving on a totem pole had significance, with carvings higher up being of greater importance. However I don’t think it’s use here is disrespectful as it’s not an attempt to appropriate native american culture. Heck, totem poles aren’t even necessarily sacred. Sometimes they were simply a signifier of wealth, which is about as profane a use as one might find.

  62. Thank you for writing this. You are helping so many by writing this and you are speaking out against violence towards women. Thank you so much.

  63. chill

    • I am so glad you wrote this Kevin. As a woman and a survivor of rape, which I never reported…I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to hear a man say its on their radar. Seem ludicrious, huh? But the majority of men I know don’t really give rape a thought unless they have the first hand account of a loved one who has survived it. I say survived for a reason. Not just the brutality of the rape itself-but the shere emotional toll it takes on the women who have to endure it the rest of their lives. Some can’t live with it-some kill themselves, become addicted, become mentally unhinged-do things that put themselves in harms way so they will be killed. It is an act that continues to chip away at your soul.
      So thank you-thank you for realizing that rape is everywhere and rape is effecting so much more than just 1 woman for one day.

  64. I suspect like many people, I knew girls in college who were raped and who felt they had no recourse. Often drinking at fraternities was involved. These intoxicated girls would be taken into bedrooms where multiple guys raped them. It was like sport. The girls would feel so ashamed, and be convinced no one would believe them, or that they would be socially shunned if they spoke up. The culture of many colleges–as we hear about Amherst in the news lately–seems to condone, or at least look away from these violations. I recall people seemed to think the girls had it coming to them. But they were young, and many really did not realize their own vulnerability, some of them drinking for the first time, only 18 years old. I knew girls who suffered terribly psychologically for years because of their victimization. And sometimes people knew who the rapists were, and would talk quietly about it, and maybe avoid those guys, but that would be about it. I hear a lot about how there is no “rape culture” and to even type out those words will surely bring down a torrent of comment aggression on me. Or maybe this will be my lucky day and I won’t be lectured about how this does not exist. This was a very moving and riveting essay, Kevin, and I applaud you for writing something so raw and honest and selfless. We all need to collectively create a stronger moral fiber for this society. The system often fails rape victims. Vigilantism is also not the answer. Sometimes I don’t know what is. I so appreciate writing like this that makes us all search inside ourselves for answers.

    • makchalei says:

      Really, I do not understand the comment “vigilantism is also not the answer.”

      Make every potential rapist know he will be outed and, frankly, make him know he will have his balls cut off and shoved down his throat.

      When the State will not intervene, vigilantism is the answer.

      • monkeyangst says:

        If you were the rape survivor in this scenario, would you want your friend to do this? You might want it to *happen*, certainly, but if it meant your friend would go to jail?

        • Hey Monkey, man up, okay? You sound like a weakling.

          • QuantumInc says:

            Often the desire to “man up” and be strong and tough is exactly what causes rape to occur. These men are proving their sexual power over women when they force or coerce them to have sex. Sometimes they do it precisely because they hate the idea of being weak and incapable. In this case, incapable of getting laid. Often to “man up” one has to get laid, but if that becomes a demand, rape occurs.

          • Right, because telling another man to stop being a “weakling” doesn’t also hurt you in the process. I’m not even sure why you’re saying this right now, is he “weak” because he’s correct in that going Batman in this situation is a bad idea? If I was raped, I wouldn’t want my guy friends or boyfriend going after the guy, and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way. I wouldn’t want more trauma on top of trauma.

      • Hey marcher, how about you keep your stereotypes to yourself, k?

        Vigilantes only cause problems and violence has a cyclical effect. You may be getting back at someone for a horrible injustice, but that violence you do has a ripple effect.

        Though I am loathe to say, we should strive to fight back within the law. Men especially should be doing everything they can to empower women to report rape. They should also fight prejudice and rape culture at every turn.

        • Heisenberg says:

          I actually agree with you on the “outing” part of your plan.

          There is some really interesting research and case-studies that have looked at the benefits of shaming in curbing anti-social and criminal behaviour. If a person is convicted, or settles a civil suit, they should be placed on a sex-offenders registry and their local community should take it upon itself to make their identity known.

          I don’t give a damn about defamation or their right to pay for the crime and then move in. It’s time we stopped treating rape and sexual assault like a speeding ticket. If you rape a woman/man, then everyone, from your partner to the guy who delivers your paper will know about it. How many people would commit sexual assault then?

          • John Anderson says:

            And what if the accuser lost the civil suit? The burden of proof is lower, but the court would be ruling that it is more likely that they were not raped than they were. Would you support putting the accuser on the sex offender registry for false rape accusations? What people don’t understand is that sometimes the falsely accused undergoes a forensic examination.

            They have their genitals photographed and examined sometimes by members of the opposite sex. The evidence gatherer will at times need to touch the other persons genitals. If a trans vaginal ultra sound can be compared to rape, someone touching your genitals is sexual assault. A woman having a trans vaginal ultra sound is in theory doing it to benefit herself except in cases of rape or incest. An innocent person having their genitals touched against their will is simply being sexually violated.

            If you don’t support justice for all, you don’t support justice.

            • Heisenberg says:

              @ John Anderson
              I’m a little confounded by your response.
              “What if the accuser lost the civil suit?”
              Then for all intents and purposes, the alleged-rapist has been found innocent.
              “Would you support the accuser on the sex offender registry for false rape accusations?”
              No. The rate of false rape allegations has been estimated to be around 2-6%. There are repercussions for any false criminal allegation, including providing false information to police. Sexual assault and rape is a vile, morally repugnant, and destructive act that affects a large portion of the population. It is not the same as being wrongly accused. Don’t try to make it out that it is.
              “If you don’t support justice for all, you don’t support justice.”
              What does that even mean in the context of my original post? Are you saying that I need to support the placing of false accusers on the sex offender’s registry because in a roundabout way they are responsible for the pseudo-sexual violation of the wrong accused? Firstly, show me evidence that someone accused of rape has their genitals photographed and touched against their will. Then we’ll continue.
              Until then, you’re reasoning is strange to me.

              • John Anderson says:

                “No. The rate of false rape allegations has been estimated to be around 2-6%.”

                Some ESTIMATES, which I think are highly suspect put the rate of false accusations at about 3%. Some STUDIES, which I believe is also highly suspect, place the incidence of false accusations at 41%. I heard that the military did a STUDY (which I haven’t found), but I’ve seen reference that put the rate of false reporting at 60% and I’ve seen (highly dubious) ESTIMATES place the rate of incidence at about 90%. Personally I suspect the rate is closer to 15%. If false reporting of other crimes is in the 8 – 10% range and I see no reason that FALSE reporting of rape would be less (not to say that actual rapes don’t go unreported, but what deters an actual rape victim from reporting does not necessarily deter a false accuser. Remember the false accuser is already commuting a crime), I suspect that the personal nature of the crime (ie regretting sexual intercourse) makes it more likely to occur.

                The big statistical issue with the 3, 8, or even 10% estimate is that not all rape allegations are investigated as false. So, if police only look at 10% of the cases as false cases, amazingly enough the maximum number of false cases you will ever find is 10%. You would need to investigate all cases as potentially false as Kanin did in his study to get an accurate count. He came up with 41% false reporting, but I believe his methodology was wrong.

                “There are repercussions for any false criminal allegation, including providing false information to police.”

                And there are repercussions for rape including serving vastly greater prison sentences and being registered as a sexual predator.

                “Sexual assault and rape is a vile, morally repugnant, and destructive act that affects a large portion of the population. It is not the same as being wrongly accused. Don’t try to make it out that it is.”

                Maybe you should explain that to Brian Banks or any number of men who have spent years in prison because they were falsely accused of rape that it’s just not that damaging. As if spending 5 years or more of your life in prison doesn’t do irreparable harm. Many of these false accusers never face prosecution or can’t be prosecuted because statute of limitations on perjury or making false statements has expired prior to exoneration. I guess you don’t support justice for all and don’t support justice.

                So people who claim that a forensic examination deters false allegations because no one would like to go through that humiliating procedure should be disbelieved? Here is a Youtube video. I haven’t checked the authenticity and believe that the uploader mislabeled it because I’ve read procedures on strip searches. It doesn’t match what happened. When strip searches were recorded, they didn’t use a still camera and you can see the person gathering evidence.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duM0khQlaAg

                The video looks to be authentic and matches what a forensic, evidence gathering, situation would be. For example although I don’t that I can find it, one man was acquitted because the victim told the court that he was circumcised (a good guess because most men are) and he wasn’t. I suspect that’s the reason for the photographs.

                Anyway, since allegations of false rape can have serious repercussions for those falsely accused, shouldn’t people be protected from that and shouldn’t false accusers be outed in the community so they can be shunned and otherwise extrajudiciarily punished and most importantly so people will know that associating with this person can land you in trouble.

  65. Indeed he may have believed or convinced himself he had consent. Or he may be a kind of sociopath for whom consent doesn’t matter at all. If he is, he may well proceed and take what he wants since it’s been proven he can get away with it.
    Horrible all of it.
    Some people are sociopaths, they just are. This study ( http://chronicle.com/article/The-Psychopath-Makeover/135160/) shows what happens when you dampen the effects of conscience through the amygdala.
    All people look like people though, and can even perform and act like compassionate charming caring individuals. So how we ever know who we are dealing with until it is too late?
    And how do you get justice?

  66. Very well written. This story reminds me that no matter how rosy someone’s life appears, you just never know what is going on with them, whether they are the violator or the violated (as in this case.) Or that horrific story of your own dad and siblings – and mother of course. Thank you for writing this.

  67. annonymous says:

    This is a great essay. I wish I had the guts not to respond anonymously. I think about this a lot. My father raped my mother and I spent years trying to figure out how to forgive him — it took me years to decide it wasn’t mine to forgive.
    All of the mixed reactions exist. In any trauma — sexual trauma included — I have experienced first hand — I certainly believe that too be true. It is true that there is violation. It is true that there is strength. It is true that there is compassion. It is true that there are lasting wounds.
    Being a bystander is a trauma too. Rape is such an intrinsic part of our stories and our cultures. Thank you for your honesty and your straight forward approach.
    May you all be happy and safe and at peace.

Trackbacks

  1. […] special (and probably intense) event. I’m honored to be the only guy in this book (they added my essay about rape right before going to print). And next weekend, I’ll be part of the Making It in Changing […]

  2. […] I Know Who You Raped Last Summer by Future Tense publisher and writer Kevin Sampsell.  This essay about Kevin’s good friend who was raped by an acquaintance he knew is unforgettable.  It is also fucking masterful.  Another writer may have fucked this up royally because it is such a landmine topic.  Please please read, I promise you won’t forget it. […]

  3. […] These are comments by mike sullivan, Rihannon, and Jo on the post “I Know Who Raped You This Morning“. […]

  4. […] had a new essay appear over the weekend at The Good Men Project website. It’s about the rape of a close friend. I sent it to the editor there on Friday and she […]

  5. […] This is a comment by Anonymous on the post “I Know Who You Raped Last Summer“. […]

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