This is Why We Published a Rapist’s Story

Joanna Schroeder explains why it’s so important to understand the link between the partying lifestyle and sexual assault. 

Author’s note:
 
It’s important that I’m clear, as both an editor and a writer, that the piece below is one of my greatest professional mistakes. At the time I wrote this, nearly a year ago, I thought I was  conveying my concern over the dangers of party culture and the rapes that we all know—both personally and professionally—happen within it. What came across, however, is a piece that in parts sounds like victim-blaming. That was the farthest thing from my intent. II think there are places where I make that very clear in this post, but not clear enough. I want to convey my most sincere apologies for any harm or hurt this piece may have caused. I was trying to do good, and it went wrong. Ultimately, I believe that party culture needs to become a safer place, with less rape and sexual assault, and I believe that has to happen through teaching people not to rape and empowering bystanders to stop enabling and making excuses for rapists. 
 
Since this was published, I’ve learned extraordinary amounts from rape crisis counselors, other survivors, feminist friends and colleagues, and from simply listening to my critics both in social media and in real life. We’re leaving these pieces up, despite our many regrets over how they were handled, so that it’s clear what was said (and not said) within them. Our intent was always good, even when our execution was imperfect. I hope to never repeat these mistakes in the future and remain committed to, and proud of, the work The Good Men Project has been doing recently. 
 

♦◊♦

“I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” is an addict’s story.

If you’ve never truly known an addict, you may not know that at his or her worst, an addict doesn’t really care what happens as a consequence of their actions. As a friend, lover, or family member of the addict, it’s a dangerous and heartbreaking place to be. You wait for the call, the one that says your friend is dead or in a hospital or jail because of being drunk or high. It’s so common it’s become trite. But I’ve been to too many funerals of good men with bad problems to worry about sounding trite.

♦◊♦

Today I want to talk about some of the things that people do when they’re drunk, high or otherwise living a party lifestyle. Things they may never do if they were sober.

“I’d Rather Risk Rape Than Quit Partying” is the story of a man whose partying has led him to do some very bad things. He admits to having raped a woman, and fully recognizes the fact that he may have raped others. Most of the time, he doesn’t feel like a rapist, because he never intended to commit rape.

Instead, he explains how the partying lifestyle creates a scenario where the already-confusing world of sexual consent is so blurry that it’s almost indecipherable. For instance, if a woman is begging for a man to have sex with her, and he knows she has only had two drinks, is there a possibility that the sex they have is rape?

In our anonymous writer’s story, the answer is yes. Seems crazy, right? She’s coming on to the man, she’s only had two drinks. But she’s disoriented and can’t remember his name, and she doesn’t know where she is. Turns out that she was on a medication that greatly amplified the effects of alcohol. So, while he would have been having sex with a woman who was saying “yes”, she was not in a condition to give actual consent.

It’s confusing. In fact, I’d call it a mess. It’s hard to ignore the sheer number of stories about people—both men and women—who have been raped in a “party” environment. Alyssa Royse’s controversial piece, “Nice Guys Commit Rape, Too” is about a man and woman who were partying together, flirting, and passed out together.When the woman woke up, the man was penetrating her. In the piece, we recognize that this is rape. It seems like simple basic knowledge that a person cannot consent to sex while sleeping, but somehow the man in Alyssa’s story didn’t know that, and his judgement was probably clouded by the alcohol and drugs involved.

That doesn’t make him less responsible for committing the rape, but the two confounding factors—the alcohol/drugs and the lack of understanding about consent—are so common in stories about sexual assault that they cannot be ignored.

In my piece, “Why It’s Dangerous to Say Only Bad Guys Commit Rape“, I talk about how “No Means No” consent education doesn’t work. I talk about a teenage girl I called Maria, who raped a teenage boy because of a number of factors including alcohol and the confusing messages she had received about consent and men’s sexuality.

As a result, a very intense dialogue has opened up about whether or not it’s right to discuss the factors that lead to a rape. Is it victim-blaming to say that alcohol and murky messages about consent may have contributed to these rapes? Many say “yes”, that a rapist is a bad person only out for his or her own gain, and that context is irrelevant.

But the real world is a harsh, cold place full of mixed messages, drunken desire, Ecstasy-fueled touching, and the rush of cocaine. The real world is a place where “no means no” simply isn’t enough.

The anonymous man who wrote this story is deeply troubled. He recognizes that as long as he continues to party like he has been, he is running the risk of being raped, and of committing more rapes. And yet he seems committed to continuing with that lifestlye. The writer needs help, and perhaps he is on the precipice of getting it. But as of now, he seems to think that most people who live this partying lifestyle also recognize the risk to their safety, and the safety of others, that goes along with excessive inebriation.

But do they really recognize that risk?

I think most of them do not. I would venture to guess that most of them do not expect to wake up being penetrated by a man they did not give consent to. I don’t think they expect to be pushed against a wall and so violently groped that it physically hurts. I think that’s just a story that this particular addict and rapist is telling himself to make it okay for him to continue partying—and raping.

But he’s not the only one. No, he’s far from the only one. People, particularly young people, are putting themselves in dangerous situations on a regular basis because of their partying. A few hours, weeks, or years down the line, the hurt and pain caused by these scenarios might become very real to them and they will start to see the ways in which they were taken advantage of—or took advantage of others.

♦◊♦

We know that alcohol and drug use does not make anyone responsible for his or her sexual assault. However, we cannot continue to ignore the context in which many so-called “date rapes” and “acquaintance rapes” happen. (For the record, all rape is rape. Calling it “date rape” doesn’t make the crime any less horrific.) When you are drinking or drugging, regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, your judgement is impaired. And for many, sexual desire is heightened.

This puts you at risk of becoming a victim, but also at the risk of becoming a perpetrator, as your inebriation may make it unclear whether the consent you feel you have is actually consent. The anonymous man who told the story we published today never set out to be a rapist, but because of his partying, he became one. As did Alyssa’s friend in “Nice Guys Commit Rape, Too” and Maria in “Why It’s Dangerous to Say Only Bad Guys Commit Rape”. Three people, who up until that one moment, had considered themselves good people, harmed others because of a mix of their own boundary issues, society’s messed-up messages about consent, and alcohol or drugs.

We cannot ignore this reality any longer. Dismissing all these folks as “bad guys” only serves to feed the problem, because the reality of rape is that most often it does not look like what we think it does—a psychopath with a weapon and intent to do harm. More often, it looks like what happened with Alyssa’s friend, or Maria, or this guy, who believes that the risk of rape is a part of the partying lifestyle.

When will we truly start to discuss the role alcohol and drugs play in sexual assault? When will we explain—without shaming or victim-blaming—to young people the risk they are taking when they over-indulge?

As long as we continue looking at people who commit rape through this black and white lens of “good” and “bad”, we won’t be able to see  how close many of us are to becoming victims… or even rapists.

♦◊♦

My sincere hope for the author of the anonymous piece is that he seeks help. He is a risk to to himself and to others, and it must stop. I cannot say for sure whether he has an addiction that needs treatment, but I can say that for him to recognize the danger he’s putting himself and others in, and to continue with that behavior, is a sign that something has to change. Maybe everything needs to change.

But he’s not alone in that.

 

For more, please read Society Won’t Let Me Have the Sex I Want, but Johnnie Walker Will  by Alyssa Royse

Photo: Flickr/Imagens Evangélicas

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane, hlntv.com, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. All of what you write here is SO dead-on accurate and true.
    And I want to puke my guts out!

    Drunk Raping was very very common in colleges and universities in the 1980s…common as dirt.
    The rapists would blow a gasket if you pointed out that “she was drunk!!! you had no business doing that.”
    The assumed transfer of fault back then was nearly never contested. Some courts would even back-up the rapists’ rationale. Admins would disqualify the complaints where/when intoxication was involved. Victims would blame themselves.

    I don’t know how much has changed and into which direction, but it was very real and very, very prevalent back when I was there. Seeing nearly zero “example-setting” cases, I fear Drunk Rape is alive and well at a minimum.

    If fact, I DO see that all sex-crime rationale-based excuse dancing has become highly refined…even regarding child-rape.

  2. Really not sure what to make of all of this.

    All I can say is I’m damn glad when I’m so far gone I couldn’t consent or determine consent, I’m usually no longer enjoying myself, so I’m inclined to dial it back.

  3. “In our anonymous writer’s story, the answer is yes. Seems crazy, right? She’s coming on to the man, she’s only had two drinks. But she’s disoriented and can’t remember his name, and she doesn’t know where she is. Turns out that she was on a medication that greatly amplified the effects of alcohol. So, while he would have been having sex with a woman who was saying “yes”, she was not in a condition to give actual consent.”

    I don’t think the answer is yes. Your responsible for what you do when your drunk including having sex. Its seems like women have managed to allude all responsibility whatsoever here. If a man is drunk and he has sex with a woman HE is responsible for obtaining consent. And he is also responsible if she comes onto him if she is drunk?! Huh?! When exactly are women responsible for their actions.

    To me the problem with drunkenness is NOT that you are not in your right mind when your drunk and that you are having sex with people you wouldn’t while sober. The problem is that you are so out of it that you don’t have the energy, will or consciousness to basically do anything. That is when you can’t consent. However if you have enough energy and will to grab someone, put your hand under their shirt…then you ARE consenting. Its irrelevant that your not in your “right” mind. If you didn’t want that then don’t drink.

    • Just because someone flirts with you, it doesn’t mean they are consenting to have sex with you.

      • The point is that she wasn’t flirting with him but actively trying to have sex with him. And that if she hadn’t repeatedly called him by another name he would have had *no way* of knowing that she was in no state to give consent after just two drinks.

        The guy was all kinds of right to have stopped or else it would have been a rape, but what if she hadn’t given that cue? Let’s assume that despite being way past rational thought the girl wasn’t acting otherwise that drunk, which often happens in regular drinkers. Then he would have ended up a rapist through little fault of his own? Or would he still be mostly to blame because he didn’t know the girl well enough to know when she’s consenting or not?

        We don’t have an equivalent of involuntary manslaughter for “involuntary rape”, especially because it’s exceptionally rare that you really “couldn’t know” and exceptionally common that the accused claims that’s what’s happened. There are shades of grey, but it’s still mostly black. Just like when you kill someone, terrible harm has been done and you most likely didn’t do everything in your power to avoid it.

      • “Just because someone flirts with you, it doesn’t mean they are consenting to have sex with you.”

        Put your hand under someone’s shirt is not flirting.

  4. I think you bring up an excellent point, Joanna. Intoxication is the elephant in the room in so many of “date rape” situations as well as the gray areas where someone consents (or fails to object) to sex because they are too intoxicated, and the other person (often intoxicated as well) just forges ahead without getting real consent. I remember in college, when my friends and I went out drinking, we tried to keep an eye on each other and if one girl was getting too drunk, we would try to rescue her from any guys who tried to get her alone or take her away from the party. I know my friends saved me a couple times from ill-advised hookups by dragging me to a cab. But there were some parties where everyone got so drunk, you lost track of what was going on and that’s when bad things happened. I don’t want it to sound like only men were the perpetrators — I knew a guy who was drinking with a woman and she forced a blow job on him while he we was too drunk to get up or push her off, even though he kept telling her “no.” He felt really grossed out and violated.

    Heavy drinking is so much a part of the culture that I’m not sure what the solution is. Most people don’t go put drinking with the idea that they will be the victim of, or perpetrate, a sexual assault. You can educate people about enthusiastic consent all day long, but it won’t mean much to someone who just had 6 shots of tequila.

    • Heavy drinking as part of the culture – I think that’s a really good point, and a good angle to come at this on. When I take a large view, I think it’s kind of amazing just how ubiquitous alcohol is. It’s synonymous with adulthood (hence, “adult beverages”) – if you are over 21 it is just assumed that you drink. Drinking, and being drunk, is just so NORMAL. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

      There are lots of warnings around alcohol out there – about its risk to your health, to your ability to drive, legal ramifications of drinking when and where you’re not supposed to – but I don’t think there’s a lot of public discourse about the other consequences of drinking. Quite simply, it impairs your judgement. Anyone who drinks knows this, but how many take it seriously – especially young adults?

      • Almost none. And here’s another question. Why should men be held responsible for both their poor judgment and that of women as well?

        • For the record, since you replied to my comment… I am not one to place all the blame on men for anything, or to absolve women from all responsibility. I acknowledge that matters of responsibility and consent get pretty darn murky when both parties have been drinking/getting high. I think it’s possible for both parties to be at fault.

          • Not just possible but common, I should have said.

          • Ha! We can’t even handle alcohol and sex. Now we are turning children loose on pot smoking. Seattle’s little pot smoking fit the other day included pre-pubescent children getting high in public. Just groovy!

            • I think we are less likely to see people committing any sort of crime while high on weed then on alcohol.

              As someone who cannot drink legally in the US yet, I cannot stress enough to you how much easier it is for me to buy weed, prescription meds, nitrous oxide, shrooms, acid, coke, MDMA, or pretty much any drug then alcohol. Like, it’s fairly ridiculous. Legalizing weed will prevent children from smoking it.

              Also, I’m not sure it’s fair to say “we can’t handle alcohol and sex”. Most of us aren’t really trying that hard.

            • In my town, there were predators who lurked around the kiddie-keggers in the woods. Why? Rape. Free and clear, get-away-with-it rape. I’m sure they are still out there…kegs, kids and predators.

          • It seems to me that we are calling something that is often very murky a very explicit term: rape. I don’t think we can really be calling the kind of drunken confusion we’re talking about rape. It is a different case altogether if we have say a sober man actively encouraging a woman to get sloppy drunk so he can have sex with her. I’m perfectly fine calling that rape. But a situation where both parties are impaired, I don’t think that calling regret arising from that rape or even a situation where you don’t remember rape is correct.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              No, if one person is too impaired to consent, it is rape.

              The end.

            • Thank you.

            • But if both parties are equally impaired…..Who raped whom? Is it always the woman as the victim? If so why?

            • That isn’t true in any sense of the word. So we’re going to assume that every drunken encounter that happens means a man rapes a woman. You cannot possibly be serious. Two drunk people? The man just raped the woman. You cannot possibly be serious.

            • If it can be determined that one is too impaired to consent and the other is not then sure. But when that can’t be deduced, what then?

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              I agree that there are no good answers to that question. I struggle with that, too.

            • I think what worries a lot of people is that there seems to be a rush to try to determine that there MUST be one person who wasn’t that intoxicated. One who was still of sound mind and body. One who knew the right from wrong and chose wrong.

              I wonder if this rush is based on the fear of truly not knowing. In fact I think in the overall discussion of rape I think that a fear of not knowing the truth encourages some to rush to a judgement, any judgement. a fear that if there is no clear villain that something is wrong.

              And yes that rush is gendered. There is still an idea that there is a limit that a woman can cross and thus not be held responsible for her actions while men have no limit and are thus responsible for not just their own actions but for the actions of the women they are with as well (and mind you this is not all inclusive of all situations as there are times when the blame does go the other way).

            • The idea that only women drink themselves past the edges of consent, that some women don’t drink heavily to suppress their inhibitions and over-ride their social conditioning so they can enjoy one -nite stands etc…. Yet that the same never happens to men, removes all the agency from women in these situations and forces hyper-agency on men that have just as chemically suppressed judgement abilities. This is progress? One must know the worm will turn soon…..We will see men filing charges over these incidents also.
              Most guys I’ve ever known have at some point, have woken up next to that woman you’ve said you’ll never sleep with…..after she “dragged your sorry drunken ass home” one night. Hell socially most guys drink to excess more often then women do….

            • Well clearly your logic would suggest both raped each other? Too impaired to consent, but both actively have sex then they both just raped each other.

              If 2 people are drunk, male n female, she’s all over him, he’s all over her, but both can’t walk straight then they’re both raping each other. If one can walk/isn’t slurring speech then they’re probably the sole rapist, but then what happens if the sober one is on a couch and the drunk woman is all over him, undoing his pants n starts to give him head. Is HE taking advantage of her, is he a rapist, or is she a rapist?

              Then there is a tricky situation of people who can handle their drink, they aren’t stumbling, slurring speech but their ability to judge decisions accurately might be affected. Or maybe we just set it to the drunk driving limit?

              Alcohol is soooo tricky, I’m not sure we could ever know what happened in many situations unless someone films it. How do you prove with no witnesses for instance that she was more drunk than he was? Blood test during sex?(Yes it doesn’t happen), wait till the next day and see who is higher? That’d tell you nothing since their metabolisms can be different.

              It’s much easier to know who is at fault if one is completely sober and one isn’t and the sober one initiated the sex but even then how many drinks, how hard those drinks hit the person, etc all fall into play. What about those who drink something just before sex? If sex takes 30 minutes then that blood alcohol level could rise considerably so the start of sex was consenting but midway the alcohol has hit. Is it obvious then that the other has now become very drunk? They might be clumsy but if they’re laying back in missionary then they aren’t going to be visibly as drunk as when they’re on top and falling over. Speech will be a giveaway but what if they aren’t speaking during sex? Eyes closing is a giveaway but they may not do that. The less drunk person may have NO IDEA that the other is now too drunk to have sex until they get up outa bed (if they do) or the drunk one passes out. Can the less drunk one be considered at fault in this case?

              Alcohol + sex sounds very risky to me and makes me question if it’s even worth having sex with 1 or 3 drinks in your system especially if you’re on medication.

            • “No, if one person is too impaired to consent, it is rape.”

              Define “too impaired”.

            • That’s a hard question to answer, but contract law deals with the same issue…

            • “but contract law deals with the same issue”

              That is not a satisfactory answer. Contract law deals with this issue in the context of legal contracts. Sex is not a legal contract and has never been dealt with that way by any society. The context and situations are very different. All the case law is based on parties disputing future obligations by claiming they didn’t know what they were getting into. Sex does not entail any future obligations except on the PART of the man (possible child support). Also to the extent there are future obligations they are well understood by the average person…whereas this is most certainly not the case in contract law. And the understanding of future obligations is precisely what consent in contract law is all about. Therefore the applicability to sex is limited.

              If you are going to define “too impaired” for sex it will to makes sense for sex, which is not the case if you use a standard designed by judges for civil cases involving legal contracts.

            • Under California law, to qualify as rape, (this is how the statute is worded), the alleged victim must be so intoxicated that their intoxication overcomes their ability to “resist.” which is a little different than consent. Consent means “I affirmatively agree to have sex with you.” Resist means “I am conveying to you in some way — verbally or physically– that I don’t want to have sex and I want you to stop.” Intoxicated people are considered legally capable of consent, up to a point. That is, they are capable of agreeing to sex. The question is, legally, if they didn’t want sex, were they too intoxicated to say “no, stop.”

              As a practical matter, these cases are notoriously hard to prove, and if it is a he said/she said situation where everyone was drunk, DA’s are unlikely to file charges in most cases.

            • Agreed… if the man is too drunk to consent and the woman forces herself on him, a rape has occurred.

              How many years do you think he’ll serve for his crime?

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    I suppose it would be considered victim-blaming to suggest that women not go to drunken parties. Even if they’re drinking tonic with a twist and a cute little umbrella, the guys are bigger and stronger and being sober might not help her much.

    • Yes. It would be victim-blaming.

      How about suggesting that big, strong men NOT RAPE women? Maybe?

      • You’re suggesting that if a woman sleeps with a man when they’re both too drunk to consent, he rapes her. If she gets all over him but he is too drunk to consent, he rapes her. You are suggesting that there is no instance where alcohol is involved where a man isn’t raping a woman.

        ( Saying someone is out of their mind isn’t very nice. This has been modified from its original version to omit personal attacks. – GMP Moderator)

      • How about suggesting that big, strong men NOT RAPE women? Maybe?

        This has been not merely suggested, but codified in LAW and RELIGION for many, many centuries. The good guys got the memo a long, long time ago.

        What we are dealing with here, is a hardcore who is unreachable except by physical force. You can, however, avoid this small deviant minorty by not going to drinking parties. (See my other post).

    • I suppose it would be considered victim-blaming to suggest that women not go to drunken parties

      Oh, without a doubt. But it also happens to be good solid common sense. These women would never leave the keys in their car, or leave their purse unattended on a park bench — yet they williingly place a far greater treasure, their own bodies, at risk in these foolish drinking parties. Why? What’s so damned important about these parties anyway? I can’t imagine any reason to go to such a party OTHER than sex — which is why I don’t go to them.

      And I will sternly warn my sons, when they are older, to avoid them as well. Which is the exact same advice I would give to my daughters, if I had any.

      • Well they have a higher chance of being raped by their bf/gf so would you advise them not to date anyone? I think it’s an alright idea to warn people to becareful when they’re out at parties drunk, stick together with trusted friends and keep someone sober if you’re driving, look out for your mates, etc. We need to also tell rapists to stop raping, educate people on consent and do what we can to make life safer for all of us but there is danger when you’re around others when you are very drunk as you can easily be taken advantage of, male or female. We could make the same suggestion to men to not attend parties too because they are raped so no one attends these parties? I think it’d be better to educate people and try get them to drink less, drink smart and make safer parties.

        I suggest parties might need chaperones? This works alright for teenage parties from what I know where you can have some sober adults to help ensure safety, maybe adult ones would do well with hiring security or keeping a few people sober. At the very very least keys should be taken and only given back when people are sober.

  6. @anonymous-
    If you don’t go to a 12 Step Meeting today I hope you aspirate vomit & die tonight.
    You are as dangerous as a fool waving a gun- or more accurately as dangerous as a sniper hidden in a car trunk.

  7. There’s been a lot of rape-related stories on this site in recent weeks. Time for some more cheerful stuff.

  8. I’m not sure that the “addict” article is right on point for the topic at hand. I would prefer a greater focus on binge drinking as opposed to the drinking/drugs taken on by an addict as the situational backdrop. The confounding factors are: youth and inexperience, young male aggressiveness and alcohol. I get that it’s not all of it, but anyone who looks up sexual assault statistics can see that the incident frequency bulges exponentially during the late teens to mid-twenties profile / school / university days – think Mardi Gras or Spring break rather than hardcore addict consumption.

    I’ve done more than my fair share of alcohol/drug fueled sexual activity and it was mainly socially driven behavior as opposed to a fix that needed scratching. One straightforward solution, not the end all by any stretch, is to legalize pot. Excessive alcohol and youth produces aggressive combustion that does not seem as present when only pot is involved, or just more involved than alcohol. I don’t think we can ignore the type of drug used by young people when looking at solutions.

  9. I think the notion that responsibility is always entirely on the man is a very dangerous precedent. It is convenient to say that responsibility is on the initiator but initiator = man in 9/10 instances in our culture. What we are essentially saying is that it is the responsibility of the man –regardless of how intoxicated he himself is — to be able to distinguish between legitimate consent and someone so under the influence to be unable to legitimately consent. There is no talk or responsibility on the woman to manage her alcohol, or whether her actions lead to something. If I’m very drunk, and I’m with another very drunk woman and her hands are wandering all over my body and I say, “Do you want to go back to my place” and she tells me yes, how is it that I am supposed to know that she was too drunk to give consent. We are both voluntarily under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and yet somehow the only person here with responsibility is me. A woman cannot be held accountable for her actions when drunk, but as a man I am not only responsible for MY actions when drunk but in properly interpreting HER actions as well? This doesn’t pass the smell test to me.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      If a woman has sex with a man who is too impaired to consent, I consider that rape.

      Here’s a way to avoid this: Don’t have sex when you’re drunk. Don’t have sex with drunk people.

      That’s it.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Allow me to be clearer:

        There are relationships wherein both partners feel comfortable having sex while partying. I do not judge that.

        I’m talking about outside of situations where communication about boundaries and consent has already been established while both partners were sober.

        • We don’t live in some fantasyland where people don’t drink and have sex. You’re basically saying don’t have sex and drink. The two go together as a default. Alcohol is the default social lubricant and nearly everyone drinks. People drink to have a good time, people drink to be social, people drink for any number of reasons. Drinking and sex go hand in hand. I honestly cannot believe you actually believe what you seem to be saying.

          • That’s the problem, alcohol and sex going together so much is going to guarantee rape will always happen probably because it’s a drug that affects each person differently, and we all consume it at different rates. If you drink just before or during sex then that risk increases bigtime. It’s great to tell people to be aware of consent and how alcohol affects us, I think we can definitely target those who are sober n take advantage of drunk people but I think we’re going to have a much harder time with people who are mutually drinking in reducing the amount of rape there significantly unless we get people to stop drinking to excess.

          • How about this, then:

            If you’re too drunk to drive, you’re too drunk to screw.

            One involves motor skills and response time. The other, judgment and consent. Either way, if you’re too drunk to do one, you’re too drunk to do the other, and it’s time to go to bed – alone.

            • “If you’re too drunk to drive, you’re too drunk to screw. One involves motor skills and response time. The other, judgment and consent.”

              That’s a ridiculous standard. You don’t need judgement to have sex. This is where you go completely wrong. Sex does not require judgement. Your not buying a house that will be paid off over 30 years or engaging in a legal contract. Maybe the terms of this debate have confused people about what sex is. Terms like consent have made it seem like sex is the same as agreeing to a contract. It isn’t.

              All sexual consent should indicate is willingness. Not judgement, not being fully informed, not in your right mind….just willingness. You are willing to to something. That’s it. That’s all folks.

              The judgement standard does not make sense. Because what is there to judge? Nothing. Your not agreeing to do hard labour for 30 years or divide your assets in case you split. That requires judgement because you have to consider future possibilities and ensure you understand what might happen. Sex doesn’t require any of this. There is nothing to be surprised about. You know what your getting into. Judgement is irrelevant. All the is relevant is willingness.

              Therefore the standard should be that you are so drunk that you don’t have sufficient energy, consciousness or ability to indicate willingness. Basically this means in most cases you are either unconscious or so tired you can hardly move. Your not kissing, not grinding, not licking, not grabbing or thrusting. Your out of it. At that point consent is not possible.

            • I’m… a little confused at how far you extrapolated on the word “judgement”

              I mean judgement as in good sense. As in, you’re able to determine (judge) whether your partner is too far gone. You can decide whether having sex with them is a good idea – if it’s a decision you’ll be able to live with in the morning. You have enough wits about you to remember to use protection. You recognize the potential consequences, good and bad, of your actions.

              Alcohol impairs judgement, simple as that. It loosens inhibitions (which can be fun, but sometimes our inhibitions are what keep us safe!) and it gets in the way of your ability to clearly interpret a situation. I’ve known plenty of people who have done things while drunk that they regret as soon as they’ve sobered up (sexual or otherwise – one guy jumped off a second-story balcony and bruised his ribs because it seemed like a good idea at the time). Why “judgement” means “the serious consideration you put into buying a house” to you, assman, is beyond me. It isn’t just the big decisions in life that have consequences worth considering.

              And I strongly disagree that a person has to get to the point of unconscious-drunk before his or her ability to consent is impaired. I still think “Too drunk to drive, to drunk to screw” is a pretty safe rule of thumb, if not applicable in all situations.

            • I think legless is definitely too far, but too drunk to drive too drunk to screw would probably be the majority of a saturday night’s sexual encounters. Does that mean millions/hundreds of millions? of men n women are raping each other?

              The whole threshold of alcohol n consent is bugging me a lot, I am really now of the belief that a huge amount of rape is happening and is actually accepted by both parties in most cases, by that I mean the people having sex past the driving limit. Are we meant to condemn those who have that type of sex? I know for me personally I’d probably be fine having sex after that limit (as in I am the one past the 0.05% BAC) with a girlfriend and want the sex and be ok with it in the morning so I don’t think I should be condemning all of it, but technically it’s rape and I am against rape so how the hell am I meant to reconcile that fact? It’s easy to see who is at fault when someone rapes someone asleep, but if you’re 0.051% BAC and you have sex is your partner to be condemned even if you initiate it and the next day you’re 100% ok with it? Should it be a separate category? Do we call it mutually acceptable rape? Do we change the anti-rape campaigns to have a caveat allowing for mutual drunken sex?

            • Anonymous– sex does require judgement. I’m going to ignore the fact that your post seems to indicate complete misunderstanding of this entire conversation and give the benefit of the doubt that you can understand rational thought for the sake of this response.

              As a man, you have the privilege of being able to ignore the consequences of sex, for the most part. You can get it on, get out, and never think about it again, if you choose. That is not true for women. Every time a woman consents to sex she is taking into account the risk of pregnancy or STDs, and many common STDs can have life-long consequences for women, such predisposition to cancer and infertility. A woman who has sex with a man puts herself at risk of violence, since men who have sexual relationships with women are more likely to physically abuse them. The decision goes beyond a simple “willingness” to let a man put his penis inside of you. There are real consequences to consider, and they do involve capable judgment of the situation to make a responsible choice.

            • One of the dad’s I know from picking up our Kids at school., is dying from throat cancer, HPV is the cause…..tell us again about women’s special risks from STD’s. Most men have a story or two about women who acted out badly after sex……It’s far from one sided .

        • Jeff Coulter says:

          Well put Joanna! What frightens me here is that we have people defending this type of behavior by taking everything to the illogical extreme. There is nothing wrong with drinking. I will withold my opinion on illegal substances as that is another can of worms. The bottom line is that if you are so trashed that you have no idea who you are with, you shouldn’t be having sex. Impaired judgement doesn’t just result in rape. It also results in unwanted pregnancy, STD’s, awkward social situations (oh dude…was that YOUR girlfriend). Engaging in intimate behavior under the influence is a disaster to waiting to happen. And when it does, being under the influence is no excuse.

          Why are men catching most of the crap on this? Because unfortunately our gender is responsible for the majority of the rapes, that’s why. For every sororiety girl who hits on the drunk frat boy there are 100 case of the opposite happening. And let’s face some biological facts. Men have a much harder time performing sexually in a mentally impaired state, so there a fewer cases of women getting us drunk and using us for sex. When those statistics get closer to 50/50 we can whine a little bit more about fairness!

      • What if they have sex when both are too impaired to consent?

        And this isn’t an unlikely scenario…

      • I’ve had these discussions with my teen daughters, not the don’t drink because you’ll get taken advantage of talks. Instead we’ve had the there is nothing wrong with wanting sex talk, That goes that there is no reason to impair your judgement before choosing a partner, We as your parents won’t judge you negatively if when your ready / old enough you have sex…it’s normal and natural. You don’t need alcohol to have an excuse to have sex… no plausible deniability needed. Better to be aware, alert, and ready to enjoy your choices/freedoms then be trashed and risk being taken advantage of or doing the same to someone else. We started those talks at 10 after the eldest caught an episode of 2 1/2 men…..that took some explaining.

        • You make a very good point! I have known women in my life who, for what ever reason, felt they needed to drink in order to have sex. One female co-worker stands out in memory. When at a work related social function (usually without spouses present) she would have a beer or 2 and end up ‘Hooking Up’ with someone. Then , the next day her story would be “I was so drunk, I don’t remember what happened last night.” I knew this woman somewhat and knew she could ‘pack it away’ and ther was no way she was that drunk. It was just her way of excusing her actions!

      • In all honesty this is pretty solid advice. If you can’t get laid except with drunk people you’re doing something wrong – if you can’t get laid unless you get drunk yourself you’re probably also doing something wrong.

      • But in social situations, men typically consume much larger quantities of drugs/alcohol then the women they are with do…..

  10. I’m old enough to remember how foreign a concept not driving while drunk was to my parents’ gen. People spoke then in outrage and “reality’s limitations,” social norms, culture of booze and “men being men.” The very concept of drunk driving as verboten was fully ridiculous.

    Drunk stranger-sex ought to be socially and culturally taboo enough to be an utterly painful embarrassment to all parties and ought to be examined to eliminate rape occurrence by default.

    • Well said!
      I get what Collin is saying – yes, everybody drinks, and it’s the social lubricant, and alcohol and sex go hand in hand, etc. etc. – but you make a really great point. Social norms CAN change. We’re raising new generations every day, we have the opportunity to set a better example or change the messaging around alcohol. I don’t see alcohol use going away anytime soon, but if we’re going to accept this vice as a social norm, then dammit, we’d better be responsible about it.

  11. The entire bloody topic can be reduced to MTV and Jersey Shore ethics structure: You get drunk, you nevah know what will happen.

  12. Ernest Belfort Bax nailed it:
    “To men all duties and no rights, to women all rights and no duties, is the basic principle underlying Modern
    Feminism”
    http://www.newmenstime.com/index1035.html

  13. I’m glad it was posted to highlight the mindset of some people. Better to know the enemy, but it’s also important to realize that even the rapist can be raped. I dislike this idea of trying to silence rapists and a view that they have nothing important to share. Fuck that, I wanna know what they think, why they think it, so I can avoid it and we can tailor make awareness campaigns to help address n reduce it. Obviously more education around consent with alcohol is needed, that article clearly shows that but also shows the entitlement he feels to continue partying without care for the consequences. It’s also a sad look into the world for some addicts.

    I commend the GMP for posting it and allowing discussion on it, I hope it helps teach others how to avoid that situation and I hope for his sake that he gets past his addiction and is accountable for his crimes.

    • it’s also important to realize that even the rapist can be raped.

      No, it’s not.

      If we’re going to define rape down to mean “sex while intoxicated,” then it doesn’t particularly mean anything. I wonder why someone would want to do that.

      There is a difference between someone who initiates contact without obtaining clear consent and someone who lets that happen without giving consent. I’ll stipulate that the victim can be male or female.

      Sex is either mutually consented or it’s not. Unless you’re trying to say that it’s possible for two people to rape each other – that two parties can have sex that neither wants – the idea of a rapist being raped is an absurd distraction from the discussion.

      • Uh, hello, he admitted to being raped. It didn’t happen at the same time. Jesus christ what is with the sheer ignorance shown here by people? Soon as he admits he’s a rapist everyone loses all rational thought and act like he’s the devil and completely ignores the FACT HE WAS RAPED. How is it not important to note? It’s possible he’s under the impression that rape is a part of drinking culture and one of the acceptable risks, that he’s been on both ends being the rapist and the victim and has some delusion that it isn’t as bad as it really is. Ever think maybe a person like that might benefit from actually meeting other rape victims and learning how damaging the rape has been to them vs how he was affected?

        “the idea of a rapist being raped is an absurd distraction from the discussion.
        What truly sickens me, is how many people are thinking like you do, they’re glossing over and ignoring the fact he was raped. It’s not an absurd distraction, it’s VERY FUCKING RELEVANT. Abuse can trigger more abuse! He was raped by a woman for one thing, proving we need to be targetting women in out anti-rape campaigns too. If you can’t find any decent reason to understand that a rapist can be raped than quite frankly you might want to really think about it more.

        And yes if alcohol removes consent then 2 people can rape each other if they’re both smashed. Ignorance to this fact doesn’t change it. trying to dismiss the implications of this is pathetic.

        • Even here there seems to be a disconnect on a basic level, the cultural media norm is rape is something men do to women and that “normal” regular women would never have to worry about their risk of being the rapist….as if forceful rape is anything other than the more uncommon type. Most men have I’ve known have had the experiance of waking up with or the next morning after an encounter that they was explicitly not wanted, regret, feel they’ve been taken advantage of when drunk or drugged. Men as a group drink and drug to a massively greater extent. As the consent movement calls this rape when a women feels these things……Then it’s rape all the way around. If 2 drunks screw and it’s considered rape as they both were past the point of consent then Both are rapists or neither are….not just the guy because he’s the guy.

      • Of course it’s important to recognise that a rapist can be raped. If a rapist exists in a world where rape ‘just happens’ as a result of being involved in the party lifestyle, then s/he clearly needs to learn that rape is actually not an acceptable by-product of alcohol/drug addiction. The rapist who is raped and continues to commit rape themselves has not learned from their negative experiences, and does not understand the impact of their actions. This kind of rapist does not know where the acceptable boundaries are in social interactions. This is an important distinction, because this kind of rapist does not plan to cause harm, s/he causes harm by accident/stupidity/whatever you want to call it, not by malicious intent. This kind of rapist can be shown the harm they cause and feel remorse. Sober people need to know the best way to jump on those feelings of remorse and convince the rapist to stop. This kind of rapist requires a different method of prevention campaign than the rapist who goes out with a gun looking for a victim.

        • I wanna high 5 you a hundred times. That’s what I’m trying to get at. I don’t believe every single rapist intends to rape, I do believe some do it out of sheer fuckup of judgment, lack of education of consent, drugs impairing judgment. They still rape, but at least some I believe can be stopped from doing it again. And for other forms of sexual assault they most definitely can be stopped, simply telling people it’s not right to touch others without explicit consent can help. I’ve had females grope me before, no one seemed to have told them that it really isn’t ok to grab men like that. They thought it was a joke, I wanted to punch them in the face (but didn’t).

          Had I been drunk and my temper got the best of me I may very well have laid them flat out on the floor for touching me like that. It bothered me a lot, I know I’d never be allowed to touch them the same way and if I did I’d probably cop legal issues but I had situations where someone did see, did ask the cops to talk to a school about sexual assault and soooo many people treated it as a joke. It made me feel like there was no point getting the law involved (someone else did that which failed) since as a man it’s just a big fucking joke.

      • No, it’s not.
        Really now? I thought the goal was to confront rape head on and (hopefully) end it. How can we do that if we only cheery pick certain forms of rape to talk about and ignore the others?

  14. There is a real red light indicator here about this guy, giving him some credit here, that he says that drunken sex can be the best kind. My goodness, anyone who’s ever had good sex knows that’s a delusion or said by someone who can’t tolerate an adult consensual relationship. See Skippy, it has to do with people getting mutual benefit out of the agreement. Oh, and women orgasm, too. I’m an older man than you are, still giving you credit, and I’m no moralist. I have no problem with two conscious people doing anything they choose. And having played in rock bands in L.A. through the 70’s I’d venture to say that I’ve been more loaded more times and in more different ways than you’ve had tome experience. But I was never delusional enough to confuse the two. Yes, I’ve been about to close the deal before, and looked down at a near partner to see her nodding off and her fighting to keep her eyes open. And I stopped, but then again I had the confidence to know there was a wide awake willing woman in the immediate future, maybe her on another night. I never played air guitar either. Get the analogy? I doubt it.

  15. People drink. Drinking makes people want to sex. Drinking makes people not think properly and do things that they may regret. Sex does not always have explicit, verbal consent (And it shouldn’t have to. We don’t need lawyers hanging out at parties to notorize sexual consent documents). This sounds like a bad combination to me. Doubly bad when you consider that some men will commit rape, and some women will lie about being raped. We shouldn’t blame the victims, but we shouldn’t assume that men are all eager rapists who just haven’t had the opportunity to commit rape.

    On a different note, I’ve been super drunk and turned down girls that were groping me and wanted sex. I don’t think that I was sexually assaulted, but perhaps that is just because I was bigger than those women. I wonder how I’d feel, if given the EXACT same level of groping, but the women were much larger than me, if I’d consider it sexual assault. Hmmm. I don’t know.

  16. Ok so speaking as uni student who has been overly drunk at house party due to accidental medication induced amplification not that long ago I’ll say this. Yes the girl, I mean anyone of either gender is responsible to know how to handle their drink, how it affects their body/inhibitions blahblah. But I also know that if in that state that guy I was sort of flirting with had led me off to a bedroom…well I would have protested and loudly at that-despite the fact I could barely stand up. We have to remember that drinking breaks down our inhibitions but definitely leaves our key morals and ideals intact when it comes to sex. Any form of protest-verbal/physical from either party during any stage of the, for lack of a better word ‘hook up’ which goes unheeded can very quickly lead to sexual assault, rape etc. For me consent is when I genuinely want to be doing everything I’m doing and the guy wants to be doing everything he’s doing. (note: I’d imagine what I’ve said might not apply to drugs)

  17. Has anyone mentioned how many people have died from drunk-sex?
    I speak of HIV/AIDS et al

  18. This is a rationalization, not an explanation, for publishing the piece that you did. The difference is significant.

  19. Richard Aubrey says:

    I recall a staff party I went to with my wife–her employer. Standing at the bar behind a young woman, small, went about a buck ten, watching the bartender going at two glasses the size of small flower vases like a mad chemist. Eventually, after Idunnomany things in the glasses, she braced herself to pick them up and off she went. I inquired of the ‘tender what those were. “Sex on The Beach”, he said. I asked him if he could make a manhattan. Said he learned in school.
    So, after this GMP discussion started, I hooked myself up to a cerebral accelerator and in one afternoon got the equivalent of 437 straight hours of thinking done.
    My conclusion–this is complicated–is that if a woman doesn’t get passed-out drunk, black-out drunk, can’t-think drunk, this stuff won’t happen to her.
    Where’s my Nobel?

    • Cause women are never raped (by people they know or otherwise)while sober. Good to know. All I have to do is never get drunk.

      • And yeah, that was sarcastic. Look, women who go to parties and don’t get drunk get raped. Women on dates who are not impaired can get raped. It’s not so simple as to say, avoid drinking and these things won’t happen.

        • I think he’s suggesting women shouldn’t put themselves at risk of being unable to control their actions in public? It’s not a great idea for either gender to get plastered where you are unable to keep yourself safe in public, which is partly why I don’t get drunk in public. But it’s not easy as you say to just forgo an activity that brings pleasure for many (drinking at parties, not rape) for fear of rape, violence, etc.

          I suggest people not get super drunk, try to have some control in your actions when around people you do not trust and that MAY help reduce your risk but it won’t solve the entire problem. Probably far more likely to get robbed when passed out in public or thrown in jail for the night. Friends watching out for friends is a great idea though, I usually keep a keen eye on my friends. I’ve had friends get me to hold their drink, purse, etc (as they goto the toilet at a club) and I hold my hand above the drink to do what I can to block access to it to others so it doesn’t get spiked but quite frankly next time I think I’ll tell them to never ever drink a drink you haven’t kept your eye on the whole time. I have no intention of drugging it but if they trust someone else who doesn’t have the same morals as I then there can a bad outcome there. I am a paranoid mofo when I am out too as it’s a carryover from my own history of bullying n abuse so I tend to automatically watch for trouble and keep my spidey senses keen.

          I don’t want my friends to get into fights, be abused in any form, I want us all to have fun n be safe. I think if we all do that it should help quite a bit, I also keep an eye even on strangers to make sure no one is being messed with and try to remember where the bouncers are incase shit goes down. A lil bit of safety goes a long way, but the most important thing I believe is to stay with your group and keep them informed of where you are, what you are doing, if you go home with someone let them know (so they don’t think you’re lost and also to keep track incase something happens). If all else fails and you really wanna be safe, STAY around groups of people and never go off alone as that should increase your safety considerably.

  20. …..hey @Richard Aubrey…..’Don’t Drink and Drive’ I understand…but somehow I don’t think the Billboard ‘Don’t Drink and Don’t Get Raped’ in a nightclub district would go down too well to you? Such an ultimatum is absolutely ludicrous-Julie Gillis is right. Often getting that completely ‘can’t think drunk’ as you say isn’t a conscious decision, though sometimes it is. Either way women have the right to drink as much or as little as they want without the notion that past a certain point of inebriation they are inviting, or even ASKING FOR rape…or that if it happens they are in some way responsible. I’m just pointing out the implications of your ‘simple’ statement. But thanks Richard, next time I’m at a party with a bunch of people I know and I get ‘pass out drunk’ I’ll make sure I have my rape whistle handy…or just make sure I’ve got my solid steel chastity belt on-and that it’s firmly locked. I mean after all I’ll be a ‘can’t think drunk’ silly girl…anything a guy does to me when I’m in that state…well clearly it’s my fault.

  21. A Survivor says:

    Yanno, I’d believe that the original article was about addiction if you had actually tagged it as such. But you didn’t. I think this is some after-the-fact rationalization. And it ain’t workin’ for me.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Actually, to be clear, I wrote this post the night before the rapist’s story went up. They posted at the same time.

  22. Sorry, but Amanda Marcotte has you guys dead to rights on this. The first story, in which Alyssa Royse tried to rationalize somebody raping a sleeping woman (who might well have consented had she been awake, but plainly couldn’t while asleep) was obvious bullshit; her friend is a rapist, and very likely one of the serial predators. Your new story from an asshole who thinks that rape is just the “cost of doing business” in a party culture is equally obvious bullshit. If you can’t get drunk or high without raping, then DON’T GET DRUNK OR HIGH; if you do, and you commit rape, then we reserve the right to put you in jail for committing rape. The saddest thing in the article was his claim that it’s a “plain, awful fact: people can have more and better sex drunk than they can sober.” What utter crap. How can he possibly claim to know what sex is better or worse for “people”, in general. Furthermore, if he can barely remember the sex afterwards, I absolutely deny that it is even a _possibility_ that the sex is meaningfully “better” than what can be had sober — this is the bravado of somebody who knows his life is shit, but wants to make himself feel better about it by putting down the people who have _better_ lives. Just because he’s too repulsive a person to attract a woman who would enjoy sober sex with him, and hangs around with women who are so uptight that they can’t get naked without getting drunk first, doesn’t mean it’s not possible for ANYONE to have intense, joyous, mind-blowing sex without loading up on illegal substances first. (Personally, I tend to think of sex itself as being a mind-altering experience.)

    I’ve found a number of articles in GMP interesting, and worth passing around. But what the fuck has possessed you guys in the last month? Get a grip.

    • I hope you also called out Amanda Marcotte for her victim blaming and rape apology, and also Jill Filipovic on her rape apology too? Apart from that I agree the rapist is all kinds of fucked up, what pisses me off the most is the unrepentant attitude and entitlement to continue. I do appreciate they posted the articles as I’ve learned quite a bit, however the wording for Alyssa’s article should have been much better. I think she was trying to suggest that people SEEN as nice guys can be rapists, and also talk about the possibility of someone mistaking signals. Some will say she was asleep, but Alyssa didn’t say he thought she was asleep either which to me suggests he wouldn’t be a serial rapist but someone who has raped but may have not meant to do it (like the woman in the feministe article). But as I haven’t seen Alyssa clarify if he knew she was asleep or thought she was awake both possibilities remain. I see an awful lot of people assuming he knew she was asleep, did I miss something in the article?

      • Archy. Alyssa wrote the article and as a writer she said that the woman was asleep. She did not include info that he didn’t know or didn’t think she was asleep, but it was established that she was asleep and awoke to him penetrating her. I think she noted in another place in the article that the woman woke up, froze, and didn’t really participate.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          No, she didn’t write anything about what happened after the man penetrated the sleeping woman. She says everything after that point is irrelevant.

          And it really is – because regardless of whether she smiled and kissed him, or whether she punched him, his penetrating her while she was asleep is non-consensual sex.

          And yes, he knew she was asleep.

          Nothing after him penetrating a sleeping woman matters. And that Alyssa is very clear about.

          • No, she didn’t write anything about what happened after the man penetrated the sleeping woman. She says everything after that point is irrelevant.

            And it really is – because regardless of whether she smiled and kissed him, or whether she punched him, his penetrating her while she was asleep is non-consensual sex.

            I respectfully disagree. In the Feministe story, the victim was said to exhibit signs which she mistook for being into it, which isn’t relevant to whether he felt violated after, but is very relevant to her believing she had consent and making the violation accidental (whether you want to call it a violation or the more serious term, rape). So in Alyssa’s story, if the guy didn’t know the woman was asleep, and she was capable of sleep-sexing like the boyfriend in the Feministe account, then a smile and kiss that seemed like waking consent would convey a very different message of consent than getting punched. That’s relevant, not to whether she felt violated, but to whether the violation could have been accidental, just like the one you’re willing to give the woman at Feministe a pass for.

          • Omg, Alyssa, if you’re reading this. Was he aware she was asleep? I’m not asking if she was asleep, it already says that, was HE AWARE. Nearly every comment on it implies he was aware she was asleep yet I see no evidence in the article of that. It’s either intended rape, or accidental rape, either way I am still unclear on whether HE was aware.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Archy, you gotta understand the differences between the story on Feministe about the woman who had sex with her boyfriend when he was asleep vs the story of Alyssa’s friend.

        Here are the differences – First, in Alyssa’s story, the man knew the woman was asleep and he penetrated her anyway. He did not get consent, he did not think he had consent, he just did it. That’s rape.

        In the Feministe letter, the woman WAS given consent. But it turned out that the man was basically sleepwalking. His eyes were open. He wasn’t drunk or high (as far as the letter tells), so she had no reason to believe that his consent wasn’t authentic. NOW—That does NOT mean that he can’t FEEL raped. He can feel raped, and that is understandable and he deserves compassion for having experienced that the way he did. He feels violated and that should be honored.

        But it’s not a crime.

        This couple in the Feministe letter is tragic, because ultimately it is not anyone’s fault (as long as the letter tells the truth, which we have to presume it does). It’s a total freak occurrence brought on by sleepwalking. Mind you, my dear friend died because he sleepwalked, eyes open, and climbed over a balcony and fell to his death. They presume, by the way he climbed, that he thought he was getting into bed. Sleepwalking can be very dangerous. But no one thinks my friend’s death was a suicide.

        I wish the couple in the Feministe letter the best and hope they find a good therapist to help them through this because it’s basically a clusterfuck of terrible feelings – violation, guilt, regret, blame… But I don’t think there is a rape in that story.

        • I think I have it. I think what you say here has allowed me to pinpoint just what the problem some of the folks around here have with the treatment of the two different stories.

          In the Feministe letter, the woman WAS given consent. But it turned out that the man was basically sleepwalking. His eyes were open. He wasn’t drunk or high (as far as the letter tells), so she had no reason to believe that his consent wasn’t authentic. NOW—That does NOT mean that he can’t FEEL raped. He can feel raped, and that is understandable and he deserves compassion for having experienced that the way he did. He feels violated and that should be honored.
          I know you don’t mean what I’m about to say Joanna but I think what you are saying boils down to the following translation:

          “He is free to feel and think that he was raped, but in actuality he wasn’t.”

          It sounds like you (and others that agree with you) think that it is okay for him to feel whatever it is he feels about the situation, as long as you can define the scope of it. Therefore he can feel like a crime was committed against him, but it really wasn’t a crime.

          And as far as “he was basically sleepwalking”, I know I’ve seen a case or two where woman have consented to sex while sleepwalking and guy they had sex with was still charged with rape.

          Taking this into account this I think is what gives off the vibe of determining if something was raped is not the what happened but the whos that are involved.

          (Again I am not trying to say that this is how you mean it, just offering what I think may be an interpretation of how some may take it.)

          But at the end we will just have to disagree on it being called rape. No the woman in that feministe letter should not be lumped in with the worst of the worst when it comes to rapists, but I’d still say that she’s a rapist. One that I would bet would never do it again, but in this one instance a rapist nonetheless.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Fact is, there is so much grey area in the definitions of rape here in the story of the woman who had consent from a sleeping man, that we are ALL speculating, even the women at Feministe. There is no good answer. There just isn’t.

            I’d like to see the cases where a woman was sleepwalking and gave consent for sex, and the man was charged. I’ve never heard of that.

            You’d have to compare them side by side, as individual cases, because the details would really make a difference in each case. It’s very frustrating not to be able to slap an “it’s the same” label on each case. It’s frustrating for you guys, and it’s probably frustrating for the feminists.

            But the truth is, and this is what is getting me in trouble, is that in that Feministe story and in others, there just isn’t a clear “bad guy” and “good guy”. The couple in the Feministe story is in a fucked up situation. I don’t care how the genders would be reversed, I’d have the same opinions for that story.

            But for other stories, you’d have to tell me the whole story. It can’t just be, “a man penetrated a woman who seemed awake but was actually asleep.” The details matter. Marcus talked on one of these threads about a woman who may wiggle up to a man in her sleep, maybe a wife. Is that consent? I’d say it’d be better to be sure she’s awake and say, “Honey, you wanna do it?” to be clear. And that’s a lesson we can all take away from this. But each case is unique.

            That’s why we have trials and varying degrees of charges. As imperfect as it is, it does allow for some discretion based on the details of the case.

            • Fact is, there is so much grey area in the definitions of rape here in the story of the woman who had consent from a sleeping man, that we are ALL speculating, even the women at Feministe. There is no good answer. There just isn’t.
              So now we are going from everyone having a definite yes or no answer to saying its all speculation?

              But the truth is, and this is what is getting me in trouble, is that in that Feministe story and in others, there just isn’t a clear “bad guy” and “good guy”. The couple in the Feministe story is in a fucked up situation. I don’t care how the genders would be reversed, I’d have the same opinions for that story.
              Even if it’s not as clear as the story run here there is still a matter of the woman had sex with the guy while he was sleep. And while you don’t care about the genders, a lot of people do. Not just in this story but in many others concerning rape.

        • Here are the differences – First, in Alyssa’s story, the man knew the woman was asleep and he penetrated her anyway.

          Wherever you’re getting that, it isn’t from the text of Alyssa’s story, so where are you getting that? All that’s in the text is that he (Alyssa’s friend) did not later dispute that she was asleep when he penetrated her, but he could have found that out *after the fact*, just like the woman in the Feministe story who thought her boyfriend was awake at the time, but did not dispute whether he was asleep when she later realized that was the case. Alyssa’s text does not say whether her friend knew she was asleep at the time, but that keeps being asserted as being plainly evident in the text. It’s not. I’m not saying Alyssa’s friend didn’t know she was sleeping, or even probably didn’t know, just that the text does not justify the assumption that you and so many others are making that he definitely, obviously knew. If the part of the Feministe story that persuades you that case was not rape is that the perpetrator thought the victim was awake and giving consent, then that relevant detail regarding Alyssa’s friend is absent from her telling of the story, which means you’re just assuming the worst, instead of applying the same standard to both cases.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            Okay, well it may not be obviously stated in the text, she gives a lot of attention to the details all leading up to the point of what happened after penetration.

            So if he didn’t know she was asleep, that would’ve been a crucial part of the story. We can easily ask her.

            • I’ve asked about 5 times now in comments, can someone in the GMP staff ask her? It’s an extremely important part of the story. It means the difference between an accidental rapist and someone who wilfully intended to rape and/maybe or someone who is absolutely clueless on the law and decent behaviour around people who are asleep.

            • I did ask. From that comment:

              Alyssa, if this isn’t lost in the deluge of comments…do you know whether your friend *knew* the woman was sleeping when he penetrated her? Did he mention whether he thought she’d consented and only later realized his mistake, else he never would have tried it?

              Her reply left me with the same uncertainty. Here’s the part of that reply that appeared to be in response to my questions (feel free to follow the link to verify I’m not quoting out of context or missing a clearer answer):

              She did not say “no” and stop him once she was awake. She reported, and I have no reason not to believe her, that she was confused and afraid and it was already happening and she didn’t feel like she could. There were people in the room who saw it all happen, as well as everything leading up to it. She did not, by any reports, show any enthusiasm, though I’m afraid that feels like something of a red herring to me, as initial consent is really the primary concern here.

              He says, and again, no reason not to believe him, that had she said no, he would have stopped. He thought that’s where everything was heading.

              That added some interesting details, but not any that appeared to answer my questions, about *when* the guy knew she was asleep. In fact, the room full of people who “saw it all happen, as well as everything leading up to it” made it seem even more plausible to me that she was not just an inert unconscious body who had given him no indication of consent, because if she was, that would seem to make a room full of people (which I assume was mixed gender given the context of the story) accomplices who didn’t lift a finger to stop an obvious rape.

              I want to be clear about something. I still take issue with the worst-case assumptions being made on the basis of ambiguous text, because it makes a meaningful difference as to the intent and potentially accidental nature of the assault, just as they did in the Feministe case. In fact, I think it’s what the titular question hinges on, about whether this guy who violated her could still be “nice” or not. However, I’m not lambasting Alyssa for writing this or GMP for posting it and subsequent articles. I think both have led to good discussions and prompted people to think deeply about what is and isn’t rape, whether “nice people” can rape, and so on. I think that’s all good. My point is that if details like when the violator knew the violee had been asleep is relevant when the violator is a woman – which I think it is – then it’s also relevant when the violator is a man. The telling of Alyssa’s story and many comments appear to me to take the view that it doesn’t f***ing matter in the latter case, since Rape Culture dogma dictates that male violators always act with full awareness and intentionality when they violate. That’s what I take issue with, not having the discussion per se. In the absence of relevant details, I feel like I’m in disagreement with you and Alyssa about what conclusions can be drawn about her friend’s case, but I have the utmost respect for the roles you’ve taken in facilitating the discussion, and sympathy for the extreme heat you’ve taken as a result.

            • Amen. No one has said whether HE knew she was awake or not.

            • Can we please just face one element of truth about these type issues? Women in general are given the benefit of the doubt, Men just aren’t. It is much easier for people in general in western culture to view women as a group as inherently honest and view men as less than honest. It colors these grey areas edging perceptions in one direction based on which sex was seen as the aggressor. Fair it is not yet it still just is..

            • I want to add that I consider it likely that Alyssa didn’t just omit whether her friend knew the woman was asleep at the time, but that she either either doesn’t know, or made the same assumption as so many others have that if she was sleeping “by all accounts”, that it’s the same as the guy admitting he knew at the time. I doubt she’d intentionally keeping that critical piece of information from the reader to paint a more damaging picture of her friend, given the theme of the piece. However, for comparison, consider that the woman in the Feministe story could accurately be described as giving an account that acknowledges the victim was asleep at the time, even though that same accountalso makes clear that she didn’t know it until later. So, if the damning phrase in Alyssa’s story that says “by all accounts…” is what’s leading you to the conclusion that the guy definitely knew she was asleep, that’s not enough.

        • Gotta love how easily some will explain away rape. Do you not comprehend that it is impossible, IMPOSSIBLE to consent when asleep? The only way this works is that it’s not seen as rape between the couple, but still legally it’s rape. The law is pretty clear that intoxicated and unconscious people cannot consent. Why is this so hard for people to understand? It makes her a rapist, but an accidental rapist. It doesn’t mean she’s evil but he’s still raped, BY HER. You may not consider it moral rape but it’s technically rape. It’s probably still a crime otherwise every rapist can just claim Oh she gave me signs, and any woman who doesn’t specifically say no and/or fight back would mean they’d be raped, but that the perpetrator wasn’t a rapist using a similar logic since they’d just say they thought there was consent. Does mens rea even apply to rape cases?

          Is person asleep? Yes? No matter what they say, legally it’s rape. We may not consider it morally rape such as if I told my partner she can wake me up with a bj I wouldn’t consider it rape but technically n legally, she’s performing a sex act on an unconscious person. If anything maybe rape needs a version of manslaughter in the law? But the way you ladies are wording it opens the floodgate for a lot of rapists, even serial rapists, who genuinely believe consent is there to be let off. Hell some child abusers think children can consent, do you let them off too?

          Now I dunno how you’d even begin to trial this case but I’d hope some leniency would be involved due to mens rea but still that poses a tricky situation for many other cases of rape. There have been people let off for stat rape because they were under the impression the person was of legal age (had fake id, met in an 18+club) so a jury may let this woman off too. The victim may not even press charges unless they felt she purposely tried to rape him instead of misreading signals and raping him by accident. A rape still occured, for him to be raped, she would have had to been the rapist unless some ghost came in and did the raping. If I turn around quickly and my arm hits someone in the face, I’ve still assaulted someone but by accident. She commited rape by accident.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] on the Good Men Project’s decision to publish this story, see Joanna Schroeder’s “This Is Why We Published A Rapist’s Story” on the Good Feed [...]

  2. [...] wouldn’t, but that doesn’t absolve him of his crimes. Nor, does it make him a victim. This is Why We Published a Rapist’s Story by Joanna Schroeder for The Good Men Project “In my piece, ‘Why It’s Dangerous to [...]

  3. [...] response to the massive reaming they received after publication of the two articles, GMP editors defended themselves by arguing that we need to confront the reasons why some men rape, disturbed [...]

  4. [...] then also published a defense and explanation of the piece, here. Again, I’m not clear what we learned through publishing the account, but I do know [...]

  5. [...] I allowed to touch it, or have I just admitted to being on the other side of the blurry line?In the post explaining why GMP decided to publish this post, female editor Joanna Schroeder says, But the real [...]

  6. [...] This is Why We Published a Rapist’s Story [...]

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