Rape Culture: What It Is and How It Works

Rape culture is the trivialization of rape, and it permeates our society to an alarming extent.

I’ve written about a lot of sensitive subjects, things like abortion, white privilege and breaking down traditional gender roles, but nothing is guaranteed to generate more vitriol and hate mail than when I write about rape culture.

People tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to the term rape culture. They think that it’s a way of saying that all men are rapists, or all women are victims. At best, my critics think that I’m fear-mongering; at worst, they think that I’m a “misandrist” who approves of women making false rape accusations. I promise that I’m not a misandrist, and I’m as appalled by false accusations as anyone else.

That being said, I do believe that rape culture is real.

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Let’s start out with a definition:

Rape culture is a system that everyone, men and women, unconsciously participate in. It’s a system that promotes the normalization and trivialization of rape. It’s a system that encourages the idea that male sexual aggression is the norm, and that violence and aggression are themselves sexy.

Three questions that frequently come up are:

  1. Does rape culture really exist?
  2. How can rape culture exist when penalties for rape are so heavy?
  3. How can it exist when people clearly think that rape is such a heinous crime?

First of all, obviously, as stated above, I do believe that rape culture exists. And yes, I understand that there are harsh penalties for rape—some of the stiffest sentences in North America are given to rapists. However, the problem lies in how we talk about rape, and how we perceive it. The problem lies in the fact that many things that should be seen as rape are celebrated as being romantic or sexy or even just normal. Yes, some of the harshest sentences are given to rapists, but often cases are thrown out because the justice system doesn’t view them as “legitimate rape” (to borrow a phrase), or because the victim is pressured into dropping the charges. On top of that, many victims don’t report the fact that they’ve been raped (for a variety of reasons), or else are too afraid to press charges or testify.

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If you want evidence of rape culture, I can give you plenty:

Rape culture is the fact that 1 in 6 women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and it’s also the fact that 1 in 33 men have also been sexually assaulted.

Rape culture is the fact that, when reporting the gang rape of an 11 year old girl, the New York Times chose to quote residents on how badly this event would affect the lives of the perpetrators of the crime. It’s the fact that the New York Times chose to print that the victim wore “makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.” It’s the fact that the article wonders, “how could [the] young men have been drawn into such an act?” as if repeatedly raping a young girl was an accident, instead of a choice that they had made.

Rape culture is blaming the victim, saying that they incited sexual assault by what they wore, how they acted, or where they were. It’s saying that an unconscious woman was sending “mixed signals” to her rapist. It’s telling victims that if only they’d been more careful, more thoughtful, or less vulnerable they wouldn’t have been raped.

Rape culture is the fact that Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year old girl, pled guilty to “unlawful sexual intercourse”, fled the country and continues to make Oscar-winning movies. It’s the fact that so many celebrities that I used to admire choose to either publicly defend Polanski or else tacitly give him their support by starring in his movies. It’s the fact that Polanski’s victim repeatedly told him no, but he continued to rape her anyway because he thought that she was enjoying it.

This idea that men always want sex is the reason why we are dismissive of female teachers who rape male students. We make jokes like, “You can’t rape the willing!”, and talk about how the victim was living out every schoolboy’s wet dream. We don’t say those types of things when young girls are raped by their teachers, do we? So why the double standard?

Rape culture is the fact that in the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, Sévérine’s assault is portrayed as normal and even sexy. Sévérine, the latest Bond Girl, was forced into prostitution as a child. Because of this, she has come to view sex as her only currency. Bond agrees to help her by taking out her boss, which makes her feel indebted to her. When Bond arrives in her room unannounced and joins her in the shower uninvited, it’s hard to feel that what’s happening is consensual. Although Sévérine doesn’t tell him to stop, it’s hard to imagine that, given her history, she doesn’t feel as though sex is a payment she owes Bond.

Rape culture is the fact that a good friend of mine was sexually assaulted, publicly at a party, by someone she considered to be a friend. It’s also the fact that she was threatened into silence by people she thought she could trust, and was encouraged by her family not to report her assault, to just “put it behind her” and move on. It’s the fact that while most of her friends supported her in calling out the man who assaulted her, some thought that she was making a big deal over nothing and abandoned her when she was at her most frightened and vulnerable.

Rape culture is the fact that I know so many people who have been sexually assaulted or raped that it would take much more than one article to describe every incident.

♦◊♦

Rape culture is the fact that every concrete example that I’ve given so far has involved a woman as the victim and a man as the rapist. Let’s be really clear on this: this isn’t because men are never raped or sexually assaulted—they are, and we know this. It’s because rape culture prevents men from reporting their assaults; it ridicules male rape victims, and makes a joke out of what they’ve been through.

Rape culture is just as toxic and harmful to men as it is to women.

This harm is what I really want to talk about today. This is the conversation that I’m hoping to start. So often when we talk about rape culture, it turns into an us-versus-them mentality, pitting women against men.

And that’s not fair, and it’s not right—because rape culture hurts all of us.

See, one of the main messages that our culture sends us is that men are naturally sexually aggressive and women are not; our culture also teaches us that men are sex-obsessed and will sleep with just about any willing woman. This idea is pretty well-established as a way to explain and excuse many rapes and assaults on women, but right now I want to look at the hurt this concept does to men. What it means is that at best we ridicule a man who claims to have been raped by a woman, and at worst we totally disbelieve him. There’s this bizarre idea that having an erection means consent, which is just so mind-blowingly wrong and ridiculous that I barely know where to start.

I mean, how does it make sense to say that because you have a physical reaction, you are consenting? Don’t we understand enough about biology to know that that’s just not true?

This idea that men always want sex is the reason why we are dismissive of female teachers who rape male students. We make jokes like, “You can’t rape the willing!”, and talk about how the victim was living out every schoolboy’s wet dream. We don’t say those types of things when young girls are raped by their teachers, do we? So why the double standard?

Because of rape culture. That’s why.

Rape culture means that men raping men is viewed as a funny hazing ritual for certain fraternities.

Rape culture means that we make jokes about prison rape, saying things like, “I’ll make you my bitch,” and “Don’t drop the soap.”

Rape culture is the fact that we think that male rape victims are hilarious, instead of acknowledging that the idea of raping a man deserves the same gravity as raping a woman.

Rape culture means that although I cited above that 1 in 33 men have been sexually assaulted, I know that the number is actually much higher than that. I know that male rape and sexual assault are vastly underreported because of stigma, the shame and fear of disbelief or ridicule. I know that we have no way of learning what the true numbers of male rape and sexual assault survivors are because of the way rape culture teaches us to view men.

I don’t hate men.

I have a husband and a young son, and it scares the shit out of me to think that if either of them were sexually assaulted or raped, they would struggle to get the help they needed. It frightens me to think that I would have an easier time not only reporting a rape or sexual assault, pressing charges, and winning a court case, but also getting access to the services and support that I would need in order to heal. I want to keep my son safe, I want to protect him, but how do I do that in a society that, in many ways, denies that he could ever be the victim of rape?

At the end of the day, what I really want to say is this: rape culture is not a women’s issue. Rape culture is not a feminist issue. Rape culture is everyone’s issue, and we all need to work together to solve this.

—Photo gogoloopie/Flickr

About Anne Theriault

Anne Theriault lives in Toronto with her husband and young son. She spends her days teaching yoga, reading in cafés, and trying to figure out how to negotiate in toddler-ese.

Comments

  1. I’d like to alert you to a much more serious problem that everyone’s been denying: I call it ‘manslaughter culture,’ the fact that our society normalized and trivializes not the rape, but the actual DEATHS of men. In many cases, it even promotes it as a good and patriotic thing.

    And it’s called ‘manslaughter culture’ for a reason. Women are not the one sacrificed on the front lines. Women do not suffer huge majorities of workplace dangers, mutilation, and death. And women do not make up the vast majority of homeless people. Men do, because society treats male disposability as normal. Women aren’t expected to throw themselves in the line of a fire during a theater shooting to protect their spouses; men are.

    Tons of evidence is available to support this, but I’m sure everyone’s already well aware of it.

    So how about it? Are we ready to discuss how manslaughter culture hurts everyone? It isn’t just a men’s issue, or an MRA issue. It affects all of us. So when will the coverage start?

    • You have a great point. But this isn’t the thread or time to discuss it. Why don’t you offer to write an article to this website about manslaughter culture and we can discuss then? I think there’s a lot of talk that needs to happen about de-stigmatizing male rape and I don’t want this discuss to get railroaded.

      • That is a cop-out.
        Copyleft makes a point I always run into when thinking about “Rape Culture.”

        The OP asks if it exists. Copyleft seems to be questioning that issue through an analogy.

        Well, in a trivial sense it might exist, just as we have a “manslaughter culture,” a “teasing culture,” a “bully culture,” a violence culture,” a “murder culture,” etc.

        But, we only talk about “Rape Culture,” as if this is something new and special and unique.

        It makes me think that “Rape Culture” is really just a construct that was created because people are obsessed with sexual interactions between people. So, the academics came up with a name for it, and a provocative one at that.

        So, to me, “Rape Culture” is just one facet of all these other “cultures” that make up what we call “being human beings.”

        That is really what we are talking about.

        -Jut

        • Okay, perhaps that was too flippant. I always worry about the auto-refresh on GMP, and that leads me to ignore the first rule of blog commenting: breathe deeply and count to 10 before you hit “send.”

          In my view, Rape Culture seems to try to analyze a particular aspect of human interaction: the sexual one.

          With all human interactions, sometimes it is done well (enthusiatic consent), and sometimes it is done poorly (rape).

          But, given the threads on GMP recently, it seems clear that there is not a lot of clarity about how that is done (e.g. what constitutes consent, etc.).

          So, talk about “Rape Culture” often strikes me as a form of navel-gazing that misses the big picture. It is something we create by naming it, but it is really just one part of the way people are.

          I don’t think you can eradicate rape, any more than you can eradicate murder, or arguing, or fights among people.

          -Jut

          • The cynic in me worries that the purpose of all of this discourse isn’t to make people safer, but to strengthen the women’s right lobby, politically. The concepts and ideas behind something like “rape culture” is, essentially, a process of circular logic and begging the question which acts to promote fear, anger and distrust. Instead of looking at positive ways we can interact with others, we focus on negatives and awful hyperbole that simply rile people up.

            And to top it all off, questioning or showing concern that a circular argument isn’t an established and immutable fact creates even more discord, as the script states that questioning the concept of “rape culture” makes one a “rape apologist” which, when you bang your head against the wall for long enough, brings one to a point where you start to see Feminism as a negative in our culture. There’s nothing positive or good about this particular rhetorical device. In fact, it simply reinforces the sort of behaviors we all would like to see change.

    • You are right there is a culture of violence we all live in. Write the article, Copyleft, and submit it to Joanna. This writer is taking about rape.

      • I should’ve been clearer. I was trying to point out that I consider the term ‘rape culture’ dishonest and nonsensical.

        Look at how it’s defined–“A culture in which rape occurs.” Therefore, all human cultures have always been rape cultures. Now look at how it’s USED in debate–“A culture that condones, marginalizes, and even promotes rape.”

        Not quite the same thing, is it? But that’s the double-shuffle that always occurs whenever this term comes up. Radical feminists give definition 1 to prove that it exists, and then switch over to definition 2 to decry what a misogynist apocalypse it indicates, all in order to paint themselves as victims and men as villains. AGAIN.

        But try that with any issue. Do school shootings occur? You bet. Does that make us a society that condones, trivialized, and promotes school shootings? Obviously not! But calling the U.S. a “school shooting culture” would be making that very argument, and it would be invalid for the same reason.

        “Rape culture” is B.S.

    • I’ll say this Copyleft. The ONLY thing and I mean ONLY thing wrong with this comment is where it is right now.

    • Actually, Copyleft’s comment does belong here. How can people not see the relevance? He could have said, “I’m going to give you an example to illustrate just how flawed the concept of “rape culture” is and how it’s simply a rhetorical device to push forward a feminist/misandrist agenda.” He could have said that, but I’m guessing he believed–rightfully or wrongfully so– that the audience here was smart enough to get that.

    • I do wish that this constant use of bad language would stop!

      Rape Culture is as nasty as four letter words because it dismisses and reduced people automatically in the eyes of others.

      Why is “Rape Culture” bad language? Because you can’t say rape – you have to say Male Rape, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to shift that ingrained language any day soon …. and ignoring that issue is to act to excuse the rapists (Male Or Female) and leave victims hanging!

      Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius – the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other.

      It’s why when people use the term rape and the person raped is male you have to say “Male rape” because the word rape is so misleading and excludes so many others automatically. If it didn’t it would not be necessary to keep apologising and adding them back in after the fact.

      Interpretatio Cessat in Claris – Interpretation stops when a text is clear.

      “Rape Culture” is bad language and a bad concept due to the text not being clear, and tacking a few guys on the end of massive justification of bad language is not good or manly – it’s even routinely insulting to survivors who are automatically excluded by that word rape – and have to be added in explicitly.

      “Manslaughter Culture” fits with “Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius” and there are just too many grey areas for people to paddle in and cause clarity to be lost.

      “Ignore Men And Let Them Die Culture” – well that does meet the standard of “Interpretatio Cessat in Claris”, and the potential for grey areas and artful covering up of issues with dismissive emotive and highly triggering language is reduced.

      Anyone who is remotely serious about Equality – wished to address it, discuss it even promote it does not and will not use the term rape culture because it is Anti Equality and denies those not automatically caught under the word rape! It’s why professionals use terms such as Sexual Assault as it stops the negation of people through bad language!

      People can say “I Believe Rape Culture Exists” – Yippey for them, but sorry to say It’s tiring and even exhausting to have to point out over and over to supposed intelligent people why it’s Bad Language and plain rude.

      Why is it necessary to have to say Transgender rape, Child rape, Prisoner Rape – using rape culture is itself empowering rape culture and so it’s bad language and bad thinking, and that is why only “certain” people keep using it. Why do some insist on Using and enforcing Bad Language which is actually worse than just cussing people out!

      If rape Culture was such a wonderful universal term and idea it would not be necessary to specify the nature of a rape victim by sexuality, gender, male sex and even legal status.

      In the USA you only see that with race – African American – Hispanic American – Asian American – Where is that old WASP American, or is it that bias around race just gets played out and not noticed due to Privilege and Presumed Power over language?

      They just cant think straight and love the power that comes from Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius – the expression of one thing is the exclusion of the other.

      Time for new language in the conversation and clarity of meaning. Maybe next year? But I doubt it so very much.

      Some just can’t accept they could ever be identified as using such bad language in public, and they play games with femininity and perceptions of that to cover up their levels of Cussin and just how negative their lanaguage and views are!

      • Why is “Rape Culture” bad language? Because you can’t say rape – you have to say Male Rape, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to shift that ingrained language any day soon …. and ignoring that issue is to act to excuse the rapists (Male Or Female) and leave victims hanging!

        Well said. Thank you.

  2. Hi Anne, I appreciate this article tremendously. I believe rape culture exists and crosses gender lines. It’s a violence-culture, a fear-of-emotions culture. I would like to give a mention to the 1BlueString organization which seeks to raise awareness for male victims of sexual assault.
    http://www.1bluestring.org/

  3. Aaron Foster says:

    I don’t doubt the anecdotes you relate. I think the mistake being made is that you are taking that as evidence of a widespread problem.

    Whenever I hear talk about victim blaming, it strikes me that there is an assumption that in any instance where something goes wrong, there is only one factor at work. If I get into an auto accident, it’s common to be told that you are 10% at fault and 90% the other guy’s fault, for instance.

    Now, I’m not saying that this is the case with rape. Legally and morally, the rapist is 100% at fault and the victim is 0% at fault- There is universal agreement on this. That can be true, and at the same time, there can be an acknowledgement that the victim could have behaved in such a way that increased her risk. I do not know why people’s heads explode at this. It’s trivially easy to show this is true in all sorts of situations, not just rape. But for some reason there is an instant feminist kneejerk against this. It’s like people are supposed to not teach their daughters safe behaviors because should they be raped they will then blame themselves if they didn’t follow those teachings. That would be absurd.

    As far as Skyfall goes, the situation you describe is clearly consensual. Most men and women find it a turn off to break off a moment to lay out a contract of “Ok I’m going to do this there and then that there, is that OK? Also, I will require a mental health evaluation to make sure you aren’t silently objecting due to your background.” That is the stuff ivory tower jokes are made of. I will grant that entering a shower naked is an extreme example of making the first move; yet, men are still expected to make the first move and most people like it that way.

    • Victim blaming is extremely widespread….rape culture is extremely widespread. There isn’t a “feminist kneejerk” to teaching girls (and boys) to be careful and be safe. There is a reaction (not kneejerk) to the narrative that it is normal that girls SHOULD be careful, and that anything that happens to them when they aren’t careful is somehow their fault.

      Let’s take child molestation, as an example. If some kid gets into a car with a stranger and is sexually assaulted, society doesn’t collectively sigh and say “ah yes, the kid should have known better.” We are outraged, and rightfully so, that someone did such a horrible thing to another human being. But when we’re talking about an adult woman (or even a 10-year-old girl) being raped…then we go into “oh she should have known better,” and “she should have realized it could happen.”

      And it’s more than that…it’s what we are telling women they need to be worried about. When a man walks down the street without a shirt on, do we tell him that he needs to be worried he’s showing too much skin and thus might be assaulted? No, of course not, because of a combination of the way women’s bodies can be hyper-sexualized, and the way we assume men just can’t control themselves and thus place blame on women when men do “lose control” and sexually assault.

      TL;DR: So you ask, why do people’s heads explode when it is suggested that the victim could have behaved in a way to minimize her chance of being sexually assaulted? And my answer is that she shouldn’t have to.

      (Side note, it’ also a fallacy that if the woman would have covered up/not been drinking/not been out late/whatever, she would have been less likely to be assaulted. When I was in Egypt I spoke to a woman who wore the full face-covering niqab, covered in black cloth…and she told me that the very first day she put on the whole thing she was verbally assaulted in the street. So dressed head to toe in black cloth, out during the day, and she was assaulted).

      • Obviously these comments mostly apply to “acquaintance/date rape” type incidents, and not the back alley stranger type.

        So an adult woman who gets impaired of her own accord (either through drink or drugs) and puts herself in a position to be assaulted by someone is exactly like a child being molested? You realize you are saying that adult women have the same level of decision making skills as a child.

        Look, rape is real, rape is terrible, and rape is violent. I do think that every feminist in the world saying “rape culture” actually does not help women as it does nothing to educate women about making better choices. I dated a girl who was raped in college. She was the first to admit “I wouldn’t have been raped if I hadn’t gotten blackout drunk that night and gone to the guy’s room”. She understood that her own poor choices put her in a bad position. Obviously she didn’t deserve to be raped just because of those things, but if she had stayed sober that night and gone to her own room it wouldn’t have happened, and she knows it. If I got pick-pocketed on the subway because I was careless with my wallet isn’t it my fault for not taking better precautions?

        All of your wishing that the world were the same for men and women navigating the world won’t make it so. All people have to behave certain ways at all times to protect themselves from crime. Why is rape any different? Rape is sometimes the end result of a series of bad choices for the woman. As long as saying “rape culture” is a blanket safety net for women, they will never be accountable for viewing how the decisions they make on any given day/night can keep them safe or lead to trouble. Educate, don’t let the old “nothing you could have done would have prevented this” way of thinking persist. It’s harmful

        • Anne Thériault says:

          One issue that I have with victim-blaming is that it’s insulting to men. It’s saying that a man faced with a woman in revealing clothing just can’t help himself, that he’s so inflamed with lust that he loses his head, etc.

          Rape is almost always about power and control, which is why it happens to women who are modestly dressed, to children, to seniors, etc.

          • Wrong, it’s saying that you don’t know if a stranger or acquaintance is actually a morally bankrupt or dysfunctional person. These people (men or women) don’t wear neon signs attached to their backs.

            It’s saying that putting your safety in the hands of a person who’s morals you cannot know is a highly dubious endeavor.

        • “Look, rape is real, rape is terrible, and rape is violent. I do think that every feminist in the world saying “rape culture” actually does not help women as it does nothing to educate women about making better choices.”

          …And as long as society focusses more on “ladies, don’t be a victim” instead of teaching mutual respect for everyone, regardless of sex, skin colour, beliefs, or anything else that makes us different, we’ll continue to have this notion floating around that there’s a segment of humanity that are naturally prey, and a segment of humanity that are naturally predators. It should never be up to a person not to become a victim of crime, but not to *commit* a crime.

          Yes, there is a lot of messaging on subways about not getting your mobile nicked, but it’s a bad comparison. My wife once got her wallet stolen out of her purse on the train, and yes, it feels like a violation, and it’s a crime.. and at the end of the day, if you act quickly on it, it’s an inconvenience, and that’s about all. You have to replace your train pass, your credit cards, your IDs.. buy a new wallet. Maybe you’re out some cash. Certainly you lose trust in your fellow travellers. But petty theft isn’t about exerting power over somebody; it isn’t about reducing them to a level less than your own… and rape is.

          As long as the public dialogue continues to emphasise what you shouldn’t do, say, or wear, in order to avoid being raped (because God forbid anyone other than men go out to the club with getting laid on their mind); as long as we continue to make cracks about “watch your cornhole”; as long as elected officials and members of the judiciary can actually allow the thought into their mind–let alone actually say it–that a person’s body should have magically prevented a rape in progress.. we will continue to live in a rape culture, and we will continue to need to have this conversation.

          • “…And as long as society focusses more on “ladies, don’t be a victim” instead of teaching mutual respect for everyone, regardless of sex, skin colour, beliefs, or anything else that makes us different, we’ll continue to have this notion floating around that there’s a segment of humanity that are naturally prey, and a segment of humanity that are naturally predators. It should never be up to a person not to become a victim of crime, but not to *commit* a crime.”

            The problem is that’s not reality, and wanting it won’t make it so. No one deserves to be the victim of any crime.

            Do you lock the doors to your house? Do you lock the doors to your car? Do put your paycheck in a bank or just carry all the money around with at all times? If you’re on the subway do you put your wallet down on the seat next to you the same way you might have your wallet sitting on your sofa at home? Why are the precautions we all take to avoid crime not able to be discussed when it comes to rape without having it termed “victim blaming”.

        • “If I got pick-pocketed on the subway because I was careless with my wallet isn’t it my fault for not taking better precautions?”

          No, it’s not your fault that someone stole your wallet. It’s the fault of the person who stole it. Are you serious with this?

        • I am not saying women have the same decision making ability as children, for goodness sake. I’m saying that when it’s a child who is a victim (unless that child is a 10 year old girl), we do not doubt their victimhood. We do not question that what happened to them is entirely the fault of the perpetrator.

          And to say that a child doesn’t have the ability to understand that getting in to a car with a stranger (or whatever) is dangerous is a total fallacy. I was taught from a very young age that was dangerous. I wasn’t aware of the sexual nature of the danger, of course, but I knew it was dangerous. Kids often know more than we think.

          As for the rest, well Aimes, Matthew and Anne about covered it.

          • You make my point exactly. As a child “you were taught” that getting in a car with a stranger was dangerous. Using the term “rape culture” shuts down any discussion of how we can educate women (the likely victim) on how to avoid high risk situations because “rape culture” = nothing you could have done would have changed this (and we can’t even discuss it because it will be framed as victim blaming). You even say in your original post that a woman “shouldn’t have to” change her behavior to minimize her chance of being assaulted. Isn’t teaching children to not get in a car with a stranger teaching someone to minimize their chance of something bad happening to them?

            (Yes this comment was lost in moderation and was released by one of the moderators. Sorry for the delay. – GMP Moderator)

          • Lost in moderation? so resubmitting
            ——
            You make my point exactly. As a child “you were taught” that getting in a car with a stranger was dangerous. Using the term “rape culture” shuts down any discussion of how we can educate women (the likely victim) on how to avoid high risk situations because “rape culture” = nothing you could have done would have changed this (and we can’t even discuss it because it will be framed as victim blaming). You even say in your original post that a woman “shouldn’t have to” change her behavior to minimize her chance of being assaulted. Isn’t teaching children to not get in a car with a stranger teaching someone to minimize their chance of something bad happening to them?

            All using the term “rape culture” does is to shut down discussion of the “how?” and “why?” of rape and I think it’s dangerous to not try to understand these issues.

      • I have a question, is it ever ok to put some blame towards people taking risks?

        “If some kid gets into a car with a stranger and is sexually assaulted, society doesn’t collectively sigh and say “ah yes, the kid should have known better.””
        That’s because the kid’s judgment is impaired, they are not old enough to understand the consequences. It’s not a very good comparison, hell a kid touchs a hotplate and gets burned and we don’t say they should know better, but adults sure as hell should understand the laws of hotshitburns.

        I can see how saying something about her clothing is wrong since clothing has no effect, but walking down a dark alley alone male or female is a risky move. Should we all be able to walk dark alleys? Yes, but monsters still exist so people need to be careful where they go. Should men n women be able to have their drinks uncovered and leave them without tamper? yes, but it’s a very good idea to cup your drink and never let it out of your sight to ensure you don’t get spiked. So at what point do we suggest people avoid situations or be prepared for the risk of violence? Telling men n women to avoid walking alone in dark alleys is a good idea. As bad as it is, people need to be careful with their safety. You’re probably more likely to be robbed than raped though. I tell everyone to stick with their mates where possible, make sure everyone is ok, let people know where you’re going eg, letting someone know you’re going home with that woman/man tonight.

        If someone drinks themselves into passing out at a party, they’re putting themselves at risk. Is it bad to tell people not to drink so much that you can’t protect yourself? Hell I’ve nearly run over people on the fucking highway who are asleep on the ground from drinking at night with dark clothing so it’s near impossible to see them till the last second. Does placing yourself in harms way deserve some blame? You don’t deserve to be harmed of course but are you not putting yourself at greater risk being so drunk? Quite frankly I think anyone who drinks themselves to the point they can’t walk and they aren’t in a safe area is a fucking moron putting themselves at huge risk of so many things like assault, rape, being robbed, being run over because they’re passed out, rolling off high rise balconies because they decided to sleep there (happened recently), falling off a bridge and drowning, doing stupid shit and dying/getting injured from it such as driving a car, being the motherfucker who was driving drunk and hit the car with ME in it as a baby which severely hurt my mother n brother. No one deserves to be hurt but if you put yourself at risk you need someone to tell you quite clearly that you’re doing something pretty risky and to wake up to yourself.

        You can’t walk with zero risk to yourself on the streets at night, not even POLICE who are ARMED can walk them safely, you can’t get shitfaced and expect to be A-OK. Being drunk decreases your ability to protect yourself from violence, impairs judgment, etc. So if someone does get hit by traffic because they decided to waltz down the freeway high as a kite or drunk as hell do we blame them specifically for putting themselves at risk? (and not blaming them for being hit).

        With rape though you’re most at risk with friends n family, spending time with your partner for instance increases your risk of abuse (all forms) so this blame game isn’t going to be very helpful even though logically you should not let yourself pass out at a party since you’d be prey but is it even ok to say that anymore? Personally I think we should continue to educate people about risk, get them to do their best to stay safe (no officer, clothing doesn’t stop rape, it stops being cold and cuts n graizes though if you tumble down a hill drunk). The fault is with the perpetrator but if you do wish to avoid the risks involved with alcohol, limit your drinking n stay with a group you trust. It’s a shit move telling a survivor they could have avoided their rape since rape can happen anywhere but you can learn a lesson about not getting too drunk n passing out in unsafe areas.

        I guess the big question would be “If you pass out at a party because you purposely drank too much, are you to blame for increasing your risk?”. The part of victim-blaming reactions that makes me curious is should we speak of the increased risk? It’s often said the blame is entirely on the rapist, and people will say well you can’t swim in the water with sharks and expect to live to which the reply is the rapists make the choice to abuse. But monsters exist in this world and yes the rapist is 100% at fault, but if you drink till you pass out do you not increase your risk dramatically? You don’t deserve rape of course and you aren’t at fault for the actions of another, but are you not at fault for increasing your risk?

        • “Is it ever okay to put blame toward someone for taking risks?”

          Here is the problem…or one of the big problems: walking down the street at night, getting black-out drunk, wearing a short skirt., being flirtatious..these are all things that are used to victim blame. Getting black-out drunk is risky and is engaging in irresponsible behaviour, certainly. However the rest of that isn’t risky, and yet it is treated as though it is. “Oh you wore a lot of make-up and a short skirt? You were asking for it.” Walking down the street at night isn’t even risky in itself…for starters sometimes a person has no choice (they work late and they take public transportation because they can’t afford a car, for example).

          But more than that, there is a huge double standard. If I were to get black-out drunk and be robbed, the court case wouldn’t involve detailing how I am partly at fault because I got drunk. And, as has already been discussed above, being robbed is hardly as damaging as being raped…but the legal fault is purely put on the assailant. Were I raped, on the other hand, then part of the defence could very well be that I’d done things that facilitated my rape by increasing my risk. It is a complete and utter double standard. (Not to mention, as for this whole risk-taking thing….taking risks is rewarded in men…even stupid risks).

          But all of that ignores the fact that it is a fallacy to say that a woman engaging in risky behaviour makes them more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted. Of the women I know who have been sexually assaulted (verbally and physically), none of them were pass-out drunk. None of them had sex and then regretted it and then cried rape. ALL of them were placed in a position of powerlessness by their assailant and then assaulted. You know what’s almost worse than that…none of them have reported it. Not a one.

          • But more than that, there is a huge double standard.

            That question keeps being asked and the response is “Because….! ?? Scratches Head – upper left glance and thinks Now You Are Blaming the Victim and you are a rape Apologist….Get the behind me Satan!”,

            It’s odd how in the UK The Police in putting out Security Advisories only use the term Sexual Assault and not Rape. It is very deliberate and design to stop the Abuse of language by some for political capital and propaganda and also to ensure that everyone hears the same message.

            If you advise to be careful on entering an area and to avoid conspicuous displays of wealth, jewels, watches, wallets in back pockets, purses in easy grab positions that’s fine – you can even advise that all people should travel in at least pairs or larger groups and that’s fine – you can even advise of risk of sexual assault and that’s fine – but say that the advise is linked to a rape (Meaning a female victim) suddenly it’s all about Women Having to have the Right to be safe…. Yaddah, Yaddah, Yaddah…. more Yaddah!

            The Police Recognise the double standards, which is why they use language carefully so those with such massive Double Standards which breach Equality Laws are kept under control and are not triggered into action by that word rape!

            It’s one of the reasons there is ongoing dialogue concerning the removal of the word rape from all Statutes so as to remove double standards and imbalances and promote equality for all in sight of The Law. That way mechanism is removed and mens rea becomes the central issue.

          • Thanks for the reply. I hate anyone who tries to say someone is asking for it. I think there might be good in telling people to be careful where they get superdrunk, but I wouldn’t want that to be used against them in a courtroom or in media, society, etc. I think you’re far more likely to get robbed when passed out at a party, rape seems to mostly be when a person is pretty alert and awake.

            “(Not to mention, as for this whole risk-taking thing….taking risks is rewarded in men…even stupid risks)” —(I may have misread this bit)
            Yeah but that comes with the added baggage of no one giving a shit about your life. There is also a huge amount of stigma n shame to taking risks too, I’ve seen a lottt of people call someone who’s just died from being drunk n driving somewhere a loser, moron, idiot, etc. Some will think high of them like Jackass, but heaps of people also think they’re idiots. Then there is the whole men expected to save emselves shit.

          • Is there really a double standard if you were black-out drunk? (I’m only using this example because it was used in your example.)

            If you were black-out drunk and someone reached into your pocket and took your wallet without asking, you’re right, the court case wouldn’t detail you as having been partly at fault. This is equivalent to the situation you described with your friends.

            If you were black-out drunk and your drunk friend says “Hey, would you mind paying for the drinks? I’ll get you next time” and you say “Here’s my wallet, man,” and then you wake up the next morning and don’t remember handing your wallet over to your friend, would the court take you seriously if you accused him of robbing you?

            And maybe this is all theory; maybe women having sex while black-out drunk, not remembering, and then saying they’ve been raped doesn’t happen or at least doesn’t happen very often. I don’t know, I’ve never seen numbers.

            My concern is that if you buy into the idea that a person flat-out can’t give consent when he or she is drunk, then It doesn’t matter if a person is saying “Yes please” and trying to climb on top of me, if I follow through and the person doesn’t remember saying “yes” the next day or comes to while on top of me and doesn’t remember saying “yes” a few moments earlier, the I become a rapist.

            • Well first, as has already been pointed out, taking someone’s money is much less traumatizing than raping someone…therefore the barrier to consent for sex should surely be more stringent and important than paying for a meal. But yes, if you let someone who is so drunk they don’t know what they are doing pay for you, then yeah you basically stole that money from them. There were unable to give consent but you took it anyway. Of course, you can always pay them back after they’ve sobered up; it’s not really that big of a deal. Rape, on the other hand, is very much a big deal.

              Also, it’s really not that difficult…if you think s/he might be intoxicated enough that s/he can’t give consent…just don’t have sex with him/her. Just be AWARE of your partner(s). Look, I’m a lesbian…I’ve gone to gay bars and ended up flirting with some woman who was totally three sheets to the wind. So I behaved accordingly…I didn’t go past flirtatious banter, because I didn’t want to take advantage. And many times that means I end up going home alone and not getting laid…big flipping deal. Better I’m sure I’m with someone who is aware of what the heck she’s doing.

            • HeatherN,
              I think that’s where the fundamental difference in our perspectives lies. In my mind, my friend asking me to pay for his drink while I’m black-out drunk is not theft. The reason is: YOU ARE FULLY CONSCIOUS AND AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING WHEN YOU ARE BLACK OUT DRUNK, YOU DON’T REMEMBER DOING IT BECAUSE THE ALCOHOL KEPT YOUR BRAIN FROM RECORDING THE MEMORY, which means if I handed him my wallet it was a conscious choice, even if I don’t remember doing it. Now I’m fully in my right to call him an asshole or feel violated, but does that warrant me making the allegation and taking him to court for theft or robbery? Let’s say I have a friend who says “yeah, you handed him your wallet.” Do I still say “Well I was too drunk to remember, so you can’t hold me accountable for giving him my wallet, so he’s still a thief,” and press charges? Should our legal system take this case seriously and try him for robbery?

              If a woman is blackout drunk and trying to climb on top of me, she knows what she is doing. She knows she has a boyfriend or a fiancé or the risks of unprotected sex. Along with memory, the alcohol messes with your brain’s ability to make long term decisions and to weigh the consequences of your actions; in other words, you care less about the impact your actions will have; that is why alcohol is said to remove inhibitions.

              Being black out drunk does not indicate that someone is necessarily more intoxicated than someone else around him or her, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT SOMEONE WHO IS BLACK OUT DRUNK WILL LOOK MORE INTOXICATED THAN OTHER PEOPLE IN THE SAME ROOM; this is especially true if the drinker makes a habit of binge drinking, drank a large volume of alcohol faster than normal, or is genetically susceptible to black outs. Black outs happen because of the impact of alcohol on the hippocampus, which controls memory, and is unrelated to its impact on motor function.

              How can it be that if a drunk girl climbs on top of me, I say “No” and she continues anyway, and doesn’t remember doing it later because she blacked out she’s considered a rapist, but if she climbs on top of me and I say “Yes, please,” and she doesn’t remember doing it later because she blacked out I become a rapist?

              THAT is a double standard.

            • As an aside, I’ve read several discussions where using an example like theft, assault, or drunk driving (i.e. If I walk into a bad neighborhood and get mugged, the mugger is still responsible for mugging me, and I still knowingly put myself at risk.) is often called an example of “rape culture” or being apologetic towards rape.

              Can someone explain to me how we can use analogies to explain why someone should be considered a rapist is not an example of rape culture, but using the same analogies to explain why someone should not be considered a rapist is an example of rape culture?

        • Hi Archy,

          Is there ever a circumstance where the victim shoulders some of the blame/responsibility for their assault? For me the answer is no. Blame is assigned when someone has done wrong. And I don’t believe that being raped/assaulted = doing something wrong.

          Let’s use your example of the person who has had so much to drink they’ve passed out. I think it’s fair to have a discussion about excessive alcohol consumption, but that’s separate from the “this is why you were sexually assaulted” conversation. Being very drunk is not what makes a person get raped. It’s the person who decides they’re going to rape. And for the record, that rapist is entirely different from you when almost hit someone who’d passed out in the street.

          In that situation you were a driver. The road was exactly where you were supposed to be. You were doing what doing. If you had, under those circumstances, accidentally hit that person I wouldn’t blame you for hurting them. That’s not a choice you made. I would hold the victim largely responsible because they can’t expect that there won’t be cars on the road. That’s what the road is for.

          The other difference, for me, is that when you saw that drunk and passed out in the road, you (I asummed) put on your breaks. You did everything you could to avoid hurting them. You did NOT say “Sweet! A vulnerable person who can’t protect themselves! I’m going to take advantage of this and run them over with my car!”

          If someone had a black eye because they had passed out at a party and someone purposely punched them in the face while they were unconscious, I feel like the general reaction would be “What a violent awful thing to do to someone!” I don’t think most people would say, “It is wrong that this poor person got punched but he has to assume some of the blame for blacking out.”

          I don’t think we can hold a victim responsible for being raped. You can’t hold someone responsible for another person’s decision. And raping someone is decision. It’s not an accident, or the inevitable consequence of back alleys and wild parties. It’s a conscious choice to do something super-shitty to someone else. So when it comes to who’s responsible I don’t care where the victim was what they were doing or how drunk they were. The choice to violate someone’s body is the rapist’s alone. That’s where the blame belongs.

          • “Let’s use your example of the person who has had so much to drink they’ve passed out. I think it’s fair to have a discussion about excessive alcohol consumption, but that’s separate from the “this is why you were sexually assaulted” conversation.”
            That’s a very important point and part of what I’m getting at. The warning of dangers when drinking, not just from rape risk since you can’t defend yourself even if you wanted or were lucky enough to have fight instead of freeze, along with the other troubles that come from excessive alcohol. Do we continue to tell people to not get shitfaced?

      • Aaron Foster says:

        “Victim blaming is extremely widespread….rape culture is extremely widespread.”

        We’ve entered into begging the question mode. Can this actually be substantiated? I suppose we need to start out with a solid definition of what victim blaming actually is… It seems to me that victims are blamed _for the risks they took_ but virtually no one will blame a victim for the actions of a rapist. Certainly that would not fly in a court of law, where it supposedly really matters.

        A child molestation analogy doesn’t work because we are talking about children. If a little girl is raped you aren’t going to assert that society at large is going to say she was asking for it. We don’t expect children to know what is best for themselves.

        “So you ask, why do people’s heads explode when it is suggested that the victim could have behaved in a way to minimize her chance of being sexually assaulted? And my answer is that she shouldn’t have to.”

        I completely agree- But I’m talking about the assertion that we live in a ‘rape culture’. What you say is true of any crime, not just rape, but we don’t have people going around saying we live in a ‘mugging culture’ or a ‘crime culture’.

        It’s the obligation of a defense lawyer to present any sort of mitigating evidence. That a defense attorney does whatever he can to defend the client is *not* evidence of ‘rape culture’.. It’s normal and proper functioning of our adversarial court system. What is the alternative, that anyone claiming rape be accepted as truthful without question?

        Is there evidence that rapists routinely get off rape charges due to victim blaming?

    • I recall other articles on this website where men have gone ballistic at the idea that women are concerned about their personal safety, and accused women of overreacting and being sexist if they won’t accept a ride from a strange man when their car breaks down, for example.

      • Agreed that this is a BS double standard men try to push.

        “Of course a woman should be careful, and not put herself in vulnerable situations with men. Except me, of course, because I’m safe and she should know that!”

      • Not every man is the same. Duh. Not every woman is the same.

        But if they will accept a ride from a strange woman than yes they are showing sexist behaviour, even if it’s less risky.

        • Personally I probably wouldn’t accept a ride from a storage woman either. Accepting rides from strangers simply a dangerous thing to do, period.

          • Strangers are safer than your family, most rapes are committed by people know to women (think the same is also true for male victims).

  4. From my experience I think the reason that people get so riled up over rape culture isn’t the definition of it but rather the use of it.

    I appreciate how when you talk about rape culture you actually talk about how rape and sexual assault against women AND men are accepted or seen as normal.

    The problem is when rape culture is invoked its almost exclusively done when talking about the rape/sexual assault of women/girls. It seems that the only time such crimes against boys/men are even brought up as a part of rape culture is when defining it or defending it against those that criticize the omission.

    • We live in a culture of violence. It’s both genders and we are affected by it and utilize it, if not equally, then in a strange balance. And we tolerate it for some reason, damning those who speak out against it, defending ourselves when we feel accused of it. It’s race, it’s gender, it’s sex, it’s war, it’s greed, it’s us all trying to live within it and not be affected by it but that’s impossible.

      • Absolutely true Julie.

        But when the language to point this out is defined as being neutral of things like race or gender (or least defined in recognition of how the definition applies to those of different races or genders) but is then turned around and used in a non-neutral manner this is where the problems arise.

        For example when talk about the few stories in the last year or so (or at least the ones that became high profile) of girls being gang raped by multiple assailants there was no shortage of invoking rape culture. On the other hand I’ve barely seen any mention of the rape culture when talking about boys whose abuse at the hands of members of the church or at the hands of high profile figures.

        It’s great to see that the definition of rape culture covers both but when the every day conversation and mention of rape culture suddenly leaves male victims out, it’s no surprise that some get bothered by it. I would imagine that including it in the definition but not in the actual discourse leaves some of them feeling like the inclusion in the definition is nothing more than lip service.

        (To give you another example, off topic mind you, look at how civilian casualties are often reported by the media. It’s usually in the form of, “X people were killed, Y of them women and children”. You can even see this happen when Y is less than half of X. Now with that in mind don’t you think the talk of how victims matter in times of war rings hollow to people when it’s pretty clear that the only victims that matter are women and children?

        This of course creates the illusion that once a male child gets to a certain age he is no longer considered a civilian like his sister would. No he is either a statistic not worth mentioning or he is an enemy combatant.)

        • Danny, you know I agree with you. Boys being raped by priests or football coaches is part of the culture of violence I am talking about. Prisons for profit (mostly men of color), layoffs and corporate moves to countries where they are not regulated, schools that are so bureaucratic and disorganizaed and underfunded that theyd’ rather boy kids on Ritalin than let them run and question? Yes, it’s all leaves on the same tree Danny.

    • The problem is when rape culture is invoked its almost exclusively done when talking about the rape/sexual assault of women/girls. It seems that the only time such crimes against boys/men are even brought up as a part of rape culture is when defining it or defending it against those that criticize the omission.

      That has been my observation as well.

  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/health/worlds-population-living-longer-new-report-suggests.html

    “A sharp decline in deaths from malnutrition and infectious diseases like measles and tuberculosis has caused a shift in global mortality patterns over the past 20 years, according to a report published on Thursday, with far more of the world’s population now living into old age and dying from diseases mostly associated with rich countries, like cancer and heart disease.”

    No and double no. We live in an ever increasing anti-violence culture. On a daily basis, billions of individuals across every nation are cooperating together to better their own lives and the lives of those around them. The violent aberrations need to be confronted by our anti-violence culture.
    The American mindset that distorts the above truer script may be a contributor to the isolationist gun toting nation of bunker down mentality.

    • We see things like rape and murder as aberrant but not our prison system, or our electoral politics, or our corporate culture that fires people by the thousands, and moves out to countries with no regulations. Those are normal every day pieces of life.
      Those are daily pieces of violence we live in.

      • I don’t disagree Julie – but it does not change that perspective and reality.

        Sam Harris tries his best to put suffering in context with this analogy (my paraphrase) ‘The most dangerous road in the world is the two lane highway between Kabul and Jalalabad. When it was unpaved and full of boulders, it was relatively safe, but when it finally got paved, it liberated the driving skills of the local Afghans from the laws of psychics, and now it’s the most dangerous road in the world!’

        We do need to keep reminding ourselves that progress is happening. I do get that. I worry about the self-fulfilling psychology of pessimism, and how it impairs human effectiveness.

  6. Jonathan G says:

    Thanks, Anne, for the concise and sensible explication of the term “rape culture.” I have never been able to pin down exactly what it meant from the myriad contexts in which I have seen it used. This makes sense.

    However, I still find that I object to the term used in non-academic contexts exactly for that reason. One should have a thorough understanding of the issues involved, and a good sense of the limitations of the term, and then use it only for an audience that has a similar understanding and sense. Once it escapes from academia, it expands–like The Blob–to incorporate all manner of situations and concepts. How can the speaker who uses the term know what it conjures for the listener? I find that it seems to prevent more discussion than it fosters.

    But, people will still continue to use it, so an article like this one makes a good reference point to clear things up.

  7. Rape culture means that although I cited above that 1 in 33 men have been sexually assaulted, I know that the number is actually much higher than that.

    Are you unaware of the findings of the NISVS 2010 Report from CDC? Would you believe me that during 2010 1.1% of women reported being raped while 1.1% of men reported “being made to penetrate someone else”. 79.2% of the men who reported ever “being made to penetrate someone else” reported only female perpetrators. See page 17-19 and page 24 of the Report here: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    Rape culture is blaming the victim, saying that they incited sexual assault by what they wore, how they acted, or where they were. It’s saying that an unconscious woman was sending “mixed signals” to her rapist.

    Yes. And we’ve watched the fallout and calling out that occurs when someone does that. However, when the victim is male there isn’t as much fallout as an race to the bottom:
    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=14594565
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/09/19/is-it-rape-if-you-dont-mean-for-it-to-be-rape/
    culminating in this from Amanda Marcotte:
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/09/19/is-it-rape-if-you-dont-mean-for-it-to-be-rape/#comment-526368

    Other examples of rape culture:
    We have the first comment/response to this man who wrote about how a woman tried to violently rape him (biting and clawing his face in the process): http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/no-means-no-no-matter-who-says-it/

    The sad part is, no one will ever ask you what you were wearing and how much you had to drink.

    Really, that’s the sad part!?

    A similar thing happened when Jezebel wrote about a man being held captive and raped by a woman in Germany: http://jezebel.com/5901998/german-woman-tries-to-hold-sexhausted-man-prisoner-in-her-apartment
    the author felt compelled to add:

    Can you picture a bunch of German talk radio hosts calling this guy a “slut” or suggesting that he was just asking to be held as a prisoner in this woman’s apartment?

    which is kind of ironic considering that the author wrote this earlier in that article:

    By all accounts, however, the initial hook-up was consensual and, even after being stopped from leaving, the man had sex “several more times” with the woman who detained him.

    Feminist Soraya Chemaly makes the assertion that “only men can stop rape” when she wrote about rape culture.

    • Anne Thériault says:

      “Are you unaware of the findings of the NISVS 2010 Report from CDC? Would you believe me that during 2010 1.1% of women reported being raped while 1.1% of men reported “being made to penetrate someone else”. 79.2% of the men who reported ever “being made to penetrate someone else” reported only female perpetrators. See page 17-19 and page 24 of the Report here: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

      That same report also says that 1 in 5 women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime (which is close to the number I had from RAINN), and 1 in 71 men (which, again, I think is a vast understatement).

      • Egalitarian says:

        The “1 in 71 men have been raped” stat from the CDC survey doesn’t tell the whole story. It defines “rape” as the attacker penetrating the victim, which excludes women who use their vagina to rape a man (rape by envelopment) which is counted as “made to penetrate”. The very same survey says “1 in 21 men (4.8%) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else,” which is far more than 1 in 71. Also, the study says that 79.2% of male victims of “made to penetrate” reported only female perpetrators, meaning they were raped by a woman.

        The above, lifetime stats do show a lower percentage of male victims (up to 1.4% rape by penetration + 4.8% made to penetrate = 6.2%) than female victims (18.3%) although it 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 were “forced to penetrate” as women were raped, meaning that if you properly include “made to penetrate” in the definition of rape, men were raped as often as women.

        • Anne Theriault says:

          Dude, I’m on your side! I’m just trying to show that I, and RAINN, didn’t magically make up our numbers.

          • What I want to know is why me being fucked by a woman while I slept without any pre-arranged consent (in fact there existed a verbal agreement that intercourse were off the table) does not count as rape by CDC, why it does not count as rape by RAINN, why it does not count as rape among several feminists who preach about rape culture (oh, the irony) and I wondered if you were aware of this statistic and the fact that men who are being made to penetrate someone else without their consent is excluded from the statistics about rape. What is your opinion on that?

            It’s almost exactly a year since the NISVS 2010 Report from NISVS was published. RAINN has tweeted about other findings of the NISVS 2010 Report so I know RAINN is aware of it and that they have read it.

            You say that RAINN and you did not magically make up the numbers of male rape victims. I’ll let you know that it pretty much feels like a magic disappearing act when CDC by definition make me and 1,267,000 US men who was raped in 2010 disappear from the rape statistics. *POFF!* – gone.

            It pretty much feels like magic when RAINN and others parrots CDC and other studies which only looks at rape in a genderized manner (The one from 1998 where RAINN get’s it male rape numbers from are titled: “Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998″). *POFF* – gone.

            It pretty much feels like magic when feminists say “only men can stop rape”. *POFF!* – gone.

            It pretty much feels like magic when feminists define rape culture as:

            Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

            *POFF!* – gone.
            This was incidentally the definition of rape culture on Wikipedia until Mediahound started to stir things up there earlier THIS year and pointed out that the definition excluded rape against men.

            It feels like magic when feminists rage against an article about a woman waking up to a man having sex with her and what caused the man to do so while the same feminists thinks intent is magic and the woman is blame-free when a man wakes up to his partner having sex with him and she claims she thought he was awake. *POOF!* – gone.

            When you said: “Rape is almost always about power and control, which is why it happens to women who are modestly dressed, to children, to seniors, etc.” *POOF* – gone.
            (I know you said this in a context, but that context – women as victim – is ever present and I want to illustrate how that makes it feels like an exclusion).

            Other men who says: “I’d question if it were really rape. It sounds more like she initiated and you went along with it. Also, in my experience it takes a bit of manuvering to get a penis into a vagina and it seems unlikely to happen without the man waking up and being an active participant.” *POOF* – gone.

            Feminists who says that male rape is horrible to the men it happens to and who a few sentences later writes that there is a qualitative difference between men raping women and women raping men. *POOF* – minimized.

            That is what the rape discourse sounds like to a male victim.

            • Excellent take-down of the myth of female victimhood and male perfidy Tamen. Many many people are arguing across many forums for the respect of male victims and an end to the marginalization of male victims and exaggeration of male wrong-doing.

              What is coming about is that if there is a rape culture it seems to cut ACROSS gender EQUALLY.

              Men do not have a cornerstone on being sexually entitled assholes. In the story linked above, it bears mentioning that the woman who held the man prisoner raping him by obstructing his exiting the area, was released by police and she was constantly referred to as a “nympho” not a rapist.

              You don’t have to look too hard to find sexually entitled women:
              Here is this article on crunk feminist who rails and rails at being denied sex by a man (sounding a lot like the deragatory ideal of a Niceguy TM)

              ht tp://goodmenproject.com/noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz/uh-crunk-feminist-collective-we-need-to-have-a-chat/

              Here is an article of an ex gf so angered at a turn down for sex she ripped the mans testicles off w/her bare hands:
              ht tp://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/101006/Ex-rips-off-mans-testicle.html
              And lastly here is a reverse-the-genders article on genderratic.
              ht tp://www.genderratic.com/p/1899/this-is-what-sexual-entitlement-looks-like/
              In the original article a woman tells how she can’t resist the idea that her bf has an erection in his sleep without taking action, and despite having expressed a desire to be left alone in his sleep (and she even mentions he sleeps with his hands over his crotch). In the genderratic reverse-the-genders article it is shown how creepy and rapey this feeling of entitlement would look if a man decided he had a right to touch his gf’s vagina in her sleep when she has expressed a desire not to have it done and slept WITH HER HANDS COVERING HER VAGINA.

              Look up the documentary “She stole my voice” about lesbian rape which reports 1/3rd of lesbians report being raped by a woman who was not necessarily her lover.

              What we have isn’t a gendered problem with men believing they have a right to women’s bodies. What we have is a HUMAN problem with entitled assholes of both genders believing they have a right to other peoples bodies.

            • Just to add a little more fuel to this let us not forget the article from last year (from either feministe or feministing, forgot which) about how a man that doesn’t want to have oral sex with a woman while she is on her period is actually anti-female behavior (with an attitude of, “Sure you have the right to not have sex with a woman under such circumstances, it just makes you a misogynist?”). Would they really with a straight face that a woman that didn’t want to have oral sex with a man because of possible contact with semen is anti-male behavior?

              My point is there’s is a disturbing amount of entitlement on all sides. I bet there are guys out there that think coming in contact with a woman’s period blood is disgusting just as there are women out there that think coming in contact with a guy’s semen is disgusting (not just the pregnancy risk, but actual disgust). And guess what? They aren’t the entitled ones.

              No the entitled ones are the folks that want to judge those people as anti-male or anti-female for exercising their right to consent to sexual acts as they see fit.

              There is just such a fucking clusterfuck around sex these days….

            • This was incidentally the definition of rape culture on Wikipedia until Mediahound started to stir things up there earlier THIS year and pointed out that the definition excluded rape against men.

              Reality is stranger than you indicate.

              Stir things up? It was more like open warfare and full guerilla tactics and cyber espionage! I’m not joking. I’m used to the battles in the depths of the net around alt.binars. and that was nothing compared to the abuse I was subjected to by the defenders of Wikipedia Rape Culture.

              Actually when I starred The Wiki Entry excluded everyone except female adults – even children were excluded from being party to rape culture or even subject to or at risk of rape. The people protecting the page and attacking all comers were so narrow minded and fixated That is how narrow and dangerous the views being expressed were. To Quote:

              Rape culture is a term which originated in women’s studies and feminist theory, describing a culture in which rape and sexual violence against women are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or tolerate sexual violence against women.

              Source – 8 January 2012 – Wiki Page Archive “rape culture”

              The link is there so that people can check and verify Reality and not just dismiss it out of convenience and empowered by personal dogma and bias! … but they will walk on by and be superior….!

              Children missing, Girls and Boys, Men, Prison Rape, Institutional rape .. nothing insignificant or easy to spot! It was staggering how that deliberate and wilful ignorance was driving people quite looney toon and into paroxysms of Rape Culture Furvour – I am not joking!

              The claim that it “originated in women’s studies and feminist theory” is false and remains false, it has never agreed with Wikipedias five fundamental pillars of Truth- verified sources etc It’s a made up reality which of you mention or question you get attacked. Originated?

              It started in “Media Theory And Practice” and was taken over by the New York radical Feminists – that well known Marxist feminist group of Political lesbians. Inconvenient Truth! Must Not be Allowed To Exist! Kill all holders of such dangerous truths! … rampaging cyber fems to follow!

              I still laugh when I’m called MRA by people like Silly Jilly Filipovic . Yes I am MRA – A Meddling Rational Archivist who checks facts – sources reality and goes where the evidence leads not where personal whim and fantasy reality leads! I’m MRA and Proud! P^) It comes from having a life time of academic riogiur behind you!

              And don’t forget it aint finished yet – but I am taking a break as being subjected to gross cyber harassment and stalking for editing out rubbish and editing in facts (A Sort of core value at Wikipedia – Five pillars ).

              Just Look at India in Draft … and I’m waiting for legal references form the Indian High Courts still! It’s quite significant in light of the media explosion in India over the Delhi rape case .. and such things as ‘Besharmi Morcha’ – “Please Mend The Gap”, “Blank Noise project” and even the quite delightful “Pink Chaddi Campaign”…

              Of course websites such as Jezebel and Feministe would not be making silly comment and WOULD know that the issues around rape in India have been know in the Westerns and even US media for over 50 years – that would be the Sept 1960 edition of Time, Link To the Tome Magazine Archive

              I would say more about the Gross and Unpleasant attitudes of far too many to Rape Culture in other countries and just how that indifference actually empower rape outside of the USA … But I know if I say too much on that subject and provide too many inconvenient truths posts won’t be allowed through. It’s never clear what the guidelines are on reporting truth.

              The situation in Afghanistan real could do with being looked at – but who cares about the Bacha bazi – Dancing Boys, sold as sex slaves and used as prostitutes … and how American Businesses funded by the USA Government pay for these kids to be made available to Afghan war lords … that would be readers tax dollars funding child slavery and prostitution…. but what would it matter. It’s only Boys, and they don’t count! They read The Kite Runner ad ignore Dynocorp… and the papers that came out through Wiki leaks.

              Afghanistan sees rise in ‘dancing boys’ exploitation
              By Ernesto Londoño, April 04, 2012 Washington Post Link

              The Dancing Boys Of Afghanistan – PDS –Click & watch on-line

              Hell Even Huffy got in on the act – Dancing Boys Of Afghanistan’: Bacha Bazi Documentary Exposes Horrific Sexual Abuse Of Young Afghan Boys (VIDEO) Link

              I’d provide some really relevant material, but why waste my time?

              Suffice to say – And The Band Played On!

              Could GMP please have the Autumn Rape Season for 2013 cancelled, unless it’s going to be honest and open and even deal with reality?

            • The Link to the Time Magazine Source Spet 1960 is broken (odd) so here is the WebCite link http://goo.gl/zDS4A

            • MediaHound:

              Stir things up? It was more like open warfare and full guerilla tactics and cyber espionage! I’m not joking.

              Sorry, what can I say. I grew up watching “Yes Minister” and are sometimes prone to understatements.

            • I grew up with Margo Leadbetter – It was a Good Life and then the Manor changed. One was spoiled when words had value, along with how one said um!

            • Ah, I had forgotten about “To the Manor Born” or “Born on the sunny side” as the translated title was in Norway. I was a bit too young to appreciate that one, but I remembered it instantly when I saw a photo of Margo Leadbetter when I googled her name.

            • .. and I just went to clear an RSS feed on watched pages at Wiki Land. I see some of the hactavists under the guise of editing are attacking this place via it’s wiki page. Untruths, Half Truth and supposed editing. Some people should not be allowed on a keyboard unattended. And I’m the Crip Equality Activist.

        • The numbers basically say 20% of rapists are female. And male lifetime proportion of rape victims are about 1 in 5 of rape victims, going up to 1:1 for the 12 month category. This doesn’t include prison stats, nor child abuse stats afaik.

    • Soraya Chemaly recommends Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology as a source for her views. Blackwell says “Rape culture is a concept of unknown origin and of uncertain definition; yet it has made its way into everyday vocabulary and is assumed to be commonly understood.

      It’s hard to fight assumptions!

  8. Rape culture is a concept of unknown origin and of uncertain definition; yet it has made its way into everyday vocabulary and is assumed to be commonly understood. The award-winning documentary film Rape Culture made by Margaret Lazarus in 1975 takes credit for first defining the concept. The film’s narration relies heavily on jargon such as “rapism” and “phallocentric society” and is more illustrative than definitive in dealing with rape as depicted in movies, music, and other forms of entertainment.

    Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology – Rape Culture – Joyce Williams Source

    • Excellent reference. Very helpful. Thank you.

    • I’m very curious about the empirical data. I hadn’t heard of any attempt to empirically define or measure whether or not a culture is a “rape culture” and that has always been one of my criticisms to the idea. I’m curious about what they found and what data they used.

      This is mentioned in the extract of the source link:

      At the other end of the continuum of definitions are efforts to define a rape culture empirically, such as are found in the work of Baron and Straus (1989) and Ellis (1989)

  9. RE: “TL;DR: So you ask, why do people’s heads explode when it is suggested that the victim could have behaved in a way to minimize her chance of being sexually assaulted? And my answer is that she shouldn’t have to.”

    Maybe not. But the fact is, there are some very bad people in this world, and they are called “rapists.” Nothing will ever change this fact. When I was a young woman, my parents — well actually, my mother — taught me that if I dressed in a revealing manner and walked places alone, this could well put me in physical danger. This was not a politicized issue at the time; in fact, it was an accepted fact. Once I became old enough to make my own decisions, I remembered what my mother told me. Not dressing in a revealing manner, not getting drunk, not walking around by myself, not flirting with strange men, and not sending all of the signals that I was sexually available may have been what kept me safe. But more to the point, I never *wanted* to behave like this, socially, or dress in a manner expressly designed to turn on members of the opposite sex. That is the point, isn’t it?

    • Old women get raped. Children get raped. Women in sweatpants and no makeup get raped. It is not about turning on members of the opposite sex and then they can’t control themselves. That insults all men, frankly. It’s about power and control and that has nothing to do with how anyone dresses.

  10. I think of “rape culture” the same way I do “original sin”: as a theory looking for a problem to justify it’s “solution”. There is no “rape culture”. Our society completely abhors this act to the extent that it is one of the few crimes one can commit only once and get sentenced to life or death for. A culture that wholly trivializes an act would not have such stiff penalties for those who commit it.

    Likewise, rape creates a visceral disgust amongst most people at just its mention. One must talk about a type of sexual assault considered unusual–like female-on-male rape–to get any other response. A culture that normalizes an act does not have that level of negative response to it.

    So there is no more “rape culture” than there is “original sin”. What we see in response to sexual violence is how our culture decided to define it. We use such a limited definition with such limited criteria that anything outside of that does not count. And yes, part of the reason for that is because of the people who came up with the concept of “rape culture”. One cannot frame an act as only being done by only one type of person to only another type of person and then act surprised no one believes a different scenario.

    And the reason I reject the theory is because people have the same response to ALL crime. People constantly find ways to explain away violence, blame the victim, or rationalize why something happened. It is hardly unique to rape (look at how we are responding to the recent shooting), and to treat it as if it is does us all a disservice because we miss what actually prompts it: people simply do not like talking about these kinds of things. People do not like anything that forces them to rethink their worldviews. People are very comfortable believing these sorts of crimes only happen to “other” people. People do not want to have to personally deal with it. It does not matter what it is, people do not want to deal with it upfront.

    If that were only limited to rape, I would accept the term. But it is not limited to rape, so I do not accept the term. It is a theory looking for a problem while ignoring the one staring it in the eyes.

    • Well said, Jacob. Rape is real; “rape culture” is not.

    • We use such a limited definition with such limited criteria that anything outside of that does not count. And yes, part of the reason for that is because of the people who came up with the concept of “rape culture”. One cannot frame an act as only being done by only one type of person to only another type of person and then act surprised no one believes a different scenario.

      Agreed. I don’t think there’s any effective way to backtrack out of the original definition and language of “rape culture” or the commonly held connotations that have grown up around it. With no disrespect to the sincerity of those who are trying, I simply don’t see how any attempt to retrofit male victims into the definition and discussion of “rape culture” is going to work this far down the road.

      • I don’t think there’s any effective way to backtrack out of the original definition and language of “rape culture” or the commonly held connotations that have grown up around it. Link

        Rick – along with many others you have fallen into a trap of believing that the “Present” uses of the term Rape Culture are valid. They are not. You have to return to the actual sources to check what was involved. Prisoners Against rape Inc – Working with the DC Rape Crisis Centre – Lorton Prison/Reformatory – the film made by Cambridge Documentary Films 1974/5.

        I’m still shocked that the seminal work – the first ever in the USA in addressing the needs of rape victims – studying rape and why it is there – and all done by African American Men and Women, and that history is being snuffed out and ignored? WOW – I do think that a great many people could do with going back to the very basics – and as the Oscar winning Margaret Lazarus – film maker/Director has said “It was Ground Breaking”.

        I fear that what you should have said I don’t think there’s any effective way to backtrack “TO” the original definition and language of “rape culture”..

        Call me pernickety that that preposition of place and time gives a very different view – and it’s clear that many fear seeing the history clearly, and the racism involved is to me sickening.

        • I think I’ve been pretty clear in my comments on this thread that I don’t believe the present uses of “rape culture” terminology are valid because I find the language, as well as the commonly accepted premises and associations, to be fundamentally flawed and exclusionary.

          I’ll have to defer to your knowledge with regard to the origins and history you cited. I just became aware of that information myself the other day and therefore don’t feel sufficiently familiar with it to respond from a position of adequate understanding to the edit you suggested to my comment.

      • More Mod delays?

      • Rick:
        With no disrespect to the sincerity of those who are trying, I simply don’t see how any attempt to retrofit male victims into the definition and discussion of “rape culture” is going to work this far down the road.
        I think a good place to start would be actually own up to the fact that male victims have only been included in the discussion as a token gesture of lip service and included in the definition as a knee jerk defense against those critical of this omission. As in quit acting like they were always welcome and just weren’t taking part because they didn’t want to and actually make an effort to include them.

        Mind you I am not a male victim so I really can’t speak for them but as an outside observer I think this might be a good start.

        But one thing I believe is that as long as inclusion of male victims is limited to token gestures and lip service, EVERYONE will continue to be hurt in the long run.

  11. Things I’ve been told or experienced when being overheard admitting to having been raped by a woman as a child…

    Liar.
    You must have wanted it.
    Impossible.
    You’re lucky.
    You’re privileged by it.
    Women never do that sort of thing.
    It’s harmless.
    Laughter.
    I’ve been hit.
    I’ve been threatened.
    I’ve been called a poofter, a fag, a misogynist.
    I’ve been told it’s hateful to women.
    I’ve had feminists, who have also done all of the above, patiently explain how my male privilege prevented my aunt from NOT doing what she did.

    IT WAS LEGAL AT THE TIME.

    I, and others like me, have learned that this environment is not a safe place. This article is a very good example of why.

    • Anne Thériault says:

      I’m so, so sorry that you had to live through not only being raped as a child, but also having people be dismissive or downright cruel about what you’ve been through.

      I do believe that male privilege exists (and white privilege, and straight privilege, etc.), but I don’t think it means that nothing bad can ever happen to white men, or that their feelings don’t matter. I would never, ever say that male privilege means that men can’t be raped.

      • For an additional piece of explanation.

        While it is true that there are those that try to say that having ____ privilege means that bad things don’t happen to you I think there is another idea that is closely related but not quite the same.

        The idea that being in a certain group means that the bad things that happen to you are not systemic of some institutional effect. As in acknowledging what happens to a male raped by a female as being bad but then brushing it off by trying to narrow the scope and say that it’s not institutional (which comes from the flat declaration that there is no such thing as sexism against men).

      • Anne Theriault says:

        Also I should clarify that I don’t think that any kind of privilege is a bad thing, it just is. I’m of the belief that it’s what you do with that privilege that matters. And I know I’m hella privileged, and I have opportunities that people with different skin colours, of different socioeconomic backgrounds, etc., wouldn’t have. So I don’t want to come off as if I’m saying WHITE MEN ARE THE ONLY ONES WITH PRIVILEGE.

      • Greg Allan says:

        I’ve been vocal about, and connected to many, male victims and victims – both sexes – of female perpetrators for a decade or so. The dismissals and cruelties remain a constant in our communities(I was threatened with violence a couple of weeks ago because of an overheard comment to a friend). They come from all sectors and institutions. Why, after a quarter of a century of continual, open discourse about rape and sexual abuse, is this still the case?

        So often when we talk about rape culture, it turns into an us-versus-them mentality, pitting women against men.

        How did it get that way?

        I mention groups of victims who are significantly marginalised from, and by, the discourse and who frequently experience discrimination at all levels. Those victims did not create any “us-versus-them mentality”. They are victims of it.

        If you don’t speak to them they can’t answer.

        Including them as an afterthought is after the horse has bolted. It’s clear their voice wasn’t expected. Telling them how privileged they are is speaking AT them and they are right to turn their backs. Defining their experience for them is an arrogance. These things happen so constantly that they ARE the norm. I’m part of a rape crisis service that, until very recently, was still defining rape as being a consequence of male privilege. In my case I was the only male present at the time.

        Please, please, all those idealogues, could you let us know when you might get all the privilege ducks lined up properly and your various necessary profiling perfected. THEN we might be able to get on with developing the holistic views necessary to the creation of effective preventative strategies. Assuming there’s any victims left of course.

        =======================================

        This thread has now advanced…

        For those expressing concern, thankyou. I’m actually well beyond a point where those things traumatise me. Unfortunately it has also hardened my protective shell rendering me blunt in my expression. However the negativity we confront is designed to silence and must be challenged.

        I’m also familiar with the various orgs etc folk are pointing me to. I’m familiar with those and others but am more inclined to be directly involved locally. One of my objectives is building an on-line community in Australia that will link agencies AND enable a “think tank” for survivors and specialists to share knowledge. One privilege I do enjoy is living in about the only place in the world that has a broad network of INCLUSIVE services. Mind you THAT only came about because a couple of individuals dug their heels in.

        About a decade ago I went to a local rape crisis service at the suggestion of my doctor. I went in the belief that they couldn’t really help a male victim of a female. Whilst I was wrong in that belief it was a greater wrong that it could have existed at all. It’s only a couple of years ago that I spent several hours convincing a male survivor to stay at a weekend event for MALE SURVIVORS. He’d been the youngest in the family and the only male. His mother and older two of three sisters tormented him psychologically, physically and sexually until he escaped at fifteen. He KNEW there were male victims. The only time he’d heard about female abusers it had been trivialised. He thought he was the only one in the universe who’d been hurt by it.

        That’s what frightens me, Anne.

        • So often when we talk about rape culture, it turns into an us-versus-them mentality, pitting women against men.

          How did it get that way?

          It’s called Propaganda and Politics – people factoid bombing to empower themselves and deny any other reality.

          It’s why It keeps proving impossible to have rational and even structured debate because some are still in battle mode and waving the big Propaganda Flags …. which they can’t put down due to embarrassment and that Shame Thing! The cult mentalities that have been created and driven are clear to see, but as with all such mindsets they have to collapse and die of their own accord. Just Look At Happy Valley. It’s no different. I would mention religions too, but that is seen as naughty by so many.

          At least during this years annual rape season (10 2012 – 12 2012) we are being spared the constant links to that bastion of accuracy(GROSS IRONY) called Wikipedia – and so many are thrashing about looking for any Justification and Academic Claims…. and can’t find them. So we have people inventing their own definitions to fit their world.

          last years season was marked by the constant linkage of claim to spurious and unsubstantiated references, and this year that pattern of faux academic justification is noted to be absent, or operating only at the very basest of levels.

          It’s odd looking and watching paradigm shifts – “a radical change in underlying beliefs or theory” – The meme came was adopted and is now in it’s death throws, and that is why so many are violently defending it – or rather defending their past participation in politics and propaganda that is so last millennium.

          It’s even more bizzare as you watch individuals attempt to enforce or rebut a paradigm shift by using concepts that have no defined origins, no clear meaning or concept, are only assumed to be understood, that no academic in allied fields will use the term or reference upon it, legal authorities, governments and even the United Nations will not us it – NGO’s operating globally in the filed will not use it and the only people using it are the one’s who keep demanding it is reality.

          Just as last year I couldn’t get anyone to say where the “Rape Culture” meme came from (The levels of Ignorance were staggering), I keep asking why October – November- December is the season to do rape all over the net? Last year I found the trail right back to Lorton Prison and DC Rape Crisis Centre. I’m still staggered at how the work started in 1973 by black American men and women got pushed aside and even dismissed as soon as white middle class American Women got the chance to appear on Camera … with some having to be banned from Lorton Reformatory due to their sexualised conduct to male prisoners who were discussing and acting on the subject of Prison Rape. It’s shocking what you find when you actually look and ignore the Propaganda and Politics.

          This year – I have seen one reference that is being pursued quite urgently, as it identified that in many High Schools, Colleges and Higher Educational Settings Rape is used as a central topic and teaching focus around such subjects as Sociology, Psychology and media with students being left unaided and unguided in research and writing around the subject. It is an alarming issue raised by concerned comments and has been linked to patterns of behaviour with automatic male stigmatization and negative stereotyping following in educational establishments funded by tax dollars. It could even explain why male students are failing with them being propagandised in the classroom to self identify as rapist and negative in all ways.

          You go back and plot out frequencies of language and subject by week over 10 years plus, and there it is lurking in the data and Graphs – the annual US Rape Season? Why is it there and why has it’s presence on the Net been growing year on year for over a decade? Note the Net is still new technology and media, so the presence of the Annual Rape Season in older media systems is not apparent from deep net searches.

          Why is it there? What if the Driver? Why is it only the USA and not other English Speaking Countries, except Canada where there is a direct physical overspill of people and culture?

          Why is it all so US centric? If it was Global it could be seen as Normal, but the very specific locus as the USA means it has to have a US Cultural Driver which coincides with October through December, and that seems to fit with Educational seasons.

          “In the United States the belief that representations of violence reproduce real violence was reinforced in the 1980s and 1990s by an intensified debate of prominent cases of rape, date rape, and sexual harassment within the media. This prominence of rape and sexual violence in popular culture seemed to suggest that American culture is a “rape culture.” However, the term rape culture misleadingly hints that rape occurs more frequently in a culture that talks about rape intensively than in cultures that deny its existence. Instead of documenting the state of real rape, though, the deployment of rape in American popular culture bespeaks the status of rape as a central trope within the American cultural imagination.”

          Encyclopaedia Of Rape – Edited by Merril D. Smith, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004 – Page 150 SABINE SIELKE”

          What is it that people outside of the US are seeing as a Cultural Media Trope which the people trapped inside the trope just aint able to see?

          It’s terrible watching people being made to Blindly Skip Trope – and you can’t have a conversation if error and mistake can’t be raised …. and just get covered up out of embarrassment and shame.

        • Thank you, Greg. I appreciate what you’ve said and the remarkable power and clarity with which you’ve said it.

          The “rape culture” terminology, as I’ve typically seen it applied, brands all men and boys as potential or latent assailants and perpetrators who need to be “taught not to rape.” Any man who somehow resists the inborn imperative to rape is nevertheless still considered responsible for all the men who don’t. Many boys and men who’ve been sexually violated, who are often already carrying the secret and undeserved burden of psychological responsibility for what someone else did to them, will quite naturally respond to these characterizations by retreating even deeper into the familiar phantom zone of feeling shamed, scorned, disowned, and scapegoated by the culture around them.

          This, in turn, makes taking the risk of seeking help feel even more daunting. The first group I ever attended for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse was held at the local rape crisis center. I remember arriving for the first meeting one evening after work. I was so terrified. I’d been in my share of men’s groups, which helped me feel a bit safer, but I’d never spoken about that part of my history in a group of strangers. The walk from the parking lot to the front door seemed to take every ounce of strength I had.

          I’ll never forget the looks I received from the women I encountered as I crossed the parking lot and entered the building. Hostility would be putting it mildly. I shrunk even further into my shell as I took a seat on one of the couches in the small waiting room, trying not to make eye contact with anyone, but I could feel the hot, disapproving glare of every woman who spotted me there.

          I happened to be a bit early, and as my male peers in the group began to trickle into the waiting room and take their seats, I felt some of the energy being directed at me starting to dissipate as the focus widened from me as an individual to us (men) as a group. Safety in numbers. But I still felt profoundly unwelcome in a space where I was seeking refuge.

          Over the weeks, as the group went on, the heat vision stares subsided a bit as some of the women became more accustomed to seeing us come and go once a week. We were quietly and reluctantly tolerated, if not welcomed. Discussing and processing, as a group, the experience of being treated like invaders or enemies when we were already feeling so raw, fragile, small, scared, and ashamed helped greatly. I could understand the attitude, given the “men are perpetrators, not victims” orthodoxy of the time and the likelihood that at least some of the women felt profoundly unsafe around men due to personal history. I could allow for all of that, but it didn’t make screwing up the courage to face the unearned anger, scorn, and disdain every week any less of a challenge.

          The group, I’m happy to say, was excellent and made passing through the emotional and psychological gauntlet on the way in well worth the effort. The therapist who facilitated, a male, was terrific. He showed real vision and courage in proposing the establishment of a group for male survivors in that environment. I’ll always be grateful to him for that as well as to whoever it was at the center (probably a woman or women) who gave him the green light to go ahead. After the first eight weeks or so, he found a new location for us to meet, a “neutral” place, and it was a relief. I still felt anxious before each group, but the likelihood of receiving death stares (or potentially something worse) in the parking lot and waiting room was thankfully no longer a worry.

          I’ve gone on far longer here than I anticipated, so I’ll close with two more points.

          First, two family members were involved in the sexual violation I experienced as a child. One was a man. One was a woman. Both genders. Both involved.

          Second, if you view my video poem “secret children” on this site (http://goodmenproject.com/health/the-secret-children), you will notice that there is no mention whatsoever of gender or privilege with regard to either victims or perpetrators. Countless innocent men and boys have been and are being abused and violated, and I feel that using terms like “rape culture” and “male privilege” obscures that reality and contributes to the ongoing exclusion of these men and boys from the conversation.

          While I see and understand the effort on the part of the author of this post and some of those who’ve commented to expand the definition of “rape culture” to include those men and boys, from my perspective that term is already hopelessly tainted by what I’ve seen as its more commonly used, more restrictive definition (i.e., men are rapists, women are victims) and therefore I don’t see how it can be successfully reframed at this point.

          • The real-world consequences on male sexual assault victims of the “men are perpetrators, not victims” orthodoxy.
            A very very powerful post Rick

          • Rick, thank you for sharing your experiences. I think that we sometimes lose sight of how theories play out in the real world. It is very easy for us to say “this is what ‘rape culture’ is” and preach it to others. However, we often do not look at what people do with that message. This idea that sexual violence is something men do to women and sometimes men are victims too is a symptom of theories like “rape culture.” It allows us to frame sexual violence in a very narrow way, which often works for survivors of abuse because it makes it easier to define what happened to them. Yet, in doing so, it alienates the other half of the victims, and because the theory is so tied with how people cope with their abuse, it is difficult to get them to understand how it could ever be a bad thing.

            • I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Jacob. I hope that as more men share their experiences we’ll all begin to develop a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the problem, and broaden the scope of the discussion (and the language used) to properly and equally include everyone who has been or is being hurt.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Greg, I have tears in my eyes. I am so, so sorry that happened to you.

      We strive to make GMP a safe place for you to talk about this, but if you haven’t yet found it, MaleSurvivor.org is an amazing resource.

      If anyone EVER shames or denies your experience on GMP, please email myself or Lisa Hickey about it and we’ll give it our immediate attention [email protected] or [email protected] – the other editors, too.

    • My apologies if this write up has made GMP an unsafe place for you.

      If I may, may I ask exactly what it was about this piece that brought up those experiences?

      (However if you don’t wish to answer I’ll do my best to understand, and I’ll say do my best because I don’t want you to feel like you must answer.)

      May I point you to some sources for male rape/abuse victims?

      http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/ (The blog is run by a man who was raped as a child himself, by a woman. Look to the left for a list of “Male Abuser Resources.)

    • Greg, you forgot to mention how the Overwhelming Trope(s) gets used as a tactic and bad world view to silence people and say they don’t count.

      Some are so fixated you can slap them in the face with a live, wriggling, wet trope and they just can’t get past the personal fixation.

  12. Rape culture is when anti-rape campaigns overlook the sharp rise of female perpetration in statistics and fail to address it.

    Rape culture is the failure of anti-rape campaigns to show a female perpetrator and male victim in their ads.

    Rape culture is when we hyperfocus on female victims whilst ignoring male victims, and we don’t give the proportionate level of awareness for both.

    “Rape culture is the fact that 1 in 6 women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and it’s also the fact that 1 in 33 men have also been sexually assaulted.”
    Wrong. 1 in 6 males are sexually assaulted by the time they’re 18. Does Rainn actually look at statistics? Or are they playing funny buggers with the numbers? The stats for lifetime males forced to penetrate alone are 1 in 21. I expect far better from an anti rape campaign which leads me to the next part

    Rape culture is when anti-rape campaigns purposely or ignorantly mislead people with statistics to paint women as suffering worse whilst burying or ignoring statistics proving males are victimized far more than what they say. It adds fuel to the disproportionate level of response to the genders anti-rape efforts.

    “Rape culture is blaming the victim, saying that they incited sexual assault by what they wore, how they acted, or where they were. It’s saying that an unconscious woman was sending “mixed signals” to her rapist. It’s telling victims that if only they’d been more careful, more thoughtful, or less vulnerable they wouldn’t have been raped.”

    Agreed, however with that story I think it should have been worded differently. I think there is a valuable discussion in why some people misread signals. Being passed out is a flat out zero signal time and is inexcusable however there was another article on feministe? about a woman who’s partner was asleep but nudging her which had previously been a signal for sex, it was a mistaken signal as he was asleep. To solve that issue I suggest people checking to ensure their partner is actually awake and alert unless people open their eyes in their sleep? (never been around sleepwalkers). I think there is a valuable discussion with alcohol and sex where mixed signals are most likely going to occur, like having someone grind on your lap doesn’t mean it’s ok to slide your hand into their pants but it’s a signal that can be read wrong since lapdancing can often mean sexual interest. How do you solve that? My guess is to get people to ask what they want to do, eg, “Want my hand in those panties?”. I do that simply to avoid issue and ensure there is consent, as others have said we need to make ASKING a very sexy thing.

    Rape culture is when I COMMONLY HEAR “Men always want sex” “Women can’t rape men” “He must have wanted it/enjoyed it”

    “Although Sévérine doesn’t tell him to stop, it’s hard to imagine that, given her history, she doesn’t feel as though sex is a payment she owes Bond.”
    The way I read the scene was a play on Bond’s sexuality itself, he’s like a sex god always getting women into bed. I didn’t once see it as non-consensual but as a love affair starting up, which is a common theme in Bond movies. What you are doing is common paternalistic thought which actually is extremely insulting to her as it takes away her agency, it’s the same trope of “damaged goods” that affects porn stars, prostitutes, etc which implies they cannot make rational decisions to have sex they want because they were forced into it or pressured by their previous sexual abuse.

    I will grant you that entering the shower uninvited is a bad idea, in Bond land it works because the characters are written to want the sex but in real life it’ll fail miserably. There’s a slight chance it could work in real life for instance if someone entered my shower that I wanted to have sex with I MAY overlook the crossed boundary but I may also tell them to piss off. Either way, don’t do it people, get permission to enter first. Thing is this is a BOND movie, we can’t really take too many messages from it. Should I take the message that shooting someone is ok? People need to remind themselves this is fantasy, this is a movie about a super sexual spy who has an epic level of sexyness considering how many people he has sex with. Do we take the message of violent culture from this movie too because he shoots, beats, kills people? Movies based on violence shouldn’t really be used as a good message about how to live. There are movies showing rape without anyone saying rape, what message do we take from them? The more troubling fact in the movie is how many people were killed but what message does that send? I never once felt Bond was anything based in reality so personally I take no messages from it apart from I love his car, and that I’d hate his life seeing as his love was killed, he only gets sex with someone he has to save or who is going to try kill him. It’s a miserable lonely existence drowning sorrows in sex and alcohol whilst being beaten, tortured (Die Another Day), knowing you’re a disposable asset where your life is worth less than that of others. So which message do we take? Or do we take whatever message we want?

  13. For the sake of clarity, I am defining rape (v.) as “to have non-consensual sex with another person” and not the FBI’s definition of “to forcibly penetrate…”

    As I mentioned in article on partying, my aversion to the idea of rape culture is twofold:

    1. I have never seen any empirical evidence that indicates that we are in fact living in a “rape culture.” How do you measure if a culture is a rape culture or not? We want to eliminate rape culture, okay, how do we know when we are no longer in a rape culture? Are some cultures more of a rape culture than other cultures? To what degree? You can’t tell me that the number of rapes indicate that we are in a rape culture, because incidents of rape do not define a rape culture it is the normalization, denial, and victim blaming that supposedly defines a rape culture. Or are we a rape culture as long as men are using rape as a tool to subjugate women? Is that measured at a rate of 70%, 20%, or do there have to be 0 incidents of “men using rape as a tool to subjugate women” to no longer be a rape culture? How do you measure this? All I’ve ever seen is anecdotal evidence from commentary on the news and pop culture. I’m not saying that “rape culture’ doesn’t actually exist, rather it bothers me that so far I have seen no effort to quantify exactly what makes one culture a rape culture and another culture that isn’t.

    2. The definition of rape culture describes rape as tool that men use as an excuse to conduct violence or objectify women and to keep them ‘under control.’ The normalization of rape and denial and blaming of victims is always described second to the “men use rape as a weapon against women” part of the definition.

    If the definition of rape culture is really about normalization of rape and denial and blaming of victims then the majority of content about rape culture and criticisms of our culture as a ‘rape culture’ are in fact also examples of rape culture, and the loud, high-profile ‘end rape culture’ advocates are also perpetuating rape culture by denying the experiences of male rape victims. These are the people who lead high profile feminist and women’s rights organizations who champion phrases like “Rape is Rape” or re-define the definition of rape for statistics and simultaneously blatantly continue to deny what may be close to half of the victims and perpetrators of rape. This means that legislation like VAWA, Take Back the Night, all those “Tell Men Not to Rape” slogans, any anti-rape ad that ignores female-on-male rape are all promoting rape culture, and that Feministe, Jezebel, etc are all websites filled with ‘rape apologists’ who when they see an article on a men being raped or a comment about female-on-male rape they say “Oh no! What about the menz?”

    So let’s assume for a moment that rape culture really does exist, then I have a few more points to add your your list of examples of what rape culture looks like:
    * Rape culture is women calling men attempting to attend a seminar on mens’ rights “rape apologist scum.”
    * Rape culture is when large organizations that claim to fight for equality get together, re-define rape in a way that still denies the experience of victims of female-on-male rape who may be almost one half of rape victims over the course of a year, and celebrate their ‘success’ without any reference to the work that still needs to be done.
    * Rape culture is the CDC summarizing their Intimate Partner Violence Survey and not including any mention of male victims of female-on-male rape, requiring readers to read the full report and crunch numbers to get a full picture of the situation involving rape.

  14. So, in comments on a recent article, the author of said article, a “feminist”, says: “Yet when it comes to sex I want him to be so overcome by desire that he has to dominate and ravish me.” (speaking of her husband).

    And now, this article, defines Rape Culture as “A system that encourages the idea that male sexual aggression is the norm, and that violence and aggression are themselves sexy.”

    Doesn’t “being so overcome by desire that you have to dominate and ravish” sound.. I dunno.. aggressive? Borderline violent?

    • Drew,
      At least this is the perspective of two different people. When I first started getting involved in discussions on gender equality in the person I was talking to said “Everyone loves a little drunk sex now and then,” and then about 15 minutes later said “You can’t give consent when you’re drunk. If you have sex with someone who is drunk, then it’s rape.”

      I will note that I don’t make a point to specify “feminist” anymore, because it’s not really about people being a feminist or not, it’s just something that people or groups of people do: just repeat something they’ve been told without asking questions and not being willing to stop and go “maybe I’ve been looking at this wrong.” Studies have shown that most people don’t like to hear opinions that go against the opinion they’ve come to and will actively seek out groups of people that re-affirm their own opinion. It’s just the human brain running on autopilot.

    • Lori Ann Lothian says:

      As a woman who has written on the ravish topic here at GMP (http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/me-jane-you-tarzan-the-politics-of-sexual-polarity/) and elsewhere, the context for this ravishing is within a consensual and parameters-laid-out love life with a partner.

      That said, reading this whole thread, i have these brief thoughts:

      1) Rape culture does not really exist, as laid out by the feminist agenda..too many better writer commenters above have expressed well this with greater clarity than I can muster.
      2) The author of this articles uses the Bond scene as a bad example of supposed rape culture–the clear understanding in a Bond movie is this is a super-hero, sexy, protective male archetype, and if anything, having this good warrior male come to the shower, the woman knows she can say no. Just say’in…as a woman, we all got that. Doh.
      3) What adult male is actually raped by a woman–lets leave child abuse out of it. I mean, unless he is tied down (first) and then used for sex by a woman that he is pretty sure is not about to kill him. (because I do wonder at erection-ability in the face of mortal peril…) Please elucidate me on the male rape statistics. I have so many male friends. None I know of has been raped…but by the same token, I know several women who have had “non consensual sex.” AKA rape, just not the brutal, stranger in an alley way kind.

      I think the rape culture/fear of being a rapist, has a huge impact on men. The jail sentences are high; the stigma of being a rapist is high; the fear not being consensual is high.

      We might have tipped the scales in the culture lately…..from the old days of rape victims being at fault, to men being at fault for simply being passionate.

      Seduction….passion…coercion…rape…where are the dividing lines? These days, overly seductive is coercive.

      We are losing common sense…but that is just my two cents. (and yes, I have experienced non-consensual penetration). And I am not a rape culture feminist. Go figure.

      Lori Ann

      • Lori – you wrote “the context for this ravishing is within a consensual and parameters-laid-out love life with a partner.”

        What happens when he’s “overcome by desire” and *has to* dominate and ravish her — but she says no? He should stop, of course.

        But that kind of contradicts the “overcome by desire” part, and it kind of contradicts the “has to” part, and it kind of contradicts the “dominate and ravish” part. Doesn’t it?

        It just seems.. bad form to, on one hand, say “I want this man to be so attracted to me that he cannot control himself” and on the other hand say “Well, of course he should still have control of himself.” Which is what all of these “he is consumed by his passion and takes her in a manly fashion” fantasies lead to.

      • For adult men, first of response to danger can be fight, flight, or freeze. Even “big strong men” will freeze up when they don’t know what to do in an uncomfortable situation. A woman can use coercion to force a man to have sex with her threatening to tell his significant other that he cheated on him/her or claiming that he raped her. A woman can have sex with a man while he’s passed out drunk and unable to consent. A woman can use drugs to drug a man.

        Just like a woman can’t control her physical responses a man’s erection does not equal a conscious desire to have sex, and a woman saying that “he wanted it even though he said no because he was erect” is the same as a male rapist saying “she was saying now, but her body was saying ‘oh yeah.'”

        Most rape is NOT the brutal in the alleyway rape. Most rapes are committed by someone that the survivor knows, such as a family member, friend, or other acquaintance. Over half of all rapes involve the intoxication of one or both parties.

        I don’t remember the statistics off hand of how many female-on-male rapes occur while the man is still a child or pre-teen, I recall it being a relatively high percentage. The CDC’s survey estimated that in 2010 a little over 40% of all perpetrators of a non-consensual sexual encounter were women. I have to specify non-consensual sexual encounter because the survey defines rape as “forcible penetration” and distinguishes it from female-on-male rape, so the only way you can actually get the number of perpetrators is by analyzing everything in the survey, taking the raw numbers, and then applying the perpetrator statistics.

        If anyone wants me to actually break the numbers down, let me know and I can do that for you.

        • Please don’t forget the fear of being white knighted “because men are always the instigators” trope. Been there done that, Have to throw your brain into high gear to think your way out of the unwanted/unasked for/unconsented “surprise BJ” from the skank downstairs who afterwards is found to have assaulted every adult male in the small apt building. The one with the jealous 300lb 6’9″ husband…… oh what fun that was……with her kids in the next room….Spent hours in the shower afterwards……couldn’t tell my wife the full story because of that lovely trope that was so strong in the 80″s when this happened to me. Being told that this was not equal to rape by a few women over the years as I was 220lb and she was maybe 90lbs……..The white knight threat was her weapon of choice….not just with me. I’ve spoken to to many working class guys that have their own stories like this……it’s quite common.

          • Aaron Foster says:

            Could I ask you to elaborate on what the ‘white knight threat’ is? I am trying to wrap my brain around how if I was in that position, I would take the woman by the hair and lift her out of my crotch, so I’d like to understand what was going on that prevented you from doing that. If you would like to share, if not, I understand.

            • White knight, a man who comes to a woman’s aid or does a woman’s bidding. In this case a big strong man presents a threat as a puppet for the woman. Basically big strong man will kick your ass if she wants him to, so basically she’s threatening him by proxy.

            • Aaron Foster says:

              I see. Interesting. I wonder if she did or said anything that indicated this was her plan, or if this is only something the victim feared might happen.

            • She had a habit of “sicing” her husband on those she was “mad” at

            • When I said stop and she continued it crossed the line, the fact there was not the slightest hint of consent given before was way too much. But that I was afraid of using any physical means to disengage for fear of what would be said/done to me……That I talked my way out of it doesn’t make it less than it was.Men can be afraid about the consequences of refusal just as much as some women are.

            • 300 lb 6’9″ jealous husband who would put all of it on me? The idea that if she was annoyed that I refused to co-operate I might wind up dead/in jail/in hospital. She’d called me down because of a “gas leak” which was the oven pilot blown being out. Being white knighted can remove one’s ability to use superior physical abilityto defend yourself. Any marks on her would be taken as an attack by me upon her…not what happened in reality.

            • Aaron Foster says:

              That’s a messed up story.

            • Since I’ve openly spoken about it with friends co-workers and the like…..I found there are one heck of a lot of guys out there with similar histories. It takes a bit for them to come out…but they do. Friend of mine from a broken home went to live with the neighbor lady at 12……he’s still “proud” that he was able to “pay” for his keep at such a young age…..how is that any different than a girl trading herself for a “safe” home at the same age? is it somehow less damaging to a boy? Yet even today current culture makes it hard for guys to see themselves as the victim…..instead he was “lucky”

      • “I have so many male friends. None I know of has been raped.”

        None *that you know of*. The various reports are linked elsewhere in the comments, but once you take everything into account, the numbers come out about even up, when you include “forced to penetrate” in the definition of men being raped.

        The reason you don’t know about it is because men are taught (albeit informally), from a very young age, that for a man to be made to have sex is Unmanly, because men are supposed to want sex all the time, and that being Unmanly is the worst thing that can be thought of of a man. If you know men who have been raped, they’d probably damn near rather die than say it out loud. They probably won’t even acknowledge it to themselves if they don’t have to.

        None of this is intended to suggest that it’s not incredibly difficult for women to state “I’ve been raped,” for all the reasons that have been discussed. But your implicit suggestion that “you can’t rape the willing”, and that men are always–100% of the time–willing and eager to have sex, only serves to perpetuate the problem.

        • I was about to make this very point, but Matt has done it more concisely and eloquently that I would have. Sufficed to say, I completely agree with him.

          I will also add that I don’t think it matters how often men are raped/sexually assaulted as compared to women. It happens. A person who ignores a man’s right to decide what happens to his own body is still committing a crime. Meanwhile, men who have survived rape have a right to social support, care and justice just like anyone else.

          One of the first things I learned about sexual assault support is that when someone tells you they’ve been hurt, just believe them. I don’t think that’s a gender specific directive.

      • @Lori Ann:
        As a woman who has written on the ravish topic here at GMP (http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/me-jane-you-tarzan-the-politics-of-sexual-polarity/) and elsewhere, the context for this ravishing is within a consensual and parameters-laid-out love life with a partner.

        Maybe it is, but that context was something that you clearly missed to spell out in your article…

      • 3) What adult male is actually raped by a woman–lets leave child abuse out of it.

        Me. 1,003,464 US men in 2010 according to the NISVS 2010 Report from CDC.

        I mean, unless he is tied down (first) and then used for sex by a woman that he is pretty sure is not about to kill him. (because I do wonder at erection-ability in the face of mortal peril…)

        From the Wikipedia article about erotic asphyxication:
        “Observers at public hangings noted that male victims developed an erection, sometimes remaining after death (death erection), and occasionally ejaculated when being hanged.”
        We have nocturnal penile tumescence – that is 3-5 erection while asleep unless one is impotent for physical reasons.
        A man can get what is called reflex erections when he’s nervous, scared, angry, or under stress: http://www.sexhealthmatters.org/did-you-know/male-erection-frequency
        http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/the_roundup_of_i_get_an_erection_when_questions

        I trust you haven’t heard about “body betrayal”: (TW): http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Rape/forum/10628446-body-betrayal-trigger-warning
        Would you be as callous towards women who experienced their body reacting by getting lubricated and perhaps even getting an orgasm while they were raped?

        Please elucidate me on the male rape statistics. I have so many male friends. None I know of has been raped…but by the same token, I know several women who have had “non consensual sex.” AKA rape, just not the brutal, stranger in an alley way kind.

        May I ask why you put “non consenual sex” in quotation marks?

        According to the NISVS 2010 Report by CDC ( http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf ) 4.8% of men reported having been made to have sex in their lifetime without their consent where they were penetrating and 1.4% of men reported having been made to have sex in their lifetime without their consent where they were penetrated.
        1.1% of men reported having been made to have sex in the last 12 months without their consent where they were penetrating. The striking thing is that in the last 12 months 1.1% of women reported having been made to have sex without their consent. A parity of victimization of rape (non consensual sex) in 2010.
        79.2% of the men who reported ever having been made to have to have sex without their consent where they were penetrating reported only female perpetrators.

        Definitions of rape, “being made to penetrate someone else” can be read on page.17, numbers on victimization is in tables on page 18 and 19 and the numbers on perpetrators are on page 24.

        You are a perfect example of why male victims and female perpetrators need equal representation in rape awareness programs. That a grown adult woman who writes about sex not aware of how an erection works and how any woman can possibly rape a man is clearly a failure of teaching.

        • Aaron Foster says:

          According to this survey, a question could have been:

          “Have you ever performed oral sex on a woman at her instigation while you were drunk or high?”

          If you answered yes, you go into the “Being made to penetrate someone else.”

          I don’t accept that as valid.

          • Don’t make assumptions.
            If you had bothered to read the NISVS 2010 Report which I provided a link to you would’ve seen that in Appendix C the questions used are listed. The question you suggested “Have you ever performed oral sex on a woman at her instigation while you were drunk or high?” is NOT included.
            This one is (my emphasis):
            When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent, how many people ever made you perform oral sex, meaning that they put their penis in your mouth or made you penetrate their vagina or anus with your mouth?

            The definition of “being made to penetrate someone else says:

            Being made to penetrate someone else includes times when the victim was made to, or there was an attempt to make them, sexually penetrate someone without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threatened with physical harm, or when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.

            It is clear to me that the “and unable to consent” refers to being too drunk to consent, to high to consent, to drugged to consent as well as to passed out which precludes consent. This because the definition clearly says: without the victim’s consent.

            • @Tamen – you are a trooper. BUT … all of these points were raised and so many more when the Reports were Published.

              People hate reality and deny it all the time. Of course, so many deny that reality and it’s comical that they don’t get the Irony of their own views and actions!

              They delude themselves and claim they are open minded – but after 30 years+ of dealing with Psychology I know it takes less than five minutes to show any human just what their biases are and where their mind is closed off and repressed – and I’m not talking Freud and Nappy rash.

              Some find that experience of being shown how they fail to grasp reality enlightening and they recognise the danger it represents in their own world view. The other reaction is to run, hide and deny both personal reality and anything outside which shows that bigotry and reveals that closed mind in any way. There is middle ground it’s Enlightenment or Ignorance.

              They are worse than St Peter for denying others and reality. Even worse, when the cock crows they still don’t wake up and smell that coffee. Unfortunately some people seem to be genetically programmed to only use reality in ways they feel emotionaly are about their personal survival and no matter what you can not overcome the Biological/Genetic programming that drives their survivalist thinking.

              Ever seen that experiment with the people applying lethal electric shocks because they just Conform to supposed authority?

              It seems that some are programmed to conform as a genetic survival option, so when authority and supposed survival are about they just follow which ever leader looks best at the time. It’s quite amazing to see people fighting those Bilological/Genetic imperatives by using reason, logic and morality. For some it induces both psychic and literally physical pain.

              That issue of biology Vs Psychology has been known for decades and gets used daily by so many to control individuals and groups. People will focus on Advertising and see it as an evil… It’s an easy target. Get them to consider how that dynamic gets used in Road markings and signs and suddenly you either have people with opening minds or they slam the doors shut and call you stupid as a defence mechanism.

              What makes you think you are dealing with rational people who are not Trapped in that same mindset, and have been trapped there for decades? Do you think that being rational and reasonable will get such people to NOT apply the next lethal electric shock so that they conform to the reality they are trapped inside? If they can’t see how they conform when driving a car and using road markings and traffic lights, what makes you think it’s possible to reach such irrational and closed minded people!

              It can take generations to overcome the fixed mindsets that some create for their own survival.

              The people you are addressing have closed minds which come with reinforced bunker mentalities that have been hardened against anything but self serving factoids.

              Factoid is defined as “a piece of unreliable information believed to be true because of the way it is presented or repeated in print [coined by Norman Mailer (born 1923), US author, from fact + -oid]

              That is a fact, because you can trace the reality to a definitive source and see it.

              Factoids are free floating – they have no roots – they are just up in the air and people even Worship them – factoids are a Feature Of Cult Thinking and Cult Reality.

              The facts of Rape Culture and where it comes from are known – But The factoids are preferred because of The history of factoids about what it is supposed to be. All Worship the great free Floating Factoids.

              Tamen I know It’s hard dealing with the obstructive and negative psychology of others who just deny reality and facts. I’m a Pro in the field and I keep on having to remind myself that people have had their minds and thinking damaged by factoid bombing and that bombing has damaged their capacity to think – asses facts and data – and have a personal revelation and change the way they think about the world.

              Think of racism and Pre-Civil Rights in the USA. The levels of Factoid Bombing were incredible, and even when reality contradicted the Factoids those who had had their minds and capacities damaged by those Factoids just kept on with their racist ways and world view. So many are still Factoid damaged today and can’t grasp it.

              So many will say that comparing sexism to racism is bad and attack anyone who does it. It’s so Animal Farm and Chanting Sheep. What they always miss and run away from is that the comparison is not about isms – It’s a very valid and direct comparisons of how people think, behave and empower abuse. The reason they attack is they see their own mentality reflected and have to escape it or deal with reality.

              When will the running stop? Never – some are biologically programmed to run from reality and seek leaders and ideas to follow. If they show they are closed minded it’s not worth wasting time on them .. it will take generations for their Biological Imperatives interfacing with environment to have a change of world view.

              One simple issue that so many have real problems with is that the Questions used for NISVS 2010 were biased in favour of women. I did make that point the day the report was published. Even then – with the bias in place – those questions identified a massive hidden area if Domestic abuse/violence, sexual Violence and Sexual Assault/Rape with men as the victims and women as the perpetrators.

              It’s almost comical that 1st the bias of the questions is used as a denial of reality because the CDC could not have made that error .. therefore the error does not exists – deny reality!

              Then you have the mental back flip. The CDC apparently can’t do any wrong – and the questions can’t have been sex/gender biased – so you are a bad person and no matter what you say about the CDC facts and Figures you are saying the wrong thing and shall not be listened to!

              It’s a perfect closed loop self fulfilling deny reality defence mechanism. Don’t waste time of people who have booby trapped their own brains to deny realities (Plural) because they are past rational dialogue and they hate nothing more than the psychological discomfort which tells them to defend and deny for survival – even when they look foolish and silly. It is that deep rooted.

      • Please listen to the men who are posting here. Have some empathy about what they’ve gone through and believe their stories. Men can be raped-by men, by women. Women can be raped by women, for that matter. Sexual assault happens and can happen to all genders and gender combination.

        I’ve met a lot of passionate men in my day and none of them were rapists. I’ve met men who pushed for non consensual sex. They weren’t being passionate or “overtaken by their desire” they were trying to take something I wasn’t offering. It is a deep and grave insult to men to claim that their desire is so powerful they can’t control themselves, and it’s a deep and grave mistake to assume women are simply receptacles or inspiration of that passion instead of those who instigate and desire on their own.

        And women (and men) who rape or assault aren’t doing it because they are passionate, they are doing it because they don’t give damn about the other person’s boundaries.

        Are there times where a man or woman is so aroused and desirous that they go to far? Probably so. And it’s still an issue of crossing boundaries and not paying real attention to the other person and their responses, instead driving forward with what THEY want.

        Ravishment should be entirely mutual, but then I don’t buy into your poles of masculine and feminine energy business.

        As for Bond as a character? He’s not a super hero! He’s a sociopath but one we agree to be on the side of (since Bond as a character was developed in the Cold War)! He kills people and then flosses his teeth/has a drink with no thought to the loss of life. What’s a little sexual coercion to a character like that?

        • spoiler alerttttt

          I’m pretty sure Bond feels bad over the killings but has buried it deep down. Would a sociopath feel love? He’s had many love interests over the years, in the recent one the woman he slept with clearly hit him hard inthatsceneoutsideonthatdesertedplacecough. His stoic nature is so high that it buries many of his feelings, but in his revenge n anger to kill whoever harmed his love you can tell the man had feeling.

        • Please listen to the men who are posting here. Have some empathy about what they’ve gone through and believe their stories.

          Thank you, Julie. I appreciate this.

      • Saying that a man can’t have an erection unless he’s sexually attracted to the person/situation in front of him, is about as biologically correct as saying that a woman can’t get pregnant unless she’s sexually aroused and attracted to the person penetrating her…

      • Lori, I knew a guy who was the victim of any wanted blow job. He went on a date with a woman and they went back to his apartment. He was on crutches due to a broken ankle. They both got drunk. She started giving him a blow job and he kept telling her no and trying to push her off, but he couldn’t get up because of his ankle and because he was drunk. He felt really violated and disgusted about it later. In thinking about this, I wondered at first why he didn’t just punch her in the face, then realized that if he’d done so, he probably would have been prosecuted because no one would have believed that he had to use physical violence to resist a blow job, or that he would even object to getting a blow job.

        So it does happen.

      • 3) What adult male is actually raped by a woman–lets leave child abuse out of it. I mean, unless he is tied down (first) and then used for sex by a woman that he is pretty sure is not about to kill him. (because I do wonder at erection-ability in the face of mortal peril…)
        So by this line of logic does this mean that unless a man physically restrains a woman it doesn’t count? Threats. Drugs. Fear. Freezing up. This stuff doesn’t happen right?

        And what doesn’t “about to kill him” have to do with it? When a man rapes a woman, is it always under the threat that he will kill her?

        To answer your question about erectionability please bear in mind that it’s not a fucking light switch that can flipped on and off as will.

        It is entirely possible for a guy to develop an erection in situations where he doesn’t want them. Washing the penis in the shower. Pants rub against it in just a certain way. List can go on. I gave this same explanation a few years ago (http://dannyscorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-yes-women-can-rape-men.html)

        Or are you trying to take the whole “legitimate rape” thing to a whole new level?

        Please elucidate me on the male rape statistics. I have so many male friends. None I know of has been raped…but by the same token, I know several women who have had “non consensual sex.” AKA rape, just not the brutal, stranger in an alley way kind.
        I see that Tamen is addressing your question with facts because without them I might be in your shoes. I have a lot of female friends and have known a lot of women in my life but in all my days only 5 of them have been raped.

    • Anne Theriault says:

      “Yet when it comes to sex I want him to be so overcome by desire that he has to dominate and ravish me.”

      I said this? Where? I have never said that, as far as I know!

      And I am a feminist. I’m not going to make any bones about that.

  15. “It’s saying that an unconscious woman was sending “mixed signals” to her rapist.”

    Wow. So, did you intentionally word that to make it sound like the author of the linked article claimed the woman was sending mixed signals WHILE THAT WOMAN WAS UNCONSCIOUS?

    And not, as the article ACTUALLY says, that the woman was sending clear sexual signals in the upcoming weeks before the rape?

    Oh, and did you also read the part where she said the fault of him raping her was entirely on him, that what he did was rape, and that it was inexcusable?

    Or did you just want someone to read that and think “Somebody said raping a sleeping woman was okay because she gave mixed signals in her sleep!”

    • Flirting =/= invitation to sex. Sitting on someone’s lap =/= invitation to sex. Discussing your job as a sex worker, and how much you enjoy it =/= invitation to sex. The only thing that should be considered an invitation to sex–particularly from a sex worker–is a specific statement to the effect of “I want to have sex with you.”

      That these could be interpreted as “mixed signals” in such a fucked-up way that that guy could *possibly* think, even while three sheets to the wind, that he should try to have sex with her IN HER SLEEP… is rape culture.

      That that guy thought–even while drunk–that just because someone enjoys sex, and in fact is a sex worker, that they’re welcoming of all manner of sexual at all times, without a *specific invitation*, PARTICULARLY in the case of a sex worker… is rape culture.

      • You’re responding to a series of points no one made.

        No one said she invited him to have sex with her. No one said he should have had sex with her while she was asleep. Hell, after the incident, he even called up a rape hotline worker to discuss it.

        If you want to continue debating that particular incident, we can go over to that article and make comments there. My issue with Annes sentence is that she was deliberately grammatically ambiguous in order to paint the other author as a “rape apologist”.

    • Anne Thériault says:

      Here’s what was said in the article:

      1. The author’s friend had been flirting with this woman for weeks
      2. They had been flirting heavily and exchanging sexual innuendo the night of the rape
      3. They fell asleep together
      4. When she woke up he was penetrating her
      5. The author says that, yes, it was rape, but we need to talk about the mixed signals that led to the rape

      As far as I’m concerned, there is no way that the woman gave mixed signals that led this guy to believe that he could penetrate her while she slept.

      • Good, because she never said those mixed signals led him to believe he could penetrate her while she slept.

        She said that those signals led to him believing that she wanted to have sex with him.

        Can you see the difference there?

        • Anne Theriault says:

          Right, but the logical conclusion is that they led him to believe that he could penetrate her while she slept. Otherwise, why bring mixed signals into it at all, if one has nothing to do with the other?

          When Royse says something like,

          “1. She had every right to do everything she was doing and fully expect to be safe from rape. (She was right.)

          2. He believed that everything she was doing was an invitation to have sex. (He was wrong.)”

          That’s not exactly true. What she was doing may have been an invitation to have sex – who knows? It definitely wasn’t an invitation to penetrate her while she slept.

          If you want to say that her “mixed signals” led him to believe that she wanted to have sex with him, fine, I’ll accept that.

          When Royse says,

          “Which is to say that she was asleep when he started to penetrate her. She did not consent prior. Anything said after the penetration is beside the point, so I’m leaving it out on purpose. It is the mixed signals of everything leading up to this moment that are the point of this story.”

          She is saying that the “mixed signals” lead to this man penetrating his friend while she was unconscious. It’s pretty clear.

          • “Right, but the logical conclusion is that they led him to believe that he could penetrate her while she slept. Otherwise, why bring mixed signals into it at all, if one has nothing to do with the other?”

            No, that is not “the” logical conclusion. The logical conclusion is that her signals led him to believe that she wanted to have sex with him.

            “If you want to say that her “mixed signals” led him to believe that she wanted to have sex with him, fine, I’ll accept that.”

            Okay, good.

            “She is saying that the “mixed signals” lead to this man penetrating his friend while she was unconscious. It’s pretty clear.”

            Yes, she said that. She did not say “The mixed signals *led him to believe it would be okay to penetrate her in her sleep*”. There is a huge difference.

            What I gathered was she brought up the “mixed signals” because they were part of the toxic cocktail that led up to the rape. That his entering into the encounter reasonably thinking she wanted to have sex, along with their mutual discomfort with discussing things openly, along with the addition of alcohol and other drugs – all those things played a part.

            And, in the original article, her conclusion is not that she “shouldn’t have sent him those signals”, but, rather, that we should work to have a culture where those “mixed signals” aren’t necessary because people feel comfortable talking about sex and consent openly, and don’t feel the need to introduce alcohol (aka liquid courage) into the equation.

      • Jonathan G says:

        Except that–in my experience and as confirmed by many women–the signals that she gave are exactly the way that many, many women signal that they want to have sex, because they can’t say so openly due to slut-shaming? There’s no way that could have been a confusing signal?

        In addition, these types of comments have bothered me because the wording of phrases like, “they fell asleep together,” seem to ignore the actual context, in service of turning the situation totally black and white, as if the man in question ran through a rational sequence of thoughts:

        “Ah-ha! Look now– she has fallen asleep. Now I have this opportunity to insert my penis into this woman’s vagina because she is unconscious, in order to make semen shoot out of my penis. After all, orgasm is just a mechanical function of the male body and all that men require to make sex good is ejaculation inside a vagina. I just have to hope that I can finish before she wakes up, because all that aggressive flirting and talk of sex leading up to getting drunk and falling into bed with me clearly and unequivocally means ‘no.'”

        It’s misleading. The two people in that situation passed out, not “fell asleep,” and others have recounted in this thread how the difference between conscious and unconscious turns unclear when you’re very drunk. Having been there myself once (which was plenty, thank you very much) and observed plenty of others, I know that black-out and pass-out drunk aren’t necessarily all-or-nothing. Your memory gets spotty, and sometimes your mind can “check out” while your body is still operating.

        Yes, it’s entirely plausible that the woman “passed out” or felt that she was asleep while still stirring enough that she appeared awake to the extremely-drunk guy. You can make judgments based on your assumptions, but that doesn’t make those assumptions necessarily true.

        • Agreed. Even on this thread we keep seeing mention of the idea that “He thought it was okay to rape a sleeping woman!”

          Because everything people do when PASS OUT DRUNK is something they “think is okay”. When someone gets drunk and is driving 80 miles an hour in the wrong lane? Clearly they think it’s okay! When someone gets drunk and stabs someone to death in a fight? Clearly they think they have a right to stab people! When someone gets drunk and cheats on his or her spouse? They must think cheating is okay!

          In almost any other situation, people understand that alcohol inhibits brain function, and that we can’t reasonably assess “what people think is okay” by what they do when pass out drunk.

          Yet in this case – because it involves a sensitive topic – we have to infer that “he thinks it’s okay!” and “He’s done it before and he’ll do it again!” and “He prefers to fuck women who are asleep instead of awake! He must have necrophilia!”

          We’re to believe he’s some rapist mastermind who waited months to get her asleep so he could rape her. Somehow, he himself drinking to the point of PASSING OUT was part of the plan, as was raping her in a room full of people. And then calling a rape victim hotline operator to discuss the details.

          Yup. Sounds way more plausible than “He got drunk and did something terrible.”

      • Let me re-write that a bit:

        1. The man and woman were partners
        2. They have had sex before
        3. They fell asleep together
        4. When the man woke up the woman was having sex with him
        5. He felt really violated and can’t stomach to touch his partner anymore

        There is no way that the man gave mixed signals that led this woman to believe that she could have sex with him while he slept.

        Oh, wait: Apparently there is:
        http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/09/19/is-it-rape-if-you-dont-mean-for-it-to-be-rape/

        And apparently this is more likely to be a matter of him abusing her:
        http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2012/09/19/is-it-rape-if-you-dont-mean-for-it-to-be-rape/#comment-526368

        • Are you dinging Feministe for the framing and shitty comments and double standards? Or do you not see any difference between the cases or both?

          Cause I’m all for dinging double standards, framing and shitty comments, but I don’t see these cases as apples to apples, nor would I no matter the gender combination.

          Let’s be as accurate as possible, while accepting that this person felt violated absolutely and given the reality of his sleep-action, was violated (that was the impact not her intent, she’s obviously concerned that she should deal with that, and he should most certainly look into sleep disorder treatment). Sleep disorders aren’t as rare as people think and even temporary ones can be brought on by stress, medication and other things. My husband talks and walks in his sleep often, remembering nothing. He has apparently done this since childhood, and I’m always very careful when talking with him to make sure he’s really awake, but the first time it happened I had no idea he was asleep.

          So, here’s the account with my additions from the letter to Savage.

          1. The man and woman were partners
          2. They have had sex before
          3. They fell asleep together
          4. He appeared to be wide awake but was apparently asleep unbeknownst to her
          5. He pulled her hand motioning her to get on top of him as he had done in the past (in other words she saw nothing new or surprising about the situation)

          6. When the man woke up the woman was having sex with him
          7. He felt really violated and can’t stomach to touch his partner anymore

          Original letter to Dan Savage, I’ve bolded that part about her believing him to be awake, initiating routine nighttime sex.

          accidentally raped my boyfriend. What happened was I awoke to find my boyfriend rubbing up against me. After a little while, he pulled my hand, motioning for me to get on top of him to have sex, as he has done many times before. I obliged, and all was well, until he apparently woke up and pushed me off of him. I did not have any indication that he was asleep, since he was an active participant the entire time and was NOT lying there like a dead fish. In the morning, he expressed his displeasure about being woken up with sex. He said that he felt really violated. I apologized and explained my understanding of the situation. Now he says he feels really weird about what happened and he can’t stomach me touching him. What should I do?

          Does that mean he shouldn’t feel violated? Hell no. Does that mean she’s an evil terrible rapist? I don’t think so, nor would I think so if it was a male initiating in a fully intimate and familiar relationship where patterns had been established.

          These cases are not apples to apples-for the least reason that in Alyssa’s case it is Alyssa telling a story about what a man said he may or may not have done to someone he’d never slept with before and had no familiarity with sexually (and apparently didn’t believe he was wrong at the get go), and in the Stranger case, it is a woman admitting she did something she thought was welcome to a familiar partner who had initiated night sex in the past, but then realized it wasn’t and felt horrified. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel horribly violated to the point that relationships end. Or that she did something terrible inadvertently.

          I get that you want to ding feministe in the act of double standards, denying male rape and the rest. And there are some really shitty comments there. And I am cynical enough to know there are double standards in place and that means men don’t get the support they need after sexual assault. And men get raped. And it’s wrong and they deserve far far more support and belief then they get.

          But I don’t know that the cases are equitable, even if I also believe the reaction on the man’s part in the Stranger case was justified.

          • The messed up thing is that you can’t really prove intent. Or belief. And gender plays a role in trials. So no matter how either case is framed, it’s likely that a jury would find him guilty and her innocent, and maybe that’s actually accurate. But if the genders were reversed, it’s not a puffy little fantasy to say the outcomes would also be reversed based on perceptions of gender.

            In each case, things went bad wrong.

            • I doubt that any prosecutor would take either case, for that matter.

            • Well, I think you’re wrong about one of them: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111229/ARTICLES/111229500

              http://midtown.news10.net/news/crime/sacramento-man-convicted-raping-sleeping-woman/72117

              On the other hand a woman actually have been convicted for raping a sleeping man in Norway: http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/woman-convicted-of-rape/

            • I am not saying women can’t rape men. I’ve said that.
              If someone raped someone, there should be penalties.

            • And I”m glad that those cases were brought to trial. I don’t know what we are even arguing about, Tamen.

            • Not arguing, just pointing out that prosecutors sometimes does take cases like these where the someone had sex with someone who was asleep and per definition unable to consent to sex.

              I know that you’ve said that women can rape men. It was not my intention to in any way imply that you don’t think that. I think it’s pretty clear from for example your comment here on this thread that you do think that. Comments like that – and in particular the two first sentences are very much appreciated and noted by me. So please don’t think that I believe you are a bad person who doesn’t get anything because we disagree on some point or other.

            • Cool. No problem.

            • In the feministe article, she’s a rapist, an accidental rapist but still she raped someone. In Alyssa’s article no one has answered if HE KNEW she was asleep, I see only mentions of her being asleep and no mention of him realizing so. So it’s either wilful rape, or accidental rape. I don’t view accidental rapists as bad as ones who knowingly do it, I’m not sure prosecuting accidental rape actually helps and if we do should they get leniency? The result is similar/probably the same with someone feeling violated. It also opens potential issues with people claiming they thought they had consent as an excuse.

              She may not be evil, but she’s still a rapist. Unless you wanna classify it as a version of manslaughter, unintended rape? Technically any sex ever initiated whilst someone is asleep is rape, even sex when drunk is rape since your ability to consent has been tainted. Hell being super tired probably also inhibits your ability to consent if it’s similar to the effect on driving. But consent isn’t black n white in some cases, grey areas exist where people will accept their partner raping them technically but not think of it as rape such as those who tell their partner to wake them up by initiating sex, something I would probably let a trusted gf wake me up with.

              This also means technically millions of people rape each other on friday/saturday night…

            • Did you read what I wrote?

            • Did you read what I wrote? She had sex with an unconscious person, it’s automatically rape. It could be accidental, but it’s still rape. This is a very easy concept to understand, if asleep it’s automatically rape. No if’s, buts, whatevers, you’re having sex with someone who may or may not want sex at the time. They didn’t have sleep sex before, they woke each other up for sex, he only consented to sex whilst being awake. She failed to get adequate consent, she may not have meant to rape him but that’s what happened.

          • Julie,

            Can you please direct me to where Alyssa have said that the sleeping woman whom her friend raped did not make any noises/movements which could be interpreted as initiating in her sleep? Can you direct me to where Alyssa says that her friend were aware that his victim was asleep before she woke up and told him? I missed where those things were explicitly spelled out.

            • I’ve already noted that she didn’t. I’ve said that’s part of why it’s not apples to apples. There is ample information that was missing from her case. This is always what happens isn’t it?

              I’m not stating that either case is good. I’m not stating that either person doesn’t have cause. I’m saying, simply, that given what has been stated in both cases online (and without us knowing more) they are not apples to apples.

              AND, I’m also saying there were double standards, shitty comments and reasons to be upset with the treatment given the Stranger case.

            • Here’s the thing.

              I’m on the side of people who have been assaulted, male or female, or in any gender combination. I’m on the side of people having lots of happy mutual pleasurable sex that they communicate about. I’m on the side of more and more and more conversations about consent, agreements and ethics and I’m on the side of everyone taking responsibility for actions.

              And I don’t see these cases as apples to apples, AND I think that feministe treated the case dismissively.

              Tamen, I can do both.

            • What I am saying is that we DON’T KNOW that it’s not apples and apples because we lack some information from one case and the information we got from the other might be self-serving and biased. There is a possibility, however small and large it may be, that they are in fact apples and apples.

              I am pointing out that a lot of the people being angry at Alyssa’s piece are stating absolutist claims that a man penetrating a sleeping woman is always rape and always intentional, that there is no way the man could’ve misread any signals from the victim. Anne the OP here also states: “As far as I’m concerned, there is no way that the woman gave mixed signals that led this guy to believe that he could penetrate her while she slept.”
              No way.
              It doesn’t get more precise and black and white than that. So what I think is that Feminste and others are all black and white when it’s man on woman while they are perfectly willing to entertain ideas of grey areas, rape without a rapist or wondering if it matters if they call it “rape” or not when a woman has sex with a man who was asleep.

              I am pointing out that when the genders were reversed it turned out that there was a way that the man gave out signals that led the woman to believe that she could have sex with him while it turned out that she was asleep.

              Of interest is perhaps also this post posted at Feministe about the ““but she’s such a nice girl” defence”: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/02/24/but-women-dont-rape/

              A very interesting quote there (my emphasis):

              Now, I know at least one woman who has physically forced sex upon a man who had repeatedly told her he didn’t want to have sex with her and was pretty pissed off with her afterwards – rape in no uncertain terms, if the genders were reversed.

            • Tamen, I get that I do. I’m talking about the dang text of both pieces. What do we know, what have we been told, what is in the words. They are different stories, no matter what actually happened (there are things we don’t know in each case).

              And that’s the thing I find the most frustrating about this entire two week long conversation. Not that I don’t know details, but that because I’m not at all sure how useful these stories are unless they come directly from a perp or victim or unless it’s totally from the perspective of the friend and how he/she dealt with the information personally.

              There are tons of double standards out there, Tamen. Race, gender, orientation, cultures. We are exceedingly complex and seem to relish complexifying everything past the point of hope.

          • Julie in your explaination your additions made me pause for a bit.

            4. He appeared to be wide awake but was apparently asleep unbeknownst to her
            5. He pulled her hand motioning her to get on top of him as he had done in the past (in other words she saw nothing new or surprising about the situation)

            I think the problem some people have is that in the rising culture of “yes means yes” a man would have been expected to know that she was wide awake rather than “appear” to be wide awake. Also there would be issue with the fact that even if she did give some indication of consent he would still be expected to confirm.

            To me in the case brought up on that feministe post I think a lot of people are stuck on “if the genders were reversed, he’d be called a rapist in a heartbeat.” and honestly I agree (both that he would be a rapist and the feministe community would call him a rapist).

            If nothing else I think this represents a grey area that so many people deny the existence of so vehemently.

            • There’s also the issue that the way this discourse exists, currently, is to funnel all conversation and context into this immensely limiting dynamic of victim/rapist. We lack the ability to discuss any of this without an overlay of blame and very, very serious accusation. To what extent does this particular incident need to be defined as such? Is it defined as it is because of the very dialogues that inform it require it to be a “versus” situation?

              It’s like we’re completely and utterly ignoring the fact that there are situations where the most effective way of addressing something that “went wrong” is to engage with and explore the actual issue as two rational adults. If we want people to show respect and consent, doesn’t the real work occur between the two individuals who are in a relationship (no matter how short)?

              But instead we jump straight to blaming, demonizing and searching everywhere for reasons to place it next to the absolutely terrifying and awful experiences where individuals are violently assaulted. We don’t encourage communication and relating to people as human beings, but instead we see every single little thing as part of some greater, vast conspiracy of “rape culture”.

              Hell, we all, in any particular week, do things without realizing that cause harm to others. I put off a project at work recently which I was completely unaware had some negative effects on one of my coworkers. There was no ill-intent, but it caused problems anyway. You know what happened? I apologized and we had a conversation about how to avoid this in the future. That conversation also focused on what both of us could do to make it better in the future. Too often I feel like we’re steering people away from that conversation and toward shallow, simplistic moral judgments which, obviously, are easier and much more comfortable to make.

            • I am not denying that. I’m just talking about the cases not being apples to apples.
              And I’ve always been concerned about gray areas.

            • I know you aren’t denying it. I’m just trying get this all laid out in a baby steps sort of way so that hopefully everyone can get on the same page rather than the tossing of insults and blame which of course ultimately get us nowhere.

              Even if the cases themselves aren’t a direct apples to apples I’m thinking what is causing people to see it as such is the fact that when it comes to rape considerations are extremely gendered in the larger conversation.

              (To me in the feministe example yes that woman raped him. The difference is going to be the fact that unlike unrepentant rapists she actually seems to feel some sort of shame/guilt/responsibility/etc. and will actually try to ensure that such a situation doesn’t happen again. Guys are almost never given that consideration. Nope they are just misogynists that think women exist for their pleasure. And like some of the others are saying I think the rape culture discourse itself has a hand in the refusal to extend consideration.)

            • @Danny – I disagree that the woman in the feministe article raped him, but not that she sexually violated him *by accident*. It’s sort of that murder/manslaughter distinction again, where the end result may not be much different for the victim, but the mens rea (guilty mind) or lack thereof makes a bid difference about how I feel toward the perpetrator and what the punishment should be. Since we don’t have a word yet, I would call the feministe example a pretty clear case of “rapeslaughter” – a sexual violation that isn’t in dispute as far as the impact on the victim, but the perp reasonably thought she was engaging in consensual conduct at the time.

              The feministe case and the case of Alyssa’s friend may not be apples to apples, but it’s not apples to oranges, either. It’s apples to “fruit of unknown kind”, that may or may not be apples. This is because the perpetrator’s intent and impression of consent at the time of the act is missing from Alyssa’s account. Many, many people have assumed it, but it’s not there in the text. All the text tells us is that like the woman in the feministe case, he did not dispute that the violated person had been sleeping. That leaves a range of possibilities from the guy being completely aware she was asleep and just penetrating her anyway, to him interpreting her responses as being conscious enough to consent, but realizing later that she’d been sleeping. The former would be very different from the feministe case – an “orange”, so to speak – while the latter would make it an apple, another case of rapeslaughter, only with genders reversed. Few people commenting about the feministe case seem to dispute that the sleeping person was capable of unwittingly sending a “signal” despite being asleep, but even suggesting that the woman in Alyssa’s story might have done the same is shouted down as victim blaming and rape apology.

            • From Alyssa’s piece.

              “My friend and this woman fell asleep together. And by all accounts, when she woke up, he was penetrating her. Which is to say that she was asleep when he started to penetrate her. She did not consent prior.”

              Alyssa did not include any text from the man indicating he saw signals of consent while she was asleep. We don’t have any information otherwise.

              Alyssa could have included the man’s perception of this sleep/not sleep situation. She left that out. If she said,

              “My friend said that they were making out and began having sex when he realized that she was asleep” that would have a different impact from “My friend said he woke up, she was sleeping and he began having sex with her without waking her.” She didn’t tell us enough to go on, certainly not enough if we were a jury

              In the Stranger article, the woman believed her lover was awake and initiating sex in the night as he had done prior times.

              Thing is? And one of the biggest issues I’ve had with the piece? We don’t know a hell of a lot of information about the man, the woman, what happened immediately before (including signals he may have thought he saw), or what they talked about prior to falling asleep. We have one person’s second hand account which would certainly not be enough for a jury.

              So I’m hella sure a sleeping person can have a sleep cycle issue (talking, walking, eating, driving, sexing) without knowing they are doing it, male or female.

              If all we have to go on are the words of the accounts by the Stranger and Alyssa, the cases are not the same. That doesn’t mean she didn’t give a signal or he didn’t believe he read one. We don’t know if one occurred because it isn’t in the text.

            • Julie, it looks to me like we agree on everything there except the conclusion we end up with. If I’m understanding you correctly, you acknowledge all that uncertainty, missing details, and lack of clarity about Alyssa’s friend’s state of mind, but that all adds up to a conclusion that it’s not the same as the feministe case. I.e., it’s definitely an apples to oranges comparison for you. I think I see that assortment of factors about like you do, but my conclusion is that it’s inconclusive whether it’s apples to apples, or apples to oranges, because the lack of detail leaves open enough possibilities that it could be either. (I’m tempted to call that a “Shroedinger’s rapist”, but that phrase is taken.) I’m not asserting the opposite of your position, I’m asserting “I don’t know” because there’s not enough info. I think when people are treating the man in Alyssa’s story as a monster completely unlike the woman in the feministe story, they are doing so by assuming the truth of a worst-case scenario that simply isn’t in the text. That tendency speaks volumes to me about the operational meaning of “Rape Culture”.

            • Sigh. No.

              I’m saying that the stories are told in a way (the literal text) that helps lead to that conclusion and that if we go by how the text is actually laid out, they are different stories. And if we as readers are to believe the writers, then we come to different conclusions based on how the text is laid out.

              If both stories were-we were partners, we had a history of sleepy night sex, my partner woke me and initiated sex and then really woke up and was upset and so was I, what do I do now?

              Or

              If both stories were-we didn’t really know each other, we’d been flirting, we both fell asleep, I took the initiative, the person was upset, I didn’t think I didn’t anything wrong

              Then having the double standard would be apparent.

              In this case one story is first person and one is second hand, one is a couple with a history, one is not, one involves daily life and one a party (and apparent drinking) and yes, one is gendered F/m and one is gendered M/f.

              All of those things complicate the issue.

              I don’t think anything I’m saying seems to make any sense to anyone, and I’m getting increasingly frustrated with the interactions so I’m going to bow out.

            • Marcus:
              @Danny – I disagree that the woman in the feministe article raped him, but not that she sexually violated him *by accident*. It’s sort of that murder/manslaughter distinction again, where the end result may not be much different for the victim, but the mens rea (guilty mind) or lack thereof makes a bid difference about how I feel toward the perpetrator and what the punishment should be. Since we don’t have a word yet, I would call the feministe example a pretty clear case of “rapeslaughter” – a sexual violation that isn’t in dispute as far as the impact on the victim, but the perp reasonably thought she was engaging in consensual conduct at the time.
              Hey I’m actually all for a differentiation between what that woman did and what other rapists do. In fact a word like “rapeslaughter” actually makes sense. What I’m disagreeing with is the people that are trying to say that it was not any form of rape. Rape by accident, rapeslaughter, etc….

              Much like trying to say that its murder/manslaughter/etc… or whatever when you have a dead body there is needs to be some sort of determination because in this case we have a person that had sex under circumstances where consent was not clear, whether she thought she had it or not.

              Here’s a part of what’s bugging me. I’m hearing a lot of, “She thought she had consent and had no reason to think otherwise.” How many times has that been brought up in male against female rape cases and then summarily tossed out the window. It seems to me the consistency of the validity of that claim is along gender lines. In other words guys should always know better no matter what but there is some threshhold where a woman might no know any better.

  16. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

    I reject the authors definition of rape culture. I prefer a more simple one: Rape Culture is a culture, or elements of a culture, that produces rapes.

    And there are elements of our culture that lead to rape, that I don’t see people talk about much. Because they don’t sound good to say – but it’s okay, I’ll be the bad guy.

    As illustrated in my comment above – what about the normalization of male aggressive sexual tendencies when women WANT men to be sexually aggressive? What about all the grocery store trash books where the woman is “taken in a manly fashion”? What about “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” where, according to wiki, “In the first chapter of the story, Beauty is awakened from her hundred-year sleep by the Prince, not with a simple kiss, but with a fervent deflowering, initiating her into a Satyricon-like world of sexual adventures.”?

    Can we talk about how women will bemoan that they want a “real man” who “knows what he wants and just goes for it”? Can we talk about the Lewis CK bit where he talks about a woman who stopped him from moving things forward in the hopes that he would get frustrated and become aggressive?

    Can we talk about how the whole “Well, sometimes women WANT a man to be aggressive and forceful” leads to rape?

    What about the “Sexual Economy”, “Slut Shaming”, “Virgin Shaming”, “Goalkeeper Theory”, and all the other tropes in our culture that frame sex as a commodity that women have and men want?

    A friend and I were recently talking about this topic, and I posed a simple question: If you’re starving, and you see someone walking down the street who clearly has money, how do you go about getting some of it? Near as either of us could tell, you have three options: beg, trick them out of it, or mug them. Within our cultures conception of sex, men are the starving person and women have the money. As long as we frame sex this way, men will always have those three options: be a Nice Guy (TM) and beg women for sex, be a PUA and trick women into sex, or be a Rapist and take sex by force.

    But we can’t talk, it seems, about the part of that culture where women are perfectly comfortable with it so long as there’s something in it for them. We can’t talk about the part of that culture where women are okay with the idea of “Sex is a thing I have and men want”, when that idea results in various benefits and amenities.

    • I agree with you Drew. There is certain discourse limits placed on discussions of overlapping dynamics. We hear lots of discussion on toxic masculinity but very little on toxic femininity, and when we do, it’s typically identified as an end result of toxic masculinity. The framing is stuck on oppressor / oppressed archetypes, which in itself is evidence of high levels of politicization. The much better truth is that these archetypes are fabricated as counterparts – this is really basic, basic stuff that gets usurped by expedient and meaningless political language.

      • Anne Theriault says:

        I would much prefer to talk about it in terms of traditional gender roles, and how enforcing those can be harmful to both men and women.

        • Right, because addressing how women characterize aggressive, violent sex as “exciting” and “sexy” would mean admitting that both men and women contribute to the problem.

          • Anne Theriault says:

            Which I did admit, in my post. I said that rape culture is a system that everyone, men and women, participate in. I’m not sure how I could have been any clearer than that?

            • But what I always see glossed over is how women participate in furthering elements of our culture that encourage rape to happen.

              Slut Shaming is a part of rape culture. Go ahead and call out women for slut shaming other women.

              The sexual objectification of women is a part of rape culture. Call out the women who make money being sex objects.

              “Sex as Power” is a part of rape culture. Call out the women who use sex as a bargaining chip to manipulate men.

              “Men as Sex Beasts” is a part of rape culture. Call out the women who write books where women enjoy being raped, or who complain that they want a “real man” to “take them”.

              Shaming young men for their sexuality is a part of rape culture. Call out the mothers who tell their sons that masturbating is dirty and evil and they’re a pervert if they do it.

            • Anne Theriault says:

              I am totally happy to do any and all of the things on that list! Well, except for women who make money “being sex objects”, because a) I’m not sure what that means and b) if a woman chooses to be a sex worker, then more power to her – she’s allowed to do whatever she wants.

              I guess my issue with this whole toxic masculinity vs. toxic femininity thing is that it ends up being more divisive than anything else. It turns into a whole “Well, women do THIS” and “But men do THIS” and neither side benefits.

              I would rather look at the cultural pressures that cause everyone, men AND women, to think that rape can be romantic and sexy, or that masturbation is evil (girls hear the same type of things from their parents), or that slut shaming is fine. I’m angry with ANYONE, man or woman, who exhibits these behaviours. In fact, I’m probably more angry about women saying and behaving in that way, since often these behaviours (especially slut shaming and presenting the rape of women as romantic) are the most hurtful to them.

            • “Well, except for women who make money “being sex objects”, because a) I’m not sure what that means and b) if a woman chooses to be a sex worker, then more power to her – she’s allowed to do whatever she wants.”

              Usually when a see some writing about “the sexual objectification of women”, it includes something like a clothing ad where a woman is portrayed as an object, or the “women as decoration” trope (Hooters waitresses, for example), or scantily clad super heroine drawings.

              In most of those examples we’re given, you have at least one woman – either the model in the picture, or the waitresses, or the women who cosplay as those ridiculously under-dressed comic book characters – who are willingly participating because there’s something (often money) in it for them.

              It plays into the “Sex is Power” thing – “It’s okay, in this case, for me to be presented as an object, so long as I can benefit from it, because men wanting to have sex with me gives me power over them.” “It’s okay for men to be horny dogs, so long as them being horny dogs means I get money or drinks or a room full of desperate basement dwellers fawning over me.”

              The issue of sex workers is a bit different. I’m all for it, when it’s a matter of a woman expressing her agency and body autonomy. I’m against it in some of the contexts in which it seems to, sadly, usually operate from – drugs or poverty or coercion. But the issue of sex work is another issue which deserves its own conversation, about laws and social stigma, etc.

    • Anne Rice’s “Sleeping Beauty” erotica is pretty weird. The female character gets repeatedly raped and sexually abused, but but she enjoys all of it. I guess it ‘s basically BDSM erotica. There is also quite a bit of kinky male-male sex in the books. Anne Rice wrlongships stuff long before she got famous with the vampire books. She was writing for a niche market. Defiitely way outside the mainstream at the time.

      • So a woman writes a book where a woman is “repeatedly raped and sexually abused, but enjoys all of it.”

        And it’s “pretty weird”. Not Rape Culture, not evidence that women find rape and sexual abuse exciting, not part of the problem. Just.. pretty weird.

        If a man wrote a book where a female character enjoyed being raped, feminists would crucify him. They would hold the book up as a holy grail of evidence that “Men think rape is okay! Men think women want to be raped!!” Yet when a woman does it.. pretty weird.

        • IDK, I am not into BDSM so I think it’s all pretty weird. I read the Sleeping Beauty books years ago because I was a fan of Anne Rice but it did not do much for me. I don’t know why anyone would get turned on by being abused so someone with more insight than I have would have to explain how it’s different than scenes of male dominance in Bond films.

    • Uhm… okay but aren’t you forgetting the option men have of withdrawing from the sexual dynamic altogether.. MGTOW, Herbivore Men, Going Gault, ya know something like that?

  17. Why am I not surprised that the race issues are glossed over again. It’s all so white middle class rage.

    • If it’s a black male raped by a white female……what are the odds of justice winning out? I’d give it at least 10 to 1 odds that the court system would lock him up, after all the white knights had finished with it. Worked with a few black guys that told me bluntly they avoided white women, because of the stories/warnings their moms had told them.

      • Trey – it really has so little to do with conviction rates, but it does have a great deal to do with people who have the courage of their convictions. People such as Loretta Ross, Yulanda Ward and Nkenge Toure and William Fuller and Larry Cannon – Black African Americans who are responsible for the term rape culture even existing! There is even a Movie called “Rape Culture” – filmed 1974 released 1975… but of course the facts keep getting buried in the racial negation that swamps the USA.

        People kept telling me just how bad it was – but I never realised just how bad and pervasive it is and even driven by feminism (USA Flavour) and embedded in the culture.

        Negation Culture is a terrible thing to see.

  18. …is the fact that.. is it used 7 or 8 times to individual incidents? That is not proof, and it has the same logic as “Red is the fact that…”. The fact that The Term is of unknown origin, of uncertain definition and is assumed to be commonly understood are very worrying facts! How can you have a rational dialogue?

  19. John schtoll says:

    Once again an author makes the mistake of believing that “The plural of anecdote is fact”.

    If we have a tolerance for rape then WHY do we have a sex offender registry for everything from full on brutal assault rape to underage sex between 2 17 year olds. YET not other crime AFAIK has a registry, once you have done your time for murder, that is it, you have a record, but your name isn’t put on a special registry forever.

    IMHO, rape culture is being pushed so that we will pass even more draconian laws plain and simple.

  20. Everyone’s up in arms about prior (aggressive) flirting or other “invitational” behavior does NOT mean actual consent.
    And I agree to that.
    However, what we don’t know, and probably never will, is what happened just prior to her falling asleep and he beginning to rape her.
    (TW for tale of drunken stupor to come.)
    I have fragments of memories from a party I attended sometime in my mid 20’s, at a house on the outskirts of a village bordering to a forest on the backside. Initially, I was in charge of the punchbowl, and hence got it on a little too much. Next fragment is me sitting outside the house in the middle of the night talking with a girl about everything and nothing, both of us wasted beyond recognition, when we suddenly bolt for the forest and dive behind the first shrubbery we happen to stumble upon. More black. Next thing I remember we are both mostly undressed and frantically making out, when it dawns on me
    “This… is not a good idea. I’m cold, I have fir needles in my buttcheeks, I’m probably gonna be sick (from the liquor) in a couple of minutes. And. She’s engaged to one of my coworkers…”
    So I’m like, “Hey I’m sorry but I gotta go. I can’t do this.” And through the dark and drunkenness try to get up and gather my scattered clothes, all the while she’s holding on to my d!ck and begging me to stay. Anyway, I got up and away, got home, slept in the next day, and never thought much about it, except what might, could have happened had I had less of a conscience about her civil status.

    But these days, I’m thinking more about what could’ve happened, had I stayed and done what she begged me to do. If we had started bonin’, and she had passed out, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. At least not right away. Most likely none of us would have been able to have anything more than the scetchiest remembrance of what had passed right before.

  21. Why am I not surprised that posts which question basic use of language and how it goes so very wrong don’t get allowed up here? Tis the season for…..

  22. The problem with most rapists is that they are in the mainstream, They maybe have jobs, maybe families, friends. They lie to themselves about what they have done or do. If you tell a lie enough you can start to think it’s the truth.
    Rapists are accepted for who they are without anyone necessarily knowing the truth about what they do behind closed doors to their friends, co-workers or partners.
    My ex-boyfriend is a rapist. at least, he raped me on more than one occasion. I can’t say for deffinate that he makes a habit of it. For him, at the time, directed at me, it was power and control.
    When it first happened I told him no. I told him i didn’t want to. I repeated myself and continued saying it all the way through the act. Afterwards i actually said to him ‘you raped me’. He denied it. Of course he did. No one wants to admit that they are a rapist.
    Yes, I stayed with him. Madness isn’t it? A girl in her early twenties being abused, physically, verbally, sexually. But that’s a whole other matter – one of abuse, continual degradation, lack of self-esteem of the ‘victim’, the control the perpetrator has over the ‘victim’. (I hate the word victim, surely there is a better word out there for people who find themselves this situation?)
    Rape culture surrounds us. The ‘victims’, unless given the channel to talk about it will keep it inside. The perpetrators may never admit to themselves, let alone others, that they have done it, or still do it. (I can see my ex laughing it off and using the world of victim blame to cover his crimes.)
    People who have never experienced it, rape that is, whether first hand or through someone they know don’t necessarily understand it. When someone asks me why I stayed with such an abusive partner I can’t give them an answer that they understand, if they understood they probably wouldn’t ask that question…
    People need to be educated about rape. What it is, when it is and not fed shit like ‘don’t go out, don’t get drunk, don’t wear that dress’, because you might as well say them to ‘don’t have fun, don’t trust your friends, don’t leave the house’ and thus ‘if anything happens to you, it is your own fault’. I have been out with friends, got a little bit too drunk, fallen over in the street and showed my underwear, walked home on my own at night and yet, got raped in my own home by my boyfriend.
    Ideas need to change, stigma needs to be obliterated and people need to listen and learn. Rape covers such a wide area, not just stranger danger or college boys acting as a ‘tag-team’. Rape culture exists, sure, but it’s because people think it’s excusable because of drinks, drugs, flirting. To me, it is due to the law. If more people were prosecuted for rape people might learn what it is and see that it is not an issue ‘on the fringes’, it happens, everyday to normal people in all sorts of situations. If victims were treated with less disdain they would report it more…
    I don’t know if this has made any sense at all. It is totally my own point of view. agree with me, disagree with me. I just wanted to give my two cents as I am a ‘victim’ and spend many hours wondering how different my life would be if it never happened, or if the boy was convicted… He is now a practising solicitor, does that make you feel safe?

    • May I ask why didn’t you take it to trial? and also would you ever allow it to happen again? I only ask this out of curiosity.

      • I reported it to the police, after 2.5 years. It took a lot of courage to talk to someone about it, to even admit it to myself. He was arrested, questioned and released without charge. Not enough evidence as it was my word against his. The thing with being in an abusive relationship is you (the ‘victim’) aren’t the one with the power. I didn’t allow it to happen. It happened. Saying that I allowed it to happen, well, that almost incriminates me.

        • Sorry, i mis-read the last part of your comment. I wouldn’t allow it to happen again. That is to say, if i had the choice. The point about rape is really, you don’t have the choice.

        • Did reporting the crime to the police 2.5 years later bring about any healing or empowerment for yourself?

  23. Rape culture is blaming the victim, saying that they incited sexual assault by what they wore, how they acted, or where they were. It’s saying that an unconscious woman was sending “mixed signals” to her rapist. It’s telling victims that if only they’d been more careful, more thoughtful, or less vulnerable they wouldn’t have been raped.

    Anne, have you read Alyssa’s piece? (It’s odd that you didn’t link to the original version on GMP.) You appear to be intentionally mischaracterizing what she wrote. Perhaps you haven’t read it, and are passing along uncritically someone else’s characterization.

    Either way, this reflects poorly on your credibility as someone who speaks authoritatively on rape culture.

    • Anne Theriault says:

      I have read that piece, yes. I first read it on xojane, which is why I linked to that version. I’m going to c&p my response to someone else who asked the same question:

      Here’s what was said in the article:

      1. The author’s friend had been flirting with this woman for weeks
      2. They had been flirting heavily and exchanging sexual innuendo the night of the rape
      3. They fell asleep together
      4. When she woke up he was penetrating her
      5. The author says that, yes, it was rape, but we need to talk about the mixed signals that led to the rape
      As far as I’m concerned, there is no way that the woman gave mixed signals that led this guy to believe that he could penetrate her while she slept.

      Royce says:

      “Which is to say that she was asleep when he started to penetrate her. She did not consent prior. Anything said after the penetration is beside the point, so I’m leaving it out on purpose. It is the mixed signals of everything leading up to this moment that are the point of this story.”
      She is saying that the “mixed signals” lead to this man penetrating his friend while she was unconscious. It’s pretty clear.

      • Even the author admitted they were not present and all reports were second hand! It’s amazing how so many take words which are third person and tantamount to gossip and forge them into a steel hard reality!

        • Audra Williams says:

          Isn’t that exactly what the author of the piece did? Anne is only reacting to the author’s take on the situation, as reported by her.

          • … and so grows Absurdia! I find it amazing that people are happier supposedly reporting hearsay with 103% accuracy than going back to the roots and checking them. Have a look at Rape Culture the Film and not what people have been 103% certain of ever since!

      • “She is saying that the “mixed signals” lead to this man penetrating his friend while she was unconscious. It’s pretty clear.” I agree with this. “It’s saying that an unconscious woman was sending “mixed signals” to her rapist.” This, however, is not an innocuous rephrasing of the first sentence. In this hyperbolic version, now the woman was giving mixed signals while unconscious. This falls outside of the realm of civilized discourse.

        More importantly, Alyssa never expressed an opinion that the onus should be on women to adjust their behavior to prevent scenarios like this. By my interpretation, she was simply trying to comprehend a mindset that would interpret the events as “mixed signals.” An astounding number of people are willing to declare that Alyssa was victim-blaming based on perceived holes in the narrative. I don’t think that’s fair.

      • Nick, mostly says:

        Alyssa was very clear in characterizing this guy’s behavior as rape, from the outset of her essay and repeatedly throughout. That so many have interpreted it as rape apologia is baffling to me.

        What I understood to be the thrust of her question is thus: how is it that this man, an apparent “nice guy,” would be the slightest bit confused about whether his behavior was rape? What is it about our culture – how we interact with one another; how we communicate or don’t about desire, about sex, about consent; how we’re socialized to be aggressive, or coy, or teasing, or assertive; how we view sex as a goal, or a bargaining chip – what is it that would lead to there being any question as to whether or not his behavior was acceptable? No, she was in no way to blame for having been raped by this guy, but does it always have to be so black and white? Can we not discuss how her behavior fits into the overall picture of a cultural narrative in which men pursue sex, women parse it out, neither party seeking nor offering verbal consent?

        It didn’t appear to me to be trivializing rape, but trying to understand the culture in which rape happens. That is, unlike so many essays that attempt to discuss rape culture, Alyssa’s makes an attempt to actually get at the “culture” part of the story, using a personal anecdote as a case study. The anecdote wasn’t of a “so-called rape” or a “supposed rape” – it was of a clear and unambiguous rape, and yet so very unclear to the perpetrator. Are we not the least bit interested as to why this guy got it so horribly wrong?

        • In too many ways, the discourse that comes from many of the various Feminist groups/sites is woefully inadequate to address the actual human complexity of non-violent, acquaintance assaults. Royse’s article has been, perhaps, the best example of a balanced, human view of the issue that I have yet to come across. But still we just get a chorus of “you’re doing it wrong!” because the article doesn’t immediately jump to essentializing the man in question as a monster whose entire being is simply made up of this one incident.

          It’s the reality that needs to be addressed, not the fantasy of simplicity that the Feminists want to propagate. It, honestly, drives me up the wall that they too often take second and third-hand accounts as 100% source material while silencing and ignoring that there exists a human being behind the singular action of assault.

          It’s the conflation of the intended, violent stranger with the far more humanly complex case such as Royse put forward. When it comes to a man as put forth in Royse’s article, there’s no difference between that individual and the very, very, very small minority of men who are, essentially, monsters with ill intent. There exists a huge chasm of issue when you take humanity away from anyone.

          And all of this is because of “rape culture”, which acts to normalize and support the limited, narrow means of approaching the actual issues into a “Feminist-approved” dialogue which does nothing besides condemn, disregard and move on to the next target.

          Something about glass houses. I dated a woman once who was one of the biggest proponents of Feminism that I have ever met. After while I got used to the somewhat constant talking about “patriarchy” and “rape culture” and “mansplaining” and “gaslighting”, etc.. However, when we ended up in a somewhat passionate argument, she got so upset she cocked her arm back and smacked me in the face. It happened more than once. You know what? she was full of the exact same sorts of justifications and excuses that she got so upset about from men who existed in similar situations to her, to the point where she literally claimed that I was “asking for it”. The way the discourse exists, currently, is a series of apologies where the important thing isn’t what we do or think, but what and how we say. Too often Feminists aren’t actually interested in helping anyone, but instead they place their faith for change into concepts like “rape culture” which does nothing more than to misdirect and obscure the motivations, complexities and humanity of people.

    • Yup – It’s amazing at the characterisations that are going on and how they are being done. Some read and get it wrong – some don’t read because they know by telepathy that it’s all wrong – and the best one of all is when people read a see nothing amiss and are still mislead and join in the damage of others – and even themselves.

      I’ve even been looking at how some peeps are attempting to link groups and people to the The Southern Poverty Law Center by a clever dance around a page and using words and Hyper links. I got asked about it because the person doing it is stupidly thinking US and Doing it in the UK media. Funny how “Southern Poverty Law Center” is not a knee jerk hate link in the UK psyche, but is in the USA. It’s only when you clean away the veneers of emotion that you can start to analyse and see the deliberate mechanism,s hidden underneath.

      I keep finding it quite amazing just how people attempt to damage others, and also just how silly they are and how they get caught out!

      You can read and see for yourself here – Why the ‘nice guys commit rape too’ conversation is not helpful – The Guardian – Tuesday 18 December

      I’m still amazed that so many still don’t get how net content works and how some use it to cause real damage by using means that just pass people by. It’s a real trick, abusing in the open and getting way with it – just like domestic abuse. The abuse in the open and public is the most dangerosue and the ways of gas-lighting to achieve that are legion.

  24. …I’m still confused about this topic, should we attribute a sense of unassailable victimhood to every women who’s been sexually assaulted. Can we dare question the validity of her claim or even monitor risky behavior in the hopes of protecting possible future victims of similar crime patterns. Is this Rape Culture? Obviously not.

    We do not live in a consequence free world and telling college aged women that living their lives in a perpetual state of sexual vulnerability through inebriation and bad decision making does not serve their rational self interest. What “Rape Culture” tells us is that there is a Politically Correct way to discuss sexual assault and rape accusations. To this I say SO What, people will still judge the worthiness of victims anyway.

  25. You know, I find it a bit strange that I have so many issues with “rape culture” and the begotten cultural “war” that it entails based on my religion. No, I’m not a conservative Christian, but a pretty moderately liberal Buddhist.

    I came across a poem awhile back by a Zen Master which says:”Good and evil have no self nature;
    Holy and unholy are empty names; / In front of the door is the land of stillness and quiet; / Spring comes, grass grows by itself.”

    In a large part, the last decade of my life has been spent with a definitively Buddhist mindset. I’m not suggesting that I’m right (which is the point I’ll get to), but that our world is immensely complex, confusing and full of suffering. In a large part, one’s character can be built upon the reactions one has to hardship and suffering. Talk of “privilege” makes me laugh, because no one has the “privilege” to live a life devoid of suffering. We all have our own demons, hardships and experiences. Of course the lives of some are easier than others, but I try very hard to remember that suffering is universal and unavoidable. It’s the work of good people to alleviate and address suffering, which is a psychological process not a concrete physical process.

    The discourse we currently have on “rape culture” has continually brought me to a place where I remain perplexed. Passing by the completely subjective logic that gets one to “rape culture”, the entirety of how the concept is maintained breeds not positive, constructive work but overwhelmingly negative and malicious intent. It is employed as a bludgeon and as a means to silence opponents in debates that should, by any rational means, be constructive conversations.

    Too often we find ourselves in places where we hear “Teach men not to rape”, which implies inclusion of men into the conversation. But when men enter the conversation and provide their (understandably) own subjective view, they’re demonized and run off by constant and continual silencing of “rape apologist” and “misogynist” labels. There exists, under the model of “rape culture” an absolutely unapologetic dogmatic and absolutist standard of moral/ethical behavior and dialogue. I really applaud GMP for running the recent controversial articles because if we want to enact change we need to actually engage with the very sort of people who have been branded as “monsters” in order to not attack, but to understand. Too few individuals seem able to put aside their own vindictive and aggressive tendencies to actually solve a problem.

    But even further, as CopyLeft brought up earlier, the same logic which states we exist in a “rape culture” can be employed to say that we live in, say, a “crime culture” or a “war culture” or an “exploitation culture”. The problem, I suspect, is that when the Feminists seek their issues, they’re going to highlight the one which supports their agenda. Actual progress and actual constructive dialogue/action isn’t dogmatic.

    And at the core, the concept of “rape culture” does nothing to help, assist or empower women and men who are it’s victims. It creates a wallowing in victimhood and the constant reminder that (for example) a woman’s worth is inherently tied to her sexuality.

    In my own experience I have found two sorts of women in my life in terms of “rape culture”: there are many women who don’t buy into the “hype” and who live their lives day-to-day without fear or worry; there are also those who are so steeped in the idea of threat and harm that they unknowingly make the world a worse place for themselves by believing that the world is out to get them with intent. And that may be the biggest issue, because when the aim is to empower and create confidence and ability, the worst thing you can do is say that “oh hey, you should be afraid of normal interactions within a standard set of parameters because OMG RAPISTS.” The other sort of individual don’t lead their life based on theoretical concepts of oppression. Let me tell you that one of the two tends to achieve more than the other.

    This isn’t about consent, it’s about respect. If you respect someone, you won’t treat them like shit. We all have our own demons and issues, and the way the discourse exists now is to assume that one side is pristine and the other is soiled. “A [victim] should always be believed” is fine when we’re dealing on an inter-personal level, but it becomes a problem when it is the dominant, impersonal reaction that is expected and required because we don’t have context or understanding.

    And there’s a good reason why rape as a crime is tough to prosecute: because it is personal, private and immensely subjective. It should be difficult to prosecute, honestly, because there mere accusation can ruin lives.

    There’s no getting around this. In many ways, I feel like that the concept of “rape culture” is just another way to attempt to gain benefit without any detriment. There is a focus on one specific aspect of our culture and the denial of the other side. We’re all human beings and we’re all subjective. I’d rather be able to engage with individuals as individuals than continually walk a line that forces suffering into the open and neglects to concern itself with the best intent of the person, themselves. In the end, we all suffer and it isn’t culture, but personal how we act, react and place ourselves in the place where we are best suited to move forward.

    • My thoughts exactly. And this. This is what rape culture looks like to me.
      Women Under Siege Project
      http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/

      • Not buying it' says:

        @Ben

        The commenter “Crow” was pointing out the situation her in the west which is far different then the third world, it’s truly disingenuous to change or switch the geographical point of discussion midpoint into a different part of the world were the same social realities exist!!

        I believe you do know that there is a difference there, but you’re trying to use the realities of the third world as a the same realities here in the west, which is truly unhelpful & muddies the discussion .

        • Oh I agree with muddied waters, but it’s also symptomatic of the racisms that exists around rape culture and the misuse of the term – only three countries have been described as Rape Cultures. Taboka Meitse did so with South Africa in 1996, with good reason and after many years of sociological analysis of South Africa both before and post-apartheid.

          In 2002 Prof Upendra Baxi produced a published withering legal opinion view that India was a Rape Culture, in light of how the state government of Gujarat and the Indian National/Federal Government allowed rape and worse to be used as a genocidal tool during what so many euphemistically call The Gujarat violence. Odd but not calling it genocide when rape was a major tool is it self a manifestation of Rape Culture… So I will call it the Gujarat Genocide and not be a rape excuser, apologist, denier etc.

          Odd isn’t it that changing just one word Violence vs Genocide can shift you to one side of a dividing line or the other in the Rape Culture debate. That is why the do call it the Rwandan genocide where rape was used as a genocidal weapon. I’m so glad that international law experts are not falling into silly traps which other so favour.

          I know that the USA has been labelled by certain interest groups as a Rape Culture, but frankly on a basic comparative scale that demand for labelling and even supremacy and focus in all debate is sickening. Yup The USA has some very big issues with Rape and how it is made manifest, and reacted to culturally – but unless there is an Actual Honest use of the term tape culture all you get is more racism and cultural imperialism … and it’s a hoot to think of the USA as a class that oppress others … and all of it through the use of the term rape culture and allowing so much Privilege to show!

        • @Not buying it

          “I believe you do know that there is a difference there, but you’re trying to use the realities of the third world as a the same realities here in the west, which is truly unhelpful & muddies the discussion .”

          I’m doing no such thing. In fact I’m trying–maybe not successfully–to show how different these two realities are from each other and how little we seem to care. This discussion has been muddy since it began. What I think I hear you saying here is that women outside the western world—the vast majority of women—matter less than those within. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you haven’t spent much time outside the States and Western Europe, in which case I can understand why you might think me disingenuous. The point I’m making is that the social realities of college educated, upper-middle-class, American women are certainly much shinier than the social realities of 95%+ of humanity—men and women and children alike. This entire conversation provides a great example of just how self-important and entitled we feel and how blind we’ve become to the world around us. I don’t think the generational divide between the women spearheading this project and those writing and debating on this site is a coincidence.

          • “…how little we seem to care…” If you want to use the Royal We for your own views off you go – but as soon as you include a generic group lager than 1 you count me out!

            After that I agree very much with you. Why is it that 5% of the female population is to be discussed 100% of the time and in ways that are negative to 100% of the global male population. You can see now why I have issues with generic uses of WE and place me in larger groups for other people’s convenience.

          • Not buying it' says:

            @Ben

            I think we misunderstood each other Sir, I agree with you % 100 Ben, I understood what you were trying to say in the first comment as the typical response of the advocates of the hyperbolic existence of rape culture in the western world, in which every time you try to point out that at least here in the U.S.A & the rest of the western world the realities are different the defense of their argument is to show stats from the third world as if both realities are comparable.

            • Not buying it' says:

              @Ben

              Let me add to that Sir, I have been born outside the U.S.A, third world country that I believe would pass for a 5th or 6th world country, in which most of the boys I know & some what remember from my 7yrs to 10yrs old age had for the most part been forced to become child soldiers!!! , from their I will let you imagine the status of women their & that fact alone makes me truly see the arrogance of ideological demagogues who try to compare both realities as if it is

            • Ben You Don’t need to convince me!

              I had to deal with the gate keepers and control freeks at Wikipedia who insisted that “rape culture” and “culture of rape” were not the same. They even refused and would no address the issue of translation – cos if you do direct translation from languages with Romance Roots (French, Italian, Spanish .. even Russian) you get Culture of Rape and not Rape Culture.

              It was comical being cyber harassed for clarification of how country lists should be organised – did it go alphabetically, in date order for references … and some got very pissed becasue no matter how lists were referenced in Wikiland it always ended up with USA at the bottom of the lists!

              The denial and control freakery was quite staggering and the levels of collusion more so. I found it fascinating to find one day that I was called to a Kangaroo court filled with accusation and when I went to see what was happening and also what needed to be done… Trial, Sentencing and more abuse had occurred whilst I was asleep … and all of it aimed at making sure that more countries and None US rape Culture was kept off Wikipedia. The levels of Contrived Impunity and manipulation are some of the best I’ve seen in a 30 year career of IT management and the Psychology of the Net. It was almost perfect Netopathic activity…excpet the mechanisms being sued kept being discovered.

              It was flagrant racism by certain highly evolved US Wikipedian Feminists to deny the rest of the world – they were very unhappy when I met their demands and was able to show evidence that South Africa And India met the Insane limits being enforced to pervert Wiklipedia Content!

              That was when I learned that Racism is very much alive and well in the USA and just how racists so many White Feminists are, not just in relation to the USA but globally.

              .. so you don’t need to convince me … but I fear you will find Deaf Ears and very closed minds! It’s what I’ve found for over12 months.

  26. I agree with the article in every detail except the Skyfall example. It seems like you’re projecting your feelings (as in “it’s hard to feel that what’s happening is consensual”) onto fictional characters in an attempt to read rape into the scene. Moreover, the “given her history” comment comes off as extremely judgmental, as though her ability to make her own sexual decisions is compromised due to her childhood and subsequent views on sex. Let’s say in the scene she verbally consented, but every other aspect of the film was the same (ie, the implication of sex with Bond as a kind of repayment), would you still see this as an assault? And if so/not, why?

    • Denying survivors their agency is a big problem, especially when it is used to silence sex workers voices. Ie, no woman would ever want to be a prostitute, they’re all survivors prolonging their victimisation.

      I think bond’s actions were very un-gentlemanly. If I rescued a trafficked woman, I wouldn’t try to have sex with her, but if she is free then her consent counts.

  27. Some of the harshest penalties for rape is in North America? What? Where do you get that from? In fact North America has some of the lightest penalties for rape in the world.

    • First.. The definition for rape is broader though. You have to think of that.

      Why are there more serial killers in the USA than other parts of the world? There aren’t. It’s a mistake. It’s because we have the definition in place to accuse them and the means necessary to find them. We are masters of classification and have a great deal of money and time invested in “justice” (an umbrella term but you get the idea)

      Lots of parts of the world the idea of rape conviction is sort of mismanaged or ignored all together. The women don’t come forward and they don’t have the means or interest in finding the rapist. So while the punishment may be horrific, it’s almost never handed to anyone.

  28. wellokaythen says:

    The problem I have is that rape culture theory in its most extreme forms (thankfully not this article) has virtually no room for disagreement or objective challenges. Any attempt to clarify or present alternative explanations or analyze data comes across as “trivializing” or “denial.” The most strident ideologues see rape culture as a self-evident truth that simply cannot be challenged. The very existence of contrary voices then becomes evidence of the rape system defending itself.

    In this way, it can be very similar to “privilege theory,” in which all counter-arguments are basically evidence of privilege itself. If you disagree with the idea that you have privilege, that is evidence of privilege. Airtight argument, as most circular arguments are. It’s a very useful ideological construct that is probably thousands of years old, and societies have plugged in all sorts of things into the blank: “if you doubt the existence of ____, that is evidence that it exists.”

    Hard to argue out of that one. If I can’t see the Emperor’s new clothes, then there must be something wrong with me.

    • Hard to argue out of that one. If I can’t see the Emperor’s new clothes, then there must be something wrong with me.

      Wisdom is not complex and it’s not about age. It’s very simple – It’s addressing reality in the moment. Why was the child asking “Why is the old man sitting naked on the horse?” – dead easy – the child had not been factoid bombed into unreality. They had an existence free from #BadMemes.

      Giving things fancy title and stringing them along with fancy words does not make them real. Why do some write about “rape culture theory”?

      I’ve had the British Library searched and the Bodlian Library, ransacked every academic library I can gain access to on-line and even done it in multiple languages (Think Library Of Congress plus the internet in multiple languages), and have used every computer index of content, scanned every journal available since the 1960’s, gone through every publication and book for any sniff of this “rape culture theory”…. and it’s not there.

      I’m happy to say It Does Not Exist – It’s a silly play on words due to a 1st grade student that had too much Red Bull for breakfast and overstepped the mark in an essay published on-line, picked up by Goggle and buggering up perceptions ever since.

      What gets fascinating is if you search say Google Scholar for “rape culture theory”. You will find scattered references, but no root reference as to what is the theory, where does it come from, who first wrote it down … is it written own anywhere????

      Here is the Link to Google Scholar searching for “Rape Culture Theory”

      I do like this entry:

      The campus rape myth – H MacDonald – City Journal, 2008 – links to full Doc in HTML,
      During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory
      had discovered that asking women directly if they had been raped yielded
      disappointing results—very few women said that they had been.

      The original source is better and not even academic. It’s from an investigative journalist. Link

      Google Books is equally fascinating Link To The Correct Pre Formatted Search … because there you also can’t find any source for the existence of the Mythical Rape Cultuer Theory.

      It does get mentioned, just like Prince Charming Does in Fairytales, But every-time you burrow down to find out where it comes from – who first called it “Rape Culture Theory”, what it is where it is written down and does it have anything to do with rape.

      That last point may shock some – that the supposed “rape culture theory” may not have anything to do with rape, but unless you can find this theory and study it you can’t say whit it is a theory of.

      I could propose “The Blue Sky and Cream Theory” and have it mentioned all over the net, but until the theory is stated and made clear it is only an assumption that it has anything to do with Sky Or Cream. In fact my theory is that if you are having a pedicure and suffering from a painful bunion you can achieve pain relief by thinking of Blue Skies and a naked person of your choice covered in whipped cream as they dance to Gloria Gaynor – “I Will Survive”, so it is a theory of pain relief and the words Sky and Cream in the title are totally misleading.

      It’s odd – but no matter where you turn it’s like a religious debate. Faith is all that is required – reality does not count. the Control of Behaviour, Information, Thinking and Emotions is not linked to facts, simply the emotive and triggering word rape!

      It’s one thing dealing with the Emperors New Clothes – and Bixxaro dealing wit the Empresses New Culture.

      Maybe next US Rape Season 2013, there can be some debate about why the US Autumn Rape Season exists, where it has come from and if it has anything to do with this unknown “rape culture theory”?

      I’d also love to see some content which is about how men deal with this unknown rape culture and how it affects them – rather than content by people lecturing on how one is to be affected. Just an idea.

    • You’re absolutely right. And as a female i find this attitude as offensive as the attitude it claims to oppose. This (very serious) issue CAN be taken to a place where it is simply a bunch of twisted psychos calling every man who dare disagree a rape apologize and calling the women who finally get sick and tired of the nonsense “victims” and treat us like some shattered victim of Stockholm Syndrome. Quite honestly, we live in a very civilized society compared with our ancestors. Even our recent ancestors. To be talking about this as a problem that has gotten completely out of control is to remove the power of the positive changes we’ve made throughout history. Of course we’re not there yet but we have come a damn long way.

      Humans have never been very good at learning anything from history. We have a simply terrible track record of learning from our mistakes and it seems we have an equally bad track record of learning from our successes. In order to see where we want to go, we need to be able to analyze not only what DIDN’T work for us and set us back but to also be able to analyze what HAS BEEN working for us. And to keep doing it. By calling today’s culture something that has “disintegrated”, we are just behaving like those masses of morons who have learned nothing from our own history.

      That scares me more than anything.

  29. This is very interesting as it addresses the methodology used by others to asses rape and incidences of rape. It’s how they calculate figures such as 1 in 6 and 1 in 4. Many people quote these figures, and assume they know what they mean – but they don’t know where they come from.

    The 1 in 6 figure is highly emotive and so anyone who questions it is immediately attacked, called nasty names and abused …. So I’m Not Going To Say It’s Wrong. I’m Not Going To Question it at all.

    That is right I’m going to accept the 1 in 6 US women get raped – and even 1 in 4 US female college students will be raped, and that Crime stat is so massive as to exceed crime incidents Globally. I will not question it’s validity ir accuracy – because to do so would make me a Rape Apologist, a Rape Denier etc.

    I’ll let someone else ask the questions , and even explain the effects and why some have wished to Propagandise the issue – make It Media Driven and even profit Financially from other people’s fears. It’s written about by a bastion of female hatred and rape apology – Heather Mac Donald, Investigative Journalist – City Journal – so of course Her GROSS BIAS and hatred of any and all issues can be take for granted and accepted … and her analysis can be dismissed! She has Ignored facts and basic research to simply invest Facts and throw them on a page. She can be ignored as a deluded mad woman who welcomes rape and encourages it.

    Read on to see just how Deluded she is!

    Heather Mac Donald
    The Campus Rape Myth
    The reality: bogus statistics, feminist victimology, and university-approved sex toys
    Winter 2008

    The campus rape industry’s central tenet is that one-quarter of all college girls will be raped or be the targets of attempted rape by the end of their college years (completed rapes outnumbering attempted rapes by a ratio of about three to two). The girls’ assailants are not terrifying strangers grabbing them in dark alleys but the guys sitting next to them in class or at the cafeteria.

    This claim, first published in Ms. magazine in 1987, took the universities by storm. By the early 1990s, campus rape centers and 24-hour hotlines were opening across the country, aided by tens of millions of dollars of federal funding. Victimhood rituals sprang up: first the Take Back the Night rallies, in which alleged rape victims reveal their stories to gathered crowds of candle-holding supporters; then the Clothesline Project, in which T-shirts made by self-proclaimed rape survivors are strung on campus, while recorded sounds of gongs and drums mark minute-by-minute casualties of the “rape culture.” A special rhetoric emerged: victims’ family and friends were “co-survivors”; “survivors” existed in a larger “community of survivors.”

    An army of salesmen took to the road, selling advice to administrators on how to structure sexual-assault procedures, and lecturing freshmen on the “undetected rapists” in their midst. Rape bureaucrats exchanged notes at such gatherings as the Inter Ivy Sexual Assault Conferences and the New England College Sexual Assault Network. Organizations like One in Four and Men Can Stop Rape tried to persuade college boys to redefine their masculinity away from the “rape culture.” The college rape infrastructure shows no signs of a slowdown. In 2006, for example, Yale created a new Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources and Education Center, despite numerous resources for rape victims already on campus.

    If the one-in-four statistic is correct—it is sometimes modified to “one-in-five to one-in-four”—campus rape represents a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. No crime, much less one as serious as rape, has a victimization rate remotely approaching 20 or 25 percent, even over many years. The 2006 violent crime rate in Detroit, one of the most violent cities in America, was 2,400 murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 inhabitants—a rate of 2.4 percent. The one-in-four statistic would mean that every year, millions of young women graduate who have suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience. Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency—Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence. Admissions policies letting in tens of thousands of vicious criminals would require a complete revision, perhaps banning boys entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergrads would need to take the most stringent safety precautions. Certainly, they would have to alter their sexual behavior radically to avoid falling prey to the rape epidemic.

    None of this crisis response occurs, of course—because the crisis doesn’t exist. During the 1980s, feminist researchers committed to the rape-culture theory had discovered that asking women directly if they had been raped yielded disappointing results—very few women said that they had been. So Ms. commissioned University of Arizona public health professor Mary Koss to develop a different way of measuring the prevalence of rape. Rather than asking female students about rape per se, Koss asked them if they had experienced actions that she then classified as rape. Koss’s method produced the 25 percent rate, which Ms. then published.

    Koss’s study had serious flaws. Her survey instrument was highly ambiguous, as University of California at Berkeley social-welfare professor Neil Gilbert has pointed out. But the most powerful refutation of Koss’s research came from her own subjects: 73 percent of the women whom she characterized as rape victims said that they hadn’t been raped. Further—though it is inconceivable that a raped woman would voluntarily have sex again with the fiend who attacked her—42 percent of Koss’s supposed victims had intercourse again with their alleged assailants.

    All subsequent feminist rape studies have resulted in this discrepancy between the researchers’ conclusions and the subjects’ own views. A survey of sorority girls at the University of Virginia found that only 23 percent of the subjects whom the survey characterized as rape victims felt that they had been raped—a result that the university’s director of Sexual and Domestic Violence Services calls “discouraging.” Equally damning was a 2000 campus rape study conducted under the aegis of the Department of Justice. Sixty-five percent of what the feminist researchers called “completed rape” victims and three-quarters of “attempted rape” victims said that they did not think that their experiences were “serious enough to report.” The “victims” in the study, moreover, “generally did not state that their victimization resulted in physical or emotional injuries,” report the researchers.

    Just as a reality check, consider an actual student-related rape: in 2006, Labrente Robinson and Jacoby Robinson broke into the Philadelphia home of a Temple University student and a Temple graduate, and anally, vaginally, and orally penetrated the women, including with a gun. The chance that the victims would not consider this event “serious enough to report,” or physically and emotionally injurious, is exactly nil. In short, believing in the campus rape epidemic depends on ignoring women’s own interpretations of their experiences—supposedly the most grievous sin in the feminist political code.

    Source = City Journal, 2008 – Winter- Vol 18, No 1

    Now I do wonder – if the methodologies being used to question people produce figures of 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 for women – and 1 in 33 for men… are the same or equivalent questions and methodologies being used on both sexes?

    You see I’m not doubting the figures .. Just the Methodologies and even why some would support methodologies that would be poor in quality. Who would profit from that?

    When a man is asked if he has been sexually assaulted and he says NO, does the researcher decided that the man is stupid and does not understand what it is to be raped?

    Do researchers into male experience decide that men do not have the capacity to understand their own lived realities and treat the men as Stupid, Idiotic, Incompetent and then tick a box to make up for this Evident Male Deficiency?

    What is it like as a young man arriving at college to be subjected to Mandatrory lectures on rapists, being a rapist and being told not to rape?

    When do these Mandatory lectures take place?

    Would it be the start of the Academic year?

    Would that by any change coincide with the Annual US based Rape Season and teh internet going Nutty about rape?

    If these mandatory lectures which tell men and not women that they are dangerous, rapist, that they will and do cause rape and allow rape and they must stop this behaviour… is there any risk of negative mental impact upon some 50% of people attending college – university?

    I would like to see a few Guys being asked a few questions about their experience being lectured at and told they are rapists … and fewer ladies telling all the guys what life is like for them!

    So next Rape Season US Style – could there be some Forward planning, and maybe have a few guys writing about what it’s like as a student to arrive filled with hope for a bright academic future and then to be told you are a criminal … will do criminal acts … and must not do this. That you will be judged as guilty at all times and in all ways!

    Maybe the way guys get treated and viewed as criminals before the facts may cause a few to wonder at the reported crisis is masculinity – because if you abuse a person long enough they will abreact and engage in self defeating and self damaging conduct as they attempt to survive in a hostile environment.

    If you do it for long enough to a recurring group each year you even end up with a generation of people affected and even damaged!

    I always thought Higher Eduction was about expanding minds and not abusing them.

    Oh Silly Me!

    Odd too how it keeps being reported that ladies are doing better in Higher Ed. Are they the control group for the Experiment in psychological manipulation of the Ignorant?

    I also have to wonder how it’s possible that if you look at the CDC Figures from 2010 – Published 2011, how has it been possible for the CDC to end up with figures which show Parity between levels of sexual assault between men and women …. and why Factoids highlighting this amazing discovery are absent?

    Usually when there is a major break through and new realities are revealed there are trumpets and media types going mad to blog…. but it seems that they are all damaged and beyond blogging due to Factoid fatigue.

    Could it be that Certain Industries that Rely upon factoids to gain access to Colleges and High Schools every Autumn to lecture AT People and tell them all these lovely numbers … well Would They Like to see Factoids that Destroy their business and incomes being spread widely?

    I am worried … because it seems that NO One has learned from Sandusky and so many Colleges and Universities are still TOTALLY Negligent and just failing to meet Federal Law. They have to be … it has to be True!

    Why? Because under the The Clery Act, signed in 1990, some 20+ years of having to report Rape – Attempted Rapes and so many other crimes to Federal Authorities to protect so many people in College and University… and with every Autumn lectures being held and seminars required of all MEN to tell them they are Rapists… and they are not to RAPE WOMEN….. and so many institutions being told they must do this or risk massive punitive fines in court if anyone should ever be RAPED…. and the colleges failed to put out and APB mentioning that there may, just may be a rapist somewhere on the planet … well legal costs alone make it cheaper to hire a 3rd rate lecturer to tell all the boys they are naughty and rapist, so if any one should attempt to sue there is even a miasma of Plausible Deniability and the institutions fund are ring fenced and protected,

    Well it’s so very very very odd – because all the stats for Clery Don’t show any Epidemic of rape across the USA and this lack of DATA is being used as Proof that VICTIMS do not report due to shame… and so Bigger Budgets are set to educate… and more Male Students are Lectured At and Told they are all rapists and not to rape … And all the time the Clery Act stats show dropping Incidences of rape and this is yet BIGGER proof of The Growing levels of Shame that victims have and why more must be done to STOP rape!

    I also find it fascinating how Professional Feminists have stopped quoting such odd figures as 1 in 6 and 1 in 4 … they are aware that if they use them their Credibility will be questioned. So they use Factoid landmines lying about and everyone who has been told of the Factoids keeps on believing…. It happens in Cults.

    You can see it in pieces written by people such as Jilly Filipovic where she never quotes stats and figures, just implies ideas.

    She keep making references to Research but is never clear about what that research is, the actual findings – the number of people involved. There are so many Rhetorical tricks being used to keep the pre bombed with factoids in line – clicking to read and creating revenue streams for her in Dollars and in supposed Credibility and Supposed standing as an expert.

    OH she’s an expert al right – and writing in ways to beguile and drag people in, whilst deliberately not mentioning facts that need to be checked! She Does have Degrees and Politics and Law.

    Now what is that old saying about politicians and opening their mouths?

    We even saw it with that White Knight who arrived in teh midst of the Nice Guys rape Bombing Missions … A Supposed Legal exert .. training the world… and yet facts were few and enforced Authority high.

    Odd that… it was like a Pincer Movement! Oh and of course they also had a bit of a conflict of interest as they make a living from the rape eduction industry and have ties to groups doing that.

    Odd to see the way reality and words get played with… such as Recent Blogs where the 1 in6 is absent but new and un-revealed research shows…. hinted at dark realities of the rapists all about and in the midst of everyday life!

    So – Next Rape Season – Could Reality be Allowed a Place at the table … and even a few guys, the one’s with penises talking about what it’s like to arrive at college – be gathered into a hall – told that they are all Proto rapists and will Rape Women (So Not PC When you is QUEER) … and they are to stop it right Now …and be good little boys… and they may not question such realities because to do so is to be a rape apologist and a terrible man… and they will be to they will be asking for consent all the time and in the right way… and they will be told… and told… and told…. !

    No wonder some would like men’s groups on campus so they can ask a few questions and not just be TOLD!

    No wonder masturbation rates have increased and rape has gone down as shown by all the Clery Act stats for 20 years! .. unless of course the Shame factor is still growing and making so many people hide … and so more funding is needed…. and the Rabbit hole gets ever deeper!

    I wonder If I can get funding to research shame – and of course as shame means people will not talk about shame I have proof of shame and how damaging it is so I can get more funding to research shame in bigger better and more expensive ways …. Hmmmmm. Nice Job if You Can get it!

    So Again – when the 2013 rape season comes round and there are all these guys being lectured at and told they are rapists, I’m sure that there must be at least one out there who is not dying in shame so much he couldn’t write a post about if for this site and tell folks how it feels, what it’s like and even how it makes other people act and react.

    Hey there’s 9 months to get ready, and you never know Movember may get a look in too and men’s health may get a mention over the rape season’s dominance of discussion?

  30. Thank you for including male victims.

    At least 1 in 6 men have been the victim of sexual assault; sexual child abuse counts too.

    http://1in6.org/the-1-in-6-statistic/

  31. I really hate it when people say “No means no” im not a rapist i am not a rape apologist, but it is quite one thing to say “stop” or “NO” and yet still have your hand in my pants and your tongue down my throat. Why ? BECAUSE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS, example. i could put on a hoodie and put a gun in my hand point it at you and say “im not going to shoot you” but i seriously doubt a person would belive it, why? because im still holding a gun, pointing it at you and that overrides my statement, for all you know i am planning to shoot you. I would not under any circumstances have sex with a drunk person because it is morally wrong(but that is another issue) Its quite one thing to say stop, but another to continue on the act as if you were planning to act on it. I apologize if offended anyone , but that is what i believe, my two cents.

  32. There is one you left out:

    Rape culture is dismissing “unattractive” people’s sexual assaults as something the victims should be thankful for…because if it weren’t for their assailants, they’d never get laid.

  33. John Anderson says:

    I wondered about the lifetime numbers as opposed to the last 12 months. If men were 50% of current victims, then why are they just 20% of lifetime victims? Are men abused over longer periods of time so the same guy would appear in multiple years, but would only count as one for lifetime stats. Are women raping men more? Are men more likely to block out childhood sexual abuse? Could it be because the CDC didn’t include a sample of the prison population? Maybe there is a higher incidence of childhood sexual abuse among prisoners. Based on their methodology, I don’t think it would have included the homeless either.

    I liked the post. I expected to work up some serious indignation that never materialized. I do wish that you used the 1 in 6 number to illustrate lifetime victimization of men, but you did say 1 in 33 was probably low do to under reporting. I don’t know if it’s the cynic in me, but sometimes I feel that the best men could hope for is an acknowledgement that our struggles might be remotely close to what women have to deal with.

    One of the other things I think that was missed in the article and something that you may wish to consider in future is that most perpetrators of sexual violence against men are women. Even in the case of prison rape that you bring up, about 50% of rapes in prison are staff on prisoner rapes and 80% of those are female staff raping male prisoners. This is hardly ever brought up. 80% of rapes in Juvie are staff on prisoner with 95% of those being female staff and male prisoners. Although I seen some feminists acknowledge that women can and do sexually abuse men, they seem to downplay the vast numbers of abuse cases. I think to some extent that interferes with the narrative and that is totally ironic, clinging to rape culture during conversations decrying rape culture.

    I’m not suggesting that you did that, but it might be something worth highlighting.

    • Why do you assume that the CDC questions were without gender or sex bias? It took only minutes to spot that issue when the full report was published. I even ripped it to pieces here.

    • Could be a difference in memory, I’ve heard men forget more than women even for previous trauma. Hell I’ve forgotten most of my trauma’s but all I know is that I have mistrust for humans and bad shit happened as a kid. I can’t even remember 2004-2011 at all.

  34. @Mediahound:I just watched the Melissa Harris Perry show on MSNBC( a feminist newstation masquerading as fair and biased…er unbiased), where deception runs rampant through the purposeful manipulation of language.They were discussing rape and they laid out the role of men in the debate,which is to stop men from raping women.Sound familiar?The evil alliance between Arrianna Huffington and the “liberal-progressive” newsmedia,which has sold its soul to the feminism, should concern fairminded progressive men everywhere.

    • @ogwriter – Thank you for that. I have not had the pleasure of hearing Melissa Harris Perry’s performance before. She has a fascinating way of changing vocal intonation … and in fact It;s so dramatic, the last time I heard anything lie it was Maria Callas singing Tosca! Melissa Harris Perry has a superb Vibrato without any hint of a voice or talent to get in it’s way.

  35. @Annie: You are preaching to the pope.The people who need to hear your message are people like Hillary Clinton,Arrianna Huffington,Rachel Maddow,Melissa Harris Perry and President Obama,not the men and some of the women of GMP.

  36. Rob Thomas says:

    What about men who drug and rape women they are in a relationship with as a form of punishment or for the feeling of revenge when they believe they have been wronged? Are these men psychopaths? How do you teach a man who does this that it is wrong when they believe it’s deserved? How do you convict men such as these?

    • What about men who drug and rape women they are in a relationship with as a form of punishment or for the feeling of revenge when they believe they have been wronged? Are these men psychopaths? How do you teach a man who does this that it is wrong when they believe it’s deserved? How do you convict men such as these?

      Why do you assume it would only be a man doing this against a woman. I have had to deal with such scenarios in progress, and on each occasion it was a woman using drugs against others – not a man. Since antiquity it’s been said that drugs and poison are the weapons women. When did that change?

  37. John Schtoll says:

    In my constant search for information about rape, rape culture and also false accusations of rape I was directed to this document.

    h ttp://www.ndaa.org/pdf/the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

    It ia a ‘nice’ read, and I won’t got into the many ways in which is it simply ‘building a case’ thus ignoring imperical evidence and manipulating its own definitions but this paragraph really stuck with me

    “Having demonstrated that the percentage of
    false sexual assault reports is not as high as
    many people think, this does not deny their
    terrible reality. We all know that false reports
    do really exist, and they are incredibly damaging
    both to criminal justice personnel and to
    the countless victims of sexual assault whose
    credibility they undermine.”

    WOW , JUST WOW. Apparantly the authors don’t believe that having a false report against you actually harms the accused as they aren’t even mentioned. If I were a person who believed this document was a valid and sincere attempt to get to the bottom of false accusations, this paragraph would have ruined it for me.

    • This is certainly a problem. When it comes to talking about rape, false accusations are limited to lip service and misdirection.


      “Having demonstrated that the percentage of
      false sexual assault reports is not as high as
      many people think, this does not deny their
      terrible reality. We all know that false reports
      do really exist, and they are incredibly damaging
      both to criminal justice personnel and to
      the countless victims of sexual assault whose
      credibility they undermine.”

      Absolutely no mention of the innocent people that are falsely accused. I wonder how the two men (two different stories, that I know of) in the last two weeks that were beaten because a woman falsely accused them of rape and sicced a gang of guys on them. Well one of them can read this when he gets out of the hospital and other, well I guess someone can read it to him at his funeral.

      Having your reputation destroyed.
      Having you family and friends turn your back on you.
      Being assaulted.
      Being sent to prison (where you’re very likely to suffer the very crime you were falsely convicted of).
      Being murdered.

      These are not worth mention when it comes to the damage that false accusations can do to someone?

      This paragraph is basically saying that important things to bear in mind when it comes to false accusations is that 1) They don’t happen that often and 2)In the event that they do the only concern is to those who were assaulted and to law enforcement personnel.

      Thank goodness for MRAs and organizations like the Innocence Project….

  38. John Schtoll says:

    Another part that disturbed me. If this is being taught to investigators and I beleive it is, then just how many false reports will be missed because the investigator is being taught to ignore their instincts and just carry one

    “Investigators and prosecutors should only act
    upon their suspicion that a sexual assault
    report is false if these concerns are very serious
    and they are based on the evidence
    uncovered during the investigation”

    • So, does that mean that investigators and prosecutor should also only act upon their suspicion that a sexual assault report is true if these concerns are very serious and they are based on the evidence uncovered during the investigation?

      I can understand the need to make for sure that an accusation truly is false and the need to make sure that “false” comes from the evidence. But at the same time should all determinations be held to that same standard? I would like to believe that investigators and prosectors would only act on their suspicions that a claim is true if the evidence points to true. But I get the feeling certain advoctes wouldn’t take to kindly to that.

  39. wellokaythen says:

    I think there are forms of rape culture out there, but I’d like to disentangle a bunch of things that the article lumps together, because they may or may not be connected to rape culture. A more critical, perhaps less polemical approach might strengthen the argument.

    First of all, it would be really useful to get a handle on rape culture as a concept if there were some clear boundaries to it. For example, what would a society without rape culture look like? Or, if it’s a relative phenomenon, what would an extreme form of rape culture look like compared to a less powerful form of rape culture? Otherwise, the impression is that every act of rape in every society is a product of a larger rape culture, but that seems overstated. You would be hard-pressed to find any society at any point in which there was absolutely no rape, and presumably rape culture is not a universal thing but a specific cultural construction, so where is the cut-off? I’m not saying we have to designate an arbitrary percentage threshold, like if it’s only 2% of people raped then it’s not a rape culture, but using quantitative stats does sort of imply that there’s some sort of comparison with some sort of “non-rape-culture” standard.

    Secondly, on a related note, it would be useful as a measure of objective reality if there were some sort of falsifiability built into the analysis of rape culture, for example if there were a good test for the existence of rape culture that could *at least theoretically* come up negative. The search for rape culture tends to find it everywhere it looks, but that’s not really a rational approach. What would you accept as proof that rape culture was NOT a factor in a particular case? I mean, just as a hypothetical – “If I found that _____ was the case, I would conclude that rape culture was not a factor.” Is there that kind of hypothetical out there when people look at rape culture? Imagine a pregnancy test that always comes back positive, no matter who pees on it. That would be a seriously defective product.

    At the very least, this would be useful at some point if we wanted to dismantle rape culture – how would we know if we’re making any progress at all if we had no way of detecting an absence of rape culture?

    Finally, in some places there seems to be a lack of something, and then the lack is then used as positive evidence for the existence of something else. For example, apathy about rape or a lack of outrage at the existence of rape or a skepticism about the existence of rape culture, which are then used as evidence of the prevalence of rape culture. Those absences may be a product of some sort of rape culture denial, or they could just be absences. It could go either way. It’s comparable to the faulty argument one sees all over the internet, that if someone fails to mention a major issue, then that person is clearly ignoring that major issue, or that person must therefore be in denial or an apologist. There is a difference between deciding not to do something (like report a rape) and being prevented from doing something (like not reporting a rape because the culture prevents you from doing so). Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.

  40. Clayton Crawford says:

    4th Feb 2016

    Hello.

    Dear Anne Theriault,

    I am in no way, shape or form a FEMINIST, but I write adventure stories (comic book-like) about heroines C.J. Silverstar History 101 which be found at Amazon Books.

    The asshole “Roosh-V” as featured in the Toronto Sun, Wednesday, February 3rd 2016, well, he is an asshole and I am not actually a violent person, but I have decided to explain to him on his website that if comes to Toronto I have put a bounty on his ass. I do not advocate rape and so with every word spoke from his lips about suggesting rape should be legalized, I am coming back at him 10-fold.

    Roosh-V is not welcome in Ontario, Toronto or any other province in Canada as much as I am concerned and he should be: kicked the in balls, beaten over the head, dragged behind a horse drawn carriage and then tied to a post naked and flogged and then fitted with cement boots and dropped into the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

    There are people in this world who have invisible learning disabilities and I am such a person labelled ADHD, but I have learned over the years I am Aspergs, misdiagnosed, but if a young man listens to his bullshit and gets confused and RAPES his girlfriend based on Roosh-V’s comments: it only takes -1- man to forever shatter trust and the young woman will forever be afraid of “men” and perhaps in live in fear and “shame”. Roosh-V is a parasite feeding off the attention of his comments of promoting legalizing rape.

    I will return the same level of hatred toward him 10-fold as he spews his garbage from every breath.

    I am not a violent man, but consider this wast management and Roosh-V is trash.

  41. This piece isn’t knowledge, it is a pure opinion piece filled with anecdotes disguised as fact, just saying “the fact is” doesn’t make it a fact.

    IMHO, this piece is a groundwork piece, one of those blog posts that can be referred to down the line from clearinghouse websites to ‘prove’ their case, which will in turn be referred to by others creating a circle for people to help prove their point. It is done SO many times within feminist circles on sites like the Liz Library which refers to sites with info that refer to site with info that refer back to the Liz Library.

  42. …just saying “the fact is” doesn’t make it a fact. Are you sure? It does it 8 – 9 times. Failing to make a fact once is understandable, but 8 or 9 times would be – at best – careless, and at worst ….?

  43. I am positive that saying “the fact is” doesn’t MAKE IT A FACT.

  44. The facts have been getting misreported since at least 1975, so what doe 4 decades matter – 2 generations – whole races and cultures ignored… why would the facts matter! Of course dealing facts takes time and care – it takes seconds to create factoids and they can like any excuse last a lifetime!

Trackbacks

  1. […] The GMP also has a piece just up on Rape Culture 101, and it does an excellent job of outlining what rape culture is and why we need to talk about it. I’m glad to see it up, and I’m glad they are going to be posting more pieces on consent and what it actually is. I’m glad they are asking for support and are willing to expand their knowledge base. […]

  2. […] of my lack of posting has been because I took some time to write a piece for the Good Men Project about rape culture, and how it effects men. The editors really liked my article (squee!), but shit […]

  3. […] on “rape culture” Posted on December 20, 2012 by Rick An article titled “Rape Culture: What It Is and How It Works” posted on the Good Men Project website earlier this week prompted me to leave the following […]

  4. […] to Anne Theriault at GMP Rape culture is a system that everyone, men and women, unconsciously participate in. Let’s have a look at that […]

  5. […] ring true with that name of yours. Which brings me to the ‘but’ – this is from an article on their site, that talks about rape culture: Let’s start out with a […]

  6. […] article titled “Rape Culture: What It Is and How It Works” posted on the Good Men Project website earlier this week prompted me to leave the following […]

  7. […] The GMP also has a piece just up on Rape Culture 101, and it does an excellent job of outlining what rape culture is and why we need to talk about it. I’m glad to see it up, and I’m glad they are going to be posting more pieces on consent and what it actually is. I’m glad they are asking for support and are willing to expand their knowledge base. […]

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